Kerner says he hasn’t heard of a rectum (the last part of your large intestine before your anus) getting permanently stretched out from anal sex, but he says it could happen to the anal sphincter muscle (i.e. the muscle right at the end of your anus). “That muscle is designed to tighten to retain feces until released, so the sphincter could potentially weaken,” he says.
If you're a fan of butt play, you don't have to give it up for fear of damaging that vital muscle, says Kerner. As it turns out, kegels, the exercise made famous for strengthening your pelvic floor and possibly boosting your orgasm, can also tone up your sphincter, he says.
That said, Kerner points out that he hasn’t heard complaints about it from any of his clients who engage in anal sex.
While anal is relatively safe for your butt muscles, Kerner says there are a few other things you should be doing to keep your booty in healthy working order.
Lube It Up
= super-crucial for anal. “The main danger is that the rectum doesn’t lubricate and the tissue is quite sensitive, so there could easily be painful tearing,” says Kerner. Lack of lubrication can also lead to hemorrhoids, so be sure to keep things nice and moist back there.
If you’re tense, odds are your sphincter will be too, says Kerner. And a tight sphincter can lead to pain and tearing—which nobody wants.
Use a Condom
You already know it’s important for safe sex, but it’s super important for anal. Your anus contains a lot of bacteria, which is easily spreadable. You'll want him to wrap it up to protect himself from those babies and to keep bum bacteria from getting on you during any post-penetration action.
Know Your G.I. Tract
If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, do not pass go. Kerner says anal sex can trigger a bout of it, which is pretty much guaranteed to be a mood killer.
No matter what, keep this in mind: “If something feels wrong, it probably is wrong," says Kerner. "If you detect any kind of irritation, it’s time to give the butt a break.”
This article was originally published by Women's Health.