Including the anus in sexual play and exploration can provide many benefits. After all, the butthole has a high concentration of nerve-endings, making it super sensitive and pleasurable to touch for some. Not only can anal play add newness and novelty to sexy time, but it can add an air of mystery and excitement as ass play is sometimes seen as “taboo.” There are important considerations when it comes to trying anal sex safely and pleasurably. Here’s what you need to know.
The butthole has a high concentration of nerve endings, making it super sensitive and inviting for pleasurable feels.
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9 tips for trying anal play
If you’re considering exploring the anus for the first time — whether your own or a partner’s — there are a few tips that can make it a more enjoyable experience. Keep in mind that anal play is a more advanced sexual practice, so it will likely be more successful and pleasurable for those who are comfortable and experienced with other types of partnered sexual play.
1. Relax your butt
The most often overlooked necessity for pleasurable butt play is relaxation, especially for the recipient. When our bodies are tense, the sphincter muscles that surround the anus clench, forcing the anus to squeeze itself closed. When we relax, those sphincter muscles relax too, and allow the opening of the anus to loosen and open wider.
But relaxation is often counterintuitive to anal penetration. It is a sensation that we’re not typically very familiar with (after all, things are more frequently coming out of our butt than going into it).
The most often overlooked necessity for pleasurable butt play is relaxation… When our bodies are tense, the sphincter muscles that surround the anus clench… When we relax, those sphincter muscles relax too.
The receiver should be willing and enthusiastic about trying anal play! While nervousness can be normal when trying something new, fear and apprehension are barriers to successful anal sex.
2. Clean before anal
The receiver can relax by creating a comforting context for butt play. For example, poop to empty the bowls, and then take a warm shower or bath to calm your energy and clean the anus by swirling your finger around your butthole with warm water and mild soap, and then repeating with water to rinse. Cleaning the anus can help minimize anxiety about any flakes of poop making an appearance during sexy time.
3. Warm up slowly
Setting a comfy sex environment - maybe including soft music, lighting and bedding - can also help ease anxiety. Easing into butt play with other types of enjoyable sex play such as massage, rubbing, kissing, and oral sex can help set an arousing tone that heightens our pleasure sensors.
While penetration is often the ultimate objective of anal play, focusing on the journey of the pleasure — rather than destination of the goal — can further reduce tension by taking the pressure off.
4. Always use lube before anal
The anal canal is relatively delicate, and unlike the vagina, does not self-lubricate. Lubrication is essential for safe and comfortable anal penetration of any size. Not only will added lube decrease the chance of anal fissures (tiny tears in the anal canal), but the reduced friction will also make penetration smoother and more pleasurable for both the giver and receiver.
Lubrication is essential for safe and comfortable anal penetration of any size.
Silicone-based lube is often recommended when it comes to anal play. Unlike a water-based lubricant, silicone lube is typically thicker, absorbs into the body less quickly, staying slicker longer.
5. Use a finger first
The anus can be eased into the sexual experience through non-penetrative play by rubbing it softly, massaging it with pressure, or licking, sucking, and kissing. If you’re with a partner, take your time and communicate about how it feels.
After you’re aroused, touch the rim of your anus with your finger. Try rubbing the surface of your anus and gliding your finger around the rim. Then, slowly penetrate your ass with your lubricated finger. This can help you get used to the sensation of something entering the anus. If you enjoy the feeling, try adding another finger. Slide your
6. Try anal toys
If you enjoy the sensation of inserting a finger or two in your ass, try taking it up a notch with a butt toy. Using a butt toy, like a butt plug, anal beads, a prostate massager, or dildo, is a great way to enhance pleasure and to experiment with anal penetration on your own before involving a partner. Here are some of our recommendations for incorporating anal toys into play.
- Butt plugs. Butt plugs have a tapered end and bulbous head. We recommend starting small with a B-Vibe Snug Plug 1 and then working your way up to larger toys if you enjoy the sensation of “fullness.” Read our guide on how to use a butt plug to learn more.
- Anal beads. Anal beads ascend in size, the smallest bead goes in your anus first and then, as you get comfortable, you can add a second, third, or fourth bead. If you’re new to anal beads, we recommend starting with the B-Vibe Triplet Anal Beads.
- Prostate massager. One reason people enjoy butt play so much is because of prostate and stimulation, which can more easily be targeted via the anus. Prostate massagers are curved pleasure products meant to penetrate the ass and stimulate the prostate. Using a prostate massager can help achieve prostate pleasure and even orgasm.
7. Keep communicating
Communication between the giver and receiver during anal play can significantly impact the quality of the experience. Although butt sex doesn’t have to only happen with a long-term partner, it is helpful to be familiar with the communication style of your anal sex partner. While the giver may appear to be in control of the speed and depth of penetration, it should actually be the receiver who calls the shots.
8. Incorporate dual stimulation
While stimulating the anus, continue paying attention to the rest of the body and other erogenous zones. If you have a vulva, for example, try stimulating your clit while playing with your ass. This can make the overall experience more intense and maybe even put you over the edge to orgasm — if that’s your goal. Using a butt plug in your ass means you can continue stimulating your anus hands-free while using another toy, like a vibrator on your clit. You can also try using nipple toys, like nipple clamps or suckers. Touching your nipples while your ass is being played with can feel extremely pleasurable for some. If you’re playing with a partner, try having them suck on your nipples while you wear a butt plug or another toy. If you have a penis, try stroking your shaft while wearing a butt plug. Play with your balls and touch your perineum.
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9. Prioritize Pleasure
As you move into penetration, it is important to go slow at the beginning to allow the receiver to become familiar and comfortable with the sensation. While it may feel strange at first, and maybe even uncomfortable, anal sex shouldn’t feel painful.
It is imperative that the receiver feel comfortable speaking up should discomfort arise, and for the giver to follow the receiver's lead. If something hurts, stop. Try adding more lube, going slower, or moving back to another sexy activity that felt better.
While the giver may appear to be in control of the speed and depth of penetration, it should actually be the receiver who calls the shots.
The bottom line
Penetration may not happen during your first attempt at anal play — this is completely normal and does not constitute an anal sex failure. In fact, it means you will come into your next anal play experience with more familiarity and practice. If you’re interested in exploring anal play more, check out our catalog of butt toys to get started.