What Is an Enema and How to Do One At Home Safely

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What Is an Enema and How to Do One At Home Safely


For lots of folks, the idea of anal play can bring up some anxiety around what is sometimes called the “poop factor”. While fecal matter is 100% natural and normal and a reasonable expectation when you are talking about butts, it’s understandable that this anxiety can hold some people back from relaxing enough to actually enjoy anal play. With that in mind, some folks like to take some extra steps to lessen the odds that poop will show up during play time. One of the steps one might take is a cleansing enema.

Today we’re going to talk about what an enema is, how to perform one at home, how to keep it safe, and what to expect from the experience. So, hold onto your butts, folks, it’s time to talk enemas!

What is an enema?

Before we go any further, let’s make sure we all understand what exactly we’re talking about. An enema involves injecting liquid into the rectum and while there are several reasons one might do this (barium enemas, for example, are performed by medical professionals before a certain medical procedure) we are focusing our attention on what is known as a “cleansing enema”. This type of enema is done to evacuate the bowels and thus might be used to prepare for anal sex.

You may be wondering what the difference is between an enema and an anal douche. An anal or rectal douche is most often used to clean the first few inches of the rectum, whereas an enema can cleanse beyond the rectum and into the large intestine.

This type of enema is designed to help expedite the process of emptying your bowels of their stool. It typically involves a water-based solution that might feature ingredients like sodium and phosphate, mineral oil, or bisacodyl or a saline enema solution-- a water mixture with the correct amount of sodium and electrolytes to match what is in your body.

There are all sorts of kits available to help you perform an enema at home. These range from single use kits that come with a pre-filled bottle and lubricated nozzle tip (available at most pharmacies) to reusable options like the basic PinkCherry Ultimate Cleansing System, the more powerful, Clean Stream Enema Syringe, or, for those committed to enemas, the shower-installed Clean Stream Discreet Shower Enema Set. There truly is an enema for every user, regardless of comfort level or frequency of use.  


How to use it at home

Giving yourself an enema at home is actually a pretty straightforward process, but let’s break it down step by step. 


1. Prep

There are a few steps you’ll need to take before getting down to action.

  • Avoid eating for about half an hour beforehand.
  • To avoid dehydration, drink at least 8 ounces of water.
  • Have a comfortable place to lie down that is near a toilet. A towel or blanket on the bathroom floor can work quite nicely.
  • Be sure to read any directions that come with your particular enema kit, and follow them closely. 
  • Wash your hands.


2. Lube Up

Lube is crucial anytime you’re penetrating your butt, including during an enema. The anus can be very tight, the skin there is very delicate, and the anus does not self-lubricate. It’s super important to lubricate the nozzle to help it slide in smoothly without causing any pain, friction, or injury.  Disposable kits will typically come with a pre-lubricated enema tube tip.


3. Assume the position

Okay so it’s less “assume THE position” and more “assume a comfortable position that works for you.” Some popular choices include lying on your left side in a fetal position, lying on your back with the knees pulled in, or on all fours with your chest on the ground and your butt elevated.  


4. Insert the enema

Gently insert the enema into your anus. If you feel resistance, do not force it. To help relax the anus and facilitate comfortable insertion, it can help to bear down like you would during a bowel movement. 


5. Introduce the liquid

Depending on the kind of enema you are using, the equipment or means of getting the liquid into your body may differ (simple squeeze bulbs are popular), but this step is key to the whole enema process. Once you’ve introduced your enema liquid, you can remove the enema tip but unless it’s uncomfortable, it’s often recommended to stay in your current position until the next step.  


6. Wait for the urge 

After a few minutes you will feel the urge to evacuate your bowels. When this bowel movement happens, carefully get up and make your way to the toilet. 



Generally, enemas are safe but there are some things you want to be aware of. Let’s talk about how to stay safe when performing your own enemas

Make Sure Everything is Clean

This is especially important if you’re using a reusable enema kit. Make sure it’s clean before you put it in your body so you can avoid spreading any unpleasant bacteria.  

Take Your Time

When you are squeezing an enema bulb -- which is what propels the water or solution into your anal canal -- you want to go super-duper slow. The anus and rectum are very sensitive and sudden water pressure is not a good idea. If you are using a shower enema kit, be extra careful. Begin with the lowest setting possible and spray around the outside of the anus rather than directly into it. 

