Anal sex has become less taboo over the past few decades. Both homosexual and heterosexual couples can practice it, and it is considered a normal form of sexual intercourse today. US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes regularly results of studies investigating frequency of anal sex. In 1992, they have found that 26% of men and 20% of women participated in anal sex, while the percentages from 2005 were significantly higher - 44% for men and 35% for women. Despite increasing frequency, general population is still not familiar with all the safety issues of anal sex.
Anal Sex and Pregnancy
Surprisingly, very common question is whether or not a woman can get pregnant after anal sex. The answer is - absolutely not. During anal sex, there is no chance that male and female reproductive cells can get in contact which is necessary for fertilization. I am sure that most people know that, but the confusion probably stems from couples that combine vaginal and anal sex. Namely, vaginal penetration can result in pregnancy even if there was no ejaculation into the vagina. About 1000 sperm cells are ejected during sex before ejaculation and only one cell is needed for fertilization.
So, anal penetration and anal ejaculation without vaginal penetration are free of pregnancy risk.
Anal Sex and Risk of STDs
When it comes to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), things are completely different. Anal sex carries much greater risk of HIV transmission, especially for the receptive partner (regardless of being male or female). A recent study conducted in 2011 suggested that women who had unprotected anal intercourses had 2.6 times higher prevalence of STDs than women who had only unprotected vaginal intercourses. They also had 4.2 times higher risk than women who practiced protected sex only.
Higher risk associated with anal sex is a consequence of microinjurijes of anal mucosa that typically come with anal penetration. That is also the reason why the receptive partner is at higher risk.
Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of STDs during anal or vaginal intercourse. Condoms represent the only method that can protect you from both STDs and pregnancy with their high effectiveness of around 97%. Another very important concern for heterosexual couples is that the condom should always be changed before switching from anal to vaginal sex. Namely, some bacteria that are normally present in rectum and anus are not welcome in vagina and can cause genitourinary infections.
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