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How to choose a butt toy

When it comes to anal play, there are many types of butt toys to choose from.  If you’re not sure where to start, try narrowing the options by asking yourself some key questions. Your answers can help guide your choice on which anal toy is best for you.

Do I want an anal toy that gives me the feeling of being full? If so, consider a pleasure product meant for penetration, such as dildos, anal beads, and butt plugs. Each of these types of anal toys can help offer that satisfying, full feeling.

Is my goal to have a prostate orgasm? If you have a prostate, you might be interested in anal play for the powerful orgasm that can come from stimulating it. A prostate massager or a curved dildo can help you achieve a prostate orgasm.

Will I be using butt toys for partner or solo play? Most butt toys can be used for either solo or partner play — a butt plug can be very pleasurable with a partner, but can also feel equally great during masturbation. There are certain toys, however, more specifically suited for partner play. Think: double-ended dildos.

Am I looking for a toy that will enhance my experience with kink? Anal toys that help with width training, such as anal training kits, or butt plugs with attachments like a tail can be excellent additions to anyone’s kink pleasure chest.

3 types of butt toys

Your butt is full of sensitive nerve-endings that can feel fantastic when stimulated, adding another dynamic layer to your sex life. Plus, if you have a prostate (commonly known as the “male G-spot”), your anus is also its gateway. Explore these three types of butt toys.

1. Anal beads.

Anal beads feature a series of beads strung together in increasing sizes. As you use them for play, you can insert them at your own pace. Anal beads have a similar appeal as butt plugs in that they provide a feeling a fullness. Anal beads can come in more flexible varieties, and stimulate the sensitive, erotic nerves at the sphincter as the user slides them in and out.

2. Butt plugs.

Butt plugs are the most popular type of anal toy. Many are small enough to be good for anyone new to anal play, with a tapered bulb at the end of a thin neck that plugs into the user. They’re known for creating pleasurable pressure, and the feeling of being full inside. Some butt plugs even come attached to underwear, and you can wear them discreetly for a little public enjoyment.

3. Vibrating plugs

The sensation of an anal vibrator can add a new layer to your play, especially if you’re into experimenting discreetly in public. If you have a prostate, a prostate massager can often produce longer, harder orgasms.

Key things to know about anal toys

Additional considerations that you may want to take into account when buying a butt toy might include:

Material

Non-porous materials such as silicon, glass, or hard plastic are preferable for hygiene, and especially if the plug might be shared. Pores, or tiny holes that appear in certain materials like rubber, can absorb small amounts of liquid such as body fluids and lubrication, and thus carry viruses, bacterias, or other microorganisms (1, 2).

Safeguards to prevent a toy getting stuck.

Your anal toys should have either a stopper or a flared base on the end. This will help ensure it doesn’t get stuck or lost inside the anal cavity.

Lube compatibility.

Water-based lubes dry quickly, so they aren’t the best choice for anal sex. Oil-based lubes can degrade the surface of your pleasure products over time. The best lube options for your newest butt toy are silicon- or hybrid-based lubes (3).

Varying sizes for anal training.

New to anal play? Anal training is great for beginners because it eases you into products that feel comfortable for you. You’ll want to start small and go slow. Look for a softer toy that’s roughly the width of a finger or two. Certain toys come in size varieties so you can graduate to larger and larger toys if that feels good to you.

Travel-safe.

The TSA recommends packing batteries and battery-powered items in your carry-on as opposed to checking them whenever possible. Keep this in mind if you’re planning to jetset with your vibrating butt toy. Also, as you’ll want to use lube in conjunction with your toy, be cautious of exceeding the 3 oz. limit while traveling.

Bonus features of butt toys to look for

Most products in this category share common attributes; they can create the unique sensation of fullness, pair well with kink play, and can be utilized for solo or partnered play. But, there are a few standout features to look out for in the butt toy category.

  • Tapered tip instead of pointy. This will make insertion more comfortable.
  • Travel lock. If you’re looking at battery-operated vibrating toys, be on the lookout for ones that include a travel lock, so you can power it down without worry it’ll start buzzing in your suitcase.
  • Waterproof. While most of your options are waterproof, it’s best not to submerge a vibrating butt toy in water. If you’re interested in playing with vibrations underwater or in the shower, simply search for something that’s specified waterproof.
  • Kink-friendly. From plugs with pumps that expand at the user’s leisure, to tunnel plugs that add another layer of adventure, to electroshock toys for those who like to push their boundaries further, investigate all of your options when it comes to experimenting with anal play.

