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Steve’s (26) question: If one enjoys anal sex and rimming so much, what is the cleanest way to get the anal passage clean before the act?

Dr Dick’s response

The main function of the rectum is to act as a passageway for faeces. Faeces are not normally stored in the rectum unless you are about to have a bowel movement. However, small amounts may remain in the rectum in between movements. There is also the risk of transmitting Hepatitis B if in contact with an infected partner.

If you are wanting to douche (squirt water in the anus using an enema bottle) then be sure to use a vinegar mixture (half a teaspoon of vinegar with 500ml luke warm water) and not a betadine douche. The betadine douche has been found to disrupt the mucosal barrier of the rectum and thus increase the risk of HIV infection. Be sure not to douche too frequently and also be sure to lie on your side when douching as this will reduce the likelihood of any injury. It is also through injury that one’s risk of HIV transmission increases.

Other helpful tips include:

  • Ensure that you use condoms correctly and consistently with plenty of water-based lube when engaging in anal intercourse;
  • When rimming be sure to use either a dental dam/ non-microwavable cling wrap/ a cut open condom;
  • Purchase and use sterile wet wipes to use at the point of anal play;
  • Before and after anal intercourse be sure to clean the insertive partner’s penis and the receptive partner’s anus thoroughly (not vigorously); and
  • Rimming should be avoided if you have a cut or sore in your mouth or gums.