Alexandra Fine, Credentialed Sexologist, M. Psych | Written by Dame
“Hey! Not there!”
It’s quite possible that you’ve heard – or uttered - those three words during sex play with a new partner.
Even many who fancy themselves as “open-minded” often draw the line at backdoor activity. They may think anal penetration is dangerous, they may think it’s “dirty,” they may have been brought up or socialized to believe that it’s wrong – or they may just be fearful of something new and mysterious.
What they’re really missing out on, though, isn’t just “new and mysterious” – it’s positively orgasmic.
Anal orgasms are real, they’re far different than the climaxes that vulva-havers enjoy via clitoral stimulation, and can be even more powerful than g-spot orgasms. Most penis-havers who’ve stimulated their prostate to orgasm will tell you the experience is far more intense than oral sex, a hand job leading to ejaculation, or sexual intercourse.
There are two reasons. First, the anus and anal canal are loaded with highly-sensitive nerves, actually making them an often-unexplored erogenous zone. The second reason involves anatomical structure. In vulva owners, the clitoris is really an external and internal organ which extends well into the body, often reaching all the way to the anus. In penis owners, the very-sensitive prostate sits adjacent to the anus, and when stimulated can provide distinct sexual pleasure all on its own.
So anal play can lead to very strong climaxes, sometimes isolated and sometimes as “blended orgasms” experienced in several different genital areas simultaneously.
Is your interest piqued? Let’s learn more.
Anal Play Isn’t as Uncommon as You Might Think
For some people, the “back way” is forbidden territory. But for many others the question isn’t whether to try anal sex – it’s how to take it all the way to orgasm.
That’s because statistics show anal play is already more common than you might think. In a recent research survey, 35% of penis owners and 30% of vulva owners reported having had “heterosexual anal intercourse” during the past year. When asked about whether they’d ever experienced anal sex during their lifetime the numbers were even higher, at 44% and 36% respectively. Similar numbers were reported by the 2011 National Health Statistics Report, which focused solely on those aged 25-44.
Fewer authoritative numbers are available on the number of other types of anal activity, such as those who perform solo stimulation and those who engage in anal activity with same-gendered partners.
Research articles regularly focus on the risk of HIV among “homosexual men” who have anal sex. The study cited most often was conducted by the San Francisco-based Stop AIDS Project back in 1997, which found that more than 61% of “homosexual men” reported anal sexual activity, an increase from approximately 57% just three years earlier.
Other estimates vary considerably, all the way up to the 90% cited in one article published in 2013. And a related survey showed that nearly half of those identifying as gay or bisexual men reported having using vibrators; the obvious conclusion is that most used a vibe for anal stimulation.
As for those with vulvas, there’s almost no data on same-gender anal play. The only somewhat-related numbers are cited in the 2013 National Health Statistics Report mentioned earlier, which found that 48% of “homosexual or bisexual women” had had anal sex with an “opposite sex partner.” There are no statistics breaking out on their experiences with “same sex” partners; those are simply lumped into other categories, even though a number of vulva owners clearly use anal sex toys, vibrators or strap-on dildos to enjoy anal pleasure with other vulva-havers.
Of course, anal play can also refer to foreplay. Activities like rimming (oral stimulation of the anus), fingering, or wearing a butt plug to heighten the experience of “front door sex” can be enjoyable and exciting. In some penis-havers, it can even lead to a prostate orgasm.
The key question asked by most of those who’ve already experimented with internal or external stimulation of the anus, though, concerns anal orgasms. More specifically, they want to know how to have one.
We’ll get there shortly. But to understand how to have an anal orgasm, it’s important to understand how and why they occur.
What Causes an Anal Orgasm?
Like other climaxes, anal orgasms are caused by effective stimulation of the body’s erogenous zones.
You probably know that the stimulation involves the prostate gland in those with penises. You probably never realized, however, that anal climaxes in vulva-havers depend largely on the clitoris.
Let’s take them one at a time.
Anal Orgasms in Vulva Owners
The clitoris is really an external and internal organ. What most people think of as the clitoris is more accurately known as the glans clitoris, the only external portion. And the “legs” of the clitoris often extend all the way to the anus, an area which is also chock-full of nerve endings. The most important of those nerves is called the pudendal nerve – which connects directly to the perineum (the area between the vulva and anus), labia and clitoris.