Remember, once the enema bulb is squeezed, it’s very important not to release the bulb while it’s still inserted. Releasing pressure on the bulb may cause dirty liquid to be pulled back inside. To ensure cleanliness, the enema bulb should remain compressed until it’s removed from the rectum. 

Keep It Cool

The skin on the outside of your body can handle heat but the mucosal lining of the colon and intestines is significantly more sensitive. That’s why, when talking about enemas, you want to forget everything you know about warmer water being better for cleaning. This is a time where cooler water is, safety-wise, what you want. When you are preparing your enema, test the temperature with your hand and aim for a little cooler than lukewarm. That will be safe for your rectum.  

Expect the Unexpected

While many folks can get through the enema process without much discomfort, some might find that they experience stuff like cramping, dizziness, or feeling faint afterward. If this happens to you, lie down for a bit until it passes. Be sure to stay close to the bathroom though, as the cramping might lead to more bowel movements.

Less May Be More 

When it comes to enemas, it is possible to over-do it. Even if you are following all instructions perfectly and being safety-aware, simply using an enema too frequently can damage the sensitive mucosal anal lining. If that happens, your risk of infection skyrockets. So, how often is using an enema safe? It can vary person to person, but in general, you should not perform more than 2 to 3 enema sessions per week.


What to expect during and after

An enema might feel a little strange, possibly slightly awkward, and there might be mild discomfort, but you absolutely should not feel pain during the process. IF you do, stop immediately and see a doctor.

In most instances, the enema liquid only needs to remain inside for one to three minutes. Be patient and allow the liquid enough time to sit and allow any leftover residue to soften. During the process, you will probably notice a full or heavy sensation in your abdomen as your colon is full of liquid. Additionally, mild muscle spasms may occur and that is totally normal. That sensation is your indication that the GI tract muscles are working to expel whatever is in your colon. You will also, as we discussed earlier, eventually feel the urge to poop which is what should happen. When you feel that, you can relieve yourself by releasing the contents of the bowels into the toilet.

Afterwards, it is advised to stay near a bathroom for a couple of hours to make sure your body has the chance to expel any surprising bowel movements, you might find you end up releasing fluid into the toilet several times. If you are planning on engaging in anal sex play, your body will also need that time to calm down before you start stimulating the anal area. It’s smart to wait at least 30 minutes after an enema before having anal sex. This will allow any tissue irritation to subside and give the body time to regulate.

Enema Takeaways

So that’s the 411 on performing enemas safely at home. If you follow instructions, keep everything clean, and don’t over-do it, there’s no reason you can’t give yourself an enema safely and comfortably.

Remember, enemas are not something you have to do to prep for anal play (the body actually does a pretty good job of keeping the area poop-free) but if it makes you more comfortable to get extra clean, the option is there.

Are you enema-curious? Let Pink Cherry help you out with the best anal douche! Their huge selection of anal douche and enema products has something for everyone regardless of budget or experience level! Visit Pinkcherry to learn more about anal douching and how to anal douche safely today.


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Written By: JoEllen Notte

JoEllen Notte is a writer, speaker, sex educator, and mental health advocate whose work explores the impact of depression on sex and relationships. Since 2012 she has written about sex, mental health, and how none of us are broken on her award-winning site The Redhead Bedhead as well as for Glamour, The BBC, Bitch, PsychCentral, and more. JoEllen is the author of The Monster Under the Bed: Sex, Depression, and the Conversations We Aren’t Having.

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Sunny Rodgers

This content was reviewed for accuracy and relevancy by Dr. Sunny Rodgers.

Dr. Sunny Rodgers is a clinician, author, and speaker who has worked in the wellness industry since 2000. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality, a Master of Arts in Clinical Sexology, and is an accredited Sexual Health Educator. She is the Founder of The Institute of Intimate Health, an Ambassador for the American Sexual Health Association, regular lecturer for the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Sexual Confidence Coach for the Marigold App, and a professional Sex Toy Concierge™. Rodgers hosted a popular weekly show on Playboy Radio, has been an expert guest on several TV and radio programs, and is a regular contributor to HuffPost, Men's Health, Cosmo, Bustle, and many more publications.