By Kayla Kibbe
When considering the vast and ever-expanding catalogue of sexual wellness products — a brave new world of arousal gels, horny sodas, sex chocolates and CBD lubes — chances are a probiotic isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Typically shelved among laxatives and other digestive support products rather than the condoms, lube and low-end sex toys that populate the “intimacy” section at your pharmacy of choice, we tend to associate probiotics with the relatively unsexy bodily process of digestion.
But sexual health doesn’t begin or end in the genitals. As Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates is thought to have said, “All disease begins in the gut,” which seems to suggest that the gut is also the center of all physical wellness. To be fair, the Ancient Greeks also thought bloodletting was a good idea and depressed people were full of black bile, but they weren’t too far off on the gut stuff. These days, gut health is a particularly “hot topic” — as renowned anal surgeon Dr. Evan Goldstein puts it — and has been linked to everything from mental health to better sleep and skin. Unsurprisingly, if perhaps rather unsexily, a healthy gut might also be the key to better sexual health and function.
Encouraging patients, consumers and sex-havers of all kinds to embrace a more holistic, less localized approach to sexual health has been a major focus of Goldstein’s sexual wellness brand, Future Method, and practice, Bespoke Surgical, from the beginning.
“A lot of people don’t really think of the gut component, but when I communicate to people in my Bespoke practice, I’m always trying to say, ‘Stop thinking locally. Let’s start thinking about the entire body and gut health, from appropriate diet, use of fiber supplementation, the addition of pre- and probiotics, exercise — all of that affects gut health,” says Goldstein. Naturally, better gut health “translates to better anal health,” and also to better sexual health overall.
Even if you’re not necessarily engaging in anal play, poor gut health can still be a major deterrant to a healthy sex life. As Goldstein puts it, “People don’t feel sexy when they’re constipated.” Thus, enter Future Method’s Butt & Gut Daily Pre + Probiotic, a daily supplement designed to support digestive and rectal health with sexual wellness in mind.
As the name suggests, the product has a two-fold effect, working to support both healthy gut function as well as anal health. Ultimately, it all comes down to a little thing known as the microbiome — AKA the community of micro-organisms that populate certain parts of the body. Your gut has one, and — surprise — so does your butt. A probiotic — or, more specifically, the right probiotic, can help keep both balanced, supporting overall gut, butt and sexual health.
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The gut stuff
If you’ve ever taken a probiotic before, it was probably for digestive support. Like many probiotics on the market, Future Method’s Butt & Gut product features Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus, a strain of “good” bacteria found in the intestines. One of the most-studied probiotics, it helps maintain and improve gut function, supporting digestion and healthy bowel movements while reducing bloating and other forms of irritation and discomfort.
Naturally, not being bloated, constipated or otherwise gastrointestinally distressed can improve pretty much any aspect of your life, especially your sex life.
“So many people come to my office with irritable bowel issues, where one day it’s constipation, one day it’s diarrhea, another day they feel bloated,” says Goldstein. “It just winds up being a lot of gut issues,” which can obviously put a damper on sex.
Obviously, as Goldstein adds, achieving optimal gut function isn’t as simple as “just take the pre and probiotic and your life is going to be awesome.” But a probiotic — in addition to a healthy diet, fiber supplementation and whatever other forms of digestive support and/or medicine a health professional may deem necessary — can help establish and maintain better gut health, which can, in turn, support a healthier sex life.
The butt stuff
While pretty much anyone can benefit from the support of a probiotic, gut health is particularly important for those who engage in anal sex. This is partly because those who are into backdoor play may be more likely to prioritize anal health and hygiene in general, but also because both preparing for anal sex and engaging in the act itself can disrupt the anal microbiome.
From douching, wiping and using lube to the act of anal penetration itself, “all of that alters the microbiome,” says Goldstein. “It’s all in the act, it’s all in the preparation, it’s all in the microbiome, and we know that that alteration leads you down a path of potential issues,” including everything from increased risk of HIV and STDs to anal fissures and irration.
A probiotic can help replenish and maintain a healthy rectal biome, but only if the supplement can survive the stomach acid it encounters on its way down — which is part of what sets Future Method’s product apart from other probiotics you may encounter on the shelf at your average pharmacy. The “butt” part of the supplement contains Bacillus subtilis DE111, a probiotic that, unlike most others, is able to withstand stomach acid and reach its designated destination — AKA, your butt.
“The key component to this is to make sure that it actually gets to the rectal region,” says Goldstein. “Any of the probiotics that you’re taking right now will get digested in the stomach and into the small intestine, but it few, if any, have ever gone down and repopulated the distal colon, the rectum, the anal area.” Future Method’s probiotic, on the other hand, “survives the stomach acid, helps to really benefit the gut, and then keeps going all the way down and repopulates the rectum.”
The other stuff
Future Method’s probiotic also gets a boost from the inclusion of the prebiotic PreticX, which technically makes the supplement a “symbiotic,” AKA a combined pre- and probiotic.
“You really want to make sure that you have both a pre- and a probiotic,” says Goldstein. “A prebiotic is basically like food for the probiotic. Because these are living, active components, you really want to supplement and support them.”
Ultimately, as Goldstein stresses, a probiotic is not an all-encompassing quick fix for any and all of the gut problems that plague so many of us, nor should it replace a fiber supplement. Still, the right probiotic can help support a healthy gut and, by extension, a healthy butt — both of which can help you enter any sexual situation with more confidence, whether or not you’re going in butt first.
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