Male-to-female anal sex is commonly viewed as a way of preserving female virginity because it is non-procreative and does not tear the hymen; a person, especially a teenage girl or woman, who engages in anal sex or other sexual activity with no history of having engaged in vaginal intercourse is often regarded among heterosexuals and researchers as not having yet experienced virginity loss. Heterosexuals may view anal sex as "fooling around" or as foreplay; scholar Laura M.
Carpenter stated that this view "dates to the late 1600s, with explicit 'rules' appearing around the turn of the twentieth century, as in marriage manuals defining petting as 'literally every caress known to married couples but does not include complete sexual intercourse.'" In Kimberly R.
The likelihood of pregnancy occurring during anal sex is greatly reduced, as anal sex alone cannot lead to pregnancy unless sperm is somehow transported to the vaginal opening.
Because of this, some couples practice anal intercourse as a form of contraception, often in the absence of a condom.
Vaginal intercourse was practiced more than insertive anal intercourse among men, but 13% to 15% of men aged 25 to 49 practiced insertive anal intercourse.
With regard to adolescents, limited data also exists.
In pornography, anal sex is commonly portrayed as a desirable, painless routine that does not require personal lubricant; this can result in couples performing anal sex without care, and men and women believing that it is unusual for women, as receptive partners, to find discomfort or pain instead of pleasure from the activity.
By contrast, each person's sphincter muscles react to penetration differently, the anal sphincters have tissues that are more prone to tearing, and the anus and rectum do not provide lubrication for sexual penetration like the vagina does.
The review added that because "relatively little attention [is] given to anal intercourse and other anal sexual behaviors between heterosexual partners", this means that it is "quite rare" to have research "that specifically differentiates the anus as a sexual organ or addresses anal sexual function or dysfunction as legitimate topics.The internal and external sphincter muscles control the opening and closing of the anus; these muscles, which are sensitive membranes made up of many nerve endings, facilitate pleasure or pain during anal sex.