So anal play actually does several things at the same time. It excites all of the nerve endings inside of the anus, it creates pleasurable sensations throughout the clitoris, and it stimulates the entire genital area via the pudendal nerve. Many sex experts believe that all vulva-havers’ orgasms actually occur in the clitoris, so it would make sense that even anal orgasms occur there, too.
There’s more going on. The spot on the vaginal wall where the g-spot is located isn’t far away from the wall of the anus; the same holds true for the a-spot (the anterior fornix erogenous zone) which is a few inches deeper, but also quite close to the anus. In some, anal sex is able to indirectly stimulate both of those extremely sensitive areas known to produce powerful orgasms.
Also in the same vicinity are the pubococcygeus muscles (also known as the PC muscles or the pelvic floor muscles) They help regulate urine flow, but they’re also some of the key muscles that expand and contract while you approach and reach climax. Strong PC muscles (they can be strengthened by performing Kegel exercises) can also produce stronger orgasms whether they’re clitoral, vaginal or anal.
That’s a lot of activity – and it does a lot to explain why many vulva owners say anal climaxes are the most powerful and enjoyable they’ve ever experienced.
Anal Orgasms in Penis Owners
This explanation is more straightforward.
Penis-havers become more and more aware of their prostate gland as they grow older, because it often grows in size and creates urinary difficulties, due to a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia. Prostate cancer is also quite common among older people who have the organ.
However, the prostate serves an important function in sexual wellness. It secrets seminal fluid, which is what mixes with sperm to create penis-havers’ ejaculate. For that reason it’s located near the genital area, and most importantly for the purposes of this discussion, it’s very sensitive to stimulation. (Fun fact: those with vulvas have glands very similar to the prostate; they’re called Skene’s glands, believed to produce some of the fluid produced during “female ejaculation” or “squirting.”)
Anyway, back to penis owners. The prostate is sometimes called the “male g-spot” but is more accurately described as the “p-spot,” and it can be stimulated to produce quick and strong prostate orgasms. Because the gland is located right under the bladder it is accessed most easily through the rectum, but can be indirectly stimulated by massaging the perineum by those who don’t want to try back door play.
Since there are so many nerves running to and from the prostate, it’s sensitive enough to produce an orgasm even without play anywhere else in the genital area. That stimulation is often referred to as “prostate milking” because it can create an ejaculation all on its own.
What Does An Anal Orgasm Feel Like?
The first time (or perhaps the first few times) you experience anal penetration with a penis, a sex toy or even a finger, it may feel quite uncomfortable. That feeling can be partially caused by nerves or anxiety, but it’s often a very “real” feeling of discomfort as well. The anal passage is narrow and doesn’t expand as easily or quickly as vaginal tissue, since the strong muscles of the anal sphincter take time to relax and the anus doesn’t naturally produce its own lubrication.
For vulva-havers, an anal orgasm can feel like the most intense, strongest full-body orgasm ever, with waves of continual pleasure. Remember, the clitoris and often the g-spot are being stimulated in addition to the nerve endings in the anus, so the pleasure can be extraordinary. Some describe it as similar to a blended orgasm (one combining clitoral and g-spot orgasms) – taken to the next level – but smoother, without a single moment of ecstasy.
Prostate-havers can expect intense contractions felt deeply in the genital region and then spreading throughout the body as their anal climax begins. It starts quickly (because the area is rarely stimulated, so it’s quite sensitive) and can actually last for quite some time. While penis owners are unlikely to have multiple orgasms from intercourse or masturbation, it’s quite common for them to have several anal orgasms in a row. Many who’ve experienced a prostate orgasm describe the feeling as more overwhelming and more satisfying, by far, than a penile orgasm.
Sounds good? Let’s get to the “how to.”
How to Have an Anal Orgasm
To achieve an anal orgasm, you (or a partner) are going to have to “go there.” If you have hesitations about backdoor play, whether it’s because of hygiene concerns (yes, it can get messy), safety concerns (we’ll discuss this in more detail shortly) or long-standing taboos, you won’t have the right mental attitude to enjoy the activity and reach climax. Before getting started make sure you’re ready, and if a partner is involved, be sure that they have legitimate interest in trying anal sex as well.
