So, you want to try butt stuff, or want to up your butt stuff game, but you don’t know where to start. From beginners to intermediate and more challenging anal adventures, it can always be a bit difficult to figure out where to start with all the products available on the market. Here are some tips and helpful hints for you as a beginner or intermediate anal adventurer trying to decide what your next big (or small!) purchase should be.
A Note on Safety. Don’t skip this bit!
The first and most important thing one needs to understand before buying toys for the butt is some basic safety. Because of how sphincters work (more on that below), a toy without a flared base can be pulled into the rectum and subsequently “lost”–an experience that usually ends in the ER. A flared base firmly anchors the toy outside of the body, and is necessary for safe anal play. The ratio between the neck and base being the most important factor. A large neck with a similarly sized base could spell trouble. Knowing you don’t have to worry about that can also lead to more relaxed, and therefore more pleasurable, anal play!
You put the what in the where?
Regarding anatomy, there is a lot that can be discussed as far as the anus is concerned: there are a few different parts you need to know about that are important. The opening features two sphincters: the external is consciously controlled by you, while the inner sphincter is entirely subconscious. This is why relaxation during anal play is so important; if you’re not into what’s going on, stressed out, nervous, or otherwise uncomfortable, the subconscious sphincter will clamp shut and not want to let anything in. Spending time relaxing, whether that’s taking a bath, getting a sensual massage, having a few orgasms through other means, or whatever else suits your mood, is central to pleasurable butt stuff.
The prostate is also important to note, a pleasure point on the wall of the rectum facing the front of the body in most people who were born with penises (some intersex folks might find differently!). This is where the fluid portion of semen originates, and many report it as being a completely unique sensation. There are a variety of toys and books specifically about the prostate that are well worth considering if you’re interested in exploring!
It’s also important to note that while there is mucous membrane in the rectum, it is not as lubricated as the vagina. This is where the next part comes in: lube.
You need to use lube when you’re doing butt things.
It’s a rule that beginners definitely shouldn’t try to get by without. Lube is necessary, and the kind of lube you’ll use will depend a lot on what you’re doing with your butt. Oil lubricants are great for plugs because they’re long lasting and don’t interact with silicone toys, but oil based lubes can compromise latex and polyisoprene condoms, so if you’re planning to use a condom on a toy or body part, you should pass it up. Silicone lube is similarly long lasting, with a nice slippery but thin feel. It’s ideal for use with condoms, but might interact with some silicone toys. Water based lubes in a gel consistency, thicker and labeled either as “gel” or “anal” lube, aren’t going to interact with anything but also won’t last as long as oil or silicone lubes.
A note on “numbing” gels and creams:
Just never use them. Numbing agents might make anal more “comfortable” for some, but they’re more likely to cause problems. Pain signals a potential for injury, and if you can’t feel the pain you can’t stop things before they become a problem. The anus is a sensitive place with thin skin that can get micro-tears: treat it nicely. Numbing gels aren’t a way to treat it nicely.
For the beginners.
If you’re new to anal toys, welcome to the club! If you’re looking for your first plug, I have some advice for you. Firstly: have you tried using a finger or fingers (can be yours, someone else’s, gloved or bare–but make sure your nails are trimmed and filed!) before moving up to plugs? This can give you an idea of how length and girth feel for you, and give you a better idea of what kind of plug you’re interested in. Some prefer slim plugs that are no longer or wider than a single finger, while others find those kinds of toys unnoticeable. When looking at toy measurements, take out a tape measure to try to get an idea of the dimensions and how they compare to things you’ve already tried putting in your butt. Many beginners will prefer a plug with a slimmer neck: the feeling of fullness brought by a plug is usually what people are after, but the wider the portion that sits near your sphincters, the more of a “stretching” sensation you’ll experience that some might not like right away.
For first timers, I usually recommend something silicone, about the dimensions of a large finger (slim and long, with a nice flared base), and as inexpensive as you can find because if you’re interested in it? You’re probably going to want to upgrade. If you’re not interested, it’s not worth investing in something fancy that you’ll never use. I’d also recommend flexible silicone anal beads with a variety of sizes of beads so you can experiment with girth and length of penetration.
It’s also important to remember that new sensations sometimes take a while and a few tries to register as pleasurable: pace yourself, try to stay relaxed, use a lot of lube, and try a few times in a few different scenarios to see what makes you tick!
I recommend: The Perfect Plug is perfect for beginners, This simple plug from Hole Punch is affordable, and this Quaker Beaded Anal Vibe by Vedo are a great way to gauge the kind of depth and girth you enjoy. If you’re a beginner interested in prostate play, I’d recommend any of the smaller Aneros toys.
So, you’re worried about cleanliness.
This is very common: many are made uncomfortable by potentials of “uncleanliness” and while it’s not a huge deal, it is if it stresses you out, which can make you tenser and butt time less enjoyable. There are basic steps you can take, like laying down a towel, keeping wipes on hand, making sure to go to the bathroom a few hours before butt play is expected to happen to clean out the pipes, but there are also more intense measures one can take to get as clean as one desires. This is a really good illustrated infographic about the basics. It might be worth looking into and trying different enemas and other extras like sex blankets or throws that will protect your sheets.
I recommend: This silicone Anal Douche from Calexotics or beginners, and this more complex system with multiple attachments and a shower adaptor for those who are interested in upping their enema game. For those of you who want an easy way to clean up and not potentially stain your bedding, couch, or wherever you’re having fun, these sex blankets are pretty fantastic and machine washable.
Intermediate toys are where things get more complex.
There are a lot of different kinds of toys once you expand past your average plugs: larger and more challenging toys, textured toys, and more complicated toys. The possibilities are really far more and varied than one would think, and things easily tip into more advanced territory. Toys I’d generally term as intermediate include things like those that incorporate a cock ring and anal aspect, anal hooks for those of you interested in rope play and bondage, and other more creative toys. Chances are that if you’re interested in upping your butt game, you already have an idea of what sort of proclivities you possess; you’ll definitely have a better idea than some sex writer on the internet does about what you want to put in your butt (that’s not sarcasm). What I will say though, is that if you’re planning on investing in a new, fancy toy, especially if it’s expensive: do your research. Learn about sex toy materials and maybe try a few out to see what your butt likes (I know some love the squishiness of silicone while others love the frictionless heft of a metal plug). Read reviews if they’re available, there are tons of reputable sex bloggers on the scene who can give you thorough descriptions of the quality and functioning of a toy. Read some books about butt stuff to improve your knowledge and therefore the pleasure of yourself and any partners you might be trying things with.
Most of all, remember that you’re the one who's doing the thing so do what feels best to you.
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