How to Use Anal Toys

Medically reviewed by Dr. Justin Lehmiller.

Written by Lucy, Lovehoney Editorial team.

Last updated 28/03/2022.

No matter your gender or sexual orientation, everyone has a butthole. This area is packed with sensitive nerve endings that, for many, can feel amazing when stimulated.

Anal play can be great. There. We said it. Also, it should never (EVER) hurt and, with proper preparation and slow progression, it can be a completely new (and potentially more intense) way to climax.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, of course, but if anal play is something you’re interested in exploring, read on to discover our top tips for maximizing pleasure.

Video: Best Anal Toys for Beginners

If you're new to the world of anal play, then this starter video will help you on your way.

Get clean


With your butt's day job being what it is, it should be obvious why anal exploration might take a little extra prep to make sure you're clean. Being clean isn't just for hygiene or partner pleasure – knowing that you're clean down below can also help you (as the receiver) to relax and enjoy the experience more, too.

What Lovehoney customers are saying:

“It's simple yet effective, it holds enough water to do the job right and to leave you feeling clean as well. The tapered nozzle fits easily and it's all easy to clean when finished with.” - Chunkyb93

For most people, being clean may be as simple as making sure you’ve been to the toilet that day and having a good wash of the external area in the bath or shower prior to using your toy. Eating a high-fiber diet can help to ensure you’re good to go when you want to, but if you’d like to take extra precautions, you can potentially use an anal douche to flush your anus about 45 minutes before play.

However, be careful not to over douche. Cleaning too deeply, with too much force or pressure, or too frequently can potentially lead to irritation and other problems. Keep douching to a minimum and recognize that you don’t need to evacuate the entire contents of your intestinal tract to enjoy anal play.

Use Lube


Unlike the vagina, the anus does NOT self-lubricate. This means that you MUST use lube when exploring any kind of anal penetration. There are no ifs, ands or but(t)s about it! We recommend using a water-based anal lube because it’s the most versatile.

What Lovehoney customers are saying:

“I have used the lubricant during anal play and the feeling is wonderful. I've also used it with toys and on my clit when going solo. It's an all-round winner! It doesn't leave a sticky residue like some other lubes do and I've definitely found myself a favourite.” - MrsLafinlas

Not only is a water-based lube compatible with all sex toys and condoms, but an anal-specific formula is thicker, and longer lasting than regular lube for enhanced comfort and pleasure.

Get warmed up


No, we don't mean star jumps (though it probably wouldn't do you any harm). Warming up for anal play means starting with small, shallow penetration with a well-lubed finger or small toy before moving onto something larger and deeper, should you choose to do so (but that’s not a requirement!).

What Lovehoney customers are saying:

“I bought this butt plug as a beginner due to its size being similar to that of a finger and because I had never used a plug before. First time using it was great! The plug was extremely easy to insert and felt nice and pleasurable. The plug stayed in place and was also very easy and comfortable to remove.” - Bella66

When you're ready for penetration, get comfortable, lube-up, and slowly and gently explore. The goal is to help the muscles in that area relax and for your anus to dilate. A lot of people like to use a small, tapered anal toy at this stage. A beginner's butt plug is perfect, and it can be your starting point or end point, depending on your preferences and comfort.

If using a plug or other toy, be sure to get something with a flared base to ensure it doesn’t go in too far or become irretrievable.

Toy around


Playing with an anal toy can be extremely pleasurable on its own, and using one doesn't necessarily mean that anal sex will follow. Explore the full range of anal toys at your disposal, such as butt plugs, anal beads, anal probers, prostate massagers, and anal vibrators. By experimenting with different kinds of toys, you can discover what it is that you really like.

What Lovehoney customers are saying:

“Bought this for my wife as we wanted to experiment. The toys are all nicely sized for beginners with a good quality feel and no smell. The douche makes it very easy to prepare for anal as well! Overall, a great beginners kit for the price and I would highly recommend it!” - Richard29

If you're struggling to insert a toy to its full depth (and you'd like to), a top tip is to add more lube, and bear down slightly (yes, as if you were on the toilet) and lightly press on the base of your toy. Just remember that the best toys for beginners have a tapered tip and slender girth, and ALL anal toys should feature a flared base to prevent over-insertion.

After play


If you've climaxed whilst wearing an anal toy (particularly a butt plug) the muscles in this area will have just contracted. This means you'll need to wait a moment or two to allow the muscles to relax again before removing your toy. You may find that adding a drop of lube helps your toy slide out more easily.

What Lovehoney customers are saying:

“Love these! They’re good for our bodies and toys after clean-up and good for the planet! What more could you ask for! They smell great and no after smell or residue left behind after wiping. Doesn’t burn or sting when used intimately!” - Unigirl2020

If you've prepared properly and have been to the toilet prior to play, then it's extremely unlikely that you'll encounter any mess. However, if you should find anything ‘new’ on your toy, don't fret it. Sometimes it happens, even with careful preparation, and that's just a fact. Just give yourself and your toy a good clean, and move on.

Pleasure and safety tips

For safe and pleasurable anal play, keep the following information in mind:

  • Only engage in anal play if it’s something you want - not because you feel pressure to try it.

  • Use plenty of lube (we can’t stress this enough!). Apply generously to start, and reapply as needed during play.

  • Avoid excessive douching. Instead, try a high-fiber diet or fiber supplement to keep things tidy.

  • If you experience pain, stop. Take a break, relax, and try again later with more lube. However, if you find anal play to be consistently painful, consult with your doctor or healthcare provider because this could be the sign of a problem in need of treatment.

  • For penetration, start small, slow, and shallow. You don’t need to insert something large and deep to experience pleasure - but if that’s what you want, you need to build up to it and not rush it.

  • Get creative and try different toys and positions. Figure out what feels best for your body.

  • Use toys with a flared base to prevent over-insertion.

  • If engaging in play with a partner, communicate early and often about what you want, what feels good, and if you experience discomfort.

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