If you're not familiar with the joy of butt plugs, allow me to introduce you to a versatile toy you can enjoy regardless of gender, orientation, or genitalia. If you have a prostate, butt plugs can stimulate it; if you have a vagina, a butt plug can create incredibly pleasurable pressure on the back vaginal wall. Not to mention that the anus is also surrounded by nerve endings.
Butt plugs are wonderful toys that can help you safely explore new sexual territory. If you've never tried them, or if you're already into anal sex, they can help you switch up your routine while warming up your body for new things. Whatever the reason you're keen to dive into the world of butt plug play, there are a few things you should know for a comfortable, safe, and sexy experience.
What are butt plugs?
Some sex toys, such as the Wartenberg Pinwheel, have rather cryptic names. Butt plugs, however, do exactly what you'd imagine: They plug up your butt. A butt plug's main duty is to make you feel good: "The anus can be a remarkable source of pleasure, so butt plugs, with a lot of lube, are a great way to loosen up the anus and get something inside of it," says David Ortmann, a psychotherapist and sex therapist.
People often use butt plugs for penetrative anal-sex prep. Remember, unlike the vagina, the rectum doesn't self-lubricate. This is why it's important to warm up your butthole with plenty of lube and smaller objects, such as fingers and butt plugs, before penetrative sex with a strap-on or penis, says sex educator Timaree Schmit.
The key to anal play is relaxation.
Butt plugs are cleverly shaped for their function. They generally have narrow tips that get progressively wider toward the middle and then narrow again to a slim neck at the base so your rectum can contain them comfortably. Since the rectum can act like a vacuum and suck objects inside, a flared bottom, pull cord, or ring prevents a butt plug from getting lost inside you, Ortmann says. (Nobody wants to be the person whose story goes viral for ending in the ER with a butt plug stuck in their bum.)
What should I know before purchasing a butt plug?
In addition to choosing a plug with a flared base, it's important to check that your toy is body-safe. Since sex toys are sold as "novelty items," they're more or less unregulated by any federal agency, meaning it's up to you to make sure that materials are safe to put in, on, and around your genitals. Once I opened my lingerie drawer to notice that a rubber vibrator had leaked pink dye everywhere. If unsafe toys can stain my underwear, what else can they harm? As Schmit points out, "Cheaper toys might be made of chemicals that can leach into your body."
Start small — don't let your eyes get bigger than your butthole.
According to the Kinsey Institute, anything that's silicone, borosilicate glass (Pyrex), or stainless steel is a good bet. Schmit suggests beginners select silicone over glass or steel, as silicone has more give and is easier to insert. All three materials are nonporous and can be thoroughly cleaned after each use. Butt plugs made of hard plastics and acrylics, on the other hand, are porous, which means they can become hotbeds of bacteria from your GI tract, which is neither safe nor sexy.
Another butt plug rule of thumb: Start small, and don't let your eyes get bigger than your butthole. "Pick one that looks ludicrously small to you," Ortmann says. "I remember buying my first one and thinking, This is a good medium size. I don't think I got that thing inside of me for another decade." If you're a total beginner, start with the smallest size available and work your way up. After all, you can't return a used butt plug.
Can butt plugs be used for more than anal sex preparation?
Anal sex warm-up is far from the only use for plugs. Some within the BDSM community use them as part of dominance and submission (D/s) play. ("I like to make submissives suck on the butt plug that I'm going to use on them," Ortmann says.) An advanced user may wear a butt plug for several hours, or out in public.
If you have a vagina, the butt plug is also a wonderful way to experience double penetration: Slide one in after applying lube and wear it during vaginal sex with a penis or dildo. You can also simultaneously stimulate your clit with fingers or a vibrator. Many people love receiving oral while they have a butt plug in. That said, you don't need a partner to enjoy butt plugs — they make for excellent masturbation companions. In fact, solo sex is a lovely way to explore anal play. The bottom line is that anal pleasure through butt plugs is something anyone can enjoy.
You keep mentioning lube. What should I know about that?
