If you engage in anal play or bottoming, you may be wondering how to clean yourself out before anal sex. After all, we were not taught this in sex ed and often have to figure it out on our own. There are many ways to clean up, get comfortable, and feel confident before anal sex, and one of those ways is to use an anal douche. While we love douching for how effective and easy it is, there are proper measures that should be taken to make sure that you are doing it safely. Below, Dr. Goldstein explains how to anal douche properly while answering the most common questions about all things related to anal cleansing.

What is Anal Douching?

Anal douching (aka rectal douching) is the act of cleansing the rectum and anal canal, most traditionally done with liquid expelled from a douche bulb. It is not meant to treat a medical condition, such as constipation, and can be done before and/or after sex. It’s most commonly done to get the rectum and anal canal ready for bottoming or anal receptive sex. If you’re new to anal sex, consider reading our Guide to Anal Sex before taking any steps towards anal cleansing. Read ahead to learn how to clean your asshole before anal intercourse.

Is Anal Douching Necessary?

It is not necessary to anal douche before having anal sex. Typically, gently cleaning the external anal canal is effective enough. Unless you feel the urgency to go, your body actually stores poop higher up in the sigmoid colon, which will generally only be reached if you’re engaging in fisting or your partner/toy is above average in length. Therefore, cleansing around the anal opening (externally with your favorite soap) should be sufficient for most people. Of course, a high fiber diet also helps keep the area right inside your hole tidy, too, by helping create bulky stool that’s easy to pass when you go to the bathroom.

However, many people prefer to anal douche to ensure that they are fully clean and ready for bottoming. Douching can also help people feel more comfortable and relaxed before they participate in anal sex because, if done properly, it will help to wash away any lingering excrement inside the anal canal and rectum. Most don’t need anal cleaning as long as their external hygiene and diet (read: high fiber and staying hydrated) is good, but if it makes you feel more relaxed go for it!

Types of Anal Cleansing

There are a few types of anal cleansing tools at your disposal to feel fresh and clean before you begin your anal play. 

  • Anal Douche Bulbs: We recommend using anal douche bulbs for anal engagement. Anal douches are compact, user-friendly tools designed specifically for anal cleansing. They’re portable, convenient for travel, and made with your butt in mind. With a simple squeeze, they deliver a controlled flow of water for gentle cleansing. Their limited water capacity may necessitate multiple refills for thorough cleansing sessions, but this is preferred because it can help reduce the chances of overdouching, which can extend the douching process.
  • Fleet Enemas: Fleet enemas are pre-packaged enemas that offer convenience and immediate action for constipation relief. Therefore, we do not recommend administering these before anal play as this is not their intended purpose. Frequent use of Fleet enemas for anal douche preparation can lead to dependence and may cause irritation or discomfort in the long term. They also may have a few nasty side effects, like dehydration in the area. Therefore, we think they’re best used under the guidance of a healthcare professional and not for anal douching.
  • Anal Cleansing Wipes: Anal wipes offer a convenient solution for on-the-go cleansing without the need for additional equipment or water. However, their use isn’t only bad for the environment, they are bad for the delicate skin in the anal region. Although most options are infused with soothing ingredients like aloe vera, and are marketed as gentle on the skin and easy to use, they can disrupt the microbiome and cause skin irritations, rashes, and even HPV and/or herpes outbreaks in people who already have it. That’s why we recommend avoiding regular use of wet wipes.
  • Shower Enemas: Shower enemas deliver a continuous stream of water with adjustable pressure settings. Ideal for use in the shower (as the name suggests), they’re convenient and quite thorough for cleaning. However, they require access to a shower, they carry the risk of injury and over douching since you can’t control their continuous water flow, and water pressure and temperature can easily hurt users who are inexperienced. For these reasons, we recommend avoiding their use.

While there are many popular anal douches out there, including pre-filled store bought enemas, bulb douches, water bag douches, and shower attachments, we don’t recommend using the majority of these due to their negative effects. These solutions were not meant for anal sex preparation and, therefore, have been known to cause harm to the body.

We recommend anal douche bulbs for anal cleansing when possible. We even have a specific recommendation for you: the Future Method Anal Douche and its accompanying bulb. Unlike douching with water, this solution is ideal for sensitive skin and won’t disrupt the balance of your body.

