Q. I seem to keep getting bacterial infections. My boyfriend keeps wanting anal sex.
I allow him to, but he doesn’t properly clean himself before doing vaginal intercourse, which I think is what keeps giving me these bacterial infections.
Should he wash with an antibacterial body wash before I allow him to have vaginal intercourse? Or maybe there are wipes as a temporary cleansing solution other than him just wiping his penis off with a towel.
Honestly, I’m just tired of constantly going to the doctor to get put on antibiotics.
A. You’re a smart cookie for putting two and two together.
Yes, it’s very likely your bacterial infections are a result of vaginal intercourse after anal sex without thorough cleaning in between.
Here’s what happens: Typically, feces (and the bacteria therein, usually E. coli) are not located in the rectum, but rather farther up the intestinal canal. However, if a bowel movement has occurred recently, there may be trace amounts located in the rectum, which can become incorporated into the anal sex act.
Because feces carry bacteria, the fecal matter that enters your vagina (via an unwashed penis that has been in your anus) may indeed cause a UTI or other infection. In fact, this is why women are taught to wipe from front to back after we use the bathroom; we don’t want the fecal bacteria to enter the vaginal area where it can thrive and grow in that moist environment.
All this is well and good for you to know, but how can you convince your man?
Tell him he’s at risk, too. Bacteria does not discriminate. Not only can your boyfriend contract a UTI from anal sex, he’s putting the health of his prostate at risk as well. UTIs are only part of the concern. Other risks include HPV, HIV, cystitis, and pyelonephritis (kidney infection).
If that’s not enough to get him to keep clean, you may consider closing the back door for business. At least until he takes your wellbeing seriously, not to mention his own.
What to do?
There are a few ways you and your partner can protect yourselves from UTI and other infections before, during, and after anal sex:
Wash thoroughly. You may wish to use an enema to clear out the rectum. If this idea isn’t your cup of tea, you can simply take a brief shower and swipe the inside of your anus out with a finger lathered in anti-bacterial soap. (Be sure to send another, clean finger up there to clear out the soap.)
Use a condom. This is the best way to avoid all unwanted effluvia, fecal matter, and bacteria. Should you decide to have vaginal sex after anal sex, you can toss the condom and put on a fresh one (or leave it off entirely if you both are healthy and using another method of birth control).
Note: If you decide not to use a condom at all, be sure you follow the next step.
Wash thoroughly (again). I realize there are some who find this whole get-up-and-wash thing to be a tremendous inconvenience. To them I say: It’s all how you handle it. When my partner and I have anal sex, we definitely make sure to have a good cuddle afterwards. Such an intimate act deserves some connective downtime. But right after that—and before any other physical intimacy—he gets up to have a quick wash. Why? Because we respect each other’s health.
But here’s the fun part: When your man gets up to shower or wash himself off, join him! The intimacy doesn’t have to end, it can just move to another location. Shower sex is pretty exciting—and you’re getting clean at the same time. Even if you’re just washing up at the sink, a nice, warm, soapy washcloth and a loving touch can start a whole new wave of passion.
In a pinch, antibacterial wipes can work, but I don’t recommend them as the only method of cleaning. Wipes can be abrasive to tissue and skin that has been made tender by friction.
Now, I don’t mean to be a killjoy. Anyone who follows this column knows that I am a big fan of anal sex. I’m also a big fan of staying safe and healthy.
The bottom line (as it were) is that you are in control of your own health.
Urge your man to clean himself after anal sex. And until he has, do not let his penis anywhere near your vagina or mouth. Make that the final word. This is your body, and it belongs to no one but you. Treat it with love and respect.
Author: Rachel Astarte
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: lucas_cobb at Flickr