The Center Voice

The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Greater Fort Lauderdale, Inc.

March, 2000 (volume 7, number 3)


Oh Sh__!

Feces is a waste product of the body which may be either liquid or solid, and is normally eliminated through the anus. In rare medical conditions it may exit the body by other means, including being vomited through the mouth due to obstruction of the digestive tract. In addition to the possibility of feces containing HIV, there are many other potential health hazards inherent in this by-product of digestion. Thus, it is essential that it be eliminated from and not re-introduced into our bodies.

During sexual play, if one or more of the people involved lacks good hygiene and has not cleansed properly prior to sex, then others may come in contact with feces by touching the anus with hands, oral activity such as anilingus, or during rectal intercourse if a condom is not used. Anyone engaging in anal-rectal play, female or male, is at risk.

These health hazards can be avoided by pre-washing the anus thoroughly and, if being receptive for anal intercourse, cleansing the rectum by enema just before sex. This will help eliminate feces from the anal and rectal regions, thereby reducing the opportunity for feces to become a channel for AIDS or any other disease. When used properly, enemas, like condoms, can be one of the most important and effective methods for ensuring proper sexual hygiene and avoiding the risk of disease. An enema, cleansing of the rectum, is best done just prior to sexual intercourse using a saline solution rather than plain tap water. This is due to the fact that the rectum, that part of the digestive tract just inside the anus, has a very precise balance of electrolytes (salts in solution)which maintain its function and chemical composition.

A saline solution, made by adding one teaspoon of un-iodized table salt to a pint of cooled, pre-boiled tap water, closely approximates the chemical balance of the rectum and will not cause drying of its tissue lining as will plain tap water. The enema solution should approximate body temperature when applied, and the use of pre-boiled water will eliminate bacteria commonly present in our drinking supply. It is not necessary, or even desirable, to use large quantities of saline when performing an enema, one pint of this solution usually being sufficient to give a clear, properly cleansed return. Also, it is best to inject the saline in several small successive quantities which can be retained for five to ten seconds and then expelled, rather than do one large, single bolus. This will ensure adequate washing of the rectum without forcing the solution into higher areas of the colon. Regions farther up in the digestive tract are even more sensitive than the rectum, and both enema cleansing (except a high colonic when medically indicated) and sexual play in these areas should be avoided. Therefore, infant enema syringes, commonly sold in most drug stores, that hold only two to three ounces of solution at a time are best used to cleanse the rectum prior to sex.

Be sure to clean and rinse the enema bulb and syringe with soap and water after each use. As with other hygienic tools, like toothbrushes and razors, never share your enema bulb or syringe with another person. By taking responsibility for ourselves and our bodies, we can enjoy our sexuality with others in a healthy manner.