As a one-time sex toy retail worker, I often noticed that when customers came into my store looking shifty-eyed and incapable of expressing what they actually wanted to buy, they were usually looking for a butt plug. Sometimes, I’d lead them to the butt plug section unprompted, just to watch sweet relief bloom on their face as I showed them what they had wanted all along.
It makes sense that so many people are skittish about trying anal play. It’s still hugely taboo and shrouded in misconceptions — like that it “makes you gay” (nope), has to hurt (nope) or will automatically be messy (not necessarily). Given how intimidating anal penetration can be, both physically and psychologically, it’s usually best to start with something small — like a finger or a beginner-friendly butt plug.
Butt plugs are different from other anal toys in that they’re designed, more-or-less, to stay put inside you. You can thrust them in and out like a dildo or a set of anal beads, but staying still is what they were made to do, so they do it very well. This makes them a popular pick for combining with masturbation or sex — they can provide some passive prostate stimulation during a blow job, enhance the sensation of vaginal sex or amp up your pleasure when you’re touching yourself. They’re also the comfiest and most practical choice if you want some surreptitious anal sensations in public, like while on a dinner date with your partner.
Most relevantly, if want to practice having something in your butt before you have anal sex with a penis or dildo, a butt plug can help your sphincter learn to relax when something’s pushing into it. Really, there are few things a butt plug can’t do.
Butt Plug Safety 101
What’s the first rule of butt stuff? Use lube. Your ass doesn’t self-lubricate the way a vagina does, and it’s also a delicate area that can hurt like hell when injured — so do yourself a favor and get your plug thoroughly lubed up before you start.
If your sex toy is made of silicone, you’ll want to stick with water or oil-based lubes, as silicone-based ones can damage the material. Look for thicker formulas, like Sliquid Sassy, as these will feel comfier in use and tend to last longer without needing to be reapplied.
The second rule of butt stuff is go slow. Slower than you think you need to. Rushing into anal penetration can lead to rectal pain, tearing and other stuff you’d definitely rather not have to see your doctor about, so err on the side of caution. If you feel pain at any point, take that as a signal from your body that you’re upping the ante too quickly, and go back to the last thing that felt comfortable and pleasurable.
Lastly, anal play tends to work best if you’re already turned on when it begins. That’s not to say you have to have a long and luxuriant self-foreplay session every time you want to stick a plug inside you, but it’s a good idea to at least get into a sexy headspace and try to shake off the stressors of the day before you start so you won’t be too tense. Depending on whether you’re alone or with a partner, you might want to achieve this by watching porn, reading erotica, giving or getting a massage, making out, masturbating, giving or receiving oral sex or whatever else helps chill you out and rev you up.
What to Look for in a Butt Plug for Beginners
1) Small Size. “Go big or go home” is useful advice for a lot of endeavors, but not for your first forays into anal play. Look for a plug that’s about 1.25 inches in diameter or slimmer. If you’ve done anal penetration before — say, with a partner’s fingers, or your own — then you might be able to go up to 1.5 inches or so. Anything bigger than that will likely push your limits.
2) Tapered Tip. Well-designed butt plugs start thinner at the tip, so that you begin the insertion process at the smallest point and work your way up from there. This can make even dauntingly big butt plugs feel manageable, as long as you go slow and use lots of lube.
3) Flared Base. While a toy can only go so far inside the vagina before it’ll run into the cervix, the ass has no such natural “stopping point” — any toy you insert too far could get stuck inside you, hence all the horror stories told by emergency-room doctors who’ve seen it all. To avoid an embarrassing entry on your medical record, only use butt plugs that have a base at least as wide as the rest of the toy. This’ll keep it from being pulled into your body.
4) Non-Porous Material. Porous materials, like rubber and elastomer, hang onto butt bacteria and can never be fully cleaned, which obviously isn’t ideal. Look for non-porous materials, like silicone, ABS plastic, glass, metal or lacquered wood; these can be effectively sanitized between sessions so you can get down ‘n’ dirty without getting dirty-dirty.
