Show Transcript for Episode 281: Anal Play—It’s Okay If You Want It; It’s Okay If You Don’t

Listen to the episode here!

George Faller 00:02
Anal sex fantasies, Laurie, we’re getting lots of questions from our listeners. They need our help.

Laurie Watson 00:10
We’ve got some Q&A. So let’s answer some questions. Welcome to Foreplay Radio, Couples and Sex Therapy. I’m Laurie Watson, your sex therapist.

George Faller 00:23
And I’m George Faller, a couples therapist,

Laurie Watson 00:25
and we are passionate about talking about sex and helping you develop a way to talk to each other.

George Faller 00:31
Our mission is to help our audience develop a healthier relationship to sex that integrates the mind, the heart and the body. One listener writes in, I’m interested in anal sex, I’m not sure my partner is help.

Laurie Watson 00:51
So this is a male that wrote this, right?

George Faller 00:54
This was a male who wrote this,

Laurie Watson 00:56
I think the first thing is, it sounds like he doesn’t know if his partner would be willing or is interested in it. So they’re not talking, which is why we’re doing this podcast is to get people to talk about sex, which can be difficult and vulnerable. And we want them to, you know, feel freer, I would say much of the feedback that I get from listeners is, wow, you know, hearing you guys talk about sex and making it so natural, and normal, has freed me up, you know, suddenly, I can talk to my partner. So we’re glad this listener is listening to us and helping us shape what we talk about in our podcast, and we hope to help them shape this conversation.

George Faller 01:43
There’s so much stigma about talking about sex in general. But if we’re going to talk about the anus, that as a whole lot of shame that stops these conversations. So this is great that just trying, I mean, let’s start off with the basics. Right? That the the anus is that erogenous spot on our body for both men and women, that there’s nothing wrong if you’re you kind of like being touched there. Your body just responds to that it’s not judgmental about it, we have all these morals that we attribute to this area. So they just try to normalize that. It’s whatever works for consenting adults, right? How do we how do we facilitate these conversations that say, Maybe he likes it, his eight is touched, and he wants to touch her anus. Maybe she wants that or doesn’t want that, like, whatever the combination is? It’s okay. Right? It’s okay not to like it, it’s okay to like it. But how do we have these conversations because what are both like if like, because they are afraid of talking about they’d never get a chance to experience?

Laurie Watson 02:49
Exactly. And it’s physiological. There are erotic nerve endings in our anuses. And both men and women were actually built the same way that in that part of our body, men, of course, also further into their rectum, you can touch their prostate gland, which has huge erotic sensation for men. I think many heterosexual men that I work with, would not do that, or would not allow that because they’re so afraid that that makes them a homosexual. You know, many gay men, obviously take advantage of this during anal sex, but it’s physiological. This is the way the body is made to experience erotic sensation at the anus. And further in the rectum. And for men, the prostate gland, prostate stimulation is supposed to be mind blowing.

George Faller 03:39
Yes, most men that I work with, say their partners, give them oral sex. And that a partner starts to kind of massage their balls, and then kind of slips their finger, you know, around the rim of the gate. I mean, that that, for most men, that’s kind of gonna take their orgasm to it to a different level. Right? And yeah, like, if, if you like that, how do you communicate that right? That doesn’t mean you’re strange, or you’re kind of weird that you’re, you know, your body likes, likes the way that feels. Exactly.

Laurie Watson 04:14
And, and I think you’re so right here, George, just to bring up as a male questioner, as a male listener that, you know, his first frame is, I want to try this on her but, you know, maybe he feels less able to talk about I’d like it try it on me. Right, you know, because there’s there is shame about our anus. I think, you know, anal sex and the anus. The reason they’re shame First of all, it is where feces comes out of which we know is contaminated and dirty. And so you know, as a child, you know, when we’re being diapered, you know, many children are exploring their genitals with their hands. As soon as that diaper comes off, you know, their hands go down, and just imagine You know, a mother or a parent, a father, who is changing a child’s diaper and you know, things oh my gosh, the the baby’s going to put their hands in poop and get dirty. And so there’s this, this break, right that comes on the parents exclamation of disgust or don’t do that, or don’t touch the stop, you know, and so unconsciously, you know, it gets linked as an area of shame. This is a bad place. This is something bad, bad thing to touch. You know, children actually do play with their poop, you know? Yeah, they’re, they’re fine with that. I mean, obviously, we do have to protect our children. But I think that it gets linked in their head so early in all our heads that this is bad, dirty, shameful,

