It has been estimated that over 75% of homosexual males will participate in anal sex. It is considered a high-risk. Unprotected anal sex, also known as barebacking, is the riskiest of all forms of sexual intercourse.
The insertive partner is known as the “top” and the partner being penetrated is called the “bottom”. Those who perform either role are referred to as “versatile”.
Generally viewed as less pleasurable and inconvenient, the best way to protect both partners during anal intercourse is with the use of condoms. Condoms are most commonly made from latex, however, they are also available in non-latex. They come in a wide assortment of styles and sizes. Condoms can break or come off during anal intercourse, so both partners must pay attention.
The anus does not produce sufficient natural lubricant so anal intercourse requires a generous application of personal lubricant to prevent tearing. There are three common types of lubricant: water-based, silicon, and a hybrid of water-based and silicone.
Risks of physical damage to the rectum include anal fissures, rectal prolapse, rectal trauma and hemorrhoids. Pain during anal intercourse can be caused by inadequate lubrication, feeling tense, lack of stimulation and anxiousness.
Other dangers during anal intercourse include the transmission of sexually transmitted infections including HIV, chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HPV/genital warts, and syphilis. Risk of transmission can be reduced by practicing safer sex and using a condom. The risk is increased through casual sex, barebacking, and sex with someone you do not know.
Although you may believe your partner appears to be symptom free because they look fit and healthy, it is not always the case. It’s the responsibility of both partners to ask the status of their partner and to use safer sex practiced.
Today, thanks to advances in medical research, people infected with HIV and AIDS live longer lives. New drug and support treatments are available; however, unfortunately there is still no cure. There are more than 10 subtypes of HIV/AIDS, which results in an exponential number of strains.
For more information and education on sexual health, visit the Health Initiative for Men website.