Anal Stretching

Updated: SEPTEMBER 1, 2023
Reviewed by Dr. Sunny Rodgers
on August 25, 2023

Anal stretching is a sexual activity that involves stretching the anus using fingers or fists, butt plugs, dildos and inflatable toys. There are also anal dilators in various sizes designed specifically for anal stretching. Anal stretching can be undertaken alone or with a trusted partner.

Why are people into anal stretching?

People may often practice anal stretching to teach the anal sphincter muscles to relax. This can make anal play activities, like anal sex and anal fisting, easier and more comfortable. People who can relax their anus are likely to find receiving anal stimulation less painful. They can also reduce their risk of anal fissures and tears during anal play.

Many people also enjoy the feeling of anal stretching, as the anus has many different nerve endings that get stimulated during this activity. Anal stretching can also create a feeling of fullness that can feel more intense than penetration with a penis or small toy. Partners may engage in anal stretching together to deepen their connection or reinforce their dominant and submissive relationship roles. Some people are also turned on by anal stretching because it and other anal play activities are still largely taboo. Being able to insert increasingly larger items into the anus can also be incredibly gratifying.

Anal Stretching in BDSM Scenes

In the BDSM community, a dominant may help a submissive partner stretch their anus. They may focus on a particular element of anal stretching, such as creating an anal gape, where their anus stays open after penetration, or anal depth training, which involves gradually deeper penetration. Anal stretching in BDSM may be part of slave training. Dominants may also incorporate anal stretching in BDSM scenes involving other activities including bondage, forced orgasms, and punishments.

Anal stretching can become a fetish or kink as people become focused on taking larger or more unusual items inside their anus or inserting them more deeply. People with an anal stretching fetish feel intense arousal watching others stretch their anuses. While people who participate in anal stretching typically aim to insert items with diameters of larger than 2.5 inches, some people stretch their anuses with items as large as 10 inches. They may also aim to create an anal gape. People with an anal stretching kink may also enjoy the feeling of having a very large item inside them, especially as it can put pressure on the prostate or G-spot. Some people with an anal stretching fetish may even struggle to enjoy sex without stretching their anus.

Anal Stretching in Porn

Watching anal stretching in porn can help people satisfy their fetish or kink. It may also help curious people decide whether to try anal stretching and how this activity might look for them. Anal stretching porn often features BDSM practices and the insertion of very large or unusual objects, such as fruits and vegetables.

More About Anal Stretching

It’s best to defecate before attempting anal stretching to rid the body of feces. An anal douche or enema can help clean the anal passage more thoroughly.

How to Practice Anal Stretching

To stretch the anus, it’s advisable to start slowly with a finger or a smooth, small, and clean aid, such as a butt plug or anal dilator.

“It is crucial to start with smaller sizes and gradually increase the size over time, confirmed Megan Harrison, a licensed marriage and family therapist and the founder of Couples Candy. “Rushing the process or using objects that are too large can cause discomfort, pain, or even damage to the anal tissues.”

Inserting items into the anus is easiest when the receiver feels relaxed. They can insert them until they feel uncomfortable, then remove them before inserting again. Most people find they can get a little deeper and handle the finger or aid for longer each time. When the receiver feels comfortable taking the entire finger or aid, they can try a larger item.

Is anal stretching safe?

Safe anal stretching should not have long-lasting effects. The anus will usually take three to six hours to return to normal after an anal stretching session. It’s a good idea to rest the body for two to three days after an anal stretching session before trying again.

While some people insist anal stretching is totally safe, scientific evidence published in 1996 suggests that severe anal stretching can damage the external anal sphincter muscles. The scientists examined guinea pigs, rather than human subjects, but they believe “severe anal stretching” may cause similar damage in people.

There is also a risk of anal tears and fissures as the anus isn’t self-lubricating. Using plenty of lubricant with toys or a partner’s finger or fist can help reduce the risk of injuries. Water-based lubricants can dry up, while silicone lubricants can last longer, but it's important to reapply lubricants as needed to help with safety and comfort.

If the anus bleeds, or stretching becomes too painful, the receiving person should stop their anal stretching session, and after giving the anus time to heal, remember to go more slowly next time. Even small anal tears can become infected. Thoroughly cleaning sex toys, fingers, and other items inserted in the anus before and after use with mild soap and warm water can help minimize the risks.

Hemorrhoids can also develop if someone pushes their anal sphincter muscles beyond their limits. Increasing the size of items inserted gradually and stopping the session if pain develops can help minimize the risk of hemorrhoids.


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