Kinky Medieval and Renaissance Practices: The Enema

Kinky Medieval and Renaissance Practices: The Enema


Many, many years ago, in a building not so far away in Chicago, I hooked up with a guy, who, in addition to many other fetishes, was aroused by enemas. My first reaction, as I was young and naïve, was Ew! (I was also thinking of that horrifying movie Sybil with Sally Field, but that's another story).


He particularly enjoyed enemas using wine.


As I progressed in my sexual journey, I realized that such kinky fetishes related to medical procedures, though bizarre on the surface, actually originate in practices which were popular as far back in time as the Middle Ages (and before). 


After doing some research, I discovered that physicians gave enemas using a tool called the clyster far back as ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia (wine enemas were popular). The tool was also used in Western and Central Africa (see the picture below). 

Kuba Clyster - Mbunda Food Bowl

By the Middle ages, the clyster became essentially a long metallic tube with a cupped end, into which the medicinal fluid was poured into the anus. The other end, a dull point, drilled with several small holes, was inserted into the anus. Fluids were poured in and a plunger was used to inject the fluids into the colon area, using a pumping action. 


The most common fluid used was lukewarm water, though occasionally medical concoctions, such as thinned boar’s bile or vinegar, were used.  Seems rather intense and painful, but the relief for whatever complaint, which could range from constipation to poor complexion to melancholy (associated with the bowels), must have been palpable. 


C lyster

Of course, there's a fine line between pain and pleasure, but I doubt anyone in the Middle Ages would admit to any type of erotic pleasure involving the anus, as “sodomites” were often punished by having hot irons inserted in it. Remember, that's what happened to King Edward II of England. 

Later, in the 16th and 17th centuries, as medical practices advanced, the medieval clyster was replaced by the more common bulb syringe. In France, the treatment became trendy.


King Louis XIV had over 2,000 enemas during his reign, sometimes holding court while the ceremony progressed.  Louis XIV was unquestionably heterosexual, and what we might perceive as exhibitionism was actually normal in a period where modern standards of privacy did not exist. Whatever the case, on the most basic level, the enemas must have made him feel great! He maintained his health quite well for that time period, and he outlived his son and grandson. 

King Louis XIV

It's fascinating that a practice usually viewed as a painful cure for pain and discomfort can really be a source of deep physical and sexual pleasure (pun intended). 

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