The first time I heard about ketamine, I was 13 years old. I was listening to the Placebo song “Special K,” and its lyrics made me stop and pay attention. Brian Molko’s seductive, high-pitched vocals coming out of his androgynous, doll-like face made everything he was singing about sex, drugs and genderfuckery sound endlessly enticing to me, and my curiosity was piqued soon thereafter.
I was 15 when ketamine’s effects were described to me by surrogate older sister, Cori. A consummate raver at the time, she spoke of it with a mix of elation and whimsy, telling me it made everything “look like a cartoon.” I was even further enthralled.
When I finally got around to trying the substance myself, I was 25, and I’d just half-bombed a comedy show I was headlining in Portland. I rubbed the white powder on my gums, and everything felt funny as we listened to a mix of Savage Garden and Jesus Christ Superstar. I decided to skip my flight back to L.A. the next morning.
During each of those moments, I never considered that, at the age of 27, I’d be dribbling a few drops of liquid ketamine up my ass a couple times a month. I enjoy both K and anal stimulation, but I recently discovered the two play well together when my girlfriend became dissatisfied with our other intake methods — the oral approach lost potency; the nasal route harshed the come-up — and found a Reddit post detailing how to boof it instead (“boofing” is administering a substance rectally). And so my unlikely adventures in using my A-hole as a K-hole began.
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine, also known as K, horse trank or Kit Kat (literally never heard it called that) is a dissociative anesthetic drug traditionally used by doctors and veterinary professionals as a sedative. It’s also being studied and used as a treatment for depression — under controlled clinical conditions, it can ease severe symptoms, help with anxiety and even reduce suicidality. In some cases — like this very strange one in China — researchers even administer it rectally.
But ketamine has been living a double life as a party drug since the 1980s. As a dissociative, it can make you feel a sort of detached euphoria and create a relaxing numbness in your body.
Why Put It In Your Ass?
It’s more common for people to swallow K, snort it or rub it on their gums, but boofing (also known as “plugging” or “booty bumping”) not only hits harder and faster, it requires less of the substance to reach a more intense and immediate high.
The reason plugging K is more effective than taking it nasally or orally is because the mucus membrane of the anal canal is extraordinarily well-circulated. “Due to the abundance of blood vessels in the area, absorption is rapid and the medication quickly enters the body’s circulatory system,” says Lawrence Weinstein, chief medical officer of American Addiction Centers. “Though the olfactory system has a vast network of capillaries, absorption doesn’t take place as quickly through intranasal use.”
After about a month of use, I found that swallowing ketamine or rubbing it on my gums had little effect (much like other drugs, you can build up a tolerance). Meanwhile, snorting it had always been miserable on the deviated septum and heavy post-nasal drip I acquired in fourth grade. I’d still try these methods in a more public or rambunctious setting — like an all-night San Francisco Pride party in the alley behind The STUD — but they just don’t do much for me anymore. As such, my only option is to do it in the butt.
Wow, Okay. So How Do You Boof It?
When my partner and I first started looking into boofing K, the first place we found information was the subreddit r/ketamine, a cozy little community where acolytes swear by anal entry. The first thing we learned was that rectal K is best administered in liquid form, so we’d need to mix up the powder in water and let it dissolve. Because less is more in the hyper-absorbent rectum, we figured it was best to start with a small amount. We put about a quarter of a line in, the rough equivalent of the very tip of a stiletto fingernail.
From what we read, a well-lubed, needle-free 1-milliliter syringe is the ideal method of administering the ketamine enema (ketamenema? ketaminenema?). For one, it allows for precise measurement of the fluid, and its maximum capacity is as much liquid as you’re likely to need. And while an enema bulb or lube shooter could get just as much of the boof juice in there, the ideal application isn’t a quick squirt all over your anal walls, but a slow dripping of the liquid onto a particular spot, which is much easier with a syringe (it even has a flared base and everything).
While my experience has heavily varied from batch to batch, using ketamine orally or nasally has always elicited a calming, euphoric sensation that makes me a bit wobbly for about half an hour. Everything feels a little bit delayed. Movement feels more musical, pain feels dulled and it’s as if my eyes are seeing where I’m going from about six inches behind where I actually am. As my friend Vi and many viral tweets describe it, it really is “the indica of cocaine.”
But when I plug the ketamine, the sensation is something else entirely. It hits in under two minutes, and lasts for about an hour. It makes everything swoon with a certain lightness in my extremities, and I can feel the weight of my torso and joints that sway as I saunter. Every step feels like a samba and moving my fingers across a keyboard feels like a waltz. I hear less of music’s sound and feel more of its vibrations. What’s equally odd is that as that classic numbness returns, I often get a tingling sensation in my lips. When my partner puts me over her knee to playfully spank me, I feel less pain and more of a warm thumping sensation. It’s a delightful, full-bodied high that makes me feel like a fluffy human meringue, freshly whipped and toasted.
Though ketamine’s most notorious reputation is as a party drug, I’ve found the best thing to do while plugging it is to settle in for a movie and some snacks with my partner. Everything I look at feels more saturated, lively, and as my sister said to me all those years ago, cartoonish. On our first adventure in boofing, we watched The Love Witch, and it made Anna Biller’s luxurious film about the sensual meeting the supernatural all the more lush. When I watch Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet after a butt chug, it’s hard to tell if the streaming resolution is bad or if my eyes have artistically redesigned it into block formations. It made my girlfriend’s first time viewing the farcical “Pine Barrens” episode of The Sopranos feel all the more silly. It’s especially enjoyable to watch if we’re not overly concerned with following the plot.
Most of my trips on the K Line have been a fun ride full of giggling and reverie, but there was one time I got off at the dreaded K-Hole Station. During a week of increased use in which I experimented enough to write this piece, I had a few failures to launch. I wasn’t sure whether it was because I had used too little of the ketamine or I just hadn’t gone deep enough up my ass and wasted the fluid in my less-absorbent rectum. Unfortunately on my next attempt, I overcorrected, going deeper and using more.
For the first 10 minutes I felt as footlight and fancy-free as I had previously, flitting about my apartment to music. But slowly, gravity began to weigh heavier on me, and I became like a marionette with cut strings. I fell onto the couch with a plunk as my view of the room bent around me like I was viewing it through a fisheye lens. The Sopranos playing on my laptop gave me little comfort, sounding like the trombone parents from Peanuts. For about 30 minutes, I felt too nauseous to move (the heat wave and my dinner of street tacos certainly didn’t help).
Since then, I’ve decided to cut back a little bit — maybe to a couple times a month. I don’t plan to make a habit of it, but it’s nice to have a little time to relax in this stressful day-to-day. And what better way for me to chill the hell out than with a butt full of cat tranquilizer every now and then?