A Beginner's Guide to Butt Plugs and How to Use Them for Anal Play
If you're not familiar with the joys of butt plugs, allow me to introduce you to a versatile toy you can enjoy regardless of gender, orientation, or genitalia. If you have a prostate, butt plugs can stimulate it, and if you have a vagina, a butt plug can create incredibly pleasurable pressure on the back vaginal wall. That's not to mention that the anus itself is also surrounded by nerve endings. Whatever the reason you're keen to dive into the world of butt plug play, there are a few things you should know for a comfortable, safe, and sexy experience.
What are butt plugs?
Some sex toys, such as the Wartenberg Pinwheel, have somewhat cryptic names. Butt plugs, however, do exactly what you'd imagine: They plug up your butt. A butt plug's main duty is to make you feel good: "The anus can be a remarkable source of pleasure, so butt plugs, with a lot of lube, are a great way to loosen the anus up and get something inside of it," says David Ortmann, a psychotherapist and sex therapist.
People often use butt plugs for penetrative anal sex prep. Remember, unlike the vagina, the rectum doesn't self-lubricate. This is why it's important to warm up your butthole with plenty of lube and smaller objects, such as fingers and butt plugs, prior to penetrative sex with a strap-on or penis, says sex educator Timaree Schmit
Butt plugs are cleverly shaped for their function. They generally have narrow tips that get progressively wider toward the middle and then narrow again to a slim neck at the base so your rectum can contain them comfortably. Since the rectum can act like a vacuum and suck objects inside, a flared bottom, pull cord, or ring prevents plugs from getting lost inside you, Ortmann says. (Nobody wants to be the person who goes viral for ending up in the ER with a butt plug stuck inside their bum.)
What should I know before purchasing a butt plug?
In addition to choosing a plug with a flared base, it's important to check that your toy is body-safe. Since sex toys are sold as "novelty items," they're more or less unregulated by any federal agency, meaning it's up to you to make sure that materials are safe to put in, on, and around your genitals. Once, I opened my lingerie drawer to notice that a rubber vibrator had leaked pink dye everywhere. If unsafe toys can stain my underwear, what else can they harm? As Schmit points out, "Cheaper toys might be made of chemicals that can leach into your body."
According to the Kinsey Institute, anything that's silicone, borosilicate glass (Pyrex), or stainless steel is a good bet. Schmit suggests beginners select silicone over glass or steel, as silicone has more give and is easier to insert. All three materials are nonporous and so can be thoroughly cleaned after use. Butt plugs made of hard plastics and acrylics, on the other hand, are porous, meaning they can become hotbeds of bacteria from your GI tract, which is neither safe nor sexy.
Another butt plug rule of thumb: Start small, and don't let your eyes get bigger than your butthole. "Pick one that looks ludicrously small to you," Ortmann says. "I remember buying my first one and thinking, 'This is a good medium size.' I don't think I got that thing inside of me for another decade." If you're a total beginner, begin with the smallest size available and work your way up. After all, you can't return a used butt plug.
Can butt plugs be used for more than anal sex preparation?
Anal sex warm-up is far from the only use for plugs. Some within the BDSM community also use them as part of dominance and submission (D/s) play. ("I like to make submissives suck on the butt plug that I'm going to use on them," Ortmann says.) An advanced user may wear a butt plug for several hours or out in public.
The toy is also a wonderful way to experience double penetration if you have a vagina: Slide one in after applying lube and wear it during vaginal sex with a penis or dildo (pro tip: simultaneously stimulate your clit with fingers or a vibrator). And many people love receiving oral while they have a butt plug in. That said, you don't need a partner to enjoy butt plugs, which make for excellent masturbation companions. In fact, solo sex is a lovely way to explore anal play. The bottom line is that anal pleasure through butt plugs is something anyone can enjoy.
You keep mentioning lube. What should I know about that?
Again, the rectum doesn't self-lubricate like the vagina does, and so you're going to have to help it out. If you're using a butt plug with multiple partners, practice safer sex by putting a condom on it and using a non-oil-based lube before each use, Ortmann says. Oil-based lubes, including at-home options such as coconut oil, break down latex, while water- or silicone-based lubes do not.
Here's the thing about silicone lubes, though: They're awesome for anal play, as they're thick and tend to last longer than water-based varieties, but silicone breaks down silicone. If you're using a silicone toy, grab a water-based lube. Glass or stainless steel butt plugs work wonderfully with any lubricant.
How do I get the plug in my butt (and take it out)?
First, don't neglect foreplay. Instead of going straight for the ass, try a few other activities you enjoy, like oral, to get your body turned on and receptive to a new kind of stimulation. Then, start with something even smaller than a plug: Lube up your finger, or ask your partner if you can borrow theirs. Circle the anus with the finger, glide it gently in and out of the anus, then add another finger. After your butt is comfortable with a couple of fingers, slather your plug in lube and start slowly sliding it inside you. I've found that inserting a butt plug is easiest when the receiver is bent over in doggy-style position, but everyone is shaped differently, so experiment to find what works for you.
According to sex and relationships expert Jessica O'Reilly, the key to anal play is relaxation. As she writes in The New Sex Bible: The New Guide to Sexual Love, there are two muscle rings known as the sphincter around the entrance to the anus. You want to be gentle with them when inserting anything into your butt. "Relax, breathe deeply and bear down slightly with your sphincter muscles as you insert [a toy] for the first time," O'Reilly writes. To remove a butt plug, gently pull it out while taking slow and steady deep breaths or have your partner hold the base and slide it out for you. O'Reilly points out that removal can be easier if you've orgasmed during your anal play, as orgasms relax the pelvic floor.
What about clean-up?
Always wash your butt plugs and hands after play with warm water and soap. If you have a vagina, avoid transferring any bacteria from the butt to the vulva or vagina, since that can cause infection. (This means you and your partner need to wash your hands before rubbing any of your other genitalia.) You can toss silicone plugs in a dishwasher, Schmit says, and our favorite three nonporous materials — tempered glass, silicone, and stainless steel — can be boiled like lobsters to disinfect them, provided that they don't contain motors.
Awesome, I'm in. Where can I buy a butt plug, and which one is right for me?
That's a decision between you and your butthole, but I do have some recommendations for you. You may want to buy your toy in person at a reputable adult boutique so you can ask questions of the knowledgeable staff. If you don't have access to a good adult shop or are too shy, lazy, or busy to visit a brick-and-mortar store, you can purchase a butt plug online.
- Jul 07, 2019
- Category: News
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