What Is Rimming? Here’s a Gentleman’s Guide to Eating Booty

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Anal play is all the rage at the moment. Everyone is talking about butt stuff — and no, we’re not just referring to anal sex. With people trying everything from to anal toys to pegging, there are no limits in this game, friend.

For those curious about expanding their anal repertoire, might we suggest rimming? Rimming, aka: analingus, is using your tongue and mouth to stimulate your partner’s anus. “This is referred to as ‘rimming’ because often, the rim or outer edges of the anus [are] the focus area[s]. This doesn’t mean that only the rim is stimulated,” Dr. Kristie Overstreet, a psychotherapist and clinical sexologist, told MensHealth.com.

Rimming can involve penetration of the tongue into the anus, circling around it, or licking or kissing all the around the rest of the butt. The anal opening is jam-packed with nerve endings, so when you lick or kiss this area, it can feel incredibly pleasurable.

Although rimming has traditionally been thought of as a fringe sex act, it’s been on the rise for the past few years, with shows like Girls and Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” bringing it into the mainstream. In fact, according to a 2008 study of American men, 24% said they had performed analingus on their partners, while 15% said that a partner had performed it on them.

Curious? Here is everything you need to know about rimming and how to do it (and how to receive it) properly.

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Is rimming safe?

This is one of the first questions that a lot of rimming newbies have. And it makes sense: we’re talking about the place where we poop, so this is an unavoidable reality.

The truth is, there is nothing unsanitary or gross about rimming, as long as you make sure you and/or your partner clean up down there. “Good hygiene is essential,” Overstreet tells us. Otherwise, you may come into contact with e.coli, salmonella, c. difficile, or other forms of bacteria that can be found in fecal matter.

While it’s pretty unlikely that small amounts of such bacteria would do any real harm, you want to make sure to clean your bum with soap and water before you engage in any butt-to-mouth activity. Alicia Sinclair, a clinical sexologist and CEO of the sex toy company b-Vibe, also tells MensHealth.com that it’s best if you (and/or your partner) have a bowel movement within an hour before analingus.

And no, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to do an enema to prep for butt stuff. Simple soap and water should do the trick. “Doing an enema is typically for play that goes a bit deeper,” says Sinclair. That said, “if it makes you the most comfortable, of course there’s no harm in doing it.”

How to prepare for your maiden voyage on the S.S. Rim Job

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: before you put your tongue or mouth on anyone’s butt, you have to ask for your partner’s consent. Make sure both you and your partner are down to give this a try. “Being able to trust your partner and talk about what does or does not feel good makes a big difference in the experience,” Overstreet says.

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If you go down south without asking your partner if it’s OK beforehand, that won’t be fun for anyone. It could even be traumatizing for them. “Shock or discomfort also makes the anal muscles tense up, which means less pleasure for all parties involved,” Sinclair warns.

Once your partner has given you the OK (or you’ve given your partner the OK), you can simply incorporate it into your regular sex session. “If you are the receiver, you can ask your partner while they are giving you oral sex [or a hand job] to back up and stimulate the anal area,” suggests Overstreet.

Sinclair suggests stimulating your own anus to get used to the sensation beforehand. It’s important to figure out what might feel good for you. You can do this using your fingers or with a small butt toy. Be sure to use lots of lube. (Need a place to start? Here are some suggestions below.)

How to try rimming

You might be wondering: OK, so how do I actually lick this butt now that I’m down here? Start by trying to put your partner at ease, says Sinclair. “Massage around the bum a bit, slowly making your way in towards the anus with gentle movements,” she says. This will help them relax.

Sinclair says one of the best analingus techniques is to “swirl the tip of your tongue in a circle around the opening,” she says. “You can [also] flick the tip of your tongue up and down just over the opening.” Another tip? Try softening the tongue and licking up and down the entire anus, “sort as if you were eating an ice cream cone.”

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Again, communicate with your partner about what feels good and what doesn’t, and always listen to your partner’s body. “When the receiver gets more aroused, or when you find a move that really works for them, you might notice that the anus relaxes and expands a little bit,” says Overstreet. This is a good sign. It means the body is responding positively to the pleasure.

If you’re receiving, offer feedback about what feels good to you. Overstreet says to breathe into your body, focus on the pleasure, and try to relax as much as possible.

If you find you enjoy it, go forth and experiment! Try rimming on your back, or maybe give facesitting a try. Don’t be afraid to venture into new territory. Sex is fun and we should all get a little creative every once in a while. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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