Although it took a long time to get here, butt stuff is finally getting its due. Studies
have found that more than one-third of women in the United States have engaged in heterosexual anal intercourse. Still, though interest in things like rimming and anal fingering are becoming more commonplace (talk to your pals about it), not everyone has ventured into the anal sex toy market. But the benefits of butt plugs and other butt-centric sex toys can turn the dial on your sex life up to 11 — especially since anyone and everyone can enjoy anal play.
But what do butt plugs do? Whatever you want them to. Some people use them as an anal sex warmup, others as a
BDSM accessory, and still others to become more familiar and comfortable with backdoor sensations.
"When done right, anal play can be very pleasurable and a really fun new experience,"
Sunny Rodgers, certified clinical sexologist and sexual health educator, tells Bustle. "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."
Get some lube — anal play, of all kinds, requires it (the anus is a not a self-lubing orifice!). Silicone types last longer, but they can wreak havoc on silicone toys, so water-based lube is a good option.
And how you insert your anal toy can be the difference between a good experience and a bad one, says Rodgers: "Remember to never forcefully insert a toy ... this isn't a race."
Now that you know how to insert your very first butt plug, it's time to get to know the benefits of them.
1 Butt Plugs Get You Comfortable With Stimulating Your Anus
First question: Does your anus want to be comfortable with stimulation? Honestly, you never know until you actually give it a try.
"If you're just getting started with anal play, butt plugs are an amazing way to get comfortable with the sensation of stimulating your backside," Amy Boyajian, CEO of
Wild Flower a sexual wellness boutique, tells Bustle. Consider starting with a small butt plug, then work your way up to bigger ones — both in length and girth. And use plenty of lube — you may want to start experimenting with toys around the anal opening, and then move toward inserting into the anus only when you feel ready. There’s no “right” way to use a butt toy — it’s all about what feels right to you.
"I love training kits because they offer multiple sizes to experiment with, and the smallest plug is about the size of a finger," Boyajian says. "Look for toys made with non-porous materials like silicone and stainless steel for safe and easy cleanup."
2 Butt Plugs Allow You to Experience Different Sensations
It's hard to say for sure — nobody knows what they're into until they try it! — but considering the different sensation that comes with stimulating all those nerves, you might find that anal play offers you the feeling you've been waiting for your whole life.
"Butt plugs are wonderful all on their own, because the anus has tons of pleasurable nerve endings," Boyajian says. "To really stimulate these nerves, I’d recommend a
vibrating butt plug — something that will provide multiple modes of stimulation while simultaneously allowing your muscles to relax for increased pleasure."
Butt toys are definitely a “block your calendar” type of session — you don’t want to rush, and much of the pleasure may come from the buildup. Making sure you have plenty of time to experiment is key, and it also can be helpful to explore butt plug play when you’re already turned on.
3 Anal Play Can Lead To Orgasms
If you have a vagina and think there are only two possible orgasms to experience — clitoral or vaginal — think again. Anyone can enjoy
more than one kind of orgasm thanks to stimulating different parts of the body.
vaginas can experience orgasms from all kinds of play, including anal," Dr. Laura Deitsch, a licensed clinical counselor and sexologist, tells Bustle. "Many women report having their most powerful orgasms from anal penetration. One benefit, depending on position, is that the vagina and clitoris can be within easy reach for even more attention." 4 Butt Plugs Are Super Inclusive
If you have a butt, then you can use a butt plug. And everyone has a butt. Part of what butt plugs do is allow people to get to know what turns them on when it comes to backdoor play. Since using tongues and fingers can feel especially intimate, a butt plug can ease inhibitions to allow people to focus on sensations.
"One of the
great things about anal play is that folks with any genitalia can enjoy it," Alicia Sinclair, certified sex educator and CEO of Le Wand, tells Bustle. "The sensations and experiences that feel good to you have nothing to do with your sexual orientation or gender. It’s kind of like how the food that you enjoy is a totally different question than who you want to have dinner with."
