Long ago considered one of the greatest taboos, anal pleasure and anal play are now pretty high on the to-do list for people of all genders and preferences. Let's face it - everyone's got one, so ass play is one of the most potentially universal forms of sexual exploration imaginable. Sadly, because most of us don't grow up learning about the ins and outs of our butts in any truly meaningful way, we have a bit of a learning curve to overcome, and some mis-information to get past. Even more sadly, many of us let the naysayers’ obfuscation get in the way of our ability to enjoy the sensations that ass play can give us.
Occasionally, one brave soul will trek out to the local Adult Sex Store (hereby abbreviated ASS) and purchase a toy that doesn't satisfy - or even worse, one that's not good for their bodies. What a waste - of money, of time, of a trip to the ASS, and most importantly, of the enthusiasm that comes along with buying a new toy to get off with. This buyer’s guide was written to help you - yes, you - find the right toy without spending hours of fruitless searching in your ASS. Better to spend hours playing with it, right?
Anal toys come in a variety of basic styles - there are plugs, vibrators, probes, dildos, beads, and prostate-specific toys. They also are made in a variety of materials, from rubber to plastic to glass to metal and beyond. But regardless of what type of toy you're hoping to try out, there are a few basic points to consider:
1. Is the toy easily cleanable, or is it made of a more porous substance that can't be fully cleaned? Because you'll be using it anally, it's best if you can thoroughly disinfect it using a 10% bleach solution or boiling water; if you can't, the toy should be considered more disposable, as the porosity will make it impossible to get unambiguously clean, and it will need to be replaced in fairly short order.
2. Does the toy have any seams, wires, or other places that can trap bacteria, and create the potential for infection? Vibrating eggs are a great example - the place where the wire enters the egg is a prime place for germs to hide out.
3. Does the toy have a flange or flared end that will keep it from getting sucked up into the rectum? Believe it or not, rectums can create a vacuum effect, quite literally sucking items up inside them so greatly that they'll require a lot of very uncomfortable work, and possibly a trip to the ER to remove. Picking out toys that are specifically made for anal play is your best option, but you can also look at other kinds of toys that provide enough of a base to prevent that from happening.
4. Are there any strings or chains that will be inserted into the ass? This is a common question to ask, particularly when considering anal beads. If so, they should be covered with a body-safe material (like silicone) to keep it from absorbing bacteria, or - heaven forbid - pinching your delicate inner tissues. Old-school anal beads were often made with rayon or cotton cord between them - thankfully there aren't many of these anymore, but they're still out there, so it's best to be careful.
5. Where do you want the sensation? Do you want to be filled up throughout your rectum, or do you want to have your anus stretched? Do you enjoy (or think you'll enjoy) the sensation of insertion & removal, or do you want to specifically focus on your prostate? Look for a toy that has the ability to give you the kind of sensation that you want, right where you want it.
For most of us, plugs are the sine qua non of anal play - you can find a plug to fit every ass, every wallet, and every fashion sensibility. In fact, the classic style is now made in body-friendly silicone by a number of companies - one of our favorites, in fact, is the Bronco plug from Tantus, a company very well known for its high-quality silicone toys. The Bronco, and other classic-shaped plugs, feature a thicker bulb for fullness, a smaller neck for your anus to snug around, and a healthy-sized flange to help it to stay right where you want it. The Ryder plug is another top-rated plug with a similar shape; there are also plugs that act similarly but have a more body-accurate shape (like the Buddy and Luna plugs). You can even find this type of plug made in glass (the Artisan Glass Domed plug), as well as in metal (the Aluminum Mini, for example). Just keep in mind that plugs made from harder materials can be less comfortable for longer-term wear, so you'll want to plan your fun accordingly.
Tired of the same old same old? Never fear - there are some fantastic plugs out on the market to tease your tush (as well as your taste)! We LOVE the Pure Plugs - in sizes from Small to Large, these plugs are simply amazing. Because of the stainless steel material, they are easy to insert, compatible with any lube, excellent for people with material allergies, and they actually require less lube (and less re-lubing) because they create zero friction. Additionally, the slender stem makes them exceptional for longer-term wear, and they can easily be fully cleaned using soap and water, a bleach solution, a toy cleaner, or even a wipe-down & wash in the dishwasher!
Want to use a toy that's designed by an expert? The Tristan plug, designed by anal sex guru Tristan Taormino, takes her experience of what works best and translates it into a supremely sexy, comfortable toy. Its thicker neck lets it stay in place (and fall out less), and the bulbous head gives that perfect sense of fullness and pressure (especially if you're a prostate-enabled person!). Additionally, it was the first plug to add a base that is friendly to the shape of our bodies, allowing it to stay in place better during other activities (like oral or penetrative sex) and keep it comfy if you're wearing it underneath your clothes, as well!
