Is Anal Sex Okay?

I received two separate emails on this question recently. The first was very straightforward:

Is anal sex ok with your wife?

The second email came from a single-but-searching woman. She’d found another Christian-based site that so praised anal sex she became emotionally distraught. As she explained:

Even though I am not naive to this concept, the idea espoused in the post and comments that this form of sex is more pleasurable and intense for men and more desirable than PIV intercourse turned me off men so badly that I no longer desire to get married….It’s embedded in my mind now that unless I go down that road, I can never truly please a man.

There was more to that email, but basically anal sex receiving so much approbation was a huge turnoff for her.

I’ve talked about anal sex in the past and on the Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast, but I didn’t have a post dedicated to it. Here’s that post.

What Is Anal Sex?

Some have used anal sex and sodomy interchangeably, but anal sex is more specific.

The term sodomy is based on a reference to the story of Sodom in Genesis 19, in which the men of the town approached Abraham’s nephew Lot about his house guests: “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Lot calls this act “wicked,” and soon after the Lord destroyed the entire town.

In some times and places, sodomy thus referred to homosexual anal sex. But it’s also been used to reference all homosexual sex, all anal sex, and even bestiality.

Meanwhile, anal sex specifically refers to sexual penetration of the anus by a penis. Some include penetration by a finger, but I’d categorize that as anal play rather than anal sex.

As for the flip side, a penis-shaped object into his anus, I’m not covering that this time. If you want, you can check out this post.

Why Does Anal Sex Appeal to Some Men?

Several factors contribute to the desire some men have for anal sex.

First, there’s interest or curiosity of having an even tighter fit around his penis. The rectum is tighter the vagina, so the pressure can be more intense.

Also, some claim that the prostate gland—accessible to touch through the rectum—is an erogenous zone more sensitive than the testicles or penis.

Moreover, pornography and erotica often display and convey anal sex as a peak experience that is enjoyable for both partners.

Is Anal Sex a Safe, Healthy Practice?

In short, no.

What’s often not covered by those who advocate anal sex is that it is unsafe, often painful to women, and unnecessary to achieve the ends they recommend. WebMD and others recommend against anal sex and provide important considerations, such as:

  • The rectum is not designed to expand and contract like a vagina, so it’s relatively easy to tear tissue.
  • The rectum lacks natural lubrication, thus increasing friction and tearing.
  • Ongoing anal sex can lead to fecal incontinence.
  • Receiving anal sex increases the likelihood of anal cancer.
  • For women, anal sex increases HIV transmission by 17 times over vaginal intercourse and is twice as likely to pass the infection as a shared needle.
  • Unlike the vagina or the urinary tract, the rectum is full of harmful bacteria.
  • Other infections can be easily passed through anal sex.
  • In one study, about 3 in 4 women reported pain during anal sex, with higher intensity than the pain or discomfort some might experience with vaginal sex. (By the way, the latter can almost always be resolved, the former not so much.)
  • In the same study, about 15% of men reported pain during anal sex.

(See “The Consequences of Heterosexual Anal Sex for Women.” Medical Institute for Sexual Health, August 26, 2016; “Pain Experienced during Vaginal and Anal Intercourse with Other-Sex Partners: Findings from a Nationally Representative Probability Study in the United States.” The journal of sexual medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, April 2015.)

But What About the Benefits?

What about that tighter fit and prostate stimulation?

If he desires tighter pressure on his penis, other options include sexual positioning, hand jobs, and penis rings.

As for prostatic massage, anal play with a finger is a possibility, though to remain safe, one could use lubrication and a hand or finger glove. And a wife can also stimulate the prostate gland from the outside, rubbing the stretch of skin and tissue that runs between her husband’s testicles from penis toward anus.

But let’s also put prostate stimulation into perspective. According to a 2015 study: “The orgasm induced through deep prostatic massage is thought to be different from the orgasm associated direct penile stimulation. Although penile stimulation orgasms are associated with 4–8 pelvic muscle contractions, prostatic massage orgasms are associated with 12 contractions. Prostatic massage orgasms are thought to be more intense and diffuse than penile stimulation orgasms, but they require time and practice and are not liked by many men.” (emphasis added)

Are Married Couples Having Anal Sex?

From my online research, the percentage of couples engaging in anal sex is disturbingly high, up to one-third. But it’s not that many when you consider who’s doing it and how.

For instance, 25% of women in one study said they were coerced into having anal sex. Coercion can include force, pressure, guilting, etc., but the ages of those engaging in this behavior top out in the 20s and go down in the 30s. That says to me that some people may try it when they’re younger, but once married—when they feel they can speak up for what they want and don’t want—they do not largely choose to have anal sex.

In my own experience, having heard from hundreds of couples, a large majority of married Christian couples are not having anal sex. Most husbands aren’t even asking for it!

