As anal play becomes less taboo for people of all genders and sexualities, it makes sense that folks are curious about all kinds of booty-related activities out there. That includes anal gaping, a practice you might encounter in more ~extreme~ forms of porn. If you're curious about what an anal gape is, welcome! We have the information you need.
Anal gaping is the practice of creating a temporary “gape” in the anal opening, which can be appealing for a variety of reasons. The two main things that get people out of of gapin’? One, it can help folks tap into power dynamics in kinky Dom/sub relationships; and two, it can stimulate the nerve-rich anal opening and anal canal in a big (literally) way.
If you’re scratching your head and wondering what the hell I’m talking about, you’d be in the majority. This is a practice that many people have never heard of, or will ever try. Whether you want to try anal gaping or not, it's still fascinating to learn about.
What is anal gaping?
Anal gaping is when a person uses hands, toys, and/or booty-stretching devices for anal penetration, for an extended period of time, with the intent of slowly stretching the anal sphincter so that the end result is a lasting opening, or "gape."
The idea is to “open up your rectum and give a clear view into your anal canal,” explains Daniel Saynt, founder and Chief Conspirator of The New Society for Wellness (NSFW), a kink-focused private members club in NYC. “The effects can last a few hours and create a feeling of fullness from within.” Even after the anal toy is removed, this sensation of fullness can last for the whole time a gape is present, which keeps the sexiness of a Dom/sub dynamic in full effect.
When you get a proper gape going, you "override your two anal sphincters to the point that it can stay open voluntarily,” explains Kenneth Play, a sex educator and creator of the Sex Hacker Pro Series. “This anal hack requires consistent practice and training. Just like yoga, in order for you to gain flexibility way above the inflexible norm is practice and repetition.”
Gapes usually last about two hours after you remove the object; eventually, the anal opening returns to normal.
How does anal gaping work, exactly?
Cool, so anal gaping is getting your butthole stretched out with toys/hands/devices. But how do you actually do this?
First, experts recommend gathering plenty of anal experience before you dip a toe into gaping. "Anal gaping isn’t something for those new to bottoming," Saynt says. "It takes time and preparation to get yourself relaxed and stretched enough to present a proper gape."
You can start by training the anus. You can’t just go sticking large objects up a bum and expect all to be well. Instead, use progressively bigger dildos in the anus in order to teach it how to expand and stretch around bigger objects. (Play suggests using this anal cone for first-time gapers.)
The question is, how do you know you've successfully gaped? Well, you will need a mirror if you want to take a peek after the object is out of your bum. If you don't want to see it for yourself, your Dom (or the top, depending on the dynamic), can always let you know if you've gained a successful gape.
This practice takes a lot of time and patience. “Anal gaping is both functional and mental and because of that, the reflex of full relaxation needs to be mastered,” says Dr. Evan Goldstein, MD, an anal surgeon, sexual health expert, and founder of Bespoke Surgical. This means learning to breathe into your body, be fully present, and begin to master the squeeze and release of the anal muscles.
Why are people into anal gapes?
When people are using anal gaping in a Dom/sub dynamic, the submissive might want to have an anal gape to express devotion to the Dom. “The gape is visual proof of how much he can take up his rump as a display of devotion to the power exchange dynamic," explains Mistress Kye, a kink specialist and educator. "For example, the bigger the dildo he can take, the more of a submissive he is."
Another common reason submissives are into gaping is the desire to be a “woman” and have a "vagina," Kye. Now, having a vagina does not automatically make you a woman, of course, but in this particular context, the desire is to be feminized (and often sexually humiliated). Problematic, yes, but what happens between consenting adults is none of our business. "This is the mind/body connection for them into their feminine shadow self, who is a vagina-haver,” Kye explains.
In psychological theory, the shadow side refers to the “darker” side of one’s personality. Much of our sexuality falls within the shadow self, because it is taboo. When we play with gender expression in sex, we are exploring desires that aren’t considered “socially appropriate.” Cisgender men aren’t “supposed” to want to be feminine—according to backward societal norms—and this fact is what can make it so erotic in the first place. This kind of play can be incredibly vulnerable and perhaps a bit problematic, but a lot of what makes certain sex acts hot is the very fact that they’re problematic. As long as you're exploring things consensually, it’s alright to navigate through your complicated erotic roadmap.
From a physiological perspective, when done correctly and safely, anal gaping can be a pleasurable experience. “Not only because of the incredible amount of specialized sensory nerve endings in the anal canal, but, because the extended time required to accomplish a gape often fosters greater intimacy between partners,” Kye explains.
Is anal gaping safe?
Some people take longer to gape than others and thus, everyone needs to go at their own pace. This is no time to rush. “If you experience excessive bleeding or feel extreme pain when stimulating your anus, pause and monitor yourself,” Saynt adds. “If bleeding continues, consider visiting a doctor.”
As with many BDSM activities, gaping is safe if you put in the time and patience to do it correctly. “If it's not strategically done—meaning via slow and steady incremental dilation—people can get anal tears, called fissures, and/or dilated veins, and hemorrhoids,” Goldstein says. “People can also cause significant trauma to the anal region, where they can actually snap one or more of their muscles. It’s not pretty, and hence why having an understanding of the proper mechanics is paramount to your success.”