Butt plugs can be intimidating but anal play opens up a new world of pleasure for many people. Here’s what you need to know to get started & be safe.

How to Use an Anal Plug

Reviewed by Dr. Jenni Skyler, PhD, LMFT, CST

Many people used to think of anal play as taboo, but that perception is starting to change. Today individuals of all genders and sexual orientations are discovering just how pleasurable and satisfying backdoor stimulation can be, and one of the best and most popular ways to start exploring is with an anal plug.

What Do Butt Plugs Do?

Adam & Eve Gem Anal Plug

Dr. Jenni Skyler, PhD, LMFT, CST and Adam & Eve resident sexologist states “the nerves in the anus are connected to the pelvic floor muscles and border the genitals. This makes them particularly sensitive for more thrilling stimulation – sensitive enough that some people can orgasm from anal play, especially men if it includes the prostate. Plus, the taboo nature of anal play can provide its own special thrill.”

That’s where butt plugs come in. Butt plugs gently stretch open the anus to make it easier to penetrate with other toys, fingers, or the penis, but they are just as fun on their own. They are often mushroom shaped and feature a tapered tip that allows for easier and more comfortable insertion.

And because they come in all sizes, small butt plugs are great for beginners that are just starting to explore anal play, while larger plugs can help train your tush to take on bigger anal toys or before trying anal sex. Plus, these versatile toys can be used during solo sessions, or with a partner as part of foreplay.

How to Use Your Anal Plug

For some, the thought of using an anal plug or using anything at all “back there” can seem a little intimidating. But if you want to indulge those backdoor fantasies here is a step-by-step guide on how to use and make the most out of your anal plug.

  1. When choosing an anal plug always put safety first. Use a butt plug with a flared base to prevent full insertion. Why is this important? The anus has amazing suction capacity to essentially suck up anything inserted into it. A flared base prevents this from happening. You definitely don’t want your plug getting lost up there or you not being able to retrieve it.

  2. Apply plenty of lube. The anus is not a self-lubricating orifice; therefore, it is super important to use plenty of lubricant both on yourself and the butt plug. Not only does it make insertion easier and more comfortable, it helps to protect the delicate lining of the rectum. There are several lubes out there specifically designed for anal play. They are normally thicker and longer lasting and may contain numbing agents to gently desensitize the anus, or ingredients to help the anal muscles relax and make your backdoor more receptive.

  3. Give yourself the finger. Before you introduce a plug into anal play, start small by using your finger to stimulate the area. Lube up and then gently rub around the outside of the anus in slow and steady circular motions. This helps the anal muscles relax. You definitely don’t want to be all clenched up before inserting anything. You may also want to slip your finger inside to warm yourself up. Just make sure your hands are clean and your nails are trimmed.

  4. Insert the butt plug slowly and stop if it hurts. Many people wonder how to actually insert a butt plug. Most plugs have a tapered tip that allows them to slowly start penetrating the anus. As the plug goes in deeper, it widens out, allowing you to take as much or as little as you like. Just take a nice deep breath, relax, place the tip at the entrance to the anus, then slowly start to push it inside making sure you have a firm grip on the base. Allow your body to adjust to the feeling of the plug being inside you. If it feels good, then continue taking on more of the toy. You’ll know it’s fully inside when the base nestles up against the anal opening. However, if at any time it becomes uncomfortable or painful, stop what you are doing, take a break, or try again another time. You want this to be fun and enjoyable. Sometimes, just the feeing of the plug is enough to provide all the sensations you need, especially if you are new to anal play. As you gain experience and become more comfortable, you can thrust the toy in and out, or use a vibrating butt plug for added stimulation. The feeling of the vibrations may even make it easier to slip the butt plug inside as you’ll be focusing on how good it feels.

  5. Try masturbating while wearing the anal plug. Any gender or sexual orientation can enjoy a butt plug, and the sensations it creates can be amplified during solo play. You can experiment with thrusting, twist your plug, or simply leave it alone as you work over other parts of your body. For males, the combination of stroking the penis and having the plug nestle against the prostate can be highly satisfying. For women, they can enjoy anal thrills as well while leaving their vagina and clitoris open for fingers or toys.

  6. Experiment with different positions. As with any sex toy, it’s fun to explore different positions to add some variety and different sensations to your play. Missionary works well and you can try adding a pillow to raise your hips. Getting on all fours or doggy, can also be a great position to use your butt plug in as it allows for easy thrusting.

  7. Play with a partner. Whether you are using a butt plug for foreplay, or as a prelude to anal sex, using it with a partner can be a real turn on. It can bring you closer together as you are trusting them with one of your most intimate areas. There are some things to consider though. First, get consent and make sure both of you are on the same page and want to introduce a plug into your play. Second, communicate. Whether you are the giver, or the receiver ask how it feels, what they like or don’t like, and if it is ever uncomfortable stop immediately. Third, go slow and enjoy.

