Butt stuff is already a taboo subject, steeped in stigma, and often met with negative reactions much like if you claimed black jelly beans as your favorite. What? Gross. That’s weird. The prospect of anal play for him is even more taboo. Brought back into the zeitgeist with shows like Broad City, the fine art of male anal pleasure has certainly sparked conversations around the nature of male sexuality. Let’s get this out of the way before we get in deeper (ahem). Just because you like anal play, it does not make you gay. How you enjoy pleasure does not define your sexual orientation. Our culture still suffers from homophobia, so admitting to enjoying an act that is commonly associated with gay men can lead to shame or stigmatization. The anus is the great equalizer as everyone has one, and it is a hot bed of nerve endings that result in it being an oft-overlooked erogenous zone. Everyone of any orientation can enjoy anal play. For those who want to break through the stigma and revel in the pleasure, read on, fellow sexual explorer.

One of the first concerns I frequently encounter when talking about butt stuff for him is the concern for hygiene because “that is where the poop comes out.” Yes, you’re not wrong, but in a healthy person (meaning frequent, normal movements), the rectum is merely a temporary storage area for feces. There shouldn’t be any remnants left over. If you’re still concerned, you are welcome to use an enema for extra assurance.

Enemas can be purchased almost anywhere and are fairly inexpensive. Make sure you are buying a water-based one and not oil. NEVER OIL! Once you return home, open the box, twist off the lid of the bottle and pour the liquid down the drain. I know that is not what the box says, but stay with me. Even though it is a water-based enema, the liquid contains laxatives and other chemicals you don’t need. We’re just looking to clear out the last of the residue, if there is any. Rinse and refill the bottle with warm filtered water and administer as directed. Repeat until the water you expel is clear (should take about 1 or 2 rounds). Wait 30-60 minutes before you start the anal play. This gives your body time to absorb any remaining water as well as time for foreplay.

The anus is the great equalizer as everyone has one, and it is a hot bed of nerve endings that result in it being an oft-overlooked erogenous zone.

Before you start any penetration, make sure you have lubricant at the ready. Unlike the vagina, the anus does not naturally lubricate. Yes, there is technically mucus that lines the rectum, but this is not enough for penetration and play. Lube makes everything more comfortable and can help avoid injury. That being said, do not use numbing lubricants. It sounds like that would be the way to go, but unfortunately it can end in disaster. Because you cannot discern pain, you can get hurt. Think rectal tearing and bleeding—not fun or sexy. Pain is your body’s way of letting you know to slow down. If you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t hurt. Try a silicone lube for anal play or a lubricant formulated specifically for back door pleasure. These lubricants are typically a thicker viscosity and longer lasting than water-based lubricants.

Anal play isn’t something you just jump into either, so make sure you take plenty of time for foreplay and to get aroused. It may even take multiple attempts to achieve penetration, so don’t go into this with expectations of taking that huge toy on the first go. Start small and go slowly. Use a tongue or a finger to get used to the sensation.

A quick note on fingers and toys. Make sure your nails are short and well-maintained. No snags or hangnails please. Gloves are always an option for added protection. If you are someone with long nails, stuff some cotton ball fluff into the tips of the gloves to help prevent tearing. For toys, there is an easy phrase I’d like you to memorize: ‘Without a base, without a trace.’ Anything you put into the butt must have a base (or be attached to a body), otherwise you run the risk of having said item lost inside of you. Every winter, a medical journal releases a comprehensive list of things people got stuck in their butts for the year, don’t be on the list!

Experiment with different pressures and strokes and see what is right for you and your partner. A helpful hint, which seems counter-intuitive, is to bear down. The pushing helps to relax your muscles and can help with insertion. You have two sphincters that need to relax for penetration to be pain-free. One you can control yourself and the other is controlled autonomously, so your body will be the judge on whether or not you’re truly relaxed. Slowly work your way up from there so you can accommodate a penis or a larger toy. Your anus is very dynamic. With adequate stimulation, relaxation and patience, you can fit just about anything in there.

Now with all of that being said, there is still the chance your partner isn’t into anal play and that is perfectly okay. Sometimes because of the newness of the sensation, anal play might remain on the mixed-feelings list of enjoyment. With any new sexual activity, you may have to try it a few times before you get into it. Anal play isn’t for everyone. If you don’t like it, you never have to do it again. But if you do like it, more power to you! Society still has further to go when it comes to normalizing certain sexual behaviors, but we’re on our way. Wage your own private crusade against the stigma from the comfort of your bed and get that booty!