Dr. Goldstein’s Tips for Safe Anal Douching

Dr. Evan Goldstein

fundamentals June 09, 2023

Anal douching is a common step people take before engaging in receptive anal sex (aka bottoming). There are different methods, apparati, and formulas, and while most people think they’re interchangeable, what you use can actually have a big impact on how safe anal douching really is. From travel-ready anal douche powder packs to anal douche bulbs, there’s lots to learn. In this guide, I will walk through the best ways to douche to help ensure a confident and healthy experience.

Is Anal Douching Safe?

When done right, douching can be a safe way for you to prepare your booty for the pleasure to come. While there are many popular methods and solutions out there, including store-bought enemas, shower attachments, douching with tap water using a refillable bulb, and a few myths about anal douching, unfortunately, none of these options were designed or tested as a safe way to douche. Future Method offers the first isotonic and iso-osmolar solution developed to gently, yet effectively, cleanse the anal canal and rectum before sex. While enemas and tap water can result in alterations of the anal microbiome, causing dehydration and irritation, Future Method’s products are pH-balanced, isotonic, and iso-osmolar, which means they provide maximum compatibility with your body’s natural chemistry.

Is anal douching safe for a man?

As long as the proper methods are used, anal douching is generally safe for a man, as well as anyone of any gender, who would like extra peace of mind when planning to engage in receptive anal play. Whether you are someone who may be new to bottoming or you’re a seasoned pro, you may come to realize you’ve been douching all wrong. Continue reading to find out.

How to Douche Properly

While there is no shortage of memes about how long, arduous, and messy douching is, the reality is actually quite different. If you’re doing it right, it should be relatively quick and easy, especially if you adhere to a diet that’s high in fiber and adequate hydration. With these tips, you’ll hopefully find yourself spending less time prepping and more time playing. Sounds like a win-win to me.

1. Use a proper solution

Let’s first go over the most common liquid formulas or solutions people use to douche, as well as why you should use it–or avoid it.

  • Tap water is most widely used, whether it’s to fill up a reusable bulb or to run through a shower attachment. It’s free and convenient, but when you look past these conveniences, it’s important to understand that tap water, as well as the bottled or distilled variety, can cause an electrolyte imbalance, stripping the protective membrane in your rectum and anal canal. This can result in the disruption of your anal microbiome, which can increase your susceptibility to injury and STD transmission.
  • Store-bought enemas are another common formula people use, mainly because of their single-use delivery system. Using enemas can also upset the balance of your microbiome, as well as create other long-term issues. That’s because enemas are really only meant to be used a few times over the course of your life, if even at all. Their main purpose is to relieve occasional constipation and/or prepare you for an examination or procedure, like a colonoscopy. While most people use the term “douche” and “enema” interchangeably, they’re quite different–the former is something that’s used to cleanse, while the latter is used to induce a bowel movement.
  • Isotonic formulas allow for the free movement of solution across your cell membranes, without disrupting the cells in your butt and, therefore, only cleansing, which is exactly what you want your douche to do. Therefore, isotonic formulas are the optimal solution as they’re most compatible with the cells in your rectum and anal canal.

2. Lube up your douche

You wouldn’t stick a toy or a penis inside your booty without lube, would you? Well, the same goes for your douche. I recommend applying a generous amount of silicone lube to both the tip of your douche bulb and the rim of your anus. This will help prevent pain or discomfort when inserting the tip into your rectum, as well as reduce the chance of injury. This also helps pre-lubricate your anal canal for the fun that’s to come. Please check to make sure the tip of your douche is compatible with silicone lube, and, if not, substitute a water-based or hybrid lube.

3. Don’t overdo it

There is a risk of too much anal douching, so, make sure you adhere to the principle: less is more. Overdoing it can come in various forms: cleaning too deep, with too much force, or with too much liquid (either all at once or through too many applications), and can cause long-lasting problems, including irritation of the region and the possibility of injury. I recommend a “toy test” to help you find out if you are, in fact, ready to go. Simply lube up a toy (ideally the same size as your partner or strap-on), insert it, and then take it out. If it comes out clean, then you can proceed with sex. If not, then you can try another rinse cycle (or two). Just remember: gentle cleansing is key to make sure you’re only irrigating the anal canal and rectum, which is where everyday anal sex happens.

4. Clean your bulb regularly

Cleaning your bulb and tip after each use is important to reduce the chances of infection, as well as to maintain the integrity and longevity of your equipment. While some people splurge on fancy toy cleaners, the best method is simply with mild soap and warm water. Once you’re done, let it dry thoroughly before storing it in a dry, clean spot. For more information, check out our detailed blog post about this topic.

When Shouldn’t You Anal Douche?

The situations in which you shouldn’t anal douche are also times you shouldn’t engage in anal sex period. You should first consult with your doctor about anal play (and douching) if any or all of the following conditions are present.

If you have hemorrhoids or anal fissures

If you’re experiencing hemorrhoids or anal fissures, you will first want to abstain from anything that can elevate pressures in the anal region — constipation or straining bathroom breaks, squats and/or deep leg and glute workouts, and, of course, anal sex. Once you’ve made it through the first week or so and you feel up to the task, try experimenting with small toys to see if it aggravates the area or causes more symptoms. Be sure to go slow and use lots of lube, as well as at-home therapies, like Epsom salt baths, stool softeners, NSAIDS, and steroid creams. If you are able to take the small stuff, gradually increase the size and girth. Sometimes bottoming for the real thing can actually break up the clot (hemorrhoid), which decreases pressures of the anal muscle and eventually improves the issue. From here, you can resume douching, as well. However, if your condition persists or worsens, it’s time to see a doctor about other remedies.

If you’ve taken a laxative

Laxatives can present gas, diarrhea, and other issues that may make anal play physically uncomfortable and not very intimate. The good news is that laxatives will also help clean you out, in which case, using a douche would be redundant. If you’re not experiencing any of the negative effects mentioned above, feel free to pursue anal sex. You can try the “toy test” as you’ll most likely be able to ditch the douche altogether.

Safe and Effective Anal Douching

Anal douching is safe when done properly. If you’re new to douching or are looking at formulas developed specifically for anal sex, consider using Future Method’s Isotonic Formula and Reusable Anal Douche Bulb for the perfect combination of anal prep. 

About the author

Dr. Evan Goldstein is the Co-Founder of Future Method and the Founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical, the leading private practice in health and wellness for gay men. He received his MD from the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Goldstein is the go-to butt and bottoming expert, having been published in Huffington Post, Men’s Health, Healthline, and more. Learn about Dr. Goldstein by visiting his practice, bespokesurgical.com.

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