Dear Dr Love, does bottoming hurt?

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Dr Love

Dr Love

Dr Love is an expert on sexual health and well-being, and believes everyone can have a healthy and fulfilling sex-positive life. Have questions? Send them to askdrlove@asia.gay.

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I mean… Yes.

Especially if you’re doing it for the first time.

But it doesn’t have to. And actually, if you do it often enough, and get enough foreplay in, not only will it NOT hurt, it will feel like nothing you’ve ever felt before – in the best way possible.

That being said, bottoming isn’t for everyone and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do anything you’re not comfortable doing. Let me take you through some basic points about bottoming.

Practice makes perfect.

Cliche, I know, but it’s true. There are basically two muscles in your rectum – one you can control (the external sphincter), and one that’s a bit more involuntary (the internal sphincter). As you bottom more, you will learn how to control that external muscle more easily. The more at ease you are, the more that muscle will relax, making it easier to be penetrated.

There will still be some initial discomfort even with practice – but once your body learns to relax, the discomfort will pass in a few minutes. Always ask your partner to hold or stop if you experience any intense, sharp pain. If you’re starting out, take it nice and slow. Stroke, don’t poke.

How much lube should I use?

As much as is necessary, and you should apply both on the outside and in and around your anus (using your fingers), and on your partner’s penis as well. If your partner prefers rough play, you’re going to need more of it. A LOT more.

Unlike the vagina, the anus cannot self-lubricate, and drying up can cause pain and tearing of the anal tissue. Don’t worry if you find yourself having to re-apply several times. That’s a good time and keep going!

Barebacking or using protection?

This is a matter of health and safety, pure and simple. If you’re not in a committed, monogamous relationship, or if you don’t know your partner’s status – please, protect yourself.

But, if all parties involved have been tested and you feel comfortable barebacking, it can be a very pleasurable experience and something for you and your partner to discuss and consider.

Should I clean myself out before bottoming?

I would say this is personal preference though most guys prefer to clean themselves before sex. You can use an enema or douche – but the medical consensus is that you shouldn’t do it too often.

Even if you get the right temperature of water (warm), the right amount of pressure (gentle), excessive douching can still damage the lining of your anal canal, putting you at higher risk of getting an infection.

There are no magic number and everyone is different but I would say no more than once a day, and 2-3 times a week.

Besides douching, eating foods packed in fibre can also help impact the degree of comfort and pleasure you receive during anal sex with your partner. Fibre is a great resource in helping clear the contents of your digestive system while helping pass stool through the body.

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