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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).

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
  • 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 (e.g., 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.
    • ​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 (e.g., 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: October 26, 2018

Author: Sexual and Reproductive Health, Alberta Health Services