How to Do It is Slate’s sex advice column. Have a question? Send it to Stoya and Rich here. It’s anonymous!
Every week, the crew responds to a bonus question in chat form.
Dear How to Do It,
I’m a gay man who dramatically prefers to bottom for anal. It’s my favorite part of sex. My internal organs disagree. I have frequent diarrhea—not so unpredictable that I’d cause a mess during sex, but definitely enough that I don’t feel “clean” enough for anal most of the time. I know sometimes “poop happens,” but I am sufficiently turned off by it that I need to be clean. I’m really missing my preferred penetration. How do you assure yourself poop-free sex time when you have these issues? More fiber? Don’t eat for a day before bottoming? Enemas? What would help? Thank you!
Rich: So, how to bottom with 100-percent assuredness of zero poop is something of an eternal question. We get asked it a lot and have answered iterations of it in multiple columns. The short answer is: You won’t ever be completely sure, and a mature and experienced anal partner will already know this.
Stoya: To directly answer his line of questions—yes, yes, and yes, and done all together, this will mean you’ll be pretty safe. You know, as long as you don’t pass out from not eating. And, of course, the bloating and gas from too much fiber can be problematic as well.
Rich: Right. You could even just adjust your diet in the 24 or so hours before you bottom to be on the lighter side and avoid potentially poop-complicating foods containing dairy and oil. And with soluble, supplemental fiber, you’re much better off easing yourself into it and upping your dose over time. Start with one dose every two days, see how that goes for a week. If it’s good, start taking it every day. Then you can try twice a day. I’ve found that twice a day every day psyllium husk is too much for me. It makes me fart atom bombs like every five minutes. I usually do midday every day and then before bed every other night. That seems to be my sweet spot. I have also switched from whole psyllium to psyllium powder, which has been better for bulking.
Stoya: Have you increased your water intake?
Rich: I quit smoking about 15 years ago and one of the things that helped me so do was drinking enormous amounts of water to fill the void left by cigarettes. So my water intake has been super high, no increase necessary. For anyone whose isn’t, though, yes, that’s key.
Stoya: I have a porn trick. Well, a trick I picked up in porn. You take a wet wipe, drape it around your finger, and give your rectum a swipe. It’s sufficient for mild insertion of small plugs or a couple of fingers.
Rich: Ahhh, that’s great. While I have read about people’s fiber intake making post-B.M. wiping unnecessary. I have never found the perfect no-wipe fiber intake amount. I think it would require more fiber than my boyfriend’s nose could bear. So you make do—I’ve found at the very least that it’s easier to clean out on fiber. It’s typically a 10-15 minute process as opposed to a 30-45-minute one.
Stoya: I wonder how many letters about being 100 percent clean for anal we receive. In previous columns for other outlets, it was a recurring theme. And it boggles my mind that people think they can utterly sanitize the thing they excrete feces from.
Rich: It’s safe to say we receive way more than we print and we’ve printed quite a few. Here is some good perspective: Ty Mitchell, a writer and porn performer who uses the handle @probottom on various social media platforms (just to give you some perspective on his expertise), told Men’s Health earlier this year that poop during anal “still happens to me, someone who’s bottoming all the time.” If it’s happening to him, it could happen to you.
Stoya: What our writer can do is work on accepting the facts of their body. We’re incredible, but we’re still mammals. We’re living humans, messy, stinky, gross, and wonderful. We know ass to mouth is kind of gross, and many of us do it anyway.
Rich: You can only do so much to help matters down below, so do that but then work on above—this is as much about butt cleanliness as it is about anxiety.
Stoya: Anxiety! A known gut-rumbler. Keep some wet wipes on hand when you’re on an anal adventure and try to focus on the great sensations you’re feeling.
Rich: Regarding our writer’s specific situation, I definitely don’t recommend bottoming when you have diarrhea. A partner will probably expect a reasonable amount of cleanliness (this doesn’t mean your butthole must be shining like the top of the Chrysler building, and as empty as it during the pandemic). However, if you’re aware of anything that’s happening that may impede reasonable cleanliness, take it as a sign to skip anal that day. And re: the enema, ditch the liquid it comes with (it’s a laxative, so it’ll draw more poop out, which is the opposite of what you want) and just use water. Filter it to be safe. Basically, if your tap water requires filtration for drinking/cooking, it requires it for douching as well.
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