Sure, talking openly about anal sex isn't as gasp-worthy as it used to be, but many aspects of doing it in the butt are still shrouded in mystery—namely, what to do after anal sex to make sure your booty and lady business stay happy and healthy.
"There's a rich blood supply to the back-door area, and tissue layers are relatively thin," says New Jersey-based ob-gyn Afriye Amerson. "Whereas the vagina is protected by its pH and bacteria, the anorectal region is only protected by its closed opening."
Because post-anal health rituals aren't as commonplace as vaginal, we got in touch with a few experts for the down-low on how to do butt play the healthy way.
If you plan on switching from anal to vaginal sex at any point during your romp, have bae take a time out before penetration to put on a new condom (and wash his hands), says Toyia James-Stevenson, gastroenterologist at Indiana University Health. Sure, it may be a buzz kill in the moment, but doing so reduces your risk of STDs and protects you from icky butt-centric bacteria, like e. coli, that can cause infections and UTIs, she says.
Silicone lubes are typically recommended for anal sex since they're more durable. However, these lubes are also trickier to clean up than water-based lubes, so you might need to take extra steps to freshen up post-booty call, says San Francisco-based licensed psychotherapist and sex therapist Vanessa Marin. Consider keeping baby wipes on hand or hopping in the shower for a (gentle) post-anal scrub. And always remember the golden rule: Never wipe from back to front.
Post-anal, there's a good chance you're going to feel (and sound) gassier than usual. Fun fact: Because your sphincter muscles could be loose after-the-fact, you may not be able to control the gusts of wind. But, technically, you're not actually farting. It's just your body's way of expelling the air that is trapped in your body during penetration, kind of like queefing, according to Columbia University. So let those quasi-farts fly free.
Repetitive anal sex may lead to weakening of the anal sphincter, increasing the risk for fecal incontinence (pooping yourself), says Amerson. The solution: kegel exercises. "Kegels are designed to tighten the pelvic-floor muscles and studies show they can tighten the muscles around the anal sphincter as well," says women's health expert Jennifer Wider.
Because your fanny's not built for penetration, muscle fibers can be easily damaged, along with blood vessels and tissue layers, says Amerson. A little bleeding may be normal after anal sex, says Wider, and a tissue tear is usually the culprit. But if you experience prolonged bleeding or notice sores around the anus or discharge, check in with your doc to make sure everything is okay back there, she adds.
This article was originally published by Women's Health.