Not everybody feels comfortable with the thought of anal licking or kissing their lover's anus, or with having it done to them. But
the fact is, many lovers are curious about oral-anal contact -- known as analingus and casually called "rimming" -- and often feel surprised by their interest, but when they try it, some
become enthusiastic about it.
Many lovers have an accidental introduction to analingus during cunnilingus, since the bottom of the vaginal entrance is quite close to the anus. Sometimes a little lick meant for the lower vagina slips further south than intended, and the recipient experiences unexpected delight -- and sometimes a surprisingly powerful urge to explore analingus further.
For other lovers, interest in rimming develops from anal play. The most popular anal activities are sphincter massage and fingering, and many people also enjoy anal plugs and penis-anus intercourse. But as people explore other forms of anal eroticism, many warm up to the idea of analingus.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with or abnormal about rimming. If you feel tempted to condemn it, remember that, not too long ago, oral
sex was considered a disgusting perversion and was outlawed in many states. Now oral sex is so widely accepted that about three-quarters of
Americans say they have performed it on a lover and had it performed on them. In fact, many couples don't make love without it.
Rimming may not ever become as popular as oral sex, but in recent years Americans have become somewhat more sexually experimental. In fact, surveys suggest that around fifteen percent of American adults -- more than twenty million people -- have experienced some form of anal sex play. There are no statistics specifically on rimming, but as people become more comfortable with sexual experimentation in general, and anal play in particular, it should come as no surprise that many heterosexuals and homosexuals alike are expressing curiosity about anal licking.
The anus and surrounding tissue are richly endowed with nerves that are highly sensitive to gentle, playful, loving touch. The same is true
for the lips and tongue, and when you put these areas together, the combination can be powerfully erotic.
Another reason anal stimulation feels erotic is the pelvic floor muscles, which lie beneath the surface of the anal area. These muscles play an important role in sex and are the ones that contract during orgasm. Using sex toys, a finger or a tongue to massage or insert into the anus stimulates the pelvic floor muscles and heightens overall erotic sensations.
Finally, sex draws a good deal of its emotional power from lovers' wholehearted acceptance of each other. Analingus involves acceptance of an area that's often not accepted -- in fact, one that's usually rejected. Analingus becomes a way for the giver to say: " I love all of you. No part of your wonderful body turns me off." And it's a way for the receiver to say:" I'm totally yours. No part of me is off limits to you." This level of mutual acceptance can be a powerful turn-on.
If you're interested in rimming, raise the issue before you dive in. Some couples prefer to discuss sexual experimentation in nonsexual
settings. Others like to discuss experimentation while making love. Raise the issue of analingus in whatever way feels the most comfortable to you in
If you and your lover have open and frank sexual communication, you might simply announce that you'd like to try analingus. On the other hand, if you feel reluctant to admit your interest -- the case for many -- you might raise the issue indirectly, perhaps by mentioning offhandedly that you read something about it on MyPleasure.com and asking what your lover thinks of it.
If your honey grimaces, chances are that analingus won't become part of your intimate repertoire. Never pressure a lover to try rimming if he or she doesn't want to. But if your lover shows any interest, even if it's couched in skepticism and concern about hygiene, you may detect enough of an opening to pursue the issue, allay your lover's concerns and perhaps introduce it into your lovemaking.
If you decide to experiment with analingus, you also need to discuss who's interested in which role. Some people are interested in only one side of a rimming interaction; others feel equally comfortable in both roles. Before you begin, be sure you're clear on who does what.
Because the anus is intimately involved in defecation, many people assume that oral-anal contact must involve contact with feces.
This is possible. Even with good wiping, traces of fecal material may cling to the anus and the skin around it.
However, careful personal hygiene minimizes exposure. San Francisco sex therapist Jack Morin, Ph.D., author of the now-classic Anal Pleasure & Health, insists that the anus, anal canal and rectum usually contain surprisingly little stool. Most fecal material is stored above the rectum in the descending colon. When stool moves into the rectum, you feel "the urge," and it then passes out of the body fairly quickly. Most of the time, when you feel no urge to defecate, there are only trace amounts of stool in the rectum, anal canal and anus -- traces that can easily be washed out.
Another important consideration is the possibility of analingus exposing the giver to digestive tract bacteria. The digestive tract is home
to millions of bacteria that assist in digestion, notably E. coli. These micro-organisms get incorporated into stool and can be found in and
around the anus. Although they help with digestion, they might also cause infection. If E. coli come in contact with the vagina or urethra, t
he woman might develop a vaginal infection (bacterial vaginosis) or a urinary tract infection (UTI, also known as cystitis or bladder
infection). That's why a standard recommendation is that anything that comes into contact with the anus should not then touch the vulva or
The digestive tract might also contain other harmful micro-organisms that can be spread during oral-anal contact. Among them:
Because infections such as HIV can be transmitted during analingus, it's crucial that lovers who play this way take prudent precautions:
In truly monogamous couples, where both people are confident that neither has hepatitis, HIV or intestinal parasites, the only real risk of analingus is contact with digestive bacteria -- and enemas and careful washing virtually eliminates this. According to Dr. Morin, for healthy, monogamous couples who practice careful anal hygiene, the risk of analingus causing infection or illness is "extremely low." Consider your situation carefully. Discuss it. Then decide for yourselves the appropriate level of precautions you want to take.
Certain positions allow oral-anal contact with a minimum of contortions:
As mentioned earlier, some lovers discover analingus while involved in other forms of anal play. For others, analingus might be their introduction
to anal eroticism. If analingus makes you curious about other aspects of anal sex, see MyPleasure's article, Introducing Anal Sex, as well as the Introducing Anal Sex Anal
Collection of sex toys specifically designed to enhance backdoor fun.
Whatever you and your lover ultimately decide about analingus, discussing it can deepen the intimacy you share. You will learn more about yourself and each other. You will become clearer about what you're willing and unwilling to try. In the end, as it were, these discussions will help you feel closer to one another and better able to experience whatever sexual pleasure you both enjoy.
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