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What Men Should Know

Anal Sex

Anal sex is common among both men and women. For many people the anus and surrounding
 areas are very sensitive and sexually arousing. Some people can experience orgasm from anal penetration.

The anus may be stimulated or penetrated with a finger, penis, tongue or sex toy. However, since the anus does not lubricate itself when stimulated (like a vagina does) any form of anal penetration requires lubrication. Never insert an object with sharp edges or jagged points into the anus which could cause small cuts or tears. Rather use commercially available toys such as a dildo. Importantly, make sure that any toys you use for anal penetration have a ‘base’ or a ‘foot’ to prevent the toy slipping in too deep and making withdrawl difficult. Start small. Never try to insert an object that causes discomfort or pain. Never insert any glass object into your anus. Wash all sex toys thoroughly with dishwashing liquid and warm water.


Most people associate the anus with excretion. However, your rectum
 is generally free of faeces; your body does quite a good job of cleaning itself. If you are concerned about being clean, gently finger yourself (with a well lubricated finger) to make sure that you are clean so that you can relax and enjoy receptive anal sex.

Some guys prefer to prepare for anal play by douching (rinsing out your rectum with water). This requires you to squirt a small amount of water into the rectum; hold it for a few minutes and release. Repeat this action until your rectum is clean. Do not be tempted to use a large quantity of water as this could wash down feaces from higher up in your digestive system.

Always use luke warm clean water. Do not be tempted to add any substance such as soap, salt or vinegar. The lining of your rectum is very delicate and sensitive and is easily irritated by any chemical. Whether you douche or not, it is vital that you shower or bath before anal play to ensure that the general area is clean of bacteria.


Lubricant (also called lube) is a smooth and slippery jelly or liquid that is used to make anal sex more comfortable and enjoyable. If used correctly it also makes anal sex less risky.

Why Do I Need Lube?

Lube is needed for anal sex because, unlike a vagina, the anus is dry. Lube makes the anus smooth and slippery, like a vagina, so that a penis can enter it more comfortably. Dry anal sex can be painful and can damage the soft lining of the rectum, which will increase the risk of transmitting HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). By making the sex smoother, lube also helps ensure that the condom doesn’t break.

There are many reasons to use lubricant for anal sex, but if you use the wrong lubricant the condom will be likely to break.

How Do I Use Lube?

Condoms and lubricant should be freely available when you have sex; you shouldn’t have to look for them when you need them. If you’re going out, keep a few condoms and sachets of lube in your pocket.

Before anal sex gently rub some lube into the opening of the anus. Make sure there is plenty of lube on and just inside the anus. Once the condom has been rolled down over the erect penis apply lube to the outside of the condom. Now you’re ready to enjoy anal sex!

If the sex carries on for a long time, or if the sex is feeling a bit dry, stop and apply more lube to the outside of the condom; this will also give you a chance to make sure that the condom is still intact.

Bad Lube

Regular male condoms (that fit over your penis) are made from latex. Any oil will damage (weaken) latex and make the condom likely to break. The following substances all contain oil and cannot be used with a condom:

Some guys use saliva (spit) as lube but this is not ideal because it isn’t slippery enough and dries out too quickly. Never use semen (cum) or precum as lube because these can spread HIV and STIs.

  • Vaseline
  • body lotion
  • hand cream or lotion
  • baby oil
  • cooking oil
  • butter
  • margarine
  • aqueous cream
  • hair lotion

Good Lube

You should only use a lubricant that won’t damage the condom. Water-based lubricants are all fine to use with condoms. When you take a condom out of the wrapper it is already covered with water-based lube (even if this feels like oil, it is made with water).

You can buy water-based lube (such as KY) at some chemists. If you can’t afford to buy lube you can use raw egg white (not the yolk) or plain low-fat yoghurt with condoms. Health4Men distributes free packets of water-based lube.

Silicon lube is expensive but it can be used with latex condoms. It cannot be used with sex toys that are also made from silicon.


The receptive (bottom) is at most risk of HIV infection during bareback (condomless) sex. Condoms and water-based lubricant remain your best defence against HIV and STIs. Explore various condom brands to find one that works for you. If you can afford to, shop around and try different brands and sizes. Find out whether textured condoms live up to their marketing hype and play with coloured or flavoured condoms.

Unlike male condoms that cover the penis, female condoms are designed to be inserted in a woman’s vigina. Many gay men are having fun with female condoms by using them for anal sex.

So how do you use a female condom for anal sex? Check the condom’s expiry date and remove it from the packaging. Engage in the usual foreplay and ensure that the bottom’s anus is well lubricated.

You may want to remove the loose inner plastic ring from the female condom (the ring that holds the condom in place inside the vagina). When you’re ready for penetration the top needs to lubricate his penis before placing the condom over his penis, as if it was a sock, and insert it slowly into the bottom’s anus with his penis. The fixed outer plastic ring will remain outside the bottom’s anus, preventing the condom from disappearing inside. The bottom’s body temperature, the lubricant and the stroking penis will soften and mould the condom to the rectal lining quite quickly.

Female condoms are ideal for extended periods of play without the top having to use a fresh male condom for every act of penetration; if he withdraws his penis, the female condom can remain in place.

If the top withdraws and re-enters the anus he must be mindful to penetrate the centre of the condom and not slide his penis in alongside it.

When the sex is over, the bottom simply twists the external plastic ring to trap the semen inside and gently pulls the condom out of his anus.