This Is the Key to Good Anal Sex, According to Researchers

A new study has identified three anal sex techniques that make backdoor play more pleasurable for women

A row of three peaches on a white background. (anal sex concept)
Here's how to make anal better for the women in your life.
ascg Photography

Like many women, my first anal sex experience was my last. I like to think of myself as someone who is generally willing to try most things once, but about three thrusts in I felt pretty confident retiring anal sex to the one-and-done category of sexual exploration. This is probably because anal sex — a sex act infamously loved by straight men and at best endured by their female partners (at least according to certain heteronormative stereotypes) — tends to prioritize male pleasure. It’s a sex act that we tend to think of as defined by penetration — more specifically, by a penis in an orifice.

However, anal sex can (and should) be pleasurable for women as well. And yes, while I’m sure there probably are plenty of women who genuinely enjoy getting railed between the cheeks (as countless straight men have assured me), recent research suggests the key to pleasurable anal sex for many women involves taking the focus off old-fashioned, dick-in-a-hole penetration. A new study, published June 29 in the journal Plos One, identified three key techniques that can make anal sex more pleasurable for women. Spoiler alert: none of them involve getting jackhammered up the ass.

Conducted by Researchers at Indiana University and For Goodness Sake, a sex-research company, the study sought to address the dearth of research available on anal pleasure for women, noting that the majority of existing literature on the subject focuses on the penetrating partners and their penetrative body parts. (In other words, we all know men enjoy putting their dicks up an asshole.) To get a better sense of how women experience anal pleasure, researchers gathered data from over 3,000 women between the ages of 18 and 93.

The results revealed that the vast majority of women cited a preference for anal play that did not involve penetration — at least not exclusively. Based on these results, researchers identified, and coined, three specific techniques that proved most popular: “Anal Surfacing,” “Anal Shallowing,” and “Anal Pairing.”

Anal Surfacing, which 40% of women surveyed found pleasurable, involves stimulation on or around the opening of the anus, but not inside. Anal Shallowing, reportedly enjoyed by 35% of the women in the study, involves touch just inside the opening of the anus, “no deeper than a fingertip/knuckle.” Meanwhile, 40% of women found anal play more pleasurable if combined with another form of touch, such as vaginal penetration or clit stimulation, which researchers dubbed “Anal Pairing.”

Essentially, the main takeaway here is if you actually want women to enjoy having anal sex with you, don’t make it all about you and your dick. (This also applies to all sex all the time.)

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