Selecting & Using Butt Plugs and Other Anal Toys

The first toy most people use for butt play is their fingers or a dildo/vibrator they have lying around. Those who’re a little more forward thinking, however, eventually discover the joys of using butt plugs. Butt plugs are basically simple devices designed to sit in your rectum and provide a “full” or pressure sensation at your anus and within your rectum. This causes the little nerves down there to go into sensory overload and provides the wearer with a great deal of sexual stimulation.

Butt plugs date to at least the early 1890s, when they were advertised as “rectal dilators”. I’m not quite sure why someone would have believed such a thing was necessary for treating constipation and piles (hemorrhoids) back then, but back then female orgasms were seen as a form of “hysteria” so perhaps it’s not all that surprising. Over time, though, people began to accept anal stimulation as a part of sex play. Nowadays, butt plugs are some of the least expensive and most popular sex toys available.

So, let’s spend some time discussing how to go about selecting the right kind of butt plug for you. I’ll talk about the sizes available, then how to go about inserting and wearing a butt plug to maximize the sexual arousal it can generate.

Note: Any links provided below to actual, specific sex toys does not imply endorsement of those toys. I have merely provided them for illustrative purposes.

Why Use Butt Plugs/Toys

Butt plugs are fairly simple and rather common sex toys. If you’re new to sex play or just new to anal play, you’ll soon discover that just about anyone who’s gotten into “serious” butt play has at least one, and probably a decent collection of them:

  • Butt plugs are an excellent, or rather, let me correct that, they are the best way to “train” your asshole to take something being inserted into it, and therefore the best way to train for anal sex. One of the single greatest impediments to enjoying anal sex is the fact that a cock is “so big.” It hurts going in. Butt plugs will get your little anus used to stretching to take the cock/strap-on dildo and get it used to the continuous stimulation that comes from being penetrated during anal sex.
  • Butt plugs provide stimulation for those who just simply enjoy anal stimulation as a prelude to or as an adjunct to masturbation. One of the sensations of anal sex is the “full” feeling you get when you have that cock deep inside you. A butt plug mimics that to an extent and can be left in for quite some time while you do other things or while you masturbate with the added sensation.
  • Butt plugs also provide additional stimulation during other sex play. If you have a guy fucking your cunt, the addition of a butt plug in your ass will intensify your orgasm by an order of magnitude. You mimic the experience of being DP’ed. Being double penetrated is something only a woman can experience. Porn star Joanna Angel believes it is something every woman should try at least once.
  • They allow you to experience anal stimulation in the absence of a partner. If you’re used to receiving anal during your sexual encounters, using a butt plug will allow you to have the sensations of anal when s/he’s not around.
  • Butt plugs can be worn discretely. You can wear them to work, school, out shopping, during an interview for your next job, etc., and not a single soul will know they’re there. It allows you to enjoy sexual stimulation for hours at a time while you’re out and about.

Anatomy of a Butt Plug

We’ve examined the anatomy of our anuses and rectums. Now let’s examine the parts of a butt plug. They’re extremely simple little things, but you need to know the parts for the rest of this module. From top to bottom, you have the bulb, the neck, and the base.

Butt Plug PartsBulb: The bulb is the large, bulbous “business” end of the butt plug. This is the part that sits in the rectum itself and provides you with the “full” feeling that is part and parcel of why you put them inside you to begin with. When you see measurements of the size of a butt plug, these are taken from the widest point of the bulb (either in terms of the diameter or girth). Most bulbs are tapered to one degree or another to allow them to have an easier time of penetrating that tightly closed off external sphincter when you first start to insert it.

Neck (or Stem): The next part down is the thinner (on most plugs) middle section known to most people as the neck. This is the part that will rest in your anal canal – the passage between the outer and inner sphincters. If you will recall, the anal canal itself is about one to one and a half inches deep, so the neck on most plugs is about that long as well. Generally speaking, the thinner the neck, the more comfortable it is going to be for long term wear. Thicker necks mean more stimulation, but over time that will tend to become uncomfortable for many people. The gradient (angle) from the bulb to the neck needs to be substantial in order that the plug seats against the inner sphincter when at rest.