Important: always take your time, and always use lube. Lots of it. Some companies even sell lube specially designed for anal use; even though that may seem like a sales gimmick, remember that the anus doesn’t create its own lubrication like the vagina does, so extra-slippery lube – and a lot more than you’re accustomed to using for vaginal penetration – can be your friend if an anal orgasm is your goal.
Start small, too. Before trying penetration with a penis, a strap-on dildo or an anal massager, try using a finger to explore. In fact, you don’t have to start on the inside. Running a finger or a tongue (the latter is called rimming) around the outside can help relax the muscles while building excitement. There are lots of nerve endings just outside, and just inside, the anal opening. They’ll appreciate the attention.
Once you’re ready for penetrative sex you don’t have to go big, either. Fingers and tongues are good, as are butt plugs or anal beads, for anal exploration which can accomplish four things.
First, you’ll get more comfortable with the sensation of anal penetration. Just as importantly, you can start to discover which regions of the anus are most sensitive and most pleasurable. Third, just as with any type of sexual play, stimulating anal erogenous zones will help get the juices flowing (figuratively and not literally, since the anus doesn’t self-lubricate). Finally, fingers are long enough to reach the sweet spot adjacent to the g-spot, if you get lucky enough to find it.
Remember that not all butts are the same; like vulvas and penises they respond differently to different types of stimulation. Exploration and discovery can be half the fun, as you work your way toward achieving an anal climax.
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Sex experts say that it may be easier to reach anal orgasm if you have your “normal” type of orgasm first. In other words, a climax reached by clitoral stimulation, vaginal stimulation (or both) will relax all of your muscles, including the anal ones, and increase the pleasure you’re able to experience from behind.
Discovering the “magic spot” that will work best for an anal orgasm can take some time in vulva owners. The most likely area to produce a climax is a few inches into the anus, adjacent to the G-spot or the A-spot where the vaginal and anal walls meet. One good way to navigate is to aim toward the belly button – and to be patient. Vary the depth and pressure of penetration, the type of movement, and over time you’ll lock in on what’s best for you. If you’re still not quite there, a vibrating massager can work wonders.
Some sex positions are more conducive than others if you’re playing with a partner; once again, experimentation is the key. The best choices are often face-down, doggy-style or riding on top because they make it easiest for a partner to aim the right way.
The latter two have the added advantage of allowing for clitoral or vaginal stimulation (or play with other erogenous zones) at the same time. As you might expect, the only thing that feels better than an anal orgasm is a blended orgasm that includes an anal climax.
The P-spot is located about two-to-four inches inside the anus, and can be reached with the fingers (remember the lube!). Explore for the particularly sensitive area which often feels round and hard, almost like a marble. If you need some general direction, the prostate can usually be found by aiming for the base of the penis. Curve the index finger in a “come here” motion and massage the area firmly – it shouldn’t take long to reach pay dirt (pardon the pun).
- Be comfortable and make sure your partner is, too. We’ve already mentioned this, but can’t stress it enough. It’s true that having a discussion about anal sex and orgasms with a partner may be a bit awkward at first, but it beats outright rejection – or worse.
- We can’t stress this one enough either: lube, lube and more lube. You’ll thank us later.
- Empty your bowels and make sure you’re clean before getting down to business. Some people douche ahead of time, but it doesn’t really help unless you know how to do it properly.
- If you or a partner are still anxious about cleanliness, try anal sex in the shower or bath. It feels cleaner and warm water can relax the muscles. Just be aware that the water will also wash away some of the lube, so have plenty more on hand.
- Using sterile gloves for penetration can also help ease concerns about cleanliness. Condoms (for penises or toys) are also an excellent idea – some would say a required precaution – for penetration.
- Erogenous zone play can have just as big an effect on anal orgasms as it often does with other types – it may put you over the top when you’re close but not quite there. Just think of anal sex as “sex” and not “anal,” and knowing when to provide additional stimulation may come naturally.
- Don’t get too rough; it’s uncommon, but anal tissues can tear
- Always remember the most important rule: never go directly from anal contact to any other type of contact without fully washing the fingers, toys or penis carefully with soap and water. So-called double-dipping can easily cause nasty infections, STD transmission, and worse.
- And always remember the second-most important rule: relax. Achieving an anal orgasm isn’t a challenge, or an achievement to check off a bucket list. It’s a fun and enjoyable way to enjoy sexual stimulation and contact – and most likely, the best orgasm you’ve ever had.