Pedagogy of the Undressed: Come on in! Entering through the back door

Pedagogy of the Undressed

Welcome to another edition of Pedagogy of the Undressed! I got some questions from folks, and I am super excited to talk about anal play this week.

“Can you write more about back-door activities in general? I want to learn more about the back door but I don’t know where to go for it. I was reminded of this because of what you said about fisting — it’s both desirable and intimidating. For me, any back-door activity is also like that, which I think also happens because I am not as informed about back doors as other body parts.”

Anal play can be super fun and feel AHMAZING with the right folks, the right timing, and the right sensations. There are many ways to enter the back door, and today we’re gonna go a little deeper into ways to step into the world of anal safely, hotly, and enjoyably.

So what’s up there?

A lot of us have not been given the quick and dirty about what lies beyond a beautiful set of butt cheeks. And for some of us, it’s hard to go down a road you’ve never been down without a map.

Basically, what we’re working with is two sets of sphincter muscles and a cavity, your anus. Whenever you cum/orgasm, or hold it in when you have to go to the bathroom, you clench your Pubococcygeus muscles (PC muscles). Your asshole is the first set of sphincter muscles, the one you have control of. The second set is a little further up (2-4 inches, but every body is different), and you do not have control over this sphincter.

Yes, chances are if you haven’t had an anal douche or enema (I’ll talk more about those in a second) there may be a little shit left in the cavity, but you’re not rolling up into the poop holding cell (rectum)–that’s further up–so folks who are a little poop shy can breathe a bit easier.

The deal with douching

A lot of people like to douche or have an enema before they play so they feel minty fresh. Douching is when you take warm water, sometimes mixed with other things like tea, coffee, or chemicals, and spray it into the anal cavity, whereas an enema goes further up into the rectum. butt1

If you are going to douche, I recommend doing it at most 2-3 times a month, and always with just warm water with nothing in it. You can get a re-usable douche kit from your local sex toy store, or a disposal kit from a pharmacy. Douching can actually clear out your own healthy bacteria, as well as impact the thin tissues that line your anus, which can increase your risk for getting an STI or cause other uncomfortable issues up there. And remember, everyone poops, and no one’s poo smells like roses or a summer’s eve.

If you do douche, remember to do it at least two hours before show time, because what goes up definitely has to come back down. And it’s probably better if it comes back down when you’re prepared for it and not trying to get it on with your favorite cutie. Unless you’re into that! 

Tips and tricks for first-time anal explorers

  • Talk about it. As always, good communication makes for good sex, so have a conversation about what you want, how you want to go about it, and what your limits are. Check in about playing safe(r) and make sure to let folks know how you like it or want to try it, if you haven’t before.
  • Start with the asshole. You gotta knock before you go barging through the door! You can use your fingers to gently caress with lube on them, or a tongue and a dental dam with lube, or a vibrator you like. Lick, stroke, and vibrate your cutie before you get ready for penetration.
  • Try cumming first. When you orgasm, your muscles relax and open up a bit more. Try getting off before your first attempt at penetration.
  • Take your time. Start slow, and make sure to gently enter, using one knuckle at a time, and communicating throughout to make sure the receiving cutie is enjoying themselves. Anal does not have to hurt. If something hurts, take a minute and move back from whatever you were doing.
  • Always use lubrication. The anus is not self-lubricating, and the tissues in your anus are very delicate. Using lube makes for a smoother ride and also decreases your chances of minuscule cuts and tears, which decreases your risk of getting an STI.
  • Use gloves/condoms. These are great for folks who are a little poop shy, and also make for a smoother and safer ride.
  • Make sure your toys have a base. If you’re playing with anal beads or plugs or dildos, make sure there is a handle/base that is wider than your asshole. The anal cavity doesn’t have a cap, and your butt can actually suck things up, and unfortunately they will not come back down themselves. I also recommend using silicone, glass, or metal toys as they are all non-porous materials, which means a cleaner, safer, and longer lasting toy. (They also feel FANTASTIC!)

Where can I learn more!?

Definitely check out your local feminist sex toy store and see what fun goodies and books they have for your anal adventure. If you’re interested in reading/watching/learning more about anal, check out the following resources.

Tristan Taormino is hailed as one of the leading experts in anal everything, and is a fantastic feminist porn director. She’s written lots of books and created educational porn around anal, which is a great place to start. Check her out at

The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Men by Bill Brent

Anal Pleasure and Health: A Guide for Men, Women and Couples by Jack Morin Ph.D.

The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure: Erotic Exploration for Men and Their Partners by Charlie Glickman, PhD & Aislinn Emirzian

The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Strap on Sex by Violet Blue

Thanks for the great question. Keep ‘em coming by emailing Next time, I will be delving into how to get into character for role playing adventures in (and outside of) the bedroom.

PreviouslyPedagogy of the Undressed: A how-to guide for feminist fisting

Illustrations by Alex Fukui

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