So, it’s time to talk about alcohol enemas, also known as “butt-chugging” or “boofing” alcohol.
An alcohol enema is exactly what it sounds like: Instead of drinking alcohol, you ingest it through your rectum.
Why do people do it — and how? Could it actually be a smart way to avoid a hangover? What’s the worst that could happen?
Read on for a deep dive on the answers to these (and several other) questions about alcohol enemas.
It’s pretty much what you might expect. As we explained above, instead of drinking them, people insert alcoholic drinks into the rectum through the anus. From there, the alcohol goes into the colon.
But how does it actually get it in there?
The process usually entails lying down on your back with your knees in the air and a funnel inserted in your rear end.
The alcohol is poured into the funnel, which gets it into your system. Some people require a bit of help with the mechanics, but others do it solo.
You might have heard that butt-chugging gets you drunk faster, and it’s certainly true. But how? There are actually a few factors at play here.
First, inserting alcohol through the rectum allows it to bypass the first metabolic effect. This refers to the process by which the concentration of a substance (taken orally) is reduced before it starts circulating through your body.
Second, it also bypasses your liver and stomach, which contain alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase. These enzymes work together to break down alcohol.
But these enzymes doesn’t live in the anus or large intestine. As a result, alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the colon without being broken down.
Both of these factors can lead to a much higher blood alcohol concentration than you’d experience from drinking the same amount of alcohol.
Alcohol enemas can feel uncomfortable, especially if you’re not used to having things inserted into your anus.
You might feel a burning sensation in your anus or like you need to have a bowel movement (even if you don’t).
It’s also worth noting that alcohol can sting. Imagine rubbing it onto a paper cut. This can not only cause pain in the delicate skin of your anus, but also lead to inflammation of your intestines (a condition called colitis), which can cause cramping.
There are a few reasons someone might opt to take their alcohol anally.
Again, it gets you drunk faster, and you need less alcohol to feel the effects.
You also don’t run the risk of throwing up after drinking too much. But this actually isn’t a good thing (more on that in the next section).
And while some people find the experience uncomfortable or painful, some people enjoy the sensation. There are plenty of nerve endings in the anus and rectum. Some people like to stimulate these nerve endings through alcohol enemas.
Folks who get sexually aroused by enemas (called klismaphilia) may also enjoy alcohol enemas.
As you might expect, alcohol enemas aren’t without risks. The biggest one is ingesting too much alcohol.
In addition to prompting you to do things you wouldn’t usually do, too much alcohol can also lead to alcohol poisoning.
While drinking alcohol carries the same risks, it’s a lot easier to overdo it with an alcohol enema. Remember, it takes a lot less alcohol ingested anally to produce the same effects that drinking alcohol would.
That’s partly because it goes into your bloodstream almost immediately. Once it’s there, that’s it — there’s no way to get it out.
When you drink too much alcohol, you tend to throw up. While unpleasant, this is actually a pretty useful reflex.
With alcohol enemas, your body can’t get rid of the excess alcohol by forcing you to vomit. This increases your risk of alcohol poisoning, which can be life threatening.
Alcohol poisoning happens when there’s too much alcohol in your blood. Some symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:
- slowed breathing
- passing out
In some cases, alcohol poisoning can be life threatening.
It’s also worth noting that there’s at least one
Alcohol enemas carry some serious risks, but if you’re doing to do it, there are a few things you can do to make the experience a bit safer.
Everyone will have a different alcohol tolerance, so it’s best to start with something low strength. Ideally, a concentration of less than 5 percent is what you want. Stronger alcohol will lead to a bigger increase in your blood alcohol concentration (it’ll also sting more, too).
When it comes to actually inserting it into your rectum, it’s best not to use too much at once. Think of what you’d drink: If you wouldn’t chug a whole bottle of 5 percent wine in one go, don’t take the same in an enema.
Consider what you’d drink and cut it in half — at least. Remember, it takes way less alcohol to feel drunk when you ingest alcohol this way.
Above all, don’t do it alone. Make sure at least one person is sober and knows how to recognize signs of alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol poisoning signs
Call for emergency medical help right away if you or someone else experiences any of the following symptoms after ingesting alcohol (anally or orally):
- sickness and vomiting
- clammy skin
- pale or bluish skin color
- slow heart rate
- slow and irregular breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute or 10 or more seconds between breaths)
- mental confusion and dulled responses
- low body temperature
- loss of consciousness
Butt-chugging might be an efficient way to get drunk, but it comes with some major risks that can be life threatening. Aside from the more serious risks, it can also make you feel seriously uncomfortable down there.
If you’re concerned about your alcohol use, free, confidential help is available:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Adam England is a freelance writer and journalist. His work has appeared in publications including The Guardian, Euronews, and VICE UK. He focuses on health, culture, and lifestyle. When he’s not writing, he’s probably listening to music.