Everything You Need to Know About Condoms and Anal Sex

Everything You Need to Know About Condoms and Anal Sex

It’s no secret that condoms help protect against STDs as well as pregnancy during vaginal intercourse. But what about when you explore the exciting and erotic world of anal sex? Whether you’re gay or straight, you may be wondering if it makes sense to wear a condom during anal sex. Wonder no more! We’re here to cover the dos and don’ts of condom-wear during anal sex, including which ones to use and tips for having a safe and healthy experience. So grab your lube and your sense of adventure and let’s discuss what role condoms play in backdoor fun!

Should I Use a Condom During Anal Sex?

When you engage in any type of sexual intercourse, there’s the risk of infection or transmission of an STD. So, the short answer is yes, you should consider using a condom during anal sex. Condoms can protect you against a long list of diseases including HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and herpes just to name a few. While this is true for vaginal sex, it’s even more important when engaging in anal sex. Why? You're at higher risk for contracting an STD during anal sex than vaginal intercourse. This is especially true for women. That’s because the skin and tissue around the anus are more fragile and can more easily result in tears, leading to unwanted bacteria and infection.

Unlike the vagina, your anus doesn’t produce a natural lubricant. This means you’ll need plenty of lube on hand. Don’t be surprised if it hurts at first. Your anus wasn’t designed to stretch to the size of an average male penis or an anal toy. It takes patience and practice. You can also read up on anal stretching and tips for building up to more intense anal play.

What Type of Condom Should I Use?

Well, here’s where things get a little tricky. Studies show that traditional male condoms are more likely to rip and tear during anal sex than female condoms. That’s right, you may have better luck using a female condom (on your anus) than a male one. It does make sense, considering your anus is a hole similar to a vaginal opening.

But wait! Before you run out and stock up on female condoms, this isn’t a proven method. In fact, some experts advise against using female condoms for anal sex and warn about their dangers. After all, it’s not their intended use. Female condoms may be uncomfortable or even painful during anal sex. Not to mention, they may not fit properly and could actually lead to further discomfort and even rectal bleeding. Ouch!

So, you may wanna stick with a traditional condom and lots of lube. Just go slow and have a few extras on hand in case one breaks.

Other Tips for Safe Anal Sex

Condoms are your first defence against sexually transmitted diseases. Although the anus is packed with sensitive nerve endings that make backdoor play a fan-favourite, it’s also a breeding ground for bacteria. This increases your risk for transmitting and catching an STD. The bottom partner (the one receiving) is at the highest risk. That’s because the lining of the rectum is extremely thin. Even without a tear, HIV can easily enter the body during anal intercourse. The insertive partner is also at risk for contracting the disease (and others). Wearing a condom during anal sex reduces the risk for both partners.

In addition to a thin rectum lining, the anus’ inability to stretch or lubricate naturally puts the receiving partner at risk for tears and bleeding. There are a few ways to reduce this risk and increase your chances of having a safe, pleasurable experience.


If you’ve ever felt your sphincter muscle tighten, you know that being tense makes entering the anus nearly impossible. The sphincter muscle is extremely strong and will naturally tighten when you’re nervous or uptight, which is why relaxation is key when attempting anal sex. Do whatever works best for you to relax both your mind and body. Try a hot shower, meditation, porn, or a glass of wine. Foreplay is also a great way to get revved up for sex.

Lube it Up

We already mentioned this but it bears repeating. You will need LOTS and LOTS of lubrication when having anal sex. Lubricating condoms, though lovely, are likely not enough. Not matter if you’re male or female, your anal canal doesn’t naturally lubricate. Aggressively trying to insert a penis or a toy in this small opening won’t be fun for anyone! Instead, use lubricant both on the receiving partner’s anus and on the insertive partner’s shaft. Be generous and don’t be afraid to reapply!

Go Slow

Sex of any kind should be enjoyable. You should relish in the moments of connecting with your partner on a deeper level. The same holds true for anal sex. Don’t rush the process. The receiving partner needs to be fully relaxed and onboard with the plan to explore anal intercourse. Start out slow by inserting a finger (or two) during oral sex. Next, step up to using a butt plug or small anal vibrator. When your partner is completely comfortable with having things inserted into their bum, you can start introducing your penis. You may only get the tip in at first. Wait a few days and try it again. Insert a little more each time as the receiver’s body becomes accustomed to the sensation and more comfortable with the process.

Keep it Clean

One of people’s biggest fears when it comes to anal sex is the mess it might make. Let’s face it, your anus is the pathway for your bowels. No matter how clean or well-prepared you are, you run the risk of getting dirty. Not only is this a major mood-killer, but it’s also another reason anal sex is sometimes dangerous. Bacteria from your feces can get into any cuts or tears in your rectal lining, causing further complications. A few ways to clean up beforehand include showering and using an enema.

Enjoy Safe, Healthy Anal Intercourse

Anal sex is just one more way to explore your sexuality and discover new levels of pleasure. But before you jump right in, there are a few things you should know about engaging in safe and comfortable backdoor play.

It’s advised you use a condom during anal sex to reduce your risk of transmitting or getting an STD. Although male condoms might break, they may be safer than the female alternative. Have a few extra ones on hand and be sure to take things slow. With enough patience and lube, you and your partner can safely explore the amazing world of anal sex. 

Stuart Brown

Stuart Brown

I'm Stuart, senior Editor at British Condoms. I am an expert in all areas of sexual health and have a passion to drive knowledge to youth in the UK. Any questions for me or media enquiries, please feel free to tweet me @britishcondoms. Always open to engagement.

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