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Are there any health concerns related to anal sex?

Curiosity about the backdoor position has grown with modern society. Anal sex or anal intercourse is practiced by a majority of homosexual men as well as many heterosexual men and woman with 36 percent of American women and 44 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 44 having practiced anal sex.

The anus is full of nerve endings, making it very sensitive, something some find sexually enjoyable. Protected anal sex is considered a relatively safe practice, but it does present different risks than vaginal or oral sex. One of the biggest differences is that the lining of the anus is much thinner than the vagina. A vagina is constructed of a thick elastic lining meant to accommodate a penis or a baby.

An anus, on the other hand, is not. It is constructed of a much thinner tissue, which means it can easily tear. Torn anus tissue can lead to a sexually transmitted infection such as rectal gonorrhea, chlamydia, warts, herpes and HIV (among others), which are all risks.

Protected anal sex is the best safety precaution. Health professionals recommend that men and women who switch from anal sex to vaginal sex use a new condom, since the anus is full of bacteria and could potentially infect a partner.

Couples practicing anal sex are also advised to use a water-based lubricant (rather than a lotion) to avoid condom breakage. Oral contact with the anus can put both people at risk for hepatitis, herpes, HPV and other infections. If anal sex is painful, stop. In the event of bleeding, a doctor should be consulted in the event of an anal fissure or other tear including a perforation (hole) in the colon.

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