Anal SexAnal sex is often confused with sodomy. In actuality, the two are quite distinct. Sodomy refers to a moral crime (engaging in "unnatural" sexual acts) and/or a legal crime (which may be variously defined but which usually consists of acts of anal and oral sex). The term anal sex, on the other hand, refers to a variety of sexual acts involving or focused on the anus.
While the unimaginative equate anal sex with a penis humping a rectum (rather than penetrating a vagina), anal sex also encompasses fingering and finger fucking the anus and rectum, anal fisting (yes, just what the name implies), rimming (oral sex for the anus), anal 69 (a rim job for two), anal penetration with dildos and other objects, the augmentation of conventional sexual intercourse with butt plugs or anal beads, and of course shoving bizarre objects (and live hamsters) up your asshole. Lastly, although somewhat in a class all by itself, there is poo fetishism.
For most people however, the poo is incidental and (reasonably) avoidable -- leaving practioners of the art to focus more on the varied and subtle sensations which accompany anal sex. The nature and quality of these sensations depends on how and where a partner is stimulated during anal sex, ranging from the warm, wet sensuality of a tender rim job, to the more intense and tingly pleasures of lubed fingers in the anus. Penetration by a large penis or dildo produces a sensation of pleasurable fullness, as well as such psychological sensations as being "possessed", "accepted" or -- alternatively -- violated, depending on the personal fantasies of the individual and the moment.
To penetrate someone anally is itself a novel field of exploration. The sensations of entering a clean yet slippery (lubed) rectum is remarkably similar to entering a clean yet slippery vagina -- warm, soft, and equipped with soft, erotically sensitive skin and firm, responsive muscle tissue. Some women and some bi/homosexual men find a special emotional thrill in being able to penetrate their male partner. In addition to the unconscious power issues of who is penetrated by whom, there is the sensual experience of being inside the beloved, of entering into his body -- in a place that is tender and vulnerable, soft.
Naturally, much anal sex play occurs in conjunction with genital sex play, expanding the range of sensation, physically as well as emotionally. The simple fact is that the anus, much maligned in various cultures, is rich with nerve endings and extremely capable of sensual stimulation. Hence, once people get interested in anal play, they often become eager to try a wide variety of dildos and other anal toys, in an array of textures, shapes, and sizes -- with and without vibration. In short, a whole new intriguing world of pleasure has opened for them.
And yet, many people who experiment with anal sex never uncover this rich potential. The situation is similar to a virgin girl who, experiencing discomfort after her first time or two of vaginal penetration, gives up on it entirely convinced it's not all it's cracked up to be. Unfortunately many "anal virgins" are introduced to anal play by someone as inexperienced as they themselves are, some equally ignorant of the important elements of successful anal sex.
The crucial elements for for pleasurable anal sex: a relaxed atmosphere, patience, and plenty of lubrication. Lubrication is necessary because, unlike the vagina, or even the mouth, the anus does not sufficiently self-lubricate. And natural lubricants, from the mouth of vagina, are not sufficient either. And while some old timers may swear by the long lasting quality of Crisco (the shortening used in baking), the most often recommended lube are those made specifically for anal sex (such as "Embrace"). Such lubes are thicker and won't harm condoms or dental dams and can be easily rinsed off when sex play is done.
Patience is necessary primarily because the anus tends to reflexively clench up when first invaded -- all the more so with newbies. Shoving a large penis directly into the rectum will result in pain, discomfort at best. It's necessary to start with plenty of lube and to begin small. Start with slowly inserting a single finger. Work up to two fingers, later three. Never increse the size (or amount) used to dialate the rectum until what you're currently using has become completely comfortable and your partner indicates that he or she is ready for more. (The person being penetrated must be in charge -- at least during these initial experiments.)