Ready to get plugged? Here are some of the best butt plugs for beginners…
Best Overall Butt Plug for Beginners: Fun Factory Bootie
If you’re apprehensive about anal play, a small, friendly looking silicone plug like the Bootie is your best bet. It’s got a contoured tip that’s easy to guide into your butt once it’s well-lubed, and its flared base has a gentle curve that hugs your body while the plug is inside.
The Bootie comes in three different sizes, ranging in max diameter from 1.1 to 1.6 inches. The most nervous of beginners will probably want to start with the smallest size, but the medium one should be just fine if you’ve comfortably done anal play with one or more fingers before.
Best Vibrating Butt Plug for Beginners: Lovense Hush 2
This inch-wide silicone butt plug connects to the Lovense smartphone app, which allows you to control the toy’s vibrations via Bluetooth. You can also hand off control to a partner, whether they’re across the globe or across the dinner table. This makes the Hush 2 a fantastic choice for couples who are long-distance or who enjoy discreet public play.
The vibrations get plenty powerful, and have a rumblier, more satisfying quality than many cheaper anal vibes. Shape-wise, this one isn’t as stimulating as some of Lovense’s larger models, like the Edge 2 — but it’s smooth, straight and small, so it’s unlikely to overwhelm even the most inexperienced users.
Best Luxury Butt Plug for Beginners: Njoy Pure Plug Medium
“Fancier” doesn’t always mean “better,” but in the case of this stainless steel butt plug, it definitely does. The firmness and heaviness of the material feel sexy and satisfying, whether you wear it while masturbating, having sex or just tidying up your apartment.
Steel holds temperature better than silicone, so you can sit this metal toy in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes before using it. That way, inserting it feels as smooth and relaxing as settling into a hot tub at the spa. The looped handle makes insertion and removal super easy, even with lubey hands.
Best Prostate-Focused Butt Plug for Beginners: Aneros Progasm Jr.
This plug is designed to stroke your prostate with minimal effort on your part: Just lube it up, slide it in, squeeze the muscles in that area and enjoy the head of the toy rubbing against your prostate while the bulb on the base presses into your perineum. Some people even report being able to have hands-free prostate orgasms this way.
Best Weighted Butt Plug for Beginners: B-Vibe Snug Plug 1
Some beginner butt plugs are so light that you can barely feel them once they’re inserted. This one, on the other hand, makes its presence known, despite being one of the tiniest plugs on this list, at just 0.8 inches across.
A weighted ball inside the plug brings its total weight up to 55 grams, a small-but-definitely-noticeable difference. It allows this plug to feel satisfyingly filling, without needing to be huge to do so. The smooth silicone, tapered tip and unobtrusive base all add up to make this a super beginner-friendly toy.
Best Extra-Stimulating Butt Plug for Beginners: B-Vibe Rimming Plug Petite
B-Vibe is best known for their “rimming plugs,” a series of rechargeable anal toys that use rotating beads encased in soft silicone to stimulate your anal opening — yep, like a rim job — while the plug is inside you. This is the smallest toy in that series, maxing out at 1.4 inches across.
It also vibrates, and both the vibration and the rotation can be controlled via an included wireless remote. If you’ve been curious about butt plugs but want something more interesting than typical beginner fare, this toy is unique enough to fit the bill. The massaging action of the “rimming” beads can also help your sphincter relax, making such a plug a good way to warm up for anal sex.
Best Butt Plug Kit for Beginners: Doc Johnson Mood Naughty 1 Trainer Set
If you’ve never tried anal play before, it’s understandable that you might not know exactly what size to look for in a toy — you don’t want to go too big and risk injury or overwhelm, and you also don’t want to disappoint yourself by getting something so small that you’d have been better off just using a finger. “Anal training sets” seek to solve this problem by offering you a few different sizes, all in one kit, so you can start with the one that feels most manageable and work your way up from there. These sets can help you relax those tense sphincter muscles before anal sex or pegging, too.
With its three silicone plugs ranging from 0.75 to 1.25 inches wide, this particular set is exactly what beginners need to ease into the pleasures of anal penetration.