Anal pain can interfere with the enjoyment of sex between gay and bisexual men. A negative experience can cause concern, and some men refuse to engage in anal sex because of pain. There are steps you can take to minimize or eradicate anal pain during sex. With a little patience and a willingness to explore, it can be an enjoyable experience.
Talk to Your Doctor
Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about anal pain. The most crucial step is ruling out physical causes for your pain that might require medical intervention. Once your doctor has declared you healthy, they can provide resources on ways to make anal sex a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Anal sex linked to anal cancer
Over the past thirty years in the United States, rates of anal cancer among men have doubled. The increase in anal cancer is of concern for gay and bisexual men as they are at a greater risk than their heterosexual counterparts.
The risk factors for anal cancer include HIV infection, receptive anal intercourse, increased sexual partners, smoking, sexually transmitted diseases, and rectal drug use.
HPV may cause most anal cancers, and the HPV vaccine may offer substantial protection against developing anal cancer. Manage your risk factors, and talk to your doctor about any concerns you have.
Other causes of anal pain
Anal fissures, which are small tears in the lining of the anal canal, can cause pain during a bowel movement or sexual activity. Anal fissures can result from anal sex or can occur for reasons unrelated to sex, making anal sex extremely painful. Fissures may be treated with topical creams or some oral medications. In chronic cases that are resistant to other treatments, surgery may be required.
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel dysfunction, as is Ulcerative Colitis. Both can cause anal pain, along with a myriad of other symptoms.
Rectal spasms (proctalgia fugax) are more common in those who have inflammatory bowel disease, but often the cause is unknown. Symptoms include episodes of sharp pain along with severe cramping. The episodes may last from seconds to minutes and occur with little warning. Some people find relief by pressing against the anal area or soaking in a warm bath. You should discuss episodes of anal spasms with your doctor.
Schedule a visit with your doctor if your pain lasts longer than a few days or if self-care remedies are not working. You should always seek immediate medical attention if you develop substantial rectal bleeding or rectal bleeding that will not stop. You should also seek prompt medical attention if anal pain worsens quickly, spreads, or is accompanied by discharge, fever, or chills.
What to do about rectal pain during sex
Anal sex isn’t unsafe, but it does require more planning and preparation than some other forms of sexual activity. Following proper precautions to prevent injury or illness will help you feel more relaxed and confident, increasing your chances of enjoying the experience.
Important considerations to help avoid anal discomfort:
Lubrication is a necessity
The anus does not have the ability to produce natural lubrication, so using a lubricant during any anal penetration is necessary. The tissue inside the anus is delicate and can be easily torn without artificial lubrication.
Use an anal dilator
A rectal or anal dilator is a device used to relax the internal and external sphincter muscles. Talk to your doctor about using a rectal dilator to reduce tightness and increase rectal capacity.
Pelvic floor relaxation training
The anal sphincter is a muscle that protects the rectum. For anal sex, it is essential that this muscle relaxes. Ask your doctor about getting a manometric biofeedback test. This test will help you learn how to perform muscle exercise training. Mental and physical relaxation can take patience, but it reduces the risk of tearing or rectal discomfort during sex. By using a variety of methods, you’ll learn how to stretch your anus. Anal sex training is something you should discuss with your doctor.
Talk with your sex partner
Communication is key. As with all sexual activity, good communication with your partner is critical. Have an open, honest conversation with your partner about any pain or discomfort, fears you have, and how you both want to proceed.
Always wear a hat
Condoms are necessary for practicing safer sex and guard against sexually transmitted infections (STI). The anus also contains bacteria, so cleaning up after sexual activity, including any dildos, vibrators, or other toys, is important.
Rectal pain does not have to be synonymous with anal sex. Exploring anal sex can be safe and healthy if the above considerations are taken into account. Are there any precautions to prevent injuries or illness during sex that we didn’t mention? Share your thoughts and questions below.