To celebrate our new Normal x Abbie Chatfield modular butt plug collab, Option A, we’re talking everything anal. Explore Option A and all our guides to anal right here!
Anal can be an exciting, intimate, sexy, and multifaceted act— it's so much more than hard and fast penetration (although yes - that can be really hot!) We find that many are curious about anal but they don't know where to start. Abbie said she relates to this too;
“I remember the first time I was curious about trying anal,” says Abbie Chatfield. “I was a little bit overwhelmed, and like all of us I didn’t get any real anal sex-positive information when I was growing up.”
Abbie’s experience is one shared by many who might have a curiosity about anal, but no idea where to start. So if you’re keen to explore anal for the first time, or if you just want some new ways to play, we have six tried-and-true ways to enjoy anal minus the penetration.
The popular term can feel a little misleading, because really there’s nothing dirty or wrong about sex, but it’s the best way to describe what we’re suggesting here: getting into the mood by talking with your partner about how you’d like to explore each other’s butts! (This can also feel like foreplay friends) If you’re both feeling comfortable and confident expressing yourselves, touch on the topic of anal and see where your fantasies take you. (We suggest returning to the topic when you’ve both ‘cooled down’ and you’re not turned on anymore to have a more clearheaded talk about what you’d like to explore in the future!)
We sometimes suggest this as a solo activity, but it can be great for couples as well! Using body oil or lotion, give yourself or your partner a sensual rub. You could start at the feet and work your way up, towards the thighs and bum cheeks, experimenting with pressure and grip to see what kind of touch feels good. Caress, jiggle, and squeeze the bum and find out what you enjoy.
“There are two categories of anal play: external and internal,” says NORMAL's in-house sex educator Georgia Grace.
“It doesn’t always involve penetration: there are many different ways to have pleasurable experiences, or give your partner a pleasurable experience.”
Using your fingers and some lube, gently stimulate your or your partner’s anus by rubbing, tapping, or circling it. Georgia suggests a few different types of touches: ‘The Doorbell’, or pressing on the anus with the flat of your thumb; ‘Mapping’, or touching the external area around the anus to explore sensation; ‘Circles’, massaging the rim of the anus in a circular motion; and ‘The Spider’—cupping the butt with your hands and tickling the anus using your fingers like a spider’s legs.
Although these can all be used as precursors to penetration, anal play definitely doesn’t have to go in that direction—sometimes simply stimulating the ‘outside’ of the anus can be just as hot!
If you have a favourite vibe, experiment with using it on and around your partner’s (or your own!) anus, butt, and erogenous zones. You could start at the thighs, trace the vibe around their bum cheeks, and then experiment with stimulating the anus directly, always staying conscious of their comfort levels and what they’re telling you about how they feel. If you’re both enjoying it, you could quickly clean off the vibe before using it on their genitals or nipples.
Rimming is essentially oral sex for the anus, and it can be seriously hot and intimate. Using your lips and tongue, stimulate your partner’s cheeks and hole. Experiment with different kinds of stimulation: a kiss here, a lick there, a gentle nibble elsewhere. Stay conscious of your own comfort level, as well as that of your partner: if neither of you are comfortable with direct mouth-to-anus contact, avoid that area and focus on some other erogenous zones.
If you love the idea of feeling close down there but penetration isn’t on the menu, experiment with grinding: one partner presses their genitals against the other’s bum, and you rub or ‘grind’ together to see what feels good. This can be a seriously hot element of foreplay! If you haven’t had the ‘STI talk’ yet or you want to avoid pregnancy, we recommend using some form of contraception or keeping your clothes on for this, to avoid bodily fluids being transferred. (And hey—leaving clothes on makes it kind of hotter in a way, right?)