George Faller 05:47
right? And if that imprinting is so strong, that it’s just a turn off. That’s okay, too. But if the idea of having a finger go up, your anus is like, not what you’re wanting? That’s totally cool, too. Like, how do you communicate that? How do you find I love the terminology, what’s what are your breaks? And what are your gas pedals? What are the things that turn you on? If kind of touching your anus turns you on? It’s working, if it turns you off, because it gets your brain thinking about all the things that are wrong, that’s, you know, not working. So well.

Laurie Watson 06:18
I’m going to listen to this episode George when we’re done like with my girlfriends, and we’re now all going to take shots when you see the

George Faller 06:25
status.

Laurie Watson 06:27
We did that one time when we were talking about the penis. We were all listening and laughing and taking shots every time George did penis. So now it’s every time George says anus,

George Faller 06:36
I’m saying this anus, anus, anus, anus. I just want to get a couple of shots out there.

Laurie Watson 06:41
I love that you can say it and that you say it so easily. That’s, that’s great.

George Faller 06:47
It’s it’s a work in progress process for me, because it’s not something I would have ever talked about. So again, I think we’re trying to practice what we’re preaching. Like, how do we just there’s nothing wrong with talking about this. And if we don’t, we’re just gonna lose those levels of engagement, those possibilities of things that we could talk about. So, you know, what is the turn on? about having sex with your wife? In her anus? The intercourse like what is it that you like about that? What turns you on about it? Is the feel of that? Is it just the idea that is it like, and what is it about? You want to get your anus touched in different ways? Right? And how to couples make space for these compensations?

Laurie Watson 07:32
And vice versa for men. Absolutely. Right. You know, what is exciting about touching a man in his anus, his prostate gland? What? What’s the turn on there? I think that one of the main fantasies that is shown in porn is of course, pleasure. And I think that there’s probably statistically and the research shows only a very small percentage of women enjoy anal sex full anal sex. And that’s partly because the introduction of a penis and terrain is, you know, there’s a big stretch. So there might be pain unless they know how to do it. And they know how to do it so that there isn’t pain. But I think it is kind of taboo. I think you asked me one episode. further back, you know, did I think anal sex was outside of vanilla sex? Yeah, I guess. So. There’s still taboo, and as I think about it now with you, but porn makes it look like it’s happening all the time. Right? And that it’s always pleasurable and always orgasmic. And I don’t think that that’s true.

George Faller 08:39
Right? I appreciate the timing. But if you’re going to go from never talking about it to anal sex, I mean, that’s probably too abrupt. Like you need to be intentional have these conversations because so much around the anus is about relaxation. Right? So you know, and maybe a couple starts off just talking about and maybe there’s just a little bit of touch in with some some lubrication to just see what that feels like. And if that works, well, maybe they do something else. And they have like an angel beat or something like there’s so many things that couples can do when they’re

Laurie Watson 09:10
intentionally we just went from talking about touching the anal beads, you had to like explain that.

George Faller 09:17
Well, I got just, they got so many things out and I’ll be an anal bead is you’re the sex expert. Right? Yeah. balls on. We’re not talking about six feet of you know, there’s a couple inches of balls on a thread that you’re kind of inserting one or two or a couple in there. Just kind of get that sensation and write being able to put them in and pull them out just that that insertion that that could feel really good for people. But you need to also then think about cleanliness and kind of did you have a shower? What did you eat and like there, there are things about relax, relaxing and cleaning that I think are important part of being intentional about this.