It is important to avoid objects that don’t have a sufficient disparity between the neck and the bulb, for two reasons. First, you might run the risk of something slipping into your rectum (though the base usually prevents this). Second, it will be tough to keep it in place as your anus flexes while you’re moving about and during your orgasms. So, for example, on this small plug, the neck is almost non-existent and isn’t close to being sufficiently smaller than the bulb part of it. This would be next to impossible to keep in your anus, especially as you orgasm. And no one wants a butt plug flying across the room after having been forced out of their anus, trust me.

Base: The base is the wide flare at the bottom of the butt plug. It’s main purpose is to prevent the entire plug from ending up in your rectum, thus possibly necessitating a trip to the emergency room for its removal. There are a variety of different shapes and sizes of bases, and the kind you pick will be important if you plan to be wearing these for any serious length of time. Most plugs have either a wide, rounded base or a wide rectangular base. And these are perfectly fine for use only during sex or masturbation. But if you wear these for a while and sit down with it in your butt, they can pinch the skin back there. Not exactly the most subtle thing to do to reach back and fix your butt plug in mixed company. Consider getting a plug with a long, narrow base. This allows the base to sit in the crack of your ass comfortably when you’re driving or sitting in a business meeting or your afternoon psych class.

Butt Plug Materials

Before you pick out a plug, you need to consider the kind of material you’ll want. This will influence the price you pay, how long it will last, and how you’ll be able to use it. You’ll want to avoid any that are made of a petroleum-based product. Petroleum and other chemicals will leach out of these and may burn the lining of the rectum and the anal canal. The most common materials used to make plugs include:

  • Rubber/Latex: These are easily the most common, largely because they are the least expensive. However, this is one of those situations where you get what you pay for. While they do cost less, they have the typical issues most people experience with other rubber or latex products, most notably the smell and taste and the fact that they are rather stiff. Some people are allergic to latex as well. You’ll want to avoid using oil-based lubes as these will cause the rubber to become sticky. And speaking of sticky, since the water-based lubes people tend to use most often are absorbed into the walls of the anal canal and rectum and the plugs themselves are somewhat porous, these little toys will stick to the skin, especially in your anal canal. When you go to take it out, you will often find that you have to pry skin loose from the neck before it will dislodge. Spend the few extra dollars to get silicone or other material. These can be cleaned with antibacterial soap and warm water, and they’ll need to be stored separately from one another.
  • Jelly (usually PVC or polyurethane): These are very soft and flexible, and are great for training. The material tends to be porous and since the surface is kind of sticky it will collect lint, hair, and other debris. It’ll take a bit of extra effort to get clean. You cannot use oil-based lubes with these, either. If you elect to buy one of these, be sure you’re buying one that is listed as “phthalate free.” Most of the established sex shops in the US and Europe have long since stopped selling those (phthalates are known to cause cancers), but there may some lying around from place to place.
  • Thermoplastic Rubber (TPE or TPR): TPR is a polymer-based rubber that is hypoallergenic and phthalate-free. Though it is less porous than the Cyberskin materials, it is somewhat porous, so you cannot share these with anyone else unless you cover them with a condom. They can be washed with antibacterial soap and water. These should only be used with water-based lubes.
  • Silicone: Silicone plugs are very smooth and pliable. They’re tasteless, odorless, non-porous, and won’t absorb foreign materials, including lube. They’re hypoallergenic and can be boiled or bleached as well (though anti-bacterial soap and water work fine). These are very good quality toys and will generally be a long-term investment. They can be damaged by silicone based lubes, however, so you should only use water-based or oil-based lubricants with these. You’ll likely find a variety of silicone composite materials out there, which should be avoided because they may have some smell and/or taste. If you can afford it, get pure silicone toys.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl rubbers tend to be stiffer and rubbery, and should only be used with silicone or water based lubes. They’re not as porous as latex rubbers, but they still absorb some materials and therefore cannot be sterilized. They’re not as rigid as latex and not as pliable as jelly – sort of an in-between kind of feeling. Clean with antibacterial soap and warm water.
  • Acrylic/Lucite/Plastic: Any kind of water based or silicone lube is fine with these. You should avoid the cheaper models made of these materials, as they are made from a petroleum-based substance which may leach and burn your anus. The better quality stuff is rigid and sturdy (feels similar to glass, in fact), and they make great toys for situations where you want to exercise muscles (Kegels), but you don’t generally find a lot of actual butt plugs made of these materials. These can be boiled or simply cleaned with soap and water.
  • Metals (usually aluminum, stainless steel, or some type of chrome alloy): Metal plugs are gaining more in popularity as their price comes down. These are considerably heavier than the other materials and are great for exercising and strengthening your anal muscles. You can use any kind of lube with them, and they clean up quickly with soap and water (though you can boil them or wash them in a dishwasher as well). Another positive is these are generally hypoallergenic (some with nickel coatings may not be). They react well to temperatures, too, so placing them in the refrigerator or under running hot water for a couple of minutes can provide some interesting sensory experiences. You’ll definitely want to avoid dropping these on tile or ceramic floors (but they can be used in an emergency to break a window to escape a fire, for example!).
  • Glass: Glass butt plugs, too, tend to be very stable, react to temperature nicely, and are hypoallergenic. The only issue with these is the potential for them being chipped or broken. They’re made from a material known as borosilicate glass (aka Pyrex) and are much stronger than regular glass. They won’t break in your ass or anything, but if you drop one, it still might crack or splinter glass off of it, rendering it useless. And given their cost, especially for the high end models, this may be something to consider. One of the up sides to these is that there are a HUGE variety of pretty designs available. Some of them are even suitable for displaying on a shelf in your home. Only you would know what its true purpose was (unless, of course, a fellow kinkster showed up). Any kind of lube is fine with these, and they can be boiled, washed in the dishwasher, or cleaned with basic soap and water.
  • Wood: They do make wooden butt plugs that are high quality and honed to where they don’t have any splinters or rough edges. Wood is porous, however, and I’d avoid them, even if they were coated with some type of finish that was supposed to make them non-porous. Over time, as you drop them or whatnot, the coating will wear off/scratch off, and the wood will get lube and fecal matter embedded in it. You can clean these with mild soap and water so long as the lacquer isn’t scratched. Only use water-based lubes with these.
  • Cyberskin and similar materials (a product of NASA research, btw). While these feel very soft and similar to human skin, they are very porous and difficult to clean and can only be used with water-based lubes. They also happen to be quite expensive, and you can’t share them with anyone else. If you elect to buy toys made of this material, you’ll want to cover them with condoms with use, even if you’re the only person who’ll be using them.

