Although it took a long time to get here, butt stuff is finally getting its due. One report from PornHub found that searches for anal play grew 120% from 2009 to 2015. Still, though interest in things like rimming and anal fingering are becoming more commonplace (talk to your pals about it), not everyone has ventured into the dedicated anal sex toy market. But the benefits of butt plugs and other butt-centric sex toys can turn the dials on your sex life up to 11 — especially since anyone and everyone can enjoy anal play.
"When done right, anal play can be very pleasurable and a really fun new experience," Sunny Rodgers, certified clinical sexologist and sexual health educator, tells Bustle. "First, always purchase an anal product that has some type of a flange on it. Because of the incredible suction, flanges help ensure that your toy isn’t drawn up your bum."
And because anal play, of all kinds, needs lube (the anus is a not a self-lubing orifice!), get some lube. While silicone lube lasts longer, it can wreck havoc on silicone toys, so it might be best to get water-based lube instead.
"Lastly, how you insert your anal toy is very important because it can make the experience a good one or a bad one," Rodgers says. "Remember to never forcefully insert a toy ... this isn't a race."
Now that you know how to insert your very first butt plug, it's time to get to know the benefits of them.
1. Butt Plugs Get You Comfortable With Stimulating Your Anus
First question: Does your anus want to be comfortable with stimulation? Honestly, you never know until you actually give it a try.
"If you're just getting started with anal play, butt plugs are an amazing way to get comfortable with the sensation of stimulating your backside," Amy Boyajian, CEO of Wild Flower, tells Bustle. They suggest you start with a small butt plug, then work your way up to bigger ones — both in length and girth.
"I love training kits, like the COLT ANAL TRAINER Plug Kit, because they offer multiple sizes to experiment with and the smallest plug is about the size of a finger," Boyajian says. "Look for toys made with non-porous materials like silicone and stainless steel for safe and easy clean up."
2. Yes, Your Anus Nerves Just Might Want To Be Stimulated
Because it's hard to say for sure, as no one knows what they're into until the try it, but considering the different sensation that comes with stimulating all those nerves, you might just find that anal play offers you the feeling you've been waiting for your whole life.
"Butt plugs are wonderful all on their own, because the anus has tons of pleasurable nerve endings," Boyajian says. "To really stimulate these nerves, I’d recommend a vibrating butt plug — something that will provide multiple modes of stimulation while simultaneously allowing your muscles to relax for increased pleasure."
3. They Can Lead To Better Orgasms
If you have a vagina and think that you only have two possible orgasms you can experience — clitoral or vaginal (G-spot) — think again. Anyone can enjoy more than one kind of orgasm thanks to stimulating different parts of the body.
"People with vaginas can experience orgasms from all kinds of play, including anal," Dr. Laura Deitsch, Vibrant’s licensed clinical counselor and resident sexologist, tells Bustle. "Many women report having their most powerful orgasms from anal penetration. One benefit, depending on position, is that the vagina and clitoris can be within easy reach for even more attention."
Most powerful orgasms from anal penetration? That benefit alone may be a selling point.
4. Anyone Can Enjoy Them
If you have a butt, then you can use a butt plug. And everyone has a butt.
"One of the great things about anal play is that folks with any genitalia can enjoy it," Alicia Sinclair, certified sex educator and CEO of b-Vibe tells Bustle. "The sensations and experiences that feel good to you have nothing to do with your sexual orientation or gender. It’s kind of like how the food that you enjoy is a totally different question than who you want to have dinner with."
5. It Can Change Your Vaginal Canal
Something that adds to the enjoyment of butt plugs is the effect it can have on the vagina.
"For those who have a vulva, [butt plugs] can actually alter the width of the vagina canal," Boyajian says. "For some people, this makes the simultaneous penetration of the vagina feels extra pleasurable. Play around with different sizes and shapes to see what feels best."
While having your vagina penetrated at the same time as wearing a butt plug might seem a little daunting in theory, in reality (I can assure you), it feels really intense and satisfying.
6. There Are Variations That Provide Different Sensations
It should be noted that butt plugs aren't the only anal toys that have their benefits. Anal beads, which are pretty much a longer and bulbous version of butt plugs, can also feel great.
"Anal beads are usually either a graduated or uniform set of round beads separated by space, all attached to one long wand," says Dr. Deitsch. "They can be inserted up to the receiver's comfort level and either left in while other play happens, or gently inserted and removed rhythmically."
Or, if your partner has a prostate, you can blow their mind right before they climax, according to Dr. Deitsch.
"A popular activity is to insert them into a prostate-wielding person, and then right as they are experiencing ejaculation, pull out the beads in concert with the burst of joy," she says. "This simultaneous stimulation is a real eye-opener and many report incredible pleasure."
7. People With A Prostate Can Feel Something Totally New
Although the penis can definitely provide a person who has it with some fantastic pleasure, the prostate can do the same — but in a different way.
"For those with a prostate, butt plugs — especially those that vibrate — can stimulate the prostate directly and sometimes lead to orgasm," Boyajian says. "This is an incredible way to experience a new dimension of pleasure, especially if you’re only used to experimenting with your penis and not your anus."
And, if sex is about anything, it's exploration and experimentation with different parts of the body and how it reacts to different toys, techniques, sensations, temperatures — all of it.
8. They Can Be A Stepping Stone To Anal Sex
If you've been thinking about giving anal sex a try, then there's no greater benefit to butt plugs than letting them take you a step closer to it.
"Butt plugs are a great start to anal play!" says Dr. Deitsch. "They come in a variety of sizes and materials and offer a lot of control for beginners. Also, they can be left in place while vaginal penetration happens. Butt plugs are usually tapered and shaped for optimal insertion. They come with a nifty handle for manipulation."
Because pleasurable anal sex is 90% preparation, according to Sinclair, butt plugs are a perfect place to start.
"[That preparation] includes getting mentally prepared," Sinclair says. "That’s even truer if you’ve had uncomfortable or painful experiences in the past because your body will expect the same thing again, which makes the anus tightens up."
For some, making the jump to anal play can feel like a big one. But when you know the benefits that come with butt plugs and how they might enhance your sex life, you might think it's time to give them a try.
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