Despite the stigma that surrounds anal sex, it's one of the most inclusive forms of sexual exploration because any body can enjoy it. Though many people may consider anal sex to be strictly internal stimulation or penetration, anal play refers to a lot of different activities. Things like anal masturbation, licking, rimming, and massaging all fall into the realm of anal sex and are great options for beginners looking to explore.
It's important to note, however, that penetration, or internal sex, isn't what defines anal sex — or any sex at all, actually. Sex happens when pleasure happens, so if you feel nervous about internal anal stimulation, remember it's not the goal post of "real" sex, it's just one option of many.
But if you do decide to dabble into butt play, you may find that it leads to orgasm. An anal orgasm is what happens when you "experience a pleasurable release from stimulation of your anus," says sex educator and sexologist Nicoletta Heidegger. And yes, this orgasm could feel different than any other orgasm you've experienced.
"The geography of the anus makes it a highly pleasurable sex organ, since it contains a dense network of sensory nerves that participate with the genitals in the engorgement, muscular tension, and contractions of sexual arousal and orgasm," says one study on anal pleasure. In other words, anal sex feels good because of the network of nerve endings inside your anus and how anal stimulation interacts with the other sexual organs.
In people assigned female at birth (AFAB), the internal structure of the clitoris often reaches toward the anus, while for those assigned male at birth (AMAB), the prostate sits close to the anus and can be reached through the anal cavity.
Let's dive deeper into the details around how to have an anal orgasm, anal pleasure, and safety tips.
What Is an Anal Orgasm?
An anal orgasm happens during pleasurable anal stimulation. In some cases, anal orgasms occur when the "A-spot" is stimulated, which refers to the anterior fornix erogenous zone in AFAB people. As reported in a previous POPSUGAR article, "the A-spot is a pleasurable patch of sensitive tissue right at the inner ends of the vaginal tube between the cervix and the bladder." Clinical sexologist and founder of B-Vibe anal-sex products Alicia Sinclair previously told POPSUGAR it's also known as the female degenerated prostate both due to its location and because it can be stimulated similarly to the male prostate, also called the male G-spot.
More often than not, however, an anal orgasm is part of what's called a "blended orgasm," in which two pleasure centers are stimulated at the same time. For some, this looks like vaginal stimulation mixed with anal stimulation, or anal stimulation mixed with penile stimulation, or even nipple stimulation mixed with anal stimulation. Just keep in mind that "blended orgasm" is an umbrella term, so there's no hard-and-fast rules as to what "counts."
What Does an Anal Orgasm Feel Like?
Like any orgasm, anal orgasms feel very pleasurable. But the exact sensation depends on the individual person, as all bodies are different. More important than focusing on the orgasm, though, is inviting in pleasure, strong communication skills, safe sex precautions, and a judgement-free exploration.
"Everybody is different and every body is different. Some folks have sensitive A-spots, and others don't and prefer stimulation in other ways on other places," says Heidegger. "I prefer to encourage folks to focus on pleasure, not orgasm. If it feels good, does it matter if it is an orgasm, or can you just be in the pleasure?"
Remember, the point of sex is pleasure, not "achieving" anything — including orgasm.
How to Have an Anal Orgasm
If you are trying anal play for the first time, Heidegger recommends educating yourself first. You can take a class from sex and pleasure educator Luna Matatas, listen to B-Vibe's anal-specific podcast "The Plug," or invest in the book "Sex & Anal Orgasm For Couples" and read more about anal orgasms.
Once you feel properly educated, before diving into any partnered play or penetration, you should try anal masturbation. When you feel ready, "use hands and fingers first with lots of lube before inserting other larger things. Take your time and try different positions to see what feels good for your body," says Heidegger.
