There are two types of people out there when it comes to anal sex. The first type positively swears by it and ranks it among their favorite sex acts. The second type hates it with a blinding passion because they’ve had nothing but bad encounters. Those are two wildly different takes on the same experience, so if you’ve never had the opportunity to form your own opinion, it only makes sense that you’d feel a little confused.

The fact of the matter is anal sex isn’t for everyone, and it may well turn out not to be your bag either. However, it’s important to realize that when done properly, anal sex isn’t painful or nightmarish. If you do decide you want to give it a try yourself, keep the following tips in mind to ensure the best experience possible. You may just find you’ve got a new favorite bedroom activity on your hands.

Talk Things Out

Although it’s ultimately up to you how up front you want to be with your partner about your lack of previous anal experience, it’s always a good idea discuss things first. If you’re like many anal sex first-timers, you’re going to be a little nervous, so it may be helpful to your partner to know why so that they can handle you with the extra care and consideration you deserve.

When you are ready to experiment with actual stimulation, it’s totally OK to take things slow. Don’t feel like you need to launch straight into full-on anal sex right off the bat. Try experimenting with a finger or a small anal toy first to get used to how backdoor stimulation feels. You can do this with your partner or schedule a little test run to enjoy on your own – whichever you’re most comfortable with.

Use Plenty of Lube

Lube isn’t just a good idea when it comes to anal sex. It’s pretty much what makes the difference between the mind-blowingly pleasurable experiences some people have and the painful ones other people are so afraid of. You’ll naturally want to make sure you have plenty of it on hand any time you think anal play might be on the menu.

It’s also imperative that you use the right lube. The best picks are going to be the options that are formulated specifically with anal sex in mind. They’re thicker and cushier to make up for the natural lubrication your anal area doesn’t produce on its own. The lubricating effect is also longer lasting, so you don’t have to worry about things going dry right in the middle of the action.

Choose the Right Toys

Experimenting with toys can be a great transitional activity between outer stimulation only and full-on anal sex. However, it’s important to make sure you choose options that are actually guaranteed safe for anal play. The wrong choices can be painful to use and could even wind up lost inside your body under the wrong set of circumstances – probably the last reason in the world you want to go to the emergency room.

That said, stick strictly to toys made specifically for anal use. They’ll be designed with safety in mind so you can officially stop having nightmares about that embarrassing potential doctor visit. Anal vibrators, beads, probes, plugs, and more are also designed to maximize the pleasure factor to the fullest, so they’re fantastic ways to really get to know your backdoor on an intimate new level. Pick a design you like the looks of and prepare to be amazed.

Take Your Time

If you do decide you really like the idea of going all the way when it comes to anal sex, make sure you take your time. Anal sex is best if you allow yourself to get extremely turned on first, so definitely don’t skimp on the foreplay. Make sure you allow your anal opening plenty of time and opportunity to warm up a little as well. Have your partner stimulate your anus externally using their fingers or a small toy to help the opening relax and prepare for what’s to come.

Make sure you choose your position carefully as well. Eventually, you’ll get a feel for what positions feel good to you and which ones don’t, but it’s best not to think too far outside the box right off the bat. Doggie style is almost always a safe bet if you’re not really sure, as is missionary. Take things slow at first and then intensify things once you feel ready.

Whether or not you decide you like everything anal sex brings to the table, you can rest pretty easy in the knowledge that it won’t be painful or uncomfortable if you approach things with care. You’ll almost definitely be able to say you’re glad you gave it a try.