If you walk into any packed Black hair salon or Black barbershop on a Saturday and ask “What are your thoughts and feelings about anal sex?,” expect an eclectic bouquet of varied responses.

You’ll probably find a few sistas whose ambivalence about the subject may bloom from a lack of interest and/or education. You might encounter a couple who enjoy it, are well studied about it, and are vocal in regards to the pleasure principle of it. You could run into the exceedingly religious man who continually waters the sexual philosophy that anything outside of the missionary position is a sin, and anal is definitely and will always be a non-negotiable. I’d bet my next nail appointment money that somebody will respond with the classic, well-known cliché, “Only White girls go there.”

We know—hopefully through common sense or with a click on any free porn site—that concept is modern urban mythology at its finest. Ass it turns out (pun fully intended), all kinds of people are doing it: White girls, Black women, Christians, atheists, gays, straights. Girlfriends are doing it to their boyfriends (it’s called pegging). Our ancestors and elders did it. Chances are someone close to you does it… and loves it. You yourself may be a big fan of the original “backyard boogie.” You may have absolutely no interest at all, and that’s okay too.

But not only is anal sex something that many people from various walks of life engage in; it’s an activity that many women and men love, and some even prefer over vaginal sex, as a path to sexual satisfaction and physical pleasure.

With so many people from diverse walks of life participating in anal play, why is it still taboo in the Black heterosexual community? Is the influence of conservative religious ideals on the sexual identity of Black women and Black men responsible for a sometimes-negative outlook on anal sex? Does the oversaturation of White women and underrepresentation of Black women in the porn industry contribute to this idea that anal sex is more readily engaged in and accepted by White women?

Or are our views of anal sex, and hesitancy around publicly owning its pleasurable aspects, possibly reinforced by rape culture? (After all, we live in a culture where rape and sexual violence are as common as the rain, and our community—and the media—often condones, excuses, and in many cases perpetuates the idea that women need to be taught how to avoid rape instead of teaching men not to rape.)

All of these factors and more are at play in varying degrees; they all aid in perpetuating the idea that Black women and men don’t or can’t enjoy this facet of our sexuality.

When speaking to other Black people about the messages we received growing up around anal sex, it came as no surprise that many of us were fed the same messages from media, religion and sometimes family. Religiously, some of us were indoctrinated with the idea that anything outside of “vanilla” sex within the boundary of marriage was frowned upon by God Himself. And mass media perpetuated the idea that “good girls” or “ladies” don’t engage in (or truly savor) such carnal and lustful behavior. For many of us, there existed more than a few internal walls to scale in order to open up to and enjoy the back-door play experience.

For those looking to get into the backyard boogie for the first time, here are a few tips to get your started. Tip no.1: the anus has no ability to lubricate itself. Use liberal amounts of water-based lubricant to avoid tearing and a generally uncomfortable experience. Tip no.2: go slowly and employ your best communication skills. This is not something you want to rush into. Take your time and talk to your partner every step of the way. Tip no.3: find a position that is simultaneously comfortable for both you and your partner, and affords the person being penetrated most (if not all) of the control.

No matter what your past influences have been personally, don’t allow all that to get in the way of your pleasure. Sex is a gift. When enjoyed the right way, it gives pleasure, heals and allows humans to connect with one another on one of the most intimate levels you can ever achieve with another human being. Every aspect of sex is a wonderful world that should be explored without judgment. Your sexuality is beautiful, and it’s more then okay to like what you like how you like it. Life is too short to have bad (or limited) sex. Get it how you like it… and damn what anybody thinks.

Ladyspeech Sankofa is host of The Panties, an urban, pro-sex, pro-love radio show broadcast weekly on TradioV.com. Follow her on Twitter @LadySpeech.