Anal anatomy: why does it feel so damn good?

Anal anatomy: why does it feel so damn good?

Jan 20, 2024Team NORMAL

To celebrate our new Normal x Abbie Chatfield modular butt plug collab, Option A, we’re talking everything anal. Explore Option A and all of our guides to anal right here


Anal can be many things: solo or partnered sex, external or internal touch, licking, fingering, massaging, using toys, fast or slow... The wide variety of things that you can do ‘down there’ means that anal play can be explored, and enjoyed, by almost everyone.


But have you ever stopped to wonder why exactly anal can feel so good? We understand why genitals can feel so good - but why is the anus so orgasmic?


We’re going to do a deep-dive into anal anatomy and find out why, exactly, this often-unexplored and under-appreciated part of the body can make us feel so good.



Let’s take a quick look at anal anatomy.


The vast majority of people have an anus. The anus has two tight, ring-like muscles that keep it closed: the external and internal sphincter.


Beyond those muscles is the rectum and the colon. The main function of the anus is to work as part of our digestive system, but in the context of anal play all of this anatomy is important to understand because it helps us understand how the anus works, and why it can feel pleasurable to touch.


The first thing that’s important to know is that the anus is packed with nerve endings.


While every body is different, it’s estimated that there are thousands of nerve endings in the anus—so this part of the body is already set up to be hyper-sensitive.


“There is an important nerve, the pudendal nerve, that runs through your perineum—the area between your anus and your genitals—and branches out into other parts of your body, such as your genitals, pelvic floor muscles, and your anus,” explains NORMAL sex coach, Georgia Grace.

“This complex nerve network makes your perineum sensitive to stimulation—so sometimes when you’re experiencing anal stimulation, you feel it in your genitals as well.”


What all of this means is that the anus is, basically, designed to have the potential to feel really pleasurable when touched and stimulated. In fact, it’s even possible to have an orgasm solely from anal sex.


“I think it’s important that we understand what’s actually going on, anatomy-wise, when we have anal orgasms,” says Abbie Chatfield. “So an anal orgasm can be experienced by touching massaging, penetrating, or licking the anus—you can get as creative as you want, really.”


There are two main parts of the body that play a role in anal orgasms, and that’s the prostate and the perineal sponge.


In bodies with penises, the prostate helps play a role in semen production—but it can also feel really good when stimulated.


It can be accessed by pressing on the perineum, or by inserting a finger an inch or so into the anus and feeling around for a solid mass roughly the size of an almond.


In bodies with vulvas, the perineal sponge can also feel really good when touched.


This part of your body has an internal network of erectile tissue that, when stimulated, can create intense sensations of pleasure in the vagina and the clitoris as well.


But just because something can feel good doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to, right?


There’s a lot more to pleasure than simply touching the right bits—here are a few things that we think can make a big difference to how you experience anal, and how pleasurable you find it.


  • The mood/vibe. If you’re stressed, worried, tired, or have an upset stomach, venturing into anal play probably isn’t going to be that fantastic. But if you’re having a night in with yourself or your partner, feeling comfy, horny, and curious about your body, anal play might start to feel a bit more exciting.


  • Foreplay. Anal can be a big part of foreplay, but if you’re experimenting with it for the first time or trying something new, you’ll probably need other foreplay—like, foreplay before the foreplay. Exploring other erogenous zones and even having an orgasm before anal play can make a big difference to how you experience it.


  • The element of taboo. We don’t like to think of any sex act or body part as ‘taboo’, although we can’t deny that broader society often sees anal play as taboo. This can contribute to unfair stigma against anal play and the people who enjoy it…but it can also sometimes make anal feel like something that’s extra sexy because of that taboo factor. Interesting, right? However you perceive anal, there’s no denying that that perception can influence how you enjoy it.




Will anal feel good for absolutely everyone?


Just like all others types of sex - some people will love it, others won't and that's ok! Some people simply may not enjoy anal play, and if you’re one of those people we’re not about to tell you that you have to keep trying until you like it.


If you’re curious about anal play and want to explore it, great—but if you’ve done the exploration and realised it just isn’t your thing, go you for trying something new. At the end of the day you’re the only one who can make the right decision for you. 


If you’re keen on becoming a bit more familiar with anal play, though, you’ve come to the right place. Check out Option A, our new modular butt plug


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