I hate douching. I hate everything about it. I hate being mindful about every single thing I consume the day I plan to have sex—no dairy products, no garlic (food insensitivity), hell, not even meat. I hate the feeling of douching – the plastic-like nozzle shooting water inside me like a hose.

I hate the sound an anal douche makes sucking in water and releasing the water when I squeeze the blub-like sack. I hate the feeling of having an uncontrollable need for a bowel movement moments later. The mess it sometimes creates around the toilet; I also hate including repeating bowel movements until my stool is as close to clear as possible. I hate it all.

Douching, as you may know, is an anal cleansing process using either a showerhead, an enema, or an anal douche and injecting water or a solution up your bum to assist in having a bowel movement and emptying the anus of poop. Most bottoms (the person being penetrated) engage in the act of douching before having anal sex with a top (the person penetrating). Anal sex is a whole other option for pleasure and can produce some pretty mind-blowing orgasms.

Despite my disdain for the act of douching, there are many benefits to doing it. For one, it’s less messy and prevents undesirable accidental moments during anal sex. Douching is better for rimming or changing from anal to oral. It’s more hygienic and comes with less risk of bacterial infection. It helps me feel more relaxed and less worried about making a mess. It also helps to prevent bad smells during sex. Lastly, it allows me to enjoy anal sex for longer.

But if there are so many benefits to douching, why it is such a taboo topic? Why is it not a topic brought up in group chats with friends or during table discussions at brunch? I have been douching for well over 10 years, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve talked to other bottoms about douching. Why does it feel like a taboo subject to talk about with a sexual partner?

I once dated a guy who hated the sound of douching and asked me to turn on music in the bathroom to avoid hearing me go through the process. I subconsciously began to view douching as a private choir that shouldn’t be heard, smelled or mentioned. Yet awareness of douching is just as important for the penetrating partner as is the one being penetrated. It shouldn’t be a process you don’t feel comfortable discussing before, during or after sexual intimacy.

If we are to break the mystery behind douching, the stigma of it must also be repaired. It’s literally a process of excreting until your bowel is cleansed and you only pass clear water. It’s far from glamorous and can be downright unpleasant. Yet, it’s a process most bottoms take when engaging in anal sex.

Is there one correct way to douche? I have no clue. I use a protein shaker bottle with an anal douche. I go to my bathroom sink, turn on the sink faucet and fill the bottle with water. I then squeeze water into the bottle and release the water inside me from the anal douche and repeat until my stool is clear. While this routine has, for the most part, served me well, there are still so many lingering questions for which I have no answers.

So how do we shift the topic of douching from a taboo or wholly private matter to a more open and interactive discussion? Communication and education, I believe. While douching may not be essential for everyone, it’s certainly a process that many, including females, undergo before anal sex. Talk to friends, health care providers and/or sex experts about hygienic tips.

Listen to your body and figure out the foods you can and cannot eat, if anything, the day you engage in anal sex. Be open to sharing your routine with your partner. Awareness helps to mitigate instances where the top may suggest a heavy meal on date night. It should not be the sole responsibility of ‘the bottom’ to avoid foods that may later lead to accidents on dinner dates.

Allow yourself a sufficient amount of time to prepare before sex and share the routine with your partner. Some can take 30 minutes or longer to douche while others fly through the process. Whatever preparations you take to engage in anal sex should be respected and appreciated to ensure the optimal pleasurable experience.

Let it flow. Shit happens, literally. You should not feel embarrassed or ashamed if an accident occurs during sex. You should never be frowned upon. Sometimes you can douche 5 times in a row and still have a slip-up for unbeknownst reasons. Both parties should understand the risk of engaging in anal sex with no “bottom-shaming” should an accident occur. Stay calm and positive if it does. Laugh about it and keep it moving. Life is too short to dwell on the casualties of man-to-man sex.

While the act of douching is something far from sexy, it is a common practice that many people undergo for the optimal sexual experience. So, let’s address the elephant in the room and talk about safe and effective ways of preparing for anal sex without any sense of guilt or stigma. I’m finally getting there.

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