The truth is, poop-related accidents are a less common occurrence during anal sex than fear mongers would have you believe. And that's largely because of the anatomy of the butt. “The rectum is the part of the anal structure that is filled during anal sex,” says Bobby Box, co-host of Bad In Bed: The Queer Sex Education Podcast and sex educator at anal-play brand B-Vibe. “Stool is stored higher up in the body in the sigmoid colon, which is closed off by a valve-like structure called the rectosigmoid junction,” he says. And that valve typically only releases when the brain recognizes that you’re on the loo, he adds.
“Having anal sex and expecting that there is never going to be poop is like going in the pool and expecting not to get wet.” —Alex Hall, anal sex educator
But given that penetrative anal play does involve plopping something where poop comes out, it’s certainly not an impossibility for, well, sh*t to happen. “Having anal sex and expecting that there is never going to be poop is like going in the pool and expecting not to get wet,” says anal sex educator Alex Hall, founder of The Bottom’s Digest, an online resource for anal-friendly recipes and lifestyle tips.
Still, you shouldn’t let the fear of feces keep you from enjoying anal play, he says. Why? Because, for many, it feels good. So good, in fact, that some sexuality professionals believe that anal sex could help close the orgasm gap. (Two words for you: anal orgasm.)
Besides, there are so (!) many things that you can do to reduce the chances of poop-laden anal, such as emptying your pipes an hour or two beforehand, going much slower with anal penetration than you might think you need to, doing anal dilating or training to prepare your butt muscles in advance, cleaning your butt (externally) with a pre-sex shower, and using lube, says Hall.
But because what you put in your body naturally determines what will come out, perhaps the best way to keep doo-doo from making an appearance while you do it is tweaking what you’re eating before anal sex. “Diet plays a massive role in an individual's likelihood of having to go to the bathroom while they bottom [or are penetrated during anal],” says Hall. That’s not to say that you need to eat in any particular way if you’re planning on having anal—but if mid-sex poop is a concern, there are certainly ways to, well, eat around that.
Below, Hall and nutritionist Daniel O’Shaughnessy, author of Naked Nutrition: An LGBTQ+ Guide to Diet & Lifestyle, share their top tips for anal-friendly eating.
6 tips for eating before anal sex that will lower your risk of a poop cameo
1. First things first: Do not forgo food
Are there things you can avoid eating to reduce the risk of pooping during anal? Yes. Should you skip food altogether ahead of anal play? Absolutely not. “Your digestive system certainly does not have to be completely empty for you to avoid [pooping] while you play,” says Hall. “So, there is no reason to starve yourself before having anal.” (Or, ever, for that matter.)
Fasting ahead of anal sex can actually make the sexperience less enjoyable, says Hall. After all, food is what gives us energy. Without it, your body will be too fatigued to do much of anything, whether it’s getting the mail or getting railed. And in your desire to avoid going number-two while having anal, you definitely don’t want to risk falling asleep during anal either—an arguably worse fate.
2. Learn your personal trigger foods
While there are some general food dos and don’ts when it comes to eating before anal sex (and we’ll get to these below), the thing is, “everybody has their own unique gut microbiome,” says Hall. “This means that we all have different foods that make our guts feel good, and foods that cause stomach upset.” Heck, that’s why one of your friends might be able to stomach milkshakes for days, while the other can’t have one without immediately dropping deuce.
Your move: Start to pay attention to what foods often have you beelining it to the golden throne. “When a food kicks your [redacted], write it down,” suggests Hall, either in a journal or your Notes app. Does red meat make a mess of your stomach? Note that. Does salad set off a symphony of gurgles in your gut? Jot it down. “The more information you make note of, the better,” says Hall.
This way, when anal is on your horizon, you can use this intel to make belly-friendly food decisions. Because it usually takes 24 to 72 hours for food to move through the entire digestive tract, O’Shaughnessy recommends avoiding your trigger foods one to two days before you’re planning to have anal sex, if possible.
3. Feast on fiber
Truth be told, fiber is something people with all sexual desires should be eating more of. Indeed, estimates suggest that just 7 percent of people are getting the recommended daily amount of dietary fiber (38 grams for males and 25 grams for females).
There are two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble. These two types work together to help you go regularly, bulk up your stool, support complete emptying, and prevent hemorrhoids, says O’Shaughnessy. Whole-grain foods like brown rice and barley will provide you with the insoluble you need, while oats and nuts will give you the soluble. Meanwhile, most fruits, veggies, and plant-based foods will have a combination of both, he adds.
To be clear: “You just need to get enough—you don't need to double up on [fiber intake] or otherwise try to get more than the recommended amount,” says Hall. Especially if you’re dehydrated, getting too much fiber, he says, can cause symptoms that are especially unfavorable ahead of anal, like gas, bloating, constipation, and cramping.
4. Make sure to hydrate
Ever noticed that you’re less flexible when you're dehydrated? Well, that’s because consuming water can help lubricate your joints and make your muscles pliable, says Hall. But, being hydrated won’t just allow you to get into more pretzel-esque anal sex positions; it will also make anal sex more comfortable.
The opening of the anal canal is guarded by an anal sphincter muscle that is typically clenched tight. When you’re hydrated, Hall says, this muscle will be better equipped to relax, so that you can accept whatever is trying to enter. By contrast, if you’re dehydrated, you’re at greater risk for penetrative pain, he says. Hard pass.
“The general recommendation is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, but if you’re planning to bottom, I recommend getting even more than that, if possible,” says Hall. That’s because fiber only does a good job when you’re properly hydrated. Consume the above recommended amount of fiber without also drinking ample water, and you risk tummy troubles.
5. Consider probiotics
Whether or not anal play is in your future, consuming probiotics could do you a solid. Eating probiotic-rich fermented foods—such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and sourdough—can help support your gut microbiome by increasing its levels of beneficial bacteria, says O’Shaughnessy. And a balanced gut microbiome means better gut and stool health (aka more regular and predictable poops), he adds.
“If you don’t like the sound of these foods, then supplementing with a multi-strain probiotic may be helpful in supplying that live bacteria to the gut,” says O’Shaugnessy. However, the science showing the efficacy of probiotic supplements is still limited, so be sure to check with a healthcare professional (like an RD or gastroenterologist) before newly introducing any supplement into your routine.
6. Limit alcohol intake
Between the murky waters that alcohol introduces to consent and the way it can affect your communication and judgment, there are plenty of reasons to cut back on booze if sex is in your near future. And if anal sex is on the docket, one of those reasons is the effect of alcohol on your digestive tract. “Alcohol dehydrates the heck out of you, throws your gut microbiome out of whack, and increases your risk of diarrhea,” says Hall.
In particular, the ethanol in alcohol can aggravate the intestines, causing stool to move more quickly through them and increasing your risk for those not-so-solid poops.
Separately, imbibing can also increase your overall stress and anxiety, adds Hall. And when you’re stressed, you’re more likely to clench your butthole. “If your sphincter muscles are contracted when you’re trying to have sex, your risk for pain, fissures, and hemorrhoids also goes up,” he says. Avoiding that chain reaction is as simple as keeping alcohol out of the pre-anal picture.
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