If You Aren’t Present In Your Ass, You Aren’t Fully Present In Your Body
Let me ask you a question that you probably have never been asked before. How does your ass feel, right now?
I’m not asking about your butt cheeks, or your hips, or your glutes. I mean- what are you feeling in your anus?
There’s a reason I invite you to think about this. Most people hold a lot of tension in their anuses, and that can have some pretty serious effects on how they move, on their sex lives, and on their ability to be fully present in their bodies.
There are plenty of reasons why we hold our asses so tightly. One of the biggest is that it’s a place that carries a lot of different emotions. Think about how a scared cat or dog tucks its tail under. People do the same thing, but it’s less visible because we walk upright and don’t have tails. When you get stressed out or angry or scared or ashamed, you probably tighten up in the same way. It’s a protective mechanism, but people who are chronically stressed out often lose the ability to relax again. There’s a reason why we call those folks “tight asses.”
That can be even more true for people who have experienced sexual trauma because the emotional effects and the physical impact of pain or wounding to the pelvic floor can merge to create even bigger barriers to relaxation. The trauma doesn’t have to be sexual assault. Someone recently told me about the first time she’d tried anal intercourse. The experience was incredibly painful, mostly because she and her boyfriend had no idea how to do it, and ever since then, her ass has tightened up any time a partner has even mentioned anal sex. Her body remembers the pain, even though the event happened years ago.
On top of that, the pelvic floor isn’t well-designed to be weight-bearing. For four-legged animals, the equivalent muscles are vertical, so there’s not as much pressure on them. When we evolved to walk upright, those small muscles were asked to support a lot more weight and they sometimes struggle. That’s why pregnancy often causes hemorrhoids- the pressure can cause the muscles to become overly tight, leading to that painful condition. But we all face the same physical stresses, especially if we spend a lot of time sitting.
The problem is that when the anus tightens up, it can affect our entire bodies. A tight ass can limit how easily we can move because the pelvis connects to the big muscles of our legs, abdomen, and back. When the ass and pelvic floor tighten, we can experience tension and tightness almost anywhere in the body. A tight ass can also be physically uncomfortable on its own, which some people feel as a burning or itching sensation. Any of these effects can make sex difficult, uncomfortable, or painful.
But that’s not all. The internal anal sphincter is enervated by the autonomic nervous system. That’s the part of our nervous system that controls both the fight/flight response and the relaxation response. When the ass is tight, it can trigger the fight/flight programming and make us more reactive and more likely to lash out. So between the physical discomfort of a tight ass, the cascade of misalignment it can cause in the rest of the body, and the increased likelihood of emotional reactions, a tight ass can cause some real problems.
With all of this going on, it’s no wonder that so many people dissociate from their asses. In my work as a sexological bodyworker, I see a lot of clients who have difficulty feeling what’s going on there. They can’t tell whether the muscles are squeezing or relaxed. They can’t be present in their asses. And when you can’t be present in your ass, you can’t be fully present your body. Of course, that’s true for any part of the body, but it’s much more common for people to be dissociated from their asses than their arms.
While I’m definitely a big fan of anal sex (in fact, I wrote a book about prostate and anal play), I have to say that there’s something amazing that happens when you bring mindful, caring touch to that part of the body without any erotic intent. The anus is the only place where we can directly touch the autonomic nervous system, and bringing relaxation to the anus can calm the entire body down. Many of my clients become so relaxed that they drift into a trance state. It’s a wonderful experience. Some clients have many different emotions or thoughts arise during sessions, and it can be a great way to tap into them in a safe, supportive container. Simply asking the muscles to relax can help you tune into those feelings and let them go, bringing new freedom to your physical and emotional state.
Anal touch sometimes includes penetration and it sometimes includes muscular release of the pelvic muscles (some of which you can only reach from inside the body), but it doesn’t have to. In fact, some of the most profound sessions I’ve given never had any penetration at all. The most important element is bringing caring, gentle, skilled touch to a part of the body that most people ignore or reject.
Another session that I always enjoy is coaching couples through anal touch. It’s one thing to read a book or attend a workshop, but it’s a completely different kind of learning when you have someone coach you through it, step by step. And once you understand how to help your partner truly relax their ass, the potential to truly enjoy anal sex increases dramatically. Not only do these sessions offer the giver the chance to develop more skill at offering pleasurable anal play, they help the receiver learn what they enjoy and how to drop into the experience. They also help both partners find the verbal and physical communication that make anal work much better.
Chester Mainard, one of my mentors, used to say “Open your ass and your heart and mind will follow.” I couldn’t agree more. If you want to discover that for yourself, hands-on coaching can be a great way to do that. Get in touch with me and let’s talk about how I can help you become more present in your ass, your body, your heart, and your mind.