butt week

The Best Butt Plugs, According to Sex Experts and Sex Toy Shop Owners

Illustration: Chaimae Khouldi; Photos: Retailers

While butt plugs might seem intimidating if you’ve never used one before, sex experts stress that with proper preparation, a little bit of patience, and a lot of lubrication, these toys can be a pleasurable addition to your sex life. “Start slow and small and use plenty of lube,” says Liz Goldwyn, founder of the sexual health education website and podcast The Sex Ed. “The anal area has a high concentration of nerve endings that are stimulated by even the smallest butt plug.”

Prepping mentally for anal exploration is highly encouraged by Ev’Yan Whitney, a sexuality doula and author of Sensual Self. They recommend taking time to connect with yourself with acts of self-care, like a self-massage, breathwork, and setting the mood with candles and music. “Sex can happen so fast sometimes, and I love reminding folks to slow the pace a bit and begin foreplay outside of a sexual context,” they say. Prepping physically is more of a nonnegotiable. If you’re concerned about cleanliness, “I recommend taking a shower and washing your ass really well before you start,” Whitney says. “You could also explore butt play in the shower, where you and/or your partner are already in a space that makes for easy cleanup. If you’re exploring outside of the shower, keep a damp cloth nearby in case you need to clean anything up.”

When you’re ready to start actually using a butt plug, either with a partner or on your own, it’s important to remember that it should never be painful. “If it hurts, that’s your body telling you to stop and slow down,” says Archie Bongiovanni, a sexual-health educator and events coordinator at the Minneapolis store Smitten Kitten. “Anal penetration is about relaxation,” says Jacq Jones, a sex educator and owner of Baltimore’s Sugar shop. She recommends experimenting with butt plugs only when you’re totally calm, as people often hold tension in their lower back and butt muscles, which can make penetration uncomfortable.

Emily Morse, doctor of human sexuality and host of the SiriusXM Radio show and podcast Sex With Emily, says that butt plugs can also be useful in working up to having anal sex with a partner. “Don’t go from zero to penis,” she says. “You want to work your way up by starting with fingers and butt plugs.” To find the best butt plugs out there, we asked seven experts to recommend their favorites — for beginners, experienced users, couples, and solo play.

Note: Since lubrication is important for any anal play, you can check out our list of expert-recommended lubes here. Jones specifically recommends glycerin-free lubes, like Astroglide Natural or  Good Clean Love that won’t pull moisture away from your body.

Best butt plugs for beginners

If you’re new to anal play, Whitney recommends exploring the outside of the anus with a finger, vibrator, or tongue. When you’re ready for penetration, they recommend starting with a finger, too, and then this comprehensive kit. “It’s perfect for butt-pug newbies and has everything you need to get started, including a lube applicator, an anal enema, and a guide with tips and tricks to help you as you explore,” they say. Morse recommends this one, too, noting it comes with “three different plugs, so you can move up in size more comfortably.” The medium one vibrates, and the largest one is weighted for a feeling of fullness. The toys are made from silicone — one of the three materials, along with equally sanitary glass and metal, our experts recommend looking for in any sex toy. “Silicone is soft, flexible, and hypoallergenic, and it’s non-porous, which lessens the likelihood of bacteria,” Goldwyn says.

A vibrating but plug might seem like a more advanced option, but sex educator Lola Jean, who teaches and online pegging and butt stuff course, actually loves this one for beginners. “When it comes to butt stuff, one of the biggest keys is relaxing the area before entry,” she says. “Vibration is a fabulous method of doing so.” This toy allows you to explore anal play without penetration if you prefer. You can use it to “tease the outside of your hole before you take that lubed up plunge into your great unknown,” Jean says. When you are ready to insert it, it’s meant to mimic the sensation of rimming thanks to rotating beads at the base of the plug. The vibration is controlled with a remote that can be used up to 30 feet away, so this is also a good option for couples.

Bongiovanni calls this slim silicone plug, with seven optional vibration speeds, “a fun, non-intimidating way to start any anal journey.” It’s ideal for those who are “brand new to anal play and want to play in insertion but not girth,” they say. The Teazer, like all of the butt plugs our experts recommend, has a flared base, an essential features that ensures anal toys can be safely removed. When butt muscles are stimulated, Jones says, they can “create what’s essentially a vacuum and suck things in.” As you can imagine, anything stuck in your butt is considered a medical emergency, so make sure you always use plugs with flared bases to avoid a trip to the ER.

