Anal beginner

How to Do an Enema Before Anal Play

Published: SEPTEMBER 12, 2023 | Updated: MAY 18, 2024
Doing an enema can sound scary AF. But if you do things right, you'll be just fine. And did you know that enemas and anal douches aren’t the same thing?

Ah, getting ready for anal play with a douche of the ‘ol rectum. There’s really nothing better (or more comforting). With anal play, it always seems to come down to the same fear: The poop thing.

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Anal douches (or enemas, as they’re often referred to) go with anal play like peanut butter and jelly. Of course, like eating jelly on toast, anal play can be done without the anal douche. You’ll get no judgment from us. While this may be the case for some, many folx feel more comfortable doing butt stuff after they’ve cleaned out their butt hole - just as many people find peanut butter and jelly superior to a plain jelly sandwich.

Now, you may think that doing an anal douche sounds scary AF. We get it. Shooting water up your rear doesn’t exactly sound like a trip to Chipotle (which is relevant because you should avoid corn before anal. No, seriously. It doesn’t digest).

Luckily, we've got a no frills guide to enemas/anal douching right here. And we’ve recruited some of the world’s leading experts in all things anal to help, too! There is nothing to fear. As long as you anal douche correctly and use the right stuff, you’ll be just fine.

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Read: A First-Timer's Guide to Anal Sex

Is it an enema or is it an anal douche?

Who even knew these two things were actually different? Not us. Luckily, Dr Evan Goldstein, an anal surgeon, sexual health and wellness expert, and founder of Future Method, has all the information we need.

While it isn’t super important to know the difference between these terms for our purposes in this article, you should know that what we’re talking about here aren’t really enemas, but anal douches. Why do people get anal douches and enemas confused, you might ask? As it turns out, they are pretty similar – the key difference is that an enema goes further up the butt and into the colon.

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What is an enema?

An enema is used for medical procedures. Goldstein says they’re administered for super-sexy things like inducing bowel movements, administering special types of medication (i.e. those that treat inflammatory bowel diseases, like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), or colon/body cleansing. “Enemas are meant to work in both the rectum and the sigmoid colon to prepare you for a medical procedure, like a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or surgery, or to treat constipation or fecal impaction,” he tells us. Hawt.

What is an anal douche?

An anal douche, on the other hand, is used to prepare for anal play. “They only serve one purpose,” Goldstein adds. Anal douches are used to cleanse the anus so that when you’re engaging in anal play, you don’t need to stress out about the mess. We are going up a bum, after all! And where there is going up the bum, there is often some poop. Anal douches can help alleviate the anxiety that may come along with this.

Real Enemas in Sex Play

Real enemas (like the real-ass ones that go into the colon) are sometimes used in BDSM scenes so, while they are less common in a sexual context, they do exist. Usually, this play will manifest in medical role play, wherein one person is the doctor/nurse and the other is the patient.

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Keep in mind that if you are going to do an enema for real, the person administering it should have some kind of medical training to do so – or at least have someone with medical training teach them how to do one. Safety is always key!

Anal Douching - Key Things to Know

Do you need an enema or anal douche before anal?

The reality is: No, not really. It’s all about personal comfort.

Few of us were ever taught about the proper anatomy of the anus. The truth is, if you don’t feel like you need to poop, there probably won’t be any poop. It’s safely hiding away in the colon. “Sure, you may have a lingering speck here or there, but that’s why you should opt for a douche – to help clear things up, without making you go to the bathroom or causing any unnecessary irritation to the area,” Goldstein says.

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Basically, it’s up to you. If you prefer to simply pop in the shower and wash your bum, that’s fine too. The key is to feel clean and confident so you can have the best time ever.

How long before anal should you do this?

We recommend doing your anal douche about 1-2 hours before you plan to have anal penetration. You want to be sure you’re nice and cleansed out – but give yourself enough of a window to make sure your anus can recover from any irritation.

What is an enema or anal douching bulb?

They’re pretty much what you’d imagine: An enema with a rubber bulb with and a nozzle on the end. The douching solution goes into the bulb and the nozzle is inserted in the anus. The purpose is to cleanse the rectum of any lingering poop particles.

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Enema Bulb for anal playThe Cloud 9 Non-Backflow Enema Bulb is an innovative design for a simple cleanout.

Are there DIY alternatives for anal douching?

We’re not going to get too in the weeds here, but yes – you can technically make your own douche with a water bottle. This isn’t recommended, though, as this isn’t what they were designed to do. Anal douching sets and enema bulbs are quite inexpensive (you can buy a simple one for as little as $10) and are really worth the investment.

Goldstein says that if you don’t want to douche and don’t want to buy the equipment, maintain a healthy diet so you can avoid accidents or stomach issues. Future Method developed a Daily Pre+Probiotic and Daily Fiber supplement specifically for people who engage in anal play. “When we maintain a consistent daily routine of taking care of first their gut, and then their butt, we can either completely eliminate the need to douche, or help minimize the process,” he says.

Is anal douching safe?

Douching is perfectly safe, if you do it correctly. If you have anal fissures or hemorrhoids, do not douche as this can make these conditions worse. We recommend avoiding anal play if you currently have these conditions, as it can be painful and cause infection. Be sure you only douche 1-2 times per week, max. Douching everyday can lead to pain and other health issues.

