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As Masters and Johnson showed and anyone who paid attention to what's going on with their body during an orgasm knows, the anal musculature is totally involved in the orgasmic contractions, which you can feel in your anus. They're exactly the same: the same rate and everything.

All orgasms are to some degree anal orgasms; you can't separate them. That's because the musculature in the pelvic region is all intertwined. The anal sphincter muscles are directly connected to the pelvic floor muscle, which goes throughout the pelvis.

There is a myriad of anal toys for all sorts of stimulation. You can find everything from the basic butt plug to the elaborate erotic electro-stimulation devices as well as vibrating anal toys. They come in a variety of materials like latex, silicone, pyrex and other compositions both rigid and/or flexible used for these toys. And some of them are designed in shapes specific, such as the prostate stimulation anal toys. A favorite for girl -on-girl or girl-on-guy is the latest in "strapless" dildoes: The Share, for example!

A butt plug has a flared base, a narrow area where the sphincter muscles would be, and then it widens out and
narrows again. It's flexible - rigid but flexible - and it's basically for anal stimulation. "Butt plug" refers to the
shape where it goes in, near the base, so the sphincter muscles can kind of hold it in place. Some people like
to just leave them sit there - during sex or sometimes even when they're not having sex overtly.

Oh, and don't share toys (PERIOD!) ... "thoroughly cleaning them in antibacterial soap solution or alcohol" is safe enough for your own personal toys, but never use them on someone else and vice-versa! It's so much less expensive to buy another toy, than to experience the wrath of an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) or HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) or worse!!

The Biological Characteristics

There are two anal sphincter muscles: the internal sphincter, which is on the inside, and the external sphincter, which is on the outside. Now, it's important to know this distinction for anyone who's going to be an anal explorer. Because the external sphincter is under the central nervous system's control, most of us (unless we're totally out of touch with the area) just by tuning in and sort of deciding to release can learn to relax the external sphincter quite easily. The internal sphincter is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, so you may be able to relax the external sphincter and not be able to relax the internal one. It also seems to be the internal sphincter that stores up tension and stress on a cumulative basis; the anus often becomes what I call a tension zone - very similar to those of us who get the neck and shoulder thing, or the back thing, or the stomach thing, or wherever our tension zone may be. That mainly shows up in the internal sphincter. It really is the chronic internal sphincter tension that is a major, major cause of hemorrhoids!

The external sphincter does have layers to it, and kind of wraps around the internal sphincter; they're very closely linked together. The external sphincter is connected to the PC muscle, the pubococcygeus, the one we exercise in Kegel exercises. It's directly connected. And so if these muscles are tense, then what is it doing to our ability to enjoy orgasm when all those muscles that are supposed to let go are chronically constricted? More exploration of anal sexuality recommends doing Kegel exercises; we're not only toning up the whole pelvic floor (and the vaginal muscles in women), we're toning up the rectal muscles, and we're toning up the sphincters, and I think that is really going to eliminate any prospects of getting too loose. When the big stuff is inserted without pain, the insertion is not accomplished through stretching; it's accomplished through relaxation. So you just go back to your normal tonality after you're done relaxing. People who want to enjoy anal sex should be regularly doing their Kegels.

Be Gentle... Go Slowly... Let's Talk First!

If you haven't had an opportunity to discuss anal sexuality, whether or not you're interested in it personally, with
other people make a point of it, because it's going to make you more comfortable discussing it and putting it into words, even if you're already comfortable in your head. So we really need to know exactly how we feel about it as well as our play partner. Sometimes anal discussions and experiments can be a very nice part of a larger process of erotic self-discovery.

There's a big distinction between performance and pleasure-oriented goals. When people say, "I'd really like to be able to have anal intercourse because my partner wants it so much; I want to be able to please him [or her]," that's performance. Pleasure, on the other hand, means, "I think there's something in this for me, I've gotten hints that this stimulation can feel good, I want to enjoy it more, and I don't want to be blocked in the ways that I am." The difference between the motivations of pleasure vs. performance strongly correlates with the outcome of success, the effectiveness and enjoyment of the entire process.

