Trusted for 23+ Years
How To Use Anal Toys
Dr. Lisa Lawless, CEO of Holistic Wisdom
Clinical Psychotherapist: Relationship & Sexual Health Expert
If you have explored the internet for anal dildos and other anal sex toys, you will most likely have seen sex toy retailers and sexperts giving a lot of enthusiastic advice about using anal sex toys because of how good they can feel. However, in some cases, some are encouraging dangerous sexual behavior with unsafe anal toys that may be harmful to your health. This anal toy article will focus on safe anal penetration practices as well as which anal toys are healthy and what to avoid.
What Do Anal Toys Do?
Anal stimulation through the use of anal toys is popular with all sexes and can provide pleasure and sexual health benefits. Examples of health benefits using anal toys are specifically with prostate massagers, correlated with reducing swelling of the prostate and butt plugs, associated with easing hemorrhoids and fissures.
The main categories of anal toys include:
- Butt Plugs (Rectal Dilators)
- Anal Dildos
- Anal Beads
- Prostate Massagers
Most anal toys come in both vibrating and non-vibrating versions. We will review the aspects of anal toys that are relative to both in this article. If you want to learn specifically about choosing an anal vibrator make sure to also see our How To Choose A Vibrator article as that will assist you in reviewing important factors to consider in sex toys that vibrate.
Why Anal Toys Feel Good
- There are ample nerve endings around the anus (opening), and the internal anal canal. When those are stimulated or stretched, it can create a pleasurable tension that heightens sexual arousal.
- Anal toys can stimulate the prostate in a male and the back vaginal wall (A-spot) in women.
- Anal toys can provide double penetration vaginally and anally for intensified sexual pleasure.
- Anal toys can be used with women in conjunction with clitoral stimulation through oral sex, finger stimulation, or a vibrator.
- Anal toys can be used with men in conjunction with penis stimulation through oral sex, anal sex, handjobs, or a sex toy such as a masturbation sleeve or male vibrator.
Anal Toy Safety
Sex toys are sold as adult novelties and are not regulated by the FDA for health. Unfortunately, this means there are many unsafe, cheap, toxic sex toys being sold to consumers. Those toxins may leech into your body and cause health issues.
We value your health, so that is why we only carry phthalate-free, body safe sex toys. You can relax knowing we have done all the research for you in finding the healthiest, best quality sex toys available.
Because we have exceptionally high health and safety standards, any anal toy we sell meets the following criteria to be considered anal safe:
- Our anal toys must have a flared base to keep it from becoming irretrievable. Since the rectum creates suction when an anal toy is inside, they can easily be pulled in becoming irretrievable; thus, the anal toy's flared base is essential.
- Our anal toys are made from nonporous materials to allow for proper disinfecting and cleaning.
- All of our sex toys, including anal toys must be body safe and phthalate-free to keep harmful toxins from entering the bloodstream.
- Our anal toys are of a reasonable size to allow for pleasure and health. We avoid carrying anal sex toys that may cause bodily damage. We do not sell extreme, huge anal toys such as excessively large fetish plugs. Too much rectal and anal stretching can cause health issues such as tearing, scaring, and even rectal prolapse.
- Our anal toys have a body safe shape as the rectum is easily perforated by pointed or sharp things that are not properly designed for anal insertion.
Many Emergency Room physicians and nurses have stories about people putting inappropriate items in their anus. Choosing an anal toy that is designed to keep the base on the outside of the anus, is crucial. One of our physicians that we work with provided this real CAT scan below to show a non-anal safe sex toy stuck in the rectum. This patient required an operation to get the sex toy out. This is why you should only buy anal-safe sex toys when you plan to use them for anal penetration.
Anal Penetration Depth
Immediately inside of the anus is the anal canal, and within a few inches, the Dentate line separates it from the rectum. The rectum has very few nerve endings and is more fragile, so most anal toys are shorter. With rich nerve endings in the anus and anal canal, the focus of stimulation is in this area when it comes to pleasurable anal play.
Your anal toy should be made with body-safe, nonporous materials. Anything inserted anally or vaginally can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, which is why nontoxic sex toys are so important. The ideal material for an anal toy is silicone, as it is nonporous and easily disinfected. It also allows for a firm sensation but has some flex to it and is not as hard as metal, glass, and other materials that may be overly rigid.
It is typically safe to use firm anal toys if they are specifically designed for anal penetration. We highly recommend that you gently insert them, and avoid straight shafts that may perforate the rectum. We do not recommend materials such as elastomers (TPE, TPR) as they are porous and will be challenging to disinfect thoroughly.
