Main Content

Sexual Health

Anal sex

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What is anal sex?

Anal sex is when a person p​uts their penis into another person's anus (the hole where the stool comes out). When a person gives anal sex, this position is called top (penetrative). When a person receives anal sex, this position is called bottom (receptive). When a person does both, this is called verse.

Anal sex or anal play can be done with fingers or the mouth. Sex toys, like vibrators, dildos, and butt plugs, can also be used during anal play.

How safe is anal sex?

  • risk for STIs and HIV is generally higher than with other types of sex
  • risk of pregnancy if sperm gets near the opening of the vagina
  • risk of spreading STIs during anal play with or without sex toys
  • How can I have safer anal sex?

    • Use a condom every time you have sex to lower your risk of STIs and HIV.
    • Use a new condom for each act of anal, oral, or vaginal sex.
    • Consider using water-based or silicone-based lubricants. This can help make sex more comfortable and lowers the chance of the condom breaking. Don’t use oil-based lubricants (such as lotion, Vaseline); they can make holes in the condom which increases the risk of it breaking.​​
    • ​​Don’t use condoms that are lubricated with nonoxynol-9; it can increase the risk of HIV.​​
    • Wash genitals and anus before and afterwards.
    • Keep sex toys clean by washing after each use, covering penetrative toys with a barrier (like a condom), not sharing sex toys, and having a different set of toys for each partner.
    • ​Have your partner move slowly and enter the anus when you are relaxed. This will make it more comfortable and can help lower the chance of tearing your anus.
    • ​​Latex condoms may provide better protection than non-latex condoms (such as polyurethane) because there’s a higher chance of non-latex condoms breaking or slipping off. However, non-latex condoms are still a good option for people who have a latex allergy.​
    • If a condom breaks or sperm gets near the genitals of a person who could become pregnant, think about getting emergency contraception​ as soon as possible to help prevent pregnancy.

    Did you know?

    • You have the right to make the decision to have sex or not.
    • You can plan ahead and talk to your partner(s) about how to lower your risk of pregnancy, STIs, and HIV.
    • You can consider getting regular testing for STIs and HIV. Talk to your health care provider.
    • Many clinics offer low or no cost birth control.

    For more information

    Health Link – Health Advice 24/7: 811

Current as of: May 21, 2021

Author: Sexual and Reproductive Health, Alberta Health Services