If you do a quick search online about anal sex, it boils down to one basic concern: can anal sex screw up your, well, anus? People are curious about how anal sex can impact their pooping habits and ability to "hold it." For those who are tapping the back door or are thinking about it, you've undoubtedly asked the same question. The other popular anal inquiry has to do with frequency: can you have too much anal sex? It turns out the answer to both isn't exactly cut and dry.
"As long as it doesn't hurt, you can do as much anal as you like," Stacy Rybchin, founder and CEO of My Secret Soiree and My Secret Luxury, tells Romper. "Just remember to use lots of personal lubricant, take it slow, and communicate with your partner." The lube portion can't be stressed enough. According to Web MD, an anus lacks natural lubrication that is present in a vagina. So if you're a woman receiving anal play you'll want to remember that and go heavy on the lubrication. As explained in the post, tearing is probably inevitable, but certainly lessened with lube. (It's worth noting that you could get tears or endure bodily damage from having any sex the "wrong way" or in a painful manner. Lube helps make it safe and pleasurable for everyone.) As an article in Cosmopolitan pointed out, if a vagina is dry and you don't use lube down there you could cause micro-tears in the vagina. It's the same with anal sex.
The other line of thinking is that anal can cause long term damage to your butt. Theoretically, it definitely seems possible. As explained in the aforementioned Web MD article, repetitive anal sex could lead to weakening of the anal sphincter. As a result, it may make holding in feces until you get to a toilet more difficult. Additionally, an article in Men's Health pointed out that vigorous anal sex could put undue pressure on the posterior vaginal wall in women. This could lead to anal incontinence or increased risk of passing gas.
The general consensus overall seems to be if you're practicing anal sex in a safe, comfortable, and communicative way you shouldn't have any short term or long term problems. The key will be to check in with your body during anal sex and even after and do an honest assessment about how you feel. If you have concerns that you can't see or figure out yourself, you can hopefully be open and honest with a doctor if needed.