The Future Method Anal Douche solution is the first isotonic solution that was created by medical professionals, including Dr. Evan Goldstein, to gently, yet effectively, cleanse the anal canal and rectum. Future Method’s Anal Douche is a rectal wash perfectly formulated to clean and hydrate before and after anal engagement. If you already have a go-to reusable bulb, consider the Future Method Powder Packs, a revolutionary single-use powder that mixes quickly and easily with water wherever you go. Finally, you have options made by our community for our community that have the safety profile we have been asking for.

How To Anal Douche

Proper anal cleansing is key to a pleasurable and safe experience. In general, to anal douche you’ll want to stand by your toilet in a comfortable position, then use lubricant before inserting the douche and slowly squirting liquid. The medical team at Bespoke Surgical has outlined how to douche to help prepare for anal sex in the steps below:

Future Method isontonic solution disposable douche

Formulated from a doctor’s perspective, the Future Method isotonic solution gently, yet effectively, cleanses the anal canal and rectum for confident, worry-free sex.

Anal Douching Steps

  1. Use the bathroom.
  2. Wash your douche’s bulb and tip with warm water and soap until clean.
  3. Draw the douche solution into the bulb.
  4. Lubricate the bulb tip to make insertion easier and reduce the risk of tears.
  5. Get into a comfortable position. Most often, resources will recommend sitting on the toilet, getting on all fours, or standing in the shower. However, we find that standing up (either in or out of the shower) helps prevent the liquid from going too high up into your body (thanks primarily to gravity). The higher it goes, the more likely it’ll end up in your sigmoid colon, the more likely you’ll dislodge any poop that might be stored in there, which can make things messier than they would have been had you not even douched at all.
  6. Insert the entire bulb tip into the anus.
  7. Gently squeeze the bulb’s contents into your rectum.
  8. Remove both the tip and the bulb, and then immediately expel the mixture of douche solution and waste into the toilet or down the shower drain.
  9. Repeat steps if necessary.

If you’re unfamiliar with anal lubricants, consider checking out our guide to Anal Lubricants. We cover all the basics of body-safe and comfortable lubes, and even recommend products that are best for your butt.

What Not To Do While Anal Douching

  • Do not use excessive water pressure.
  • Do not insert the nozzle too deeply.
  • Do not use harsh or irritating cleansing solutions.
  • Do not douche too frequently, as it can disrupt the natural balance of the rectum.
  • Do not share douches between partners without proper sanitation.


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Is Anal Douching Safe?

Now that you know how to properly clean your butt, you might be wondering if you should. As we’ve mentioned previously, douching is a method of squirting a cleanser inside their rectum. Anal cleansing is typically considered safe when done correctly, but there’s more to consider. Our intestines, more so the anus and rectum for bottoming, contain good bacteria that assists in digesting food, absorbing nutrients, aiding in appropriate stool formation, and keeping the bad bacteria in check. Supporting it with fiber supplements and a balanced diet is a good way to maintain good bacteria, but can anal cleansing change that? Keeping your gut biome happy and healthy is an important part of learning how to clean your ass for anal intercourse.

This microbiome stability is paramount to its functionality. Aggressive and frequent anal douching with products not developed specifically for the anal canal and rectum can actually flush away the good shit (pun intended), leaving you susceptible to a whole host of stomach and intestinal issues. Your intestinal flora are valuable for maintaining a healthy electrolyte balance and should be preserved as much as possible.

Water alone or saline chemical solutions actually cause the cells in the anorectal region to be injured, subsequently causing cell death. Remember: douching with a commercially prepared enema before anal sex or using just plain tap water creates a lot of mucus and dryness in the area, which can also cause cell damage, cracking, and bleeding, making it easier to contract and pass along both HIV and other STDs. The crazy part is if this location is injured during the douching act, its lacks the sensations necessary for one to know a true problem exists.

One can be doing damage to one’s mucosal lining for a prolonged period of time and not know it until it’s too late. This is why it’s so important to consider an isotonic douche designed specifically for the anal canal and rectum, making it the best way to prepare for anal sex. Isotonicity means a solution is in a normal zone of protection that allows for appropriate cleansing of the anal canal, without the traumatic effects of the other anal douche products mentioned. It’s that zone that one wants to stay within, which will allow both fruitful and continuous bottoming.

