Q&A: Besides Condoms and Lube, What Else Can Be Used For Anal Sex?

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QUESTION: My partner and I want to try anal sex but we don't have condoms or lube. Is there anything like petroleum jelly we can use without buying anything?

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Condoms

Photo: Paul Keller

Condoms

Condoms And Lubricant Are Important

Anal sex is something you should definitely use condoms and lubricant for. This is because the anus does not lubricant on its own. Lubricant offers natural protection for the vagina, which can make vaginal penetration – including intercourse – safer, more comfortable, and more pleasurable.

Because the anus does not lubricate naturally, anal penetration without lubricant will pose greater risk of anal tearing, discomfort, and even pain. Especially for your first time trying anal intercourse, I recommend doing your best to find some condoms and lubricants before you try it.

Check With A Health Center

Many health centers offer free condoms, and often free sample packets  of lubricant too. You can call and ask local college health centers or call county or state health departments (such as those offering STI or HIV testing) and ask if they offer free condoms and lubricants. Then simply stop by and pick up your condoms and lubricants. While you’re there, don’t hesitate to ask questions about your sexual health or about STI testing if you have them.

Petroleum Jelly and Oils Problems

Petroleum jelly and oils can increase the risk of condom breakage – not just latex condoms but even some other materials that behave like latex – so it’s a good idea to use a real water- or silicone-based lubricant if you can get one.

Exploring Anal Penetration

If you are curious about anal penetration, you can always start with finger penetration of the anus until you and your partner can find condoms or lubricant to use during anal sex.

Anal fingering is one way to explore anal penetration and pleasuring and you may find it’s something that you enjoy. And if you don’t like the sensation of anal fingering, then you may decide you don’t really want to try anal intercourse, or that you want to go slowly or more gently if or when you do.

Learn More

To learn more about anal pleasuring of various sorts, check out the Good in Bed Guide to Anal Pleasuring.

You can also find additional information on our Kinsey Confidential website.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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