Researchers say this shouldn't be surprising.
For the study, which was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers analyzed responses to a national sex survey that’s been completed every 10 years in Britain since 1990. More than 45,000 people participated, and they shared some pretty interesting findings.
While the average age of a first sexual encounter hasn't changed much over the past few decades (it remains around 16 years old), the most recent survey found more millennials are experimenting with anal sex compared to young people in previous generations.
More than one in 10 teenaged millennials said they had tried having anal sex by the time they were 18, and among millennials ages 22 to 24, 30 percent said they’d tried it. Overall, millennials who said they were sexually active were still more likely to have vaginal and oral sex than anal. But researchers say the data from this latest survey shows a significant increase in anal sex experimentation compared to previous surveys.
In general, the most recent survey showed that millennials are more sexually active compared to previous generations, too. While survey data from 1990 to 1991 showed only one in 10 participants having a mix of vaginal, oral, and anal sex within the last year, data from 2010 to 2012 showed one in four men and one in five women taking part in these sexual activities within the previous year. Plus, in the latest survey, there was an increase of heterosexual women trying out bisexual practices.
The researchers point out that millennials are having “increased diversity” in their sexual practices, and basically urge public health officials to keep up.
So why the change? BBC News reports that of the author of the study, Kaye Wellings, speculates: "The changes in practices we see here are consistent with the widening of other aspects of young people's sexual experience, and are perhaps not surprising given the rapidly changing social context and the ever-increasing number of influences on sexual behaviour."
That said, it’s important to point out that regardless of this new data, you shouldn’t feel pressured to try anything you're not interested in. But, if want to give, say anal, a go there are a few things you can do to make the experience more pleasurable for you and your partner.
First, make sure you’re well lubed up down there and have your partner insert a finger first so you can get comfortable with the pressure associated with having something in your rectum. Then, have them bring you close to orgasm before you try full-blown anal sex: It will be more pleasurable for you if you’re already aroused. Go slow and communicate with your partner throughout. And, if you’re uncomfortable, know that you don’t have to continue.
It's worth pointing out that the study's authors had a kind of limited definition as to what qualifies as experimentation. There are plenty of other things you can do in bed to diversify your sex life if you're in the mood—it's ultimately up to you.