Anal numbing lube is a lot like cilantro in that the opinions about it are very strong and very divided. Nobody seems to have a centrist's point of view about numbing lube- it's pure love or pure hate.
If you ask one person what they think about it, they will regale you with a gushing ode to this modern marvel of butt-pain alleviation, but ask another person about it and you might be treated to a fire and brimstone sermon on the grave dangers of this demon lube sent from the very pits of hell itself to destroy humanity one clenched sphincter at a time.
Like most things, it's more a matter of how you use it, and why. Here's everything you need to know about it- the good, the bad, and the ugly.
What It Is
Anal numbing lube is a sexual lubrication product that contains added ingredients that desensitize the nerve endings of the anal wall to ease the pain and discomfort of anal insertion.
The active ingredient is usually benzo@caine, an agent commonly found in over the counter medications for toothaches, sunburn, and sore throat medications. Sometimes, however, a similar agent called Lido@aine is used. Both agents have been in use for decades and are widely considered to be completely safe.
What It Isn't
Although it definitely works as advertised- it will numb your bum- it most certainly is not a magic potion to turn you into the Incredible Hulk of power bottoms. It has its limits, and those limits are determined by your own.
It will not stop many of the problems that come with anal sex, it will only alleviate the discomfort of them. If your ass isn't trained up enough, that giant rubber fist is still going to rip your downstairs mix-up just as badly with or without anal numbing lube- you just might not realize it as quickly. Which brings us to our next topic...
As I alluded to in the previous paragraph, there are some dangers that come with the use of anal desensitizers. The lube might take away the pain of insertion, but that pain and discomfort is a very important indicator that there may be something going wrong with the plumbing down in your basement.
Anal sex has many complications that can arise, and none of them are very pleasant. The skin of the anal wall is thin and lacks the various protections of external skin. This means that the anal wall is very susceptible to damage.
Tearing, bleeding, and anal fissures are unavoidable side effects of anal sex. Though usually minor, these problems can lead to infection due to the bio-active environment of the anus.
The danger of using anal numbing lubricants is that these issues may go unnoticed when they occur, leading to further damage when there is no time out called on the delightful pounding your ass is receiving.
Now, with that unpleasantness out of the way, let's get down to the good stuff...
Who Is It Good For?
Anal numbing lubes are probably most attractive to men that are new to bottoming. Nobody starts off as an Olympic grade athlete on their first day at the gym, and nobody is going to be taking home the gold medal in the anal Olympics their first time either. Both take more than a bit of training to achieve the physical state required to be a true champ.
Think of anal desensitizers as a performance enhancing drug for your ass. It will allow you stretch your limits just a little beyond what you thought you might be capable of, allowing you to improve the elasticity of your hole without all of the discomfort and soreness of a beginner.
If you are training up your hole using toys, this may just be the perfect thing to help you get where you need to be to hang with the heavyweight tops of the world.
It is also a good thing to have around if you happen to pick up a guy who's swingin' some serious meat that is larger than you are accustomed to. Something you can go to in a pinch to allow you to accommodate a surprisingly gifted playmate.
Whether you generally need to use desensitizers or not, it’s really not a bad idea to have some on hand just in case that cute little twink from the gym turns out to have a titanic wang hiding beneath those track pants.
I myself love to get on top and ride like a crack-addled rodeo star, but sometimes I have a problem doing that with a partner who's got a magnum in the holster. In a situation like that, I would just be out of luck if it wasn't for these products.
As much as I like to ride, at a certain point it too much is just too much, no matter how much I want too much to be just enough- but with anal numbing lube, too much can feel pretty damn good.
Basically, anal desensitizers are the perfect thing for anyone who is trying to attempt insertions beyond their physical comfort zone. Whether it is simply because you are new to the wonderful world of anal sex, you are pleasantly surprised by a gifted partner, or you just have an overly sensitive ass, anal numbing lube is a nearly perfect tool to allow you to get where you need to be. Nearly perfect...
