What Are Butt Plugs and Anal Sleeves: The Definitive Guide

Turns out, your anus is full of sensitive nerve endings which can feel incredible when stimulated with an anal or butt blug. So, what exactly is a plug and why would you want to use one? Well, in short, these toys plug your butt and it can be super enjoyable (hang in there with me on this). Plugs are often teardrop, cone, or bead shaped and have a wide base or handle to prevent them from going in too far. 

An anal sleeve is, simply put, a hollow butt plug. Why hollow? It acts as not only a butt plug for the receiver, but can also function as an invigorating sleeve for fingers or a penis when positioned inside the receiver's anus. 

Whether you’ve been using anal toys for years, or you’re just starting to explore that region as a potential for sexual play, read on to discover some interesting info about how to embrace anal play, types of anal toys that are available, and the best way to use them.

Simply put, butt plugs and anal sleeves go into your anus, stimulating that very sensitive area that is rich in nerve endings. If you’ve got a prostate, otherwise known as the male g-spot, this is a great way to reach it! The anus is also a highly qualified detour for reaching the vaginal A- or G-spot. 

Taking butt plugs one step further, the hollow nature of anal sleeves provide the wearer and the receiver with a pleasurable experience. It’s double the fun!

Butt plugs can be worn discreetly while in public, or used as a second “penis” to engage in double penetration. 

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Anal orgasms are a thing. And they are awesome! Cisgender men who have a prostate can achieve a prostate orgasm using a butt plug. For cisgender women, a butt plug can indirectly stimulate their a- or g-spot providing for either an orgasm or even the phenomenon known as female ejaculation.

Plugs come in lots of different shapes, sizes, and materials. Some are smooth, some textured. Some accommodate or even come complete with their own vibrator.

Butt plugs and anal sleeves can be used alone or with a partner. If using with a partner, make sure you have a discussion prior to starting your anal play to ensure it’s an enjoyable experience for all involved. Surprises are great, but not necessarily when it relates to anal play. 

Here are a few tips to on how to successfully use (and enjoy) butt plugs and sleeves:

  • Ease into your play session with masturbation, vaginal, or oral sex. 

  • Relax your muscles with a hot bath, massage, or other foreplay.

  • Using lube, start with a finger and massage the area around the anus gently.

  • Gently ease the tip of the (lubed up) plug into the anus. Gently increase pressure and depth, as guided by the receiver. 

What Misconceptions are There About Butt Plugs?

What if I experience pain or discomfort? Anal play shouldn’t be painful. If you’ve never explored anal play, it’s normal to have some discomfort, but it should never cause pain. If you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort, by all means, stop and evaluate.

When engaged in anal play, lube isn’t optional. The skin in the anal canal is delicate and, if not treated with care, can tear. This can lead to a greater risk of infection. If you have any hemorrhoids, or other condition that may affect anal play, hold off until you’ve received a healthcare provider’s OK.

As with all sex toys, ensure they are properly washed and disinfected after every use. Fecal matter can cause infections and sexually transmitted diseases can also be spread through the use, and sharing of your play gear. 

Will I poop during anal play? Let’s face it, it’s a legitimate fear. After all, a lot of the same nerves you’re stimulating during anal play are the same ones that give you that urge to go. But, don’t worry. The chances of that happening are about as big as winning the lottery. So, play away! 

Does using a butt plug mean I’ve agreed to anal sex? No. Using a butt plug is simply another way to stimulate a very nerve-dense area of the body. Introducing butt plugs or anal toys is not an immediate invitation for anal sex. That is, unless that’s what YOU want. 

Anal plugs won’t get lost or stuck. Toys or play gear made for anal play are specifically designed to prevent them from going in too far, or getting (gulp) stuck. Don’t makeshift or DIY anal toys. It could make for an embarrassing trip to the ER. 

Ease into anal play with Perfect Fit Brand’s XPLAY® Finger Grip Plug Starter Kit. This patent-pending finger grip plug set includes three different sizes making it the perfect anal play training kit. The unique finger grip gives you full control while positioning and inserting. The finger grip strap also collapses, allowing you to sit comfortably while it’s inserted. It can be used discreetly under clothing. 

The Hump Gear plug is the world’s first fuckable butt plug. It’s meant to be worn as a sheath by the giver. It’s then slowly inserted into a willing partner, with full consent and lots of lube. The large nub above the base gently holds it in place allowing the giver to come and go as they please knowing it’s not going to slide out. The internal ribbing is pleasurable for both partners. Made from a proprietary SilaSkin material it’s unbelievably soft and stretchy, yet strong. This award-winner is one of Perfect Fit Brand™’s bestsellers. When you’re ready to step it up a notch, check out the Hump Gear XL.

If you’re looking for a product that has elicited multi-page reviews from exhilarated fans, look no further than the XPLAY® Anal Sleeve Plug 7.0”. Its new anchor tip keeps it in place. The additional graduated anchor points allow you to slide it in one-handed without it slipping out. The protruding anus ring on the base allows a penis to slide in effortlessly. And the incredible texture allows for longer, more comfortable penetration and play. 

Let your imagination run wild with Perfect Fit Brand™’s Tunnel Plug. Essentially, a butt plug, but with a full tunnel, clearing the way for various play, including fingers, watersports, or other toys. The clear version gives you full visibility into your partner!

For more experienced players, the Double Tunnel Plug is worth exploring. Just like the Tunnel Plug, it features a tunnel going all the way through the plug, but has two anchor points and a longer length. 

Anal play isn’t for everyone, so it’s always best to bring it up with your partner in advance. Make sure that you and your partner are comfortable with the idea well in advance of your next play session. Open communication is key. 

Take it slow! Moving too quickly, or not using lube, can be super uncomfortable for the receiver. Always lube up to protect those delicate anal tissues. Then, take it slow. And continue to communicate.

The benefits of anal play are many. And, yes, anal orgasms are real. Even if you don’t orgasm, the nerve endings around the anus, inside the anal canal, and around the prostate are plentiful, providing for an incredible experience. 

"One of the great things about anal play is that folks with any genitalia can enjoy it." Alicia Sinclair, certified sex educator and CEO of Le Wand, originally published on Bustle.com.

Regardless of gender, butt plugs can increase stimulation leading to incredibly powerful orgasms. They are perfect for easing into, or preparing for, anal sex, as well. No sense diving in the deep end when you can ease into it, making it a more pleasurable experience. Simply put, anal plugs are toys with benefits and they are worth your while to explore. 

As always, when playing with or without toys, contracting STIs is possible. So, always make sure you’re properly caring for and cleaning your devices. This is especially true with it comes to anal sex. Due to the delicate lining of the rectum, the risk of bacterial and viral infections rises. So, always take care to clean toys before and after use. 

Always wash all toys before their first use. Simply rinse in a solution of mildly soapy water using dish soap. Isopropyl (70%) alcohol or another disinfectant can be used as well. In either case, be sure to rinse thoroughly before use. Toys without electronics (vibrators and such) may also be boiled for a minimum of 10 minutes (20 minutes recommended) to disinfect. While boiling may change the color of silicone over time, it will not affect the performance.  

Anal play of any kind, whether pegging with a strap-on, using a butt plug, or experimenting with a hollow tunnel plug can have a significant positive physical and psychological effect. So, play away… just make sure to keep your toys clean.