Anal sex has a reputation for being something men are super into but that women don’t enjoy. But, what if you’re different? What if you like the idea of bringing your back door into the mix and would love to give it a try? How can you be sure it’s something that’s truly for you, and where should you start once you do decide you’re ready?

Your anal area is packed with sensitive nerve endings that can add a lot to a play session when stimulated, but there’s definitely an art to getting backdoor play just right. Here’s a look at what any anal-curious pleasure seeker should know before deciding they’re all in, so to speak.

What to Know Before You Start

Even when you love the idea of backdoor play, it’s normal not to know exactly what to expect when you’re brand new to it. There are enough horror stories out there to give anyone pause, but you should know that they’re not the norm. Anal play may not be for everyone, but nothing about it is supposed to be unpleasant in any way. Here are a few facts to consider.

Anal sex is not going to stretch you out.

If you’re not used to them, the sensations involved in anal play – up to and including anal sex – can feel strange and unusual. Some of them can make you feel stretched or filled but know that anal play doesn’t “stretch you out” in any way. Your anal opening is strong, elastic, and resilient. It’s made to stretch to accommodate even a large bowel movement before bouncing right back, so trust that it can accommodate a finger, a toy, or a penis to the same degree.

It’s not supposed to hurt.

Anal sex only hurts or is uncomfortable if forced or otherwise approached incorrectly. It’s not supposed to be painful in any way, shape, or form. Make sure you’re fully aroused and comfortable before attempting anal play or backdoor sex. Also, use plenty of lube – preferably an ultra-thick formula designed with anal sex in mind.

Anal Sex can result in an orgasm.

Everyone’s different, so don’t sweat it if it never happens for you, but anal orgasms have been known to happen. This is an extremely nerve-rich area we’re talking about, so it’s definitely possible. Anal stimulation can also make the clitoral orgasms you may be more used to feel stronger and deeper.

How to Ensure a Pleasurable Experience

So, now that you know what to expect from your first experiences with anal play, it’s time to consider how to get started. It’s important to know that you don’t have to be interested in full-on, penetrative anal sex to benefit from backdoor play. Lots of people like it, but others prefer milder external stimulation or some combination of the two. Play it by ear, and keep the following tips in mind.

How clean do you need to be?

Some people do like to go the extra mile and give themselves a full enema to ensure they’re clean as a whistle before anal play, but this isn’t necessary. Some people may even find enemas irritate their intestines and sensitive skin. Do make sure you’ve had a bowel movement recently, and wash up a bit with some soap and water beforehand. Beyond that, it’s up to you.

Experiment on your own first.

Although it’s okay if you and your partner want to explore anal play together, many people find engaging in a little self-experimentation ahead of time to be useful. Try exploring the area with your fingers or a small anal-safe toy to start with. The Pyra is an excellent anal toy to start with. Experiment with both external and internal stimulation, so you get a feel for what you like. Use what you learn to communicate your way through an experience with a partner later if you decide to go that route.

Talk things through.

Whenever you’re looking to put something new on the table as far as your sexual repertoire with a partner, it’s essential to talk it out thoroughly first. Ensure they’re as excited about the idea as you are and that you’re on the same page about what to try. If you’re new to anal play, having a safe word is something to consider. It’s the best way to make sure both parties are 100 percent comfortable with everything that’s happening from beginning to end.

Once you’ve explored the possibilities your back door has to offer, take a moment to decide how you feel about it (and how your partner feels if they were involved.) You’re allowed to decide it’s not for you. You’re allowed to decide you like it, but not as something to do all the time. You’re also allowed to decide it’s totally your jam and to want to explore it even further. Ultimately, you’re the boss of your own pleasure!