For those wanting anal intercourse, the first way to get "comfortable" is to experiment with a butt plug, which come in a whole range of sizes. If the person is tense and/or new to all this, and uncomfortable, then obviously start with a small butt plug. They're a great way to begin, and should be inserted very gently and lubrication (Surgi-Lube Jelly, is one of the best) is a must! For easy cleanup the water soluble lubes are good; for prolonged insertion of an object or a penis or whatever, usually a greasy, oily lube (WET, I-D, or one of the many others available) is needed for long lasting lubrication. As popular as "Crisco" or butter/margarine (Did anyone see the movie, Last Tango in Paris?) are in many BDSM heavy fisting and anal sex play communities, they're not highly recommended as they may cause bacterial infections or allergic skin reactions from their food-based chemical composition. Stick with the lubes designed specifically for this!

Enemas for cleaning (or stimulation!)

Be aware that the rectum is not normally a storage area for feces; that's stored in the colon just above the rectum. When pressure builds up there's another sphincter leading into the rectum (at the top) that opens up, and then the feces start to descend thus creating the sensation to defecate. As we hold back the feces, by squeezing the pubo-rectal sling and sphincter muscles, sometimes this will leave traces of it in the rectum (even after the bowel movement), but it is not the storage area. However, before playing, fisting or even fucking, the ass should be "cleaned"! This obviously, reduces the chances of encountering fecal matter during a hot and heavy intimate scene!

Anal douching is a quick and relatively easy method, but cleans only the lower rectum area near the opening, using a small nozzled bulb reservoir for flushing the anus with warm water. Enemas clean the  rectum further up, by using the rubber enema-bag hot water bottles with the hose and nozzle on it, and just hang it up let gravity move the water. They offer a higher volume of water and better cleaning. If you just use warm water with a small amount of salt, it doesn't seem to upset the natural balance of bacteria nor does it irritate the lining. For more info on enemas, read the Enema Library Section.

Insertion Techniques

If there's going to be intercourse or insertion of objects or a hand or whatever, then we're getting into the rectum. The rectum is not a straight tube. It's not the same in everyone - obviously, everyone's a little different on everything - but generally it takes two major curves along its length. There's the descending colon, then there's that S-shaped sigmoid colon just up above the rectum, and then the anal opening. A muscle called the pubo-rectal sling anchors to the pubic bone on one side, goes around and wraps behind the back of the rectum, and comes back and anchors on the pubic bone in the front and the other side. It supports the rectum, and its other function is that it's responsible for the majority of our ability to hold back having a bowel movement even if we need to. It's not mainly the sphincters that do that job; it's mainly the job of the pubo-rectal sling, but the pubo-rectal sling can also become chronically tense.

As far as inserting an object or a penis into the rectum, if done so at a wrong angle it will run into the wall just before the first rectal curve, and you're going to get a lot of pain. Some people try anal sex experimentally without learning about it first; they'll identify the pain of trying to go through the constricted sphincters (and that's pretty excruciating), but some will say that after they learned how to relax the sphincters they still feel a pain deeper inside - and that's it. That's what it is in almost every case, and this problem is exaggerated when you have excess tension in that pubo-rectal sling.

For anal play in general just try this basic approach: awareness, breathing, touch, looking, gentle finger insertion, and self-exploration, is a wonderful process for those who are recovering or even trying to recover from anal medical problems or surgeries, start with gentle external massage in warm tubs of water.

An indirect effect of anal spasm that may have nothing to do with sex is anxiety. One of the things to keep in
mind is that anal muscle tension is very primitive. It operates on the survival level, very much part of the
fight-or-flight response.  A lot of people who have various anxiety disorders are keeping themselves on a hair-trigger where anything can set them off into anxiety, and are partly maintaining it by having their anuses chronically tied up. Combined with the other things you would do, this is a major adjunct to effective work with anxiety disorders.

