Butt plugs - What are they for? How do you use them? Are they safe?

What is a butt plug?

Butt plugs are sex toys used for stimulation of the rectum. The difference between a butt plug and a dildo is that a butt plug is usually shorter, and ends with a wide base or stem to stop it from inadvertently going all the way up the rectum.

They are designed to be left in place for prolonged periods of time, likely in order to stretch out the anus in preparation for anal intercourse, though there are other uses for butt plugs as well, as they come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, materials, and designs.

For instance, you may use a special foxtail butt plug for pet fantasy play. Such plugs are not used to stretch out the anus, but rather as a mechanism to attach the tail to the role-playing person.


A brief history of plugs

The first butt plugs, however, were sold as medical devices by charlatans in the United States, marketed as Dr. Young's Ideal Rectal Dilators.

They were said to cure all sorts of ailments, including insanity, constipation, acne, insomnia, anemia, nervousness, and many others.

Soon enough these claims were exposed as false by the authorities, who banned the sale of butt plugs as medical devices.  

With the opening of the first dedicated sex shop in Germany in 1962, the butt plug gained its current use as a recreational sex toy, though it was as late as the 1990s that modern butt plugs came into being, with the advent of soft silicone materials well suited for toys of this kind.


What are the benefits?

Leaving aside the supposed health benefits touted by quack doctors in the United States, there are certainly real and pleasurable benefits to using butt plugs.

Firstly, as previously mentioned, they are used to stretch out the anus before anal intercourse. This is, for the most part, a safety precaution, as inserting a penis into an unprepared rectum can lead to painful tears of the soft membranes, as well as swelling or even bleeding.

The butt plug allows the anus to stretch out slowly and naturally, getting accustomed to the increased width present. That is why butt plugs have a stem which allows them to be left inside the anus as it stretches.

A plug may also be used for stimulation, as opposed to just for stretching. People with prostates can use them by angling them against their prostate and putting pressure on it.

People with vaginas can try to stimulate their G-spot through the wall that divides the vaginal and anal cavity, by angling the plug up towards the stomach. Read more on how butt plugs feel.

On top of that, plugs can also be a sort of decorative accessory. For instance, you may choose to insert a small plug with a bedazzled stem, as a sort of anal jewelry to impress your partner.

There are also special silicone butt plugs with tails that can be made to wag like a dog, and these cater to fetishists for so-called puppy play.

For the more adventurous consumer, special anal hooks are also available. These may look like medieval torture devices, but when applied to a willing subject by a knowledgeable partner, these can result in interminable waves of pleasure.

How to use a butt plug

Butt plugs are designed to fit into rectums without much problem, but that is not to say that there are no techniques or best practices to be aware of when attempting to insert one.


Here is a short guide on the basics of butt plug use.

Firstly, as with most things related to sex, preparation is key.

You should not try to merely shove it in without having taken the necessary steps to prepare, as this could lead to injuries, and, due to the nature of the primary function of the rectum, it could get very messy.

The first step before inserting a butt plug should be to make sure that the rectum is clean. This is done so as to prevent unpleasant smells from spreading, but also to evacuate enough room for the plug to fit.

Start by having a bowel movement. A bowel movement can be induced by taking laxatives and waiting for them to take hold, but this should only be used as a last resort if you have to prepare for an encounter at a specific time.

The best way to evacuate the bowels is to let it happen naturally. Eating lots of fibrous foods also helps, as it makes for a more compact stool.

 Once this is done, the next recommended step is cleaning the bowels out. A douche is used for this purpose, and there are many different types of douche available.

 However, the basic function is always the same. You fill the douche with tepid water, and insert the tube into a well-lubricated rectum. You then squeeze the water into the rectum and hold it in for around 30 seconds before releasing.

This should be done a few times, until the water coming out of the rectum is clean. Do not be tempted to use any soap, as this can lead to irritation of the colon.


It's now time to stretch

Now you are ready to start the stretching process. Begin by applying lube to the outside of your rectum once more, and proceed to insert one finger inside.

Get accustomed to the feeling and then insert another one. Some people will find it enough to stretch with only two fingers, but for others, three or four fingers will be necessary.

It is vital that you do not overstep your limits here, and only do as many fingers as you are comfortable with, in the space of time you are comfortable with. With this step, the preparation is complete.


Now you can start with the butt plug

Finally, you are ready to move on to the butt plug. If you are only starting out, you will want to select a smaller butt plug and work your way up.

There are butt plug training kits with plugs in assorted sizes made for precisely this purpose, and they are a good investment for a beginner


Don't forget the lube!

Once you have a butt plug of an appropriate size and width, you should lubricate the outside of the rectum again, as well as the tip of the plug. The importance of lubrication in anal play cannot be overstated.

Once lubricated, start inserting the plug into the rectum slowly, constantly monitoring your comfort level.

The plug will start to stretch the opening out, and if you did the preparation well enough, you should have no problems here.  

If you feel any sort of pain, do not keep going. Relieve the pressure of your hand on the butt plug and slowly pull it out. You can try it again once the pain subsides.

If you feel a burning sensation in and around the rectum, this may be due to the lubricant or the material the butt plug is made of. In that case, you should try with a plug made of a different material. More information on how to insert & remove the plug.


And we're done!

