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What is a Butt Plug?

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 27, 2021

A butt plug is a sex toy that goes in the anus. They are usually shaped like a cone, starting narrow and getting wider before narrowing again. Butt plugs also have a wide base to prevent the toy from going in too far. 

Unlike many other sexual toys, such as dildos, a butt plug is meant to remain in place during sexual play.

A butt plug can be used to stimulate the anus to prepare for sex. This is because the tip of the plug is close to the female g-spot and the prostate, the male g-spot.

Why People Like It

The anus has a lot of nerve endings, and is near both the male and female g-spots. It is common to stimulate the anus for sexual pleasure.

People with prostates enjoy butt plugs because they stimulate the gland, potentially leading to a prostate orgasm. Even if one doesn't occur, most still report that it feels good. There are butt plugs that are specially shaped to reach the prostate.

People with vaginas also enjoy butt plugs. Wearing one during penetrative vaginal sex can simulate double penetration—getting penetrated in the anus and vagina at the same time.

People who enjoy anal sex use butt plugs to warm up the anus before sex. They may also masturbate using a butt plug when they are by themselves to enhance the experience.

Butt plugs can also be part of dominance and submission games.

How to Try a Butt Plug Safely

Staying In and Staying Out

When trying anal toys, always use something with a flared base. Your anus can suck things in and a flared base prevents that. A large ring or pull cord is also acceptable for safety.

Lubrication

Since the anus does not self lubricate like the vagina, always use plenty of lubrication. The anus and rectum are delicate. Lubrication helps to prevent tears and soreness, and it usually makes anal play feel more pleasurable. 

If you use a silicone toy, use a water-based lube. Silicone lube can make silicone toys degrade faster. 

Body-Safe Materials

Sex toys made from porous materials may not be body-safe. The sex toy industry is not regulated, despite the fact that these items go inside your body. Any toy that is made from plastic or acrylic may leech harmful chemicals into your anus. Additionally, these materials are porous. They can't be fully sanitized and bacteria may grow on them.

The safest materials for butt plugs are silicone, Pyrex glass, and stainless steel. These materials are non-porous—they can be sanitized and disinfected between uses. 

How to Play With a Butt Plug

Start slow. Anal play is often more enjoyable when you are relaxed. If you are tense, an anal tear may occur. Pay attention to how you are feeling. If something hurts a lot or doesn't feel right, slow down or stop. 

Start with something smaller than the butt plug. A finger is usually a great tool for warm up. If you don't want to spread bacteria from the anus to other parts of the body, or you want to keep your hands clean, wear a disposable latex or nitrile glove. Put lube on your finger and rub the rim of the anus gently before inserting your finger. Once you fit a finger or two in there comfortably, move on to inserting the butt plug. 

Experiment with different positions for butt plug insertion to find out which one is best for you. Each person is different and will find different positions most comfortable based on their specific anatomy.

Some people use numbing creams to avoid discomfort during anal play. However, this will prevent you from feeling when your body wants you to stop. For your safety, avoid using numbing cream when using a butt plug. 

Wash Your Hands

Even if your anus is clean, it can still harbor bacteria that can cause infections in the vagina. After you touch the anus, make sure to wash your hands before touching other genitals. Wash with warm water and soap to prevent UTIs and yeast infections.

Care and Cleaning

Most silicone toys can go in the dishwasher as long as they don't have a motor in them. This kills bacteria. Boiling glass, silicone, and stainless steel toys will also disinfect them. Make sure to do this before sharing a toy with a partner. Even if you only use the toy on yourself, disinfect it periodically to stay clean and healthy.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Allure: "A Beginner's Guide to Butt Plugs and How to Use Them for Anal Play."

Go Ask Alice: “Butt plug.”

Shape: "How to Use a Butt Plug: A Guide for Beginners."

Cosmopolitan: "How to use a butt plug."

NYMag: "What Is the Best Lube?"

Refinery29: "Your Complete Guide To Butt Plugs — One Of The Best Sex Toys Ever Invented."

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