Again, the rectum doesn't self-lubricate, so you're going to have to help it out. And if you're using a butt plug with multiple partners, practice safer sex by putting a condom on it and using a non-oil-based lube before each use, advises Ortmann. Oil-based lubes, including at-home options such as coconut oil, break down latex, but water- and silicone-based lubes do not.
Here's the thing about silicone lubes, though: They're awesome for anal play because they're thick and tend to last longer than water-based varieties, but silicone breaks down silicone. If you're using a silicone toy, grab a water-based lube. Glass or stainless steel butt plugs work wonderfully with any lubricant. But if you're new to butt plugs, start with silicone, as the material has more give than glass or stainless steel.
How do I get the plug in my butt (and take it out)?
First, don't neglect foreplay. Instead of going straight for the ass, try a few other activities you enjoy, like oral, to get your body turned on and receptive to a new kind of stimulation.
Next, start with something smaller than a plug: Lube up your finger, or ask your partner if you can borrow theirs. Circle the anus with the finger, glide it gently in and out of the anus, then add another finger.
After your butt is comfortable with a couple of fingers, slather your plug in lube and slowly slide it inside you. I've found that inserting a butt plug is easiest when the receiver is bent over in doggy-style position, but everyone is shaped differently, so experiment to find out what works for you.
According to sex and relationship expert Jessica O'Reilly, the key to anal play is relaxation. As she writes in The New Sex Bible: The New Guide to Sexual Love, there are two muscle rings known as the sphincter around the entrance to the anus. You want to be gentle with them when inserting anything into your butt. "Relax, breathe deeply, and bear down slightly with your sphincter muscles as you insert [a toy] for the first time," writes O'Reilly.
To remove a butt plug, gently pull it out while taking slow and steady deep breaths, or have your partner hold the base and slide it out for you. O'Reilly also points out that removal can be easier if you've orgasmed during anal play, as orgasms relax the pelvic floor.
What about cleanup?
After play, always wash your butt plugs and your hands with warm water and soap. If you have a vagina, avoid transferring any bacteria from the butt to the vulva or vagina, since that can cause infection. (This means you and your partner need to wash your hands before rubbing any of your other genitalia.) You can toss silicone plugs in a dishwasher, Schmit says, and our favorite three nonporous materials — tempered glass, silicone, and stainless steel — can be boiled to disinfect them, provided that they don't contain motors.
Awesome, I'm in. Where can I buy a butt plug, and which one is right for me?
That's a decision between you and your butthole, but I do have some recommendations for you. You may want to buy your toy in person at a reputable adult boutique so you can ask questions of the knowledgeable staff. If you don't have access to a good adult shop or are too shy, lazy, or busy to visit a brick-and-mortar store, you can purchase a butt plug online. Here are some of my favorites.
1. B-Vibe Novice, $130 (Shop Now)
The aptly named Novice is tailored to those who are beginning to explore ass play, but it's so high-quality that people at any experience level will enjoy it. It also vibrates, which can help relax the sphincter muscles and make for easier insertion (and feel fantastic).
2. Avant P5 Fluid Plug, $45 (Shop Now)
This silicone butt plug is the colors of the gender-fluid flag, although anyone can enjoy the classic butt plug design. The flared base ensures that it will stay in place while you play or prepare for anal sex.
3. B-Vibe Snug Plug, $45 to $55 (Shop Now)
This beautiful, geometrically shaped sex toy comes in multiple sizes and colors, including black, blue, pink, and purple. It lives up to its name by fitting snuggly in your bum, and it's also weighted for pleasurable pressure.
4. Fifty Shades of Grey Something Forbidden Silicone Butt Plug, $15 (Shop Now)
If you're looking for a reliable first-time butt plug that can become a regular part of your sex life, try this small black silicone toy. It's sleek, classic, and perfectly kinky. If you're playing with a partner, have them slip their finger in the loop and consensually take control of your experience.
