A Beginner's Guide to Butt Plugs

Illustration by Angie Wang

by Gigi Engle

Butt plugs are finally getting the attention they deserve, and we couldn’t be more delighted. People are utterly fascinated with the butt and all its capabilities. What was once considered a taboo area of the body is something we are now getting quite excited about

So, what is it about the butt and butt plugs that have us worked up? Well, because they’re fun! They offer a step into the tantalizing world of anal play and give us a whole new menu of pleasure to explore.

The opening of the anus is a highly nerve-packed area. Contrary to what you may have seen in free internet porn videos, not all anal play involves deep, intense penetration. The opening of the anus is actually where you’ll get the most pleasure because it’s where the most nerves are located. 

So, let’s talk butt plugs.

Why we love them and how they work

A butt plug is designed to stretch the anus, igniting the nerves in the anal opening and offering a feeling of being “filled up.” 

In addition to stimulating the anal opening, butt plugs are also a good way to prep for more advanced forms of anal play, such as anal sex. “A butt plug is a great way to stretch and stimulate this part of your body preparing you for anal sex,” says Daniel Saynt, founder of the sex positive members only club NSFW. 

The anus doesn’t stretch or lubricate naturally the way a vagina does, so it’s important to be sure that you’re fully prepared for larger objects to be put inside. Be sure to use lots of lube whenever using any kind of anal toy.

“[Butt plugs] have a tapered base which allows your sphincter to retract comfortably while you feel more pressure internally,” Saynt explains. “More advanced butt plugs can include vibration functions or expandable heads which inflate to allow you to start small and increase the size while inserted.” 

They also offer a double feeling of “fullness” when used in tandem with vaginal penetration. Having both the vagina and anus filled up can offer heightened arousal. Get a sex toy in on the mix for external clitoral stimulation and you may be heading for one hell of an explosive orgasm. Where do we sign up? 

Where to begin

As exciting as this all may sound, you have to know where to start before you dive headfirst into anal play. Start with a set of butt plugs that increase in size. You can usually buy a set of three, size small, medium, and large. You don’t want to go shoving something enormous up your butt when you’re a novice. This could result in tearing, which is definitely not the experience you’re trying to have. 

“Once you get comfortable with one [size], you can upgrade to a larger size allowing you to better prepare your anal canal for penetrative play,” Saynt says. 

As we’ve said before, but will keep saying until our dying day, LUBE, LUBE, AND MORE LUBE. Get yourself a silicone-based lube and use it liberally (unless, of course, your toy is silicone—in that case, use one that's water-based). Choose one that is free of petrochemicals or artificial ingredients. We like Uberlube and Astroglide

Make sure the receiver is relaxed and breathing into their body. If their ass is tensed up, insertion can be painful. Be sure you’re communicating with your partner every single step of the way. If something hurts, stop and take a break. We want pleasure here, not pain.

What to buy

Now that you know about the basics of the butt plugs, you might be thinking, What do I even buy? Not to worry. We have all the goods. 

The best toy on the market for the butt stuff pioneers among us is the b-Vibe anal training kit. It comes with everything you need to get started. It comes with three butt plugs in increasing sizes, and even an anal douche, if you’re so inclined. Keep in mind, you don’t need to douche if you want to, but it is preferred preparation for some people.

The Extreme Restraints Kinetic Thumping anal plug is great for those who want a little thrusting action with their toy,” Saynt says. It’s “definitely for those better versed in butt play,” but “is a great way to stimulate with internal ebbs and flows.”

Another excellent option? The Pure Plug 2 by NJoy. This toy is made from stainless steel, which may seem scary, but is actually awesome for anal play. The heavier material allows for easier placement and more intense pressure on the anus.

Happy plugging!

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, sexologist, educator, and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.