Is Anal Sex Dangerous?

There is A Lot of Misinformation About Anal Sex

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The Real Deal

A lot of people worry that anal sex is dangerous or painful or will damage the anus. Here's what you need to know!

When done correctly, anal sex is not "dangerous." Though you might have heard horror stories about people who can't control their bowels after anal sex and end up in adult diapers, this is a myth.

Still like oral sex and vaginal sex, there are some risks associated with anal sex that you need to know about.

Discomfort and Pain

Like vaginal sex, anal sex can hurt if there isn't enough lubrication. Unlike the vagina, however, the anus doesn't produce enough natural lubrication to go lube free. So it is crucial to use an artificial product like KY-Jelly or Astroglide during anal. Additionally, the skin of the anus is thin and can be injured if there is too much friction. This can cause pain and even bleeding. So use lube, go slow and stop if anything feel uncomfortable.

About Those Adult Diapers

Despite a lot of people's fears, having anal sex will not lead to an enlarged or loose sphincter or anus or a loss of bowel control. Some people actually believe that regular anal sex actually gives people better bowel control. According to author Tristan Taormino this can occur because, "In order to take something inside your rectum, you have to learn how to relax your sphincter muscles. The more you practice controlling these muscles, the more you are exercising and toning them (just like any other muscle). You are not stretching out or loosening the sphincter muscles, you are simply relaxing them to allow penetration."

STDs & Safe Sex

Unprotected anal sex can put both partners at risk for a sexually transmitted disease. If you choose to have anal sex, it is really important to use a condom and artificial lubrication. Condoms offer excellent protection from infections like HIV that are transmitted through body fluids. They offer good protection from infections like HPV and herpes which can be passed through skin to skin contact. However, it is important to realize that those infections can be passed even if a condom is used as condoms may not cover the infected skin.


Barebacking refers to unprotected anal sex between men. There are a few reasons that people may have unprotected anal sex.

  • They may think it feels better.
  • It promotes intimacy.
  • It is more spontaneous.
  • It can be safe if both partners are infection free.

However, barebacking is really risky unless people are sure of their STD status and completely trust that their partners have been tested and are not having sex with anyone else.

Anal Sex Endnotes

Anal sex is perfectly normal, but there are a lot of negative associations with this sex practice. Some of these have to do with homophobia and the association of anal sex with gay men. Some have to do with our culture's discomfort with the anus. Some have to do with the assumption that anal sex hurts.

As with any sex act, with anal sex it is important to make sure that you are physically and emotionally comfortable and feel capeable of protecting yourself from STDs by using condoms. Following those basic tips will help make anal a safe and enjoyable experience.