Oral-anal contact, also called analingus or rimming, can be very pleasurable to people of all genders. The entire butt, from the cheeks to the crack to the anus itself, is one big erogenous zone for many folks. Kissing, licking, sucking and otherwise working this sensitive area with the lips and tongue can feel great and be very arousing.
While some of you reading this column are nodding your heads in agreement, others are reflexively saying, "Ewww!" We've been taught our whole lives that our butts are dirty, smelly and a possible source of disease. With that view, of course we might be a little shy about putting our mouths there. In reality, with good regular hygiene, the external opening to and just inside of the anal canal are pretty clean. Poop does not tend to hang out there; it hangs out in the colon until you are ready to have a bowel movement, when it moves from the colon into the rectum and then out the anal canal. If you or your partner wash the anus regularly with very mild soapy water (possibly even swirling a soapy finger gently just inside the anal opening), you can reasonably set aside any fear of feces. For some people, the taboo of doing something "dirty" or forbidden is part of what makes rimming so much fun.
As with other kinds of sexual activity, there is a risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) through oral-anal contact, and if you do come in contact with feces, there is a risk of gastrointestinal illness as well. To minimize this, you can use a latex, plastic or polyurethane barrier between your mouth and your partner's anus. (And if you're the squeamish type, using a barrier can also get rid of any lingering negative feelings you might have about oral-anal contact.) Dental dams are rectangles of latex or polyurethane that are designed to prevent the spread of STIs during analingus or cunnilingus. To use, put some lube on the side of the dam that will be against your partner's butt (to increase sensation for her) and hold the dam in place with your hands while you stimulate her with your mouth and tongue. You can use flavored lube on the side of the dam that you're licking, if you like. If you don't have dental dams or don't want to purchase them, you can also use plastic wrap or cut an unlubricated condom open lengthwise to achieve the same effect.
Analingus can be a fun time in itself, a great addition to oral sex, or a wonderful warm-up to other anal play. If you or your partner are interested in exploring anal sex and are looking for a good place to start, oral-anal stimulation is a gentle, pain-free way to begin.
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Laura Anne Stuart has a master’s degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side.