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For Real Though—Does Anal Sex Hurt?

Does thinking about anal sex make you unconciously clench your butt cheeks tighter than at the top of a squat? Does it conjure up images of trying to fit a banana into a beer bottle or urban legends of girls who tried it once and could never poop again?

Stop. Forget all of it.

Guess what? Anal sex doesn't have to be as painful as everyone makes it out to be. In fact, *correctly performed* anal sex doesn't have to hurt at all (and you could even orgasm from it!). Shape sexpert Dr. Logan Levkoff says to think of it like vaginal sex: It can hurt, but it doesn't have to, depending on lubrication, your comfort level, and other factors. While there might still be some discomfort, you shouldn't be in pain. (Speaking of lubrication, here's your go-to lube guide for any sex scenario.

And ICYMI, butt stuff is becoming less taboo (it is the Age of the Booty, after all). About 36 percent of adult women and 44 percent of adult men have tried anal sex, according to 2015 research published in the Journal of Sex Medicine—that's up from about 20 percent of women and 25 percent of men, as shown in a 1992 survey.

If you're ready to join them and go bottoms up, just make sure doing it the right way: Use lube (Dr. Levkoff suggest silicone-based), warm up correctly (fingers and toys are a great way to start), and only try it only if you're emotionally and physically ready (patience and relaxation is key). Still have questions? Here are 12 Facts About Anal Sex From an Insider.

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