Whether it's the fear of "needing to go" or just the long-standing taboo around the act, the thought of pleasurable anal sex can seem like an impossible feat for some women. But if you can work through those inhibitions, exploring anal play can lead to some kick-ass orgasms.
An impressive 41 percent of American women self-reported orgasming from anal sex without difficulty in a 2016 survey conducted by CAM4, a popular camming site. Those are pretty great odds for an act that still flies under the radar in common sex discourse.
When women are anally penetrated, pressure is put on the back wall of the vagina—an area known as the anterior fornix, or "A-spot." This spot is located deep in the vaginal canal against the anus, reaching up toward the cervix, said Mickie Woods, an Atlanta-based sexologist and the founder of Sex Talk, an intimate card game meant to build connection between partners. Anal penetration can even stimulate the clitoris indirectly through the rectal wall.
Even if anal penetration isn't something you want to take a stab at, just the opening of the anus has one of the densest collections of nerve endings in the body—meaning you don't even need internal stimulation to feel pleasure in this area.
As for the sensation itself, it can vary greatly from person to person depending on what specific erogenous zones are being stimulated during anal play.
Exploring anal play can lead to some kick-ass orgasms.
"Some might say each erogenous zone evokes a different kind of sensation when stimulated, with people often describing anal orgasms as having a tickling feeling that leads to a more intense kind of orgasm," Woods explained.
Women said the pleasure from anal sex is more widespread, versus a more localized feeling in the vagina, according to a 2013 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. For certain respondents, the discomfort and pain even added to the pleasure.
Ready to explore your back door? Make sure to discuss it with your partner and prepare ahead of time before heading to fifth base. You might want to consider starting with fingers, a toy or oral stimulation and slowly working your way to penetration (if you found the initial anal stimulation pleasurable). And foreplay is still incredibly important, even if it's done a little differently.
"Start with external stimulation of the anal opening and use a lot of lube. Gently massage around the area, either with a toy, tongue or fingers,” suggested Gigi Engle, a London-based sexologist and author of "All the F*cking Mistakes."
Whether you're a beginner or well-versed in backdoor stimulation, Engle recommended taking things slow and breathing deeply.
"Breathing is very important as your anus needs to be relaxed to be fully enjoyed," she explained.
Don't be afraid to take breaks when needed—sex should never be (unintentionally) painful.
"Anal play is not for everyone," Engle added. "It is not some big thing you need to 'achieve' to be good at sex. And don't try to achieve an orgasm. Making sex of any kind goal-oriented takes away the pleasure and adds a bunch of pressure no one needs."
Don't stress about anything other than what feels good to you. Just like with any orgasm, getting out of your own head is key to getting off.