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Anyone who’s ever toyed with the idea of anal play has probably worried about the whole poop thing to some extent. While many opt for a thorough shower and hope for the best, some prefer anal douching.

To be clear, anal douching is the act of flushing out one’s rectum with water.

For most people, it comes down to peace of mind and the elimination of the ick factor.

It’s no secret that the rectum is the exit for your poop. For anyone squeamish about feces or worried about leaving a crime scene behind to the (imagined) horror of their partner, douching provides a deeper cleaning.

Probably, but what you use and how often you do it matters.

There’s been concern in the past that anal douching could increase the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), mainly due to ingredients commonly used.

Most men who have sex with men — or MSM for short — report using homemade and noncommercial substances and solutions. Many of these can damage rectal tissue, potentially making you more susceptible to infection.

No, it’s not. Your rectum is a marvelous thing that’s designed to keep poop up high until it’s time to have a bowel movement.

A good wash in the bath or shower should take care of any stragglers.

That said, worrying about poop making an appearance can really suck the enjoyment out of sex. It’s not necessary, but if doing it makes you feel more comfortable, go for it!

Good question. There isn’t a lot of research on the ideal ingredients and douche volumes for the purpose of prepping for an anal sesh.

We do know that the body has a delicate balance of electrolytes that help keep it functioning properly. This means that using ingredients that are the least likely to throw off this balance is key.

Water is fine for occasional use. Saline enema solution has also been shown to be well tolerated.

Now, let’s make some sense of the different vessels used to give your derriere a deep clean.

Shower enemas

A shower enema involves a hose attachment that you install on your shower. While convenient, they aren’t really recommended because water temperature and pressure can be a bit unpredictable. Burning your insides is a definite possibility.

If you want to use a shower enema anyway, don’t put the nozzle in your butt. Just holding it to the opening will still give you a good clean.

Shop for shower enemas online.

Enema bulbs

Douche bulb — not just what you call an unsavory person. It’s a reusable rubber bulb with a nozzle on the end that’s inserted into the rectum. You can fill it with water or another safe solution like saline.

Most sex toy retailers sell enema bulbs. Just note that the nozzles are often made of hard plastic, which can be uncomfortable. One with a flexible tip is a bit more bum-friendly.

Shop for flexible enema bulbs online.

Fleet enemas

This is one of your safest choices for anal douching. You can buy Fleet enemas online or in the drugstore. There’s more than one version available, so be sure to choose the one with normal saline in it.

They’re easy to use and have pre-lubricated nozzle tips that minimize your risk of injury. As long as you follow the preparation instructions on the package, you should end up with a volume that’s safe.

Shop for Fleet enemas online.

Enema bags

Enema bags are similar to hot water bottles that you might use to warm your tootsies on a cold night.

The bags are typically sold as part of an enema kit with tube and nozzle attachments.

You fill the bag with your solution and squeeze the bag to release the contents into you. Some also come with a hook so you can hang the bag and let gravity do the job.

There are a few downsides to this type of enema. For starters, the bags often hold more liquid than you should be using for a safe douche. It can also be difficult to control how much water comes out at once.

You can get enema kits in drugstores and online. If ordering one online, be sure to read the description carefully.

Some enema bags are sold pre-filled with solutions containing the cleansing products du jour, like coffee, which can be harmful.

Shop for enema kits online.

If you’re going to douche, how you do it is important. Proper administration can help prevent pain and damage.

Preparation

Get your butt and your douche ready for action with these steps:

  1. Begin with a clean nozzle and douche to avoid the spread of bacteria.
  2. Use water that’s a little less than lukewarm to avoid burning the mucosal lining.
  3. If using an enema solution, like a Fleet enema, follow the mixing instructions on the package.
  4. Lubricate the tip of the douche to make insertion easier.

Process

The process varies slightly depending on the type of douche or enema. The general idea — which is to insert the nozzle into your anus and expel the liquid — is the same, though.

To use an anal douche or enema:

  1. Stand in the shower so the contents of the douche — and your rectum — have a place to land. You can also do it over the toilet if you’re fooling around on the fly, you saucy minx!
  2. Stand with one leg up on the toilet, the side of the tub, or a shower bench for easier access.
  3. Get your hole primed for the nozzle by using a clean, lubed finger to relax it before insertion.
  4. Gently hold the nozzle against your anus, take a deep breath, and slowly and gently insert it while breathing out.
  5. Squeeze the douche bulb, bottle, or bag to slowly squirt the liquid. If using a shower enema, start at a low setting to keep from releasing too much water at once.
  6. Hold the liquid inside you for a few seconds before letting it out.
  7. Repeat until the water running out of you is clean or until the bottle or bulb is empty.

Aftercare and cleanup

Take a shower to get yourself cleaned up. Some people prefer to wait an hour or two before anal play to ensure all the liquid is out. That’s totally your choice.

If you’re gonna wait it out, this is a good time to give the tub or toilet a good rinsing and make sure you have what you need ready for safer and more enjoyable anal play, like lubes and condoms.

There’s no hard and fast rule on how often you can douche safely. Ideally, you should limit it to no more than two or three times per week and certainly not more than once in the same day.

You risk damaging your anus and intestinal lining, even when you take all the necessary steps and douche properly.

You also risk throwing off the balance of electrolytes and disrupting your body’s natural elimination rhythm when you do it too often.

If you have hemorrhoids or anal fissures, anal douching may not be a good idea. Inserting the nozzle into your rectum when you have either of these is more likely to cause injury and pain.

Also, using laxatives before anal play isn’t recommended. Some store-bought enema solutions contain stimulant laxatives, like bisacodyl, that induce intestinal contractions to help move stool through your bowel.

Laxatives can cause some not-so-sexy side effects, such as gas, cramping, and diarrhea, which can also lead to dehydration.

Use lots of lube, for starters. Proper lubrication is a must whenever you’re putting anything in your butt. Not using enough significantly ups your chances of irritation and damage.

You also want to go turtle-slow when inserting the nozzle, and stop if you feel pain or notice any bleeding.

Remember that anal douching isn’t necessary. A good diet with enough fiber can help keep things moving so you don’t have to worry about a buildup of stool in your colon.

Poop happens, and it’s perfectly natural. You don’t need to use a douche or an enema to enjoy safe anal play. But if using one will make you feel more comfortable so you can relax and focus on your pleasure, then go for it and have fun!


Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddleboard.