There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels of any activity, and anal play is no exception. If you're just starting to scratch the surface, the best butt plugs for beginners is a solid place to start. As with all things new and unfamiliar, consulting an expert never hurts. And, Sunny Rodgers, a certified clinical sexologist and sexual health educator, has some tips and recommendations if anal play is something you want to try.
"When done right, anal play can be very pleasurable and a really fun new experience," Rodgers tells Bustle. That being said, Rodgers recommends a few basic tips to clients who are just starting out: "First, always purchase an anal product that has some type of a flange on it. Because of the incredible suction, flanges help ensure that your toy isn’t drawn up your bum." Secondly, lube is a must, since the anus doesn't self-lubricate. "I suggest a silicone lubricant because of its enhanced viscosity which allows for a longer period of lubrication without reapplication," Rodgers says.
It's also important to go slowly. "Lastly, how you insert your anal toy is very important because it can make the experience a good one or a bad one," Rodgers says. "Remember to never forcefully insert a toy. My #1 tip for properly inserting an anal toy is to lay down on your side with your legs curled up a bit. This position will naturally relax your anal muscles and allow for easier insertion with less resistance. And go slow. This isn’t a race. Take your time and gradually rock your anal toy as you slowly insert it... I also advise my clients not to use [numbing creams] when they’re beginning their anal exploration." That's because feeling that something hurts is often an indication that you should slow down, use more lube, or opt for a smaller toy.
Now that you know how to go about it, here are a few of Rodgers' top recommended butt plugs for beginners.
1. Small, Flexible, And Tapered: Tantus Ultra-Premium Silicone Anal Butt Plug
"For anal beginners, I always suggest starting with the very smallest anal toys, and to look for flexible material and a tapered tip for easy insertion," Rodgers says. This butt plug is just 4 inches by 1 inch, and is made dishwasher-safe silicone. That means it's flexible, hypoallergenic, and hygienic, since it can be cleaned in so many ways.
What fans say: "This is the butt plug [I] have been searching for! It is smalish in size and perfect for me getting back into anal play. I love the slim external part. It is [perfect] for using while having sex or using a vibrator or dildo... The but plug is so silky soft i just wanted to keep playing with it its like silk! Perfect size for a beginner and in general just a perfect shape design and quality material. I look forward to buying more tantus butt plugs!"
2. This Silicone Set For Beginners: Real Vibes Butt Plug & Anal Plug Prostrate Massager
"The benefit of using an anal toy is that the anal area has a high concentration of nerve endings that are pleasingly stimulated by even the smallest butt plug," Rodgers says. This anal sex beginners set is designed for beginners who'd like to progress through sizes with ease. They also have all of Rodgers' recommended features, like a safety base, tapered tip, and hygienic silicone construction. "Silicone also easily warms to your own body temperature, making it extremely comfortable to wear," says Rodgers.
What fans say: "This is the absolute perfect set for anyone just starting into anal play. As some others have stated the smallest plug is really quite small about finger size, but personally I found it to be just perfect size to start someone on. They also include a very large one."
3. An Affordable, Well-Reviewed Single Plug: Naughty Cove Plug Luxury Silicone Anal Trainer
"A triangular flange base makes any plug that a beginner wears more comfortable between their cheeks," Rodgers says. The Naughty Cove silicone anal trainer is a really popular option. It's made from medical grade silicone, comes in multiple different sizes (this one is small), and the safety base doubles as a suction cup. Reviewers say they're even comfortable enough to wear while sitting or walking around.
What fans say: "The small is a great size for a beginner. Good texture and shape. Minimal and attractive. Easy to clean, but be mindful that silicone is known for clinging to smells. A little baking soda can go a long way. Wish I had gotten the full set."
4. A Set Of Vibrating Plugs That Helps The Prostate Relax: Utimi Vibrating Anal Plugs
"It’s interesting," Rodgers says, "because while vibration near a man’s anal region will cause him to tense, the exact opposite happens for women. When vibration is introduced via an anal toy, most women naturally relax their anal muscles." These Utimi Vibrating Anal Plugs come in a set of three different sizes, and they have a detachable USB-rechargeable bullet vibrator with 10 different frequencies. They're also silicone, flexible, and tapered.
What fans say: "High quality plugs, soft material, but firm when you need to insert it. My girlfriend says they’re comfortable, and we’d pay this price for the rechargeable bullet alone. We can use it with all of our other bullet toys, and no more worrying about buying those pesky L44 batteries! 5 stars for sure, one of the best beginner and intermediate sets out there. You shouldn’t have to look elsewhere to get started with your adventures!"
5. A Vibrating Plug With Gradual Beads: Tracy's Dog Vibrating Prostate Massager Anal Butt Plug
Anal beads can be used as a stepping stone if you're not quite ready for plugs, Rodgers says. This set of gradual beads is made of FDA-approved silicone, and is specifically designed so you can move at your own pace. "Sometimes starting by inserting just one bead at a time and working up to your comfort zone is great for beginners who aren’t sure about the sensation that a full plug provides," Rodgers says.
What fans say: "I thought I'd get myself this toy as something I could use to introduce myself to anal play, and honestly, it's one of the best purchases I've made! This toy is a lovely small size, easier to use than anal beads, so it's wonderful for beginners! It's smooth and bends, letting you reach wherever you want with great ease. Combine it with the right lube, and you're all set to go!"
6. A Dildo Anal Plug: FST Silicone Realistic Suction Cup Male Prostate Butt Plug
"There are a couple of items I would suggest as next steps for a beginner who’s ready for more adventure," Rodgers says. "I would increase the size of the butt plug just a bit, which will increase sensation, the feeling of fullness, and pleasure. I would also recommend trying a curved shape." This anal butt plug dildo has a suction cup base and a smooth curved shape to stimulate the prostate gland. If you don't have a prostate, Rodgers says, "When a woman’s Skene gland is stimulated, it can expel fluid during orgasm just like a man’s prostate. These new sensations can be uniquely wonderful."
What fans say: "It's exactly what you think it is. Good for beginners trying anal and feels nicer than most silicone toys."
7. A Glass Butt Plug: Pipedream Icicles Number 14
According to Rodgers, "For the more advanced user, glass toys are also great, as they can be used with both silicone and water-based lubricant and some people prefer the smooth texture and rigid feel." Pipedream Icicles Number 14 is handcrafted with high-quality glass, is non-porous for easy cleaning, and is even microwave- and freezer-safe if you want to play around with temperature.
What fans say: "This toy measures 1.75 inches at the widest part. I was unable to get it all the way in. I went about half way and the feeling and sensation I got was indescribable. I highly recommend this toy for all anal lovers but make sure you take your time with this one."
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Sunny Rodgers, a certified clinical sexologist and sexual health educator