Laurie Watson 09:58
Yeah, I think that we should come back and talk about cleanliness and anal sex and anal touching and all of that. I had a patient tell me the other day Uberlube.com with the coupon: FOREPLAY, they bought some and they said you were right, Laurie, it is the best, way better than what they had been using before. Because scent free, tastes free. There’s no sticky residue, which is so important. It doesn’t get gummy, it doesn’t create that friction that some of the lubricants out there do. It leaves you feeling soft and silky. It uses high grade silicone with a little bit of vitamin E, you can switch from oral sex to intercourse, you can use it with touching, I highly recommend it during foreplay makes her feel better makes him feel good. I mean, it’s a better touch.

George Faller 10:51
And you know, when 1000s of doctors, sex therapists and clients are all agreeing and recommending the same thing, you’re onto something.

Laurie Watson 10:58
Exactly. So Uberlube.com, with the coupon FOREPLAY for 10% off,

George Faller 11:05
OMGYES.com. The truth, Laurie, of course is that our pleasure gets better over our lifetime as we learn and discover more and more about what we like or what our partner likes, more knowledge makes a great thing. Even better,

Laurie Watson 11:22
right? I think people believe this myth that they’re supposed to know how to do it, how to touch each other. And I think for women, our bodies are so sensitive that we need high attunement and oh my god, yes.com is where you can actually see real video of women explaining the touch that they need, labeling it so we can speak the same language and then showing it is explicit. We know that but we think it’s beautifully done. It’s artfully done. And we just encourage you to try OMGYES.com with the coupon FOREPLAY so that they know we’ve sent you there, and they’re pissed as well, if you come to our website, they are offering this product to you for free. So please come to our website and figure out how to do that you need to send them your website, and you can get a free membership. So hygiene is important. If there’s a no play, or anal sex. I mean, one of the things is, you know, certainly if the anus is touched, or there’s a finger inserted into the anus, you can’t insert that same finger, or sex toy or anal bead into the vagina. Because equal eye is the primary bacteria of feces. And if you introduce that into the vagina, or the urethra, you know, you can cause an infection. So you don’t want to do that you want to be careful sort of keep keep ahold of which finger goes.

George Faller 13:03
When it starts to break out all the technical terms, right, it just shows how important this stuff is. and education is really important. If we’re not talking about the anus, we’re certainly not talking about all the things that you just brought up and which finger is going where and are you clean? And are you not, and it’s so important part of the conversation.

Laurie Watson 13:22
Yeah, and I think porn shows anal sex, that they haven’t shown kind of the prep for that, you know, a lot of times in porn, they’ve used enemas, they’ve cleaned out their rectum, so that, you know, poop or feces or shit, you know, is not going to get on their partner, or as much, you know, you can’t completely clean the anus or the rectum. So, I mean, some of what you see is not necessarily people having anal sex after Mexican food, which, now you definitely want to be aware of food that you’ve eaten beforehand, especially if it’s the type of meal that would you know, cause you to have indigestion or to have to go the bathroom.

George Faller 14:11
It boy and I like your term anal play. I mean, for a lot of couples that I work with, they don’t really want anal intercourse, where they like a little bit of anal play. Right? And that’s just their comfort level. And it’s just kind of brought more engagement in their sex life. So it’s something that has brought them closer together because there is something really intimate about kind of trusting your partner in this way.

Laurie Watson 14:35
And, and trust being and discussion being important factors. Because I think sometimes people can’t enjoy anal touch that they very much might, because they’re so afraid their partner will penetrate and so they can’t relax enough to enjoy what they do enjoy that there hasn’t been enough discussion, or there isn’t enough trust between them. Right?