There's also the grand old tradition of inflatable plugs. These can be fun ways to pump a little extra fun (and stretch) into your anal play, but keep in mind that they are made with latex or rubber composites, and therefore should not be shared with anyone else as they can't be fully cleaned. However, for an occasional one-person toy, a high-quality inflatable plug like the Gapers Organic plug is a fantastic choice. These toys are generally inflated by a bulb similar to the ones on the end of blood pressure cuffs, and have a small screw valve that you can use to close off the air release to get them to the perfect size (and quickly deflate them when you need to). And no - they won't explode and damage you if you pump them up too much - so don't worry be happy!
The long and short of it is that regardless of your desires, you can find a long - or short - plug that will be a perfect fit. Let your experience be your guide - if you're an anal play expert, you know what size you prefer; if not, try something smaller and less expensive before going for the gusto (in either girth or price)!
Anal Beads & Probes
Everyone loves beads, right? Well, if you haven't tried giving them to your ass, you're really missing out! Like some of our dates, our asses will show their appreciation for a lovely gift of "pearls" by treating us to some amazing sensations. Many people insert them one at a time during foreplay, only to pull them out during climax. Others may insert them and wear them for a few hours, feeling them move around gently inside them, getting them more and more turned on until it's time to up the ante. They're perfect for people who like to add anal play to other sexual pleasures, and fantastic for people who don't want to get anything really big for their bums.
Anal beads usually come in one or two configurations. Graduated sized beads, like Pinks Maui anal beads, allow you to insert them only as far as you want, giving you ultimate control over how large you want to go each time. You can tease your opening with the first bead or two over and over again, and then once you're used to it, you can go for the gusto and insert them all, each one warming you up for the next. Beads that are all the same size, like the Silicone Beads Advanced, are excellent if you want to use the "ripcord" method of tugging them out (gently!) during orgasm, as they won't "lessen" the experience at the end. They're also great for people who enjoy sizeable insertions - and know it.
There are also the fun beads, like Flexi Felix and Bendybeads, which offer a bit different stimulation with some good old-fashioned newfangled design. Who says your anal toys have to look like they just came out of a '70's porn flick? You can even find Vibrating Anal Beads to tingle your tush as you slip 'em in.
A cross between anal beads and dildos, anal probes bring together the best of both worlds. With a surface that ranges from almost-even to bumpier than a New York subway train, they can be perfect for folks who want to enjoy anal toys with their partners. Probes tend to have handles or loops to hold onto, so they can be great for adding a little more firm penetration to the usual anal bead experience.
A great place to start is the Ripple probe (which, handily enough, comes in a larger size too). Ripple is made specifically to give you a way to play 'hit the speed bumps!' without the big size difference encountered with anal beads; it's also sized perfectly to fit into a strap-on harness, so you can easily use it for thrusting away with your hips as well as with your hands. Fun Factory's Witty Worm is another great harness-compatible anal probe, and it's got the added benefit of being imprinted with a smiley face on the top - who doesn't need an extra reminder to relax and have fun? The Rombee is a bit more of an advanced toy - it's got a ring-shaped handle so it's easy to work with on you or on a partner and it's definitely sized for a more advanced set of sensibilities - but it packs one hell of a punch!
Want to go green? The eco-friendly wood of the Ergonomic One Finger probe is perfect, and looks absolutely gorgeous on your bedside table (especially if it matches your furniture). It's also got an amazingly sensual texture, and it warms up to the body very easily. On the cooler side, but still environmentally correct, a glass probe like the amazing Sapphire Waterfall is not only a luxury unto itself, but is also a great jumping-on point into the wonderful world of glass toys, as its price point is extremely reasonable. Keep in mind that with your glass and metal toys, you can pre-warm them in a glass of warm water, in the shower, or in your hands - and if you're into a chilly reception, you can cool it down by using a few cubes of ice!
My high-end favorite in this category is the Fun Wand. With one end featuring three beads, and the other end a more stylized probe end, this toy offers some amazing options for play. You can use the beads as a warm-up, a tease, or an invitation! You can use the probe end for penetration or prostate play. And if you're lucky enough to have both a vagina and an ass, you can use it as a fantastic insertion toy (which, by the way, is amazing on the g-spot).
Prefer the feel of beads, slipping their slippery slimness into you, but still longing for a bit of the ol’ vroom? Try the Silicone Flexi-Power rod! With seven different vibration settings, and a flexible "tail", it will fit your every internal curve and deliver those vibrations exactly where you want them. There's a lot to be said for precise sensation delivery - this one will let you target a prostate, the first inch or so of the rectum, and anywhere in between (and beyond).
