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Anal Sex May be Linked To Incontinence

Anal sex isn't for everyone.

Anal sex isn't for everyone, however, for those who are comfortable with it and who enjoy it, this article is a must-read for information on what anal can do to your body over time.

The Research

Researchers from the University of Alabama in the Birmingham Department of Medicine analyzed data from 6,150 adults and found 37% of women and about 5% of men reported trying anal intercourse at least once. Women reported having fecal incontinence at least once a month, while men’s odds of incontinence were almost tripled compared to men who had no anal sex.

It seems that it doesn't matter how often you have anal sex. The incontinence and leakage problems can happen even if you've just tried it one time, so people reported. The researchers say they just don't know for sure if someone who has anal sex one or two times is at the same increased risk for fecal incontinence compared to someone who has anal sex regularly.

Different Questions

Questions in the survey were different for men and women, which might account for at least some of the differences in outcomes by gender in the study.

For women, the survey asked, “Have you ever had anal sex?” For men the survey asked, “Have you ever had any kind of sex with a man, including oral or anal?”

To determine fecal incontinence, researchers reviewed responses to survey questions about leakage of mucus, liquid or stool occurring at least monthly.

The Figures

  • 8.3% of women and 5.6% of men in the study had fecal incontinence such as leakage of mucus, liquid, or stool.
  • About 10% of women who had anal sex had incontinence.
  • Almost 12% of men who had anal sex had incontinence, compared with about 5% of men who didn’t.

Doctors advise: Treat pain or bleeding as a warning to stop and seek medical help and evaluation.

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1 Comment
  • Anonymous
Nov 23, 2021
For those of us that work in the healthcare setting the results of this survey (published way back in 2016) aren't a big surprise. Other presentations associated with anal sex include anal fissures and even rectal prolapse. However, this is one of the few studies of the impact of anal sex, and many questions remain unanswered. Importantly, what the study has not analysed, at least in any detail, is frequency and 'type' of anal sex. The findings of the study do not preclude the (potentially likely) possibility that relatively gentle and less frequent anal sex will result in lower incidences of associated presentations. The study also didn't account for the impact of childbirth amongst the women surveyed. The bottom line is that anal sex carries some degree of risk, as the anus has not evolved as a sexual organ. However, sexual pleasure may be derived from its use as such, but care should be taken, given the co-prevalence of conditions that include incontinence. However, the study did not address whether severity of incontinence is dependent on the manner and frequency of anal sex. Moreover, it is recommended that those indulging in anal sex may want to engage in pelvic floor muscle or anal exercises to guard against decreased anal sphincter tone. There is good clinical evidence that these are an effective preventative treatment for fecal incontinence.