This guide on anal foreplay was written by sex journalist and expert, Alexander Cheves, for The Cowgirl.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person in possession of a good butt must be in want of good butt play — especially before anal sex. The worst anal sex tops simply charge in with no thought for warming up the butt, and these tops tend to cause more pain than pleasure. If that’s your jam and your playmates consent to that kind of play, that’s fine, but you should convey that beforehand: a simple “I like to go rough” is needed before you start. Otherwise, you can seriously hurt someone.
I love a rough bang if I’m ready for one, but I love a long, drawn-out session even more. After some foreplay and warm-up, I can work myself up to going rougher than I can without it — and I imagine most bottoms would say the same. Anal foreplay is a necessary component of heavier ass play, like fisting and playing with big toys, so it’s a good idea to master a few anal foreplay techniques. Here are 15 ways to get a butt hungry.
1. Eat ass.
Analingus (also called ass eating, rimming, and so on) is the mother of all anal foreplays. Widely considered the favorite precursor to anal sex, rimming can be wildly pleasurable for the recipient (and for any butt-lover doing the rimming). A good rim job is one of my favorite parts of sex — I usually don’t want it to stop.
Like any sex act, consent and communication are key to making a rim job happen happily and comfortably for everyone involved. Only rim — or get rimmed — if you and your partner are mutually eager to do it and have talked about it. If everyone involved is enthusiastic and wants to give it a try, go slow. Go at a pace that suits you and your playmate.
Rimming always raises questions about health risks and hygiene. Before you get started, it’s a good idea to make sure your butt is clean. Usually, a shower is sufficient, but some folks wash a bit internally, which can involve anal douching. Rimming can transmit bacteria like E. coli and Shigella, viruses like hepatitis A, and various kinds of intestinal parasites, so there are some risks to it. These infections typically result in gastro-type upsets (tummy issues), but you can also get some classic sexually-transmitted infections too, like herpes and gonorrhea.
The most effective way to prevent these infections is with barriers like dental dams and cling wrap (plastic wrap), though my personal feeling is that these barriers eliminate the fun of rimming — I can’t imagine anything unsexier than wrapping plastic around a butt before going tongue diving. A clean, washed butt is enough for me to feel safe, both as a rimming top and bottom, and I choose to mitigate risk in all my sex activities by getting thorough STI testing once a month as well as regular GI health checkups.
So, how does one rim? The classic technique is licking either up and down or around and around in a circle. Some people argue that a clockwise direction is better, others say counter-clockwise. Some folks like to add sensations involving their teeth, stubble, and hair; some like to rub their noses and faces on the hole, rub their chins and jaw on it, blow air on it (and into it), spit on it, and other things. Most rimming recipients like some of these and not others, and everyone is different (I, for example, do not like the feeling of any teeth). Remember: the skin of the butt is delicate and hypersensitive, so imagine that everything you do down there is amplified because of where you’re doing it — the tiniest lick can be wildly pleasurable, and the tiniest uncomfortable sensation will be equally amplified.
Whatever you do, it’s important to regularly ask the rimming recipient what feels good to them and be attentive to their sounds, moans, body language, and facial expression for signs of pain or discomfort. When in doubt, remember that rimming is much like other forms of oral sex: it’s all about the tongue, and wiggling the tongue around is always a good move to fall back on.
2. Play with a thong, jockstrap, or some sexy lingerie.
Foreplay is about getting you in the mood. Nothing gets me in the mood like wearing something I feel sexy in — and showing off to playmates (and potential playmates) what they get if and when they play in my butt. I’m a cisgender guy who loves wearing naughty, lacy lingerie, but jockstraps and thongs also have their place in my arsenal. It’s great to wear something sexy to the bedroom (or wherever your hookup is happening). The process of slowly removing your underwear (or having someone else remove it) can itself be as intense foreplay as any other.
3. Get a butt massage.
Not only can a butt massage be a major turn-on, but it also helps your body: most people’s glute (butt) muscles are tight, and a massage can help you relax and open up for more anal play.
The butt does a lot of work: the glutes support the weight of your upper body, and they are pivotal for balance. They do work every time you walk up or down stairs, every time you sit and stand, every time you bend over and pick up something. A good butt massage stimulates blood flow and helps soothe the muscle. Start gently and knead the butt, working vertically from the top of the butt/middle of the butt, down both cheeks, over the hole, to the bottom of the butt and the perineum.
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4. Finger yourself.
It’s a good idea for anal sex bottoms to get comfortable playing with their holes. Self-fingering can give you a fair picture of how things are down there: how tight you are, how much lube you need, and whether or not there’s any irritation or odd textures, which can be a sign of a fissure or other issue. And, obviously, solo fingering is a great way to prep your body and mind for heavier anal play and help yourself relax and open up. It’s a good idea to lube yourself with a finger or two before all anal sex: you’re the only one who truly knows know how much lube you need to feel good.
5. Get fingered.
Getting fingered by a partner is a common (and fun) way to warm up for heavier anal play, and can help prepare your butt (and mind) for toys, dick, fisting, and more. But getting fingered by someone else can also be difficult: someonehas to have closely clipped and buffered nails, along with plenty of lube and a gentle touch. Go slow!
I tell everyone who fingers me that one finger feels like someone is poking me with a pencil. It’s better to start with two, slowly and gently, and work your way up from there, should you both desire to try more.
6. Play with a butt plug.
Playing with a butt plug (like this b-Vibe Vibrating Jewel Butt Plug) by myself is different than when I play with a partner: unless I’m doing plug play with a friend, I’m not pistoning the plug (moving it in and out rapidly) when I go solo.
