7 Reasons To Love Butt Plugs

Illustrated by: Abbie Winters
At age 19, I was still unfamiliar with the wide world of sex toys. I had a vibrator, a dildo, and a pair of handcuffs, but I wasn’t particularly crazy about using the few toys I owned. One afternoon, as I passed by a sex toy store in the West Village, NY, I decided to pop in and find something new. I knew I loved having my butt played with because of how delightfully sensitive my body felt when my partners fingered it, but I’d never owned a butt plug. So I immediately purchased an “anal training kit” — three graduated plugs that increased in size.
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As soon as I got home, I lubed up the smallest plug, inserted it, and checked myself out in the mirror. The plug’s base peeking out from between my butt cheeks looked adorable — and felt highly erotic. Sure, I could have tried using my vibrator or dildo anally, but neither of them had a flared base or stopping point on them. Not only did I run the risk of inserting my toys too far and losing them — my friend who is a hospital nurse says this happens much more often than you might think — but I also didn’t think that the wide, log-like shape of my vibe or dildo would feel good anally.
So what makes a butt plug different than a dildo or vibrator? While there are many toys designed for anal use, a butt plug tends to have a couple distinguishing characteristics.
A plug is designed to go in and stay in for the duration of its use. While, theoretically, you could absolutely manoeuvre a plug in and out if you wanted to, folks tend to use dildos for the “in-and-out” sensation. That’s because plugs have a tapered shape that begins small at the top, becomes large in the middle, and tapers back down to a slim diameter at the neck of the toy right before the flared base at the bottom. The thin neck allows for the sphincter to close a bit more so that the plug can be retained inside the body and worn comfortably.
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Unlike other anal toys, plugs can easily be worn over longer periods of time. Many people enjoy wearing them for the duration of their playtime, and some folks enjoy going out with a butt plug inserted all night. You can also opt to wear a plug for just a few moments.
But not all butt plugs are created equal. Even though I initially liked the plugs I purchased, I quickly learned that they were made from PVC and had a jelly-rubber core, two materials that often contain phthalates, which are chemicals used to soften plastic so it's flexible. Although phthalates are found in everything from shower curtains to plastic wrap, exposure to them has been linked to hormone disruption, so many experts don't consider sex toys that contain them body-safe. In fact, after only a few months, my first butt plugs melted into a disgusting tar-like puddle after sitting unattended for a week or so during a warm season.
So since there’s so much to learn (and love) about butt plugs, I’ve compiled some great reasons to try them — and a few tips for incorporating plugs into play. Whether you’re new to butt stuff or have been acquainted with your bum for a while, be sure to check back, as I’ll be updating this comprehensive guide with more tips and products I love.
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Illustrated by: Abbie Winters
Plugs are versatile.

You know what’s great about butts? We all have one. Regardless of your gender or the gender of your sexual partner(s), everyone can use a butt plug. The anal opening has the highest concentration of nerve endings compared to the rest of the anal canal, so even the smallest plug can feel pleasurable at shallow depths.
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Illustrated by: Abbie Winters
Plugs make prostate stimulation a breeze.

If you or your partner has a penis, you can use a longer butt plug to stimulate the prostate, which is two to three inches inside the rectum on the belly side. Firm, curved toys are ideal for P-spotting, and it’s often easier to achieve and maintain constant pressure on the prostate with a plug as opposed to fingers or a penis. Prostate stimulation creates a very different pleasurable sensation from external stimulation of the penis. Some people like to have their dicks played with while a plug is in, but others just focus on each area independently.
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Illustrated by: Abbie Winters
Plugs give you some G-spot action, too.

If you or your partner has a vulva, you can indirectly stimulate the G-spot through the thin lining that separates the vaginal and anal canals. Some people prefer to stimulate their G-spots this way, because it’s less intense on the G-spot itself and combines the pleasurable sensations of anal play with G-spotting. You can also use most plugs during vaginal intercourse, and if your partner is penetrating you with their penis while the plug is in, the plug can create subtle pressure against the shaft, adding a whole new element of stimulation to penis-in-vagina sex.
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Illustrated by: Abbie Winters
Be slow and gentle.

As I always say, you’ve got to wine and dine the butthole before entering it. Don’t be afraid to spend time focusing on the outside of the butt before you go inside. Even though it’s generally good to warm up before any kind of penetrative play happens, the rectum is much more delicate than the vaginal canal. There are two rings of muscle at the anal opening called the sphincter, and while you can consciously control the outer layer of the sphincter, the inner ring does not relax at your will. It’s easy to make this muscle tense if you are feeling anxious. Even when you’re taking your time, it’s still possible to tear or irritate the lining of the rectum, so pay attention to how your body responds to the stimulation you’re receiving.
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Illustrated by: Abbie Winters
Apply lube liberally.

Before you insert anything, whether it be a finger, toy, or penis, slather it in lube. Unlike the vagina, the butt doesn’t self-lubricate, so a lubricant is mandatory. Using a thick, water-based or silicone lubricant is ideal for anal play, because they are longer-lasting than the standard thin, water-based lubes that pharmacies carry.
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Illustrated by: Abbie Winters
And avoid numbing creams at all costs!

As the owner of a sex toy store, I’m frequently asked about whether numbing sprays and creams are worth using, to which I always respond with an emphatic, “NO. STAY AWAY.” Look, there are no shortcuts. Pain and discomfort are the body’s natural signals that you need to slow down, and if you’ve blocked your ability to feel those sensations, you may injure yourself. For this same reason, it’s wise to be sober when you’re working with something as delicate as the butt.
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Illustrated by: Abbie Winters
Get in a comfortable position.

I like to recline when I’m inserting a butt plug. I put a bunch of pillows behind my back and pull my legs back a bit; then, I reach around the outside of my thigh to access my butt. You might feel better being on all fours in “doggy-style” position, or hovering over the plug so you can lower yourself down onto it. Sometimes laying down a towel (or sex blanket) underneath you can help you relax, so that you’re not worrying about getting lube or bodily fluids on anything. Remember: You’re working with your butt. Encountering poop is natural and inevitable, so don’t stress it.
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