Butt plugs are like oysters. One person could try one and experience sheer ecstasy; another might find it a total displeasure. And just as oysters can be enjoyed by folks of any gender or sexuality, butt plugs are also open to anyone with a butt. “The butt is the ultimate equalizer,” says Alicia Sinclair, sex educator and CEO of online erotic boutique b-Vibe, which recently launched an #everybodyhasabutt campaign.
What kind of bliss can a butt plug bring you? “For people with prostates, a butt plug can put pleasurable pressure on the zone that is sometimes called the P-spot,” Adam Lewis, co-founder of Hot Octopuss, a sex toy company in the UK, tells Health. “And if you don't have a prostate, the plug can create the pleasurable sensation of being filled, and stimulate the nerves in the anus.” Butt plugs also stimulate the internal part of the clitoris and G-spot, which is why some women like to wear one during vaginal penetration.
If you've ever thought about bringing a butt plug into your bedroom, you probably have a lot of questions. Our beginner's guide will address everything you need to know.
Butt plugs come in all sizes, but start small
Just like vibrators, butt plugs come in all shapes, materials, and sizes. But if you're a newbie, you'll want to start with a small, slim model; this is not the right time to be ambitious.
It all comes down to anatomy. “Your anal sphincters are muscles just like your biceps or deltoids, and as such, they need to be trained in order to increase their flexibility and overall distensibility,” Evan Goldstein, MD, founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical in New York City, tells Health. “This recommendation might sound like something you’d expect from your personal trainer, but practice is key. With the ass, learning to contract and relax the muscle is key.”
It can’t get lost or stuck inside you
Despite all the urban legends about people landing in the ER with a giant butt plug deep inside their GI tract, it's highly unlikely that this will ever happen. That's because all anal-play toys come with a flared base, which keeps the butt plug anchored firmly outide of your body, Jessica O'Reilly, PhD, a sexologist and host of the podcast Sex With Dr. Jess, tells Health.
One more safety tip: “You should look for a body-safe material like silicone, metal, or glass. And avoid materials like rubber and TPE, which can degrade over time,” Lewis tells Health. That said, for your very first butt plug experience, you’ll probably want to use a silicone toy. “Silicone is your best bet, as it's got a little more give to it,” she adds.
Lube is not optional
In case you didn't know, the peach does not self-lubricate. That means you must use a personal lubricant when you insert a butt plug. Experts typically recommend a silicone-based lubricant because it lasts longer than the water-based kind. (Plus, it won't wash off in the shower, something fans of shower sex will be happy about.) The only downside to silicone lube is that you shouldn't use one with a silicone plug. Over time, it will cause the toy to break down.
Since we're already on the topic of lube, you might be wondering when and how to apply it. Dr. Goldstein suggests coating the butt plug first, and then putting a dollop of lube on your anus. Press the plug gently against your anal opening for a few seconds, consciously relaxing your muscles. Then, pull the plug back and re-lubricate it, and insert it again to the point of pressure. “Repeat this action of in, out, re-lubricate, and insert again until the plug is in fully," he says. "Most people need to do that three to five times before they can get the plug in.”
Pro tip: Lube will also make the butt plug slightly easier to remove when you're done. Says Lewis: “When it's time to take it out, apply more lube to the toy, take hold of the base firmly, and slowly slide it out. The sensation might feel a little strange, but if you relax your muscles and use enough lube, it should slide out easily."
It’s not a stepping stone to anal sex
Butt plugs are often used as prep for anal sex. But it can create pleasure in other ways, says Lewis. Wearing a butt plug during penetrative sex has the secondary effect of narrowing the vaginal canal, Stuart Nugent, educator and brand manager at sex-toy company LELO, tells Health. “This can massively increase the sensitivity of sex for partners in penetrative sex, especially if it’s a vibrating butt plug.”
And ICYDK, you can also use a plug while you masturbate. “Try putting in a butt plug and then stimulating your vagina and/or clitoris for great fun and a potentially deeper, more intense orgasm,” suggests Lewis.
It should never be painful
Your butt is one of the most responsive erogenous zones of your body, and the anal canal is rich with super-sensitive nerve endings, says O’Reilly. As such, it is a site of great potential pleasure—yet can also trigger pain. If at any point the butt plug begins to cause discomfort or pain, quit what you're doing immediately so the pain ceases. Pain is a clear sign that you're using the butt plug wrong and need to stop.
If you experience pain, it probably means the angle, speed, or depth isn’t right for your body at that moment, says O’Reilly. You may need to add more lube or downgrade to a smaller toy. “Don’t try to rush through the pain. You have lots of body parts from which you can derive sensational pleasure," she says. Try it another time, or feel free not to try it again at all.
Nope, you’re not going to poop
Rest assured that anal play is only dirty in the sexual sense of the word. But when you are using a butt plug, the sensation that you have to go number two is a common one—particularly for anal newbies, because anal penetration can awaken and stimulate the same nerve endings you use to go to the bathroom, explains O’Reilly. It might feel like it, but you probably don’t actually have to go.
Speaking of poop, the most hygenic thing to do after you use your butt plug is to wash it with warm water and soap immediately. (It's unlikely but possible the toy will accumulate tiny fecal particles on it.) And never insert an anal plug into another orifice, like the mouth or vagina, without washing and drying it thoroughly, or you could set yourself up for an infection.