What is an Anal Toy?
An anal toy is a sex toy that has been designed with anal exploration, pleasure, and safety in mind. Anal toys offer a wide range of sensations and possibilities for exploring anal play by yourself or with a partner.
There are four main kinds of anal toys: anal beads, anal dildos, butt plugs, and prostate massagers. Regardless of which you choose, all anal toys should have the same key design features in order to make them as safe and pleasurable as possible to use:
- They should be smooth, without sharp edges or seams.
- They should have a flared base or handle that prevents them from slipping all the way into the rectum.
- They should be made of a strong material that is easy to clean (non-porous is best)!
How To Choose An Anal Toy
Shape and Style
Choosing the best anal toy often comes down to a combination of experience, judgment, and a little bit of educated guessing. What you choose should also take into account how you hope to use the toy.
For example, butt plugs (also called anal plugs) are sex toys specifically designed for insertion into the bum, and are intended to stay in place once inside the body. Some butt plugs are designed with a longer neck (such as the Fun Factory Bootie and the Fuze plugs), and tend to stay in better than their shorter-necked counterparts. A longer-necked plug is a great choice if you’re looking for a butt plug that you can leave in for longer periods of time.
Prostate Massagers are insertable toys that vary in shape and size, but they’re pretty much all designed to provide p-spot stimulation by way of anal penetration. Some great examples are the Aneros Eupho Syn and Lelo Billy.
While there is a variety of toys that can be used for prostate massage, Aneros massagers take things a step further. These toys convert the body's own anal-sphincter muscle contractions into fuel for themselves. Each "squeeze" of the anal sphincters causes the Aneros to pivot forward, providing a direct internal massage of the p-spot. When one "relaxes" the sphincter muscles, the Aneros pivots back, massaging the perineum.
Anal beads are a length of somewhat flexible beads designed for anal penetration. Instead of exclusively providing a feeling pressure or fullness, anal beads play on the sensation of the two ringed sphincter muscles, such that when you put the beads in or pull them out (gently, with lots of lube) they pass along the muscles and create a sensation that some people find very pleasing.
If you’re in the market for an anal toy to use for enthusiastic penetration, an anal dildo is your best bet. For this type of play, you’re probably better off with a toy free from ridges or extreme curves. That said, a gentle curve in the shape of the toy can be nice, as it mirrors the natural curve of the body.
Because anal dildos need to have a flared base to be used safely, most of them are also harness compatible. If you think you might want to use your anal dildo in a strap-on harness, choose a dildo that’s bit longer than you need, that’s also flexible but relatively firm. We don’t recommend metal or glass for this purpose, but a silicone toy that’s on the firmer side is a great option, and still gives the harness wearer lots of control.
For more information about using a dildo with a harness, check out our article Learn About Strap-On Harnesses!
If you’re new to the world of anal penetration, you may want to start by experimenting, using your own (or someone else's) fingers. You may also want to check out these tips on Enjoying Anal Play!
Once you're comfortable with something the size of a finger in your bum, consider making your first toy either the same size or just a little bit bigger. Many people find that they can have more fun with a toy that's a bit on the smaller side (that feels comfortable), than they can with something that feels too big for them.
Many anal dildos are smaller than regular dildos, although this isn't always the case. If you’re in the market for an anal dildo, don't worry too much about getting a toy that looks like it might be too long, since you won't have to insert the whole length of the dildo if you don’t want to. You’ll probably want to pay close attention to the width of the toy, however, as this is more likely to determine how comfortable it is for you to use.
If you’re looking to experiment with anal beads, there are a couple of different sizing options. The first have the same size of bead on each strand. The second are graduated anal beads, and you’ll find that as you move up the length of the toy, the beads get larger (like Fun Factory's Bendy Beads). Whichever you choose, it’s probably a good idea to start small and work your way up!
We carry anal toys made from a wide range of materials, including silicone, elastomer, hard plastic, stainless steel, and even glass!
