Spoiler: There is no *right* way.
As far as sexual taboos goes, butt stuff ranks pretty high—even though humanity has a pretty long (read: ancient) history of backdoor exploring. For many, anal play is a great way to engage in intimacy, either with a partner or alone (and with the help of a butt plug). The reason that anal play might be mired in taboo and misconceptions is fairly reasonable; if you’ve ever wondered, “is anal sex hygienic?” you certainly wouldn’t be alone.
Anal hygiene misconceptions
Anal sex isn’t something that’s inherently “dirty”—and you don’t have to prep in any one particular way to engage in anal play. That said, relaxation is an important part of butt stuff if you’re on the receiving end, and taking some time to clean up may make the experience more enjoyable for you.
Cleaning up (more on that in a minute) before anal sex and eating stomach-safe foods (read: anything that’s unlikely to necessitate an urgent trip to the bathroom based on your own digestive tract’s history) can help you to get into the right mental space for the act. But there’s one thing you should definitely avoid: laxatives.
While they might seem like a good idea to help you get “cleared out,” they can actually have a negative impact on anal sex: They can irritate the lining of your intestines which can lead to abdominal cramps, Pierre-Cédric Crouch, PhD, explains for the San Francisco Aids Foundation. Other bulking agents, like fiber supplements, are A-okay if they help to keep you regular.
How to safely prep for anal play
If you do want to feel clean before anal play, a good shower can do the trick—some people may stick a wet (non-soapy) finger slightly in their anus to flush out any fecal matter, but that’s not necessary. In a pinch, you can also use a wipe with warm water to clean yourself up.
Also optional: an enema (aka, anal douching). You can use a fleet enema with normal saline to clean up before anal sex, but be sure to follow its instructions carefully. Many have small, lubricated nozzles which can be safely inserted. You can add additional lube to make insertion more comfortable. Take it slow, and remember to relax—you don’t have to spray the liquid very high for it to be effective. Doing this process in the shower (with one leg propped up and one hand gripping the wall for support) can make it easier.
You won’t want to engage in anal play immediately after douching—wait at least an hour beforehand. And be careful not to over-douche, lest you irritate the lining of your rectum, putting you at higher risk of getting an STI.