When it comes to anal sex, many people think of pretty much the same thing as Penis-in-Vagina sex, but in the butt. And that thought alone keeps people from doing it in the first place. But there are many more ways to involve the sensitive anus in love play, for example ‘shallowing’, or ‘surfacing’. A scientific study shows that many women actually like these forms of anal sex.
Researcher Dr Christiana von Hippel (For Goodness Sake) and Dr Devon J. Hensel (Professor at Indiana University School of Medicine) published their study in PLoS One. The study was conducted among 3,017 women aged 18 to 93 from the United States. The main conclusion is that many women like anal sex, but it depends on how it is done.
For the study, the researchers coined some new terms to discuss different ways of having anal sex:
- Surfacing: touching the outside of the anus
- Shallowing: minimal shallow penetration of the anus, for instance with a fingertip
- Pairing: touching or penetrating the anus and simultaneously stimulating the clitoris or penetrating the vagina.
Intimate and emotional
Forty per cent of the women surveyed like “anal surfacing”, while 35% find “shallowing” pleasurable. Forty per cent also enjoyed “pairing”. The survey delves into the specifics of each act, asking women who enjoy penetration about the depth and what they like about each form of stimulation. Nearly 30 per cent say anal stimulation makes the orgasm more intense; 18 per cent say anal “feels intimate and emotional”.
The study is unique, because anal sex is usually portrayed as ‘butt-fucking’. And other studies often focus only on, for example, the risks of sexually transmitted diseases. One study even describes how women use anal sex to negotiate with their male partner, or why women would choose anal sex in the first place. Also here on NBRplaza, one of the most popular posts is the one about ‘why men like anal sex, and women don’t‘.
The researchers say this study is the first to ask women what they like about it.
In addition to the quantitative research, qualitative research was also conducted in the form of interviews. A number of respondents indicated that they found anal sex pleasurable when they did not see it as a hole to penetrate, but rather as a flat surface that can be touched. A bit like a nipple.
Other respondents said that their first experience of anal sex had been painful and that it had taken them a long time to realise that it could also be very pleasurable.
And yet others described how the taboo adds to the excitement and pleasure. It feels intimate and like a primal feeling.
According to the researchers, the new terms can help to improve the conversation about anal sex between partners. With these terms, you can indicate what kind of anal touching you want with a finger or a penis, the researchers write in their report.
What I find unfortunate is that – despite the great effort to make anal sex more debatable – it is still fairly limited in its vocabulary. For example, the study does not mention anilingus (licking the anus).