George Faller 14:59
So again, you’re talking Not so many important things, relaxation, cleanliness, you know, also Uber lube, right? lubrication. I mean, it doesn’t have natural lubrication here. So you know, that’s a critical part of anal play is having some type of lubrication,

Laurie Watson 15:15
Right, and lubrication, maybe just for touch, and certainly lubrication, if there’s any kind of penetration because the anus, and the rectum don’t have natural lubrication the way the vagina does. So, I mean, you got to kind of keep pouring it on and keep using it, if you’re going to have anal sex, lots and lots of it. And, you know, I have talked with people who have started anal sex and kind of helped talk them through that. And one of the main things that they need to remember is, it’s not a one night event, mean, because in order to trust and relax into that, it’s really a process of learning to do that learning to trust your partner to get relaxed with it, and you know, sex to receive as a woman. And for the record, men also, sometimes like penetration with a sex toy, or strap on, or, you know, all kinds of things that they might like, as well, that will require them to be relaxed, and let go of the sphincter that controls, you know, anything coming in. And anything coming out that sphincter at the beginning of your anus is, is important to learn to relax that.

George Faller 16:28
And I just love the ease at which you’re talking about this, because our goal is just to reduce a lot of this shame and stigma that’s just talking about, you know, this is something you want, there are things that you can do intentionally that are going to set you up for more that success. And you know, there are things that will really get in a way and could be really difficult for people, right? So if you’re gonna race into this without a conversation, without being cleaned or relaxed, or using lubricant, I mean, it’s setting you up for failure. Right. And it’s I love that Lori’s emphasizing the trust factor, that this can be an incredibly emotional thing. There’s so much intimacy, because we got all of our own kind of stuff lingering in the background, right around fears and shame and like to be able to let go, there’s a lot of trust that’s necessary in a process like this.

Laurie Watson 17:18
Yeah. And I want to talk about kind of a religious, maybe prohibition against it. But I also want to talk about just the natural shame prohibition against the anus being touched or anal sex. I mean, ironically, there’s a taboo, and sometimes with taboo, it heightens our erotic experience, you know, crossing a taboo, if, if we’re all okay with that. Even it’s still unconsciously something that we have to get over an obstacle that we have to get over. And anytime there’s an obstacle that we’re overcoming in an erotic experience. The eroticism is often higher. I mean, people say, Why in the world would you know, people want anal sex. I mean, some of it is that it’s, it’s taboo, and therefore the forbidden, the shame, the very shame element of it makes it more exciting. I mean, that’s kind of kink, you know, in kink. People are essentially dealing with shame and humiliation in a way that enhances eroticism.

George Faller 18:29
And there’s physiology, that there are nerve endings. I mean, a reason people like being spanked and having the rain is touched that also have to do with, you know, sensation sensation.

Laurie Watson 18:42
Yeah, absolutely.

George Faller 18:44
And, I mean, I want to give a lot of room for people, that if their values don’t align with this, that that’s totally okay to, if they feel like, you know, what, this is off limits, because, you know, that’s just kind of what I believe in. And it’s just a, it’s an, they’re not negotiating that. Right? They could have incredibly healthy sex life without the anus needed and be a part of it. Right? If that’s if you fall into that category. That’s totally okay. We’re not here trying to sell a no play. We’re just trying to get you to have a conversation about it. That says, Is this something we want to consider? Yes, good. Do you need to do some things to be intentional about that? No. Cool. Let’s you know, it’s it’s your call. We’re all consenting adults. And this is about creating safety.

Laurie Watson 19:30
Right? And if, if anal sex is never gonna happen for you, you don’t want that you don’t want your anus touched. You have a right to say no, you have a right to say what you don’t want as well. And we support that. Even though we’re trying to help people who do want that, to do it with more intentionality, with with more comfort, and with more connection,

George Faller 19:52
right? And if we’re going to encourage, if you don’t feel comfortable saying no, we also try to encourage Hey, if you like the way that feels that’s totally okay. That’s totally natural. Your body is just communicating and sending you signals. Right and you deserve develop, communicate that with your partner in a way that doesn’t bring up all this shame. Like there’s something wrong with you.

Laurie Watson 20:13
I want to come back and talk with you, George about a guy that I saw who really really wanted anal penetration and anal play and his wife was adamantly opposed to it.