If you'd like to stimulate your A-spot, know that the exact location depends on your body, so it may take some exploration. As Sinclair previously told POPSUGAR, you can reach the A-spot by placing your fingers inside your vagina. "Curve your fingers into a bit of a hook, and reach in about an inch, inch and a half inside the vagina." Then, push up "as if you were pointing toward your belly button." Once you feel something spongy — yes, this is the G-spot — push back about two more inches and you'll find the A-spot. Keep in mind this is deep pleasure, so if it feels slightly uncomfortable or like too much pressure, you may be in the right location. However, it's OK to stop if the pressure feels like too much.
You can also indirectly reach the A-spot via the anus. "The vaginal wall and rectum are only separated by a thin layer of tissue. So, when some people have anal sex (or anal play), the toy or penis pushes against the rectal wall, activating the A-spot," sex educator Gigi Engle told Cosmopolitan.
Once you're in the right area, you can experiment with a few different techniques:
- "Come hither" motion. Curl your finger in the "come here" motion, pressing into your A-spot with the pad of your finger.
- Gentle pressure. Try pressing your fingers on the A-spot with varying pressure. You may also try circular or patterned motions while experimenting with pressure.
- Consider a toy. If you're having issues with your fingers or looking for solo play, you may want to try a vibrator or dildo for consistent pressure and stimulation.
The Best Anal Orgasm Sex Positions
Sitting up. Try sitting on your knees or finding a comfortable crouching position. For solo play, you can reach your anus with your hands or insert a toy. With a partner, have them sit behind you and play with your butt with their fingers or a toy. Your partner can use their other hand to reach around and touch your penis, clit, nipples, or inner thighs for a blended orgasm.
On your stomach. This position works best with a partner. While you're on your stomach lying down, place a pillow under your hips to raise them slightly. Then, your partner can access your butt with ease while you relax. You can also modify this position into a doggy position as well.
On your side. Lying on your side is a great position because your body isn't engaged, meaning you can focus on relaxing. Tuck your knees into your chest and get comfortable. Then, you can reach around and access your anus (a toy is probably most realistic here, rather than your fingers) or your partner can spoon you as they insert a butt plug, use a strap-on, or use their hands. If you're into rimming (oral sex on the anus), your partner can lie next to you with their head near your ass.
Anal Orgasm Tips
As with any kind of sexual contact, anal sex does carry a risk of passing on STIs. If you are sexually active — and especially if you have multiple sex partners — you should get regularly tested for STIs. Knowing your status is just the first step. You also have a responsibility to disclose your STI status (even if you are negative) before any sexual contact and discuss safe-sex measures, the risks and benefits of fluid swapping with anyone, and the best course of action if accidental or unwanted contact happens.
Secondly, to make butt play safer and more enjoyable, wash your hands before anal sex. You'll also want to pay close attention to how long your nails are. To reduce the risk of discomfort, make sure your nails are clean and keep them short and filed so there are no sharp or pointed corners.
You should also never move from the anus to another part of the body without properly cleaning your hands with soap and warm water. For example, if you move from anal play to the vulva or the mouth, you risk exposing them to bacteria, says Heidegger. For ease of switching between different areas, wear a condom or a disposable glove on your hand so you can easily remove the barrier and dispose of it before moving to a different area of the body.
Finally, for any and all anal play, you need to use lubricant. The anus is not self-lubricating, so lube is absolutely nonnegotiable. If you're using barrier methods — like a condom, a dental dam, or a glove — use a compatible lubricant like water-based or silicone-based lube (the silicone kind is thicker and lasts longer). In general, you should avoid anything oil-based during butt play because it's not safe to use with barrier methods. Also, while it might seem tempting, never use a numbing lubricant for anal sex, because it will prevent you from noticing discomfort (and therefore knowing your limit). For a guide to lubricant, check out POPSUGAR's full explainer here.
Heidegger also recommends taking anal play very slowly and emphasizes training and relaxation. "Stay curious, and don't be too prideful to take some classes!" she says. "The more you prepare and the more aroused and relaxed you are, the better it can be."