Because I’m a fist bottom and training my butt, I sit on a plug almost every time I masturbate — and if you want to take your bottoming game to the next level, I suggest doing the same. This will train your mind to associate orgasm with anal stimulation — with the full, stretched feeling of something inside you — and this will gradually “switch” your pleasure locus point to your ass. I now struggle to cum without something in my butt.
Plug play is a great warm-up for anal sex. Remember: foreplay is whatever gets you in the mood for anal sex and doesn’t necessarily have to directly involve your partner. I usually travel plugged to my hookup’s apartment — a form of personal foreplay that gets me hungry for more.
7. Play with a dildo.
Dildos are great to use solo or with a sex partner. But take note: not all dildos are created equal. Many dildos found in sex shops are too hard and rigid for anal play, and they can hurt.
I recommend avoiding toys made of TPR and TPE and only using toys made of soft premium silicone, certain types of PVC, certain types of vinyl, or hypoallergenic materials like glass and medical-grade steel. My favorite butt toys are made of high-grade silicone and are soft and flexible enough to play in the butt; if a toy compresses when you squeeze it and bends with relative ease, it’s a good firmness for butt play.
Glass and stainless steel (see Le Wand Bow) obviously cannot be squeezed and have no “give,” but they also have no friction against the skin and will become very slick and slippery and will glide in easily with some lube — only use small-sized insertables made of these materials, and go slow with them.
8. Play with a P-spot toy (if you have a prostate).
For folks with prostates, P-spot (prostate) stimulation is best achieved through the butt. There are many toys out there designed to stimulate the P-spot and these can be enjoyed solo or with a buddy.
9. Use a vibrator.
Anything that vibrates is a vibrator. Vibrators take the form of insertables — probes, plugs, and so on — but they also come as vibrating bullets and beads, vibrating cock rings, and more. Most vibrators either have controls directly on the toy or on a separate remote (corded or, even better, totally separate and cordless). A really hot form of foreplay is sliding a vibrator in your butt and giving your partner total control over its intensity.
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10. Try anal E-stim.
Electrical stimulation (E-stim) is a kink practice that’s been growing rapidly in popularity in the last ten years or so. Contrary to common misconception, E-stim is safe and most E-stim kits do not pack enough voltage to harm the body or stop the heart, though as a safety practice, E-stim should never be used near the heart. Thankfully, the legs and butthole are the best places to play with E-stim, and you can find many E-stim buttplugs and insertables available on the market, of varying strengths and quality. I recommend buying from reputable fetish suppliers like Mr. S Leather, Fort Troff, Rough Trade Gear LA, Fetters London, Mr. B Amsterdam, and so on.
11. Explore extended-wear butt plug play.
Over the last few years, more and more people have asked me about extended-wear plug play, which simply means walking around, running errands, going to work, and doing daily tasks — all with a butt plug inside you. This is a discreet, under-the-radar way to tease and titillate yourself in public. It is best to start with very short periods and slowly work your way up.
Some plugs are better for this than others: for example, butt plugs with large flared bases can be visible through your clothes, while others are simply too big to wear inconspicuously without making you walk differently. Start small and carry a bag with you in case you have to rush into a nearby bathroom and remove it in the event that it starts to be uncomfortable or painful. Carry lube with you so you can re-lube as necessary (you will find the plug can become painful as the lube dries out).
12. Have some sexy shower time.
Most sexperts recommend taking a shower before you play in the butt, if just to make sure that your hole and the outer surface area are clean. This can include douching, but it doesn’t have to — douching is not necessary to have enjoyable anal sex.
I love the feeling of being warm and feeling my body relax in the shower before sex, and Ilove getting in the shower with someone prior to playtime. Washing each other is a beautifully intimate way to heat things up, and the best part is you’re both clean and ready to go when you’re ready to dry off and migrate to the bed.
13. Douching and enema play are kinks, too.
Many people are into douching and enema play as fetish practices and enjoy these activities with a partner. Since douches and enemas are tools designed to flush the rectum and colons of poop, all douching and enema play involves some risk of encountering poop, even if you’ve already cleaned out beforehand, so it’s best not to fear poop too much if you want to play with these tools for fun.
Additionally, it’s best not to fear poop duringany kind of anal play, since pooping is what the butt truly does — pooping is a natural part of the human body and its processes, and should not be feared. Many people who enjoy anal sex react strongly when they encounter what the butt does — an alarming reality created by cleanliness myths, porn, shame, and widespread fears and misconceptions about anal sex. Don’t buy into that fear and shame, and love your body for all the pleasure it gives you: your butt poops, but it also can give you full-body, life-defining orgasms and really great, mind-blowing sex.
14. Dance, baby, dance.
Shake what your mama gave you. Drop your weapon. Drop it like it’s hot. You know the endless ways to say it: shake your butt and show off. A lap dance, a striptease, or simply dancing together to a slow song in the living room — all these are fun and beautiful forms of foreplay.
15. Any foreplay can be anal foreplay.
As I’ve said: foreplay doesn’t just have to be activities that prepare the body or butt for sex. “Foreplay” is anything that gets you hungry, ravenous, turned on, and tuned in to the needs and desires of your playmate. Kissing, cuddling, making out, touching, nibbling, biting, sucking, and all other forms of human contact are great warmups to sex — anal and otherwise. Enjoy your person, and let your person (or people) enjoy you. That’s what life is all about.