George Faller 20:26
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Laurie Watson 21:34
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Laurie Watson 22:45
So I’m talking about a male who wanted his own anus touched and he wanted anal penetration.

George Faller 22:52
He wanted a penetration with her or with him?

Laurie Watson 22:55
He wanted a no penetration for himself. He wanted his anus to be penetrated, okay, he wanted prostate stimulation, he’d never experienced that and had heard that basically, prostate stimulation and a blow job. Were kind of the ultimate experience, super hot experience. And he wanted to do that he was in a monogamous relationship. And I think they’d been married like 17 years or something long enough. And, and he had finally come to telling her this and she really met him with a great deal of shame. She was startled. She thought this meant he was homosexual. And was very committed to that idea. I was scared about what this meant that if she gave him this, you know, what would happen to the relationship. She also had a lot of yuck factor kinds of ideas. Like, you know, gosh, if I put my finger in his anus, I’m gonna touch poop and poop is gonna be on my hands. And that’s just so disgusting and gross. And, you know, there was a ton of resistance on her part to giving what he wanted. Not. He wasn’t necessarily saying he wanted to do anal sex with her. In fact, that part is completely lost in my brain. I have no idea if he wanted that. I don’t. I don’t think that was what the issue was. So what have you said the deal breaker?

George Faller 24:15
Yeah. Well, it’s always as a couples therapist, you know, when you have one person saying, you know, I really need this for this relationship to work. And the other person says, You know what, I can’t give you that. You know, that doesn’t work for me, right? They’re really at an impasse here. And so what did you do?

Laurie Watson 24:35
Well, I love but what we talked about in EFT is holding two truths in the same space, right? I mean, he was perfectly okay. And right in what his fantasy was and what he wanted and his desire for that exploration. And she was also okay and perfectly right to feel all this resistance and angst about what he was asking. And I mean, I think the first thing was the conversation about did this mean he was homosexual? Which it absolutely did not. And that was really her primary fear. I mean, she thought about it, she had a literal panic experience in her body, you know, from her kind of her upper chest to her stomach. She had alarm, you know, oh, my God, this, this man is not who I thought he was. And he was a loving guy, he was straight. And he wasn’t gay, and she didn’t need to feel afraid about him turning gay. I mean, this is physiology, everybody. It really is not orientation, sexual orientation.

George Faller 25:46
Right? And if, I mean, there are couples where partners do figure out years into something, that they weren’t being treated themselves, right. And, you know, I’m sure there are men in this situation that are kind of more turned on towards having sex with another man. And that’s part of just getting clearer and ever again, if that’s turned on, if that’s you being true to yourself, if, if you get turned on by penis and a man being inside of you, then, you know, maybe that marriage isn’t the right place for you. Right. And I think we just want to give people permission to get clear about kind of who they are. But I agree with you, it’s the same with fantasies, a lot of times, because somebody has a fantasy about something doesn’t mean that’s who they are kind of what they want, or their sexual orientation. I mean, it’s normal to, to, to think about things and just let the mind wander.

Laurie Watson 26:41
Right. And I would agree with you that certainly there are those experiences, right that, you know, when somebody reveals this, they’re testing the waters to talk about their true leanings, where they are really at in sexual orientation, and we’ve all heard those stories. So her panic, and her alarm is understandable makes absolute sense.

George Faller 27:04
She don’t have the body parts to kind of if that was the truth.

