What Men Don’t Know But Should About Cleaning Their Butts
Dr. Evan Goldstein is here to tell you exactly how to do it
A few weird, dystopian phases of coronavirus ago, when toilet paper supplies were treacherously low and few of us could be sure where our next roll was coming from, the bidet discourse was as inescapable as sourdough starters.
During this time, the thought may have occurred to you, “Wait, should I have been washing my asshole all along?” The answer is yes, and even if you have been, there’s a not insignificant chance you’ve been doing it wrong anyway. But don’t worry, it’s not really your fault.
“The reality is that nobody teaches us these things,” says Dr. Evan Goldstein, renowned anal surgeon and founder of Bespoke Surgical and sexual wellness brand Future Method. “Nobody teaches us the right way to shit. Nobody teaches us the right way to wipe. Nobody teaches us that we shouldn’t be using wet wipes,” he tells InsideHook.
Fortunately, Dr. Goldstein is here to teach you everything your potty trainers missed, and there’s more to it than bidets and douching. We talked to the premier butt doctor himself about all things anal hygiene, because no matter who you are or what you’re putting up your butt, it should be clean.
You Shit What You Eat
Hate to say it, but anal hygiene begins well before you even think about entering the bathroom. According to Goldstein, a clean anus starts with a good diet.
For inspiration, look no further than your dog. “Think about when you watch dogs take a poop,” says Goldstein. “Their diet is so high in fiber that they don’t even need to wipe after they have a bowel movement.”
Essentially, that’s your goal. The less wiping you have to do, the better.
“Less wiping,” says Goldstein. “Everyone wipes from front to back, and that’s obviously how we were taught. But the skin in that area is very, very fragile. So a lot of people are over-wiping, especially if your stool is not super formed.”
Step one to getting that stool well-formed? Fiber. Goldstein recommends a high-fiber diet, but if you, unlike your dog, can’t squeeze enough fiber into your daily meal plan, supplements are your next best bet. Goldstein recommends Pure for Men, a fiber supplement designed with anal hygiene in mind.
These supplements work best when taken at night, Goldstein explains. Taken before bed with plenty of water, fiber supplementation “starts to do its thing while you’re sleeping,” he says. “What winds up happening is most people start to have a bowel movement first thing in the morning. When you stand up, it changes the pelvic angle, and when that angle changes you feel the urge to have a bowel movement, and then you evacuate everything.”
Sounds gross, but “evacuating everything” on a regular basis is step one to a healthy, hygienic butt, and it can actually save you more drastic cleaning measures down the line.
Less wiping, more washing
For the love of god, stop wiping your ass.
As discussed, if you have your fiber situation under control, there shouldn’t be much need for aggressive post-poop cleaning anyway. But even if there is, you should be aiming for more of a blot than a wipe, says Goldtstein. And please, do not even think about going back there with a wet wipe.
“A lot of people, especially straight guys, are using wet wipes, which are so terrible for you,” says Goldstein. “When people are over-wiping or using wet wipes, they’re creating more irritation and getting rid of good bacteria. That buildup of moisture and bad bacteria causes a lot of issues,” he explains. And, as Goldstein says, “When you have an anal problem, it literally is a pain in the fucking ass.”
So if wiping is bad and wet wiping is worse, what exactly is a guy supposed to do after taking a shit?
Ideally, you’d hop in the shower.
“You should shower, or use water and clean yourself after bowel movements. It minimizes your wiping irritation, and it minimizes any residual stool that may cause some contamination,” says Goldstein. “If you have time to pop in the shower, using a gentle exfoliant would be great. It fosters a lot of really great health in the area and soothes it, and also gets rid of any excrement.”
That said, most of us can’t always jump in the shower every time we poop. Which brings us to the bidet. Goldstein recommends TUSHY for a simple, relatively inexpensive option that you can attach to your existing toilet seat (and so do we).
To douche or not to douche?
Historically, anal douching has been associated with the gay community, or at least with people who have anal sex. But should straight men be douching?
“Obviously, I want straight guys to start having more anal sex,” says Goldstein. “When you stimulate the prostate sexually, it’s so much better from an orgasm perspective, and the reality is that most guys have never had that type of an orgasm before,” he explains. “If straight guys would just lose the phobia, not think of it as ‘a gay thing,’ I think that they would tap into something that would really bring them so much more joy from a sexual perspective.”
Obviously, butt stuff has long since spread its wings outside the exclusive domain of gay sex. For the last decade or so, butt play has taken over the sexual zeitgeist in a major way, with various anal activities entering the bedrooms of people representing a diverse range of gender and sexual identities. As Goldstein puts it, “It’s such a fun time to be into all things anal. Anal is the thing. Everybody wants to have anal these days.”
But with an increased interest in anal sex comes an increased awareness of anal hygiene. Naturally, in this, the age of ass, anal douching is for everyone … and no one. Allow Dr. Goldstein to explain.
“If you don’t need to douche, don’t douche,” he says. And, statistically speaking, you probably don’t need to.
“If I line up 10 guys or girls, and we have anal sex with all of them, and they’re not douching, nine times out of 10, there won’t be any issues in terms of stool being present,” he says.
Ultimately, says Goldstein, the pressure to douche is largely a societal one.
“I think in sexual culture, whether gay or straight or whatnot, everybody is very phobic of being dirty,” he says. “But nine times out of 10, most people are actually going to be super, super clean. If you have a good diet, you’re using fiber, and you’re shitting regularly, then I don’t think most people need to go to that degree.”
That said, Goldstein understands that, societal pressures being what they are, many people might feel the urge to ensure they’re super clean before engaging in anal play. In which case, he recommends first checking out the situation for yourself.
“Use toys, show yourself that you’re clean,” he suggests. “Put a toy in there, and prove to yourself that you’re actually clean. If you’re not, or if you want to feel super clean, then yes, I think douching with the right product, with the right solution that’s not causing harm, is a good option.”
That’s exactly why Goldstein designed a safe anal douche for Future Method. The product’s pH balanced, isotronic solution and small bulb are meant to prevent the damage and over-douching to which most other products can lead.
That said, Goldstein maintains that the golden rule of douching is don’t do it if you don’t need to. In most cases, he says, “fiber supplementation, great diet and good exercise,” are all you really need to ensure your butt is ready for whatever it may encounter.
At the end of the day, regardless of who you are and who or what is going up your anus, it should be clean. Fortunately, for the vast majority of people, all it takes to maintain a clean asshole is plenty of fiber and maybe a bidet.
You should definitely be having anal sex, though.
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