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For those who have never done it before, the idea of "bottoming" – i.e., being on the receiving end of anal sex – can be intimidating, if not downright scary. Don't worry we've been there before, and those feelings are totally justified. But with preparation, practice, and a whole lot of communication, learning how to bottom can open up whole new universes of pleasure for you and your partner(s). And if you're not sure where to start, we've put together a handy how-to guide for learning how to start bottoming.
Does bottoming hurt?
If you've never tried any kind of anal play before, the idea of bottoming can be hard to approach. Many first-timers ask the question, "does bottoming hurt?" The answer is yes and no. Without proper preparation or taking a slow, healthy approach, bottoming certainly can hurt. But if you know what you're doing, take your time, and above all, listen to your body, bottoming doesn't have to hurt. The first few times may be uncomfortable, but as you get comfortable and learn what your body likes, discomfort will fade away and turn into something much more enjoyable.
Why do people like bottoming?
So why do people like bottoming, anyways? The answer is different for everyone. The skin in and around the anus and inside the rectum is an erogenous zone that's packed with nerve endings that, when stimulated, can cause intense pleasure. For people who have a prostate, the pleasure goes even deeper: the prostate rests against the anal wall about 3 inches inside of the rectum, and when it gets stimulated, it can open up new worlds of incredibly powerful orgasms. So while the start of your bottoming journey may not be immediately pleasant, rest assured: there's so much more in store.
How to prepare to bottom using anal training.
So from a practical perspective, how do you go from zero experience to becoming a bottoming pro? The key is to start slow and gradually work up to each step. Many men find it easier to prepare themselves to bottom by doing some anal training and exploration on their own. The easiest way is to start on your own, using your finger(s) to play with the area around your anus and working up to slipping a finger inside. This will help you get used to the sensation of having something in your ass and teach your body what that feels like. Just make sure you've thoroughly washed, cut, and filed your nails to avoid any sharp edges in there.
If you're preparing to bottom with a partner, you may also consider an anal dilation kit. These are sets of anal dildos of various diameters, allowing you to start small and slowly work your way up in size, giving your rectum time to adjust to dilating and accommodating a foreign object. For some people, these work great, while others may prefer another type of anal toy – but whatever you do, make sure to go slow, use tons of lube, and really listen to your body as you practice. Remember, this isn't just about getting ready physically: it's also a psychological process. You want to listen to your body to see what kind of motions and stimulation help you loosen up, what brings you pleasure, and what turns you on.
Tips for anal hygiene before bottoming
So – you've done your practice, learned how to loosen up, and now you're ready to try bottoming with a partner. But how do you clean yourself up for anal sex? As with anything sex-related, it's different for everyone, and you'll eventually find a rhythm that works for you. But here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Start With Your Diet: While many don't think of this, the best place to start is your diet. A healthy diet that's high in fruits and vegetables and low in red meat is the best way to keep yourself clean for anal sex. In general, foods like fruits and veggies, that are naturally high in fiber, will produce more together, even stools that leave less residue behind, while foods that are greasy, oily, or spicy will make things a little messier.
Use a Fiber Supplement: Naturally, we can't overstate how helpful it is to use a high-quality fiber supplement. Our own Pure for Men fiber supplements are designed to work like a sponge that slowly scrapes the intestinal tract and leaves you clean and ready for play.
Wash Your Bum: At a minimum, you should thoroughly wash your buttcrack and anus before you get started. Using high-quality soaps is a must, and many find that wipes help as well. Our Stay Ready Collection has everything you need to get clean down there (on the outside, anyways).
Anal Douching: Many people also find that using an anal douche to clean themselves out about an hour or two before bottoming will help for a cleaner experience. We recommend using a simple silicone douche bulb with clean, slightly-cooler-than-lukewarm water. If you filter your tap water, use the filtered water. Remember to use plenty of lube and be gentle, as you don't want to force water all the way up there – you only need to clean the first 6-8" or so.
Don't Worry About Accidents: Finally, remember that no matter how well you prepare yourself, bodies are bodies. Accidents will happen! And if they do, that's fine. Seeing a little fecal matter – or a lot – is only a big deal if you make it a big deal. Just clean up, take a shower if you need to, and either get back into it or try again next time. Accidents are something that happen to EVERYONE who bottoms, so there is nothing to feel ashamed of. And remember that if your partner gives you any grief over it, they're the asshole (no pun intended).
