A Guide to Safer Anal Sex

By Megan Andelloux


By the end of this lesson, participants will be able to:

1. Distinguish between facts and myths about anal sex.

2. Recognize the basic parts of anal and rectal anatomy.

3. Identify safer sex precautions that one might follow when engaging in anal sex behaviors.


Anal sex is a common sexual behavior among Americans. More than 40% of American men aged 25-59 report having ever engaged in anal sex, as do 40% of women aged 20-49. Among younger Americans, about 20% of teen women aged 18-19 and 11% of men aged 20-24 report having had anal intercourse during the past year.

However, due to the stigma associated with the anus and anal sex, as well as a lack of educational materials, many people do not know how to incorporate safer sex practices into anal sex. The result may be risky sexual decisions leading to trauma and/or infections. Since anal sex carries more health risks than other forms of intercourse, it is important that sexual health educators teach individuals about risk-reduction measures. In this lesson, participants dispel common myths about the anus and anal sex, and learn the facts about anal anatomy, as well as sexual health and sexual safety.

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