Have you thought about the health of your butt lately? We tend to give anal health the short shrift in comparison to the time we spend thinking about the well-being of our vaginas, those pampered show ponies of the underwear area. But anuses require good treatment too, and that includes refraining from putting certain items and substances into or around them. Once people get over the initial difficulties of having anal sex — the tightness, the need for artificial lubrication, and the need for cleanliness — they sometimes believe that the gates are open, and our anuses will happily and healthily accept basically anything. Nope! This is not an all-ages disco, guys. There are rules.
The anal area isn't like the vagina; while you do have an internal bacterial balance in the colon and rectum, your anus doesn't often deal with disturbances to this flora that come from outside. (Most issues with imbalance in this area come from diet.) The tissue inside and around the rectum is as delicate and subject to inflammation and tearing as any internal tissue on the body, and can't be regarded as some rough-and-tumble John Wayne of orifices. You've got to treat it right, in all arenas of your life — sexually, medically and recreationally.
Here are seven substances and objects never to put in or near your butt. Ignore this advice at your own peril; I'm sure the people at your local emergency room will just love sorting out your anal misadventures on a Saturday night.
1. A Colonic
If you're curious about the specifics of why getting a colonic is a bad idea, read the linked article. The gist is that it's not actually going to clean out waste, help you lose weight, or give you a "glow." It's an unnecessary procedure that may clean out useful bacterial flora in the colon, and exposes you to risks like perforated bowels and infections from improperly cleaned colonic tubes. Sounds like the least glamorous thing you could do with your Friday.
2. Any Sex Toy Not Specifically Designed For Use In Butts
A lot of people get confused about this one. After all, a vibrator is a vibrator is a vibrator, right? Well, not really. Dildos, vibes, and other sex toys are great fun, but many are designed with specific orifices in mind, and are not intended to be multi-purpose. Some toys are intended for use in both vaginas and anuses, but they'll tell you so. So make sure to do your research. Massaging the prostate is not the same as finding the G-spot, and so a tool designed to do one will not easily do the other. If you intend to do some anal play with toys, invest in a specifically-designed anal vibrator, plug, or beads.
3. Any Non-Sex-Toy Object Being Used As A Sex Toy
I know it can be very, very tempting to look into your cupboard, fridge, or wherever else and contemplate anal play with whatever you find, but please do not. Every medical student who has ever done a stint in the ER has a story about a non-toy object that was inserted into the anus and then, for some reason or another, was not able to be removed. (I've met many med students. Trust me on this one.) This includes carrots, cucumbers, door knobs, and anything else that looks alluring. Specialist stories from doctors I know include action figures and some dolls that you probably played with as a kid. Toys for anal play are on the market for a reason; they're designed to get pleasure and not get stuck or lost in there.
4. Anything That Will Then Be Put In The Vagina
Anybody who has ever had a UTI from doing this has the information seared into their brain, but for some reason, this doesn't seem to be widely known, and thus bears repeating. The phenomenon of "truffle butter," as made famous by the Nicki Minaj song (if you don't feel like clicking on the link, it means the substance that forms when a penis moves from an anus to a vagina), is a spectacularly bad idea, as any movement from the anus to the genitals without a thorough cleaning in between — and this applies to fingers, toys, or anything else — transfers bacteria from fecal matter. The result? Potential chaos for the vaginal interior. Do not do this.
5. Rubbing Alcohol, Or Anything Else Astringent
Anal tissue is pretty sensitive stuff, as anybody who has ever experienced a minor crack or tear in their skin down there will understand. That means that it's a very bad idea to use anything like disinfectant or rubbing alcohol on your anus, as it's likely to irritate the delicate tissue and cause problems like sensitivity, itching, burning, or other nasties. I know that people can get carried away with the idea of "cleaning up" down there, but be conscious of the fact that you're dealing with sensitive areas.
6. Scented Baby Wipes, Or Other Scented Products
Though the non-scented kind are often recommended as a good way to clean up after anal sex, scented baby wipes are known to be a potential cause of irritant contact dermatitis. Some people may experience irritation or other problems if they use not just scented baby wipes, but scented soaps, shower gels, or even some kinds of dyed toilet paper on their anuses, as their skin may be sensitive to chemicals and produce itchiness and other grossness.
7. Alcohol Of Any Kind
I can't believe I need to say this, but I will: An alcohol enema is a bad idea. Introducing alcohol into your rectum for the purposes of getting drunk will technically achieve its intended purpose, because the alcohol will be absorbed into the bloodstream, but it's also dangerous as hell. Alcohol intake via the anus bypasses one of the body's safety mechanisms for reducing its toxicity: the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, which breaks down ethanol in the stomach and liver. As somebody who doesn't actually possess this enzyme, I can attest that having alcohol in your system without it is neither fun nor healthy. Luckily, alcohol enemas appear to be restricted to rare idiotic incidents, but in case you're radically bored on Friday night, know that there are plenty of other fun — and safe — things you can do with your anus instead.
Images: Andrew Zaeh/ Bustle, Giphy