The Most Important Thing for Bottoming
All these tips will help you prepare for and get the hang of bottoming during anal sex, but there's one piece of advice that we cannot stress enough. What's the biggest, most important tip for bottoming? It's simple:
LISTEN to your body and COMMUNICATE with your partner.
Ultimately, learning how to bottom will be a journey for you, just as it has been for all the anal explorers before you. It won't happen instantaneously, but as you get more used to it, learn how to do it, and learn what you like, you'll find more and more pleasure from bottoming. But at every stage along the way, remember to listen to your body and communicate with your partner.
We hope this guide makes the concept of bottoming a little more approachable for you – and if you're ready to give bottoming a try, and no matter what you plan to do or who you plan to do it with, remember to go slow, stay safe, and have fun!
HOW TO BOTTOM?
How to Clean Your Sex Toys,
So You Can Use Them Safely?
To figure out how to clean sex toys, you’ll need to know exactly what they’re made of.
You might think you can just dunk your sex toys in soap and water and be done with it. Please don’t do that. Instead, the first step in cleaning a sex toy is figuring out what material the toy is made of. You can divide most sex toys into two broad categories: porous materials and nonporous materials.
If the material is porous, it has tiny holes (like pores) that can harbor bacteria, fungi, and general gunk, Lisa Finn, a sex educator at the sex toy boutique Babeland, tells SELF.
According to Finn, porous materials include:
Elastomer (rubber) varieties, like:
Thermoplastic rubber, or TPR for short; sometimes called “skin-safe rubber”
Thermoplastic elastomer, a.k.a. TRE; also sometimes called “skin-safe rubber”
Jelly rubber; sometimes (not always) contains phthalates, a group of chemicals that have come under fire for their potential to affect human health (the scientific jury is still out, according to the National Library of Medicine)
-Polyvinyl chloride (PVC); also sometimes contains phthalates
Materials like Sensafirm and UR3, which can help toys feel like skin
If your sex toy is made from nonporous materials, it doesn’t have those holes, so various microorganisms are less likely to stick around. And here are common nonporous sex-toy materials:
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic (a kind of hard plastic)
Borosilicate glass (as in Pyrex and similar varieties)
Soda-lime glass (like the kind used for drinking glasses)
Metals like stainless steel and gold
To find out what kind of material your toy is made of, check the box or look it up online. It’s worth noting right off the bat that even if you clean your porous sex toys, you might not be able to remove as many germs as you’d be able to with nonporous ones, so it’s best to save them for personal play or use them with condoms for partnered fun—more on that in a bit.
Regardless of your toy’s material, you should wash and dry it after each use so it’s as clean as possible.
Though porous toys are more likely to harbor bacteria or other microorganisms than nonporous ones, it’s a good idea to clean any toy you’ve used right after you’ve used it. I know, I know: What a buzzkill. But incorporating this crucial step into your routine will keep your toys as sanitary as possible.
Your vagina is home to myriad bacteria and fungi that help to keep it healthy. When you use a sex toy, odds are some of these microorganisms will attach themselves to the toy. Most of the time, this won’t be harmful, Lauren Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, tells SELF. Your vagina is already used to dealing with these microorganisms, so they don’t really pose a threat.
That’s not always the case, though. Let’s say you have a sexually transmitted infection or a vaginal infection, and you decide to masturbate using a toy. It’s possible that some of the pathogens causing the infection will remain on the toy’s surface (if it’s nonporous) or get inside the tiny holes (if it’s porous) and continue to live there, Peter Leone, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the UNC School of Medicine, tells SELF. If you don’t clean the toy before sharing it with a partner, it’s theoretically possible for you to spread the infection to them, he explains. You may even be able to reintroduce the microorganism in question into your system after you’ve already cleared an infection.
This risk of infection isn’t limited only to vaginal issues. Similar concerns exist with gastrointestinal (GI) bacteria, Leone says. The rectum is home to all kinds of bacteria your vagina isn’t used to, such as E. coli, and some of these bacteria could get transferred to a toy you use anally. If that bacteria comes in contact with your (or your partner’s) urinary tract, it could cause a urinary tract infection (UTI).