Risks Of Over-Douching

Over-douching (cleaning too deep, with too much force, or with too much tap water) can cause problems, such as douche dependency, prolonged anal irritation, elevated mucus production, and lengthening or incomplete contraction of the rectum/colon, which can lead to chronic constipation. One’s anal sphincters keep everything inside and the constant pushing required for douching can cause injury to these muscles, let alone just the insertion of a device can cause added localized injury. Proper use and lots of lubrication aids proper mechanics.

Aside from the health risks, over-douching (too much volume or too much force) can also loosen stools that are higher up in the rectum, which wouldn’t normally come into contact with anal sex, making it even messier than if you hadn’t douched at all. The people who are douching for hours on end, for traditional anal intercourse, are placing themselves at risk and this method is not substantiated. The area in which the penis actually enters is located in the distal rectum and anal canal. This region is mostly clean, if the above methods are taken into account.

Gentle cleaning with small volumes allows for the removal of any remaining debris, all the while protecting and aiding one during the actual act. Less is more from the actual size of the bulb to how much force one uses. If you inflate like a balloon and use too much volume, this will enter the actual colon, much further from where one would go for engagement. This in and of itself will produce brown excrement, which leads one to believe that they are not clean. It’s key to understanding the correct principles and using the right mechanics and solutions that will aid in proper preparation. Anal douching isn’t the only anal cleansing type with a risk – our blog about How Often You Should Use an Enema covers similar health issues.

Anal Cleansing & Grooming Tips

Understanding how to clean for anal involves more than just knowing how to douche. Anal hygiene and grooming also involves external hygienic care of your backside. Anal douching and learning about the effects of diet on anal sex are powerful first steps toward the best possible anal sex experience, and depending on your preferences and those of your partner(s), you can opt to take additional steps to ensure your anal experience is positive for everyone involved.

External anal hygiene

External hygiene really comes down to keeping your anus clean regularly and before you’re ready to have anal sex. You can do that through regular washing with soap and warm water or by installing a bidet at home. Whatever soap suits your fancy is amazing, but exfoliating soaps, specifically in this region, allow for not only ridding of unhealthy skin, but also keeping you primed and fresh.

To shave or not to shave?

You can also shave or wax your anal region, but this is a personal aesthetic preference (and comes with potential problems, like ingrown hairs or irritation). Also of note, if not done correctly through either cleaning reusable razors or utilizing new razors, one can cause local infections, including anal warts from an HPV infection. Laser hair removal is ideal, but can be costly and is more a long lasting effect with some elements of irreversibility.

Say no to wipes!

We are sorry to crush your spirits, but wet wipes (aka baby wipes) are terrible not only for your hole, but also the environment as well. They truly deplete your anal region of the good bacteria, which can lead to significant dermatitis or infections and can be the cause of a herpes or HPV/anal warts outbreak. Also, the residual moisture can lead to constant irritation and infections. While brands are constantly touting their freshness and ease of use, they don’t want you to know about their potential risks. Not to mention, the clogged toilet you have is usually because of them. Help the environment and your ass by staying away from wipes.


The biggest piece of medical advice Bespoke Surgical can offer is to listen to your body. It knows what it can handle and what it can’t. Along with this, it’s key to make sure that you are eating well and maintaining great hygiene. One easy tip is to prove to yourself, even before you douche, how clean you truly are by using a butt plug or dilator, preferably light-colored, to see whether or not any residual stool is present. If it’s all clean, you’re ready to go. The important thing to remember is that accidents happen and everybody poops. So, if you find yourself in a situation where things have gotten a little messy, DON’T PANIC! You’re not a freak, you’re perfectly normal.

By taking the above advice and utilizing the appropriate methods with minor tweaks, we can all reach the desired effects we are searching for. When it comes to sex, one size does not fit all (literally and figuratively). Let us know if you still have specific anal cleaning questions we can answer. Oh, and good luck!

Bespoke Surgical is an NYC-based elite anal surgery practice. We put sexual wellness and health first, providing you the best care possible. LGBTQ+ friendly and sex positive, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have. If you have any further questions about how to clean for anal, contact us.

This page was medically reviewed by Dr. Evan Goldstein on February 11, 2021.


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