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What Are the Long-Term Effects of Anal Sex? 

Dear Athena,

I’ll cut right to the chase. My husband and I really enjoy anal sex. I need a lot of foreplay, and it always kind of hurts at first, but once we get going, it feels really good and makes me climax. I have two questions for you, though. The first is, why does this feel good and give me orgasms? I don’t get the anatomy of this. It seems to me there is nothing in there that should feel this good. Secondly, what are the long-term effects of anal sex? My husband would have it all the time if I let him, but I try to keep it to once a month due to the fact that it takes a lot of time to warm me up and sometimes I’m just not into the initial pain involved. I’m also afraid that, if we do it too frequently, the long-term effects could be negative. Please shed some light on this subject for me. I’ve been way too shy to ask my doctor about this.


Masturbating on the Mind

Dear Apprehensive,

First question first: How is it possible to orgasm from anal sex? This anatomy lesson is brought to you from and my own gynecologist.

(Side note: I think you should really try to open up to your doctor. He or she is a professional health care provider whose job is to reserve judgment and remain confidential. It’s paramount to your long-term health and safety that you express any concerns directly to your doc.)

OK. Back to the lesson. Orgasms are made possible by hypersensitive nerve endings, which, when stimulated, send impulses to the brain and spinal cord, resulting in those delightful climaxes you know and love. Your genitals contain several different nerves, which is why you feel different sensations when you’re stimulated in different places.

When it comes to anal sex, you’ve got several feel-good nerves working for you, including the pelvic nerve running to the rectum and the pudendal nerve to the muscles surrounding the anus. So your orgasms back there are perfectly — and anatomically — normal. Mystery solved.

As for negative effects: Fecal incontinence (loss of bowel control) is the most common concern, but you’d have to engage in daily, rough anal sex to experience significant weakening in that area.

However, studies show that if you or your partner has been exposed to any high-risk strains of HPV, it can increase your chances for anal cancer. HPV is extremely common, while anal cancer is quite uncommon. Get tested, just to be safe. Have a frank chat with your gynecologist, and he or she will be able to address your fears. And if anal sex hurts, consider more foreplay and definitely more lube. Your husband may be so excited about the coming attractions that he’s speeding through the previews. Ask him to go slow — really slow — especially upon entering. But there’s no reason to deny yourselves the pleasures of the back door. Being able to orgasm in different ways is an anatomical perk. Enjoy it.



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