Many people shy away from the idea of anal sex. Maybe they think that only gay men enjoy anal sex and use anal sex toys. Maybe they've never considered the anus as an erotic area, or they feel it's somehow icky. Or maybe they just have no idea how to actually do it. Whatever the case, rest assured that anyone - that means whether they're straight, gay, men, women or couples - can enjoy anal sex. All you need is the desire to do it. In fact, anal sex can be a wonderful way to spice things up in the bedroom. In fact, those who practice this sex act will tell that you that it feels great ... at least once you get past your initial reservations. Why? This area of the body is rich with sensory nerve endings and pleasure points, which can lead to incredible orgasms.

Interested in testing out the back door? Here are some tips on toys that'll help you get started - and get the most out of your experience. (There are a few caveats to anal sex. Find out more in Why You Shouldn't Have Anal Sex.)

Why Anal?

In a man, penetration stimulates the prostate, which can result in deeper, more intense and longer-lasting orgasms.

For women, some of the 8,000 or so sensory nerve endings found in the clitoris reach as far as the anus. In addition to the shared connection of sensory nerves, a thin membrane is all that separates the vaginal cavity from the rectal cavity. Therefore, some women find that touching the anal area or using an anal toy is highly erotic and leads to a more intense orgasm. (Read more about the female anatomy in 10 Things You Don't Know About Vaginas.)

The Rules of Anal Play

There are a few general rules about anal sex toys that you should always follow:
  • Relax your body
  • Go slow
  • If using an anal toy with your partner, COMMUNICATE!
  • Use (thicker) anal lubricant
  • Listen to your body
  • Listen to your partner
  • Clean toys thoroughly with soap and water or a sex toy cleaner
  • NEVER switch an anal toy from the anus to the vagina

How to Choose an Anal Sex Toy

There are several types of anal sex toys, but what makes a great first-time anal toy? First, it should be small and slender. You don’t get a medal for starting with something bigger, so start small and then work your way up if it feels right.

The next piece of advice for beginners is to make sure that any toy you choose has a smooth surface. Bumps and ridges can be added later, but they're best for more advanced users. Vibration is another feature that you might want to add. Vibrating toys can be fun and interesting and they may help you relax. Finally, go for a non-porous toy. Anal bacteria is not fun to be around and you want to be able to get it off your toy when you're finished playing.

Anal Toys 101

There are a few key types of toys designed just for anal play. You can use any, all or none of them (fingers work too). Here's what you need to know to choose the ones that might work for you and your partner.

Anal Beads

Anal beads consist of a row of beads of graduated sizes that are strung together. They are inserted into the anus and, just before an orgasm, they are slowly pulled out to intensify the orgasm. The beads stimulate the anal opening as it opens and closes around each bead.

Until recently, anal beads were connected by a string. Since that was an invitation for bacteria and breakage (oops and ouch!), anal beads are now connected by a continuous piece of material, such as silicone.

Fun Factory Bendy Anal Beads

Anal Dildos

Dildos can be used as anal toys, but make sure that they have a wide base so that the toy doesn’t get lost! They are meant to move back and forth in the anus to achieve orgasm. Dildos can be used with a hand or a harness. (If using a harness make sure the dildo is at least six inches long and has a flared base so that it stays put in the harness ring.) Dildos come in a wide variety of sizes, materials, textures and colors.

Smoother dildos are best for anal play. For beginners, silicone dildos are recommended because they're more flexible.

Luxotiq Isis Dildo

Butt Plugs

Many people enjoy butt plugs because they provide a sense of fullness in their rectum. During orgasm, anal muscles contract along with the muscles of the vagina or penis. Therefore, plugs intensify pleasure. Since the wall between the vagina and rectum is thin, many women like to use plugs during sex.

Butt plugs are meant to stay put thanks to the anal muscles gripping the neck of the toy. They should have a small narrow neck that expands to a flared base. Butt plug sizes range from about the size of a pinky finger to some that are as big as a fist. They are available in silicone, glass and even metal.

Njoy Pure Plugs

Prostate Massagers

The prostate, or p-spot, is located about two inches into the anus. Stimulating it can produce bigger, better orgasms in men than just about anything else. Prostate stimulators are specifically designed to massage the prostate via the anus. Some prostrate massagers vibrate for an added sensation.

LUX LX2 Prostate Massager

Whether you decide to venture into anal pleasure is up to you, but don’t be intimidated by anal sex toys. They can be a fun way to take your orgasms to a whole new level. Now, aren't you just a tiny bit curious?