Is Bleeding After Anal Sex Normal?

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Jessica Migala |

So you’ve decided to try anal sex. Or maybe it’s part of your regular sex life. It is 2018.

But then, without warning, you see a streak of bright red blood on your TP. Is that…okay?

In short: Um, no. No it’s not.

“While it’s common to have some bleeding after anal sex, it’s not normal,” says Dr. Lauren Streicher, an associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s medical school and medical director of the Center for Sexual Health and Menopause.

The rectum doesn’t have the same elasticity that the vagina has, so “it’s not unusual to have tears or pain,” says Streicher. (That said, you can certainly have anal sex safely.)

Thing is, sex is supposed to be pleasurable, so if you’re bleeding frequently, you might decide that it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

READ MORE: 5 Things You ALWAYS Need To Do After Anal Sex

When should you be concerned?

Well, how much blood is there? “Large amounts of blood or persistent bleeding that’s accompanied with pain is concerning,” says Streicher.

As she mentions, it’s possible that rectal bleeding has nothing to do with anal sex. If you’re having regular anal sex and regular bleeding, don’t just brush it off as something that just happens. Persistent anal bleeding can be a red flag symptom that something is really wrong, like anal cancer. (Slow your roll, it’s probably not anal cancer—it’s rare in young women—but, still, get yourself checked out, okay?)

READ MORE: Having Anal Sex Puts You At Higher Risk Of Ongoing Anal Leakage, Says Study

Do I need to do anything to treat it? And how do I prevent it?

If it’s a one-time event and you’re streaking—not saturating—the toilet paper when wiping, you don’t have to do anything. Except, don’t have anal again until the bleeding disappears, says Streicher.

In the future, if anal sex is commonly on the menu, use a good amount of heavy-duty lube. Remember, says Streicher, that the anus doesn’t have lubrication like the vagina. Opt for a lube that’s silicone-based, not water based, and it should be smooth sailing from here.

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