Finally, when both partners are ready, a penis or large dildo may be inserted. (Note that slim dildos are sold specifically for anal pleasuring.) No matter what one is inserting in the rectum, it should always be inserted slowly. Insert about an inch, then stop, wait. The muscles of the rectum will inevitably clench up for a minute or two, then release. Once they have relaxed, begin slowly inserting again. Allow your partner to guide you. Be prepared to "pull out" immediately if so asked.
All this patience and clear communication -- not to mention the possibility of having to stop suddenly and completely -- make it absolutely essential to experiment in a relaxed atmosphere. Playfulness does not arise from resentment and coercion (and neither does mutual pleasure).
Naturally even with all three of the critical ingredients listed above, many people will never enjoy (or even try) anal sex. Pre-existant ideas of sin, "dirtiness" (moral or actual), and various other inhibitions stop many people from giving it a try. Little can be done about objections that arise from a moral or religious perspective, but it might be useful to consider some of the hygienically oriented objections.
Because of it's intimate association with poo, anal sex is often considered icky and undesirable -- something dirty and stinky that only very twisted people would be into. And of course there is simply no denying the fact that poo does pass through our rectums. But of course pee passes out our penises and vulvas and very few of us have sworn off all sexual activity because of the icky association between our genitals and pissing. The urge to pee rises, the pee exits, we wipe or flick (or what have you), and we go on with life -- and sex.
And so it is with anal sex as well. And yet many people have the impression that the anus is the gateway to poop. That is, insert ones finger through the anus and, it is assumed, one will be knuckle deep in the brown stuff. Not necessarily so. This is simply because the anus opens into the rectum, not into the intestines proper. The rectum is merely the route feces take as they pass from the intestines and out the anus. Assuming one is consuming a healthy diet with plenty of fiber and fluids, there should not be any significant fecal material left in the rectum after a recent bowel movement.
But even if one is not plunging deep into the doodoo, there remains the concern about harmful disease. And certainly feces can contain harmful bacteria and viruses. But then again, so can your mucus and saliva, and few people place these in the same category of "unclean substance" as they do poop. Sexual fluids too can carry disease (such as HIV), and even our freshly scrubbed innocent looking skin can carry harmful contagion (STDs such as Herpes and HPV are transmitted via skin, often with no visible signs of infection.) Still while skin and saliva and (to a lesser extent) sexual fluids are warmly embraced as part of mainstream sexuality, anything that comes out of the rectum is still treated with horrified suspicion.
Naturally, one should not be putting poop where it doesn't belong -- or more to the point, where the bacteria within it could find a nice place to take hold and grow. Hence fingers, penises, dildos or anything else that have recently been in the rectum or otherwise in contact with feces should never be inserted into the vagina.
With all this said however it must also be admitted that poop stinks, in most people's estimation at least. And while some people may actually get off on the smell (getting turned on by the added nastiness), most people seem to prefer a cleanly washed arse (well voided as discussed above). Most if not all of the unplesant odor can be eliminated in this way. But of course, bowels are always somewhat on the move, so occassionally, as a result of deep penetration, some fecal matter may be encountered. Wearing a condom or using medical gloves can prevent actual skin to fecal contact and may make you and your partner feel far more comfortable should this scenario occur.
Some individuals take anal hygiene to extreme depths however, using an enema prior to engaging in anal play. Although it's entirely a personal decision, the use of enemas prior to sex play (within 24 hours or so) can actually make anal sex less enjoyable. The enema can cause mild irritation which becomes more severe during penetration, especially as the enema removes natural coatings (other than poop) which protect the lining of the rectum.
With all this worrying about odor and fecal contact, the fact remains that it is perfectly possible to enjoy and explore anal sex without significant contact with (or scent of) the poop. Armed with a bottle of anal lube and a towel or disposable wipes (just in case), one fearlessly forge ahead into new realms of exploration -- or at least as fearlessly as one should embark on any sexual encounter.
As with any form of sex involving a partner (and anal sex can certainly be experienced solo), it is wise to find out about your partners sexual history and overall health. Know what you are getting into, before you get into.