Despite the pleasure it provides, anal sex's long-standing reputation as "intimidating," "time-intensive" and "messy" has made a lot of people draw the line at butt stuff. A lot of this though is just a misconception, bred from equal parts religious fear-mongering, anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and false narratives claiming the entire process is "unpleasant" and "doesn't feel good." However, one queer and trans-owned business in New York City is now trying to help dismantle one component of this stigma by making the prep work a lot more comfortable for everyone involved.
Billed as a brand that is "accessible, innovative and for everyone," the appropriately named Du is a new anal douche designed to get your prep done fast, easily and as hygienically as possible which, for some reason, is something not a lot of douches do. Aside from that though, founder Jessa Angel stated Du's goal was to design a product any person could use, regardless of sex, gender and/ or orientation. And, as she explained, it's something that's especially important seeing as how the anal douche market can be quite exclusionary, since most of them are only made gay men in mind.
"As a trans woman, I just really couldn't find anything out there on the market that, let alone catered to me, but catered to anybody else," Jessa said, noting that it was hard to find any douching products "not catered towards male bodies and male intercourse" — even in the biggest sex stores.
"Everything that I've used just isn't up to par with what I want it to be," Jessa continued, before boyfriend and co-founder Jimmy Pezzino agreed that "as a gay man I didn't even see myself buying any of those products."
Additionally, the only other options available are medical-grade enema bags meant for people with bowel issues requiring intensive colon cleanings, which end up flushing out more than is necessary for anal play. Plus, repetitive usage of these bags aren't exactly the healthiest for you, as it can affect your gut's microflora, cause stomach cramps and even lead to bowel perforations. And that's not even factoring in the guaranteed backdrip and extremely unsavory cleaning process.
As a result, the couple enlisted the help of their engineer friend and Du co-founder, Cameron Hughes, to help design a product that was comfortable, body-safe and user-friendly enough to not scare away first-timers. Because unlike most other anal douches made from PVC or plastic, Du is comprised of an FDA-approved silicone bulb that has a "soft, supple, expensive feel to it," as Jimmy described, before Jessa went on to praise the douche's ability to "fit every hand seamlessly."
She continued, "My hand is smaller, so sometimes it's a little difficult to grab around [larger, stiffer bulbs] and push. It just feels not made for me."
Another addition to Du's sleek design comes in the form of several air valves in the bulb, mostly so you don't have to keep removing it to refill the air. Rather, you're able to use it until the water is completely finished, which means the process is much shorter and doesn't require you to reinsert over and over again. And even better? The valves also mean there's no backflow, AKA no "shitty water coming back into your bulb that you have to clean out," as she laughed.
"It's just so much better. It's so much cleaner. It's so much more fresh and hygienic," Jessa said. "When I used a douche, my biggest thing was putting that same tip back in me time and time and time again... and that's something I just didn't want to deal with any more."
And since they thought of everything, Du comes with three replaceable tips made out of TPU rubber, which makes the tips "so soft" that "when they enter, they just feel like nothing" Not only that, but if you're a particularly hygienic person and you find yourself running through tips, the company also lets consumers purchase more tips through their subscription service.
At the end of the day though, all of these features were added to make douching more approachable for all kinds of folks, whether they be straight women, trans people or anyone who feels hesitant about anal, as Jessa said.
"We just really want this to be for everyone and to have it be for everyone. We have to destigmatize all of this stuff and just talk about it out loud," Jessa continued. "Because when it's said out loud, it isn't a stigma anymore." She paused before adding, "So we hope to contribute in that way. And I think we will."
Welcome to "Sex with Sandra," a column by Sandra Song about the ever-changing face of sexuality. Whether it be spotlight features on sex work activists, deep dives into hyper-niche fetishes, or overviews on current legislation and policy, "Sex with Sandra" is dedicated to examining some of the biggest sex-related discussions happening on the Internet right now.
Photos courtesy of Luke Norton