As for a probe shape, Topco's Silicone Vibrating Probe is a great choice. It's long, has some girth without being too big, and the tip slowly gets larger, giving you a chance to open up to all the possibilities it'll bring. And if you're on a budget, the Hawaiian Dreams vibrator is a fine choice, with good quality material and a very buzzy vibration ready to work to please you, at a price under $20.
Looking for something completely different? Check out the Pleasure Periscope - it vibrates, it lights up, and, most uniquely of all, it offers you a chance to put your insides on display for yourself or your partner. Ever want to watch them come - from the inside out? Here's your chance!
For butt play, dildos are an incredibly versatile toy choice. They're fun alone or with friends; great for thrusting or stretching, and will fit into most any budget (and butt!). They can also be pressed into double-duty for those of you that have two holes, giving you double the joy for the same investment. While, for the most part, you'll be looking for the same features in favor of butt play that you would for vaginal play, there are a few special dildos that we'd like to point out for your rear maneuvers.
For sharing the pleasure, there's no better dildo than the Feeldoe. Coming in a variety of sizes and colors, the Feeldoe was originally designed for sharing by inserting the bulb-end into the vagina, and the other end into the orifice of choice on one's partner. However, the bulb also fits snugly into the ass, allowing it to be used as a double-ended toy for two people who want to do some mutual ass-sploration (or for a guy who wants to do a dual penetration scene on his partner). Additionally, the bulb makes a great handle for the toy to be used on yourself, and you can switch out to the other side if your body is craving a little different kind of sensation. It even has a removable bullet vibrator for lots of buzzy fun! Do keep in mind with the Feeldoes, though, that some people find necessity in a harness or jock strap to hold them in place, especially if you're doing some vigorous thrusting.
Realistic dildos can be a lot of fun, particularly if you're having some gender-bending fun or if you want the feel of the ‘real thing’ sliding into your pucker. The great thing is that most of these dildos come with balls (like the Hank dong from Tantus) or a flange enabling it to fit into a harness (like the Mustang dildo). In either case, these wide bases go a long way toward ensuring that your butt-fucking experience is safe and comfortable! As always, we highly recommend the silicone dildos, as the jelly / rubber dongs are very difficult to completely clean, and will degrade more quickly because of their porosity. However, if you choose to use them, just remember to use condoms over them for ease of cleaning and to protect even further against bacterial transmission!
There are also a wider range of textures available in dildos than in many toys specifically marketed for anal play. The Echo dildo is a great example - its ripples will feel great to anyone who loves that bumpy feeling of anal beads, but it's much more suited to being thrust in and pulled out repeatedly. But for those who like it oh-so smooth, the Mistress dildo is a perfect toy for easy insertion and very low friction fun. It even comes in a version with a removable vibrator at the base, to send shivers through your bottom as it delights your senses.
Finally - the piece of ass de resistance, the prostate toy. The past few years have blasted this humble butt-buddy of men everywhere into the spotlight, and more and more people are experimenting with the joys that it can provide. Fortunately, the toymakers out there have gotten the hint, and are making some amazing prostate stimulation toys to make it even easier for guys to go where no one may have gone before!
For first timers, or people who want to explore their prostate without additional bells and whistles on their toy, you'll want to look at the basics - a curved or bent shaft (not too long, mind you, or it'll miss your happy place altogether), an easy-to-handle base or loop on the end, and something that will fill you up as much as you want. The Bob Pleasure Object is a perfect first choice - it's slender, curved just perfectly for prostate play, has a sturdy ring on the bottom for you to hang onto easily, and it comes in a beautiful presentation / storage box to show off its special place in your....um, life.
Lots of guys like to add a little external prostate stimulation (via the perineum) to their play, and for good reason - it packs a huge wallop when coupled with internal stimulation, and by getting a toy that will handle both, you can even move your body to increase the stimulation. The two top manufacturers of these kinds of toys are Nexus and Aneros, and two of their best offerings are the Nexus Excel (and it's smaller cousin, the Glide) and the Aneros SGX (which comes in a few different sizes). Both of these toys come with detailed instructions on how to use them - they're definitely not anything like your usual plug! You'll want to get some good water-based lube (like Maximus, which holds up great for anal play) to use with them, and take your time and relax - but they're oh, so very worth it to the quality of your orgasm!
Vibration can be a fun addition to p-spot play, too - just check out the very affordable Colt Waterproof Power Anal-T. It's obvious by the name that it's waterproof, but the fantastic thing about that is that you can use it in the shower or tub (awesome if you're concerned about mess) and its three-speed vibrator is a great way to experiment with adding vibration to your butt. It's also easy to clean up (thanks to the waterproof properties) and one of the best buys in prostate toys, so it's an affordable way to see if this is a type of toy that will work for you. If you want to crank the vibes up a bit, the Rude Boy will offer both internal and perineal stimulation with your vibrations, so you can really rock yourself into oblivion with this fella!