Here’s the thing about silicone lubes, though: They’re awesome for butt stuff because they’re thick and tend to last longer than water-based varieties, but silicone breaks down silicone. If you’re using a silicone toy, grab a water-based lube. Glass or stainless steel butt plugs work wonderfully with any lubricant. But if you’re new to butt plugs, start with silicone, as the material has more give than glass or stainless steel. We recommend Maude’s Shine Organic Lube ($18), Überlube ($24), and Good Clean Love Almost Naked Lube ($7).
How do I get the plug in my butt…and take it out?
First, don’t neglect foreplay. Instead of going straight for the ass, try a few other activities you enjoy, like oral sex, to get your body turned on and receptive to a new kind of stimulation.
Next, start with something smaller than a plug: Lube up your finger, or ask your partner if you can borrow theirs. Circle the anus with the finger, glide it gently in and out of the anus, then add another finger.
After your butt is comfortable with a couple of fingers, slather your plug in lube and slowly slide it inside you. I’ve found that inserting a butt plug is easiest when the receiver is bent over in a doggy-style position, but everyone is shaped differently, so experiment to find out what works for you.
According to sex and relationship expert Jessica O’Reilly, the key to anal play is relaxation. As she writes in The New Sex Bible: The New Guide to Sexual Love, there are two muscle rings known as the sphincter around the entrance to the anus. You want to be gentle with them when inserting anything into your butt. “Relax, breathe deeply, and bear down slightly with your sphincter muscles as you insert [a toy] for the first time,” writes O’Reilly.
To remove a butt plug, gently pull it out while taking slow and steady deep breaths, or have your partner hold the base and slide it out for you. O’Reilly also points out that removal can be easier if you’ve orgasmed during anal play, as orgasms relax the pelvic floor.
What about cleanup?
After play, always wash your butt plugs and your hands with warm water and ample soap. If you have a vagina, avoid transferring bacteria from the butt to the vulva or vagina, since that can cause infection. (This means you and your partner need to wash your hands before rubbing any of your other genitalia.) Schmit says you can toss silicone plugs in a dishwasher, and our favorite three nonporous materials — tempered glass, silicone, and stainless steel — can be boiled to disinfect them, provided that they don’t contain motors.
Where can I buy a butt plug, and which one is right for me?
That’s a decision between you and your butthole, but we have some recommendations for you. You may want to buy your toy in person at a reputable adult boutique so you can ask questions of the knowledgeable staff. If you don’t have access to a good adult shop or are too shy or busy to visit a brick-and-mortar store, there are plenty of reputable brands and retailers that’ll ship them right to your door (with discreet packaging, at that). Most of these sites offer educational videos and tips for using their anal toys, too. Here are some of our favorite butt plugs for beginners, for all kinds of bodies and sensations.
Best for Beginners: Maude Cone
Why It’s Worth It: Maude’s no-frills silicone butt plug is our favorite for beginners because it’s slim for easy insertion, budget-friendly, and doesn’t have any controls to mess around with. It’s made with that good, body-safe silicone and honestly, it’s pretty cute. The Cone has an insertable length of 3.5 inches and an insertable diameter of one inch, making it very approachable. Like all good sex toys, it comes with a handy and discreet storage bag.