How Safe is Anal Sex?

Anal sex is one of the options couples can take to mitigate the risk of pregnancy. But just how safe is anal sex?

Protected anal sex is not dangerous to your body. Planned Parenthood states there is a very small risk of leakage or prolaspe with anal intercourse, just as there is with vaginal intercourse. It can also aggravate existing hemorrhoids.

Having regular anal sex will not usually cause bodily harm. However, you are still at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.

Transmitting Anal STDs

Anal sex comes with the risk of transmitting intenstinal parasites and hepatitis, due to the proximity of potential fecal matter near your mouth and hands. Good oral hygiene and sterilizing you hands before and after participaing in anal sex will help reduce your risk. 

If you know you’re about to engage in anal sex, be sure to thoroughly clean your rectal cavity as well. 

You can also get or pass chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV, HPV, and syphilis. 

The only way to completely prevent getting an STD is not have have sex. However, in all cases, properly using a latex condom and only have one sexual partner will greatly reduce your risk of getting or transmitting an STD.

Itching Does Not Mean You Have An Anal STD

If your anus is itching after you’ve participated in anal sex, don’t panic. Anal STDs have various symptoms, but not all of them mean you contracted an infection. Some, such as itching, can mean you have anal herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, anal warts, pubic lice, hemmoriods, torn skin, an ingrown hair or a healing sore.

Below are the commonly transmitted diseases and symptoms and come along with them. 

Anal Herpes

Herpes, also known as the herpes simplex virus (HSV) is caused by two viral strains, HSV-1 and HSV-2. The first strain typically only leads to oral HSV, though it can spread throughout the body and into the genitals. 

Herpes is known for causing outbreaks of sores near you mouth, genitals, rectal cavity, and hands, and can be itchy, ooze or discharge pus. Other symptoms include pain in your anal area, lesions and ulcers that appear near healed blisters, scabs and adnormal changes in your bowel movements. 

The CDC reports that genital herpes is common in the United States, affecting one out of every six people between the ages of 14 and 49. 

There is no cure for herpes. There are medicines that can prevent or shorten outbreaks. Do not have sex during an outbreak and talk with your partner and doctor about how to prevent transmitting the disease. 

Anal Chlamydia/Gonorrhea

Chlamydia/Gonorrhea are bacterial infections that can be spread through most forms of sexual contact, including anal sex. It affects both men and women.

While an infected individual can be asymptomatic, possible symptoms of an anal chlamydia or gonorrhea infection include: 

  • Rectal bleeding or discharge

  • Rectal pain or itching

  • Pain or discomfort during bowel movements

If left untreated, chlamydia or gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems and increases your risk of contracting HIV. In extreme cases, if left untreated and the infection spreads to your blood or joints, it can cause a rare life-threatening condition. 

Thankfully, both infections are treatable with medication, though the bacteria that causes gonorrhea is becoming drug-resistant. If your symptoms continue after a few days of treatment, talk with your doctor immediately. 

The medication will stop the infection, but it cannot reverse any damage caused by the disease, so early detection is key. SelfCollect offers an at-home anal Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test for both males and females. 

Anal Warts/HPV

Anal warts are a type of genital warts that can appear both in and around your anus. It’s caused by being infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV), usually HPV types 6 and 11, which is transmitted through sexual contact.

Anal warts typically start painless, but they can grow and cause irritation over time. They can also spread to nearby areas.

Some of the more serious symptoms include bleeding, anal discharge, feeling like there is a lump in your rectal cavity, or new warts on your genitals, thighs or groin. 

There are many treatment options for anal warts such as a topical ointments or cryotherapy. 

Get Tested for Anal STDs

Anal STDs are just as transmittable as genital or oral STDs. Testing for the disease and beginning treatment early is key for your body and sexual health. 

SelfCollect makes it easy with their full panel STD Anal Test for men and women. It is a anal swab that checks for HPV (with an optional HPV full genotype add-on that will detect the wart causing viruses), chlamydia and gonorrhea, herpes virus I and II. 

If you’re about to engage in anal sex with a new partner, have multiple partners, or have had an STD in the past, get tested to protect yourself and your partner(s). SelfCollect is here for you. All of their tests are discreet and results are usually complete within a week. Get tested today.