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Is Anal Sex Harmful?

Published: 12 mei 2004
Dear TeenHealthFX,
My friend is having sex with a lot of guys and I think that is wrong. She told me that one of the boys did her from the back. Is it true that people can get cancer from doing that and also, is true that it's harmful?
Signed: Is Anal Sex Harmful?

Dear Is Anal Sex Harmful?,

 

TeenHealthFX agrees that it is not a good idea for your friend to be having sex with multiple partners.  Your friend is putting herself at risk for not only pregnancy, but STIs (sexually transmitted infections) as well.  FX is hoping that she is practicing safer sex by using condoms, but if she is not she is at an even greater risk for infections and pregnancy.

As far as anal sex goes, no research backs up the statement that anal sex causes cancer.  This is not to say that it does not come with any risks.  Anal sex is considered a high-risk behavior for HIV and other STIs. The delicate tissue in the rectum is prone to small tears that make entryway for STIs easy.   Latex barriers (condoms, gloves) and lots of water-based lube, to ensure the condom doesn't break, are essential.  Your friend should also be aware that anal bacteria could cause serious vaginal infections and bladder infections (cystitis).  Again, the only protection is condoms and that the partner replaces the condom and washes thoroughly before he enters the vagina after anal intercourse.  Pregnancy is another potential risk - because the rectum is so close to the vagina, if a man does not wear a condom, or it slips off or it is worn incorrectly, there is a chance that some sperm may get into the vagina.  Lastly, anal sex can be painful that is why it is very important for your friend to have excellent communication skills with her partner and use a condom with lots of water-based lubricant.  For more information on Anal Sex, check out Is Anal Sex Safe? (/answers/Sexuality/847.html) and also do a search (FX has several anal sex questions)

You seem to care very much for your friend by writing into FX.  You sound like you may be trying to arm yourself with information to talk with her about this.  If this is so, you may want to print this article out as a conversation point.  FX would also recommend that she go to a teen health clinic to discuss birth control and safer sex and get an overall check to make sure everything is okay. If you live in Northern New Jersey, you can have your friend contact the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at (973) 971.6475. If you live outside of Northern New Jersey, please call your local Planned Parenthood.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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