More and more ladies are putting a welcome mat by the back door: 36 percent of women and 42 percent of men have tried anal sex, according to a new report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Butt play has been around since the dawn of time, but it’s become more common over the last 20 or 30 years as the stigma has disappeared, says Kimberly McBride, Ph.D., a sex researcher at the University of Toledo. Now that Maya Rudolph has screamed about anal bleaching on Bridesmaids and thousands of free anal clips are available on PornHub, more people are interested in testing the waters, she says.

Still, not everyone who tries it makes it a regular part of their sex lives. Only 8 percent of women have had anal in the last month, according to a study from Indiana University.

“A lot of women say that it’s a special occasion thing,” McBride says. “They’ll only do it on his birthday or Valentine’s Day.”

But here’s a little secret: It doesn’t have to be a favour on her part.

“The anus is rich in nerve endings,” says McBride. “If you do it right, it can be a really pleasurable experience for her.”

Follow these steps, and she may be the one to ask for it next time.

1. Wait for the green light

This may seem painfully obvious, but McBride says she constantly hears from women who say their guys just ram it in, or claim that “it slipped.” If she’s not relaxed and ready (see Step 2), it’ll just be painful for her.

Ask her if she’s up for trying anal—and hash out any concerns—before you hop into bed, McBride says. Of course, if she’s not into it, you have to respect that.

If she’s game, don’t take it as a blanket approval to go for it anytime you’re fooling around. Check in with her in the moment to see if she’s in the mood for anal.

2. Play in the shallow end 

The anus can be an uncomfortable place to be touched at first. To help her get used to it, start with light butt play before you try penetration, says McBride.

For example, one night you can try just putting a finger or a vibrator on the outside of her anus. Another night, lube up a finger and gently insert it. Or experiment with butt plugs.

3. Lubricate, lubricate, lubricate

When you’re both ready to try the real thing, there are two things you need to know about the booty, says McBride.

One: It doesn’t self-lubricate.

Two: It’s very sensitive to tearing.

These two facts make it absolutely essential to use lube, and plenty of it.

4. Put her in the driver’s seat

Despite what you see in porn, thrusting too deeply, too quickly, or too vigorously will just hurt her.

Your best bet: Let her control the depth and speed of penetration, says McBride. You can let her climb on top for a dirty variation of the cowgirl position, do it missionary with her hands guiding your hips, or doggy style with her in charge of backing it up.