What Is A Butt Plug?

A butt plug is a sex toy designed to be inserted into the anus for sexual stimulation and pleasure. Butt plugs are similar to dildos but tend to be shorter and have a flared base to prevent the product from being lost inside the rectum.

Man and woman thinking about blutt plug

Quick video answer to “What Is A Butt Plug?”:

In this article, we refer to the anus and the rectum regularly. It is important you know the difference.

The anus is the opening to your butt, also known as a butt hole.

The rectum is the anal cavity inside your anus.

Below is a diagram showing both parts of the body.

anus and rectum diagram

Butt Plug Design

Butt plugs are shaped in many ways, but most have narrow tips that get gradually wider toward the middle and then narrow again at the base.

butt plug shape

This is so that your rectum can house them comfortably, and your anus can close slightly around the flared base.

Plug Types

The anus is designed to automatically close tight, which can suck objects inside the rectum. A flared bottom or pull cord prevents a butt plug from being lost inside you. (You don't want to be turning up to the ER with a strange object stuck in your bum!)

Why do people use butt plugs?

Many people (both men and women) enjoy the sensation of their rectum being gently penetrated or gently stretched.

Butt plugs do precisely what you would imagine, they are a plug that goes up your butt. A butt plug's main purpose is to make you feel good:

Lots of people enjoy anal and for men, prostate stimulation. It’s not for everyone and that’s obviously fine, but for some, it’s a normal part of their sexual repertoire and heightens sexual pleasure. - says Ammanda Major, a Relationship Counsellor and Sex Therapist (1).

Many people use butt plugs when preparing for anal sex (2). Unlike the vagina, the rectum does not produce natural lubricate. It is essential to warm up your anus with plenty of lube and small objects like fingers and butt plugs, before penetrative sex with a penis, a dildo or strap on toy.


Adam Lewis, the co-founder of Hot Octopuss who manufactures luxury sex toys in the UK, says:

Plugs can create the pleasurable sensation of being filled, and stimulate the nerves in the anus.

Butt plugs can also arouse the internal part of the clitoris and G-spot in women, which is why some like to wear them during sex.

What you should know before purchasing a butt plug:

1. Flared Base

Always choose a plug that has a flared base or a pull string. This ensures you don't lose the plug when your anus closes.

Flared Base

Toys without a base are fine for use in the vagina but not in the anus due to the fact that the anus is connected to the rectum (a part of the large intestine). During orgasm, these muscles contract and can create a vacuum effect lodging the toy inside the body causing serious damage. - American University (3)

2. Start Small

If you are an anal sex beginner, it is recommended that you pick a plug that looks ridiculously small.

It's best to start with the smallest size available and work your way up. Remember, you can't return a used butt plug.

beginners butt plug

if you are a beginner you can also use an anal training kit to help condition your butt for anal sex. These kits come with butt plugs in multiple sizes, which allows you to start small and work your way up to the bigger sizes.

anal training kit

3. Material

It is important to check that your toy is body-safe. Silicone, rubber, stainless steel, and high-quality glass (borosilicate glass/ Pyrex) are the best.

If you are a beginner, it is recommended that you choose a soft silicone plug. Select silicone materials over glass or steel, as silicone is softer and easier to insert.

Butt plugs made of hard plastics and acrylics can be porous, which means they can promote bacteria growth if the toy is not cleaned thoroughly and stored in a dark, dry place.

4. Lubricant

As mentioned above, the rectum doesn't self-lubricate. If you are going to use any anal toy, you need to apply lubricant before inserting it.

anal lubricants

Oil-based lubes, including the DIY options in your kitchen cupboard like coconut oil, will break down latex. This is not good if you are trying to practise safe sex with a condom.

Water-based lubes and silicone-based lubes are a better option.

Silicone lube is great for anal because they are thicker and last longer than water-based lubes. BUT you need to be aware that silicone breaks down silicone. So if you are using a silicone sex toy, then the best option is water-based lube.

Glass and stainless steel butt plugs work well with all lubricants.

There are also special anal lubricants designed specifically for anal play.

Some of these anal sex lubes are numbing lubricants. These special lubes and sprays are designed to make anal less painful. They are specifically designed for anal and should not be used on or in the vagina. Always check the ingredients to make sure you aren't allergic to any of them.

numbing lubricants

Lidocaine. This numbing agent may help ease sexual discomfort when applied as an ointment to the vestibule before and after sex. (If it's used before sex, it may affect the male.) - Harvard Health Publishing (4)

If you have any questions about butt plugs, please contact us.

The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice on any subject matter. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this site without seeking professional medical advice.

Erica Cuff

Author: Erica Cuff

Erica Cuff has been involved in the sex toy industry since 2000. Working behind the motto “Sex Toys should be fun”, Erica provides useful tips & advice from years of hands on experience and research with adult products. 

Happily married since 2005, she knows first-hand how our sex lives can become repetitive if we don't give them the time and effort they deserve. If you're looking to spice things up in the bedroom, then Erica is your gal! She lives to cover topics that empower men, women and couples needing inspiration to keep lovemaking exciting and fun.

Her other focus is teaching women how to properly master the “bald man in the boat” to achieve the best orgasms ever (partner or no partner!) Her informative and unique tips, techniques and advice is up there with certified sex therapists and Sexologists, but with the added advantage of her expereince in the adult toy business.

Erica Cuff's Linkedin profile highlights her professional background, experience and training.



(1) https://www.relate.org.uk/relationship-help/help-relationships/trust/ask-ammanda-i-caught-my-husband-using-inflatable-butt-plug-now-i-dont-trust-him
(2) https://muse.jhu.edu/article/678729/summary
(3) https://www.american.edu/ocl/cdi/health-equity-pleasure.cfm
(4) https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/when-sex-gives-more-pain-than-pleasure

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