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Revealed: what women really think of anal sex

By Sarah Moses Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 01:00
Does anal sex hurt? Can it be blissful too? Nearly 2000 women share their experiences with anal intercourse.

Anal intercourse has a reputation for being just plain painful for women. The cliché is that guys are desperate for it, while women wince. But how much does it actually hurt? Why would women put up with anal if it’s such a pain? Is there anything a couple can do to make it less painful and more pleasurable for her?

There’s a lot of talk about anal sex these days, porn sites are awash with it, and studies show it’s becoming more common. Yet up until recently, researchers would have been hard-pressed to answer these questions about women’s real anal experiences. There just wasn’t a whole lot of information out there.

8 out of 10 tried anal

Enter a team of researchers from Croatia who figured it was time to change that. They found around 1,900 women aged 18 to 60 who were willing to share intimate info about their sex lives. Each woman filled in an online survey that included detailed questions about “anal sex or penis in the anus”. A smaller group of women who regularly had anal sex also described their experiences with pleasure and pain.

Almost 80 percent of the women had had anal sex at least once, though the researchers note that this number is likely higher than in the general population.

Pain then pleasure

So did it hurt? Well, yes. The first time hurt for most of the women, and 40 per cent stopped because of the pain or discomfort. For some, once was enough, and they never did it again. But about 70 per cent gave it another go and kept at it. And they said it definitely got better over time. The pain became less intense and didn’t last as long, they explained in the surveys. Still, just over 70 per cent of the women who had regular anal sex said they usually felt some degree of pain or discomfort.

So, why on earth don’t they just tell their partners to put their penises somewhere else, for goodness sake?

The thing is, there was more than just pain. They also felt pleasure. More than half of the women who continued to have anal sex said it was very arousing and pleasurable, and that this increased over time.

Dominance and intimacy

The researchers found that women who were able to orgasm during vaginal intercourse as well as those who masturbated regularly were more likely to enjoy anal sex.

But what makes it enjoyable for those women who regular get off on anal? The researchers turned to the group of women who wrote descriptions of their experiences for answers.

For some women, the pain they felt during anal sex was actually part of what made it pleasurable. Others linked the pain to being dominated, which turned them on, and some women said that trust in their partner and intimacy were wrapped up in what made it feel good.

On the other hand, some women experienced very little or no pain – or stopped if they did. For them, pain had nothing to do with the pleasure they felt during anal sex.

Want to try?

So if you and your partner are beginning to have anal sex – or are thinking of trying it – these women’s experiences could help. When it comes to minimizing pain, anal foreplay and lube or saliva are important. A number of women explained that being very aroused was the key to not feeling uncomfortable. Others said that keeping things slow and gradual really mattered.

Though anal sex is likely to hurt at first, the pain tends to go away with time, the women who continued to have it said. Feeling comfortable and relaxed with your partner, communicating, and learning which positions work best are essential.

Like anything to do with sex, rule number one is never pressure anyone into having anal sex, and never put up with it if you’re not into it. For more tips, check out our Anal sex: do’s and don’ts.

Source: A Mixed Methods Exploration of Women’s Experiences of Anal Intercourse: Meanings Related to Pain and Pleasure, Stulhofer and Ajdukovic (2012)

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