This is one of those “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” toys, according to Jean. She explains that Njoy rarely updates this model because they got it right on the first try. It comes in three different sizes and is made of steel, “which makes them very easy to clean. Plus, they’re heat-conductive,” she says. It can be used in a variety of ways, which is something Jean thinks you should consider before settling on a toy. “Is this for everyday wear under your clothes, during sex, or only for special anal activities?” she asks. “This may influence how many bells and whistles you can accommodate.” One of this plug’s bells is that it “can simulate the feeling of fullness or put the right amount of pressure in your fun spots — either your G-spot or P-spot,” she says, because of the weight of the product. It’s whistle? “It kind of makes you feel like a life-size windup toy where it perches out of your butt,” says Jean.

$18

As Jones says, finding the right size butt plug, “might be a little bit of a Goldilocks situation, where you try different things to find what works for you, and also figure out that something that works really great on one day might not work as well on another day.” That’s why she likes toys that come in multiple sizes, like the inexpensive Platinum Minis. It’s a good choice if you’re trying out a plug for the first time and don’t want to make a big investment in something you might not love.

Available in four different sizes, the Mood Naughty has a “nice taper that makes this toy glide in easily,” Bongiovanni says. They recommend the smallest size for beginners.

One of Goldwyn’s picks for a beginner plug, she likes that this tapered toy is “adaptable to harnesses for people who want to try pegging.”

Best butt plugs for prostate stimulation

For people with prostates, Jones says the gland “is essentially the G-Spot for those kinds of bodies and can create multiple orgasms.” Plugs designed for prostate stimulation have a curve to best reach it. Jones suggests this one from Njoy. “It’s made out of surgical steel, so the weight of it provides a great deal of pressure on the prostate which can be a really lovely thing,” she says.

Bongiovanni says the Aneros MGX, also recommended by Jones, is “great at finding and rocking against the prostate, even hands-free,” and has been the brand’s best-selling toy for nearly two decades.

The handles of Aneros toys have the added benefit of being positioned to caress your perineum, the area between the anus and the scrotum, at the same time that the head is inside. These two models are extremely similar, but this one was recommended by Jean. It can also be used hands-free by engaging your pelvic floor muscles or tugging on one of the handles. The main difference is the slightly different shape and a more “aggressively angled head,” according to the description.

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Best butt plugs for couples

While you can certainly enjoy this vibrating plug (with ten vibration modes) on your own, one of the Ditto’s main draws, according to Jones, Goldwyn, and Bongiovanni, is that it can be activated by your partner — either locally with the remote control or from anywhere using WeVibe’s app. Bongiovanni says the app functionality is “perfect for long-distance relationships,” and the remote control “makes changing speeds and patterns during sex a breeze.” Jones adds, “it works really well for people with vaginas and clitorises, and is also going to do really nice perineum stimulation for people with penises.” Plus, Bongiovanni says, it’s “petite enough for beginners and offers deep rumbly vibration.”

Best butt plugs for advanced users

Adult content creator Siouxsie Q James has done anal exploration personally and professionally for many years, so her recommendations are for experienced users only. She’s also engaged to Michael Vegas, the producer and main performer on PegHim.com, and says this is a popular toy in their house right now. It’s a silicone dildo–butt plug hybrid that comes in nine different sizes. It’s designed for riding, and James loves it because of how smooth it is. It has the brand’s HD Finish on it — a matte surface “that gives more motion feel and grabs onto lube,” according to the site.

James also likes this screw-style plug from Hankey’s Toys. It comes in three different sizes, but even the smallest has a circumference of six inches. You can further customize the experience by selecting the firmness of the toy as well. It comes in firm and 75-percent firm options. With either of James’s picks, she recommends using water-based lubricant X Lube, her favorite for anal play.

“As you get more comfortable with the feeling of the plug, you can increase the size bit by bit,” says Goldwyn. For these more experienced users, she recommends larger toys from Doc Johnson’s American Bombshell line, like this one that’s both long and thick.

“A girthy toy that isn’t going to penetrate deeply, this dildo acts more like a plug that’ll give a satisfying sense of fullness,” says Bongiovanni of this toy. It can also be used for vaginal penetration, but works as a plug thanks to its flared base.

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The Best Butt Plugs, According to Sex Toy Experts