Pair your butt toy with…

You can enhance your butt play experience by pairing a toy with certain products of accessories. Consider the following:

  • Harnesses. If you’re interested in pegging, pair a dildo with a harness for comfortable, enjoyable partnered play.
  • Anal lube or arousal oils. Some specialty lubricants are lauded for their muscle-relaxing properties that gently relax the anal opening and allow for more comfortable penetration. In the same vein, you might want to incorporate an arousal oil into your experience to promote blood circulation and ease any first-timer nerves.
  • Enema gear. You have options when it comes to clearing the anal cavity pre-intercourse. Invest in a single-use enema or a simple anal douche for good, clean fun.
  • Toy cleaners. When it comes to cleaning your pleasure product, you might want to investigate specified products that allow for elevated care. These products come in organic, antibacterial, and more, if disinfection is a big priority for your sexual experience.

How to clean your butt toy

Regularly cleaning your anal toys will not only keep you healthy and protected, it’ll extend the life of your toys. Be sure to always clean products after use and between partner use, if playing with others. Wash your toys with plenty of warm water to cleanse them of leftover lube or fecal matter. Then, fill your sink with warm water and add a few squirts of antibacterial, unscented soap. Gently wash the surface of your toy with your fingers. Never use a scrubber or a dish brush as this can damage the surface of the toy, and make it harder to clean in the future.

If your toy is battery operated, it’s best to use a washcloth with soap and hot water as opposed to submerging it in water. Take a look at the instructions specific to your purchase for further detail on how to clean it.

4 butt toy myths, debunked

There are plenty of myths and rumors circulating around butt toys, with opinions varying even amongst sex enthusiasts. Here are a few of the most prevalent myths:

  1. Liking butt stuff makes me gay.

The reality is, people of all gender expressions, including gay and straight men, can enjoy anal play. In fact, a large number of straight-identifying people have engaged in heterosexual anal intercourse as well. The simple fact is, there are nerves in your anus that feel good when stimulated, so exploration can be on the table for anyone interested (4, 5).

  1. Any type of anal toy use can cause damage to my insides.

The anus is a very sensitive area, but as long as you take precautions (such as using lubricant and going slow with anal training), and follow the general guideline of no more than 2-3 hours with a toy inserted, your insides are likely safe (6).

  1. A little pain is okay.

While it’s possible to feel discomfort or even pain when inserting a butt plug, be aware that this could mean you’re overstretching. If you’re in pain, take this as a sign that you should either size down, go slower, use more lube, stop, or all of the above (7).  

  1. Experimenting with anal toys will make me poop.

Fear of feces keeps plenty of people from trying butt play, but the reality is that if you have proper gut health, you won’t have to worry about anything beyond minor, residual mess. If you’re really concerned, there are ways you can ensure cleaner anal, such as douching beforehand (6, 8).

Butt toy alternatives

If butt toys don’t feel right for you, there are many other pleasure product categories to explore and try. For example, dildos might be a good alternative if you are interested in experimenting with varying sensations with the option of penetration, as some dildos are meant for penetrative action and some also vibrate. Explore our catalog of dildos to learn more.

References

  • Brown University. What’s the best way to clean sex toys. Available from: https://www.brown.edu/campus-life/health/services/promotion/content/whats-best-way-clean-sex-toys
  • Anderson, T. A., Schick, V., Herbenick, D., Dodge, B., & Fortenberry, J. D. (2014). A study of human papillomavirus on vaginally inserted sex toys, before and after cleaning, among women who have sex with women and men. Sexually transmitted infections, 90(7), 529–531. https://doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2014-051558
  • Nicole W. (2014). A question for women's health: chemicals in feminine hygiene products and personal lubricants. Environmental health perspectives, 122(3), A70–A75. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.122-A70
  • Hess, K. L., DiNenno, E., Sionean, C., Ivy, W., Paz-Bailey, G., & NHBS Study Group (2016). Prevalence and Correlates of Heterosexual Anal Intercourse Among Men and Women, 20 U.S. Cities. AIDS and behavior, 20(12), 2966–2975. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-016-1295-z
  • Kimberly , R.M.,  J.F.  Dennis (2010) Heterosexual Anal Sexuality and Anal Sex Behaviors: A Review,The Journal of Sex Research, 47:2-3, 123-136, DOI: 10.1080/00224490903402538
  • Garros, A., Bourrely, M., Sagaon-Teyssier, L., Sow, A., Lydie, N., Duchesne, L., Higuero, T., Damon, H., Velter, A., & Abramowitz, L. (2021). Risk of Fecal Incontinence Following Receptive Anal Intercourse: Survey of 21,762 Men Who Have Sex With Men. The journal of sexual medicine, 18(11), 1880–1890.
  • Grabski, B., & Kasparek, K. (2020). Sexual Anal Pain in Gay and Bisexual Men: In Search of Explanatory Factors. The journal of sexual medicine, 17(4), 716–730. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2020.01.020
  • Cichowski, S. B., Komesu, Y. M., Dunivan, G. C., & Rogers, R. G. (2013). The association between fecal incontinence and sexual activity and function in women attending a tertiary referral center. International urogynecology journal, 24(9), 1489–1494. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-013-2044-8
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