Everything you ever wanted to ask about anal hygiene and safer sex

Everything you ever wanted to ask about anal hygiene and safer sex

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!


When it comes to anal play, there are often two questions on everyone’s mind.


The first is, ‘Will it hurt?’ (we’ll discuss that shortly), and the second is, ‘How do I keep it clean?’.


The short answers: no, sex should never involve unwanted pain and like any type of sex there's some really simple and easy things you can do to keep if feeling clean, safe and fresh. 


Let's dig a bit deeper to give you all the info you need for really great anal sex. 



Q: Will anal play hurt?


A: It shouldn’t.


The myth that anal play, particularly anal penetration, is really painful and only feels good for the penetrating partner is a pervasive one, but it isn’t necessarily true. The anus is essentially made of stretchy, powerful muscles, it shouldn't hurt it should feel good!


When experimenting with any form of anal play or penetration, we recommend using a lot of lube. This will help prevent friction and chafing, and make it easier to insert whatever you like to play with—whether it’s a finger, a toy, or a penis. We also highly recommend starting by massaging or touching your anus while you masturbate and working up to something thicker and bigger if you feel comfortable. (Our modular buttplug kit, Option A, comes in two sizes so you can literally choose your own adventure!)


“Bigger isn’t always better,” says Abbie Chatfield. “I mean—okay, sometimes it is, but it is important to start small and build your way up, especially when you’re trying something new.”


It’s also really important to take things slowly, and listen to your body. Decide what kind of sensations and feelings you’re comfortable with, and never feel like you have to push through pain or discomfort just to keep a partner happy. If something hurts or feels uncomfortable, stop and decide for yourself if you’d like to try again another time.



Q: Will it be messy? 


A: Feeling clean and prepped is simple


 “prepping for anal sex is simple. Just like prepping for any other type of sex, it can be as simple as having a shower or using a wet wipe!” says NORMAL sex coach, Georgia Grace. 


“Some people opt for the lifestyle approach and prefer to eat a high-fibre diet before anal sex, and make sure they go to the bathroom to empty their bowels around thirty minutes before they plan to have anal sex.


“Some people may choose to wash externally, others may use their finger and clean externally and internally as well. Some may even use an enema or a douche an hour or two beforehand for a ‘deeper clean’.”


All of that having been said, poo is not stored in the part of the anus that the average person is exploring during anal play. It’s much further up in the colon. And while, yes, poo might appear at some point during your anal play adventures, we hope that the partner you’ve chosen to explore this act with is mature, sensitive, and caring enough to normalise it and understand that your body is just doing what bodies do. If they don’t appreciate that, they probably don’t deserve to enjoy anal with you anyway!



Q: Can I get STIs from anal?


A: Yes.


Like most other sex acts, it is possible to contract STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) from anal penetration and anal play. There are a couple of ways that this can happen:


  • Through penetration
  • Through rimming, kissing, or licking
  • Through encountering body fluids, such as semen (cum) or blood
  • Through sharing sex toys: if two or more people are sharing toys without properly washing them afterwards or using a condom on them, STIs can remain on the toy and be passed between people



…and if you use a toy for anal play and don’t properly clean it before and afterwards, it can be possible to contract a bacterial infection from the bacteria on the toy, even if you’re the only one using it. This isn’t necessarily an STI, but it’s still important to know!


When experimenting with anal play, we recommend using a condom or glove over anything that may be used for penetrating, such as a finger, toy, or penis. We also recommend using a dental dam for rimming. And even if you’re playing solo, it’s important to thoroughly clean your hands and any toys you may be using to avoid introducing bacteria and germs into your anus.



Q: Can I use a toy in my anus and then use it in my vagina without washing it?


A: Never.


It’s important to know that the anus is filled with bacteria—the good kind!—so anything you put in the anus should not be put anywhere else on your body until it’s clean.


Using a toy in the anus and then in the vagina, or using a penis or finger in the anus and then putting it in the vagina or mouth, can transfer that bacteria into a part of the body where it shouldn’t be, and that can cause a bacterial infection. 


No matter how excited you’re feeling in the moment, it’s really important to take a minute or two after anal play to clean any toys or body parts that have been in the anus before putting them anywhere else.



Q: Can any toy be used for anal play?


A: Absolutely not.


Using toys for anal play can be fun, sexy, and exciting, but you should only ever insert toys that have a flared base, ring pull, or some kind of ‘anchor’ to prevent them from going completely into the anus.


Unlike the vagina, which comes to a natural end at the cervix, the anus connects to the rectum and colon which in turn connects to the small intestine—there is no barrier to prevent a toy from going further inside you and getting lost. Anything you put inside your anus should have a base on it that prevents it from going completely inside you, so keep an eye out for those all-important flared bases!

If a toy does end up completely inside you, it’s really important that you seek medical help immediately. Trying to push or pull it out could cause damage to your insides, so speak to a doctor as soon as you can.


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