Play safe, guys…
By Bobby Box
Top privilege is real, and while most of these inherent advantages tend to be lighthearted and social – for instance, tops can eat whatever the hell they want and show up for a righteous fucking – some matters are more serious. For example, the risk of contracting HIV and other STIs is 13 times greater for bottoms than tops, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. It can also be easier for tops to identify symptoms of certain STIs, resulting in more effective and immediate treatment.
Another pain in the ass is douching. It’s messy and tedious and can take way too long. But is it even necessary? Dr. Evan Goldstein of Bespoke Surgical in New York, and countless other experts, attest that anal douching is not required prior to anal sex. In fact, the most common douching methods (commercially prepared enemas like Fleet) are not good for the body as they cause mucus and dryness in the area, which can cause cell damage, cracking and bleeding, and can elevate risk in STD and HIV rates. Not to mention, excessive douching or over-douching can lengthen your colon and can cause constipation later in life. Rectal biopsies have also shown that individuals who have excessively performed enemas show deterioration in their intestinal lining and have an increased risk of anal dysplasia.
“Eighty-eight per cent of men who practise receptive anal intercourse douche before sex through unsubstantiated methods, which can lead to a whole host of health issues including douche dependency and irritation of the region,” Goldstein tells IN. “Aside from the health risks, over-douching [with too much volume or too much force] can loosen stools that are higher up in the rectum, which wouldn’t normally come into contact [during] anal sex, making it even messier than if you hadn’t douched at all.”
Online testimony maintains that, unless your top is sporting a third leg, there should be zero stool in this area. But, shit does indeed happen, and sometimesassurance isn’t enough. So, given that many men will continue to douche, despite the warnings…let’s talk about how to do it responsibly.
How to douche the proper way
The anal canal is about four to six inches deep and the tip of a douche is about half of that, so squeeze the bulb gently. You only need enough water to clean a few inches deep, not your entire gut. For added ease and a greasy glide, lube the tip of your douche before insertion. If douching in the shower, opt for silicone-based lube as it won’t wash away as quickly with water. Ensure there are no soap suds in the water, as this can cause further irritation.
Recognizing the issues associated with common douching practices, Goldstein has recently released Future Method, which he says is the first-ever anal douche and formula crafted bymedical professionals. “[Bespoke Surgical has] always kept a close eye on the market, and up until now, could never recommend products for douching due to the fact that all the solutions were causing the aforementioned negative ramifications,” he says.
Goldstein says the most common mistake regular douchers commit is using tap water; instead, he says, one should use an isotonic solution (which, in medical speak, iswhen two solutions, separated by a semipermeable membrane, have equal concentrations of solutes and water), as it is gentler on this sensitive area. “Tap water can affect the anal microbiome, ultimately altering and removing one’s necessary bacteria,” Goldstein says. Of course, tap water is most readily available when sex is spontaneous (which it often is), so if you insist on douching with regular water, keep the solution warm but not too hot. Many have burnt their rectums, and that looks about as cute as it feels.
“If someone isn’t interested in douching, that’s perfectly normal,” Goldstein assures. “The best way to ensure cleanliness down there is to eat a healthy, high-fibre diet to keep things moving, followed by a quick ‘rinse’ of the rectum and anal canal.”
After sex, hop in the shower and clean the outside of your anus with a gentle soap. Do not use wet wipes, as many contain perfumes and preservatives that can irritate the area, and the friction from excessive wiping can cause abrasions.
What and when to eat
What you eat can have a profound impact on how messy an anal experience can be. IN spoke with nutritional therapist Lark Malakai Grey, of Transformative Wellness in Portland, Oregon, to find out which foods a hungry bottom should nosh on prior to intercourse.
“Eat foods that you know make your body feel good and don’t cause any gas, bloating or other digestive upsets,” he advises. “If your gut is healthy and tolerates fibre, getting some good insoluble fibre [like popcorn, whole grains, berries, okra and raw nuts] the day before can be helpful. Don’t choose insoluble fibre in the form of beans or other legumes, as these cause gas in even the healthiest of guts.”
He also recommends that, before bottoming, you avoid foods that have historically made your gut reactive or that bring on urgent bowel movements (so no Mandarin or Taco Bell – sorry, fellas) and advises that you steer clear of dairy, given that 75 per cent of the global population is at least somewhat lactose intolerant. You should also avoid meat and junk food, and drink at least three litres of water to help things flow.
For added assistance, ingest a spoonful of psyllium every morning with a little water and your stool will be better moulded and regular. Grey recommends probiotics and digestive enzymes and, if you have a less predictable gut, an enteric-coated peppermint oil, which calms the intestines and can help reduce gas, bloating and diarrhea for several hours.
Too many bottoms starve themselves silly in anticipation for intercourse, assuming they shouldn’t eat for six to eight hours prior to anal sex since that’s how long it takes an adult male to digest food. But such self-denial is unnecessary. “It’s important to note that feces aren’t stored in the anal canal,” Goldstein says. “Poop lives in the upper bowels and cannot be reached or released through penetration, unless someone is engaging in fisting or utilizes larger volumes or excessive amounts of water or enemas.”
Bottom line: As long as you’re having regular and routine bowel movements, you should be more than in the clear, experts say. Abiding by healthy eating habits and supplementing with naturally occurring fibres will allow for regular, bulky stools to occur. This is the natural way of keeping the anal canal clean for play.
But if you do want to douche, be careful, don’t clean too deep, and hit me up on Grindr. (Kidding!) Play safe, guys.
BOBBY BOX is a prolific freelance journalist in Hamilton, Ont. He currently works as contributing editor at Playboy.com and has had the privilege of speaking with the world’s most recognized drag queens, including Trixie Mattel and Alaska Thunderfuck. While proud of his work, Bobby is not above begging. He asks that you follow him on Twitter at @bobbyboxington.