  8. Take your anal play out in public. When you’re ready to experience a naughty thrill, take your butt plug along on an outdoor adventure. The feeling of knowing that you alone know you are wearing one can be highly erotic. If you do decide on public play, use a plug that fits snugly and comfortably inside and make sure that you are wearing an undergarment that fits snugly and covers your whole bottom. You don’t want to be walking down the street and have your plug fall out. You may want to also remove the plug when going to the bathroom, so you don’t have to go on a fishing expedition in the toilet. Just make sure to bring lube with you in case you need to reapply, and something to put your plug in such as a plastic bag in case you need to remove it for any reason. And whatever you do, try not to orgasm at that business meeting.

  9. Use your plug to work up to anal sex. If you’ve ever been curious about anal sex, but haven’t tried it yet, using a butt plug is the perfect way to get your anus used to having something inside of it. And since penises, like plugs, come in all sizes, you can use graduated sized plugs to train your tush for taking on larger objects, like a well-hung lover. Those interested in anal strap-on sex, or “pegging” can also benefit from anal plugs, allowing them to take on larger sized dildos.

  10. Keep your plug clean. Always, and we mean always clean your butt plug after every use with mild soap and warm water, or a sex toy cleaner. Dry with a clean lint free cloth and store in a velvet or linen storage bag. Before you begin anal play, give it another quick clean. It’s extremely important you do not introduce bacteria into the anus. Tip: You can always put a condom on your plug to make clean up easier.

Anal Plug FAQs

There are a lot of questions about butt plugs. Here are some of the most common ones.

How long can you leave a butt plug in?

Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions, however the general rule of thumb is butt plugs can be worn 2 to 3 hours. It’s important to note that since all bodies are different and have different tolerance levels, you may be able to wear your plug for longer periods of time.

What does a butt plug feel like?

The anus has tons of nerve endings, especially near the opening, so when an anal plug is inserted those nerve endings are stimulated and you may possibly feel a pleasurable tickling sensation. Once the plug passes the sphincter muscle and is fully inside, you will experience the sensation of total fullness.

For women, using a butt plug can stimulate other erogenous zones. Because it puts pressure on the walls of the rectum, the vagina may feel tighter during masturbation or intercourse. Plus, when a woman orgasms both the vagina and the anus contract so imagine how good it will feel to have those muscles clenching around your plug.

For males using a butt plug, not only will you experience that feeling of fullness, the pressure that the plug creates against your prostate can lead to tremendous orgasms. And just like in women, when orgasm is achieved those anal muscles will clench around your plug and feel amazing. Also, there is a misconception that you have to be gay to enjoy backdoor play and that simply isn’t the case. The prostate is the male equivalent of the female G-Spot so once you’ve enjoyed anal climax you’ll want to use your plug over and over.

Do women like butt plugs?

Now that anal is becoming more mainstream, more women are open to the idea and find that butt plugs allow them to experiment and gain confidence with backdoor play. Incorporating a butt plug, either through solo masturbation or partner play, can add incredible stimulation and pleasure. Also, there are some women who want to experience a three-way without having to have a third person involved. Using an anal plug during vaginal sex allows her to have that feeling of fulfillment. Just remember, since the anus cannot self-lubricate like a vagina, always use plenty of lube to make things more comfortable and enjoyable.

Are butt plugs safe?

When used correctly butt plugs are totally safe, but there are a few tips to remember. Always use plenty of lube, make sure it has a flanged base so it doesn’t go in too far, never use your plug too aggressively to where is can cause damage to the rectum, and stick to toys made from non-porous materials such as borosilicate glass, silicone or stainless steel. This cuts down on any chance of bacteria forming on the plug that can later be introduced into the anus.

What size butt plug should I get?

Booty Boot Camp Training Kit

Always refer to the manufacturer’s measurements when it comes to anal plugs, especially if you are just starting out. You want to go with a smaller toy until you gain more experience and are comfortable with something penetrating the anus.

Dr. Jenni further explains that when it comes to plugs “shape & size are even more important than usual. The anus generally isn’t as stretchy as the vagina. Most anal toys are smaller than their vaginal counterparts to account for this. That being said, there are plenty of people who enjoy using long and thick anal toys. It really comes down to personal preference if an anal toy is the right size for you. If it’s for your partner, you should definitely talk about it with them before ordering anything. That's why I’m a big fan of the Booty Boot Camp Training Kit. This kit comes with three different butt plugs in a variety of sizes, so you can experiment with them.”

Shop Anal Sex Toys at Adam & Eve: Enjoy the taboo thrills of anal stimulation with these backdoor-friendly toys! See all Anal Sex Toys