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Week 54-What are the complications of anal sex?

September 4, 2009

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A few months back, one of our readers wanted to know how common anal sex was. Turns out 40% of men and 35% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 engage in heterosexual anal sex.   But to answer this week’s question, we will focus on the more risky aspects of engaging in anal sex.

What exactly are the complications associated with this sexual act?

It is easy to tear the tissue in the anal canal and rectum.  The lining of the anal canal is thin and has no natural lubrication.  Adding friction to the mix makes tearing possible. If there is enough force, the sphincter muscle can also tear. Go slowly and pay attention to how it feels. Stop when you feel it’s too uncomfortable.

 Spread of STIs and HIV.  Because the lining of the anus tears easily, it offers an easy path for bacteria and viruses to enter blood stream.  To avoid the spread of STIs and HIV, always use a condom.

The deeper you go, the more likely the tear.  The inner third of the rectum is less sensitive, meaning you could tear tissue and not even know it right away.  If you have prolonged pain after having anal sex, definitely go see your doctor.

Sex toys can be hard to retrieve.  Certain toys can be hard to reach after anal sex, and in some instances, need to be surgically removed. “Sorry, I can’t come into work today because I have to get a sex toy removed,” is NOT something you ever want to utter to your boss.  Make sure you’re using equipment specifically designed for anal sex.  You’ll want toys with flared ends which will prevent the toy from moving up into the rectum.

Beware of bacteria.  Bacteria from your anus can often negatively affect the healthy environment of your vagina.   If you choose to have both vaginal and anal sex, use a new condom when moving from one locale to the other.

The Bottom Line.  Anal sex always involves fecal matter, no matter what you do to prevent it.  Always wash well before and after anal sex .  Use a condom, use gloves.  Don’t let a little fecal matter affect your health.

 Tips

  • Take it slow
  •  Pay attention to how it’s feeling
  • Stop when and if you feel uncomfortable.
  • Have fun

Planned Parenthood of northern New England’s Education Department carefully selects all weekly questions. All questions are actual inquiries made to PPNNE by college-aged students.

Should you have a question you would like to see included, please send an email to goddess@ppnne.org

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