Botox for Buttholes: Yes, It’s a Thing

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Photo: Jason Horowitz/Getty Images

On this week’s Sex Lives, Brian J. Moylan reports from the wild world of cosmetic procedures for male nether regions, starting with the time he used cryotherapy to freeze his penis. (The shrinkage was intense.) He also introduces the new niche field of “anal rejuvenation,” which includes Botox, lasers, plastic surgery, bleaching, tightening, and loosening. Apparently colorectal surgeons of America are stepping up their games, and targeting a predominantly gay-male audience.

This is a partial transcript of New York Magazine’s Sex Lives podcast. Call 646-494-3590 to leave a voice message.

You published an article in Vice entitled, “Anal Rejuvenation Is Making Works of Art Out of American Butts.”

Yes. There are lots of butthole dangers out there. So, anal rejuvenation is especially popular for gay men. I talked to a doctor here in New York, who has here and in L.A. He said 90 percent of his practice is anal rejuvenation-type services, and that can include anything from removing skin tags, anal warts, hemorrhoids, and tightening for people that feel like they’ve gotten loose, or loosening for people who think they’re too tight. And there are all sorts of other things like fissures, fistulas, and loose skin. Things like that. There are some that treat discoloration, or will resurface so it’s smoother — I guess as smooth as your puckered butthole can get. So that’s kind of the surgical method.

Then, there are some people that are using lasers, which is similar to the way they use lasers for vaginal rejuvenation, where it’s a probe that goes in, and there are lasers, and it tightens the tissues around there. And they use lasers to fight discoloration, so it’s similar to bleaching. It’s kind of like the same way they use lasers to remove tattoos or skin discoloration. Those are entirely cosmetic procedures. I talked to a practice that is very popular for doing that outside of Chicago. They said it costs between $1,500 and $2,500 to get laser-type treatments on the butthole.

One of the doctors I spoke to, he’s a colorectal surgeon, he does a lot of cancer work. And he said about 20 percent of his practice now is anal-rejuvenation services. And for him, it was split evenly between men and women. He said gets a lot of women who have had babies. and are done having babies, and that wreaks a little bit of havoc on your butthole. And they want it right and tight back there for various and assorted reasons, some sexual, some otherwise.

What are the other reasons?

I think just so that like it’s tighter and and pretty-looking, in case people are looking at it. And a lot of these procedures I found, especially for tightening, are for people who have fecal incontinence, as they call it, and they’ve sort of been reappropriated for people who just want it tighter.

The doctors I talked to said that when people come in and say, “Oh I think my butthole looks gross,” that complaint is usually a symptom of an underlying pathology, whether that’s hemorrhoids or skin tags or anal warts. And so that by treating those pathologies, you actually make it look better. And also, when they remove hemorrhoids or other similar problems in the butthole, that naturally makes it a bit tighter.

Your article told the harrowing story of a man named Tom. Will you tell us a bit about Tom’s plight? Because I found it very moving.

Tom was a gentleman I spoke with, who went to a surgeon because he had some skin tags. The doctor was much more aggressive, and didn’t really consider Tom’s sexual health. Tom said the recovery was painful, and that the scarring was too much. He couldn’t have receptive anal sex at all.

So then, he went to Dr. Goldstein, the gentleman in New York who specializes in this. His practice is called “Bespoke Surgical,” the most euphemistic butthole-surgery place you could ever think of! Most other places are like, “Colorectal Blah Blah Blah.” But no, he went to Bespoke, and Dr. Goldstein helped him work through his issues. Tom went in saying, “Listen, if I can’t use it, at least make it look nice.” And then Dr. Goldstein, in trying to make it look pretty, also helped him with the underlying pathologies. You can actually dilate the area to get it bigger.

Dr. Goldstein also told me that he sees a lot of gentlemen, especially older gay gentlemen, when, you know, their penises starts being less reliable. And a lot of these gay men want to transition from being tops to being bottoms, because they don’t have to get hard to bottom. But they’re having difficulties with this, and so what he does to help these people is butthole Botox.

You know, Botox, like in your face. It paralyzes the muscles. So you get Botox in your butthole to paralyze your butthole muscles just enough that it doesn’t hurt as much, and makes it easier to insert something.

Does it make it prettier, too?

I mean I guess it makes it less wrinkled? [Laughs]

Botox for Buttholes: Yes, It’s a Thing