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Women and Anal Intercourse

Women and Anal IntercourseOver a third of women in the United States have had heterosexual anal intercourse, experts say. But what do they really think of it?

Researchers asked 20 women between the ages of 18 and 50 to tell them more about their experiences, which were reported in a Sexual Medicine study.  All of the women had had anal sex with a man during the previous three months.

Many participants acknowledged a stigma associated with anal sex, but the taboo nature didn’t stop them from exploring it. Many did so to please their partner; others said they enjoyed it themselves. Curiosity was another common motivation.

Some women said they had negative experiences, especially early on. Often, anal sex was painful and at times, the women did not consent to the activity.

Feeling in control of a sexual situation and trusting their partner were important for the women. “Regardless of duration or status of relationship, a feeling of trust and comfort with a particular partner generally facilitated a higher degree of control,” wrote the authors.

If you and your partner engage in anal sex, make sure you stay safe:

  • Both partners need to consent. Anal sex isn’t for everyone. Talk with your partner before proceeding.
  • Always use a lubricant. While the vagina naturally lubricates for penetration, the anus does not. Using a lubricant can make anal sex more comfortable and reduce the risk of skin tearing.
  • Always use a condom. Sexually transmitted infections can be passed during anal sex. Remember, a condom should be used for every sex act. If you've just had anal sex, use a new condom for any sex that follows, like oral or vaginal sex.
  • Stop if it’s painful. If anal sex hurts, tell your partner and stop immediately.


Sexual Medicine

Benson, Lyndsey S. MD, MS, et al.

“Perceptions of Anal Intercourse Among Heterosexual Women: A Pilot Qualitative Study”

(Full-text. Published online: March 1, 2019)


“Anal Sex Safety and Health Concerns”

(November 16, 2017)