What Is Rimming?

A type of oral sex that involves stimulating the anus

Rimming, also known as analingus, is a form of oral sex that involves kissing, licking, sucking, and other ways of stimulating a sexual partner's anus and the surrounding anatomy. The action is called “rimming” because the rim of the anus is the main area where a person uses their mouth and tongue to pleasure a partner. However, rimming does not only have to take place on the outer edges of the anus—all parts of the anus can be stimulated for sexual pleasure. It can be enjoyed by all genders and sexual orientations can enjoy.

Oral sex refers to a range of sexual activities where people use their mouths and tongues to stimulate their partners' genitals.

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Anatomy

The anus is a 1½-inch opening at the end of the gastrointestinal tract that is incredibly sensitive and has many nerve endings. It is located at the lower end of the rectum. The anatomy of the anus includes the anal sphincter and perineum.

Anal Sphincters

Sphincters are circular muscles that can open and close, and they regulate the passage of bodily fluids like urine. The anal sphincter, which consists of two sphincter muscles, control the release of fecal matter. The internal sphincter muscle is involuntary and keeps the anus closed to prevent stools from leaking out when someone is not having a bowel movement. The external one is voluntary and can be clenched and unclenched to allow stools to pass through.

When the rectum fills up, signals are sent to the brain and are then sent back to the lining of the anus, where the nerve impulse causes the internal sphincter muscle to open up. This makes a person feel the need to empty their bowels. If they follow the urge and go to the bathroom, they will voluntarily relax their external sphincter muscle. After a bowel movement, the external and internal sphincter muscles close up again, and the urge to use the bathroom disappears.

Perineum

The perineum is the area between the anus and the vagina or the scrotum. This region plays an important role in urination, defecation, sexual intercourse, and childbirth. The perineum protects the pelvic floor muscles and the blood vessels that supply the genitals and urinary tract. It also protects the nerves used to urinate. The perineum contains many nerve endings and can become very sensitive when it's touched.

Meaning of Rimming 

Rimming, also called a rim job, is when someone uses their mouth and tongue to stimulate their partner's anus, anal sphincter, and perineum. Penetrating the anus with the tongue is also a method of rimming. Rimming is often performed along with genital touch.

Safety

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

As with other types of oral sex, there is no pregnancy risk associated with rimming. However, rimming is still considered a relatively risky sexual behavior because it may expose someone to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) via the fecal-oral route.

Some of the STDs that can be transmitted by rimming include:

One way to prevent getting an STD through rimming is by having you and your sexual partner get tested beforehand. Avoid rimming if you or your partner has an STD and has not fully recovered. You or your partner should also avoid rimming if either of you has cold sores, which increase the risk of transmitting herpes.

You can also reduce your risk of getting an STD by using the proper protection. Dental dams, which are thin, flexible pieces of latex that serves as a barrier between the mouth and the vagina or anus, offer protection from STDs and other infections. Tongue condoms, also called oral condoms, can also be worn over the tongue to protect against STDs during rimming. 

When you have a conversation with your partner about sexual activity, it's important to ensure address concerns about STDs and ensure you both feel comfortable with the precautions you plan on taking.

Bacterial Infections

Rimming also carries the risk of infections from parasites and bacteria that pass through the anus like E.coli and Salmonella. An individual may become sick if they ingest them. Maintain good personal hygiene by taking a bath or a shower beforehand to prevent the spread of bacteria during rimming. Use an antibacterial soap and consider anal douching, which is flushing out one's anus with water, with an enema to clear the bowels before rimming.

It's best to opt out of rimming if you have gas, diarrhea, constipation, bleeding, sores (like hemorrhoids), or an infection. Avoid rimming if you or your partner is sick.

A Word From Verywell

Rimming is another sexual activity that people can enjoy with their partners, but not everyone will be comfortable with it. It may be because rimming carries STDs and bacterial infections risks. It may also be that some people are simply not interested in rimming. The choice to engage in rimming can be a deeply personal one.

Those who want to try rimming should have an open and honest conversation with their partners to gauge their interest and comfort level. It's also important to discuss protection beforehand to minimize infection risks.

There are many different ways to enjoy rimming, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Communication is key to finding out what works and what doesn't in each case.

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  1. Aritürk E, Nergiz Y, Aydin G, Dokucu AI, Tosyali N, Deveci E. Sensory nerve endings in the anal canal: increasing patterns with age. Pediatr Surg Int. 1993;8(4):318-321.