All About Anal Intercourse

About 90% of men and 65% of women have orgasms from sexual intercourse with their consenting partners. Not surprising, these percentages vary based on a variety of factors, including the type of intercourse people are engaging in. For example, it is common knowledge (at least it should be!), the probability of a person having an orgasm increases and decreases relative to the underside of the glans penis and the glans clitoris being stimulated during intercourse. What is surprising and not-so-common knowledge is 100% of men and 94% of women receiving anal intercourse with their consenting partners report having orgasms.

Say That Again?!

Of those having anal intercourse with their consenting partners, 100% of men and 94% of women have orgasms from receiving anal intercourse.

That is What I Thought You Said! It is High Time to Talk All About Anal Intercourse.

As with most parts of the human body, the anus has multiple functions. It is the opening at the end of the rectum through which solid waste matter leaves the body and it also can be a highly pleasurable sex organ.

When the Kinsey Research Institute compared men and women engaged in mutual masturbation, or vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse, men and women receiving anal intercourse were most likely to report having orgasms (see Figure). With its extensive sensory-nerve innervation shared with the muscles involved in orgasm, few other organs besides the glans penis or glans clitoris are as anatomically equipped to promote orgasm intensity.

However, unlike for example, the vagina, the anus does not have any self-lubricating glands to aid in anal intercourse. Thus, beyond analingus, lubricants are necessary for pleasure and orgasm and safe sex to come from receiving anal intercourse. And the best lubricants to use are store-bought lubricants because natural lubricants like saliva are associated with promoting sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

When it comes to STIs, anal intercourse has an unwarranted bad reputation. As an example, one third of Americans falsely believe acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is caused by anal intercourse. The truth is, if a person does not have the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) — the virus that causes AIDS, and their partner does not have HIV, then neither partner can get AIDS from engaging in any sexual behavior with one another: No matter if the sexual behavior is anal intercourse or vaginal intercourse or oral intercourse or mutual masturbation or kissing. However, if a person does have an STI (e.g., HIV, human papilloma virus, chlamydia, etc.), then anal intercourse can serve as the transfer mechanism for this infection, but so too can vaginal and oral intercourse, and mutual masturbation, and dependent on the STI (e.g., herpes — HSV-1), even kissing can serve as the transfer mechanism. Thus, when having anal intercourse or any other form of sexual intercourse, protecting oneself from STIs involves using safe sex barrier methods like male and female condoms and dental dams.

Who is Having Anal Intercourse?

Before truthfully answering this question, let me address the two answers society most often assumes as being true. The first assumption is homosexual men. Certainly, anal intercourse may involve two men, and a penis and the anus, but anal intercourse can also involve a man and a woman, and a penis and the anus, or it can involve two men, two women, or one man and one woman, and a dildo and the anus or the fingers and the anus or the tongue and the anus.

The second assumption, likely gained from the significant proportion of boys and men using pornography as their primary source for sex education, is “all women love anal sex.”

The truth is sexual orientation and gender have little bearing on whether a person experiences the anus as being an erogenous zone.

Homosexual men are the most likely to report receiving anal intercourse at some time during their lives (about 85%), followed by homosexual women (about 55%), heterosexual women (about 40%), and heterosexual men (about 3%). However, when giving anal intercourse is included with receiving anal intercourse the differences between these four groups become a lot smaller than the stereotypical differences society would have us believe: When homosexual and heterosexual women, and heterosexual men are asked about their sexual behaviors, about 40% of them report giving or receiving anal intercourse at some time during their lives. Comparatively, when homosexual men are asked about their most recent sexual behaviors, about 40% of them report giving or receiving anal intercourse. Like homosexual and heterosexual women, and heterosexual men, homosexual men engage in a variety of sexual behaviors with the most frequent being masturbation, followed by romantic kissing, and oral intercourse.

Despite societal myths assuming otherwise, science finds no matter if we are homosexual or heterosexual, men or women, we are a lot more alike than we are different, when it comes to our sexual pleasures gained from anal intercourse.

References

Agnew, J (1985) Some anatomical and physiological aspects of anal sexual practice. Journal of Homosexuality, 12, 75–96.

Chalabi, M. (2015). The gender orgasm gap. FiveThirtyEight, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-gender-orgasm-gap/

Chandra, A., Mosher, W. D., Copen, C., & Sionean, C. (2011). Sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual identity in the United States: Data from the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth. National Health Statistics Report, 36, 1–36.

Chow, E. P. F., Cornelisse, V. J., Read, T. R. H., Lee, D., Walker, S., Hocking, J. S., Chen, M. Y., Bradshaw, C. S., & Fairley, C. K. (2016). Saliva use as a lubricant for anal sex is a risk factor for rectal gonorrhea among men who have sex with men, a new public health message: A cross-sectional survey. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 92, 532–536.

Copen, C., Chandra, A., & Febo-Vazquez, I. (2016). Sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual orientation among adults aged 18–44 in the United States: Data from the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth. National Health Statistics Reports, 88, 1–13.

Herbenick, D., Barnhart, K., Beavers, K., & Fortenberry, D. (2018) Orgasm range and variability in humans: A content analysis, International Journal of Sexual Health, 30, 95–209.

Herbenick, D., Bowling, J., Fu, T. J., Dodge, B., Guerra-Reyes, L., & Sanders, S. (2017). Sexual diversity in the United States: Results from a nationally representative probability sample of adult women and men. PloS one, 12(7), e0181198. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181198

Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Schick, V., Sanders, S. A., Dodge, B., & Fortenberry, J. D. (2010). Sexual behavior in the United States: Results from a national probability sample of men and women ages 14–94. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5, 255–265.

The Journal of Sexual Medicine (October 2010). Special Issue: Findings from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB), Volume 7, Issue s5, pp. 243–373. Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University.

Lucas, D. R., Roberts, C., Nylander, G., & Higdon, M. (2016). Do Americans know more about sex today than they did 25 years ago? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southwestern Psychological Association, Dallas, Texas.

Mahar, E. A., Mintz, L. B., & Akers, B. M. (2020). Orgasm equality: Scientific findings and societal implications. Current Sexual Health Reports, 12, 24–32.

Morin, J. (2010). Anal Pleasure and Health: A Guide for Men, Women, and Couples, Burlingame, CA: Down There Press.

Rosenberger, J. G., Reece, M., Schick, V., Herbenick, D., Novak, D. S., Van Der Pol, B., & Fortenberry, J. D. (2011). Sexual behaviors and situational characteristics of most recent male‐partnered sexual event among gay and bisexually identified men in the United States. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 8, 3040–3050.

Dr. Don Lucas, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology and head of the Psychology Department at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio Texas. He loves psychology, teaching, and research.

If you like this paper, check out Don’s YouTube channel, 5MIweekly: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQFQ0vPPNPS-LYhlbKOzpFw/featured, like his Facebook page: http://fb.me/5MIWeekly, and check out his Medium site: https://humansexuality.medium.com/

Anal Sex, Anal Intercourse, Safe Sex, Homosexuality, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Human Sexuality, Sexuality, LGBTQI, Homosexual, Gay, Psychology

I am a Professor of Psychology at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio Texas. My research focus is human sexuality. I also host a YouTube channel, 5MIweekly.

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