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Friday, Jan. 11, 2013

Is Frequent Anal Sex Unsafe?

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My boyfriend and I have anal sex frequently. We both are disease-free, and I let him ejaculate in my anus. I wanted to know: is that safe or will it cause any damage to my rectum?

Because anal sex is still often considered taboo in our society and thus not discussed openly, there are many misconceptions about it, one of the most common being that it is somehow inherently harmful. If it’s done safely and with care, anal sex will not cause any physical damage to the body.

It sounds like there might be two parts to your question: whether frequent anal sex cause harm, and whether having someone ejaculate inside the anus cause harm. Let’s answer the second part first. Ejaculate itself isn’t harmful, but it can transmit STIs, which has led to a lot of safer sex messages about using condoms during anal sex and not allowing someone to ejaculate inside you. This might cause some people to worry that ejaculate is bad, rather than the bacteria and viruses it can carry. Not so. If you are both disease-free, your boyfriend ejaculating inside your anus is not harmful.

In terms of physical safety, how frequently someone has anal sex is less important than how carefully they are doing it. It’s really important to use lots of lubricant (water-based or silicone are best). It’s also crucial to pay attention to your body’s signals – if something hurts, stop. Don’t force penetration. Let your partner know if you are feeling pain. While it’s true that the anal area has a lot of delicate tissue that can tear easily, if you’re using lube, communicating with your partner, and respecting your body’s limits, you should be fine.

There’s some interesting new research emerging about whether lubricant itself can cause damage to rectal tissue. I’ll talk about this more in next week’s column, but it appears that the safest bet is to use a 100% silicone lubricant or a water-based one with as few chemical ingredients as possible. Any lube is still better than none at all.

Laura Anne Stuart owns the
Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side. She has a master’s degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than fifteen years. Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.
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