Ample Lubricant Is Necessary
The anus and rectum do not produce enough lubrication for safe anal penetration, so it's essential to use a water-based lubricant. We do not recommend using oil-based lubricants as they can trap harmful bacteria in the rectum. We also do not recommend silicone lubricants as we are concerned that they may cause autoimmune and rheumatic responses (i.e., silicone-reactive disorder) much in the same way silicone breast implants are linked to in such medical issues.
To make applying lubricant easier, you may wish to use a lubricant injector, also called a lubricant applicator or lube shooter, which is a syringe-type insertion tool that inserts lubricant deep inside the rectum or vagina. It is helpful in keeping lubricant off hands and sheets.
We do not encourage people to use desensitizing lubricants for anal play as listening to your body's discomfort is essential to good health. Using a numbing agent so that you do not feel pain may keep you from knowing that you are causing damage to sensitive tissue.
The Importance Of Relaxing
Anal play should always be about pleasure as anything painful can be an indicator that damage is occurring. Taking your time, using gentle stimulation, moderately sized anal toys, and learning how to insert anal toys easily is important. In addition, relaxing is essential as straining from tensing can make it nearly impossible to insert an anal toy, let alone enjoy it.
Keep in mind that the anal canal is part of the sphincter and is a muscle controlled by your central nervous system, meaning that you cannot mentally control it on command. Tensing up during insertion before you are ready can result in injuring your anus and internal sphincter. That is why psychologically being relaxed is so crucial as calming your mind will also soothe your central nervous system and, in turn, your involuntary muscles like your anus and anal canal.
How To Insert An Anal Toy
- You may wish to defecate or use an enema or anal douche to remove any potential feces to prepare. You will also want to cleanse the anal area to reduce contact with fecal matter and bacteria in a shower or with disposable wipes.
- Position yourself comfortably and relax. Some people find that bending over or lying down and putting their knees toward their chest to open up the anus helps. You may find that sexual stimulation to your genitals before insertion will also help you relax.
- Use care to gently insert an anal toy at a downward 45-degree angle with ample lubricant while rocking it back and forth until it slides in. Always insert it gently as inserting it too rapidly or too forcefully can lead to sphincter tear, or other rectal damage. Start with anal toys that are smaller in size as you begin, and exercise patience.
- Use ample water-based anal lubricant to lubricate your anal toy. Your rectum does not naturally lubricate itself as the vagina does, and anal penetration without lubricant can cause tearing and pain.
- Whether you or your partner are inserting an anal toy, you should wash your hands after insertion. If you are alone and find that washing your hands after insertion is not practical, you may wish to have an antibacterial wipe available to wipe your hands off or wear a rubber/nitrile glove that you can remove to avoid transferring bacteria by touching things after it has been inserted.
- Never put an anal toy that has been inserted anally into the vagina unless the anal toy has been completely disinfected first. The rule of thumb is that you can go from vagina to anus but not vice versa unless disinfecting your anal toy in-between.
- We do not recommend leaving an anal toy inserted for longer than two to three hours. Make sure that you are not blocking your ability to use the bathroom should you need to. Consult your physician for specific times if you have concerns.
- We recommend using a waterproof throw if you are using an anal toy on a bed or couch to avoid fecal bacteria transferring to fabrics.
How To Choose The Right Size Anal Toy
Choosing the right sized anal toy is one of the most critical aspects of finding the right anal toy for you. That is why we provide an extensive guide on How To Measure A Dildo & Sex Toys, which is a must-read when determining the right size for any insertable sex toy.
How To Clean Anal Toys
An anal toy's material must be nonporous to be appropriately disinfected as it can carry harmful bacteria from fecal matter and transmit sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, from the body fluids of one person to another. You can put condoms over anal toys or any sex toy to protect them and to make cleanup easier. You can also clean sex toys using a sex toy cleaner to disinfect your anal toy. What you use to disinfect and clean your anal toys depends on the material from which it is made.
Please see our How To Clean Sex Toys Guide for specific sex toy cleaning information to prevent damage to your sex toy as well as how to properly disinfect it.
Butt plugs were initially promoted as a medical device as early as the 1800s and marketed as a rectal dilator (anal dilator) to help with constipation and many other medical ailments, including psychological issues.
Today, rectal dilators are sometimes used to address various health issues such as fissures, an overly tight rectum, anal muscle spasms, and hemorrhoids by stretching the anus and rectum to relieve pressure and pain. In particular, using cooled metal rectal dilators (butt plugs) in the rectum may help calm, reduce swelling, and soothe hemorrhoids after being placed in the refrigerator. Make sure to discuss the best course of action with your physician before treating any medical issue with a sexual product.