Given all of the above, it is my personal recommendation to you that you only use toys made of pure silicone, glass, or metal. These are all non-porous, can be easily cleaned, and can therefore be shared between friends.


Butt plugs come in all possible sizes, from the tiny ones that aren’t much wider than your pinky finger, to those with diameters of 8 inches or more. The idea behind this is that you start out with the smaller ones to get your little sphincter used to being penetrated, and then work your way into the larger models. Most people don’t go any larger than the two inches of the “typical” large plug, but for those who’re wanting more intense experiences, a variety of larger models are available.

A standard set (which a lot of people refer to as a “training” set) consists of three plugs, each slightly larger than the smaller one that precedes it. The smalls tend to be slightly less than one inch in diameter, the mediums around 1.25 to 1.5 inches, and the larges are typically in the 1.75 to 2 inch range as measured at the maximum width of the bulb. You can buy these three-plug sets from just about any online adult toy store,, and many other sites. Of course, every legitimate sex toy store in your city will carry them as well. If you’re interested in the more extreme and ginormous plugs, you’ll likely need to get those online unless you happen to have one of the larger chain adult stores in your community.

A couple of notes on other size issues. The size of the neck will determine both how much anus stretch you’ll sustain while wearing the plug as well as how comfortable it is going to be over the time that you wear it. So if your goal is to achieve maximum stretching of your little hole (which feels good to many people), then you’ll want a plug with a thicker neck. If you plan to wear the plug for several hours, however, you’ll want something with a thinner neck. Since the anus won’t be as stretched all day, there’s not as much stress placed on it and you won’t become bothered by it as you go about your business.

The other issue involving size will revolve around the plug’s base. The wide base is designed specifically to keep the plug from disappearing into your rectum and to provide something for you to use to pull the plug out. Many cheaper plugs have a rectangular base. And while they work fine for keeping it from becoming the cause of an emergency room visit, these tend to not be comfortable when you’re sitting down and walking around with them embedded in your rectum. A lot of the newer plugs have thin bases that align themselves in the crack of your ass. This way it kind of “molds” into the design of your body when you’re up moving around or sitting in a chair. If you’re just interested in using a butt plug during sex, for example when you’re on your hands and knees being fucked from behind, then the base design isn’t going to matter. If, however, you wish to use your plug for stimulation while you go about your school or work day, you’ll want one that has the thinner base.

