Sex toys and products

Anal Sex Toys 101

Published: AUGUST 13, 2021 | Updated: DECEMBER 29, 2023
Anal sex toys are a great way to open up for further back door adventures, or just to enjoy on their own.

Every year, more and more people give anal sex a try. While the idea of anal intercourse was a hush-hush topic within my parent's lifetime, it's now a topic that's reached mainstream - all the way to magazine covers filled with "anal sex tips". While frank, honest discussion about anal pleasure is still harder to find it's still well-known enough that almost everyone has heard of anal sex - even if they've never chosen to partake.

It's no surprise that anal pleasure has become so popular! The anal region is packed full of sensitive nerve endings. It's really an entire erogenous zone to itself - even if you never slip anything inside! On our hunts for better, and more pleasurable, sex, it makes sense that this pleasure-packed zone finds itself a regular participant in the bedroom.

Whether you have a partner, three partners, or you're flying solo, anal sex toys can make anal pleasure WAY more fun. Not only can some of them give you hands-free pleasure, but a lot of anal sex toys are crafted to hit spots that can be difficult to hit with fingers alone. Plus, unless you're really into sitting around with your fingers up your butt, anal toys let you experience anal play for hours on end in a way that fingers and penises can't easily do.

Read: Don't Have Anal Sex If...


Anal Sex Toy Safety

You know the basics of anal sex safety already, right? If not, you've read up on these articles, right?

Because I don't want to spend paragraphs rehashing information you need to know - not when you're probably really, really excited to learn more about the toys to make this all possible!

And just in case, let's go over the very, very basics:

  • Go slow with anything anal.
  • Make sure to use lots and lots of lube.
  • Never do anal on a time limit.
  • Sharp pain is always bad. Stop if there's any sharp pain.
  • Communicate with your body - and/or your partner - to determine when you want to continue.

Of course, if playing with anal sex toys, there are a few other tips I'd really recommend:

Ensure every single anal body safe sex toy you purchase or play with has a flared base. This base - which is thicker than the toy itself - is what "anchors" the toy outside of the body. While you're at it, ensure that your anal sex toy's flared base is also firmly attached. A "flared base" doesn't do anybody any good if it can easily snap off of the toy - or a string can break.

Don't share anal sex toys with strangers. If you don't know the exact material it's made of and how it was sterilized, it shouldn't go up your butt. Just get one of your own.

Do your very very best to avoid getting anything anal-related anywhere near the vagina. The bacteria of the butt can give the vagina an infection, and it's just not fun when that happens. That means switching gloves, not "dipping" into the vagina for added lubrication when your anal toy needs it, and most importantly: never switch to vaginal fun with the same toy that was in your butt moments ago.


Don't be afraid to use Liberator sex furniture if need be. Reaching your own butt can be hard - especially if you aren't particularly flexible. Suction cup toys can help, too.

Keep track of your used anal toys. If you're someone who uses multiple anal toys a session (high-five!), keep track of where you put your toys after you've used them and before you've gotten up to clean them. Fecal bacteria is a real thing, and you should never place your used anal toys onto a surface you don't plan on cleaning ASAP after you're done. That's why a towel you can toss straight into the wash is a great place to temporarily house your toys before they make it into the sink for their full bath after play.

Butt Plugs

Designed to "set it and forget it", butt plugs are specifically crafted to be slid in the butt - then left alone. Once inside the body, that plug stimulates internal nerve endings that cause "fullness" for pleasurable sensations that still leave your hands free to do other things. While some people enjoy a "wiggling" sensation on their butt plug, most people won't enjoy a constant in-and-out sensation like with flared base dildos or other anal toys.

While most butt plugs are static toys without any special features, manufacturers have begun experimenting with butt plugs, so there are a wide variety of butt plugs with features out there now. Of course, you have the simple standard: vibrations in a butt plug like with the We-Vibe Ditto. Some butt plugs come with a weighted design to ensure you can't "forget" about it - like the best-selling b-Vibe Snug Plugs. The Vibrating Inflatable Plug XL features inflatable functionality to select the perfect size for your body while the XR Thump-It! Thumping Plug is equipped with micro-thrust technology that wiggles the toy inside of your butt - hands-free. Manufacturers are really getting creative with butt plugs!

