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Anal sex is commonly associated with male homosexuality, research shows that not all gay men engage in it and that it is not uncommon in heterosexual relationships.

Anal sex or anal intercourse is generally the insertion and thrusting of the erect penis into a person’s anus, or anus and rectum, for sexual pleasure. Other forms of anal sex include fingering, the use of sex toys for anal penetration, oral sex performed on the anus (anilingus), and pegging. Although it most commonly means penile-anal penetration, sources sometimes use anal intercourse to exclusively denote penile-anal penetration, and anal sex to denote any form of anal sexual activity, especially between pairings as opposed to anal masturbation

Strong views are often expressed about anal sex. It is controversial in various cultures, especially with regard to religious prohibitions. This is commonly due to prohibitions against anal sex among males or teachings about the procreative purpose of sexual activity. It may be considered taboo or unnatural, and is a criminal offense in some countries, punishable by corporal or capital punishment.

As with most forms of sexual activity, anal sex participants risk contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Anal intercourse is considered a high-risk sexual practice because of the vulnerability of the anus and rectum. The anal and rectal tissues are delicate and do not provide lubrication like the vagina does, so they can easily tear and permit disease transmission, especially if a personal lubricant is not used. Anal sex without protection of a condom is considered the riskiest form of sexual activity.


Anal sex can expose its participants to the following dangers:

  • It can cause infections due to the high number of infectious microorganisms not found elsewhere on the body.
  • Anal intercourse that is penile-anal penetration carries a higher risk of passing on sexually transmitted infections(STIs) because the anal sphincter is a delicate and easily torn tissue that can provide an entry for pathogens.
  • The anus is a place designed to hold and facilitate the passing of faeces, this makes it a fertile breeding ground and holding area for bacteria. Through insertion, there is a high chance that one can be infected through their partner’s bacteria. Also if vaginal intercourse occurs immediately after anal intercourse, the woman can also get infected by the bacteria that transfer from the anus to the vagina. It can cause UTIs or urinary tract infections at the least
  • It can exacerbate hemorrhoids and therefore result in bleeding. In other cases, the formation of a hemorrhoid is attributed to anal sex
  • Unprotected receptive anal sex (with human immune virus (HIV) positive partner) is the sex act most likely to result in HIV
  • Although anal sex alone does not lead to pregnancy, but unwanted pregnancy can still occur with anal sex or other forms of sexual activity if the penis or the product of the penis (sperm) is near the vagina.
  • Unprotected anal sex is a risk factor for formation of anti-sperm antibodies (ASA) in the recipient.
  • There is pain during receptive anal sex among gay men
  • The anal tissues are non-stretchable and thereby an insertion of the penis into anus of another person can lead to tearing of the anus which might make that person prone to anal fissures or piles.
  • Repetitive penetrative anal sex may result in the anal sphincters becoming weakened, which may cause rectal prolapse or affect the ability to hold in faeces (a condition known as fecal incontinence)
  • Anal sex alone does not cause anal cancer but the risk of anal cancer through anal sex is attributed to human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, which is often contracted through unprotected anal sex.
  • By contrast to other anal sexual behaviors, anal fisting poses a more serious danger of damage due to the deliberate stretching of the anal and rectal tissues. Anal fisting injuries include anal sphincter lacerations and rectal and sigmoid colon (rectosigmoid) perforation, which might result in death.
  • Other infections that can be transmitted by unprotected anal sex are human papilloma virus (HPV)(which can increase risk of anal cancer typhoid fever, amoebiasis, chlamydia, cryptosporidiosis, coli infections, giardiasis, gonorrhea, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, herpes simplex.