For far too long, anal play has been fetishized as an extreme sport rather than celebrated for the accessible dimension of pleasure that it rightly is. So we're here to dispel that stigma. Since it's Anal August, we're just going to say it: Butt stuff is great. So whether you stumbled onto this page because you're a tentatively curious anal beginner seeking out your first toy or you're a seasoned pro looking for a backdoor accouterment upgrade, you've come to the right place.
According to a 2021 study, nearly 30% of women said they found anal as pleasurable as vaginal sex, so we're here to banish any sort of "taboo" notions and make finding the right anal sex toy as easy as possible. Kate Balestrieri, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist suggests starting with "a smaller plug, dildo, finger, or vibrator, if it is your first time trying anal penetration. You can gradually increase the size or weight of the anal toy, number of fingers, or penetrating dildo, vibrator, or penis," she continues. She also recommends having plenty of lube on hand or even condoms to help make your play experience the best it can be.
Luckily, this month, in honor of Anal August, some of our favorite retailers, like Lovehoney and We-Vibe, are celebrating with hefty discounts and new additions to their already-packed anal sex toy lineups. Ahead, browse Dr. Balestrieri's professionally approved anal sex toy recommendations alongside some R29 favorites so that you can shop with confidence — no ifs, ands, or butts.
According to Dr. Balestrieri, the biggest mistake anal beginners make is choosing a toy of the wrong size. The booty explorer eliminates that risk with its silicone plugs in three sizes, which offer a wide range of sensations for all body shapes, sizes, and experience levels. The cup bases are an extra level of convenience as well. Stick it to any smooth surface and ride it to oblivion for an orgasmic experience you won't forget.
The unique shape of We-Vibe's Ditto makes it perfect for contouring to any body shape or size. Lovehoney's sexologists recommend it to beginners for that reason. The small size combined with the powerful motor is an unbeatable combination. Plus, it's controlled by app: If you want to take your pleasure up a notch, you can easily hand off the remote to someone else.
"This is the gold standard of anal kits for those getting started," Dr. Balestrieri tells Refinery 29. If you're just beginning your anal journey, it is a must-buy. "It comes with a comprehensive educational book that can be read alone — or with a partner — and provides everything you need to know to prepare for anal play. It also includes a cleaning kit and three separate butt plugs to get a feel for what fits right."
The ultra-chic sexual wellness startup behind such hits as the Vibe and Drop wants you to meet its first-ever non-vibrating butt plug, the Cone. "So often, this category is treated as a kink or taboo when it’s something that every person can engage in," Maude founder and CEO, Éva Goicochea, previously told R29. The Cone features a slim, tapered profile and subtly flared base, making it the perfect starter plug for many bodies.
Whether for aesthetic purposes or a pleasure-bestowing sensation of fullness, a weighted plug can be an amazing experience. "Butt plugs and toys can be made of glass, silicone, or even steel," explains Dr. Balestrieri. Plugs of those materials not only offer more rigidity, but they can also be heated or cooled for temperature play. If you're looking to size up from your beginner plug, this glass one has a bit more girth, making it perfect for an intermediate or advanced user.
"This prostate massager/butt plug is perfect for anyone who wants to experience the joy of prostate orgasms or vibrating anal play," Dr. Balestrieri tells us about this toy designed for people with a penis. "Its sleek, one-sided flared base makes it safe for deep penetration, and its remote access makes it a winner for solo or partnered play."
"It is imperative that you find [an anal toy] that has a base wider than the toy and your sphincter, or a pull mechanism, to avoid the toy getting stuck," explains Dr. Balestrieri. Plug bases can range from a flared flat surface to a faux-fur tail, bulb, or ring, such as this Lovehoney anal vibrator above. Enjoy any of the plug's 10 speeds and patterns, all while maneuvering from the easy-to-grip base that also makes it easy to remove. Grab it while it's 50% off at Lovehoney's Anal August sale.
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