Some people find anal sex fun and enjoyable, but there are some risks you should know about
1. Heightened risk of HIV and other bugs
Whether you’re performing anal sex with a man or a woman, your risk of picking up HIV through anal sex is significantly higher than through vaginal sex. The delicate lining of the anus is easily damaged so infection can cross over into the blood stream. This risk also extends to other nasties including chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhoea, herpes, and genital warts. If you contract HPV (the human papillomavirus), which is pretty common and can’t be tested for in men, you may be at heightened risk of anal cancer.
On top of all of this, bacteria passed during anal sex can cause highly uncomfortable urinary tract infections among both men and women.
All of this does sound fairly grim. But if you and your partner get regular sexual health checks, always use a condom and plenty of lube during anal (no matter your status) many of these risks can be reduced.
2. Lube, lube, and more lube
Image credit: Liz Clayman
As the anus doesn’t self-lube like the vagina, friction is higher, and condoms are more likely to tear. While a lot of people prefer to use extra strong condoms, the vital thing is that you use a sufficient amount of lubricant. A water or silicon-based lube (not oil-based) will make your ride smoother and decrease the risk of your condom tearing.
If you’re sharing sex toys, make sure you cover them with a condom and lube too!
3. Ever heard of a dental dam?
And a final thought for the oral variety of anal sex. Use a dental dam if performing oral-anal sex to prevent STI transmission.
4. Anal is not an alternative to contraception!
No matter what you heard on the playground, anal sex is not an air-tight form of contraception. The anus is situated close to vagina, so if you’re not using a condom semen can still come into contact with the vagina and result in pregnancy.
For more sexual health info, check out our blog.