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Butt Stuff 101 - how to get started with anal play

The rear of a classical male statue

Curious about anal sex? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try it, but are nervous about taking the plunge. Or maybe you just want to know what all the fuss is about and what it really feels like? Read on for answers to all your questions about butt stuff.

Why do butt stuff?

The short answer is - it can feel really good. And it can feel good for people of all genders and anatomies - after all, we all have a butt!

A bit of anatomy: the anus (your ‘butthole’) is surrounded by two rings of muscle (‘sphincters’) that can contract or relax. The area is packed with highly sensitive nerve endings that can feel great when stimulated during sexual activity, even without any kind of anal penetration.

There’s also the rectum - the chamber just past the anus that is penetrated during anal sex. And this can feel fantastic! For penis owners, penetration can very pleasurably stimulate the prostate - a gland that sits close to the rectum and helps produce semen. For vagina owners, anal penetration can stimulate the internal parts of the clitoris in ways that vaginal penetration does not - which, again, can feel great!

So there’s lots to enjoy about anal play. But there’s a lot to consider first, to make sure you and your partners have a good time.

Doesn’t butt sex hurt?

Anal sex shouldn’t hurt (barring any medical issues), but the reality is that it often does. This is because in order to feel good when penetrated, both the internal and external anal sphincters have to relax - and this takes time, patience, good foreplay and the right mindset (i.e. you’ve gotta want it!). Many people skip some or all of these steps, and penetrating an ass that isn’t ready is a recipe for pain and discomfort. Read on for advice on how to make butt stuff as enjoyable as possible!

Isn’t it dirty?

A common concern is that anal play will be dirty, messy or gross. While accidents can happen, the majority of people manage to engage in anal play with little to no mess. This is because the rectum is actually empty most of the time, right up until you feel the urge to poop. To keep things as clean as possible, it helps to know your body - ideally, you’ll empty your bowels a little while beforehand, and a high-fiber diet can keep things cleaner down there. To feel extra clean, some people like to use an anal douche or enema bulb to clean out the lower part of the rectum with warm water first. You can also start by playing in the shower, or laying down a large towel on the bed just in case.

Getting started with anal play

Important info before you start

  • First and foremost - if you want to do butt stuff with a partner, talk about it first! It’s vital that you and your partner are both onboard with trying it - never spring a new sex act on someone without their explicit consent. It’s vital that you and your partner both feel safe and comfortable.

  • Second - use lube, and lots of it. Unlike the vagina, the anus and rectum are not self-lubricating, and using lube for any kind of penetration is pretty much essential for things to feel good. An oil based lubes such as Coconu’s coconut oil based lube is ideal for butt stuff but not condom compatible. For a condom-compatible lube, we recommend the water-based Sliquid Sassy - its thick formula lasts longer and works really well for anal play.

  • You should also know that STIs can be transmitted through anal play - and the bad news is that anal sex is higher-risk for STI transmission than other types of sex. This is because the anus and rectum can tear and bleed very easily. So make sure you are taking whatever steps you need to to protect yourself and your partners.

  • Don’t double dip - the rectum contains a lot of bacteria that can be harmful if they get in the mouth or vagina - so don’t put anything in a butt and then into a vagina or mouth without thoroughly washing it first.

  • It is essential that anything you put up your butt has a flared base - this is because the rectum can pull things into it and then up, up, up into your large intestine - which might require an ER visit to remedy! So make sure you use a toy that has a base that is substantially wider than the stem to ensure this doesn’t happen.

  • Finally - some people use anal desensitizers or numbing lubes as a shortcut to get to anal penetration faster. We don’t recommend desensitizers as it’s easy to injure yourself without feeling it. After all, pain is the body’s signal that something is wrong. If you’re following the steps in this guide, you shouldn’t need to use anything desensitizing - you shouldn’t be in pain at all.

Getting started

The key to good anal sex is taking things slow. It may take multiple sex sessions to get to penetrative anal sex - or you may never get there at all, which is totally fine!

It’s also a great idea to try anal play by yourself first - this can really take the pressure off while you explore and figure out what feels good. If you are hoping to play with or penetrate someone else’s ass, it’s a great idea to play with your own ass first so you have a better idea of what things will feel like for your partner - which will make you into a better lover!

Take some time to get yourself and your partner aroused before beelining for the butt. Being aroused will both heighten your ability to feel pleasure and help your sphincters relax - which are both essential ingredients for feel-good anal play.

Next, spend some time exploring externally - touch, stroke, tickle and press on the anus, or lay a bullet vibrator across it. See what feels good! Many people love the feeling of receiving analingus (aka rimming) - this is kissing and licking the anal area. Just be aware that it is possible to spread STIs and tummy bugs this way - to minimize the risk, consider using a dental dam.

Having orgasms while receiving anal stimulation can help create a positive association with the sensation of anal stimulation. This makes it easier to get aroused for butt stuff next time!


When exploring anal penetration, start small - try a single (well lubricated) finger first. Gently probe in and out, or move your finger in a ‘come hither’ motion - again, see what feels good for you and your partner. As things get hotter and your muscles relax, you may be able to insert more.

Butt plugs are a fantastic way to enjoy anal stimulation. They come in many shapes and sizes, from tiny beginner ones to very … ahem… girthy ones for the more experienced user. Butt plugs can be inserted (with lube!) and left in place while you continue getting sexy in other ways. Butt plugs can create a nice feeling of pressure internally that can enhance sensation for both partners during vaginal intercourse. And they can help your butt relax and ‘prepare’ it for anal intercourse.

For beginners, we recommend the very affordable Gem plug from Portland Toy Company - its small size and gently tapered stem makes insertion and removal easy.

Vibrating anal toys will take you to the next level pleasure-wise. The B-vibe novice plug is a great beginner option as its size makes it super approachable. All B-vibe toys are incredibly high quality and provide powerful vibration and ergonomic designs.

As you get more comfortable with anal penetration, you might want something bigger in there - a dick, or a dildo. Keep using lots of lube (reapply whenever necessary!), go slow, and remember to use a flared base.

Aubergine’s Stinger Mini dildo is a great option for anal penetration - it has a sufficiently flared base, and its slim design makes it a great choice for newbies who don’t want a toy that’s too girthy.

Did you know you can have anal intercourse in pretty much all the same positions you can have vaginal intercourse in? But it can be easier for the person being penetrated to be on top so they can control the depth and speed of penetration. Experiment with different positions and see what feels good - or hopefully, great!

Remember: if things start to hurt or feel uncomfortable, back off and take it a bit slower. The key to good butt sex is building up positive associations with anal sensation over time, so that your body can relax into it and enjoy it. And the rewards for your hard work and patience can be truly mind-blowing!

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