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The pandemic-induced lockdown inspired all sorts of creative outlets for horniness: People are still having more phone sex, snapping artful nudes, and investing in vibrators. So if you’ve always been curious about butt plugs, it’s never too late to explore new horizons. Experts agree that a butt plug can enhance your sex life solo or with a partner, as long as you’re patient and properly prepared.
The most important rule is to go slowly. “It’s important to start small and use a lot of water-based lube (silicone can degrade your toys) so you’re not damaging anything,” says Gigi Engle, certified sexologist and author of All the F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life. “People think that because they can handle a big penis or dildo in other parts of their bodies that they can handle anything, but that’s not true.”
Whether you’re new to anal penetration or not, it’s important to remember that it should never be painful. “Getting turned on first will help you relax,” says queer sex writer and influencer behind the account @queernightstands, Molly-Margaret Johnson. “Masturbate or use a vibrator or your fingers to warm up your asshole.” She also recommends romancing yourself with ambiance for deeper relaxation. “Have a glass of wine, smoke a little, light a candle, and turn on some sexy music.”
Ty Mitchell, a gay adult entertainer and writer of the “First Openly Gay Book Club” newsletter explains why butt plugs are so pleasurable. “It’s a sensation of fullness and a feeling of pressure that permeates the whole pelvic area that’s intense and good,” says Mitchell. “You just have to lean into it with a little bit of submission.” And if you’re hesitant about making a mess, don’t worry. “Sex is inherently messy, whether it’s emotionally messy or physically messy, and that’s what makes it amazing,” says Johnson. “Whether it’s shitting, squirting, sweating, cumming, or whatever, it’s just part of the deal.”
Rounding out our panel of experts is Em Odesser, a writer, mental-health advocate, and sex educator, and Liara Roux, sex worker, organizer, and writer. Keep reading to see what they recommend as their favorites. And remember: Always make sure to wash your toys and your hands.
Best Butt Plugs for Beginners
Available in three different sizes, this trainer set is perfect for starting out and “to get ready for larger ones,” Engle says.
“Its small, minimalist design makes it a nonthreatening beginner’s option, soothing nervous newbies,” says Roux. “The smooth silicone construction makes it easy to slip in and out painlessly, and the vibration is a pleasant sensation — perfect for anyone who wants to explore prostate play for the first time, or anyone who has been burned in the past and wants something that won’t hurt!”
Get the same minimalist design with a smooth silicone construction for a fraction of the price with this Maude cone.
This beginner trio of nightstand eye candy makes for a cute gift for a lover or yourself. “They’re all small and great for starters. Plus, the colors and shapes make the endeavor that much more fun,” says Johnson.
Plugs are also a way to spice up your nudes, as Odesser suggests. “I love the idea of sending a cheeky nude (he-he) with a plug in, especially as so much of our dating lives is relegated to the online world. A lot of indie shops sell cute and affordable ones.”
For more fun with nudes (or the makings of a great collector’s set), Playboy’s first-ever sex toy line is highly photogenic. This pack comes with aluminum trainers in three sizes, each with the iconic Playboy bunny on the cap.
For $150, this set includes three toys, an instruction guide, an enema, and a “lube launcher.” “I’m not the most experienced with backdoor play, but b-Vibe’s set seems to cater to that exact situation,” says Odesser. “For the price of one expensive vibrator, you get a pretty good range of toys, which means you can explore with some flexibility.”
Best Butt Plugs for Experienced Users
With three ridges for more varied play, Engle says it “gives you room for experimentation, since you don’t have to put the whole thing in. You can experiment with how much feels good.”
This vibrating toy is noticeably more pointy at the tip. “You can use it as a clitoral vibrator for focused stimulation as well, but make sure the toy is thoroughly sterilized,” says Engle.
Square Peg Toys is the place to go when you simply cannot get enough. “They have toys large enough to satisfy the most insatiable booty holes,” says Roux. “Their famous double fist plug will give such overwhelming stretch and sense of fullness that even the brattiest bottom will have to admit that they can’t possibly fit any more.”
Once you’re familiar with what you can handle, a custom piece has tons of possibilities. “Hedonic Glass makes the prettiest glass butt plugs I’ve seen,” says Roux. “They’re less comfortable than silicone but very easy to clean. Each butt plug is handblown to your specifications, so whether you want something small and cute or an option that can give you a bit of a stretch, they’ve got you covered.”
Best Butt Plugs for Couples
The We-Vibe Ditto is the perfect starter toy for couples who want to add tech into the mix. The vibrating plug can be controlled by an app to keep even the most advanced among us guessing. It’s on the pricier side, but that just means you get features like ten interesting vibration patterns that rumble in the right ways.
Anal beads are part of a more involved process, making this hybrid more fit for advanced users. “What makes it feel really good is when you’re removing it one step at a time,” says Engle.
“This one has beads around the neck of it that simulate rimming,” says Mitchell. Combining a vibrator with anal play, it engages everything in that erogenous zone.
Want to surprise your partner with a blinged-out booty? This vibrating butt plug comes in four sizes, and each size has different color options. It comes with a remote that has a 30-foot range and can take you or your partner through 15 patterns and six vibration intensities.
Best Butt Plugs for Prostate Stimulation
Like the G-spot, the prostate can be a pleasure center if you reach it right. With this toy’s curved shape, it’ll hit that sweet spot. Engle also says that “it presses on the perineum, which adds extra stimulation.”
“This daddy is sexy, and its weight alone will turn you on,” Johnson says. “This heavy plug is perfect for temperature play.” Try running it under warm water for some extra heat.
“This is the Cadillac of butt toys,” claims Engle — a luxury item filled with fancy features.
Best Butt Plug If You Have a Penis
For those with one, penis rings make erections stronger and last longer. Engle assures that this toy is “not actually scary.”
Simple but effective. Just as Engle mentioned above, one reviewer can attest that this two-in-one sex toy “kept them hard and restricted ejaculation.”
- Gigi Engle, certified sexologist and author of All the F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life
- Molly-Margaret Johnson, queer sex writer and influencer behind the account @queernightstands
- Ty Mitchell, a gay adult entertainer and writer of the First Openly Gay Book Club newsletter
- Em Odesser, writer, mental health advocate, and sex educator
- Liara Roux, writer, sex worker, and organizer