Anal sex is one of the most taboo and controversial sex acts, for so many reasons: hygiene concerns, systemic homophobia, and health anxieties, just to name a few.
That said, a lot of the most widespread ideas about anal sex are actually misconceptions. Let's talk about some of the myths that are commonly believed about anal sex, and why they're just not true.
1. It's "gay"
While anal sex is most associated with gay men in many people's minds, that's a very limiting way to look at a sex act that actually almost anyone can participate in. After all, everyone has a butt!
There's obviously nothing wrong with being gay or bi, but many straight guys feel apprehensive about receiving anal penetration, even if they otherwise want to, due to the homophobic myths circulating about it. So here's the bottom line: enjoying anal play doesn't "mean anything" about you except that you enjoy anal play. Period.
If you ever have a partner who shames you for your interest in anal play, invoking homophobic stereotypes and assumptions, just know that that person has no idea what they are talking about, and is not the authority on your sexuality – you are.
2. It always hurts
Many people mistakenly believe that anal play being painful is simply par for the course – but that isn't the case. Anal should never hurt, and if it does, you need to return to the beginning of the warm-up process: more foreplay, more lube, more penetration with smaller objects like fingers, and so on.
Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong. It's like the "check engine" light coming on in your car – ignore it at your own peril. It's best if you can heed that signal, back off, and give your body the slower pace it's asking for.
3. It's gross
Well, of course, this depends on what you find gross... but if you're assuming that anal sex is always messy because of the location on the body in which it takes place, maybe it'll calm your nerves to know that that doesn't have to be the case.
Some people like to do an enema beforehand to clean themselves out; some people get by just fine on a high-fiber diet alone. Using a condom for anal sex is a good idea not only for protection from STIs but also for controlling mess, since the condom can be quickly removed and thrown out when sex is over.
4. It only feels good on people with prostates
Sure, having a prostate can make anal penetration feel amazing, since that sensitive spot has the potential to be stimulated on every thrust. But prostate-possessors don't have a monopoly on anal pleasure!
Whether or not you have a prostate, you still have plenty of sensitive nerve endings in and around your butthole. And some people with G-spots find that that spot gets massaged indirectly through the vaginal wall when they're being anally penetrated. So even if you don't have a prostate, you still have the potential to experience a lot of pleasure from anal sex.
5. It's automatically unsafe
It's true that unprotected anal sex carries a higher risk of STI transmission than unprotected sex of various other types. But, as is the case with sex in general, there are always steps you can take to reduce your level of risk.
Wearing a condom – or having your partner do so – is one of the best ways to protect against STIs. Be sure you pick one which fits correctly, to lower the chances of breakage or slippage. Keep it well-lubricated, and don't forget to pinch the reservoir tip while you're putting the condom on, so there will be enough room in the head of the condom to accommodate ejaculation if and when it occurs.
If you're able, it's safest to get tested for STIs regularly, and to stay aware of the STI status of your partner(s). This can help give you some peace of mind so you can relax and enjoy yourself more during the act.
What myths have you believed about anal sex in the past, and how did you learn they were false?