Do You Need to Anal Douche Before Butt Stuff?
Anal sex didn't earn the nicknames "fishing for brown trout," "brown belting," "slinking in the stinky," "riding the Hershey highway," and "poking the brown eye" for nothing. After all, butt stuff involves putting something in where poop comes out.
That very fact is the main reason more people haven't tried anal sex, according to certified sex educator Alicia Sinclair, CEO of b-Vibe, an anal play product company. "At least 75 percent of the people I talk to who are interested in trying anal express that very concern."
But just how real is the possibility of encountering poo during a rump pumping? And what can you do to reduce that probability even further? This guide answers those questions and more — including any ones you may have about a common anal sex preparation practice, anal douching.
Is Poop a Real Concern During Anal?
First, let's get to the bottom of poop risk during butt stuff. While a little fecal matter is possible, taking a full shit in the sack is far less likely than you might guess.
To understand why, you need an anatomy lesson: Penetrative anal play involves putting something inside the anal canal. Unless you're engaging in extreme anal play (think: anal fisting) or using an incredibly long penis or dildo (like, 10 inches long), you won't go any higher than the anal canal. That's good news because "poop isn't stored in the anal canal, it's stored higher up in the digestive tract, in the colon," explains Evan Goldstein, D.O., CEO and founder of Bespoke Surgical, a New York City-based surgical and wellness practice. So, "while the rectum is a conduit for stool, it isn't where it's stored," he says.
When you have to poop, your body sends you that signal (you know the one!). Then, when you're on the toilet, stool leaves the colon, passes through the rectum, goes through the anal canal, and then goes into the bowl, he explains.
So what does this mean as far as the whole, "am I going to poor during anal play?" question? First, your partner isn't going to insert their finger, dildo, or dick directly into poop. Second, unless you ignore the "toilet, now" signal from your brain, the odds of you pooping in the act of anal sex are very rare. Lastly, and likely most noteworthy to those who are poop-phobic, it does mean that it's possible for your partner to encounter some fecal flicks during play. "It's possible for a little bit of number two to get left behind along the anal canal walls from your last poop," says Dr. Goldstein.
Now, does that mean there is a zero percent possibility of shitting during anal sex? No. While the odds are much rarer than most people think, "poop can happen during anal sex," says Sinclair. And the odds are higher for people who suffer from GI issues such as IBS or IBD, she adds.
BTW, if you've heard through the grapevine that if you're having sex and the giving partner pulls out quickly, that that vacuum can kinda (um) suck the poop out, let the record show that Dr. Goldstein says this is an urban myth. (Yes, a myth!) But also, for the sake of a comfortable anal sex experience, please advise your partner against doing this. Slow, steady, and communicative anal is pleasurable anal.
How to Reduce the Risk of Poop During Play
The best way to reduce the risk of poop, according to Dr. Goldstein, is by dialing in your diet. "A high-fiber diet encourages complete emptying when you poop, which means you'll be far less likely to leave behind bits of fecal matter than you are if you eat a lower fiber diet," he says. (See: All the Benefits of Having Fiber In Your Diet)
He also recommends avoiding foods that upset your stomach 24-ish hours before play. What qualifies as a tummy-troubling food is highly individual, but common culprits include fried goods, dairy, and spicy sauces and salsas.
Sinclair notes that a shower or bath between your last BM and when you're going to have sex can also help get rid of any remaining excrement. And if that's not an option, a no-fragrance wet wipe will do the trick.
You can also minimize the dramatics (should anything happen) by laying a dark-colored towel on the bed, keeping baby wipes nearby, or doing the deed in the shower, she says. (Related: How to Have Shower Sex That's Actually Amazing)
You Could Take It a Step Further with an Anal Douche
Also known as an anal cleanse, an anal douche is a power wash for your butt. It involves pumping water (or a special solution) into the anal canal with a hose or lightbulb-shaped device to rid the rectum walls of any residue that may be left behind, explains Dr. Goldstein. "This is absolutely not a must before anal sex, but it's what some people need in order to be comfortable exploring the area," says Sinclair. (On that note, no, you don't need to douche your vagina either.)
There are a w-i-d-e variety of products on the market made for anal douching. But, according to Dr. Goldstein, most are too harsh for the sensitive anal lining. For example, "shower hose anal douches are too aggressive for the job," he says. And the anal douche you might find at your local drug store — often marketed as enemas — usually contain solutions designed to relieve constipation. Meaning, they make you poop, which is the exact opposite of what you're trying to accomplish.
Typically, he says, people will buy an enema, dump the solution, fill the bulb with sink water, and then use that to douche. While fine for occasional use, "tap water is not the same pH as the canal," according to Dr. Goldstein. So frequent use (more than twice a week) can mess with the anal microbiome and wear away at the lining of the anal canal, which he says can increase the risk of infection, STIs, and pain during anal sex. What's more, douching too often can also lead to electrolyte imbalance, according to the San Francisco AIDs Foundation.
So if you're going to anal douche, what should you anal douche with? Ideally, a doctor-formulated douching solution such as the Future Method Disposable Intimate Wash (Buy it, $42, futuremethod.com), which matches the pH of the anal canal, and therefore reduces the risk of unwanted side effects. Otherwise, you can opt for a drugstore product and tap water (options below), keeping in mind not to use it too often.
Note: If you have a preexisting anal condition (hemorrhoids, anal scarring, fissures), Dr. Goldstein says it's safest to avoid douching. Inserting the nozzle into the rectum can aggregate these issues, and even cause pain or injury. If you're uncertain if anal douching is safe for you, talk to a sex-positive healthcare provider about it before putting anything up there yourself.