Rather, the vast majority of men who contact me talk about the joy of seeing and touching their wife’s bodies, providing her the pleasure she most desires, giving and receiving oral sex (yep, that’s in there for some, though not all), and above all, penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse that culminates with orgasm.

Why Do Christians Disagree about Anal Sex?

Some Christians out there look at questions like this with the lens of “does the Bible forbid it?” and if the answer is no, then they figure it’s okay and if they want to do it, they will. I understand the desire behind that; such folks have often cited scriptures like Galatians 5:1: “For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

I’ll skip over the fact that Galatians 5 is not about sexual freedom but Judaic Christians trying to get Gentile Christians to be circumcised. But the intent such Christians have is not to place undue burdens on people or to let prudery of the past determine our course.

Other Christians, like me, think a specific prohibition is not required to say something is at least a bad idea. For instance, I don’t need the Bible to tell me not to do heroin or cross a busy street without looking. And if I do, I can go flip through Proverbs and find a lot of advice about just not being a fool.

Wisdom involves looking at the evidence, including God’s creation. The design of our bodies provides strong evidence that the rectum is not intended for penetration by something as large as a penis; rather, its purpose is to eliminate feces and harmful bacteria, which does not really signal have sex here.

Do You Disagree?

I’m prepared for the comments section to have detractors—even angry ones. My favorite such comment is when someone says, “Who are you to tell me what to do!” Look, I’m not forcing my opinion on anyone. But I’m someone who has researched, read, and writes extensively about sex in marriage from a Christian perspective and whose blog you willingly visited and can click away from any time. Ideally before you leave me a hateful comment.

I’m also someone who says this is not a salvation issue. Some good Christians think anal sex is okay. I think they’re wrong, they think I’m wrong, and we don’t think either is unsaved. However, it is wrong for anyone to advocate so strongly for anal sex that a spouse feels mistreated or deprived if they don’t get it or at least get to try it.

Because whatever you believe, for the love of all that is good and holy, do not pressure your spouse to engage in sexual act they don’t want to do! Love should rule the day in determining your sexual repertoire. You have so many sexual alternatives that your beloved should be able to simply say “no, thank you” to certain sex acts without you getting angry or complaining.

If you want ideas of lots of great stuff you can do instead, scroll down to the footer, click Blog Topics, and look for my How To Tips. Or pick up my book with a plethora of spice-it-up suggestions.

But for those who wanted to know my thoughts on anal sex, I’ll sum it up as I can’t say it is sinful, but I can say it’s an unwise practice.

“All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly” (Proverbs 13:16).

37 thoughts on “Is Anal Sex Okay?”

  1. My 2 cent:
    Eh. . just nasty (makes ugly face), full of bacteria, wayyy too tight. Can be enjoyable, if conditions are perfect (Extra Well Lubricated). I’ll pass unless my wife really wants to (been many years), NEXT!!! On to more important things like Oral Sex lol 😀

    1. I am glad to hear a man’s perspective. I am thankful this is something my husband has no interest in. But, if I could just get him interested in oral sex!😥

      1. This was a challenge for my wife and I at one time but now we enjoy oral as part of foreplay before engaging in other activities.

        Have you tried tempting him with hersey syrup, mable syrup, honey or other tasty treats (applied of course)?

        Not sure if you’re referring to giving or receiving but words like hearing “How attractive it would make you feel when he does (fill in the bank)” are great for guys. We like the affirmation that we are doing something well.

        Relocating these activities to the shower/tub helped for us:
        1. Everything tastes better when freshly cleaned.
        2. Not worrying about cleaning afterwards is relaxing as well.

        Communication has been an issue for my wife and I; J’s books and blog help us to talk to each other more effectively.

        Also praying together about sex in our marriage helps us connect better. Still learning but trying to get better.

        1. Joseph,
          I appreciate the advice. But, no matter how I’ve tried to talk to him about it, he is not interested. He has told me that he doesn’t like it and neither one of us know a way to change that. So, I just try to accept it and move on.
          It’s harder for me because I know that he did it with his first wife. He did not like it then either, but at least he tried. He has made it clear to me that he will not try with me…so that hurts.
          He has no problem receiving, and I have no problem giving. But, it is only a one-way street.
          And not meaning to hijack this post! Just the oral comment caught me! lol

          1. I believe you should take giving oral to him off the table. It doesn’t need to be anything vindictive; he might receive it that way since he’s so anti pleasuring you orally, but enjoys you pleasuring him. I can understand his perspective if it’s not something you enjoy doing and you don’t want to, but to take advantage of your willingness to is selfish.

            If oral is tabled for a while between you, I hope you can both find other ways to please each other mutually that doesn’t diminish your sex life further, and maybe it can be revisited later!

