A Research Review Of Heterosexual Anal Sex

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Although widely practiced, little research has been dedicated to the study of anal sex in a heterosexual context.

Tiny Sex Positions

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Tiny Sex Positions

Although widely practiced, heterosexual anal sex has traditionally received little research attention…until now. A study recently published in the Journal of Sex Research reviews the literature on anal sex in the heterosexual context. The manuscript, written by Indiana University researchers McBride and Fortenberry, begins by doing a nice job of reviewing the history of anal sex. Artistic representations of anal sexuality date back to as early as 300 AD.

Prevalence and frequency

The lifetime prevalence of anal sex ranges from 6% to 40%, a rather wide range! In sex research (and likely research in general), it is sometimes difficult to obtain precise values due to different definitions used by researchers and due to participants sometimes not fully disclosing sensitive information.

Interestingly, only about 10% of heterosexuals reported having engaged in anal sex at least once in the past year. This could be because some folks may try anal sex once, not like it, and never try it again (often due to not taking precautions such as warming up and using lube).

Sexual health issues

The paper proceeds to outline some of the public and sexual health issues that come with engaging in anal sex such as condom use, virginity loss, and behavior.

To read the full article, you can check it out here.


There is a great book, written by Tristan Taormino, called The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women. If you’re looking for some video resources, Vivid Ed has a great educational porn called  The Expert Guide to Anal Sex which is also by Tristan Taormino.

Kristen Mark, PhD, MPH

completed her PhD in Health Behavior and her MPH in Biostatistics, both at Indiana University. Kristen is an Assistant Professor in Health Promotion at University of Kentucky. Kristen's research focuses on sexual pleasure, sexuality in long term relationships, sexual function, and women's sexuality.
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