Read: Don't Make These 7 Anal Sex Mistakes

Enema/Douche Types

There are a few key types of anal douches you can try.

Bulb Douches

As we mentioned above, a bulb enema is a rubber bulb with a nozzle. These are the No.1 product that we recommend. They are safe and very easy to use. More on that below!

Water Bag Douches

These bags come with nozzles and attachments. We don’t recommend these kinds of douches, as the bag can fill with too much liquid, which can be unsafe because you can’t really stop the flow of the solution/water once it starts.

Pre-Filled, Store-Bought Enemas

These kinds of enemas come in the form of bags or bulbs – with the solution already in place. Be sure the solution does not contain laxatives. These tend to come as part of enema kit with tube and nozzle attachments.

Shower Attachment Douches

Shower douches attach to the shower head. Yes, so convenient, but they aren’t recommended. Again, there is the issue of controlling the amount of water entering the anus. Additionally, the water pressure can be too high, which can cause pain or injury.

Fleet Enemas (and Fleet Enema Solution)

Fleet solutions come with laxative elements and are not recommended. Laxatives of any kind can be dangerous and cause cramping and dehydration.

Goldstein says that the options outside of the bulb enema are not great and should be avoided. “These options weren’t meant for anal sex preparation and, therefore, have been known to cause harm to the body,” he says. Stick to the bulb!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Douching at Home (Safely)

Buy the right enema equipment to ensure comfort and safety.

The best anal douches? Definitely Future Method. Goldstein developed the first-ever douche specifically to help prepare for anal sex. And it comes with a super gentle solution to use. “It’s an isotonic and iso-osmolar formula, which is a scientific way of saying it’s body-safe and compatible with the cells within your rectum, without causing any discomfort, bloating, or irritation,” he explains.

You can find bulbs on Amazon and the local pharmacy, but we recommend sticking to ones specifically designed for douching before anal sex. (Kinkly Shop carries several anal douching options.)

Set up that bulb properly to ensure it is sanitary and properly filled.

Wash your bulb with warm water and soap before use.

Take the bulb and fill it with lukewarm water. Start by filling the bulb only to about 2-4 quarts – filling the whole entire bulb could make a short process take a lot longer. And no one wants that.

Add one or two tablespoons of baby oil or mineral oil (your choice). The mineral oil/baby oil helps to clean you out. It is very efficient. “When filling it with a solution, you want to ensure that the air is out of the enema hose and that the tubing clamp is closed so that nothing leaks out,” says Dr. Lee Phillips, Ed.D, a psychotherapist and certified sex and couples therapist who specializes in LGBTQAI+ issues.

In all cases, “don’t forget to lube the tip of your douche,” Goldstein says. “The last thing you want to do is cut yourself before you’ve even started enjoying anal play.”

Once you’re properly set up, begin the enema.

While standing in the shower or bathtub, use one hand for balance and slip the tip of the bulb into your anus. Gently press the bulb to release some of the lukewarm water. Standing up is the simplest way to get this show on the road. “I recommend standing up with one leg up on either the toilet seat or the edge of your tub, if you can. This allows gravity to do its thing,” Goldstein says.

Hold the water in for a few seconds and then let all the water run out. Repeat this step until the water you release runs clear – or the bulb is empty. Or, you know, if you’re just over it.

Philips says the whole process should take about 5-10 minutes. “Let small amounts of solution in,” he says. “This can avoid cramping.”

If it sounds a bit exhausting, that’s because it really can be. As we said earlier, doing an enema before anal is not necessary, but if it helps you feel more confident about your body, there is nothing wrong with that.

Stay hydrated.

Since you’re flushing your anus repeatedly, dehydration is a side effect. Be on top of it and hydrate as much as possible. Drink your full eight glasses of water (or 10, if you’re feeling ambitious) the day before and the day of your anal play.

Also, we aren’t kidding about the corn thing. Kind of wish we were, but we aren’t.

Read: The Ultimate Guide to Having Anal Sex Safely

Douching Clean-Up and Aftercare

Once you’ve douched, clean your equipment thoroughly. Use warm soap and water to cleanse your bulb by squeezing it up inside the bulb 3-5 times to ensure it is properly cleansed. Goldstein recommends cleaning yourself up, too.

While you're at it, your shower will also need a good clean. Since you’re waiting an hour or two before anal play, you have plenty of time to do a thorough cleanup.

And remember to take care of yourself. After the long process of doing an enema, getting laid, and finishing up, take some time to check in and see what the whole experience was like for you. If you decide you want to do enemas (or, as we learned, douches) in the future, that’s great. If not, that’s OK, too.

It can be helpful to chat through your experience with your partner so they can be as supportive as possible. We all need a bit of encouragement, right?

Now, go forth and enjoy anal play like a champion!

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Gigi Engle

Gigi Engle is an award-winning author, certified sex educator, psychosexual therapist in training, and author of "All The F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life." Known as The Bisexual’s Therapist, she is a speaker, LGBTQIA+ activist, and sex expert.She currently works as the resident sex expert for Lifestyle Condoms and as a volunteer psychosexual therapist at 56 Dean Street, London’s foremost LGBTQIA+ clinic. She is also a...

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