You’ve heard everywhere that it hurts, but have heard the occasional whisper that it can feel really good, usually with the implication that those who enjoy it are perverse and wrong. You might be interested for personal reasons, or because a partner wants you to do it for them. Caught your interest? Let’s move on.

Anal play only hurts when you do it wrong, when your body isn't used to or wanting the sensation, or when you’re stressed out. When you do it correctly, it can feel amazing—and there's nothing wrong or perverse about that.

One of the best ways to ‘train’ your body to be comfortable with and even enjoy anal penetration or play is by using butt plugs; there are lots of other considerations, but this is a good place to start. If you want a more in-depth and comprehensive guide, which really does help, Dr. Jack Morin’s Anal Pleasure and Health is the best book with all the basic information you need, but I still need to give you bare basics before you can dive into the wonderful world of butt plugs safely.

The first thing you need to understand is your anatomy. The anus is made up of two sphincters: the external one is controlled consciously like your movements, the internal is subconscious like blinking or breathing. These lead to the rectum, which is where you can access the prostate, and which has very little natural lubrication to speak of (just a thin coating of mucous to help bowel movements get through). This leads up to the colon and from there, your digestive tract. Let’s explore what some of this means for your successful and pleasurable anal play.

Because the second sphincter is unconscious, if you’re not completely relaxed – whether because you weren’t really into anal play, or you just had a long day and are tense – it’s going to clamp shut and not want to let anything through. I think of it as this gatekeeper that lets you know when your body is ready and relaxed. Trying to force your way through is what can cause pain, including microscopic tearing. Ouch. This is why relaxing with a sensual massage or hot bath, lots of foreplay rubbing against the opening (which is full of so many sensitive nerve endings!) with a lubed finger, and warming up with plugs come recommended if you’re not a top level expert anal player. Even top level anal players need warm up.
Since the rectum has very little natural lubricant, you need lube. I cannot state it enough. The best lubes are gel water based, silicone, and oil. They each have their own pros and cons.

so you want to try anal play

 

Water based, thick gel or otherwise, will not last as long as the other two but can be used with a condom and silicone toys—gels are recommended because they have more cushion and last longer than your regular liquid water based lube. I recommend Sliquid Sassy and Good Clean Love. Not all water based lubes are created equal, but that’s a conversation for another time.

Silicone lasts forever. Forever like, you will wake up with it still keeping you slick the morning after, unless you washed it away with soap and water. It’s also water resistant, so you can use it in the tub or shower, just be careful because it can be dangerously slippery. It’s also great for people with allergies or prone to irritation because a pure silicone lube cannot permeate your cells. Again, I’ll save the lube science, but anything with ingredients that have ‘cone’ ‘one’ and ‘sil’ in the name are good. Some also have tocopherol, or Vitamin E, added. Silicone is also used to lubricate most latex and polyisoprene condoms, unless otherwise marked, and conditions latex. Unfortunately, silicone lube and silicone sex toys get along too well and try to bond. If you’re using a silicone plug (more below), you’re going to want to stay away from silicone lube. Any other non-porous materials are fair game, though! I’d recommend Uberlube.

Oil is complicated. It degrades condoms, mineral oil based lubes are not vagina/vulva friendly (and I have yet to find good information saying plant based oils are, though many swear by coconut oil)… but damn, does it feel luxurious. Thick, luscious, long lasting, and highly moisturizing. It just feels good. I would say that oil based lubes are ideal for play with plugs, but you shouldn’t use it before penetrating with a condom or it may degrade. So if you’re just playing with toys, or fluid bound with your partner, this is a good option. If you’re using gloves, use nitrile. I’d recommend Coconu Oil, Yes Oil, and cold pressed, organic, unrefined virgin coconut oil. The other coconut oil available at your local grocery has nasty chemicals you should avoid.

Because the rectum leads to a labyrinth of digestive organs, you can lose things in it. Unlike the vaginal canal, which ends in the cervix, if something goes into your rectum without a flared base or something keeping it from going farther, it’s going to get lost in there and the likelihood of getting it out yourself is slim. This is why many people end up in the emergency room—they wanted to experiment with anal play but didn't know this. You need something with a flared base: When it comes to plugs, these could be round or long and narrow, with the latter generally being more comfortable for long term wear, though some bodies might find them ticklish, or that they cover the vaginal opening or poke something in an not fun way.

It will take some trial and error to find the right shape for your body. All sex toys are like this; because no two bodies are set up in the same way, and everyone feels pleasure differently, one sex toy will not work for all bodies. This is frustrating in some ways and really awesome in others.

There are so many different plugs out there. There are different materials—porous ones that might be toxic and will harbor dirt and bacteria and therefore smells (please avoid them), and great non-porous options in silicone, glass, metal, and specially treated wood (Nobessence only, please—other companies are generally untrusted). Of these, all but silicone are firm, and many people find firmer materials more comfortable. Frictionless glass and metal make insertion easy, and people with sensitive skin find them to be less irritating, and easier to take in larger sizes. Silicone can drag, but with proper lubrication it shouldn’t be too much of an issue for most people.

Plugs also come in a huge variety of shapes, but the most common and comfortable for beginners will have some sort of flared base, a thinner ‘neck’ so your sphincters aren’t too stretched out, and a larger bulb to help keep it in place (when your butt isn’t sucking things in, it’s spitting them out) and a tapered tip for easier insertion.

Those are your butt plug basics—go forth and put things safely in your butt, and don’t forget to have fun with it.



Caitlin is a writer, sex educator, consultant, and product reviewer who focuses primarily on issues of sex toy and accessory safety, pleasure, sexuality, gender, and more. You can learn more, or ask any questions, at their website- www.sex-ational.com.

 

© tinofotografie / Dollar Photo Club und johannes86 / Dollar Photo Club


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