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We're bringing you this Q&A from the Sex Files in our Spring 2020 print issue, featuring advice from sexologist Dr. Carol Queen.

I was born with a displaced anus. As a child, I would often cry while in the bathroom because pooping was painful. I was told by my doctor that this issue would correct itself as I got older. Now that I’m an adult, I think it definitely has improved, but not entirely; I still have some trouble pooping at times and can feel when something is clearly stuck back there, even when I know I’m fully hydrated with water and definitely not constipated. How can I have anal sex with a displaced anus? Is it even possible? –Sad Anus

Because anus displacement can have more than one variant, I think the most careful advice I can give you is to look for a doctor who is sex-positive and well-informed about these physical differences. (You might need to hunt for such a doc—not every physician is equally butt-positive.) You don’t mention having had surgery, which is a common outcome of the more severe types of this condition, so perhaps yours is the milder variant. A displaced anus is not too uncommon, though its precise cause isn’t known; there’s more information out there about this condition in infants than in adults. I found a study seeking to establish whether there’s a connection between having a displaced anus and other pelvic organ disorders, including that of the pelvic musculature, and the pelvic floor. If that’s a possibility, it could also be associated with pain with penetration, and possibly even be responsible for the “stuck back there” feeling you have noticed.

One concern when it comes to trying anal in your situation: if you have a vagina, your anus may be closer to it than average, and then you have to be even more careful than others would about getting rectal bacteria in your vagina and urethra. Before you attempt an anal experiment, it might be wise to gently explore anal touch and insertion on your own, with a slim dildo or butt toy to start with (remember it has to have a base to keep it from sliding inside, and you’ll need lots of lube). Don’t use anything made of a hard material—no metal plugs with sparkly gems or ponytails to begin with! If you do this, go cautiously. Enjoy yourself, but don’t push through pain or discomfort: pay attention to it and respect any message your body gives you.

When you find a sex-positive, anally informed doctor, ask if there is anything about your anus and rectum that would make your experience of anal sex different (and more problematic or risky). I’d also want to find out whether you can use a rectal rinse, like an enema bag or bulb, because that could (if safe for you) help clear fecal material out, and possibly add to the comfort and safety of anal insertion.

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Carol Queen’s latest book (written with Shar Rednour) is The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone. This article originally appeared in the Spring 2020 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!  

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