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Are There Special Risks When Anal Sex Is Between 2 Men?

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I am thinking of having anal sex for the first time but i'm not sure if it is safe for guys to have it. Can you tell me some of the risks that would need to be taken into account when having anal sex between two men?
Signed: Are There Special Risks When Anal Sex Is Between 2 Men?

Dear Are There Special Risks When Anal Sex Is Between 2 Men?,

 

Since unprotected anal sex is considered to be a high-risk behavior, TeenHealthFX would phrase it that there are safer ways than others for two men who are considering anal sex.

 

Considerations Regarding Anal Sex:

 

  • One way to have safer sex is to have both partners tested for any STDs prior to any sexual contact. The sex will be safer if it is known that neither partner has any STDs.
  • Sex will be safer when two people are in a long-term, monogamous relationship to help prevent the transmission of STDs.
  • Use a new, clean, non-expired condom each and every time you have anal sex. Unprotected anal sex is a very high risk behavior as either partner can transmit an STD to one another, including HIV. The skin of the anus is fragile and likely to tear, making it easy to transmit STDs like HIV and hepatitis. And the warm, moist environment of the anus is ideal for bacteria infections such as gonorrhea and Chlamydia to thrive in. 
  • Condoms are more likely to break during anal sex than with vaginal sex. So be sure to use generous amounts of a water-based lubricant to reduce the chances of the condom breaking.
  • Know that some people may not be aware that they have an STD because they are not symptomatic or they may not be honest about having an STD (studies have shown that 1 in 3 people who know they have an STD lie about it) – so testing for STDs and using protection is very important.
  • Open, honest communication. Tell your partner if you have, or think you may have, any STDs. Let your partner know if anything he does is painful or unpleasant for you and ask him to stop what he is doing.
  • Remember that alcohol and drug use often interferes with a person making good self-protective choices when it comes to sex – so go into any kind of sexual activity with a clear head.
  • If one person has an STD, refrain from any sexual activity until treatment is received.
  • Go slowly with anal sex to allow the sphincter to relax. If it hurts, stop and give it time to relax or consider using some more lubricant.
  • Because the lining of the anus is thin and fragile, go slowly and do not be too rough during anal sex to help avoid any cuts, tears or trauma to the area.

 

Safer Alternatives To Anal Sex:

 

If the risks of anal sex concern you, know that you can participate in different types of sex play other than anal sex where there are either no risks or lower risks of passing on an STD. No-risk types of sex play can include:

  • Masturbation
  • Mutual masturbation
  • Sharing sexual fantasies

Lower-risk types of sex play can include:

  • Kissing
  • Fondling (manual stimulation of one another)
  • Sexy massage
  • Oral sex with a condom or dental dam
  • The use of clean, safe sex toys

 

If you have any more questions about anal sex, need more information on practicing safer sex, or want to learn more about or be tested for STDs, talk to your primary care physician or an adolescent medicine specialist. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for an appointment or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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