A butt plug is a sex toy that a person inserts into the anus. People use them to provide sexual pleasure. Butt plugs are available in various shapes and sizes.

Read on to learn more about butt plugs, including their uses, safety, potential risks, and how to care for them.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

Was this helpful?
fresh peachesShare on Pinterest
RyanJLane/Getty Images

A butt plug is a sex toy that people use for anal penetration and stimulation. Unlike dildos, butt plugs should stay in place after insertion. This can stimulate nerve receptors inside the rectum.

Butt plugs are generally tapered or teardrop shaped. They should also have a flared base, usually with a stopper, to prevent people losing them inside the rectum.

Butt plugs come in many varieties, including vibrating or remote-controlled models.

There are a number of reasons someone may want to use a butt plug, including:

Preparing for anal sex

Butt plugs can help a person prepare for anal sex by allowing them to become used to the sensation of having an object inside their anus. Additionally, they can help stretch the anus to allow for easier penetration.

Without preparation, anal sex can be painful. It can also cause tearing of the anus or anal lining. This can make it easier for certain viruses and bacteria to enter the body.

A person should always try and relax before inserting anything into their anus. Feeling comfortable and relaxed will help the anal sphincter to loosen. A sphincter is a ring of muscle that can relax or tighten to open or close passages in the body.

To stimulate the prostate

The prostate is a gland that lies in front of the rectum. Some people who have prostates find it very pleasurable to experience prostate stimulation through their rectum.

Inserting a butt plug can put pressure on the prostate, which can lead to a pleasurable sensation. Some people may find that they can orgasm via prostate stimulation.

A person with a prostate may also enjoy having a butt plug in while they have penetrative sex or during masturbation. Experiencing prostate stimulation during these acts may add to a person’s pleasure.

To enlarge the size of the anus

A person can use butt plugs of varying sizes to help stretch their anus. This can be beneficial for a person who wants to try anal sex.

Over time, the anus will become used to the size of the butt plug. A person can then gradually increase the girth of the butt plug until they achieve the size they desire.

It is important for a person to increase the size of the butt plug slowly and gradually. Inserting butt plugs that are too big can cause pain and tearing.

Yes, butt plugs are safe when people use them correctly. A person should use a butt plug that is a comfortable size and shape to limit the chance of pain or tearing.

People should also only use butt plugs with a flared base. The rectum contains strong muscles that can create an effect of suction, pulling unsuitable objects into the anus.

If a person loses a sex toy inside their anus, they may have to have a medical professional remove it in a hospital. Information from 2018 found that dildos and butt plugs accounted for 41% of objects removed from the anus in a Swedish hospital between 2009 and 2017.

Although many people use them, some myths and misconceptions around butt plugs still persist, including the following:

Only males use them

Females can also receive pleasure from using a butt plug. Research from 2022 found that 17.4% of females who used a sex toy anally found it pleasurable.

The vagina contains various erogenous zones, including the G-spot and the A-spot. Thin walls separate these spots from the rectum. Anal stimulation may put pressure on these areas, resulting in sexual pleasure.

Only gay males use them

People of any gender and any sexuality can use butt plugs.

Using a butt plug does not indicate anything about a person’s sexual preference.

There are many types of butt plugs available, including:

  • varying sizes, such as small, medium, and large
  • vibrating
  • textured
  • smooth
  • silicone
  • glass
  • metal
  • inflatable
  • remote-controlled
  • tailed, which means they have a tail on the end that is outside the anus

A person using a butt plug for the first time should pick a small one. They may want to insert a finger or two into their anus to see how it feels before attempting to insert a butt plug.

A person may want to start using their butt plug for a few minutes at a time. Gradually, they may be able to keep the plug in for longer periods.

Some people suggest not having a butt plug inserted for more than 2 or 3 hours. However, this is purely anecdotal and there is no medical evidence to confirm this.

Once a person is used to the sensation of having an object inside their anus, they can gradually increase the size.

Before using a butt plug, a person should make sure they are in a state of relaxation. Outercourse, which some people may call foreplay, may help a person relax and increase their sense of arousal. This may include massage or watching pornography.

The anus cannot lubricate itself, so a person should apply plenty of lubricant to the butt plug. People should use water-based or hybrid-style lubricants with silicone butt plugs.

A person can then insert the butt plug slowly into their anus. Alternatively, they can get a partner to insert it for them.

Although a butt plug can cause mild discomfort, it should not be painful to insert. If a person experiences pain while inserting a butt plug, they should take it out. Pain when inserting a butt plug can occur due to:

  • the butt plug being too big
  • the person not using enough lubricant
  • the person not being relaxed and tensing their anal muscles

A person should thoroughly clean sex toys after every use. They can clean their butt plug using warm water and mild and unscented dish or hand soap. A person can also clean silicone, stainless steel, or Pyrex butt plugs in a dishwasher.

After washing, a person can dry their butt plug using a clean paper towel or allow it to air dry. They can then place it into a clean container, such as a zip-locked bag.

A person should clean the butt plug again before the next use. This helps to ensure there are no lingering bacteria.

Other important things to be mindful of when using sex toys include the following:

  • Never share without cleaning: A person should never remove a butt plug from their anus and insert it into another person’s anus. This can lead to STIs and the spread of Shigella, a germ in feces that can cause diarrhea.
  • It is ok not to like it: Butt plugs are not for everyone. A person should not feel pressured to use one. Some people do not enjoy anal stimulation, and they are not obligated to try it.
  • Using a butt plug does not have to lead to other forms of anal play: Consenting to using a butt plug does not mean a person is consenting to other forms of anal play, including anal sex. A person should always talk openly with their partner or partners to make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable before engaging in any sex act.

Butt plugs are sex toys people insert into the anus. Unlike dildos, butt plugs do not move. They can create a feeling of fullness inside the anus.

A person may use a butt plug for various reasons. This can include sexual pleasure or preparation for anal sex. People of any gender and sexuality may use butt plugs.

A person who wants to try a butt plug should start with a small one and gradually increase the size as they require, using plenty of lubricant before insertion. They should also make sure to clean their butt plug thoroughly before and after every use and never share a butt plug with another person without cleaning it first.