Laurie Watson 27:09
He was this man in particular was not interested in penal penetration. He just wanted her finger inside him. He wanted his prostate stimulated. You wanted her to touch his anus, okay, usually, you know, it wasn’t even this, I need this every single time. This is just kind of a fun thing. I want to try that. And so I think the first step was taking down that sense of panic really helping her hear what he was talking about. And letting go of that anxiety of is is somebody I you know, I don’t know. You know, so that was, that was the big one I, I face the issue of the yuck factor more particularly in female patients than in men. You know, many women feel yucky about the thought of their own anus being touched, because oh my gosh, what if, you know what if he puts his finger inside and does touch feces that that would be so humiliating or the way their, their vulva tastes? You know, their, their vaginal secretions, they, they don’t want to kiss after that, because they’re so sure that it tastes bad, and they don’t want to taste themselves. There’s that yuck factor or giving a man oral sex swallowing his semen, you know, that’s a yuck factor. And so I spent a lifetime I should write a book to try to help women through the yuck factor, you know, this, this part of them that just instantly has resistance to something that is messy, they think it’s dirty, or problematic.

George Faller 28:43
So how do you bridge that and hold those two truths? Like, I mean, I think there are practical solutions, right? I mean, you could put a vibrator if you don’t want your finger in there. Right? It’s it’s okay to not want to put your finger up some spot. I mean, I think that’s, that’s, you know, if it’s turned you on to do that and turn your partner on, that’s awesome. But if it doesn’t, if it feels dirty, if it just doesn’t, you know, I think then how do you get creative?

Laurie Watson 29:09
Yeah, there’s work arounds. Basically, once people are reconnected and they’re de-escalated, there are always ways to find sexual pleasure. I you know, sex therapy. Honestly, I could teach somebody in an afternoon because how you get bodies to work well together is easy peasy. It’s how you get hearts and minds to work together. That is the difficulty. You know, it’s the emotional connection, the heart connection, you know, taking down their thoughts that have escalated their bodies into panic. Those are the difficulties in therapy. Right?

George Faller 29:43
I mean, look at that conversation you facilitated. him asking for anal penetration brings up our worst fears that maybe this marriage is gonna end. I mean, how could that not get in the way of sex? You know, happy, right.

Laurie Watson 29:57
Right. Yeah, it was about You know, he doesn’t want me. And sometimes people think that just when it’s not about sexual orientation, I can’t give you what you want. And so that means you don’t want me, right? Because I’m so different than what you want, I have limitations, I have different preferences about what I want to do sexually.

George Faller 30:20
That’s the opportunity in these conversations, they are so vulnerable, to kind of share these parts of yourself for what you want. But what’s the alternative? We have a nice saying, No risking, no getting, right? If you’re not gonna gonna communicate it, you’re not gonna get it.

Laurie Watson 30:38
No risking, no getting. So you’re really talking about with vulnerability, we get more of what we want more of what our heart longs for. Oftentimes more of what our body wants, I mean, this guy who wrote this in, he had not had the conversation. So how is his body going to get what it wants?

George Faller 30:58
Exactly. And even if it doesn’t get what it wants, there’s still something really important about knowing yourself and knowing your partner better. You’re gonna know more by having this conversation, right? The vulnerability lies and having a conversation, not avoiding the conversation. We’ve all avoided it. We all know, we don’t want to freak people out. We want to protect ourselves. But the cost of that protection is lower levels of engagement. So that’s really our main takeaway here, right? You got to start a conversation. It’s not a one time conversation. It’s a conversation that needs to continue over time that makes Balti you just see the opportunity, this is a chance to get to know each other better.

Laurie Watson 31:36
Right? And we’re protecting ourselves from humiliation or rejection or being called a freak, being told that we’re dirty again, that somehow or another, we’re bad, and that resonates with that shameful part of growing up. So we don’t want to replicate that in our partnerships. And that’s why we have difficulty risking what we actually want and bad. There’s nothing wrong.

George Faller 32:01
If you want anal play. There’s nothing wrong if you don’t want it. There’s only something wrong if we never can talk about it. So your homework assignments, talk about anal play.

Laurie Watson 32:15
Thanks for listening.

George Faller 32:16
Keep it hot.

Announcer 32:18
Call in your questions to the foreplay question voicemail dial 833-4-PLAY and we’ll use the questions for our mailbag episodes. All content is for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for therapy by a licensed clinician or as medical advice from a doctor. This podcast is copyrighted by Foreplay Media.