Ask Dr. LauraColumns

Ask Dr. Laura: Fisting Fun and Pregnancy Sex

Share with your friends










Submit

By Dr. Laura McGuire

Dear Readers,

Thank you for continuing to be an integral part of “Ask Dr. Laura.” Your questions and feedback have been such a joy and honor to be a part of. We need a few more questions from you to get through our next few months, so keep them coming (puns are always intended) to [email protected]!

Dear Dr. Laura, 

What is fisting? Is it safe? Thanks!

Dear Frank Fister,

Thanks for bringing up this fascinating but rarely discussed sexual practice! Fisting is a bit complex and definitely something to get your research on before actually “getting it on.” Whether you, your partner, or both, are the ones interested in adding vaginal or anal fisting to your sexual palette, it’s important to understand what is involved and how to approach fisting safely and effectively.

So with fisting, I have some good news and bad news to discuss. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. If you look up research for the past 30 years on fisting, you will be hit by a wave of studies on injuries and deaths due to mishandled fisting and sexual assault. It is some pretty gruesome stuff. Even if you spend days pouring over journals, you will be hard pressed to find anything that discusses the topic neutrally. All of the studies seem to say that people can be injured or killed via fisting and that there are extremely high rates of STDs from the practice. Whew! Not good news at all. I’ll save you the gore and not cite those studies, but trust me that they are all over the place.

So let’s look at this logically: it is not that fisting can’t be done safely—it is the fact that it is a very intense and potentially risky thing to do in the bedroom (or kitchen, or garden, or wherever). This means that you must respect the practice and go slowly with tons of communication and feedback all along the way.

What is fisting? Fisting is the practice of sexual stimulation with a person’s hand and possibly wrist in the vaginal or anal canal. As far as orifices go, vaginal is the best bet when it comes to stretching to accommodate a welcomed guest such as a hand. The anus may also stretch that wide without injury, but must be done so with the greatest sense of caution and care. While anuses have many wonderful qualities of their own, they just aren’t as elastic as vaginas (sorry, my peeps).

So what’s the good news, you say? The good news is that fisting, both anally and vaginally, has been a part of queer sexual practices for as long as anyone has recorded queer sexual practices. And despite all that scary research, plenty of LGBTQ people have greatly enjoyed and benefited from it without injury.

To do fisting safely—to yourself or a partner—the recipient must be completely willing and excited to 1. Do this thang and 2. Communicate their needs and boundaries. The fister, on the other hand, must be willing to go slowly and let go of expectations that it will happen a certain way or at a certain time.

Okay, so now that everyone is on board the fisting train, let’s get to the details! Get your gloves and lube out first—black gloves are best, as they easily show tears or holes. Secondly, never approach a vagina or anus with a closed fist. The muscles around the orifices we are discussing are sphincter muscles, spiraling circular muscles that need to be enticed to relax and open up. Begin with whatever kind of touch or stimulation that part of the receiver’s body likes. Kissing, caressing, and licking are great ways to allow the muscles to relax. Once warmed up, begin by inserting a pinky/finger or toy to further allow for progressive relaxation. Get the lube out and make sure you use tons of it—a silicone-based one will work best. When the receiver is ready, make your hand into the shape of a shadow puppet, with the fingers and thumb pressed together. Begin to let the fingertips gently feel their way in, one at a time, until all of the fingers are inside. Tuck the thumb in flat and toward the palm. Rock the hand gently in and out; add lube as you go.

Are you still communicating about how this feels? Great! Keep doing that! The widest points will be your knuckles and the base of your thumb—go the slowest there. How does it feel so far? If the receiver is asking for more, without any pressure from the giver, then move another centimeter in. If you see blood, slowly back out and check for any fissures (small cuts), which need to be checked by a doctor. If no issues are seen and everyone is happy, relax and enjoy going as far as your wrist.

As with any new sexual exploration communication, safety and consent are everything. Listen to your body, your partner’s body, and feel empowered in understanding all the ways you receive and give pleasure.

In Sex Positivity,

Dr. Laura

Dear Dr. Laura, 

My partner and I just found out we are pregnant. I’m excited, but confused about sex during pregnancy. Help!

Dear Pleasantly Pregnant,

First of all, congrats! Finding out you are expecting is powerful, and it’s great that it sounds like it is a happy occasion. As a doula and mother myself, I know how overwhelming all the info you are receiving is. Not to mention all the lovely horror stories your friends love to dump on you the moment they hear the news. Try your best to block all the haters out and get ready for some great news!

Pregnancy is inherently sexual. Unless the conception was traumatic, it was hopefully a meaningful moment and sexually connecting. If it was traumatic, and I have met many survivors for which it was, know that the rest of this journey is now yours to claim, no matter how it began. Your whole being is going to merge with and sustain another being—you are capable, glorious, and powerful in this manifestation. What an incredible time to get in touch with your sexuality.

In your first trimester you may or may not feel super sexy, since this is the most common time for things like morning (aka ALL DAY) sickness to hit. Your doctor may also want you to stay away from sexy-town for this three-month period if there are any concerns about miscarriage. So check with yourself and your doctor, but know that if you are medically cleared, you are good to go.

For your second and third trimester, as long as your medical care provider says yes, you can go to town. Your body will stretch and change in ways you could never have imagined. Many of these changes may make you feel more sexual and others may not. The key to loving pregnancy sex is to not let preconceived notions of it being “weird” or “gross” get in the way. Your vulva will increase in blood flow and engorge a bit, which means your orgasms may be more common and more powerful than ever before! If that is not the case, feel free to use an external vibrator or other technique to get your body rocking. If your partner produces semen, then you are even more in luck. The hormones in semen can actually keep you from going past your due date and make labor faster! Of course, be especially sure you are tested and cleared, as STDs can affect the baby’s wellbeing.

Labor is another amazing time for sex. Many women experience pleasurable feelings during labor including orgasm. Yes, you heard me right. If you are super relaxed and supportive, the sensation of labor can actually get you off! Wow! Midwives have sworn that clitoral stimulation while pushing eliminates tearing, and nipple play makes everything go faster. How rocking amazing is that?! Your body is so smart. Advocate for privacy to explore these tools, and make sure your provider is on board with your experience being positive and empowering.

Have a blessed and beautiful pregnancy and birth!

In Sex Positivity,

Dr. Laura

Sex Geekery:

Kontoyannis, M., Katsetos, C., & Panagopoulos, P. (2012). Sexual intercourse during pregnancy. Health Science Journal.

Sayle AE et al., Sexual activity during late pregnancy and risk of preterm delivery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2001, 97(2):283-289.

Buckley, S. (2010). Sexuality in labour and birth: an intimate perspective. Essential midwifery practice: intrapartum care, 213-234.

Hotelling, B. A. (2009). From psychoprophylactic to orgasmic birth. The Journal of perinatal education, 18(4), 45-48.

Gaskin I. M. Ina May’s guide to childbirth. New York: Bantam Dell; 2003.

Comments

comments

Share with your friends










Submit
Tags
Show More

Laura McGuire

Dr. Laura McGuire is certified as a sexuality educator through the American Association of Sexuality Educators Counselors and Therapists.

Related Articles