What To Know Before You Try Double Penetration

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
If you’ve ever browsed a porn site, odds are you’ve seen at least one double penetration video. This position typically involves a cis woman being penetrated by two partners at the same time — one vaginally and one anally. Pornhub confirms to Refinery29 that the double penetration category is the 34th most popular out of over 100 categories on site, and interest has grown 4% since last year.
Double penetration videos are also particularly well-liked by women — in fact, they’re 89% more popular among women viewers than they are among men. The 35- to 44-year-old set is especially fond of them. And, interestingly, viewers in Wyoming, Rhode Island, and West Virginia are most likely to be fans.
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Double penetration (DP) videos weren’t always this common. In an article on the economics of porn published by the New Statesman in 2015, writer and porn performer Stoya explained that in the late 2000s, DP videos were rare, so she was able to negotiate a high rate for her first one. “Being penetrated by two male-bodied people at the same time, one in the anus and one in the vagina, certainly seemed to carry a higher risk of mechanical trauma,” she wrote. “Double penetration scenes were rare, as were performers willing to be the receptive partner in them, and rarity tends to add value in any market.”
Similarly, in an interview with sex education resource Scarleteen, porn performer Lorelei Lee explained that she and other performers see double penetration as similar to an “extreme” sport, in which they “push our bodies in an athletic sense.”

What is double penetration?

Although most porn videos show two cis men penetrating one cis woman, that’s only one type of double penetration. Sex education resource Kinkly defines it as, “when two or more body parts or objects are inserted into the human body during foreplay or sexual intercourse. Double penetration often refers to having vaginal sex while inserting something, such as a dildo, anally or vice versa. However, it can include any combination of oral, vaginal, and anal penetration.” So having vaginal sex while wearing a butt plug counts — and there are even some two-pronged sex toys specifically designed for double penetration, such as one that combines a dildo and anal beads.
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Kinkly advises, “Double penetration can be very pleasurable because all of the body's orifices include sensitive nerve endings. However, anal sex should be approached slowly and cautiously. Lubrication should also be used.”

How common is double penetration?

Outside of porn, double penetration with three people remains rare. Only 2.9% of men and 1.2% of women have tried it, according to a 2016 study of 1,880 cis straight men and women in the U.S. This was the least common of the various "uncommon" sex acts the study examined. In contrast, 73% of men and 46% of women had tried spanking a partner, and 47% of men and 65.4% of women had been spanked by a partner (making that particular kink not so unusual after all).
A 2017 survey by sex toy retailer Lovehoney, however, found that butt plugs were a top-ten seller worldwide — so we bet that a lot more people have tried DP with partner and a toy.

How should you prepare for double penetration?

Generally, for any kind of anal sex, experts recommend silicone lube, because it’s thicker than water-based lube, and the anal walls are thinner than the vaginal walls. Thicker lubes further reduce the risk of tearing or pain. The exception is if you’re using a silicone sex toy, because silicone lube can degrade silicone toys. In that case, a water-based lube is the way to go. If you’re using condoms (which is a good idea, because STIs are more easily transmitted by anal sex than vaginal or oral sex), stay away from oil-based lubes, which weaken latex and makes it more likely to break. 
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If you think you'd like double penetration, try starting small. For example, ask a partner to anally finger you while penetrating your vagina with a penis or dildo. As you get used to the sensation, you can incorporate small anal toys, such as butt plugs or anal beads, before sizing up to a bigger toy, penis, or strap-on.
As with any kind of sex, you’ll want to get relaxed and turned on first. Spend lots of time on foreplay. And make a plan for the order of operations. It’s easier to put in a butt plug, then begin having vaginal sex, than it is to begin vaginal sex, then try to put in a butt plug mid-thrust.
If you’re doing DP with two partners rather than a partner and a toy, keep positions in mind, too. For vaginal-anal DP (rather than vaginal-oral or anal-oral), a commonly-suggested one is to have one penetrator lie prone; have the receiver straddle them, cowgirl-style; and then have the other partner penetrate the receiver, doggy-style. 

What else should I expect during double penetration?

To start, use lots of lube and go slowly. If it hurts, stop. Avoid moving a penis or dildo from the vagina to the anus without properly sanitizing it first (or putting on a new condom), because this can transfer bacteria and lead to an infection.
If you're trying double penetration with two partners, rather than a partner and a sex toy, the standard guidance for threesomes applies. Discuss your boundaries before you begin, and consider going out for a date on a separate day, in order to get comfortable and get a feel for chemistry.
When you do begin the encounter, communicate with each other throughout and keep each other’s experiences in mind. "If everyone focuses on the others' pleasure, chances are it will get boomeranged back to you,” porn performer Small Hands previously told Refinery29. “And bam, you guys are off to the real races.”
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