Anal Sex

*Click here for Anal Sex Charts and Stats

Anal Sex Q & A’s from Published Books

  • For a monogamous couple, are there any rules for making anal sex safe? (click here)

Anal sex can be defined as: “Sexual activity involving penetration of the anus”;1 “Anal sex is any kind of sex which involves a person’s anus or rectum (their butt). That can be oral sex, manual sex, or it can also be anal intercourse, with either a penis or a sex toy”finger or other objects.

Anal sex does have health and safety risks that those who practice it must be aware of. Condoms or gloves will help protect against infections and diseases like HIV (see Topics Barriers & STDs and STD).

In 2017/2018, 38.1% of men and 35.1% of women 15-49 years of age have had anal sex with an opposite-sex partner, according to the CDC; a 2023 list shows that 40% have tried anal sex ; a 2023 list shows 47% of heterosexual men and 38.5% of heterosexual women aged 18-44 say they have had anal sex; a 2023 list shows that over three-quarters (77.6%) of women have had at least one bad anal sex experience.

Anal sex is considered controversial if not illegal in many cultures and is even prohibited by some religions, in part because of its association with homosexuality. By contrast, other people regard anal sex as a natural and fulfilling form of sexual activity.

For those thinking about trying anal sex, it’s important to understand the pros and cons associated with this type of sex.

The sourced articles below should provide more information on anal sex.

      1. Footnotes: 1., accessed on 4/27/2018; 2. “Oral sex, manual sex, anal sex…what’s it all mean, jellybean?”, accessed on 4/27/2018
    1. Is It Safe to Have Anal Sex?

      “Key takeaways:

      – Anal sex is generally safe, especially when you use condoms and lubricant.
      – Anal sex can increase your risk for sexually transmitted infections, especially HIV.
      – Certain types of anal sex may increase the risk of anal leakage in men who have sex with men — though more research is needed to say for sure.”

      Sarah Gupta, MD; Reviewed by Katie E. Golden, MD,, 5/5/2022

    2. Can I Get HIV From Anal Sex?

      “You can get HIV if you have anal sex with someone who has HIV without using protection (like condoms or medicine to treat or prevent HIV).

      – Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV.
      – Being the receptive partner (bottom) is riskier than being the insertive partner (top).
      – The bottom’s risk is higher because the rectum’s lining is thin and may allow HIV to enter the body during anal sex.
      – The top is also at risk. HIV can enter the body through the opening at the tip of the penis (urethra); the foreskin if the penis isn’t circumcised; or small cuts, scratches, or open sores anywhere on the penis.”

      CDC resource,, updated 3/4/2022

    3. 5 Negative Side Effects Of Anal Sex

      “Research by the National Survey of Family Growth, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2019, found that 32.6% of women had had anal sex with an opposite-sex partner … For those who love anal sex, are apprehensive about it, or are just plain curious, here are five possible negative side effects to having anal sex. … 1. It Can Create Tears In Your Butthole … 2. Anal Sex Carries The Highest Risk Of STIs … 3. Anal Sex Is Linked To Anal Cancer … 4. Infections, Generally, Are More Prevalent With Anal Sex … 5. There’s The Potential For A Sh*tty Situation …”

      Amanda Chatel and JR Thorpe,, 6/11/2021

    4. 4 Ways You Can (And Can’t) Get Pregnant

      “Anal sex. Many women have very short perineums (skin between rectum and vagina), so if you are practicing anal sex simply to avoid pregnancy that’s not the best idea. If semen ends up on the perineum, a particularly good swimmer could swim up through the vagina and find themselves an egg. While I’m not aware of any studies that have looked at this, it is theoretically possible to get pregnant from anal sex.”

      Heather Rupe, DO (board-certified OB/GYN),, 7/21/2020; (Broken link removed 4/2024)

    5. Is Bleeding Normal After Anal Sex?

      “‘Blood from the anus after anal sex may occur,’ Thomas P. Sokol, M.D., a colorectal surgeon at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, tells SELF. This is due to the basic anatomy of the anus and rectum. (Once you insert something past your anus, it makes itself at home in your rectum, the final portion of your large intestine.) … If you only see a few small splotches of bright red blood and you aren’t in a ton of pain or discomfort, you may be dealing with something like a small tear or hemorrhoid, Dr. Sokol says. … But if the bleeding and pain persist for even a couple of days, you should definitely see a doctor for evaluation. That could indicate a more severe issue.”

      Sophie Saint Thomas,, 2/23/2019

    6. Why Anal Sex Is Pleasurable For Some People — But Not Everyone

      “When it comes to actually enjoying anal sex, there seem to be a few components at play: someone’s body and anatomical structure, plus their emotions surrounding the act, says Patti Britton, PhD, MPH, a clinical sexologist in Los Angeles. Together, these factors determine whether or not people like anal sex. But, of course, everyone is different.”

      Cory Stieg,, 1/4/2019

    7. Anal Sex: What You Need to Know

      “When it comes to lube, silicone-based lubes are easier for anal sex, as they are slippier and tend to stay on longer. The problem? Some silicone lubes corrode latex due to a high oil content, which can cause condoms to break. Google the silicone lube you’re considering using before trying it with condoms. Likewise, stay clear of all oil-based lubes, as these too can damage the integrity of a latex condom. When in doubt, go for a water-based, unscented, unflavored lubricant if you’re unsure about the lube you’re using.”

      Gigi Engle,, 5/16/2018

    8. Anal Sex Safety: Everything You Need To Know

      “Anal sex is a bit of a taboo subject, despite the fact that it’s an increasingly popular sexual activity. As more couples explore this type of sex, understanding the risks, rewards, and proper strategy is important.”

      Kimberly Holland, Medically reviewed by Alana Biggers, MD,, 1/10/2018

    9. A Big Mistake People Make When Having Anal Sex

      “But there’s one major anal mistake that can put your health at risk, and ob/gyns want you to avoid it so you don’t have to make an emergency appointment with them because of your very angry vagina. Basically, you shouldn’t ever switch from anal to vaginal sex without using a new condom.”

      Zahra Barnes,, 8/20/2016

    10. 9 Things You Need To Know About Anal Sex

      “Here, sex experts share what you need to know if you’re interested in trying out anal sex. …
      [1.] It shouldn’t hurt. … Skip experimenting if you have hemorrhoids or are having digestive issues, and use plenty of lube.
      [2.] It won’t ‘stretch you out.’ …
      [3.] It may cause an orgasm. …
      [4.] Start slowly. …
      [5.] It’s all about communication. …
      [6.] Skip an enema. …
      [7.] Use condoms. …
      [8.] Try a toy. …
      [9.] Aren’t into it? Don’t do it. …”

      Anna Davies,, 11/19/2015