Most people use condoms to avoid unwanted pregnancy or infections or diseases that can get transmitted during sex. Some think pregnancy is not a concern during anal sex, so using condoms doesn’t make sense. After all, skipping condom can make the skin-to-skin contact more enjoyable. Some even feel that they can bond better with their partner if they don’t use protection during a sexual activity. But just like vaginal sex, having anal sex without a condom comes with its set of health risks.
What is anal sex?
Anal sex is a sexual activity that involves penetration of an erect penis in the anus of another person. Some even know it as bareback sex, which is a term commonly used in the LGBTQ+ community. It is mostly used to describe men who have anal sex with other men without using a condom. Anal fingering or using sex toys can also make anal sex more fun.
Health risks of anal sex without using a condom
Whether you want to have sex with a condom or not, depends on you and your partner. So, open and honest communication with your partner about sexual health is important. But you should know that anal sex without a condom can pose various health risks and problems.
1. Sexually Transmitted Infections
Condoms act as a barrier, reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV, gonorrhea and chlamydia, says Dr Manmeet Batra, Senior Consultant – Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Ludhiana. They prevent direct contact between the penis and rectal tissues, minimizing the transmission of infectious fluids. If you don’t use condoms, you might get infected.
Well, the most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted disease (STD) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are to not have sex or be in a long-term monogamous relationship with a partner who is not infected. But not using condoms can increase the risk of STD and HIV. The virus can be present in semen and rectal fluids. Condoms create a barrier that significantly reduces the risk of transmission.
3. Bacterial infections
It is not just sexually transmitted infections, but having anal sex without a condom may lead to passing on bacterial infections and viruses to each other. With condom, it is less risky.
4. Less comfort
You should use condoms as they often come pre-lubricated, which can enhance comfort during anal sex, says the expert. Also, they can reduce friction, making the experience more pleasurable for both the partners. Lubrication is important as there is a fragile tissue inside the anus that is prone to tearing, and that can not only be uncomfortable but also increase your risk of infections.
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Precautions for anal sex
You must remember that using condoms during anal sex aligns with safe sex practices. Other tips are:
1. Consent and communication
Prioritise open communication and ensure that you and your partner are consenting and comfortable with the activity. Discuss boundaries, desires and concerns beforehand, suggests Dr Batra.
Use plenty of water-based or silicone-based lubricant. Unlike the vagina, the anus doesn’t naturally lubricate as much, so additional lubrication is crucial to prevent discomfort or potential tearing.
Your partner should be relaxed, so foreplay, relaxation techniques and communication can contribute to a more comfortable experience.
4. Safe sex practices
If you and your partner choose to switch between anal and vaginal penetration during the same session, change condoms to prevent the transfer of bacteria from the rectum to the vagina.
Clean the anal area properly before engaging in anal play. Taking a shower can help to ensure cleanliness.
6. Respect limits
Be mindful of each other’s comfort levels and boundaries. If any partner expresses discomfort or wants to stop, respect their wishes immediately.
7. Post-sex care
After anal sex, practice good hygiene. Washing with mild soap and water can help to prevent infections. If condoms were used, make sure you dispose them properly.
A good sex life is all about open communication, consent and prioritising the well-being and comfort of your partner, as well as focusing on pleasure for both of you.