Do you know that the anal area consists of a ton of pleasurable nerve endings? Maybe that explains why so many people love the sensation of anal sex and other types of anal play. If exploring this erotic region is on your list of interests, it's hard to go wrong with starting your experimentation with butt plugs. They are one of the most common anal toy types available. Manufacturers create butt plugs with both beginners and advanced users in mind.

Even if you're sure you want to try anal pleasure, you may be worried about purchasing a butt plug. What should you be looking for? Are there certain things that a beginner should avoid? I want your first time purchasing a butt plug to be as worry-free as possible. So, before you start thinking about purchasing a butt plug, check out these eight tips for choosing a butt plug. Skim the entire article or go step-by-step to help you narrow down your potential butt plug choices. Enjoy!

Make Sure It's Safe for Anal Play

Unfortunately, this has to be said. Some manufacturers produce "butt plugs" that aren't actually safe for use in the butt. Make sure any anal toy you want to use has a wide base that's wider than the width of the toy itself and provides a good "stopping point." The base of the plug is supposed to stay outside of the body for easy removal. So, if it looks like the toy may slip entirely inside the body, you may want to consider a different type of butt plug. (Learn more about the risks of anal play in Why You Shouldn't Have Anal Sex.)

Consider the Size of the Butt Plug

The biggest rule of thumb is to go smaller in size rather than larger. You can always purchase a larger plug after enjoying your time with a smaller plug. However, you might find it hard to enjoy your sessions with a plug that's too large for you. Before purchasing a toy, you may want to try anal pleasure with fingers and purchase a toy that's similar in size to what you enjoy with your hand. As a rule of thumb, many beginners can easily enjoy toys in the 0.75" to 1.25" diameter range. Going much larger than that may be larger than some first-time explorers may like.

Contemplate Where You'd Like to Wear It

Where you would like to enjoy your butt plug makes a huge difference in what you might like to buy. If you want to wear your plug out and about, you'll want to find something that is especially designed for long-term wear. Certain butt plug designs (especially those that are very slender without much of a curve or a varying thickness to them) may slip out particularly easily. To try and help your plug stay in, if you foresee this being a problem, a pair of comfortably tight underwear or a butt plug harness may be a good addition to your purchase.

Read the Reviews

This goes hand-in-hand with the above-mentioned tip. You need to read the reviews for your potential butt plug. Some butt plugs will stay in better than others. If you're going to enjoy your plug while lying in the bed with your partner, it may not be an issue. If you're hoping to wear it out to get groceries, make sure that the reviewers agree that it stays in pretty well. Some people have been using various butt plugs for years; take advantage of their knowledge before purchasing one to ensure it's right for you.

Think About the Material

Materials for butt plugs vary widely. While I will always recommend that you avoid any toy made with phthalates, that still leaves quite a few material options for you. Phthalate-free butt plugs can be made from wood, glass, silicone, plastic, rubber, jelly and other materials. You'll want to think about the clean-up, too. If you plan on sharing your plug with another person (like your partner), definitely consider a non-porous material, such as silicone, that can be sterilized.

Include Rigidity in Your Material Concerns

While you're considering the material, think about the rigidity you'd enjoy. Especially if you're going to be wearing it out and about, you may want a plug that's made from a flexible material that bends with your movement. More rigid materials may work great for stationary play and prostate play, and some people just generally enjoy the sensation of a toy that doesn't bend or give. However, if you are going to wear the butt plug long term during the day, you may find that you need something that bends with your body to increase your comfort and pleasure.

Choosing the Right Lube for Your Butt Plug

Much like everything else in life, most people have preferences towards a specific type of lubricant. Some people really love water-based lube for its ability to simply clean up or be compatible with most materials. Others swear by silicone-based lubricant because it lasts for such a long time. It is important that you choose the right lube for your butt plug. If you have a lube preference (check your bottle of lube to see what type of lube you already have!), make sure to select a butt plug that's compatible with the lube. Water-based is compatible with all materials. Silicone-based lube can be used with all toy materials EXCEPT silicone toys.

Consider a Set of Butt Plugs

This is a good idea especially if you're hoping to use your butt plugs to work up to penetration with a penis. Many sets include plugs of similar designs that slowly increase in diameter. This will allow you to gently work up to a larger size that's similar to the diameter of a penis. You may want to slowly work up to this size over a single session or draw it out over multiple sessions; it's totally up to you.

Alongside these suggestions for purchasing a butt plug, there are a couple of other things a beginner should know about using anal toys. The most important thing is to relax when using toys. Like any muscle, the anal area can become tense if you aren't relaxed. If that means you end up playing solo the first couple times in order to relax, that's perfectly fine. The second-most important thing is using the proper amount of lubricant. While the vaginal area provides its own lubrication, the anal area does not. Make sure you use enough lubricant; and even once you think you've used enough, add a bit more for good measure. Anal tissue is delicate, and you don't want to cause unintentional injury. For more tips before you dive into your new toy, you check out some tips for pleasurable anal play.

Now you're equipped with the knowledge you need to make a good, educated purchase of your first butt plug and enjoy your first time playing with it. Remember that anal pleasure may take a bit of experimentation to find what works best for you. If the first plug doesn't work great, consider trying a different one or trying it on a different day. Our bodies don't respond to pleasure the same way every day, so maybe another day is all you need. Take your time, and of course, have orgasmic fun with it!