The Myths of Anal

No, anal is not for everyone. But how do you know if you never try?

Does the thought of anal sex send you ducking for cover? Maybe it shouldn't.

Does the thought of anal sex send you ducking for cover? Maybe it shouldn't.

In a lot of ways, anal sex is like jogging. Some people swear by it, some people hate it, some people try it out a few times (and don't see what the big deal is) and a lot of people can't imagine why anyone would want to do it ever. For any reason. Ever.

Like jogging, anal sex can hurt if you don't do it right, but it shouldn't hurt at all. Like jogging, the more you practice anal sex, the better you'll get at it — and the more pleasure you'll derive from it. And, the truth is, like jogging, anal sex is ultimately not for everyone. Some people just aren't into it. And that's okay. But how do you know if you don't try? The misconceptions that swirl around anal are probably keeping many people on the side lines who could be enjoying a nice run in the park.

In a piece for Cosmopolitan, clinical sexologist Dr. Kat Van Kirk looks at ten of the biggest misconceptions surrounding the tender passage. The issue of pain understandably takes the top spot:

THE MYTH: It will hurt.

THE TRUTH: Anal sex doesn't have to hurt. It's often just done incorrectly. Many [people] find it incredibly pleasurable, and some even report having orgasms… If you and your partner start slow, work your way into insertion with smaller implements like fingers and sex toys and use plenty of lube, pain will be the last thing on your mind.

Dr. Kirk also advices against expecting anal sex to save a soured sex life (it's good, but it's not that good!):

THE MYTH: Having anal sex will save your sex life.

THE TRUTH: Yes, I have actually heard this in my office more than once. It usually has to do with a couple that has more than once sexual issue, especially a female who might be inhibited about her sexuality and it is getting in the way of her sex life with her partner. Some men behold anal sex as the holy grail and if they can just get their wives and girlfriends to partake then the floodgates (so to speak) about sex would open in general. Those other issues need to be worked out ahead of time and then if and when she feels open to the experience should they approach the subject. If she is just doing it out of fear of losing her relationship, she probably won't enjoy it anyway.

Read the full piece "The 10 Biggest Misconceptions About Anal Sex" by Anna Breslaw on