Using/Wearing a Butt Plug

Inserting and wearing a butt plug is a pretty straightforward concept. You just insert the plug and enjoy the sensation.

Start off by getting a bit of lube into your asshole. Put a dab on your finger and press it into your butthole and kind of swish it around in there. Then slather some lube around the tip of the plug and cover it all the way back to the bulb’s widest point. Position the point at the entrance to your anus, relax it a little bit (you might even push out just a little bit, as if you were getting ready to take a dump), and then push the point into your asshole slowly but firmly. Don’t go too fast, and certainly don’t just jam it in there. If butt plugs are new to you, or if you’re trying a larger size, push it in a bit and allow your asshole to relax around it, then push a bit farther. You might pump it in and out, sort of as if you were fucking your own ass with it.

If you have a long plug or toy of some type, after you get it worked in a bit, you should withdraw it, re-coat it with lube and then continue. The lube tends to get squeegeed off as the toy moves through your tight little sphincter muscle, and since there’s no lubrication inside your rectum, you’ll need to ensure you get a sufficient amount inside to make the toy seat and move around comfortably. Once you get the largest part of the bulb inside the anal canal, you’ll feel your anus draw the plug in and close around it. It should then seat comfortably with the base pressed against your asshole. Here is a short video of someone inserting a butt plug into a partner’s asshole (ignore the idiotic dialog).

If at any point you experience more than a slight pain, you should stop and reduce the size. If even the smaller size causes pain, or if you experience any bleeding, you should cease any attempts at penetration until the cause can be determined or your back door heals up a bit. The length of time you can wear one of these is pretty much a function of your comfort level. Some people can wear them all day without any discomfort, whereas others begin to experience problems shortly after insertion. If that happens, you may wish to try a smaller size. If you’re using a plug made of a porous material, you should occasionally withdraw it and re-apply lube. Failure to do so may result in the neck getting “stuck” to the skin in your anal canal, requiring a bit of pain to get it loose and remove it. Continued use this way may result in irritated skin tissue, hemorrhoids, or even ulceration of the tissue in your anal canal (ouch!).

In terms of positions that work best for insertion, probably the best two are on your hands and knees with your ass in the air (known as the FDAU, or “face down, ass up” position) or on your side with your knees pulled up toward your face. Both of these expose the asshole and make it easier to get the toy in. Generally, it’s not a good idea to allow someone else to try to insert the plug for you until you’ve become accustomed to what it feels like going in, largely because they’re not going to be able to feel what you’re feeling while it’s being pushed through your butthole. Once you do get it inserted, get up and walk around with your new toy in place. Enjoy the sensations you’ll experience. Note that you’ll likely need to masturbate at some point to relieve some of the sexual tension you’ll be feeling.

If you do decide to wear one of these for an entire day, carry with you a small sandwich baggie. That way if you get into a position where you need to take it out, you can wrap a tissue around it and put in the baggie. You don’t want to have to try to find some place to put a dirty, smelly butt plug in the heat of the moment, especially if you don’t have some place you can clean it off discreetly. This will allow you to get it home and clean it off at your convenience. And just as an FYI, metal butt plugs will indeed set off metal detectors at the TSA airport security checkpoints (whether you’re wearing it or just have it in your carry on bag).

When you do get ready to take it out, get back onto your knees or side, reach back, grasp the base firmly, and slowly pull the plug out. If it has a wide bulb, it may take you a couple of minutes to get your asshole to relax enough for it to come out. Do not pull it out quickly, though. Doing so may tear your sphincter muscle. That would suck, trust me.

Butt plugs make a great tool for training your anus for future penetration by other toys or a cock (real or otherwise). It stretches your sphincter muscle and gets you used to having something in your butt. Both of these are necessary in order to make your first anal fucking successful.

Specialized Buttplugs

There are a huge variety of specialized and/or uniquely-designed plugs and toys for anal play. You can spend hours on most adult toy store websites just looking through the vast array of ideas people have come up with for enjoying back end stimulation. Anal toys are the second most popular line of sex toys at most stores, behind regular dildos/vibrators. Some of the more common variations include:

Butt plugs with “tunnels” built into them. These are shaped identically to regular plugs but have a hole cut through the center of them forming a tunnel. Now I’m sure you’re asking why in the hell would anyone want a tunnel through their buttplug! That is a legit question. People use these for a variety of purposes. Some use it to be able to see inside their partner’s rectum (watching the muscles do their thing), and then there are those who enjoy what’s referred to as “fluid play” (especially with enemas) with a partner. This involves pouring or introducing some type of fluid into the rectum (typically urine, but it could be anything that’s safe to use). Anal fluid play is covered in greater detail in a later module in this course. You can also insert a vibrator through the hole in a tunnel plug if it’s large enough, and some have a wide enough tunnel to allow an actual penis through it.

