Sex & Relationships

Is Anal Sex for Women a Way to Increase Orgasms?

Anal sex is on the rise. Here are four tips to make it more pleasurable.

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Feeling good feels good. So good in fact, that we spend much of our lives figuring out ways to do so. Orgasms have typically served as a preferred vehicle to help get us there. But the road to pleasure can take many turns, and every now and again, you might just find yourself off the beaten path. For some folks, that’s a journey that begins and ends with the butt.

Anal sex is, of course, a tale as old as time. But the conversation surrounding it is fairly new. Some believe it’s an activity reserved for only certain pockets of the population. But reality continues to interrupt that notion. A 2011 study found that only 37% of gay men regularly engage in anal sex (kissing was the most commonly reported behavior). There are, on the other hand, roughly 125 million adult females living in the U.S. According to data taken from a 2010 national sex survey, 40 percent of those aged 20-24 have had anal sex. That’s adds up to an impressive amount of women who are (potentially) into butt stuff.

Some would say the ubiquity of internet porn has inspired us to engage in bedroom activities we wouldn’t otherwise entertain. Others would assert that anal sex has become bedroom standard, and the pressures to perform are more tangible than ever. Fortunately, there’s a happier possibility in the mix: orgasm. Out of the women surveyed, 65 percent had an orgasm the last time they had vaginal sex. Eighty-one percent of women who received oral sex in their last encounter reached orgasm. A whopping 94 percent who had anal sex during their last encounter were able to achieve orgasm. As Slate’s William Saletan noted, “Anal sex outscored cunnilingus.”

Of course, nothing is ever 100 percent. As Toronto-based sexologist Jess O' Reilly—aka the television personality Dr. Jess—told AlterNet in an email, “Not every sex act has to lead directly to orgasm. Anal play, for example, could be the prelude to another activity that eventually leads to orgasm.” But she did confirm that anal sex is becoming a more popular means by which women can achieve orgasm. “Women (and men) now understand that the penis-in-vagina model of sex isn’t necessarily the most pleasurable approach to sex. There is so much more territory to explore on the human body and there are multiple paths to pleasure and orgasm.”

We asked Dr. Jess to share some insights on how women can experience orgasmic anal sex. But first, a friendly disclaimer: No one should feel pressured to engage in any kind of sexual behavior they aren’t comfortable with. If anal sex isn’t your thing, then hey, stick with what you like. Those who are up for some anal exploration are encouraged to read on.

1. Know your butt.

“Analgasm” is a fun phrase to throw around, but it’s not so easy to define. Dr. Jess explains, “When you’re stimulating the genital region, it’s likely that you’re stimulating more than one area at a time.” Given the proximity of the anus to other orgasmic areas, like the G-spot, it makes sense that sometimes, they work as a team. “I’ve worked with many women who say that anal orgasms feel like G-spot orgasms… this may be because the vaginal walls can touch and it’s possible that you feel your swollen G-spot through the anus.” And it’s not just about what’s on the inside. As Dr. Jess notes, the anus is full of nerve endings that are highly responsive to touch. “Anal sex doesn’t have to be penetrative,” she says. “You might want to start with finger, tongue and toy play on the outsideto build trust, promote relaxation and heighten arousal.”

2. Test it out on your own.

Nobody knows your body better than you do. If you’re interested in teaching your partner how to give you mindblowing orgasms (and hopefully you are), you’re going to have to master the craft on your own first. “As a general rule, the best way to venture into unchartered sexual territory is to experiment on your own before bringing a partner into the equation,” Dr. Jess explains in her book, The New Sex Bible. “This is because solo sex helps to detract from performance pressure and when we’re alone we often allow our natural bodily responses to flow more freely. So if you’re curious about butt play, but don’t know where to start, begin by playing with your own bum first to get an idea of how it might feel with a partner."

3. Go slow and come prepared.

Going slow is, unsurprisingly, a necessary approach. “Anal sex should not be painful, so proceeding gradually in terms of speed, depth and the size of inserted object is of paramount importance,” writes Dr. Jess. “Take time to deepen your breathing and begin with a very small object like your pinky finger before increasing the size gradually. Sex is not a race to the finish line and incremental experimentation can lead to mind-blowing results.” Also, lube. As Dr. Jess points out, anal orgasms are much harder to come by when you’re feeling tense. And nothing inspires anxiety quite like the notion of unlubricated anal sex. Fortunately, there’s an easy remedy on the market, and you can find it in the aisles of your local drugstore.

4. Hit the clit

Researchers shows that up to 70% of women need direct clitoral stimulation to orgasm. Of course, it can be hard not to get swept up in the ins and outs of penetrative sex, but our bodies are complicated machines. When it comes to sex and pleasure, the more stimulation, the better. Dr. Jess reminds us, “There is no reason that you have to focus on one region at a time.” She explains, “The pudendal nerve which transmits information from the clitoris also supplies muscles around the vagina and anus, so stimulating the anus and clitoris simultaneously may increase your chances of orgasm.” And the only thing better than having an orgasm is having multiple orgasms. Dr. Jess suggests experiencing one before the butt stuff even begins. “Have an orgasm before you engage in anal play, she says. “Once you’re aroused and the feel-good chemicals skyrocket, your body becomes primed for relaxation and sexual pleasure.”

Carrie Weisman is a writer focusing on sex, relationships and culture.