Despite great strides in sexual wokeness, anal sex is still shrouded in stigma. A toxic mix of homophobia, religion, and even law — let’s not forget that “sodomy” is still illegal in 12 states — has contributed to the belief that anal sex is some lewd, unnatural act reserved for gay men. None of that is remotely true, of course, and those in the know recognize that anal sex is as natural and pleasurable as any other form of consensual sex.
Understandably, this systemic bigotry can cloud people’s collective curiosity about butt stuff, making some too apprehensive to ask questions or educate themselves. These people end up diving into anal sex with less knowledge than they would when first trying, say, penis-in-vagina sex. This can result in less-than-stellar experiences that may cause some folks to never try it again.
As retailers and sex shop employees, we have an opportunity to fill this knowledge gap and open people’s minds and cheeks to a potentially pleasurable sexual experience. Everybody has a butt, and we all have the autonomy to explore its many pleasures if and how we choose to. So, the next time a bright-eyed newbie enters your store, follow these tips on selling products in the anal category.
Know your stuff
Make sure all staff are knowledgeable about anal sex. Host workshops and product trainings from sex educators and anal-specific brands, so that everybody understands anal anatomy and how it responds to sexual stimulation. Be the sex-positive resource your customers never had and add value to the sale. Don’t be a know-it-all, though. Meet a customer on their level as a fellow pleasure-curious explorer.
Newbies’ eyes are generally bigger than their holes, and will likely be drawn to toys that are too large for them. It’s best that anal novices start modestly, with a toy the size of one or two fingers. Anything larger may be uncomfortable and too much of a challenge for a beginner, which can put a quick end to their curiosity, effectively quashing their interest in exploring further.
Get them excited
Be enthusiastic, to help anal newbies shed any apprehension they might feel when entering your store. They’ve decided to try anal sex, this is exciting! Unfortunately, before meeting you, they’ve likely associated two things with anal play: poop and pain. If a customer mentions either, tell them the truth: that these outcomes are not nearly as common as we’ve been led to believe.
Remind them that almost any sexual act can have undesired results — like messy bodily fluids and pain — if we don’t engage with knowledge and compassion. Educating them on the importance of lube to help avoid discomfort, and the option of using a douche to clean out prior, also provides a chance to sell them on products that can help them enjoy that first anal experience.
Talk about anal training
Like most muscles, our sphincters benefit from regular exercise, which is where anal training comes in. Anal training is the act of repeatedly inserting a toy to open the sphincter muscles so they become more relaxed and accommodating. It is incredibly important for a pleasurable experience, yet it doesn’t get talked about as much as it should. Recommend anal training kits and dilator sets, which serve as training wheels for folks getting into butt stuff.
Anal training isn’t just for beginners, either. Anybody who hasn’t engaged in receptive anal sex in a while, or is looking to upsize, should consider anal training to prevent injury.
Live, laugh, lube up
With anal sex, lube is non-negotiable. As a retailer, this often means you can sell lube and perhaps even a lube applicator with the purchase of an anal toy. Even if the customer doesn’t purchase lube, remind them how important it is. Our asses don’t lubricate themselves! We want the customer to make more purchases with us, and that will only happen if their anal journey progresses pleasurably.
As a general rule, many enjoy silicone-based lubricants for anal sex as it’s slicker and lasts longer than water-based, meaning you won’t have to reapply as often. Don’t recommend a silicone lube if they purchase a silicone toy, though, as these aren’t compatible. If the customer is more comfortable and familiar with water-based lubricants, recommend one with a thicker, gel-like consistency to cushion any friction.
People getting into anal play need to know that this part of your body is accustomed to being closed tight most of the time. Because you’re introducing something new to this area, it’s going to require patience. The fact of the matter is that anal play might not feel good in the beginning because your body will need time to adjust and relax. But with patience and repeated play, these sensations will keep feeling better and better. And the investment is worth it.
Offer tips the customer won’t get elsewhere. Provide information that will make their experience more comfortable and pleasurable. Like pushing out with your hole as you push a toy in, for less resistance. Or inserting the toy at an angle as opposed to inserting it head-on. Helping someone confidently explore their body is not only personally gratifying, it’s great for business.