That said, it’s important to make sure you’re meticulous about
cleaning your sex toys if you’re sharing them between butts. Sex toys made from porous material (think cyberskin or jelly-like material) may have germs lurking even after cleaning. In these cases, or if you’re unsure, put a condom on it or stick to one toy per partner. 5 Butt Plugs Can Increase Vaginal Pleasure
Something that adds to the enjoyment of butt plugs is the effect it can have on the vagina.
"For those who have a vulva, [butt plugs] can actually alter the
width of the vagina canal," Boyajian says. "For some people, this makes the simultaneous penetration of the vagina feels extra pleasurable. Play around with different sizes and shapes to see what feels best."
Having your vagina penetrated the same time as wearing a butt plug might seem daunting, but it can feel really intense and satisfying.
6 Different Toys and Ways to Play Provide Different Sensations
Butt plugs aren't the only anal toys that have benefits.
Anal beads, which are pretty much a longer and bulbous version of butt plugs, can also feel great.
"Anal beads are usually either a graduated or uniform set of round beads separated by space, all attached to one long wand," says Dr. Deitsch. "They can be inserted up to the receiver's comfort level and either left in while other play happens, or gently inserted and removed rhythmically."
Or, if your partner has a prostate, you can blow their mind right before they climax.
"A popular activity is to insert them into a prostate-wielding person, and then right as they are experiencing ejaculation, pull out the beads in concert with the burst of joy," says Dr. Deitsch. "This simultaneous stimulation is a real eye-opener, and many report incredible pleasure."
7 People With A Prostate May Love Butt Plug Play
Although the penis can definitely provide fantastic pleasure, the prostate can do the same — just in a different way. Butt plugs stimulate the prostate, an ultra-sensitive gland that can be
tough to access during penetrative sex.
those with a prostate, butt plugs — especially those that vibrate — can stimulate the prostate directly and sometimes lead to orgasm," Boyajian says. "This is an incredible way to experience a new dimension of pleasure, especially if you’re only used to experimenting with your penis and not your anus." 8 They Can Help You Warm Up To Anal Sex
If you've been thinking about
giving anal sex a try, then there's no greater benefit to butt plugs than letting them take you a step closer to it.
Butt plugs are a great start to anal play!" says Dr. Deitsch. "They come in a variety of sizes and materials and offer a lot of control for beginners. Also, they can be left in place while vaginal penetration happens. Butt plugs are usually tapered and shaped for optimal insertion. They come with a nifty handle for manipulation." 9 They Can Be Used For Solo Playtime
Butt plugs can be used during sexual play, but some people like the sensation of wearing them for a few minutes or hours at a time. Some people like using butt toys in BDSM-style play, where they may insert the butt toy and leave it in based on what their partner asks. (As always, use
safe words and don’t push yourself any farther than you’re comfortable with.)
Using a butt toy solo can also prep your butt if you’re interested in exploring anal play with your partner. It can help teach you what does (and what doesn’t) feel good to you and can help you explore backdoor play.
Because pleasurable anal sex is 90% preparation, according to Sinclair,
butt plugs are a perfect place to start.
"[That preparation] includes getting mentally prepared," Sinclair says. "That’s even truer if you’ve had uncomfortable or painful experiences in the past because your body will expect the same thing again, which makes the anus tighten up."
10 Butt Plugs Can Bond You During Partner Play
Butt play can feel incredibly intimate, even if you’ve had plenty of other sexual experiences with your partner. Because butt play requires
vulnerability and communication, adding a toy into the mix can be one way to heat things up between the sheets. Experiment with your partner (slowly) inserting the butt toy inside you, letting them know what depth feels good.
You may find it’s erotic enough to have your
partner explore your back door with their finger, their tongue, or a butt plug, without penetration as the goal or end result. Sometimes, taking penetration off the table for the first session or two can allow you to relax enough to really enjoy the sensations and suss out what feels best for you. Sources: Alicia Sinclair, certified sex educator and CEO of Le Wand Dr. Laura Deitsch, licensed clinical counselor and sexologist Amy Boyajian, CEO of Wild Flower, a sexual wellness boutique