Silicone is our material of choice for all manner of anal toys. It is at once firm and flexible, retains body heat, and because it’s non-porous, it's easy to keep clean! Metal and glass are durable and non-porous (and downright fabulous!) but require some extra care in their use. Plastic is hard, non-porous, and durable, while elastomer is soft, pliable, and porous. Each material has its pros and cons, but if this is your first time using an anal toy, we recommend choosing a toy made of soft, pliable material like silicone or elastomer.
If you’re interested in experimenting with anal beads, it’s a good idea to choose beads that are made of one continuous piece of material for ease of use and cleaning.
How To Use An Anal Toy
When you get home with your new toy, be sure to wash it well before first use. Look it over carefully to make sure there aren't any tears, seams, or rough edges. Make sure you've read and understood the care instructions for the material your toy is made of before getting started.
Even if you're planning on using your new toy with a partner, we recommend starting out on your own. This gives you a chance to explore and experiment with your toy without any distractions (pleasant though they may be)! Experimenting with a butt plug, prostate massager, anal dildo, or set of anal beads on your own can also help you communicate with a partner in the future about how you’d like them to use the toy with you.
Keep Yourself Clean While Getting Dirty
Bacteria that live happily in the anus can cause major problems in other parts of the body. When you're experimenting with anal penetration you’ll want to be careful not to touch other body parts with fingers or toys that have been inside your (or someone else’s) bum. We recommend covering your anal toys with a new condom for each use, and wearing gloves on your hands. This helps keep things more sanitary, makes clean-up faster and easier, and allows you to move on to other fun things in no time!
Don't Forget The Lube!
We recommend that people use a good quality lubricant for any kind of penetration, but this is especially true for anal play. Neither bums nor toys produce lubrication, and anal tissues are very delicate. Adding lube makes anal play both safer and more pleasurable!
When using lube, squeeze some into your hand and rub it along the length of your toy. You may also want to apply some lube to your anus, including internally, using a gloved finger.
As things progress, keep an eye on how slippery everything feels. A lot of folks find that they need to add more lube over the course of a session, particularly when using an anal dildo or beads.
Many people choose a water-based lube for anal play, since it’s compatible with all sex toy materials, as well as latex. A lot of people also prefer a thicker lube for anal play. If you’re using a silicone toy, be sure to avoid silicone lube, as it will interact with the material.
Slow And Steady
Start out slowly, with lots of lube, when using any kind of toy for anal penetration. Don’t rush or force anything, and instead try to relax as much as possible. If you’re playing with an anal dildo, plug, or massager, you might find that breathing deeply while pressing the tip of the toy against your outer sphincter and bearing down a bit can help the sphincter muscles to relax, and the tip of the toy to slip inside.
Once a portion of the toy is inside, you can play with gently pushing it in, and then letting it slip out again. This shouldn't hurt or feel uncomfortable in any way. If it does, slow down, add more lube, and take some deep breaths. You can also experiment with moving your body into different positions. As you get more turned on and more relaxed, you'll probably find that you’re able to take in more of the toy, but if not, that’s okay too! Do what feels pleasurable and comfortable for you.
If you’re working with anal beads, take your time relaxing and getting things warmed up before slowly starting to insert the beads, pausing between each one. Notice what it feels like as each bead passes over the sphincter muscles. You can begin slowly pulling the beads out anytime during sex play (some people like to try and time this with orgasm, but it’s really a matter of personal preference). Pay attention to what it feels like just before a bead pops out, as it comes out, and what it feels like after a bead has passed across your sphincter muscles. You can also experiment with pushing beads back in and pulling them out again.
Follow the Curve
If you’re playing with an Aneros prostate massager, you’ll want to position it so that the shorter, thicker end presses against the perineum when the toy is inserted all the way into the anus. Insert the longer part of the toy about halfway, ensuring that it curves toward your belly button. Take some deep breaths and try to relax. Slowly, you’ll start to feel your body draw the rest of the toy inside.
