The first time someone shoved something in my asshole, I was thirteen.
It was my mother and she was giving me an enema.
I had to take iron supplements because I was as my doctor termed it, ‘super anaemic’, which, I have on good authority, is slightly more than ‘mega anaemic’ and slightly less ‘hella anaemic’. But I was a sickly, tired kid who wasn’t super into steak. The supplements would help me be more energetic and lively, they’d help me be better, the doctor said. Better meant ‘constipated as fuck’, apparently. And as I laid on my parent’s bed with my pants on the ground below me, my legs in the air and my mother staring into my asshole, I don’t think I’ve ever felt worse. Sometimes mum will bring it up in random conversation and the indignity of laying there, presenting for my mother, will hit me and I’ll feel the cold jelly tingle of it all over again.
But, for as mortifying as it all was, my anaemia was good training for homosexuality in the sense that it conditioned me to expect my body to inconvenience me on a regular basis. Gay sex is work. It requires preparation. A few months ago, I committed myself to preparing properly; to douching. When making this decision, I decided to look online and do my research about the whole process. All I found was a whole bunch of people telling me that I should start taking Metamucil and eat more veggies. How were you meant to douche? Is it just some innate skill? Am I going to have to get my mum to do it for me? How many times can a mother look at her adolescent/adult son’s asshole before it gets officially not okay, surely once is enough? Can I go through that again? Could she?
So, I want to help. Here’s my douching experience.
The way I see it, there are two options that one can adopt when buying something at a sex shop: you can either be shy and embarrassed, or you can be a rockstar and own it. When I bought my douche, I owned it.
I bought my douche with a friend. We bought douches together. Douche buddies. I called us that (not out loud, though… he doesn’t know that I called us that and still do in my head whenever we see each other). We also bought matching mini-bottles of off-brand lubricant called ‘MOIST: Anal-Eaze’. The lube was two dollars, which seemed a little too cheap to me but I was always up for a bargain. ‘Z’ is just as good as ‘S’ I told myself.
We went up to the counter, I went first and I said, ‘Hi, how are you?’ to the middle-aged shop owner. He didn’t even pretend to be happy to see me before scanning my douche and lube and spending a great deal of time reading the packet, looking up at me, then looking back down to the packet. He then grunted with the same disapproval that I imagined my father would’ve had he known that I was spending my Wednesday night standing in a weird sex-shop on Port Road buying discounted sanitary products/ that I was bottoming.
“That’ll be thirty two dollars” he said.
“That’ll just be on card… can I paywave?”
“It’s a little slow…”
“No dramas,” I said, “so, what are you getting up to tonight?”
“Not as much as you.”
I unwrapped the douche and held it for a while. ‘Unisex Douche’ the packet read, and on it there were pictures of two body-builders (one female, one male). They were bronzed and toned with the type of big eighties blonde hair that made them both look like Hulk Hogan, which was enough to make my asshole scream ‘NO’ and slam shut out of fear. ‘Because everyone needs to be fresh’, it said. I chose this one because it was the only douche in the store that didn’t have the words ‘cyclone’ or ‘whirling spray’ or ‘mountain cool’ on it, which meant it was the only fucking douche in the store that didn’t come with an extreme weather warning.
The Unisex Douche had a no-frills charm about it that made me feel comfortable and at ease about things. Everyone does need to be fresh.
It was bigger than I thought it would be, and bright red with a white spout. It was too big and noticeable to hide in my underwear draw. I placed it in the box in my wardrobe labelled ‘keepsakes’ where all of my trophies and ribbons and achievements are, as well as the rosary beads my grandfather gave me when he died. I remember asking mum why I had that box, or why I needed it, and she said that it’s good to keep things and have a space for things that you’re proud of.
I bet my grandfather would be stoked.
When I realised I was gay, no one ever told me that I would be lying, naked, on my cold, tiled bathroom floor with one leg resting on the bathtub and the other pressed up against the wall for leverage while I tried to shoot water up my asshole. It wasn’t working, so I gave up and slid the douche out of my hole only to realise that I was still squeezing the end of the apparatus and shot myself in the eye, which made my head snap back and smack into the tiles beneath me. And I just lay there, on the cold bathroom tiles, with water leaking out of my asshole and thinking how that checkout guy was right. He really wasn’t up to as much as I was, I couldn’t really think of anyone that was. (Note: water will leak out when you do it, your anus isn’t an airtight seal. You’re a person, not a jam jar; cut yourself some slack.) (Also note: no matter how many times you tell yourself, ‘The Jam Jar’ is not a cute nickname for your asshole, Anthony, no matter how much you try and make it work.)
But I didn’t want to be defeated. Everyone deserves to be fresh Anthony, I say, you do as well! Let’s get fresh. So, I got up on all fours–doggy style–and rested my face against the tiles and tried to insert the douche into myself. The first time, I missed, dropped the douche and ended up half-slapping, half punching myself in the balls (fresh). After a few more attempts, I finally made a connection and as I felt the warm water trickle inside of me, I felt more powerful and successful than I ever had in my entire life.
I felt cool. Mountain cool.
I’ve learnt now that there are much easier, and more effective, ways to douche and keep fresh. I don’t lie on my bathroom floor thinking of England anymore. I can do it standing in the shower. It’s become a thing that I do every now and then, I’ve read articles that say that it can be ‘quite pleasurable’, but I think that’s an overstatement. I’ve worked out a way that’s relatively quick and drama free… I’ve written it down, and I keep it in my Box of Keepsakes (which is a perfectly acceptable, if not darling, nickname for one’s anus).