Because of their discreet, "set it and forget it" design, butt plugs happen to be the anal toy of choice for discreet public wear. It also makes it a great choice if you're looking for pleasurable anal sensations to add to your usual sex acts - instead of doing anything specifically focused on anal.

Some other great articles to help you learn more about butt plugs include:


Anal Dilators

While anal dilators have been around for a long, long time in the medical world, they're just recently making their way over to the sexual world. Designed for stretching and relaxing the muscles for clinical reasons, anal dilators are available in various diameters and are slid into the butt just like a dildo. Unlike dildos, dilators are usually devoid of any texture, realism, or odd designs; they're just designed to slide into the butt to make it easy (and reliably repeatable!) to gently stretch and relax the anal muscles over time.

One of the biggest names to hit the anal dilator scene is the Odile. Instead of being a standard anal dilator, the Odile features an expanding design. Just turn the "key" on the base of the Odile, it slowly expands exactly 1mm. This makes it ideal for anal stretching or anal prep because you can choose the exact diameter of the toy you need - and you can gradually increase the diameter while you actively have the Odile in the butt too. It essentially replaces an entire kit of anal dilators - and offers more customization on top of that.

Anal dilators get a lot of use in the sex toy world for anal training. Anal dilation kits (or the Odile) can be a great way for someone to gradually increase the size of anal toys they can take. This is especially helpful for anyone who is brand new to anal who wants to have anal intercourse with a partner. Most of the stories about anal pain are from people who tried a biological penis for their first attempt at anal sex. Using anal dilators for weeks ahead of the "main event" drastically decreases the chance of injury, makes things more pleasurable, and instantly turns the entire thing into an erotic event to look forward to.

Some other great articles to help you learn more about anal dilators:

Anal Beads

Anal beads are a set of linked beads designed to go into the butt. Anal beads simulate the initial sensation of penetration - where the hole gradually opens up then gradually closes back up. Since you repeat this process for every single bead on the strand, anal beads really lend themselves well to people who love that movement of the anal entrance.

Anal beads of the past were plastic beads strung together on a cotton string. Since we've come pretty far in our knowledge about cleanliness and bacteria, it's pretty hard to locate anal beads like that anymore. Most modern-day anal beads are sets of silicone beads attached together by thinner layers of silicone.

Most anal beads come in graduated sizes. This means that the anal bead you insert first will be the smallest - while the anal beads later in the chain will be larger. This is especially helpful for those new to anal because it lets you choose exactly how far you go. There's no reason that you have to insert every anal bead on any given anal bead chain. You can insert it half-way - or just stick to the first bead if you want.

Anal beads can be used in the same way as butt plugs. You can pop as many in as are comfortable and then ignore them. However, for most people, anal beads are a bit more active. One common way to use them is to pop them all in - one by one - then gently tug the chain to pop them all back out, one-by-one. Some people like to pop the entire anal bead chain into their butt - then gently pull the chain of beads out of their body right at the point of orgasm to add even more sensation to their climax. It just depends on how YOU want to use it!


Some other great articles to help you learn more about anal beads:

Anal Dildos

We really should just call this "dildos", but "anal dildos" seemed more on-theme. Almost every dildo can be become an "anal dildo". All a dildo needs is that flared base we talked about before. As long as it has a flared base, it's ready and safe for anal play.

Anal dildos can be a load of fun if your interest in anal play includes pegging or eventual anal intercourse. Unlike some of the other anal toys out there, however, anal dildos are designed to be actively used. You can slide it in and lay back, but you'll likely find that your muscle contractions push the toy out unless you're actively holding it in place.