Aneros massagers aren’t designed for a lot of 'in-and-out' penetration. Once you’ve got a massager in place, we recommend that you breathe and relax. During this time, you can also do contraction exercises with your Aneros. If you want, try doing 20-30 contractions of your sphincter muscles, contracting as you inhale and relaxing as you exhale. The body becomes in tune with this cycle of squeezing and relaxing, and you may begin to experience involuntary contractions of the sphincter muscles.
You can also add in some extra touch while using your Aneros. Try playing with your genitals or anywhere else that turns you on. You may find you’re quicker to orgasm the first few times you use an Aneros massager because of the extra stimulation, but unless you’re trying to avoid reaching orgasm quickly, why not go for it?!
Learning To Control Your Muscles
If you’re playing with a butt plug, you’ll likely find that it slides out the first few times you use it. As you get more comfortable with anal penetration, you can learn to control your muscles and keep the toy inside. This won't always work (for example, laughing and sneezing will likely both cause the plug to slip out). But once you're comfortable taking the butt plug all the way in, you can start to play with control by allowing it to slip out a little, and then trying to draw it back in. With time, practise, and increased comfort, you’ll likely find that you can gain a lot more control over your muscles.
Speed And Depth
If you’re using an anal dildo, once you're comfortable you can start experimenting with slower and faster strokes, and varying the depth of penetration. If you want to, you can try and build up speed, noticing the difference between fast, shallow strokes and slow, deep ones. Pay attention to your breathing and to how the rest of your pelvis and body feel during anal penetration. This is one of the great benefits of using sex toys to explore; you can do it by yourself and focus solely on your own pleasure and response.
Anal Toy As Side Show
If you’re playing with a butt plug, and you have some control over keeping it in place, you can explore participating in other sex acts while your butt plug remains inside. Try masturbating to orgasm, or having sex with a partner. See what it feels like to massage your perineum, or stimulate other parts of your body while you've got your butt plug in place. Many people report that having an orgasm with a butt plug inside really increases the intensity of their orgasm, as well as their body awareness during orgasm.
Some people like to use anal dildos and butt plugs for double penetration. Double penetration is an activity that requires lots of patience, lube, and protection in order to be done safely and comfortably, with or without a partner. It's important to remember not to transfer any fluids or material from the anus to other orifices. If you're interested in exploring double penetration, we recommend reading about it first, and starting with a small anal toy.
Partner Meet Anal Toy
The main drawback to using an anal dildo or butt plug for anal play (as opposed to using a body part, like a finger), is that you don't get the same immediate feedback loop. This means that using any kind of anal toy requires lots of communication if you're inserting one for a partner or letting a partner insert one for you. It’s a good idea to talk about things a bit in advance. We also recommend that whoever is being penetrated use the toy on themselves while their partner watches. This gives the other person a chance to see what you like, and gives both of you a chance to get comfortable and excited.
It’s worth noting that if you're looking for a toy that you can use for ‘in-and-out’ anal penetration with a partner, we recommend anal-safe dildos (not butt plugs, massagers, or beads).
Finally, if you're planning on sharing your toy with a partner, or using it for anal penetration as well as penetration of other body parts, it’s best to put a new condom on the toy for each use, in order to minimize the risk of transmitting bacteria or infections.
Care and Cleaning
Silicone, metal, hard plastic, and glass toys can last a long time when properly cared for. They are non-porous materials, meaning that any bacteria stays on the surface of the toy, and can be washed off with mild soap and water. In addition, solid silicone and stainless-steel toys can be boiled in water for a few minutes, in order to sanitize them.
Do note that silicone and elastomer can be easily damaged, as even a small cut will often turn into a large tear. It’s best to keep your silicone and elastomer toys away from sharp objects, and with elastomer toys, ensure that they are stored separately from jelly rubber toys. If you're using your toy with a harness, take extra care to ensure that it's not forced through the opening.
For more information, check out our article, Learn About Sex Toy Materials!