Sex & Relationships Here’s how many women are actually having anal sex

Plus, how you can make the experience better for both of you.

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More women might be open to backdoor sex than you think, according to a new study from Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.

After researchers surveyed more than 2,000 men and women about their sexual behaviors, they found that nearly 43 percent of men and 37 percent of women reported having anal sex with the opposite sex in their lifetime.

The findings are consistent with a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found nearly the exact same percentages for both men and women.

Once taboo, anal sex has slowly been slipping into the mainstream, largely due to pop culture and porn, explains Kimbery McBride, Ph.D.— a sex researcher not affiliated with the study—in our playbook on how to make anal sex better for her.

While that 37 percent shown in the study suggests that a significant number of women are open to the idea, that doesn’t necessarily mean your partner is automatically game for anal sex. But if you have both expressed interest in experimenting with it, there are some things to consider before you do so.

In the past, sex researcher Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., lead author of the study, gave Men’s Health her advice on what you should know about anal sex. Here, the top tips from both her and McBride on what you can do to make sure anal sex is just as good for her as it is for you.


She has to want to try it. If you try pressuring her into it, she’s just not going to feel relaxed. So before you go anywhere near her backend, talk to her about it. That means having an open, honest conversation about it before you get to bedroom.

And even if she expresses interest in it then, you still need to check in with her during sex to make sure she's still on board—even if it’s in the middle of sex while you’re switching positions.

Making her feel comfortable is important, since her anus doesn’t self-lubricate like her vagina does. If she’s not ready for it, you’re just going to hurt her.

Which brings us to our next point…


To avoid the issues mentioned above, use plenty of lubeto ensure that she’s not in any pain. In fact, using lube will make sex feel more pleasurable for the both of you.

While you’re at it, make sure you use a condom. HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases—like herpes or gonorrhea—can be transmitted during anal sex.


Be gentle and go slowly. Despite what you’ve seen in porn, going too deep too quickly is going to cause her pain.

Depending on the sex position you want to try, you can also ease into things by letting her control the depth and speed. So if your go-to move is doggy style, have her back it up. She’ll feel safe—and you’ll get a great view.

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