There are inflatable buttplugs that allow you to adjust their size. With these, you can start out with a small size and increase it to whatever you’re capable of surviving at your discretion. You have to be careful not to get too crazy with it, however, lest you injure yourself. These tend to be more expensive and while excellent for short term play, because of the tubes and the inflator with most of them, they’re not conducive to moving about.

There are remote controlled butt plugs as well. These have little vibrators built into them that can be controlled by someone with a remote control device. When you or your partner are sitting across from one another at a fine dining establishment, whichever one of you has the remote can cause little vibrations in the other’s asshole. Watching someone squirm during this is pretty fun.

There are buttplugs with various kinds of tails on them. These range from the short, poofy bunny tails to the long fox, mink, or dog tails. These are used for pet play, but they also make great adjuncts to party wear. You can insert the plug with the tail on it and wear it out to a club or to a Halloween party. Do keep in mind that people love to yank on those in an attempt to figure out how they’re attached, though. There are a number of different plugs with jewels in embedded in the base as well. These are primarily for decorative purposes (some of the really expensive ones have actual diamonds or Swarovski crystal embedded in them). Though they serve no practical purpose, they do given your partner something nice and pretty to look at while s/he’s fucking you doggy style.

Finally, there are a variety of plugs that have unique swirls or “twisty” or textured ridges built into them. These make insertion and withdrawal a rather unique experience. You can also find plugs designed like a penis for those who wish to have something akin to the “real thing” in their butts.

Other Anal Toys

Anal Beads: Anal beads are a series of connected, often graduated spheres, with a pull handle at one end. They are typically made of silicone these days (avoid the ones connected with a string!). You insert them one at a time until all of them are inside, and then during the ramp up to your orgasm and/or during the O itself, they are pulled out through the anus one at a time. This causes a flexing and contraction of the anus muscle which, if you will recall from the previous modules, helps increase the intensity of the orgasm. It often takes a bit of trial and error to get the timing right with these things, especially if you have a partner pulling them out when you’re cumming. These come in chains of multiple beads with a length of anywhere from about six inches to well over a foot (with 10"-12" being the “standard” size).

Dildos/Vibrators: Just about any dildo or vibrator can be used anally. There are some, however, that are manufactured specifically for anal purposes. These tend to be a bit smaller than “regular” dildos. There are also some with vibrator features built into them. If you plan to use a vibe or dildo that you also use vaginally, be sure you have one made of one of the non-porous materials outlined in the “butt plug” section above, or that you use a condom to cover it when you have it in your butt.

Male Anal Toys: Males can use the standard butt plugs and vibrators/dildos like females can, but they also have another option. There are a huge variety of plugs made specifically for simulation of the prostate gland, a little walnut-sized gland that can be felt through the rectum wall (the function of this is covered in courses involving male sexual anatomy). These plugs are designed so that the bulb on them is tilted toward the front of the body, allowing them to make contact with the gland when the anus is squeezed shut or when the guy is walking or sitting. Some also have a vibrator function that provides additional stimulation. The most popular one of these is the Aneros.

There are other type of toys and contraptions available for anal/butt play, including those involving enemas. These are beyond the scope of this article, however, and will be covered in more detail in later, more advanced courses.

Cleaning Toys That Have Been in Your Butt

Cleaning anal toys is pretty straightforward. Simply wipe/wash off any visible fecal matter, then use soap and warm water to clean them. Dry them and store them in their own individual ziplock baggies in a safe, secure location. Storage is of particular concern for toys made of rubber or silicone. When you have two or more toys made of the same or similar substances, they can cause deformation of other toys made of the same substances if they remain in contact with one another. Even if a toy says it is “dishwasher safe,” I would avoid washing it in the dishwasher unless it is a good quality glass or metal.

So that’s pretty much the low down on how to select and use butt plugs and a few other ass toys. It’s all pretty straightforward once you know what materials to look for and know a bit about sizing.