          2. DDav…Just as a follow-up…This evening I presented the possibility of me taking oral off the table, until he is willing to make it a two-way street. His response was…”It won’t bother me.”
            He didn’t say it meant or angrily, but that’s how much he doesn’t want to do it😢

          3. It could also mean that he doesn’t enjoy receiving as much as you might have thought. And do you know why he resists oral? Sometimes there’s a legitimate reason, like a gag reflex or germophobia, and sometimes issues can be handled through something like a dental dam.

          4. I’m sorry to hear that Ann… Is he (or you) open to other forms of foreplay or pleasuring you? I realize nothing is quite like oral but does he demonstrate that your sexual enjoyment is a priority for him in other ways?

  2. Yeah I feel that lady. If I had found a blog praising anal to high heaven before I was married, I might have given up on men too.

    Luckily, my husband isn’t interested in it. He actually brought it up as an undesirable activity.

  3. Seems to me that pornography has drastically brought anal sex to the forefront and inaccurately markets it as a normal, healthy activity. I’m grateful my husband has no interest in trying!

    1. I agree. Interest in both anal sex and BDSM seems to have increased as that has been portrayed more and more with porn and erotica. Not that this didn’t exist before, of course, but some have attempted to make it seem natural, when the body’s design doesn’t make that likely.

  4. What a refreshingly honest, thoughtful, loving, grace-filled, and straightforward treatment of this issue! Thankfully this has never been an issue in our marriage, but it’s nice to see that we can all be honest with each other, true to what the Bible does (and does not) say, and just simply use common sense and God-given wisdom when necessary in SO many issues of life! Thank you for tackling the difficult issues!

  5. I feel this way about it… As a man, in all honesty, I have a curiosity about what it would feel like to penetrate, but I will never bring it up to my wife. The reason for that is I have an anus too. And once a year, when I have to go get a prostate exam, nothing about that finger feels pleasurable so I can’t imagine that receiving a penis back there would be pleasurable either for anyone. So I’m not going to ask her to do something that I wouldn’t do, since in this case, we have the same equipment.

    If my wife ever brings it up on her own and says she’d like to try it, then I’d probably oblige, but until then, anal sex is not the hill I’m going to die on.

  6. Agreed with L.A. – I love that you don’t shy away from really sensitive, controversial topics!!! Thanks for a great open dialogue!

      1. We have tried anal because my wife desires it. As a man it doesn’t do anything for me other than induce anxiety. I don’t really like it and I get sweaty, nervous, and a racing heart whenever I try to do this with her.
        She says it feels so good. So amazing. Unlike anything else. So… I push through and do it. But I don’t really like it. It doesn’t feel good to me at all. I’ve told her all this but she said it’s something she needs and likes.
        What’s interesting is I have told her the same thing about oral sex for me and she said it’s totally off the table because she doesn’t like it and doesn’t enjoy it one bit . I respect that so never receive. I’m always the giver. That feels like a double standard. But I want to fully respect and honor her desires.

        1. This concerns me: “It doesn’t feel good to me at all. I’ve told her all this but she said it’s something she needs and likes.” Neither spouse should continue to pressure the other for a sex act their mate does not desire. While I appreciate your longing to “fully respect and honor her desires,” she does not “need” anal sex, and you have every right to say no. There are ample other activities you can engage in. And even if she wants that sensation so much, it doesn’t have to be your penis that does that—thus putting your health at risk; you and she could consider a toy. Although that doesn’t deal with some issues like tearing and fecal incontinence, a toy can be thoroughly cleaned.

  7. 41 year old with 40 year old wife.
    We enjoy this about once or twice a year.
    She enjoys it geatly with a toy for clitoral stimulation. I enjoy it as something different and it brings her pleasure.
    We both prefer PIV almost daily.
    To each their own.

  8. Both my wife and I think anal sex is gross and unhealthy. My wife thinks oral sex is gross too but I disagree…I gave her oral a few times in years past but she will not reciprocate so I stopped giving her oral.

    1. There are plenty of people who also think oral is gross or unhealthy, but having researched both oral and anal thoroughly, I feel confident saying they are not the same—neither biblically nor hygienically. That said, your response is the loving one—to respect her viewpoint and find other things to do. She might change her mind in the future, or not, but there are many other ways to pleasure and enjoy one another!

  9. Loved your article. I have a hard time when Christian bloggers, authors, etc try to tell or pressure women that if they really loved their husbands they should be “open to at least trying anything” and to not do so is withholding. For those that are eager, ok go for it. However, I don’t think it is unbiblical for me to refuse to try something that can cause physical damage just for his pleasure. Even just once. Nope.

