If you’re rimming without a barrier, the recipient may be considering shaving their butt area. “Removal of the hair allows more access to the nerve endings of the anus,” according to Lachman. However: “There are some risks with shaving, like ingrown hairs, infection, and irritation. So I say leave the hair unless you think it will totally remove you from the experience,” he says. If you choose to shave, check whether you’re seeing or feeling anything uncomfortable or unusual after. As long as everything seems normal post-shave, Lachman says you’re good to go. If you notice cuts or irritation, save your rimming session for another day: Broken skin increases the risk of contracting STIs, Planned Parenthood notes.
In terms of positions…and what to actually do when mouth meets butt: Some receivers like to lie on their backs. They might open their cheeks with their hands or have their partner spread them. Others prefer to receive rimjobs while on their hands and knees. The giver can lap with their tongue, lick in circles, and experiment with pressure and rhythm. You and your partner should be verbally checking in throughout—the giver might need some direction (e.g., “A little softer,” or, “More of that, please!”).
Try genital-to-butt grinding.
Stimulating a partner’s asshole with your genitals (or vice versa) can be a kinetic, hot experience for everyone involved, no matter what body parts you’re working with. Grinding might feel similar to rimming for the receiver—their butthole is just experiencing a different set of lips than those on a mouth. And it has the additional benefit of genital stimulation for the giver.
You may want to use barriers while grinding, since STIs like HPV, genital herpes, and syphilis can spread through genital-to-anal contact. The receiver can put on a dental dam, but since a lot of movement will be happening, it might be easier for one partner to wear Lorals, if possible.
A person with a penis or dildo can rub the tip against their partner’s butthole—that’s pretty easy to accomplish! Start with gentle contact and ask if your partner would like to build up pressure from there. Lube makes this feel even smoother and sexier.
A person with a vulva can rub their genitals against an anus, too—it just takes some maneuvering, and—you guessed it!—plenty of lube. “The receiver should [lie] on their stomach and spread their cheeks [with their hands],” Taormino explains. “The giver lubes up their vulva, climbs on top of their partner, and rubs their vulva against their partner’s anal opening.” The receiver can lie still and enjoy the ride, or they can reach down and touch their genitals to enjoy that sweet, sweet “anal pairing” we discussed earlier.
Grinding might not be possible or pleasurable for everyone. All of our bodies fit together differently, and givers with back pain might not feel comfortable leaning over and grinding—but it’s worth trying once (or more!).
If you’re enjoying external anal sex: Consider making the leap to penetration.
You can enjoy external anal stimulation on its own without any penetration at all, ever, full end stop! But if you’re inspired to go inside, your external stimulation skills will help make it feel phenomenal. “Anal penetration is all about the warmup—you really have to put time into romancing the ass,” Taormino says.
Knowing how to make an ass feel good from the outside can help you do the same within. “We want our bodies to feel loose and free to welcome objects into them,” Lachman explains. “External stimulation taps into those nerve endings, which leads to relaxation and arousal.”
If you’d like to give it a try, here’s SELF’s guide to penetrative anal sex. If anal penetration isn’t for you, that’s fine! There are plenty of other ways to experience sexual pleasure—including on the outside of your butt. “External stimulation is an amazing sexual activity in and of itself,” Taormino says. So wash your hands, spread those cheeks, and experience the vast pleasures afforded by touching your butt.