Will my butthole be stretched out from anal sex?

The butthole, or anus, or many other names I could list here, is the end of the colon which is part of the gastrointestinal system in our bodies. The ‘hole’ itself has two main sections the anus (the opening to the outside of our bodies, a ring of muscle you can feel by touching down there) and the rectum (the rectum starts after a second ring of muscle at the end of the anus, called the anal sphincter).


Both the anal opening and anal sphincter are essentially rings of muscle.

During anal sexual play a finger, sex toy or penis can be inserted into the anus and pass through both of these rings. During rimming, someone is orally stimulating that area. Some play can be on the outside or just inside the anal opening- it really depends on what feels good to each person.

The idea of ‘stretching out the butthole’ comes from concern around harming those rings of muscle from sexual activity. Permanently stretching out or damaging those muscles during lubricated, consensual, reasonably paced anal sexual play is extremely unlikely. Just like other muscles in your body, these anal muscles contract and expand as needed.

However, if those muscles are forced open or if there is trauma to the area then that could potentially damage them. This is why it is SO important to take your time when engaging is anal sex play, communicate well with your partner about what they are OK with and make sure you are using plenty of lube.


Blue balls! Are they real?

Yes they are real and are not fun when it is happening, but it is not harmful or dangerous.

The term blue balls refer to penile and/or testicular ache someone can experience when they are sexually aroused and don’t orgasm/ejaculate. It can also refer to a blue hue the testicles can have while this ache is happening.

So what is going on?

As part of the body’s arousal response, blood rushes to the genitals. In male bodied people, the penis and scrotum become engorged with this blood. This is what causes an erection. During the course of sexual activity (either with someone else or during masturbation), the pressure of this extra blood in the area builds up until there is release (ejaculation). When the penis becomes flaccid post ejaculation, that is the blood leaving the area.

If someone gets sexually aroused and then doesn’t ejaculate, that blood build up can cause some general discomfort/aching. In some cases there can be a little perfusion of the blood into the scrotal tissue, making the scrotum look a little darker…or blue. The color change is more likely to occur if a cock ring is used (which holds the blood in the scrotum and penile shaft) or with certain medications (specifically erectile dysfunction medications). While this is really not comfortable when it is happening, it is NOT harmful.

And the best way to manage it? You guessed it- release the pressure by ejaculating- either on your own or with a consenting partner:) However if you are experiencing penile, testicular or scrotal discomfort/pain outside of this description or are worried about other symptoms you are experiencing, please see a medical provider to help you figure out what is going on, down there.

Let’s talk about…

Hi there!

Welcome to Carnal Cranium.

I’m psyched to get this blog started. It’s had a lot of false starts, but here we are.

When I first thought about starting my own sexual health blog, I began to research what was already out there. And was overwhelmed. There are a LOT. They cover a great many areas of human sexuality already.

But I was also aware that despite this, there were still pockets of sexy knowledge not really being addressed. Like the biological, sciencey side of things and the marriage of that to arousal. My curiosity tickled, I created a survey asking folks where they get their sexy knowledge from and what they had questions about. As a health provider, I was also curious to know now many people felt they could talk to their health providers about sexuality.

I was blown away (and humbled) by the number of responses I got.

(Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey. I’m sorry it took this long to see the result of your sharing, but I am very grateful for your input)

A lot of people still have questions about orgasms (what’s going on when they happen; how can I make my partner have great ones; why can’t I orgasm; how does aging impact desire/orgasms). Quite a few folks do not talk to their health providers about sex. Some had queries about signs and symptoms of STIs (sexually transmitted infections, aka as STDs or sexually transmitted diseases) and treatment. Others simply wanted to know more about how their sexual organs work. Others asked for more information about the medical process transgender folks go through as they transition.

I was inspired to help fill this knowledge gap. The prospect of geeking out about sexy science pleased my dorky self greatly. My health provider self got STOKED to offer reliable resources and a forum for safe knowledge sharing.

But there’s a caveat. As I said, I am a health provider. A nurse practitioner to be exact. This means that I will share clinical knowledge at times, but I won’t be diagnosing you via this blog.

So let the learning/sharing/geeking begin.

The format will be a combination of Q&A, interviews and general knowledge posts. I aspire to cover as much of the sexuality spectrum as possible- all questions are welcome. As we go, if you have questions- send them to carnalcranium AT geemale.