One of the best parts about sex is how diverse it can be, especially if you’re open-minded. Sex can be anything you want it to be — if you’re brave enough to express what you want and have a partner (or partners) willing to help you get there.
Long gone are the days of talking about sex in terms of discussing strictly heterosexual missionary-position romps in the sack. If you’ve been interested in being the receiving partner in the bedroom but aren’t sure where to start, we’re here to teach you how to bottom in a safe, pleasurable, non-intimidating way.
What Is a Bottom?
Let’s start with a quick explanation of the term “bottom” and how it can be interpreted. When most people think of a “bottom,” they have a specific image that pops into their minds.
Often, this results from some internal, usually unconscious, bias they pick up somewhere along the way. We all have them; the key is identifying them and working to adjust them.
You're not alone if your first thought was of a specific segment of the LGTBQIA+ population. However, anyone can be a bottom, no matter their gender identity or sexuality.
Bottoming is simply the act of consensually giving up control in a sexual encounter, similar to the idea of submission in BDSM. Bottoming can also include any sexual act within your boundaries, including oral sex, anal sex, manual stimulation (“fingering” of the vagina or anus), or vaginal intercourse. Some bottoming doesn’t even involve penetration at all!
However, this article will focus strictly on bottoming as it relates to anal penetration and sex (with a prostate massager, dildo, or penis).
What Are the Myths About Bottoming?
Before we get into the details of how to bottom and give you tips for having a successful, pleasurable, low-stress experience, we want to take a moment to dispel a few myths about the practice. These myths are unfortunately prevalent, some so much so that they’ve been accepted as fact by many communities.
1. Bottoming (and Anal) Hurts
If there’s a single myth we’d like to dispel the most, it would be that anything involving bottoming or anal penetration hurts. The idea that sex of any kind should hurt is dangerous at best and often stops people from trying things they’d enjoy out of fear.
Sex shouldn’t hurt (unless that’s your kink, you have an established safe word, and you’re doing it responsibly). While we’ll share tips for making learning how to bottom more enjoyable, pain is not and should not be part of your bottoming experience.
We also strongly urge you to avoid using those popular numbing creams. We understand the urge (especially if you’ve heard your whole life that it’s going to hurt), but numbing creams stop you from being able to tell if you’re pushing yourself too far.
Discomfort is your body letting you know that you need to stop or change what you’re doing; without that signal, you may do permanent damage without even knowing it.
2. Bottoming Is Messy
Let’s be real for a second — bottoming involving anal penetration involves an area designed to evacuate waste from the body. Everybody poops; it’s a normal part of life.
However, that doesn’t mean that bottoming has to be messy. With appropriate preparation and the understanding that life isn’t like porn, you can minimize the mess and the anxiety around not being “clean” enough.
3. Bottoming Means You’re Submissive or Gay
Anyone can bottom. To go even further, anyone can enjoy anal sex without impacting their sexuality. After all, no one gets to define who you are except you.
Enjoying being on the receiving end of sexual acts doesn’t automatically make you submissive or involved in BDSM. It’s simply another way of being intimate. There are also different ways to bottom, which we’ll discuss, that prove that bottoming can be anything but submissive.
How Do I Prepare for Bottoming?
We're glad you're here if it’s your first time attempting anything anal! Knowledge is power, and the right information can make you more prepared and far less anxious about finally trying something you’ve likely been interested in for a while.
Try It on Your Own
Your first experience learning how to bottom doesn’t have to be with a partner. We strongly urge you to explore things independently before incorporating them into the bedroom.
Anal self-exploration can help you learn more about your body and uncover what you like and don’t like without any added pressure from a partner (even an incredibly supportive one). Try starting with just a (clean, well-lubricated) finger.
Take the time to touch the outside of your anus and perineum; both are full of pleasurable nerve endings. Don't hold your breath and relax as much as possible when (or if) you’re ready to slip a finger inside.
If you want to go for it, try to feel for your prostate — a walnut-sized gland that sits at the base of the penis between the bladder and the rectum. Stimulation of the prostate can also lead to prostate orgasms.
If you want to take it one step further, you can invest in a set of dilators (sometimes called an anal trainer kit). Dilators are rods that come in increasingly large diameters that essentially “stretch” the anus and make penetration easier.
Used just a few times a week for a few minutes at a time (with plenty of lubrication), they can help you feel more comfortable when you’re ready to progress to full penetration.
No bottoming session comes without the risk of a little mess. After all, we’re all aware of what comes out of there.
One of the most popular ways to minimize the potential for mess is anal douching. If you’re not familiar with the concept, or if you’ve only ever thought of douching as something that people with vaginas did, it’s a way of washing inside your body. Unlike the vagina, which is very sensitive to pH changes, anal douching is relatively safe when done correctly.
It’s best to perform your pre-bottoming anal douching routine in the shower, especially the first few times, until you get the hang of it. From your enema kit, which you can buy over-the-counter at most pharmacies, take out the components and familiarize yourself with them.
It should contain a container to hold your douche, a tube/nozzle, and a saline enema solution. If there isn’t any solution, you can use standard lukewarm tap water (as long as you don’t douche every day, which we don’t recommend anyway).
Start by using plenty of lube on the tube/nozzle. Don’t be afraid to use more than you think you should; it will only make the process smoother and more painless! It can also help to use a finger or two to help your anus relax before inserting the nozzle. Trying to douche before your body is ready can be uncomfortable and dangerous, so don’t rush the process.
When you’re ready to go, place one leg on the tub's ledge (or another secure place where it will be unlikely to slip). Going slowly, insert your properly lubed nozzle until you’ve got it about two to three inches into your anus. If you feel resistance at any point, take a moment and let your body adjust, then try again.
