Get Behind Me, Satan: A Best Practices Guide To Butt Play

Butt play is becoming mainstream. Here’s what you need to know before heading down to the dirty south.

From HBO to Nicki Minaj to a thousand trend pieces on the Internet, anilingus or “butt-eating” (or “Ass-eating” or “Tossing the Salad,” etc.) has become the topic of impolite conversation, a sexual taboo that is no longer taboo. Certainly, as our society becomes less chaste, we’re more open to new sexual experiences, especially if they don’t involve any elaborate rigs or role play (although after the 50 Shades film comes out this February, who knows?).

But how does one actually go through with rimming? How can it be safe, fun, and, well, for lack of a better way to say it, clean? How can you be sure you won’t get pink eye? Tristan Taormino, author of The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women and The Anal Sex Position Guide, has those answers because she started asking questions years before Allison Williams became a meme. We asked Taormino for the low down on getting down low with the butt. 

How do you ensure a clean experience? How should a couple prepare for the act?

If you have regular bowel movements and no gastrointestinal issues, what you really want is to simply clean the exterior, the anal opening (anus) and just inside (the anal canal), which is as far as a tongue can reach. Going to the bathroom beforehand and showering will do the trick for most people. Take a shower together and get busy there or move to the bedroom. If this is some spontaneous ass-eating, then several swipes of a baby wipe may be all you can do. If you or your partner is especially self conscious or worried about what could be lurking there, then you can give yourself a warm, plain-water enema at least two hours before your hot date to completely clean out. Having an enema can serve two purposes, actually: it cleans out your ass but also gives you reassurance, which leaves you relaxed and more confident going into analingus.

Another consideration: If you want to make the practice safer, you can use a dental dam or plastic wrap as a barrier.

What’s the best way to warm up for ass eating? How can each partner be in a relaxed space to try new things?

A good way to introduce rimming is to begin nibbling and licking your partner’s asscheeks. You don’t need to dive right in to the asshole. Once you’re both ready, start out slowly. Let your mouth, lips, and tongue explore freely, and experiment with different techniques as you go along. Listen to your partner’s verbal and nonverbal responses and let those help to guide you.

Relaxation is a key ingredient for anal pleasure of all kinds, so whether rimming is new or not for you, the more relaxed you are, the more pleasurable it will be. The rimmer should strive to make the rimmee as comfortable as possible; let them choose the position they want to be in.

What if you’re uncomfortable with your partner seeing you from a new perspective, especially one you can’t quite see yourself? How important is self-inspection and grooming?

This is an important question. I believe that people should be gazing at their genitals on a regular basis; we should all be familiar with our junk and check it frequently. Just as women in conscious-raising groups whipped out mirrors to look at their vulvas, I wish everyone would stare at their buttholes up close just to become more comfortable with them. Plus, playing with your own ass is a great way to get ideas about what to do with your partner’s ass.  If you are going to be on the receiving end (or the rimmee), and you’re nervous about what your ass looks like or what sensations you might experience, absolutely make a date to explore some anal play on your own first.

Grooming is completely about personal preference. The backdoor can be just as hairy as the front and people let it go, trim, shave, or wax.

Is there anything in particular you should try while performing anilingus? Are fingers welcome?

Brush your lips against the opening, letting your bottom lip drag and linger there. Lick around the opening, making a circular motion with your tongue. Start at the pucker and move out toward the cheeks, repeating this technique all the way around. Reverse this motion: Begin at the outer edge and move toward the center. Let your tongue slip into the hole gently, then back out. Try thrusting your tongue in and out, penetrating your partner’s ass. See which of these elicits the best response, and do more of that.

As for fingers, make sure that you’ve talked about penetration beforehand – no surprise fingers in the butt! Make sure your fingers are butt-friendly – clean, short, well-filed nails – and use some lube. I know you’re probably swimming in your own saliva right about now, but you still need lube. Touch the pad of your finger to the opening, and wait for it to relax. Slide your finger in gently, just up to the first knuckle. Proceed slowly as you feel the sphincter muscles relax.

How important is cleaning up after the act? Should you take a shower? Brush teeth?

If you’ve used lube, you should wash up afterwards. If you want, swish some mouthwash.

Photos by Getty Images