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How to Use Butt Plugs: Experts Share Tips


Although some people may shy away from using butt plugs out of fear of judgement or the unknown, this type of sex toy can elicit an incredible amount of pleasure. But discovering this type of pleasure is not as easy as buying the first butt plug you see online. Instead, it’s essential you understand how to use butt plugs first.

Like with most sex toys on the market, it’s important to learn the ins and outs of the product before jumping right into play. Especially since there are some specific instructions for using any sex toy that penetrates the anal cavity. To help you understand how to use butt plugs, clinical sexologist Sarah Melancon, PhD, offers insight into butt plug insertion — including detailed steps on how to insert a butt plug safely.

Don’t let the stigma of butt plugs — and, let’s be honest, anal sex in general — keep you away from exploring sensations outside of your genitals. Butt plugs are a great way to discover new bounds of pleasure you may not even know exists.

What Is a Butt Plug?

A butt plug is a sex toy designed for internal anal masturbation or anal sex. Though they come in various sizes — some can be as small as a pinky finger, others can be as wide as a fist — they all have a flared base. (As a general FYI, all anal sex toys should have a flared base, since this prevents the toy from getting lost in the anal cavity.)

Butt plugs are an extremely gender-neutral sex toy meant for all bodies to enjoy, regardless of someone’s sexual orientation or preferences. And while not everyone may enjoy anal stimulation, “most everyone has the physical capacity for pleasure” with a butt plug, Dr. Melancon says.

What Are Butt Plugs For?

Butt plugs are a type of sex toy used for anal stimulation. “Butt plugs can help create a stretching, opening, and/or full sensation that many find pleasurable,” Dr. Melancon says. This is especially true for those who have a prostate, since “the prostate can be most directly stimulated through the anus.”

Butt plugs can also be used in a variety of different ways, both by yourself and with a partner. Some people may enjoy just using a butt plug, while others may enjoy combining the stimulation from a butt plug with masturbating or with vaginal intercourse simultaneously. It really depends on your preferences. It’s also common for people to use butt plugs in BDSM play or to fulfill a fantasy — like, say, if you wanted to wear a butt plug in public with no one but your partner knowing.

How to Prepare For Butt-Plug Insertion

In order to prepare your mind and body for butt-plug insertion, understand that poop naturally comes with the territory of anal sex. If you’re worried about it, you can plan on playing a few hours after a bowel movement, which can help “reduce the risk,” says Dr. Melancon. That said, if poop does make an appearance, no need to make it a big deal. The best thing you can do is laugh it off and move on from the situation.

You should also plan on having plenty of lube on hand since the anus is not self-lubricating, Dr. Melancon says. Just make sure that if you’re using silicone lube, you’re not using a butt plug (or any other sex toy) made of silicone, since silicone can break down the sex-toy material. If your butt plug or sex toy of choice is made of silicone, opt for a water-based lube instead.

Lastly, check in with yourself before beginning. Dr. Melancon recommends asking yourself, “Do I have any fears, worries, or concerns?” And if so, consider why you feel that way. If you have a partner, share these thoughts with them to get to the root of the problem. Remember, if the thought of using a butt plug is not answered with a “fuck yes, I’m excited” consider it to be a “fuck no.”

How to Use Butt Plugs

Dr. Melancon says you should start by essentially turning yourself on: “Begin with external anal stimulation to warm up the area and increase blood flow.” You can do this by putting lube on your finger and massaging it in and around the anus, using a sex toy wherever it feels good on your body, or by touching yourself in whatever way that feels good.

Once you feel stimulated, you can start slowly inserting the butt plug with lots, and lots, and lots of lube. “I highly recommend gently pushing the anus out as you insert, to make more room and insertion easier. (Think about how the anus works when you poop — this is basically the opposite motion!)” Dr. Melancon says.

You might feel a lot of pressure with butt plug insertion, and if this is the case, Dr. Melancon recommends simultaneously stimulating your genitals using your hands or other toys. This will not only work as a pleasurable distraction of sorts, but it will keep you feeling turned on. Then, as the butt plug is partially inserted, squeeze the anus with the toy inside, as this can “help the anal sphincters relax and open,” Dr. Melancon says. Once it is fully inserted, enjoy the pleasure and fullness you may feel.

Just note that in order to feel pleasure, you don’t have to insert the butt plug entirely. Go at your own pace, enjoy what feels good, and let the pleasure direct you. “Focus on your breathing, which may help you relax and sense what your body needs next,” Dr. Melancon suggests. If at any time you feel pain past the point of discomfort, don’t ignore it. Instead, slow down, recharge, or stop and engage a different erogenous zone for a break.

As a general safety precaution, too, know that butt plugs should stay reserved for your booty, unless washed and rinsed thoroughly. While it’s OK to move sex toys from vaginal stimulation to anal stimulation, it’s not advised to move toys and fingers from the anus to the vagina, since doing so could cause a bacterial infection.

Additional Butt Plug Reminders

Make sure the butt plug has a flared base. “Anything going into the anus must have a flared base,” Dr. Melancon says. This is because toys without flared bases can become unretrievable in your anal cavity.

Start small. Don’t be afraid to start with some smaller plug options, get used to the sensations, and then upgrade to larger sizes once you decide you enjoy the sensation.

Opt for body-safe materials. This includes medical-grade silicone, hard plastic, stainless steel, borosilicate glass, and ceramic, which will be noted in the description of the sex toy online or on the box. “Avoid any toys that are made of a jelly-like material, porous materials, contain phthalates, or smell strange,” advises Dr. Melancon. It’s also best to buy a butt plug instead of making a homemade one or trying to DIY it yourself.

Ready to buy your first or next butt plug? Browse PS’s butt plug recommendations here.

Taylor Andrews is a balance editor at POPSUGAR who specializes in topics relating to sex, relationships, dating, sexual health, mental health, and more. In her six years working in editorial, she’s written about how semen is digested, why sex aftercare is the move, and how the overturn of Roe killed situationships.


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