The next step is inserting the enema liquid. Don’t spray it all at once, as this can make your body immediately push the fluid back out. Once it’s in there, let it sit for about 15 seconds to help ensure you’re getting as much out as possible. Some people like to put their foot down and jump or shake themselves, but be careful not to fall!
You can repeat this process several times if you want (although that isn’t usually necessary). Then, release! This part can get messy, so doing it in the shower is best for beginners.
Make sure you plan when using an anal douche, though. Although it’s highly effective, it’s not just something you can run into the bathroom and do before getting to business. It can take time for all of the enema liquid (and what comes with it) to get completely out of your body, so plan on at least an hour between the time you douche and the time your body is ready to get it on.
The Importance of Diet
One last piece of preparation that can make a difference in your bottoming experience is your diet. How you choose to eat and drink significantly impacts your overall health, from giving you more energy to fighting off medical issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.
What you put in your body also eventually has to come out. If you’ve ever eaten fast food and then had to rush to the bathroom an hour or two later, you see where we’re going with this. Healthy bowel habits come from choosing the right foods (like those with plenty of protein and fiber) and drinking enough water.
But don’t expect these changes to take effect right away. It takes time for your body to adjust and consistency to make a lasting difference. However, your whole body will thank you!
Let’s Talk Penetration
Anal penetration is the part that makes people the most nervous, but having a little background on how your body works can ease a lot of that anxiety. Your anus comprises two distinct “rings” of muscle — the external and internal sphincters.
The external sphincter muscles, the ones closest to the outside of the body, can be relatively well controlled and relaxed at will. When you think about squeezing your anus tight (say if you’re surprised, scared, or disgusted by something), you’re controlling this outside ring of muscle.
The internal muscle is more challenging to control, though. That ring of muscle is the body’s last ability to protect itself and stop you from having stool leaking out all the time.
It takes a little more convincing to loosen up and is most people's primary source of discomfort during anal penetration. The internal sphincter is biologically programmed only to open up and relax if it senses pressure.
That all means that you can’t safely “force” your way in through both sphincters without the risk of pain and the potential for tearing. Getting your anus ready for penetration takes a little more finesse. Try using a well-lubed finger or two as foreplay, giving the internal sphincter the pressure to loosen up for what’s to come.
Because of this, we recommend that any anal play involving penetration starts with this type of manual stimulation. Think of it like foreplay.
Try a Prostate Massager
Prostate massagers are an excellent way to enjoy learning how to bottom, either solo or with a partner. They can stimulate the prostate through anal penetration so that you can have a pleasurable experience with a little less anxiety or risk.
The best part about prostate massagers is how customizable they are. Some of them vibrate, while others deliver a more life-like motion. A few of our award-winning prostate massagers, like the Thor and the Tomo II models, provide dual sensations for a more mind-blowing pleasurable experience.
Make sure you’re using plenty of lube and easing into it. If you feel any pressure or pain, stop and allow your body a chance to relax before starting again.
What Are the Best Positions for Learning How To Bottom?
Just like with all forms of penetration and intercourse, certain positions provide certain benefits. Much of this will be trial and error as you’re learning more about your body and how to bottom in a way that feels good for you, but we have a few suggestions for positions to make that process a little bit easier.
Lie on your back and bring your legs straight up in the air. If you’re trying this position with a partner, they’ll put your legs on their shoulders and hover above you as they enter you.
This position can be pretty intense, so make sure you communicate well with your partner and let them know if anything feels uncomfortable.
Although there are ways of making this position more intense, lying face down with your partner on top of you can also be used for more shallow penetration. This position is excellent for easing into anal sex or prostate massager use because it gives you more control over your anal sphincter muscles.
However, it isn’t the most personal of sexual positions as it doesn’t allow for much direct eye contact.
Spooning isn’t just for romantic cuddles on the sofa; it also makes for an optimal position for anal play. Lie on your side next to your partner (the “receiver” will be the “little spoon”) and bring your knees up toward your chest.
When your partner penetrates you, it allows for more focused prostate stimulation. Plus, unlike the face-down position, it feels more intimate, even without eye contact.
If you’re ready to take your anal play up a notch, graduate from the lying doggy style position to full doggy style. Doggy style is a true classic, and it’s great for anal penetration (especially if you like it deep).
The position also feels a little extra naughty and is great for exploring elements of BDSM, like hair-pulling and spanking.
Why Is Aftercare Important When Bottoming?
Yes, prep work and the act itself are exciting, vital parts of the process. However, we’d argue that aftercare is even more critical to learn how to bottom. But what is aftercare?
Aftercare is the time that occurs directly after sexual activity. Although it is often associated with BDSM activities, it is valuable and essential to include after any sexual contact, including anal play.
Aftercare looks different for every partnership, so the key is finding the best way for you and your partner. Regardless of how you do it, aftercare should include some kind of discussion about how things went (like what worked well or didn’t work at all).
Be open-minded and don’t take it personally; let it be a way to build a closer relationship and a more satisfying sex life. Sex releases endorphins and oxytocin, which flood back out of your body once you’ve finished. Don’t be surprised if this process makes you feel extra emotional!
To Sum It All Up
If you’ve always wanted to explore how to bottom, here’s your sign! Bottoming, or anal penetration of any type, may seem intimidating, but you can do it safely, pleasurably, and with far less stress than you may assume.
Remember to be kind to your behind — use lots of lube, and don’t skip the aftercare!
Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Pudendal Nerve | PubMed
How does the prostate work? | NIH
Prostate‐induced orgasms: A concise review illustrated with a highly relevant case study | Wiley Online Library