Well, the most obvious drawback of anal numbing lubes is, paradoxically, the same as the property that makes it so great, it numbs. While this may be great for the bottom trying to avoid the occasional discomfort of anal insertion, it's not so great for the top who gets some on his member, for obvious reasons. This problem is pretty easily avoided, however, by simply applying the lube to your hole a few minutes before you get down to business and wiping it up before your man gets to work.
Furthermore, it can rob the bottom of much of the sensation of being well pounded. It works just as well to numb the bad as the good.
It can also be a bit unpleasant if it comes into contact with the mouth during oral play. Nobody wants to feel like they just got out of the dentist's chair when they are trying to bob on a knob.
Another problem with these products is that some people report various unpleasant sensations when the product is first applied. Personally, I experience a rather unpleasant burning sensation when the anal numbing lube is first applied and hasn't taken effect yet.
Other people have reported a wide variety of sensations when the product is first applied, everything from an intense itchiness to an unpleasant mentholated feeling. These sensations tend to pass once the product takes effect, but for some people, this may be a deal breaker.
While that all sounds semi-horrific, I should probably point out that not everyone experiences these sensations and many who do find them to be temporary, minor inconveniences compared to the sensation of having their asshole pushed to the limit.
Really it is up to you to decide if the discomfort you are trying to avoid by using these products is worse than the temporary initial discomfort of their application. It might be best to try a few different brands and active ingredients to find the one that works best for you. If none of the benzo@aine/lido@aine based products work for you, there are alternatives...
If you decide you aren’t into anal numbing lubes, there are alternative products that come highly recommended for helping you ease the discomfort of anal sex. Most of them fall under the category of "anal relaxants".
The benefits of these products are that instead of numbing the nerves to ease discomfort, they relax the anal muscles to ease insertion. Most of them use natural ingredients like jojoba oil and often contain other helpful ingredients that increase skin elasticity and help keep your anal tissues moisturized.
Dry, inelastic skin is more prone to tearing and fissures. So, these lubes pull double duty, both protecting and relaxing your anus. When I’m playing with really big guys, I sometimes combine the two. The one-two punch of relaxation and dampened sensitivity makes anal a breeze.
The added relaxation also acts as a buffer to help prevent some of the problems that come from being numb down there. Which is to say, you are less likely to get that tearing or those fissures I talked about earlier because you are more relaxed.
These products might be a good way to go for those who fear a loss of pleasurable sensation or for those who prefer the protecting and moisturizing qualities they provide.
If you are having trouble with uncomfortable anal, there are other ways you can improve your situation. Anal training, as mentioned earlier, is one way you can go about it. This involves using increasingly large toys, usually butt plugs, to gradually increase the elasticity of your anus and help you take larger insertions without all of the hassle and pain. Anal training kits are usually the best way to get started on this.
Beyond buying products, there are a number of techniques you can use to ease the discomfort of anal sex, especially if you are new to the game. I have already written a full beginners guide to having painless anal that can be found here if you are interested.
Another way you can work to improve the sensation of anal is to experiment with the type and brand of lube you use. Sometimes we don’t think enough about the lube we use and ignore the fact that not all lubes are the same. We might even have a lube we use simply out of habit and familiarity without ever realizing it’s actually kinda shitty.
Different lubes are good for different activities and choosing the right lube for the right occasion can make a huge difference in how our anal games play out.
If you aren’t up to snuff on the, ahem, ins and outs of great anal lube, check out our guide to choosing the right lube for the right time here. It has all the info on the various types of lube and what they are best used for.
So, Should I Use Them Or Not?
For all the polarized talk surrounding anal numbing agents, it basically boils down to whether or not it is right for you- it's a personal preference. Try a few out, see what works for you or doesn't, and decide for yourself.
Everyone’s body is different and that means we all have different needs. Finding out what works best for you is an individual choice that requires a bit of experimentation and a willingness to break out of your routine and try something different.
As much as I hope this little guide helped you learn what you needed to about anal numbing lube, I imagine you'll have a lot more fun experimenting with it than reading about it! Happy hunting!