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From backdoor to front page: the age of anal sex

Everybody’s talking about it, in popular culture and beyond, and more and more of us are doing it. What is it all about?

By Aurelie | 11 October 2020
Illustration of a woman sitting on an orange
Is everyone having anal these days? Not quite, but the rise in anal intercourse has been undeniable over the past decade. Everybody’s talking about it, in popular culture and beyond, and more and more of us are doing it. Is it down to a shift in attitude towards women’s sexuality or greater access to information and educational resources? Either way, we are undeniably living in the age of anal and we couldn’t be happier about it.

What’s HAI and is everyone having it?

HAI, Heterosexual Anal Intercourse. There is much to write about and reflect upon but we are choosing to focus on straight cisgender women’s anal experiences in this instance. Why? Because most of the statistics and literature available ignore the full scope of female sexuality. More on that academic and media bias on another occasion. From America to Europe and beyond, more women are enjoying anal sex than ever. A 2017 study conducted for the U.S. National Library of Medicine revealed 36% of women in the 25-44 age bracket had engaged in HAI at least once in their life. In Europe, 51% of all French women declared having experienced anal intercourse at least once in their life, with over 60% of women between ages 30-39. That would seem to confirm that while the practice of anal has entered the mainstream, the current generation of feminists and activists has lead the way for all young women to expand their sexual repertoire.

Anal for all? How social norms are still getting in the way.

However there is still some way to go before we can truly reach Peak Anal Bliss. While more and more of us are having it, it would be premature to think we’ve gotten rid of any kind of stigma. After all, anal sex is still prohibited in as many as 12 US states to this day. Why is anal sex struggling to fully rid itself of taboo? Conservatism definitely has something to do with it; the religious conservatism still observed in some parts of the world is especially to blame. Why? Because to some, anal sex, although they might refer to it as “sodomy”, is still very much associated with homosexuality, and we still have a long way to go to fully eradicate homophobia. Less homophobia would result in greater acceptance of anal sex. In our ideal homophobia-free world, everyone would be free to explore their pleasure with no stigma attached, and that includes the many straight cisgender males who largely continue to miss out on prostate play. A 2019 survey conducted by IFOP revealed the extent of the social bias as 33% of female managers stated having performed digital penetration on their male partners as opposed to a mere 12% amongst factory workers. This taps into the alpha masculinity promoted amongst men in general, and working-class backgrounds in particular. But let’s not digress.

A few tips and tools to truly embrace the anal revolution

Create a pre-anal routine

  • To douche or not to douche? While you should never abuse it as you may damage your bacterial flora, anal douching is a simple way of allowing you to relax and focus solely on your pleasure. We recommend using a simple pear-shaped tool, and filling it with lukewarm water – no soap!
  • Find a lube you love. There is much on the market and enough range for you to find a perfect fit. Pick a sensual scent that will get you in the mood, and opt for a long-wearing formula that will keep you lubricated throughout.
  • Communicate! If you’re just at the dawn of your anal journey, you should overcome any potential shyness and talk to your partner about how far you are happy and willing to go.

Favourite techniques and tools

  • Tongue first. One of the best side effects of the normalisation of anal sex? The anilingus, also known as rimming. (With 26% of all women having already had their bum licked, there is still some way to go.) Licking your partner’s anus or allowing them to reciprocate is a brilliant way to truly achieve the right level of intimacy, create a true connection and help you relax – not to mention extra lubrication, which we cannot have too much of.
  • Are fingers the best option? Fingering is amongst the most widespread anal practices and often considered a great introduction. And while we’re all for exploring, we think there might be better ways to achieve the same sensations, albeit better, and most importantly keep you safe. Our personal favourite? The butt plug: designed with your anal cavity in mind, it offers a level of smoothness and hygiene a finger just doesn’t. With added vaginal penetration, it offers a world of sensations; and there is no tool quite like it to prepare your body for the best kind of anal intercourse.
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