To Douche or Not To Douche?

Question:

I'm a ciswoman, bisexual and really want to explore anal sex, but I'm worried that it may not be clean and I do not want my partners to have a terrible sexual experience. I have read about douching but I'm not sure if it safe or even necessary? If it is necessary, should I also be using it to clean the vagina? Do you have any advise on it?


Answer:

It is only natural to be concerned that our butthole might be unclean and to some extent even I agree. That is where we poo from and sometimes some of it may decide to stay back or sometimes one may not have cleaned it properly. It happens. But let me stress this at the start, there are some things you cannot control no matter how clean your butthole is. So what do you do if you do shit while having sex? Easy, you don’t make a big deal out of it. This is a natural response and you did nothing wrong. It can happen to the best of us. It is not a disaster, just shrug it off and do your thing or schedule it for another time!


What is a douche?

A douche is a device used to introduce a stream of water into the body, usually vaginally or anally. It can be used for either medical or hygiene reasons. Douching is typically normally associated with the vagina, with anal douching being called an Enema – however you will find most sex toy sites refer to them as anal douches and I'll stick to a similar terminology here.


Is douching necessary?

Honestly, it totally depends on you, your lifestyle, physical health, and hygiene. Generally, unless there is an illness, the body does a pretty good job on it’s own of keeping things clean and healthy. I do not recommend douching the vagina as it as a low maintenance, self-cleansing organ with an acidic pH (between 3.8 to 4.5) and introducing water through douching that has a neutral pH (between 7.0 to 7.5) can disrupt the vaginal microbiome and invite more bacteria than what you originally intended.


Similarly, when preparing for anal play, just a simple shower and gentle cleanse around the anal area with mild antibacterial soap is enough. Generally, the lower part of the colon is usually at its cleanest after a bowel movement so, pooping an hour before your sexual encounters is always better. But if you are having looser stools, douching along with a good fiber can help you avoid oops moments during sex.


Know your douche

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There are mostly three types of douche available in the market: a bulb, shower nozzle, and bag enemas.


Bulb: These are the most common type of douche that is probably the cheapest and easiest to use. They are normally 2-piece kits with a squeezable bulb (usually made from rubber or silicone) into which you insert a nozzle. You fill the bulb with lukewarm water and then insert into the anus, and squeeze the bulb to allow the water to enter. These are typically used for a shallower cleanse (although you can get some bulb douches with a larger nozzle to go a bit deeper).


Bag Enemas: The basic concept is a bag (or sometimes a hot water bottle) that is filled with water and then held high on a hook. There is a long tube attached to the bag, which then has the nozzle. They will almost always come with an adapter to help adjust the flow of water, and as these aren’t permanently hooked up to the shower, this means it can easily be folded away and taken with you, meaning you can indulge in anal play whenever and wherever you are. A great option for folks who need to be in certain positions while douching or have mobility differences.


Shower Nozzle: As the name suggests, these type of shower douches will typically be a kit that will allow you to connect it to your existing shower or bathtub mixer tap. They are not only convenient but also help with a deeper cleanse. But if you have a higher tap pressure and have no means to regulate this pressure, stay away from these types of douches as higher velocity and larger volumes of water can damage the rectum.


Now that you know your options, here are some general rules to follow:

  • Do not over-douche and limit it to twice or thrice a week or less depending upon your sexual encounters.

  • Do not put too much water in one go because it will loosen the stool in the sigmoid colon which then flushes down have the rectum having the opposite effect of what you are trying to do.

  • Do not use hot water. Always target for the sweet spot of lukewarm temperatures.

  • Do not go for fancy solutions as they can do more harm than good. Water works just fine and is generally the best for your anal microbiome.

  • Douche before having sex, not after.

  • If you have any inflammatory conditions that affect the rectum, talk to your physician before douching as it may irritate the rectum.

  • Do not use the same douche for your vagina and anus as it can cause exchange of bacteria and lead to infections.

Is douching safe?

Douching has worked well for people provided you do it the right way and know what you are doing. That said, don’t over do it. Your gut contains some good bacteria that helps your body digest food and absorb the nutrients it needs and also keeps the bad bacteria in check. Sometimes, if you get a bit too aggressive and frequent with your douching, you are actually flushing away this good bacteria that impacts your rectal microbiome and opens you to a host of intestinal concerns. There is no conclusive scientific evidence to suggest that douching has any health benefits other than just giving someone peace of mind, which I know is huge.


The only advice I can give here is listen to your body. Only you know your body and if you have understood the potential risks, there is no reason why douching should be harmful. As long as it’s done in moderation, and you take the time to do it properly. Like most things, douching is a personal choice, and everyone will have their own way of doing it. I hope this has been helpful and if you have any questions or comments, you can leave one below.


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