That's why anal dildos are really your best anal toy if the idea of "thrusting" and "fucking" is high on your list of anal play. You'll want to actively move the dildo - in and out of your body - to get the best sensations from an anal dildo.

And if your eventual goal is intercourse (whether with a silicone penis or a biological penis,) anal dildos can help you do a bit of the "prepwork" to help your body get ready for the sensations of penetration.

Prostate Massagers

Do you know about the prostate? It's a very sensitive spot - similar to the g-spot - located inside of the butt on people who have penises. Not only can the prostate be responsible for hands-free orgasms and some serious pleasure, but the prostate is also, simply, another erogenous zone that can add more pleasure during sexual enjoyment.

Unlike anal dildos or butt plugs, prostate massagers are specifically crafted to hit the prostate. For some manufacturers, this means a prostate massager design that's specifically curved for contact with every inch near the prostate, and for other manufacturers, that just means a massager that features a curved shaft with a full-coverage tip that's going to make great contact with the prostate.

Most prostate massagers are also designed to be slid inside of the body - and then left there. Through the internal contractions that happen during pleasure (and subsequently move things around inside of you), the prostate massager "rubs" the prostate - no hands required!

While some people have heard about prostate massagers and get very excited about the idea of hands-free orgasms, I always recommend some patience with these hands-free toys. Achieving hands-free orgasms with a p-spot massager isn't usually a "first time" experience, and most people may need to practice for months (or years!) to learn to reach that point. Not only do you need to strengthen the muscles that move the plug (so they don't get exhausted before you orgasm!), but you need to retrain your body to find this new type of sensation orgasmic. That can take some time.


Some other great articles to help you learn more about prostate massagers:

Anal Vibrators

Think of anal vibrators like any other type of anal sex toy - except they're equipped with vibrations. Anal vibrators can really be a huge category because it encapsulates any other type of sex toy that just happens to be equipped with some vibrations as well. Lucky for us, if you're looking for the most sensation possible, being able to easily view all anal vibrators means you can quickly find the toys that provide the most sensations.

Just like anywhere else on your body, your pleasure spots can really, really enjoy vibration. Even pressing the tip of a vibrator up against the anal entrance can feel amazing - and that's long before you even insert anything! Adding anal vibrations to an already-amazing anal toy can take your experience up a notch.

So if any of those toy types really appealed to you - but you'd like to get even MORE sensation from it - don't forget to see if it's available in a vibrating version. There are even vibrating anal beads at this point. The world of sex toy manufacturing really keeps giving us all of the pleasure products we could ever want.

Picking Your First Anal Toy

Now that you know what types of toys exist, which one should you choose - especially if this is your first toy!?!

Well, the "type" doesn't really matter; go with whatever speaks to your soul. The size, on the other hand, definitely matters. Most newbies to anal play assume that the depth is what matters - like you should select a 5" long dildo instead of an 8" long one.

That isn't so much the case. Diameter and width are what matter for your first anal toy. While the body is used to objects deep inside (because of how the butt operates), it's not-so-used to having the hole stretched open and kept open. That's why you'll want to pay attention to the diameter and width of your first anal toy to make sure that it's something your body can comfortably take.

Have you tried inserting any fingers into yourself before? If so, measure the circumference or diameter of those fingers to get a good idea of where your "starting point" for an anal toy would be.

If you haven't tried anything inside the butt before, I'd recommend something that's 1" or smaller. Anal toys come as small as 0.5" in diameter - and for people with extremely tight butts, that's definitely a plus. For a lot of people, though, the uber-slim items might be TOO small. I always recommend giving your fingers a try first, but if you haven't, be prepared to buy a toy or two to really "figure out" where your anal preferences lie.

And most importantly, be patient, have a good time, and have some serious, pleasurable fun!


Mistress Kay

Mistress Kay has a fondness for all things sexual. With a house that's quickly running out of room for all of her reading and vibrating pleasures, she spends her free time reading, writing, and learning about the sexual universe with her partners. She can be reached at Kinky World.

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