Once it is all the way in, you are done. You can leave it there for up to an hour, as the plug may start to dissolve inside the colon and be absorbed into your system if you leave it in for more than 3-4 hours.

The recommended 1 hour is just a precaution, and there is really nothing to be worried about.


Tips on making it feel better

Having a butt plug inside of you sure does feel good. If you have a prostate, now would be a good time to see if you can stimulate it using the plug by taking it by the stem and angling it upwards, toward your stomach in a sort of massaging motion.


Once you are ready to take it out, there are some things you should keep in mind. You should not try to merely pull it out, as the shape of the plug, namely, that widest section right before the stem, will make this very difficult, and place a great amount of strain on the muscles of the sphincter.


Instead, you should try to simultaneously push it out with your rectal muscles, as you would when having a bowel movement, and pull it with your hand.

Do this slowly and carefully until it is all the way out.  It is important that you clean your plug properly, and this will be covered later.


 Are butt plugs safe?

This is a question many prospective users ask, and rightfully so. The area the plug operates in is one with a great deal of stigma attached. It is seen as filthy and embarrassing, full of germs and fecal matter.


Thus, we tend to be overly cautious when this topic is concerned, when there is really very little to be worried about. The short answer to this question is – yes, if you know what you’re doing.


What materials to look out for?

The previous section outlines the best practices for using butt plugs, and if you follow those steps, you should have no problems. However, there are a few more considerations to keep in mind.

Firstly, you must find out if you are allergic to any of the materials butt plugs are made of. If you are allergic to rubber, make sure you don’t buy a latex or rubber plug. It is also ill-advised to use butt plugs made of glass, as these could break and cut your anus. It is unlikely to ever happen, of course, but why take the risk?


Quality is important too

The quality of the material the plug is made of is very important as well. Do not scrimp on your plug. Make sure you buy the best grade latex plugs, and avoid ones made form petroleum products, as these can dissolve and burn your insides if left too long.


Other considerations

The physical characteristics of the plug are also to be considered. Get a plug with a smooth surface, and avoid any sharp edges or rough texture, as these can tear your insides and lead to bleeding.

No matter how smooth the plug, do not attempt to put it in without lubrication. This can lead to friction burns on your anus.

Make sure the base of the plug is wide enough to keep it from going all the way up your anus, as the shape of the plug would make it very difficult to retrieve, and could result with you having to go to the emergency room to get it extracted professionally.


Can you use butt plugs during sex?

Butt plugs can be used during sex, and this is especially pleasurable for people with prostates, as the movements involved in sex also move the plug in ways that can stimulate the prostate.

However, if the base is too wide, it may irritate the inside of your buttocks because of friction, so it is recommended to lubricate this area as well, if you intend to move a lot with the plug inside.

The use of butt plugs during sex by heterosexual couples can be a convenient time-saver if you intend to move from vaginal into anal sex, as it prepares the anus for penetration during intercourse itself.


Can you share a butt plug?

Finally, you should never be tempted to share your plug with a partner, no matter the level of intimacy and trust.

Your gut contains strains of symbiotic bacteria that are natural and specific to you, and they help you digest certain foods.


However, introducing those bacteria into the body of another host, in this case your partner, can lead to infections and other complications. If you must use the same plug, put a condom on it before you use it, and replace the condom with a clean one before your partner uses it.


What is the right butt plug for you?

To sum up everything said previously, what follows will be a short guide to choosing a plug that best fits you.

There are many important parameters to keep in mind when choosing a plug, namely: length, width, design, material, quality, and price.


Large/long butt plugs

Though butt plugs are by definition shorter than dildos, there are varieties of butt plug that can be just as long. These share the same basic structure as shorter plugs – they widen towards the end, and have a stem to keep them from going up your anus.

These long plugs, however can be used as a sort of cross between a dildo and a plug. They are most often made of silicone so they can adapt to the inside of your anus perfectly. If you are looking to stretch out your entire anus and not just the sphincter, these could prove very useful.

The width is considered by many to be the most important characteristic of a plug. You should select a width in line with your goals, whether you want to stretch your anus just enough for pain-free anal sex, or you want to do something more extreme, such as gaping and fisting.

There are many widths to choose from, some so large that a casual user would consider it impossible to fit inside an anus, and these are especially suited to seasoned anal enthusiasts who know what they’re doing.


For the casual

Naturally, the aesthetics of a plug are another noteworthy characteristic. The classic butt plug is black, to cover up any lingering fecal matter, but they come in all different colors, even transparent and metallic.


For the people that care more about the decorative aspect of the butt plug

There are even plugs with intricate shapes and designs, jeweled plugs, plugs with multiple widening areas,  plugs with furry animal tails attached to them (with many tails to choose from: fox tail, cat tail, raccoon tail, horse tail, dog tail etc.).


The material is important too

Plugs can also be made from a variety of materials, and it is important that you choose the one you feel most comfortable with. The most popular plugs are usually made of silicone, as it is soft and bendable, and simulates the feel of a human penis quite well.

However, there are also plastic plugs, metal plugs, glass plugs, and even artisan wooden plugs. It is recommended, however, that you start off with a soft latex plug, and only transition to harder plugs when you feel you are ready.

With various materials come various quality levels. Always choose the best quality plugs, especially silicone plugs. Make sure there are no petroleum products in your plugs.  

These high-quality plugs can be more expensive, but they are well worth the investment. After all, why scrimp on pleasure?