Exactly How to Anal Douche
To reiterate: Anal douching is absolutely NOT a must. "Whether or not you use a douche is really up to you and your partner," says Sinclair. But if you do douche, it's important to do it properly. (Dr. Goldstein says he's had a number of patients who have injured themselves by douching incorrectly.)
1. Buy your bulb.
If you're in a time crunch and can't wait for delivery, bop by your local CVS or Walgreens and buy the enema with the smallest bulb. "Less is more," says Dr. Goldstein. This 4.5 oz Disposable Enema from CVS (Buy it, $2, cvs.com) is a good pick, as is this 4.8 oz option from O4.8 oz option from Otbba (Buy it, $12, amazon.com).
2. Prep the douche.
About 60 minutes before play, head to the bathroom. "If you're spontaneously having anal sex and don't have that kind of time to prep, you can still douche, just make sure you insert a butt plug right after to help get rid of excess liquid," says Dr. Goldstein. (More on that in a second).
If you got your douche from the drug store, dump the solution that comes with it and fill up the bulb with warm (not hot!) water. If you're using the Future Method douche, fill the bulb with the special solution that comes with the product.
To be very clear: "You shouldn't ever fill the bulb with coffee, vinegar, or other essential oils," says Sinclair. (Yes, that is a thing people have done).
3. Lube the nozzle.
Before inserting the tip of the douche into your rear, coat the tip with one of these sexpert-approved anal sex lubes. "The anus does not self-lubricate, so you'll need to add lube to encourage easy entry," says Sinclair.
Depending on your experience level with anal play and the size of the nozzle, failure to use lube can actually injure the anal entrance or canal, according to Dr. Goldstein. Caboose chafing? No thanks. Plus, injuring your anal canal and then having anal sex can increase the risk of STI transmission, infection, and discomfort, he says.
4. Assume the position.
Sit on — or squat over — the toilet. Then, reach between your legs the way you would to insert a tampon and ease the nozzle in. If this position is uncomfortable, you can also try propping one foot up on the toilet. Or, take it to the shower and reach between your legs there.
Another option, if your thoracic spine mobility allows, is to take it from behind! Some people do in fact find this position to be easiest. It's all about personal preference.
If easing the nozzle inside begins to cause any discomfort, pause and breathe, continuing when you can without pain. (Reminder: Anal play should not hurt.) If the discomfort continues, stop and help your anus get used to touch/stimulation with some light anal masturbation. (See: How to Explore Anal Masturbation)
5. Pump, then dump.
Gradually squeeze the bulb, transferring the contents to your anal canal. "Almost as soon as the contents enter your anus, you'll feel the urge to poop," says Sinclair. Try to hold the contents in your butt for anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds by contracting your pelvic floor muscles before "pressing out" and release the dirty water into the toilet. Unless you actually have to poop, this will just release the water.
6. Maybe repeat once more (but not more than that!).
"If you're going to douche, your goal should be to use one single bulb," says Dr. Goldstein. Ideally, you'll be pumping no more than 4 to 6 ounces of fluid into your canal, he adds.
And, actually, anal douching more than that can be counterproductive. "Sometimes people will douche once or twice, see clear water release into the toilet, and then douche another time and see poopy water," he says. "That's because with that additional douche they're getting higher into the digestive system than they would during anal sex and spurring a bowel movement."
7. Check cleanliness by inserting a toy.
"Using an anal sex toy after you douche will show you that you're clean and will also help get rid of any excess water hanging out in the rear," says Dr. Goldstein. (Sometimes a little bit of water will get trapped in the canal after anal douching). While the amount of trapped water is small, if you're worried about messing up your panties or sheets, you may want to do this in the bathroom as well.
Another benefit of this toy trick is that it helps prepare your anus for sexy time. "Using a sex toy on yourself can also help you learn more about the path you need the toy or penis to take to experience pleasure, which you can communicate during partnered sex," says anal sex expert and anal performer Daya Dare. (See more: How to Prepare for Anal Sex, According to Sex Educators)
Anal Douche or Not, Talk to Your Partner About Poop
Whether or not poop particles make their way into your play, be prepared to do some post-sex clean-up. "Between the possibility of poop, excess water, and all the lube you're going to need to use, anal sex is going to be a messy experience," says Dare.
While you and your partner(s) should always talk before trying something new, "it's especially important before anal sex because accidents can happen," says Dare. (Practicing aftercare is super important in this context, too.)
Here are some ways you might bring BMs up:
"You've brought up being interested in exploring anal a few times. While I'm open to trying it, I'm really worried about the whole poop thing. I know it's a little awkward, but would you be open to talking through what we would do if I did poop in the middle?"
- "Hi babe! Following up on your conversation about maybe trying anal sex from last week… I just read this article about anal douching, and I am trying to figure out if that's something I want to do before we have anal sex. Can I send you the link and get your thoughts?"
"I think to fully be able to relax enough during anal sex to accept you into my ass, I need to know how you would handle poop if it did happen. Do you have time this weekend to talk about it?"
Ultimately, the risk of pooping during anal sex is lower than you might guess given the part of the body being penetrated. But it's still a possibility — after all, during anal sex, you're 🎶 knock, knock, knockin' on
heaven's dung's door...🎶
To reduce the risk of number two during sexy time, experiment with adding more fiber to your diet, showering beforehand, or even anally douching. But if you do try anal douching, be sure to do it correctly — otherwise, you can end up doing yourself more harm than good.