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The key to a successful sexual experience through an area of your body that is alive with nerve endings, the anus, is to make certain you are open to enjoying something you may have once thought you would never dare to try.

But first - relax. We mean it.

Take a bath. Have a glass of white wine. Read a really great dirty book. Watch the erotic video you have been keeping under your mattress and then get ready for an experience that will more than add to your sexual repertoire.

As with all new sexual adventures it's important to go slow, to make certain you are safe and to experiment with the proper equipment. Tulip has an entire section devoted to anal toys and the stimulation these toys can provide will make you smile until you use them again.

anal beads

A few key things to remember include the fact that the walls in the rectum are much thinner than the walls in the vagina and thus can be injured much more easily. Go slow. Start out small. Use your finger, enclosed in a condom, or your partner's finger - with a matching condom - of course. And use plenty of lubrication, especially if this is your first experience in anal penetration. The lubrication will surely make for a much more satisfying experience and will give you and/or your partner the confidence to try new toys and new positions.

And speaking of positions. Don't be shy.

Most people associate anal sex with the doggie style position but be cautious at first as this position allows deeper penetration and you may not be ready for it during your first anal encounter. Those missionaries knew what they were doing when it comes to anal penetration. This "you there - me right on top of you" position allows for lots of intimacy but is only one of hundreds or maybe even thousands of possible positions. You tell us.

Anal penetration was once thought of as "the gay man's sex" but is now enjoyed by heterosexual couples as well as lesbian couples who practice this satisfying activity at least occasionally if not on a more than regular basis.

Also remember that many first timers experience some discomfort, however, if you remember our first rule -- to relax -- you will begin to feel only pleasure. Make certain that you and/or your partner have the proper equipment, attitudes and are ready to grow and expand your sexual horizons.

Anal toys come in a variety of shapes and sizes and once you have experimented with fingers you can try anal plugs or dildos or your partner's penis if you are having sex with a man.

Plugs come with a flared bottom and are inserted into the anus where they stay during sex. Plugs are often used by people who enjoy the feeling of "fullness" that comes with insertion.

Beads are usually made of plastic or silicone and some are attached to a string that is inserted into the anus. feather anal plugThe beads increase sexual pleasure as they are inserted and removed slowly or all at once. Tulip recommends that you are sure to use beads that come with a handle so you don't lose them (yes, it could happen). Our products have all been selected with safety in mind - but you must act safe as well.

Dildos are used more often if you enjoy the in and out motions of thrusting. Dildos come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors and can either look like a penis or for those who prefer a non-phallic looking dildo, they also come without a head or other "penis-like" components.

Lastly, rimming, running the mouth and tongue over the entrance and into the anus, is an activity that can be enjoyed by both parties. Remember - safe sex is good sex and the use of a dental dams is always recommended.

Experiment, go slow, communicate and keep an open mind and there's a good chance anal sex will become an important part of your sexual life.