Butt Plugs Have Become Popular
Sex toys mentioned in the Fifty Shades books and movies became top-selling products and gained in popularity. In "Fifty Shades Freed," written by E.L. James, the character Christian uses a small butt plug on Ana and then have vaginal sex while she proceeds to have three orgasms. Because of the Fifty Shades stories' popularity, using sex toys such as butt plugs to explore new sexual stimulation has become more sought after. Sex toy parties and a predominance of sexually explicit sites discussing anal toys have also furthered their popularity.
How A Butt Plug Works
Use care to insert a butt plug at a 45-degree angle with ample lubricant while rocking it back and forth until it slides in. Once in, the anal plug will stay in place on its own as the sphincter muscle will naturally hold it. They are not intended to be moved around or thrust in and out. Instead, they stay in until sex play is over, or you wish to remove it.
Butt plugs facilitate pleasure as they create a sense of fullness rather than a thrusting motion. They can be used as a preparation tool for anal sex or anal penetration from another anal toy, but they can also be used on their own as they create a nice pleasurable stretch around the sensitive nerve endings of the anus.
Types Of Anal Dildos
Anal dildos vary in size, shape, and texture and are typically smaller than vaginal dildos. They are specially designed for anal penetration using the guidelines covered previously in this article. Explore our Anal Sex Guide as there are helpful tips regarding anal penetration there as well.
Beginner anal dildos (starter anal dildos) are what you should always start with and are typically small and around one inch in diameter. They can be straight or curved and are generally harness compatible as they are already designed with a flared base for safety. When a woman uses an anal dildo on a male while wearing a harness, it is called pegging. Thus, some anal dildos are called pegging dildos and these tend to be on the smaller side as well.
Average Dildos For Anal Play
Standard sized anal dildos are simply larger dildos than beginner dildos and are for people who have used anal dildos before and are looking for enhanced girth or length. The average size dildo has a 4.65" (11.82 cm) circumference (around) or 1.48" (3.75 cm) in diameter (across). The average dildo length is 7.52" (19.1 cm).
Strap-On Anal Dildos & Pegging Dildos
Strap-on anal dildos and wearable, harness-free anal dildos (double strap-on dildos) offer partners a great way to use anal toys on one another. Strap-on dildos can provide options for double penetration on women and simultaneous anal and penis stimulation on men. Double dildos (strapless strap-ons) can be found under our hands-free dildos.
Double dildos, also know as double dongs, come in various designs, and some are designed to provide double penetration for both vaginal and anal sex. Double dildos can be used with a partner or by oneself. As they are long, one of the ends can be used as a handle which can make holding them easier.
Some double dildos are designed or can be curled into a c-shape to be inserted both vaginally and anally. For a woman, C-shaped dildos can be used vaginally and anally simultaneously. For anal to anal or vaginal to anal between partners, a straight double dildo can be used. There are vibrating and non-vibrating double dildos with a variety of materials and features from which to choose.
Gyrating Anal Dildos
Gyrating anal dildos provide rotating and wave motions to mimic a penis or fingers moving inside you. These can be very pleasurable and offer added sensations. We recommend avoiding using strong, thrusting dildos for anal play to prevent tissue damage to the rectum and anus.
Inflatable dildos are rigid on the inside to make inserting them easy. They have an attached pump, which allows them to be inflated once inside the rectum. They are deflated before removing them. Inflatable dildos are typically made out of latex so that the outer material can stretch.
Many inflatable dildos are large, and when inflated have considerable girth for an extreme feeling of fullness and stretching. These may potentially cause damage to the rectum. For example, most can be inflated up to 12 inches in circumference, so for those considering using them, it is important to consider the risks of health complications such as rectal tearing, scaring, and even anal or rectal prolapse. We do not carry inflatable dildos because of these potential health risks.
Huge Anal Dildos
Many sex toy retailers and sexperts promote huge dildos from a pleasure standpoint. However, because we focus on sexual health, we need to address health concerns when using them. While being stretched and filled to your limits can create a pleasurable pressure, there may be some safety issues when exploring huge dildos.
The health concerns with these huge dildos (the size of a soda can or larger) are that using them may result in vaginal and anal tissue damage causing such things as pelvic floor, vaginal or rectal prolapses, and vaginal, vulvar, or anal scarring.
Different Anal Dildo Materials
There are anal dildos made out of a variety of materials which include products such as glass anal dildos and stainless steel anal dildos, but we primarily recommend using silicone anal dildos as they are nonporous like glass and stainless steel, but they have some flex to them, which makes them more gentle on the anus and rectum when they are thrust in and out. If you use a firm material such as glass or stainless steel, make sure that you are careful and gentle in using them. Also, understand that they will feel more intense as they are rigid and will not flex or give.
