Everything You Need to Know About Anal Cleaning

By Isabelle Uren / May 03, 2022

Is anal cleaning necessary?

To give the short answer, yes — some cleaning is a good idea before anal play. However, it might surprise you that douching is totally optional, and you can enjoy clean anal sex without it! So whether you are preparing for pegging, getting ready for anal sex, or having some solo anal fun with a butt plug, dildo, or some anal beads, this post will walk you through the ins and outs of anal cleaning.

Anal play has its pros and cons but the bottom line (pun intended) is that it can be incredibly pleasurable! Unfortunately, the poop factor scares a lot of people off. While there is always some small risk of mess, no matter how well you clean, anal play isn’t as messy as you’d imagined!

Talking about anal play, let alone anal cleaning, is unfortunately still pretty taboo.

But there is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about, and knowledge is pleasure…

So, today we’ll cover everything you need to know about anal cleaning, so you can start your anal adventure feeling clean and confident! We’ll discuss the different techniques as well as some important safety considerations to keep your bum happy, healthy, and ready for action!

External Anal Cleaning

First up, let’s talk about how to clean the external area around your anus. This is relatively safe and easy to do, and it is a good idea to have a thorough clean of the are before all types of anal play, including fingering, rimming (analingus), and all kinds of penetrative sex. It’s easiest to do this in the shower, and it’s a great way to prepare for anal play, as the warm water can help you to relax.

  1. Use some gentle, fragrance-free soap and warm water to clean around your anus. If you have hair in the area, be sure to clean it thoroughly. 
  2. Rinse off all the soap. 
  3. You can also insert a lubed-up finger inside the anus and gently clean the lower part of the rectum to remove any traces of fecal matter, but make sure you don’t get any soap inside your anus. Although, as we’ll see later, this area is usually pretty clean anyway. 
  4. Dry yourself thoroughly with a soft towel. 

    Go forth and enjoy your anal adventure! 

Back Door Biology

Before we get to the pros and cons of douching, here’s a little bit of biology to help you feel more confident and inform your decision to douche or not.

The anus and rectum connect to the sigmoid colon, which acts like a storage area for bowel movements. Feces is only released into the rectum when you are ready to use the toilet. That means that, for the most part, the anus and rectum are empty. Feces only moves into this area when you are going to the bathroom.

Given that rectum and anus measure anywhere between 5.5 – 8 inches long, you have plenty of room in the rectum and anus for penetrative sex without getting into the sigmoid colon, where the poop is stored.

So, it really isn’t necessary to douche unless you want to, of course!

It’s almost as if we are designed to have anal sex!

Internal anal cleaning with a douche

Anal douching involves cleaning the rectum and anus with either lukewarm tap water, a saline solution, or a specific anal cleaning solution.

Whether or not you douche before anal play is totally up to you, and you should never feel pressured to do so. If you are going to have anal sex, you should discuss your expectations and boundaries beforehand, and that includes talking about both of your expectations about anal cleaning and the possibility of poop making an appearance.

In my personal opinion, anyone I am engaging in anal play with must accept the possibility that there might be some poop. The chances are low, but no matter how well you clean, there’s always the possibility, and you shouldn’t be ashamed if it does happen.

Anal Douching Pros

  • Gives you peace of mind to enjoy anal play
  • Can help to feel fresh and clean
  • Helps to dislodge small traces of fecal matter in the rectum

Anal Douching Cons

  • Can lead to an increased risk of STIs and infections due to skin irritation or micro-tears
  • Might disrupt the natural balance of bacteria and electrolytes, especially if you are using water
  • Can cause more mess if done incorrectly
  • It is a time-consuming process

As you can see, there are some risks to anal douching, but most of these only apply if you do it too often. Anal douching once in a while, using the proper technique is unlikely to cause any damage. So if you want to explore anal play, but the fear of poop is holding you back, using an anal douche is a good option. The important thing is to do it safely and not too often.

How to use an anal douche safely

  • Before you start, make sure your hands and douche are clean.
  • If you are using water, make sure it is just lukewarm as you are much more sensitive to temperature internally.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to make sure you have released all of the liquid. Ideally, you want to douche around an hour before having anal sex.
  • Don’t squirt the water too far inside your rectum. You don’t want it to reach the sigmoid colon, as it could mix with any feces that is in there and cause a lot more mess.
  • You shouldn’t douche more than three times per week.
  1. Empty your bowels.
  2. Fill the bulb with lukewarm water or saline solution.
  3. Apply some lube to the tip of the nozzle and your anus to minimize the risk of damaging the skin.
  4. Insert the tip and gently squeeze some of the water into the rectum, hold it in there for around 15 seconds and then release it into the toilet. 
  5. If you feel the need, repeat once more.
  6. Rinse the area around your anus and dry yourself.
  7. Clean and dry your douche thoroughly, so it’s ready for next time!

Different types of anal douches for anal cleaning

Bulb Anal Douche

These are one of the easiest options for anal cleaning as you have more control over the volume and pressure of water. This anal douche from Tracy Cox has a flexible tip, making it softer on your anus and less likely to damage your skin.

Shower Douche

Shower douches are much riskier when it comes to cleaning inside the rectum, as it is much more difficult to control the volume, temperature, and pressure of the water. This kit from Colt can be attached permanently to your shower, making it easier to clean your anus while you shower.

Other top tips for good, clean anal play

As well as having a clean before getting down to it, there are many small lifestyle changes you can make to help keep your bowels and behind happy!

Diet

Healthy, well-formed bowel movements are going to help minimize the risk of any mess, as it is less likely for traces to get stuck in the rectum — you are aiming for those ghost poops that come and go without leaving a trace!

  • Eat a fiber-rich diet to help add bulk and create well-formed stools
  • Stay well hydrated to keep everything moving through your system
  • Avoid foods known to have a laxative effect, such as spicy food, greasy food, alcohol, caffeine, and any foods that you are intolerant to, such as dairy or gluten.

Empty your bowels before anal play

Give yourself time to empty your bowels before any kind of anal play. If you have a relatively regular toilet schedule, you can arrange your anal play to suit your bowel movements. Cleaning with a bidet or water is also a gentler option.

Prepare your space

I’m sorry to say it, but no matter how much time you put into preparing, there is always some risk of a little bit of poop, so it’s best to be prepared just in case!

  • Have a towel or special fluid-proof bedding you can put down on the bed to protect your nice sheets.
  • Keep some wet wipes or a wet cloth next to the bed.
  • If you are using sex toys, have something, like a towel, to put them on when you are done using them.

Use Protection

Condoms for penetrative sex and dental dams for rimming not only protect you against a range of STIs, but they can also help you to put your mind at ease about any mess. You should also remember to switch to a clean condom if you are switching from anal sex to vaginal sex to prevent bacteria from being spread. You can also use condoms with your sex toys for the same reason — just check they don’t contain silicone lube if you are using a silicone sex toy.