    1. “I have a hard time when Christian bloggers, authors, etc try to tell or pressure women that if they really loved their husbands they should be ‘open to at least trying anything’ and to not do so is withholding.” Amen. Honestly, that even reminds me of that same tone some jerk guy wanted to use to get a girl to have sex before marriage: “If you loved me, you’d have sex with me.” How about “If you loved me, you wouldn’t coerce me into a sexual act with you”?

      That isn’t to say things aren’t up for discussion, because they certainly can be. I know couples who resisted oral sex, or stallion style, or sex outside, and then after talking it out for a while—in a way that didn’t involve pressure—decided to give it a try. But if your spouse is a hard no, pressuring them into something because you want it is treating them more like your sex toy than your marriage bed companion.

  10. Ugh. This is my husband’s biggest fantasy. I am super adventurous and this is the only thing I’ve ever said No to. He doesn’t pressure me but has dropped many hints about hoping to experience it “just once in his life”. I have a few girlfriends that have tried it, and none of them have liked it. Out of all the guys I know, this is their “top act ever”. . I don’t get the appeal!

    1. Yeah, sounds like he needs to let it go! Plenty of other great options of spicy stuff to try, that doesn’t involve this.

  11. Robert Pealing

    Hello,
    Thank you for this and indeed all your blog articles, they are insightful. I have absolutley no intrest in anal sex.I do not want to hurt my wife or risk giving har anal incontinence ( just imagine what that is like). Dip my penis in poop, yuck!
    One small point, the subcutaneous structure between the scrotum and the anus is not thr prostate, that structure is the continuation of the corpus cavernosum of the penis, think of it as the penis root. The prostate is deep to that and above the anal sphincter.

    1. Thanks! And yes, I’m aware of where the prostate is, but you can apply pressure where I said and it can have an indirect effect.

    2. Marci Livingston

      My husband has researched this and feels his prostate needs to be massaged so that he does not get prostate cancer later in life. I do not dislike anal play, but I definitely wish I could find good evidence either way. I do not want to have incontinence issues later in life and I do not want my husband to have prostate cancer.

      1. I tried finding any evidence of a link between prostate massage and preventing prostate cancer, but I also cannot find it at this point. What I did find is that receiving anal sex is strongly related to your risk of getting anal cancer. Now that’s anal sex and not anal play, but I felt like I should at least mention it.

        But while I can’t find anything about prostate massage specifically preventing cancer, there is evidence that ejaculation does! So just having regular sex is a good preventative. As John Hopkins notes: “Two studies appear to show that men who have a higher frequency of ejaculation…were up to two-thirds less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Studies are ongoing, but some experts theorize that ejaculation clears the body of toxins and other substances that could cause inflammation.”

    3. No, it is not. I am firm and unmoving and fully convinced it is wrong, unnatural, and abominable. What others choose to do is between them and God, but I would think He would have some words for husbands who choose to abuse and misuse their wives this way. As my husband would say, “it’s exit only, and why would I choose that over a perfectly wonderful vagina!”

  12. Thank you for your compassionate response. We just recently bought our first toy so that she can be provided the feeling of fullness she wanted that I can’t provide to her. That has gone OK and I’m learning to accept the presence of the toy better than I thought I would. So I will suggest that idea to her. I really do want to honor her needs that she expresses to me. I’m doing the best I can. I get what you mean about it not being a need but she said now that she’s experienced it there is nothing else like it and you can’t “put a genie back in the bottle” according to her. Thank you for the suggestion on the toy. I get so overwhelmed when she asks for this.

    1. “She said now that she’s experienced it there is nothing else like it and you can’t ‘put a genie back in the bottle’ according to her.” I hate saying things like this about others’ spouses, but that’s bunk. Of course you can stop doing something you did before. If that wasn’t true, then we’d all keep doing every unwise thing we ever did in our life simply because it felt good.

      This is an extreme example, of course, but I’ve heard LSD trips feel good too. Doesn’t mean you should do LSD!

  13. Good article, J. I agree with you completely. I think we all have invisible signs on our butts that read, “Exit Only. Do Not Enter”.

  14. Not into that, even if I was, no matter how much lubricant is used or how slow and easy the penetration would be, I would still be very afraid that my penis might tear her anal walls and hurt my wife.

    Maybe to others it is OK, but to me It just seems so un-natural.

  15. I appreciate your post on what can be a sensitive topic. My wife and I tried, and I enjoyed, this exactly once, basically out of curiosity, and not in any significant way. The issue is simple, I don’t want to encourage something that may cause harm. There are so many ways we can express our love that we simply don’t need this. There are other very special ways we can express our love and passion for each other. I am simply thankful that God has given us ways to be closer than we ever could have imagined.

    By the way, I am thankful for your ministry here. I have been praying for you, especially since you expressed that you have been in some challenging times.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.