What Are Anal Beads?
Anal beads consist of graduated circles or ovals inserted into the anus and go into the rectum for sexual pleasure. They come in two different types wherein one, the beads are held together by a string, and in another, they are held together by a shaft. Most anal beads gradually increase in size from half an inch to one inch at the base, so they are ideal for beginners.
How To Insert Anal Beads
Anal beads on a string are more challenging to insert as each bead must be individually put inside the anus. In contrast, the beads connected by a firm yet flexible shaft can be inserted by pushing the entire anal bead wand inside the rectum. To insert anal beads, lubricate with water-based lubricant and slowly insert each bead into the rectum using a downward 45-degree angle.
For anal beads to be safe to use, they must have a ring or other stopper, such as a flared base to keep them from traveling too far up the rectum. In addition, the ring or base makes it easier for the beads to be pulled out.
How To Use Anal Beads
The pleasure from anal beads is typically from inserting them and removing them as they stimulate the anus and anal canal. Inserting them can be a form of foreplay, and removing them slowly, one by one, can also add to sexual pleasure. Removing anal beads precisely at the point of orgasm is generally how they are often used. This helps to achieve a more intensified feeling of sexual release.
Anal Bead Saftey
Because strings can break and are porous (which can mean they harbor bacteria), we do not carry anal beads with strings. Like all our anal toys, we recommend using anal beads with nonporous body safe materials with a cord that is solid and will not break or harbor bacteria.
Prostate massage can be performed for pleasure as well as health purposes. Therapeutic prostate massage was often performed by doctors to treat inflammation of the prostate, called prostatitis.
Always be gentle when using a prostate massager as overly vigorous prostate massage can cause health issues. Massaging your prostate should be pleasurable, not painful, and if it is, stop and consult with your physician to determine if you have an underlying health issue.
We highly recommend having a prostate exam before performing prostate massage to ensure that you have a healthy prostate. If you do not have a healthy prostate, we do not recommend you do prostate massage without discussing it with your physician as you can unintentionally exacerbate an underlying health problem.
How To Use A Prostate Massager
Prostate massagers are designed to stimulate the prostate, which is also called the P-spot. The prostate is the size of a walnut that is located between the bladder and the penis. It can be easily found by anally inserting one or two-fingers; make sure to lubricate them to prevent discomfort or tissue damage. Once inside, it should be about 2 inches along the wall toward the penis.
Types Of Prostate Massagers
Prostate massagers can provide stimulation internally, externally, or both simultaneously. External stimulation is applied through the perineum, which is the sensitive area located between the scrotum and anus.
Prostate massagers come in both vibrating and non-vibrating styles. Keep in mind that if you purchase a vibrating prostate massager and find that you do not enjoy the vibrations, you can always use it with the vibration turned off.
How To Insert A Prostate Massager
Like any anal sex toy, you should get in a comfortable and relaxed position that allows you to open your anus and access it easily. Insertion should be done at an angle typically around 45-degrees in a downward position. Ample lubricant should be on your prostate massager. The most common methods are to insert a prostate massager with a leg up on a chair or bed while bending over, or lying back with your knees closer to your chest.
If your prostate massager is a vibrating version and you do not have a remote-control prostate massager, you may want to turn it on prior to insertion rather than changing the settings once inserted. That is why we highly recommend remote-control prostate massagers for ease of use.
How To Use A Prostate Massager
How you use a prostate massager will depend on the type of prostate massager you are using. If a prostate massager has a handle to move it back and forth, you can reach around and move it or have a partner do that for you.
If it has a flat base, you can sit on it (in the shower, on a bed or couch) and rock back and forth. If it vibrates or moves on its own, you can sit still and take in the sensations. Squeezing your pelvic floor muscles and sphincter muscles can make the prostate massager feel really good inside.
The firm pressure of a prostate massager alone can quickly bring on an orgasm, and stimulating the penis while using one is very pleasurable for most men. Men often notice an increase in ejaculate coming out when they do prostate massage which is why this is called milking the prostate.
See our Prostate Massage Guide for more helpful information.
Anal Toys Can Be Healthy & Pleasurable
If you ever have health concerns we always recommend discussing them with your physician. We understand that this may feel uncomfortable so we have put together a guide on How To Talk To Your Doctor About Sex.
Anal sex toys can be pleasurable and safe to use when you are educated about properly using them. Always take it slow, be patient, and listen to your body. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns about anal toys and enjoy!