Hello! I’m Alexander Cheves, a sex writer, worker, and educator. Friends call me Beastly. My new book, My Love Is a Beast: Confessions — an erotic memoir — is available now everywhere books are sold.
On this blog, I answer sex questions, especially about topics you might not find covered in mainstream places. No fetish is too taboo and no question is off-limits. I focus on safety, sex-positivity, de-stigmatization, and risk reduction.
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Dear Beastly, do you have any tips for someone starting to get into fisting and anal stretching? I’ve already started to use butt plugs to start, what next?
Hi future fist pig,
I don’t know what most people do, but here’s what I did. After I could comfortably take medium-sized butt plugs, I hunted on hookup apps (Grindr and Scruff) for an experienced fist top to give me my first hand. This was unsuccessful. In Los Angeles, where I was living, few people seemed interested in playing with a first-timer. I promised myself then that I would be welcoming to beginners once I learned how to fist, and now I really enjoy ass-training and fisting beginners — these are some of my favorite client experiences as a sex worker.
In the end, I met someone at a gay club. Predictably, I needed in-person chemistry — not a spammy hookup app — to make my first fisting happen. I knew enough about fisting to have an idea of its risks, and I respected it, and I assumed I would need several sessions before I was able to take a hand. That’s not what happened — I was in the right headspace, he was skilled, and with the help of poppers, I got fisted that very night.
But I got lucky. In hindsight, I wish I had asked him more questions — I did not know his experience level or whether or not he was doing it safely. He fisted me with no injury and I really enjoyed it, but in hindsight, I was grateful to have gone home with the right person.
Don’t depend on luck. Beginners should be as informed about fisting as they can be, and they should seek playmates who are knowledgeable and experienced. It’s okay to ask how many years someone has been fisting. Every beginner fistee should make it their goal to meet an experienced fist top and should be rigorous in their questioning. The risk for injury is simply too great to do otherwise. Fisting is fun, but unsafe fisting can send someone to the Emergency Room and result in long-term — even permanent — injury. You must respect fisting in order to enjoy it. The same is true for beginner fist tops: they should first play with experienced bottoms (I know many skilled boys with big hungry cunts who love being a top’s first fisting). In all risky sex, from bondage to breath play, novices should learn from experts.
You are ready to start looking for someone. Your work from this point is simply finding people. In some big cities, you can find fisting parties that are friendly to beginners, and of course, the big kink events in the U.S. — Folsom Street Fair, Dore Alley, Pig Week, Fist Fest, IML, MAL, and so on — can be wonderful places to find playmates, make friends, and discover your community. These events are vital and must be protected at all costs because they connect people like you to others and keep our community safer. Traveling to a kink event can be expensive, but I think every kinkster should make an effort to visit their closest one more than once. I believe the same for kinksters across the world. If you’re in Europe, try to make it to Folsom Europe in Berlin or any other kink event in your country. (Visit fistrik.com to see if there are any fisting events happening in your part of Europe.)
There are also private fisting Facebook groups, fisting websites like AssPig.com, an active fisting community on Twitter, and smartphone apps like Reegür and Recon that can connect you to others, though I maintain that digital spaces (apps, social media, and so on) are not substitutes for in-person gathering. Leather bars are precious and imperiled, and they deserve your dollar more than Grindr, which is owned by a Chinese video game developer that doesn’t give a shit about the queer community beyond its ability to monetize us.
Once you can take plugs that are close to the size of your hand, your next step is to find a real person — someone who will be patient, take care of you, go slow, and gently stretch you out. When you get past his knuckles and the suction of your butt pulls his hand in, you will be very overwhelmed. Take deep breaths, try to slow your breathing, count to thirty, and in your mind, visualize your hole opening. Happy first fisting.
Hi Alex, I am a fisting bottom who recently moved to Mexico. I used to use a shower attachment to clean but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to do with the water here. I have no idea who to talk/ask about this concern. Do you have any thoughts/recommendations?
You should talk to other pigs in Mexico. They are likely more help to you than I am. My answer above should help you find people, too.
Quality of water varies depending on where you are in the world, and access to water options differs depending on location, wealth, and logistics. Generally speaking, options include tap water, spring water, distilled water, filtered water, purified water, and saline. According to the wonderful website of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, tap water is fine if you aren’t using it every day. If you douche too often with tap water, you can cause an electrolyte imbalance that using normal saline would prevent. Avoid tap if you can, but that’s not always easy to do so.
Your body maintains a delicate balance of electrolytes to function normally. If you use the wrong liquid, you can cause imbalances that harm your body. One of the safer liquids to put up your butt is called “normal saline.” This is a water mixture that has the right amount of a sodium electrolyte to match what is in your body. You can get this stuff in a saline Fleet enema or you can make normal saline at home by combining a half teaspoon of salt with a cup of water.
Whether you’re mixing your own saline or using tap water, you may pay attention to the temperature. The mucosal lining of your intestines and colon is much more sensitive to temperature than the skin on the outside of your body. You may be able to tolerate a hot shower, but you’ll burn your insides if you use that same temperature to douche. Test the water temperature with your hand and turn down the temperature until it feels lukewarm. Then turn the temperature down just a bit more. That’s what can go up your butt.
Here in the States, most fisters know they should not use tap water, but most of us do anyway. Various medical experts have warned us against this. I admit that my small flame of doubt about the dangers of tap water flickers on when I see brands like Future Method charging $25 (not counting shipping) for douching kits that they claim are specially formulated for anal health. (I must point out that a single Future Method bag of rectal wash is not enough for fisting.) Future Method makes the alleged dangers of tap water — and, indeed, douching itself — look like a post-AIDS marketing scam, one that’s been absorbed into the booming “wellness” industry, one that is capitalizing on (and exacerbating) queer men’s widespread fear of poop. (If you Google douching, you will find countless articles, guides, and ads in which “confidence” and “confident bottoming” are tantamount to having a shit-free butt. This is not okay.)
Few things in the world are black and white and many things can be true at once. Douching — and certainly over-douching — is not good for your gut over years and years, and anecdotally, the number of gay men I know in their thirties and forties with chronic GI issues seems to support this. The quality of water you put inside you does matter, as water with trace amounts of bacteria and toxins can be harmful to your bowels and cause chronic GI issues. At the same time, I do not believe you need a $25 special formula every time you wash out your butt, and few can afford such an absurd expense. I do believe douching has become overhyped and commercialized — the impossible ideal of poop-free anal sex, every time, feels like a massive marketing scam to sell personal care products.
The truth falls somewhere between all these. Don’t overuse tap. Use saline if/when you can. And unless you’re doing deep fisting or depth toy play, you don’t need nearly as much water to get clean as you think. Everything you can do to shorten and minimize the douching ritual reduces the risk of harm.
Like many things in queer culture, your most useful resource is the one-on-one advice from those you befriend and fuck — in other words, other fisters in your area, especially those with more experience. Ask local guys what kind of water they use to clean out their big puffy pussies. One thing has not changed from the horror of AIDS in the ’80s to the struggles we face now: we queers learn together. Our most useful and current information is typically passed between lovers as pillow talk before it’s ever decreed by scientists or published in mainstream media. Use your local fist pigs. We take care of each other.