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Sex and doing it

Putting things up your arse

The arse is one of the most sensitive parts of the body, and putting things inside it can be very horny. However, your arse is delicate: you should treat it with respect as something that you wish to keep in good condition for years to come - both for sex and shitting.

Not all gay men use their arses for sex, but still have wholly satisfying and fulfilling sex lives. However, But the majority of gay men use their arses for sex in one way or another, whether it’s a tongue, finger, cock, dildo or fist.

Why it can feel so good

  • The arsehole and anal canal are sensitive to touch.
  • The rectum can sense movement and can stretch.
  • The prostate gland (which is very sensitive) can be stimulated through the wall of the rectum.

 Prostate problems | MEN R US

Shape, size and texture

Warm, flexible, smooth-edged and dildo-shaped objects which can slide in and out easily are the best things to stick up your arse – which is why cocks are so wonderful. With care and practice larger cocks and dildos and fists can eventually be accommodated. Conversely, cold, hard, rough and angular shaped objects can graze or cut the inside of the arse and cause bleeding, bruising and serious damage. Glass objects tend to break or shatter under pressure, and for this reason it does not make sense to insert light bulbs, glasses, bottles or chandeliers.


Sphincter muscles are closed for a very good reason: to stop shit from falling out. They only open (usually) when we’re sitting on the toilet. If we’re to open them for different reasons, sphincter muscles need to be gently massaged, teased and coaxed open before they’ll let anything through by choice. Obviously, there’s a guy attached to these muscles who will want to feel comfortable and relaxed before he’s likely to tell them to chill out and relax – quite literally.

If you try and force a dildo, cock or even a small finger through closed sphincter muscles, nerve endings will register discomfort – in many cases pain – and contract immediately. A classic example of this happening is when a dick is rammed into an unsuspecting arse taking the muscles completely by surprise. The pain can probably be best described as the ‘pain of pains’ and you can never quite work out whether you want to nurse yourself, hit him or throw him out.

Loss and retrieval

All sorts of things can go in but not all of them come out as easily. When an object gets ‘lost’ up a person’s arse, it’s usually slipped into the rectum and the bottom sphincter muscle has closed behind it. If there’s blood, discomfort or pain you should go to casualty immediately. If not, you may be able to retrieve it yourself by:

  • Relaxing the sphincter muscles again (with lubricant and/or poppers)
  • Massaging the arsehole to ‘tease’ it open
  • Shitting it out
  • Using small fingers to gently ease it out
  • Soaking in a hot bath may help you relax first

Understandably, a person can be anxious (which can tighten the arse muscles) and may need to be calmed, relaxed and reassured. If none of these techniques work then you should go to casualty immediately. Retrieval becomes more difficult when the object is an awkward shape – a little like a lobster getting into a lobster pot but not being able to get out. Vibrators can slip out of your hands and up an unsuspecting arse.

The novelty value of buzzing your way into an accident and emergency department runs out very quickly and probably before the long-life batteries. Glass objects can be sharp and shatter and trying to retrieve light bulbs, apples, cock rings, and golf balls at 3am in casualty, ceases to be sexy rather quickly.

Blood and injury

During or after sex, you may see a little pink in the lubricant or arse mucous. This usually means that small blood vessels running close to the surface of the rectum or sphincter muscles have ruptured. While it may be no more than a graze on the skin, there are no nerve receptors to register pain and you cannot see the injury to make an assessment. Consequently, all suspected injuries should be taken seriously.

While you should stop what you’re doing, the reality is that if you’re having a good time and there is no pain or discomfort it’s possible you’ll carry on – albeit with greater care. However, it needs to be made clear that physical damage has already been done. Furthermore, if gloves have not been used and your hands aren’t in perfect condition, there is a risk of STI transmission.

If the blood becomes thicker or darker in colour – stop what you’re doing immediately. No ifs, buts or maybes. If you don’t feel the need to seek medical help, rest up and see how you’re feeling in a few hours as it can take a while before you realise that harm has been done. Indications that there is a problem may include a temperature, persistent pain or discomfort, sweating, feeling nauseous or weak.

If there is pain, discomfort, nausea, or continued blood loss, or if you don’t feel any better, go to A&E immediately:

 A&E London | MEN R US

The effects of arse play

In addition to the risk of STIs, putting stuff up our arses can result in a reduction in the elasticity and co-ordination of the sphincter muscles which can result in permanent damage. This can lead to problems in shitting and incontinence. Certainly there are gay men with arses the size of the Grand Canyon which have probably resulted from over-use.

Like many other parts of our bodies, with practice and care we can tone up and improve our sphincter muscle control. Furthermore, by gaining an understanding of our digestive system and the workings of our arse, we are better able to manage and care for them and recognise problems.

It’s difficult to imagine us not using our arses for sex in some way and so, in the absence of any clear information about the effects of arse play, the following guidelines are a compromise between overdoing it and not doing it.

  • Don’t abuse your arse: treat it with care and respect.
  • Listen to what your body has to say.
  • If you’re not comfortable or relaxed – don’t.
  • Adopt good techniques in arse preparation and play.
  • Don’t do anything that causes pain or discomfort.
  • Respond quickly to any problems or complications.
  • Go for regular sexual health check-ups.
  • Arse play is also thought to contribute to or aggravate Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
  • If in doubt – don’t.

Hands and fingers

Fingers and hands are sometimes overlooked as a source of infection and transmission during sex. Here are some tips to help keep the risks to a minimum.

  • Hands should be in a good condition; skin should be unbroken and have no cuts, sores or abrasions.
  • Fingernails should be clean, short, and filed to remove any rough edges. Cuticles (that’s where your nails join your fingers) should be smooth and unbroken.
  • Rough or dry hands can be softened with a moisturiser, although oil-based moisturisers damage condoms.
  • You should wear gloves if your skin is broken or has cuts, sores or abrasions, or if cuticles are torn or split, or if fingernails are damaged, ragged or raw. This is because damaged or broken skin is more likely to provide routes for infection to get into the body.

Reducing the risk of STI transmission

If you are sharing fingers, dildoes or fists between arses or mouths (very possibly covered with traces of blood, cum, shit or piss) there is a risk of STI transmission if STIs are present.

Fingers are little dildoes and, generally, we don’t cover fingers when we put them up our own arse. However, they should be washed thoroughly if they are then going up anybody else’s. Trouble is, we don't usually do this either, particularly in the heat of the moment. The same applies if you finger someone else first and then want to finger yourself. Alternatively you can use a finger-cot (a condom for your finger) with a new cot used on each partner. You may only be able to obtain these from sexual health clinics and chemists.

If you are using condoms, your cock should only go up one arse with each condom. If there’s more than one arse on offer, use a fresh condom. Similarly, if you’re using gloves a new glove should be used with each partner. The same applies to dildoes and other sex toys. Getting into the habit of always using a condom on a dildo (whether you’re by yourself or not) will also give you repeated opportunities to practise putting on and taking off condoms.

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