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Just The Tips: I Need the Poop on Anal

Just The Tips: I Need the Poop on Anal:

Dear Just The Tips,

I need to talk about poop. I want to have anal sex, and I’ve never done it before. I’ve been dating somebody not super-seriously for a little while, and we’re both interested in trying it. This is complicated by the fact that I recently found out I was diagnosed with IBS. Obviously, this makes my poop anxiety even worse. My question is how do I overcome my fear of the grosser aspects of anal sex? Is it worth it? How do I proceed? Thank you!

My Dearest,

As Maggie Nelson writes at the beginning of her memoir The Argonauts, “The words I love you come tumbling out of my mouth in an incantation the first time you fuck me in the ass, my face smashed against the cement floor of your dark and charming bachelor pad. You had Molloy by your bedside and a stack of cocks in a shadowy unused shower stall. Does it get any better? What’s your pleasure? you asked, then stuck around for an answer.”

Anal sex has a way of changing everything. My friend once told me that the first time she had anal sex she felt like her brain had been scooped out and put elsewhere. Not a bad thing to want to explore. But of course there is a price to this pleasure—the poop. And we have to talk about it.

The anus is, fundamentally, an out hole. That’s part of what makes it fun and interesting to put things into.

Anal sex is often talked about as dirty or kinky. Maybe. But what it can do is build trust between two people. The higher the potential for embarrassment, the higher the potential for intimacy and great sex. In my opinion.

We’ve told ourselves that penises and vaginas are somehow not gross and assholes are. I think things are a bit more complicated than that. Here I will lay out for you the facts and some of my own suggestions on how you might go forward from behind.

The anus is a rich ecosystem of bacteria, musculature and fluids. Let’s demystify it a bit so it feels less taboo to you.


BACTERIA
Your poop is a bunch of indigestible food, bacteria and enzymes all mixed up together. The human body carries about one hundred trillion microorganisms, and they basically make up the majority of your gut. The majority of your poop is also this bacteria. Your gut flora keeps you alive and well, and your poop is part of that.

SPHINCTERS
The sphincter is a cylindrical muscle leading to an orifice that is normally constricted but relaxes when required physiologically. In your anus you’ve got two. One is obvious—it’s on the outside. The other is less obvious—the internal anal sphincter. This one is a few inches in and relaxes involuntarily. So don’t force it.


Here’s Your Sequence

Now that you know the basics, you’re ready to engage. Pretty much anybody you consult on anal sex will tell you to progress from fingers to small toys to penetration with a dildo or penis. Don’t skip steps. Always use lube.

CHECK YOURSELF INTO A HOTEL
I realize this is unorthodox, but I happen to believe that new sex acts are sometimes best performed in slightly anonymous conditions. Plus, if you make a mess on the sheets, you don’t have to clean them.

SEPARATION OF ASS + ELSE
If your partner is playing with your butt, let that be the “butt hand,” and let the other hand be reserved for everything else. If you have a vagina or a mouth or ears—use that other hand to touch those.

ANAL RINSING
If you are feeling self-conscious you may want to consider an enema or anal rinse. Please be aware that over time repeated use of this technique can harm that bacteria we said was so essential so don’t make a habit of it. You can order an at-home “bidet” on Amazon. My friend and his partner did this. Apparently they make them in Japan? Say “konichiwa” to your clean butt.

START SUPER SLOW
You have IBS, which is often stress-induced. I suggest you eat some solid foods, don’t drink too much (but just enough) and start with some really mellow foreplay before you attempt penetration. Don’t expect yourself to go from anal virgin to anal superstar in one evening.

WEAR A CONDOM
If you’d prefer to not have skin-to-skin or skin-to-poop contact, have your partner wear a condom. It’s a pretty easy anxiety-reducer.

ACCEPT POOP AS PART OF THE DEAL
There may be some poop involved. This is part of the deal. If you decide to have anal sex, part of what you’re both agreeing to is the risk of that embarrassment. It’s not one person’s responsibility to “make sure” it doesn’t happen, so get that off your mind and see where this takes you together.

As Ms. Nelson said, sometimes the best part of any kind of sex is the other stuff you notice while it’s happening—the cement floor, the book on the bedside table, the communication you get from the other person. So if you’re anal journey starts out shitty, don’t get bummed out, just keep going.

xK


Just the Tips is Playboy.com’s weekly advice column with professional matchmaker Katherine Cooper. Have a question for Katherine about sex, love or dating? Shoot her a note at justthetips@playboy.com or follow her @kathkathcoop.


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