Exactly How to Use a Butt Plug, According to Experts

For those of you who are unfamiliar, butt plugs are pretty much THE sex accessory of anal play. And while some people may shy away from them out of fear of judgement or the unknown, this type of sex toy can elicit an incredible amount of pleasure when used correctly.

In other words, don't let the stigma of butt plugs — and, let's be honest, anal sex in general — keep you away from exploring sensations outside of your genitals if that's what you want to do. Not only have 36 percent of women tried anal sex at least once in their life, but people in the United States buy more butt plugs than any other country, according to data collected by sex-toy retailer Lovehoney. If you're curious and want to learn more, you've come to the right place.

What Is a Butt Plug?

A butt plug is a sex toy designed for internal anal masturbation or anal sex. Though they come in various sizes — some can be as small as a pinky finger, others can be as wide as a fist — they all have a flared base. (And as a general FYI, all anal sex toys should have a flared base, since this prevents the toy from getting lost in the anal cavity.)

Butt plugs are also an extremely gender-neutral sex toy meant for all bodies to enjoy, regardless of someone's sexual orientation or preferences. And while not everyone may enjoy anal stimulation, "most everyone has the physical capacity for pleasure" with a butt plug, says clinical sexologist Sarah Melancon, PhD.

The Purpose of a Butt Plug

Butt plugs are a type of sex toy used for anal stimulation, and Dr. Melancon says the purpose of using a butt plug has a lot to do with the fact that it just feels really good. "Butt plugs can help create a stretching, opening, and/or full sensation that many find pleasurable," she says. This is especially true for those who have a prostate, since "the prostate can be most directly stimulated through the anus."

Butt plugs can also be used in a variety of different ways, both by yourself and with a partner. Some people may enjoy just using a butt plug, while others may enjoy combining the stimulation from a butt plug with simultaneous genital masturbation or vaginal intercourse. It really depends on your preferences.

Lastly, it's also common for people to use butt plugs in BDSM play or to fulfill a fantasy — like, say, if you wanted to wear a butt plug in public with no one but your partner knowing.

How to Prepare For a Butt Plug

I know what you're thinking: "Um, what about poop?" And yes, poop naturally comes with the territory of any sort of anal play. But if you're worried about it, you can plan on playing a few hours after a bowel movement, which can help "reduce the risk," says Dr. Melancon. But ultimately, even if you don't do any sort of prep work, there may not be any poop hanging out in your rectum anyway (since it's usually stored higher up, in the colon).

You should also plan on having plenty of lube on hand since the anus is not self-lubricating, Dr. Melancon says. Just make sure that if you're using silicone lube, you're not using a butt plug (or any other sex toy) made of silicone, since silicone can break down the sex-toy material. If your butt plug or sex toy of choice is made of silicone, opt for a water-based lube instead.

Lastly, check in with yourself before beginning. Dr. Melancon recommends asking yourself, "Do I have any fears, worries, or concerns?" And if so, consider why you feel that way. If you have a partner, share these thoughts with them to get to the root of the problem. Remember, if the thought of using a butt plug is not a "F*ck yes," consider it to be a "F*ck no."

How to Use a Butt Plug

Dr. Melancon says you should start by essentially turning yourself on. "Begin with external anal stimulation to warm up the area and increase blood flow." You can do this by putting lube on your finger and massaging it in and around the anus, using a sex toy wherever it feels good on your body, or by touching yourself in whatever way that feels good.

Once you feel stimulated, you can start slowly inserting the butt plug with lots, and lots, and lots of lube. "I highly recommend gently pushing the anus out as you insert, to make more room and insertion easier. (Think about how the anus works when you poop — this is basically the opposite motion!)" says Dr. Melancon.

You might feel a lot of pressure with the butt-plug insertion, and if this is the case, Dr. Melancon recommends simultaneously stimulating your genitals using your hands or other toys. This will not only work as a pleasurable distraction of sorts, but it will keep you feeling turned on.

Then, as the butt plug is partially inserted, squeeze the anus with the toy inside, as this can "help the anal sphincters relax and open," says Dr. Melancon. Once it is fully inserted, enjoy the pleasure and "fullness" you may feel.

Just note that in order to feel pleasure, you don't have to insert the butt plug entirely. Go at your own pace, enjoy what feels good, and let the pleasure direct you. "Focus on your breathing, which may help you relax and sense what your body needs next," suggests Dr. Melancon. If at any time you feel pain past the point of discomfort, don't ignore it. Instead, slow down, recharge, or stop and engage a different erogenous zone for a break.

As a general safety precaution, too, know that butt plugs should stay reserved for your booty — unless washed and rinsed thoroughly. While it's OK to move sex toys from vaginal stimulation to anal stimulation, it's not advised to move toys and fingers from the anus to the vagina, since doing so could cause a bacterial infection.

What Should You Consider When Buying a Butt Plug?

Make sure the butt plug has a flared base. "Anything going into the anus must have a flared base," says Dr. Melancon. This is because toys without flared bases can become unretrievable in your anal cavity.

Start small. Don't be afraid to start with some smaller plug options, get used to the sensations, and then upgrade to larger sizes once you decide you enjoy the sensation.

Opt for body-safe materials. This includes medical-grade silicone, hard plastic, stainless steel, borosilicate glass, and ceramic, which will be noted in the description of the sex toy online or on the box. "Avoid any toys that are made of a jelly-like material, porous materials, contain phthalates, or smell strange," advises Dr. Melancon. It's also best to buy a butt plug instead of making a homemade one or trying to DIY it yourself.

For beginner use, you can try this butt-plug set made of silicone, as "buying a set ranging from small to large will give you various options to explore." For some other pretty butt-plug recommendations, you can also browse here.