What Are Anal Beads?

Medically Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner, MD on July 05, 2023
3 min read

Anal beads are sex toys used during sex — either partnered or solo — to enhance your orgasm. Anal beads look like a variety of bulbs attached to a cord with a grip on one end. They are intended for insertion into the anus, and the end grip should make them easy to remove. The insertion and removal of anal beads stimulates the sensitive nerves at the entrance of the anus which increases sexual pleasure.

Anal beads range from small to large depending on your experience and comfort with anal penetration. You can also get anal beads that have bulbs that are uniform in size or ones that increase in size on the cord. The beads are inserted slowly into the rectum and pulled out at varying speeds before or during orgasm.

Using anal beads can enhance pleasure in almost any sex act for every body and partner combination. Anal beads don’t require a partner either — they can be an addition to masturbation. In fact, if you’re new to anal stimulation, using anal beads on your own can be a low-pressure way to ease yourself into it.

Anal beads can be a new and exciting sex toy to introduce into foreplay and intercourse. Anal beads stimulate the erogenous zone in your anus, providing endless pleasure possibilities for everybody. Sex therapist Rachel Needle, PsyD, quoted in Health, points out that anal beads especially stimulate the anal sphincter muscles when moved in and out.

Using anal beads with a partner can also be an intimate and satisfying experience to share together since it requires open and continuous communication about both the emotional and physical sides of the sexual encounter. 

If you’re using them with a partner, you can both have them in, switch off, or focus on increasing one person’s pleasure. Ultimately, the goal of using anal beads is to maximize pleasure.

Anal beads stimulate the nerve endings of your anus in their removal and reinsertion.

Butt plugs, on the other hand, are sex toys that provide an internal fullness or pressure. Butt plugs can be used in preparation for penetrative anal sex and are meant to be inserted and stay in place. They tend to be shorter than dildos and have a larger flared end to keep them inside you.

If you’re new to anal beads, make sure that you are approaching them with patience.

Talking to Your Partner About Trying Anal Beads

If you’d like to try anal beads with your partner, discuss your interest and desires, and try to cultivate an open-minded, playful approach. You might pick beads out together, or if one of you has experience, demonstrate or discuss.

Here are ways you can try anal beads safely: 

  • Decide between a rigid or soft strand of beads. Rigid strands are easier to insert but are less flexible.  
  •  Buy high-quality anal beads. Silicone, non-porous anal beads are good for beginners as they are soft and easy to clean.
  •  Use lots of a high-quality lube. Silicone-based lubes work well unless you’re using silicon beads. In that case, opt for a water-based lube or use a condom.
  •  Start slowly and know your limits. Discuss those limits with your partner before and during intercourse. 
  • Communicate your emotions about anal experimentation with your partner.
  •  Sanitize after every use. 

While anal play can be very pleasurable, it’s important to use lots of lube and stop if anything hurts. Deep breathing can help your body relax while the anal beads are being pulled out, which can help increase comfort and pleasure.

Cleaning anal beads  after every session is a must. You should wash your anal beads right away so bacteria doesn’t linger. Use a mild antibacterial soap and hot water, and make sure to get every nook and cranny. You can also put your anal beads in the dishwasher.

Alternatively, you can soak your anal beads in a weak bleach solution of 1-to-9 parts bleach to water, leave the beads in the solution, and then wash in hot water with gentle soap to ensure proper sanitization. It is also important to note that anal beads should not be a shared toy. It is best if you and your partner have your own set for proper cleanliness and dual pleasure.