5. Icicles No. 48 Glass Plug With Flower Base, $30 (Shop Now)
Want to hear a secret about glass sex toys? They're great for temperature play, meaning you can warm them up or cool them down without damaging the material. During the summer, pop this floral plug in the freezer and then into your butt. In the winter, try submerging it in a bowl of warm water for a few moments before playtime. Beware: This may look dainty, but it has a four-inch circumference. Start with a smaller silicone plug before working your way up to such flower power.
6. Njoy Pure Plug, $65 to $85 (Shop Now)
For those impressed by the sleek look of stainless steel, the Njoy Pure Plug may be the butt plug for you. While the solidity of the material can be intimidating compared to softer silicone, fear not: This teardrop-shaped toy is designed for easy entry. Just remember to buy the small version if you're new to anal play.
7. Lovehoney Pure Pleasure Sensual Glass Butt Plug, $25 (Shop Now)
If you want a classic glass plug and you're not completely new to anal play, this is a lovely option. It's advertised for beginners, but its four-and-a-half inch circumference may be too much for many novices. Work your booty with smaller silicone plugs before enjoying this girth-y icicle pop.
8. Doc Johnson Wendy Williams Triple Anal Training Butt Plug Kit, $25 (Shop Now)
For those eager to play with small butt plugs in preparation for wider options, check out plug sets such as this Doc Johnson anal training kit, including a small, a medium, and a large plug. Ortmann refers to trios like these as "Cindy, Jan, and Marcias": They're sisters of different sizes.
9. Glams Silicone Mini Butt Plug With Rainbow Crystal, $25 (Shop Now)
What if you want a small black silicone butt plug and you want it to look fabulous? All anal toys are fabulous by nature, but your booty deserves the best. Shine bright with this beginner-friendly jeweled butt plug.
10. Dominix Delux Faux Silver Fox Tail Butt Plug, $35 (Shop Now)
Who's daring enough to try an animal-tail butt plug? Animal-tail butt plugs, like this one from Lovehoney, are often used in dominance and submission play. The submissive wears a butt plug during "pet play," and of course, no actual pets are harmed. You can also just try one because it looks fun.
We obviously love butt plugs, but they aren't the only anal toys on the market. Anal beads allow you to gradually increase intensity, and people with prostates may wish to go straight for a prostate massager. Below, check out the toy recommendations for some anal sex toys beyond butt plugs.
1. Lelo Bruno, $169 (Shop Now)
Bruno is on the pricier side, but there's a reason why Amber Rose vouches for this luxurious brand. This prostate massager is angled, and has pleasure at top of mind. It also wraps externally around the perineum and vibrates at eight different speeds. Not every sex toy has such bragging rights.
2. Lovehoney Classic Silicone Anal Beads, $17 (Shop Now)
Grab a bottle of water-based lube and insert these anal beads from Lovehoney one at a time. Anal beads let you control the intensity of the experience. During masturbation or partnered sex, try gently pulling out the beads at the moment of orgasm.
3. Lelo Billy Prostate Massager, $139 (Shop Now)
This deep blue luxurious prostate massager from Lelo is a gift to your well-being. Use it alone to add prostate play to your masturbation routine, with a partner during foreplay, or even try it as a vaginal massager. Our bodies may be different but we can all enjoy high-end sex tech.
4. Riley Vibrating Silicone Dildo, $54 (Shop Now)
If you're curious about pegging, or anal sex with a strap-on dildo, it's important to start small, just like with butt plugs. Don't go straight to the massive dildo, but start with something skinny and work your way up to the massive dildo. The versatile vibrating dildo works in all orifices (but is especially suited for anal play) and is compatible with most harnesses.
Now, go forth and enjoy the pleasure of anal play with the aid of these wonderful toys. Just remember: Start with a Cindy, and always use plenty of lube.
Read more stories on tips and techniques for a satisfying sex life:
- A Beginner's Guide to Talking Dirty Without Feeling Awkward
- Your Guide to Body-Safe Lubes and What They're Made Of
- How to Clean Your Sex Toys Without Damaging Them, According to Experts
Watch our editor try out flavored lube:
Originally Appeared on Allure