Everybody’s talking about Kim Kardashian’s butt, as usual, because big butts are a big deal nowadays. With the rise of the butt has come the rise of anal sex, which honestly is pretty cool. It’s cool because butts are universal; all people have butts – boys, girls, and everyone in between! Everyone can do butt stuff! What a beautiful thing.

Of course, it’ll only be beautiful, magical, hot, and what-not if it’s done right, which is tough. We’ll start from the very beginning, the most important step: communication. In most, relationships the conversation about anal sex seems to always start in the same place: one partner asks something along the lines of, “Have you ever thought about anal?”

It can be easier for the pitcher to bring it up because they aren’t scared of it. Anal sex for them isn’t going to hurt. It can also be an easier thing for guys to bring up because they’re not running the risk of being labeled as a slut if their partner tells someone. No matter what, it’s nice that the conversation is brought up, because anal sex is, or can be, pleasurable for both partners. And that’s worth thinking about.

Now, there is a common (not universal) reaction to the question above, which is, “Oh no, they want to poke me in the butt! Panic!” But there’s no need to panic, I promise.

First off, if you are scared of the pain associated with anal sex, know that it doesn’t have to hurt, if you’re properly prepared – we’ll get to more of that in my column next issue. Second, if want to try it but you’re worried about some stigma, screw what other people think! Exploring your sexuality the way that YOU want to is way more important than staying in the good graces of some judgmental asshat.

Once you’ve considered those two things, reevaluate. Honestly, are you interested in anal? Some people will still say, “Uh-uh no way, my butt is for pooping and that’s it, thank you very much!” Nothing wrong with that. Some might think, “I guess I would like to know what it’s like, maybe it’ll be fun. I’m in!” That’s cool, too.

Then there’s the fairly common grey area of, “Well, my partner is really interested in it, and their being turned on turns me on, so maybe it could be okay.” And that’s fine too, but be cautious. We all like to do things for our partners; we all like to please.

But ask yourself, “Am I doing this for myself?” You don’t want to be pressured into something you don’t want to do, whether you or your partner is the one pressuring you. Be honest with yourself, and wait to say yes until you’re absolutely sure.

Partners: if you’re having a hard time reading what your partner is thinking, ask! If you can express to them that you’re interested in anal, that’s a great thing. It says wonderful things about your ability to communicate, and in many cases, it’s a brave thing to do.

But at the same time, you don’t want to pressure your partner into anything they don’t want to do, obviously. Comfort your partner by reminding them that you’re genuinely interested in whether they want to do it or not. Remind them that just because you’re interested in anal, it doesn’t mean that they will disappoint you if they are not.

If they do end up saying no, respect it. A simple, “Thanks for being honest with me, because I wouldn’t want to do it unless you really did too,” works great.

If both you and your partner give an enthusiastic “yes” for anal sex, that’s the most important part of having good, pain-free anal sex, so congrats, and if one or both of you gives a “no,” congratulations for successfully navigating a very tough conversation and still being honest. That’s a feat.

Armstrong is a member of the class of 2016.

To submit an anonymous question, visit sex-thect.tumblr.com/ask.

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