When it comes to prepping for anal play some douche, and some don't. Is there a right answer?
Should I be using an enema before anal?
This is one of those questions without a hard and fast answer- tragic for those of us that like things hard and fast. Some insist its essential, some don't, but the truth falls somewhere in between.
If you want to. Either or. Follow your heart.
What's an enema?
For those who might not know, an enema is the injection of fluid into the lower bowel through the anus. In addition to describing the process itself, the word enema is also used to describe the fluid and the device used to inject it. It's a multi-talented word.
Enemas can help stimulate bowel movements and relieve constipation, and are used in healthcare settings for a bunch of purposes, including administering medication and regulating temperature. Outside the realm of medicine, enemas can be used for anal douching- essentially just flushing out the rectum. This brings us to the question…
To douche, or not to douche
Unlike vaginal douching, which is not good, anal douching can done safely and is a common part of anal sex prep for a lot of folks. We're going to talk about poop for a minute. If that squicks you out skip… probably this whole question (sorry).
Generally speaking, when a person is ready to go number 2, fecal matter, or poop, descends from the large intestine to the sigmoid colon, and then the rectum, the last several inches of the digestive tract before the anus. When this happens, receptors in the rectal walls send a signal to the nervous system letting the brain know that it's time to go. The rectum then serves as temporary storage- a poo waiting room if you will- before its owner finds a nice place to relieve themself. Ideally, if one has recently had good bowel movement of the firm, happy-digestive-system variety, the rectum should be mostly empty at this point.
The best time to do an enema is after a bowel movement and an hour or so before penetration. Douching can help to clear the mostly-empty rectum of pesky remaining bits of poo, reducing the chance of encountering any during penetration.
So that's a yes, right? Douche before anal?
For some people, an enema is part of their regular preparation for anal penetration, and they wouldn't do it any other way. It helps them feel clean and ready to relax and enjoy themselves.
For others, it's part of the main event! Klismaphilia, or the sexual enjoyment of enemas can take many forms, from the purely physical enjoyment of the sensation to the enema being a fetish object or part of a favourite BDSM scene. For more info on enemas and pleasure, check out the book Intimate Invasions, by M. R. Strict.
For others it's not. Why? All kinds of reasons. Some don't like the way douching feels, or the added prep time (even a small volume of fluid can take an hour to evacuate completely). For some, the results aren't as consistent or effective as they'd like.
Remember earlier when I said that douching "reducing the chance of encountering" excrement? That was because it's not a perfect process- even with a lot of planning and a thorough douche there may be some fecal matter that remains in the rectum, and it could end up making an appearance outside the body when toys/fingers/penises are passing in and out of it.
So if douching can't guarantee that no poo pops up during an anal sex session, is it worth the trouble?
Yes? No? Maybe?
The right answer is whatever makes you the happiest.
Each individual knows their body best, and are going to be the one who is best equipped to decide what's right for them. Feeling relaxed and in the moment is essential for comfortable, pleasurable anal penetration, and if douching helps alleviate the stress of an unwanted mess, that's a big bonus. If you're curious, experiment with an inexpensive, beginner-friendly anal douching tools and try your preferred anal activities with and without douching before hand. If you find that it had a positive impact on your experience physically and/or psychologically, add it to your preparation routine alongside whatever else you do to get ready for an anal encounter. If you found that the results weren't worth the effort, now you know.
A few enema/anal douche safety tips for the road:
- Don't use alcohol/coffee/bleach/some herbal concoction that your cousin sells as enema fluid. Douching should be done using warm, body-temp water, or a saline solution from a pharmacy, such as a Fleet Enema.
- Enemas do not reduce the risk of transmitting STDs. Use condoms/all appropriate standard safer sex practices regardless of whether or not an enema is done first.
- Enemas can be dangerous if done incorrectly. Be gentle and use lubricant when inserting anything into the rectum, including an enema nozzle or applicator. Inexperienced enema users should stick to low volume enemas with easy flow control.
- There's such a thing as too many enemas! Douching more than 2-3 times a week can disrupt the natural microbial flora of the gut and negatively impact digestion.
- While there's no reason to stress about a little poo, use common-sense health and safety practices; avoid transferring bacteria from the anus to other parts of the body, especially the eyes and vagina. Wash hands, use disposable gloves, switch condoms between activities, and be smart.
I'm not a doctor, just an anal sex enthusiast. If you think you might have a health condition that could be negatively impacted by anal douching, discuss your concerns with a healthcare provider before embarking on your enema exploration.