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Anal sex is a type of sexual intercourse in which penis is inserted into the anus. Heterosexual as well as male homosexual partners can enjoy it, because both men and women have anatomical structures that enable them to experience pleasure during anal sex. Skin of anal region contains nerve endings that are very sensitive to touch and pressure. In men, the prostate is located in front of the anus, so it can be stimulated during anal sex, while in women, there are shared nerve fibers between anus and clitoris that enable indirect clitoral stimulation.

General safety issues of anal sex

There are estimations that not enough attention is given to safety precautions of anal sex, despite growing number and frequency of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Namely, most couples are in fear of unwanted pregnancy, and they think they have eliminated all the risks by practicing anal sex. Although anal sex cannot result in pregnancy, there are many other concerns that need to be taken into consideration.

Anal sex and HIV infection

Studies dealing with HIV transmission state that anal sex carries 20 - 30 times higher risk of HIV infection than vaginal sex.

Homosexual community seems to be well informed about this problem due to educational activities and programs conducted by gay associations, while research shows that heterosexuals have very little knowledge about anal sex risks in general. There were questionnaires that showed that even some healthcare workers didn't really have correct information about anal sex risks, and significant number of them thought that vaginal sex carried higher risk of HIV infection. Further education of general public and medical professionals is certainly needed in order to clarify these misconceptions.

Other anal sex safety issues

The skin of anus cannot provide enough lubrication in order to reduce friction during sexual intercourse. That can cause skin damage presented with pain, bleeding, and defecating difficulties. Anus and rectum are filled with bacteria, some of which can take the opportunity to cause the infection when anal skin and rectal mucosa are damaged. Infection with Human papillomavirus (HPV) is of great importance because it can cause anal cancer if not treated.

Frequent anal penetration can contribute to weakening of anal sphincter - a muscle which enables holding feces, so the urgency to defecate can appear. There are however Kegel exercises which can strengthen pelvic musculature, thus preventing this problem.

How to prevent problems related to anal sex

In order to protect from STDs, it is recommended to always use a condom during anal sex.

Never use the same condom for anal and vaginal sex, as some bacteria that are normally present in anus are not welcome in female reproductive organs.

Condoms usually have lubricants on the outer side, but additional lubrication is recommended for anal sex. Avoid using improvised lubricants as they can damage the integrity of condoms. There are many commercial lubricants specially designed for this purpose.

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