In earlier times, enemas were often known as clysters and were administered with a clyster syringe. Today, enemas are usually administered with an enema bag, a rectal bulb syringe, or a single-use bottle with a nozzle. Regardless of the administration medium, the water (or water-based liquid) for the enema should be as near as possible to body temperature.
A person can be given an enema for a number or purposes, such as:
- to promote bowel movement, e.g. as a treatment for constipation.
- for diagnostic purposes, e.g. a barium enema to show up the bowles in X-rays.
- to wash out the colon before an examination or operation.
- to administer drugs.
- as part of alternative therapies (e.g. fasting).
- for punishment (mainly in the late 19th to early 20th century and in fiction).
- to wash out the colon before anal sex or before using anal sex toys such as anal beads or a butt plug.
The most common kind of enema in the home was traditionally the enema with hot soapy water. Current medical practice does not forbid the use of soaps or detergents in the rectum, but the epithelial cell layer of the gastrointestinal tract is easily damaged and slightly warmed water is more commonly recommended for use with over the counter enema kits.
As the anus is a highly private area with close proximity to the genitals, its penetration - including enemas - is often eroticized. This may be so in particular for people who also find humiliation and/or punishment such as spanking erotic.
With syringes, the person giving the enema uses hand force to drive the liquid out of the syringe and into the colon. The traditional 19th century clyster syringe was made of metal (such as tin) or glass, but rubber ball syringes became popular around 1900.
 High enemas
High enemas make use of gravity to supply the required water pressure. A container, which can be an open container or a bag, is hung about one meter above the anus of the patient. A hose connects to the nozzle and a valve is used to start and stop the flow. The higher the container is hung, the greater the water pressure and flow speed.
 Enema positions
An enema can be taken in a number of different body positions. The most common are:
- The Sims' position (medically most recommended nowadays)
- The On-all-fours position
- The Knees-and-chest position
- The Diaper position
- The Bent-over-object position (e.g. in the art of Mr. Sand)
The knees-and-chest position. Illustration by J. X. Dumoulin (1936).
 The enema in erotic art, literature and film
There are a number of enema-themed erotic novels such as L'Instrument des apothicaires by Claude de Saint-Hieble, a pseudonym of Pierre Dumarchey (1920). The administration of enemas is a common theme in many spanking stories and novels. In particular, those published in France from the 1880s to the 1930s.
Fetishistic photographs depicting the enema punishment of nude or partially clad women or girls — again, primarily from France — date all the way back to the 1850s.
The Japanese seem to find enemas particularly erotic, perhaps because the procedure, mainly a western concept, was uncommon in Eastern Asia — as well as the titillation of extreme humiliation and shame which runs counter to Japanese culture.
A large volume of contemporary enema art comes from Japan and is often in manga or anime style. The application of forced enemas — often with the recipient in bondage — is also a popular theme in Japanese hentai manga and anime. For examples, see Mr. Sand's artwork. Japanese S&M and bondage videos frequently include extensive scenes of humiliating enema punishment.
Since the introduction of home videos in the early 1980s, specialized fetish videos concentrating on enema erotica have increased in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. And on occasion, spanking video producers (such as Nu-West/Leda Productions and Lupus Pictures) will include an enema scene in a corporal punishment story.
 See also
- Enema on Wikipedia
- Clyster on Wikipedia
- Enema Equipment on Wipipedia
- Enema Safety on Wipipedia
- Enema solutions on Wipipedia
- Enema: Personal experiences on Wipipedia
- Enema Instructions from the Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health
- Pucker Up , Tristan Taormino's website on anal sex related issues, features a section on enemas
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