Let's Get Serious about the Butt
Pain is like cinnamon: you might want to add a little to spice things up, but too much can ruin the dish. While a little pain or discomfort is a totally normal part of sex, watch out for the intensity. Intense pain or discomfort is the red flag signalling that something has gone wrong. You should never push through extreme feelings because it could mean that you’re damaging your body or that damage has already been done.
Sexual discomfort, especially discomfort in the anal area, can be awkward to talk about. Despite that, it’s something you should take seriously and feel empowered to talk to your doctor about. You’ve got to live in your body for a long time, so you want to keep it in working order. Being aware of and open about pain you’re experiencing could keep you from getting hurt and keep your body in working order so you can have more fun for longer.
Quick disclaimer: Here at Lion’s Den, we’re here to help. We like to provide useful information and advice to our readers, but we aren’t here to provide medical advice. If you think you’re experiencing a serious problem, as always, we recommend speaking to your doctor about anything you’re experiencing.
But if you need help detecting warning signs that your discomfort is a serious issue or advice on initiating a conversation with your doctor, we can give some insight into how to initiate a conversation about your health with your primary health care provider.
Knowing the Risks:
Sex, espeically anal sex, is not without risks. Of course, there are the risks associated with all sexual acts such as pregnancy or STIs. But the anus is a unique area with its own unique risks.
The anal canal produces no natural lubricant which increases the risk of tearing. Additionally, the skin and muscle of the anus is less accommodating of sexual activity than other orifices, and is more absorbent than other skin of the body. The skin of the anal canal is also more absorbant than other skin on the body. This leads to a greater risk of STIs than other forms of sex. The National Institute of Health warns that anal sex is associated with a higher risk of acquiring an STI or other infections.
Anal sex can still be performed safely. According to Planned Parenthood, anal sex is safe for both the short and long-term. However, it can irritate existing hemorrhoids if that’s something you experience. It also comes with an elevated risk of anal or vaginal prolapse. This is when the muscles of the pelvic floor weaken, which causes organs to slip further down.
For all these reasons, it’s important to always, always use lube and protection. Not only does it dramatically increase pleasure, but it reduces risk of injury and spreading STIs.
Recognizing an Issue:
Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to recognize when something has gone awry. If your anal play feels intensely painful, we advise you to stop and consult your doctor. A little pain is to be expected, but if it’s a lot, this could indicate some trauma in the anus.
Another warning sign is blood, which usually accompanies a feeling of pain. Bright red blood means the trauma has come from the anus, anal canal, or lowet part of the colon. This could be from something like an aggravated hemorrhoid or an anal fissure. An anal fissure is a small tear in the anal canal caused by trauma, which could be anything from straining or rough anal sex. Cedar Sinai writes that some of the most common causes of anal fissures are anal sex or objects inserted into the rectum.
But if it’s dark blood, that means the injury is further up and probably more serious, so go to the emergency room immediately.
What to Expect When Consulting a Health Care Provider:
If you’re worried about talking to your doctor because you want to keep your issue private, let us assure you that you’re totally safe speaking to your doctor. Doctors are legally bound to keep any information you share with them private. Also, your health care provider’s job is to listen to your health-related concerns and help solve them, not to judge. Odds are, whatever you’re going through is something a ton of other people have also experienced and that your doctor has seen numerous times.
Planned Parenthood outlines some questions your doctor will probably ask you when you go in to speak with them about sexual discomfort:
- Are you sexually active? (this means anal, oral, and vaginal sex.)
- Have you ever had an STD, or think you have an STD?
- Are you using birth control, and what kind?
- Do you have any pain or bleeding during sex?
- Have you ever had sex without a condom or dental dam?
- Have you ever used drugs or alcohol? If so, how often?
Depending on the type of body you have, your doctor will have different questions. If you are biologically female, they will ask you about your menstrual cycle and any abnormalities you might be experiencing in your cycle. They will also ask if you have noticed a change in your discharge.
Penis owners will be asked if they have any abnormalities in getting or maintaining an erection, or if they have noticed abnormal discharge. Your doctor might also ask if you have noticed any abnormal lumps in your testicles or in your genital area.
Whatever you are experiencing, it is important to be totally transparent with your doctor. They’ve spent years acquiring medical expertise, and will only be able to accurately diagnose the source of your problem if they’ve been made aware of the full scope of your symptoms.
However, if you feel that your doctor is not listening to you or is brushing aside your symptoms, always feel free to seek a second opinion. Someone who is a great healthcare provider for others might not be the best fit for you, so shop around for a healthcare provider that best fits your needs.