Fisting and Fingering

 Fisting refers to the insertion of several fingers, sometimes the whole hand, and sometimes even the forearm as well, into the rectum. If it involves the forearm, then the fingers are making their way into the lower colon; they're going beyond the rectum. This activity has maintained a strong popularity. Of course it's a minority activity and I suspect always will be, because even most of us who are relaxed, still can't do the fisting thing and yet others just prefer not to try it at all. Yet a lot of people find that fisting is the most intense erotic experience they've ever experienced in their lives. They say it brings them an incredible sense of oneness with the person doing it to them, and that it's a form of meditation.

Fisting and postillioning (using the fingers for anal insertion) takes time, patience, slow methodical movements and plenty of lubrication. Many people feel they get into altered states of consciousness and just have incredible experiences, sometimes without any genital involvement whatsoever - intense orgasmic experiences.

Handballing is another term for fisting. These are the real fisting enthusiasts, who want to just get bigger and further. Again, fisting is a long term play practice... that takes time! Caution is advised for those new to trying it!!

Many people really enjoy fingering: either their own finger on the external anal opening, usually as part of
masturbation, or inserting the finger as part of masturbation. It also works well for couples and partners, as they
do it to each other, or one on one. Fingering also requires lube for ease of insertion and just like any anal play,  to prevent bacterial transmission from any remnant fecal matter, use latex gloves!

There's also oral-anal contact, which is popularly called "rimming" (referring to "around the rim" of the anal opening). The concern with anal-oral contact is not HIV, particularly. We're really concerned about parasites and Hepatitis A. This is a major route of transmission. The risk can be reduced rather drastically by washing the area, but a lot of people who like rimming like the natural smells of the area. They don't want it squeaky-soapy clean; that's a turn-off.  It's not recommended to do casually, certainly! However, rimming with those of whom you've known long enough to have some idea about their health situation. But, in reality, it's hard to know who's carrying parasites around, or Hepatitis A.  Using a dental or oral dam is the best alternative for safe rimming play!

Guys and Gals alike like...  let's face it! -we both have one!

There are many sources of pleasure when it comes to anal and rectal stimulation: an incredibly rich supply of nerve endings all around the anal opening! The rectum is a little bit like the inner part of the vagina, responding more to pressure and not quite as surface sensitive. In males you have the bulb of the penis terminating in the perineal area right next to the anus, and it is actually anchored to the same muscle that the external sphincter is anchored to. I think that guys often get a lot of indirect stimulation on the inner part of their penis; things are getting moved around. Women are talking more about just what the boundaries are of the whole clitoral body; it's much bigger than most of us think, and there's lots of indirect stimulation there, too.

Lots of guys love prostate massage and stimulation and say it intensifies their ejaculation; many love the feel of it and some don't.  Keep in mind that women who like anal stimulation are every bit as enthusiastic about it as men who like anal stimulation. The prostate may be a factor for men, as may that prostatic-like tissue in the G-spot zone for women.  Men can "tune into" their prostate by stimulating it with their longest finger, inserting it all the way, moving it toward the front of the body, and then gently rubbing. Especially if they do that during masturbation in the sustained plateau phase where they're highly aroused, the prostate is going to be enlarged and kind of hard and lumpy. You can feel it very easily, and then you can rub it to see if you like that feeling, whether it affects your ejaculation, or whatever.

Obviously with all anal play and anal experimentation, it's necessary to be safe-sex-conscious and to follow the safe, sane and consensual practices, so that it carries over in, during, and through the moments of highest passion. It's vital to your pleasure, health and life! Use condoms, dental dams and latex or poly gloves whenever exposing yourself or a partner to bodily fluids!

- Compiled and edited by Medical Toys with thanks to Dr. Jack A. Morin, author of "Anal Pleasure, Anal Health" for much of the information in this Library Section. Click here for "Dr. Morin's Basic Rules for Anal Sex"

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