There are two very different ways to have anal sex — with prep, and without. If you’ve ever experienced the prepped version, then you know first-hand: just a little planning can transform anal play from an uncomfortable or awkward experience to a uniquely pleasurable, orgasmic event.
The anus and rectum are filled with erogenous zones and sensitive nerve endings. Depending on your anatomy, you may also have a prostate or A-spot (AKA anterior fornix erogenous zone), a G-spot-like area that can be stimulated through the anal wall. All can create intense pleasure and blended orgasms — if you take a few key steps before you play!
What are the essentials when it comes to preparing for anal stimulation? We’ve created a handy checklist to make it easy to plan for anal play, and enjoy it to the fullest when it happens.
No ifs, ands, or, well, buts about it. The most important part of anal play is communicating with your partner about how you feel and what you need. Consent is crucial when it comes to great anal play (and play of all kinds!). Before you begin, establish boundaries and safe words that will help you relax and focus on connecting through pleasure.
Ask yourself — and each other — questions like:
- Do you feel ready?
- What kinds of stimulation are you comfortable with?
- Are there any concerns or fears you want to discuss?
- What do you hope to experience through anal play?
And remember — communication doesn’t stop when the fun starts! Check in with each other during play to see how you’re feeling and if anything else (more lube, perhaps?) is needed to improve the experience. Communication post-play is just as important. Aftercare and talking about what occurred — both high and low points! — can help you both feel safe and set the stage for even better play next time.
Communication isn’t just for partnered players! Take time to check in with yourself if you plan to explore anal sensations solo. What would make you feel most comfortable and prepared? Solo sexual experiences can be just as profound and rewarding as play with a partner!
Clean-up on Aisle A
When we hear the words “anal sex,” the first thing many of us think about is cleanliness. How can we make anal play a clean experience that won’t feel embarrassing or shameful? Good news! The rectum is typically stool-free except just before a bowel movement, meaning it’s generally good to go for anal play whenever you are. A shower is usually sufficient for feeling spruced up and ready to go.
Want to feel extra clean? A quick douche with an anal bulb and water usually does the trick. But remember — no matter how well you clean the anal region before play, it won’t be sterile. Be sure to keep the fingers and toys you use for butt stuff away from the vagina to avoid infections. To help keep the vag germ-free, you may want to shower after anal play or use pH-balanced wipes to wipe away any traces of infection-causing bacteria.
Our mantra when it comes to anal exploration? Lube, lube, and more lube! Unlike the vagina and mouth, the anus and rectum don’t produce their own natural lubrication, making a good personal lubricant indispensable to comfort and safety. The anal lining is thin and susceptible to microtears, another reason why lube is so important. Apply as much as you need (and then some!) to reduce friction and create a smooth, pleasurable glide.
You’ll want a lubricant that works with your body and any toys you plan to use. Silicone lubricants are long-lasting and provide an ideal cushion for anal play, but can degrade condoms and toys made from silicone. Water-based and hybrid lubes are a safer choice if you’re using condoms or silicone toys, but may need to be applied more often.
When it comes time to choose a lube, we strongly recommend against using any product that will numb or anesthetize your tissues! Part of playing safely is paying attention to your body and stopping or slowing down when you feel discomfort. Always avoid gels or other products designed to reduce sensation. These types of lubricants can reduce pleasure, as well, and are a lose-lose for both safety and fun!
For more info on how to pick the perfect lube for anal and other types of play, check out our complete guide to choosing a lube!
When it comes to anal play, foreplay is key. We don’t mean the usual foreplay staples like kissing and touching, though those are great, too! We’re talking about priming your body for what’s to come and paving the way for pleasure.
How to do that? Well, the anal region responds well to gentle touching and stretching. Fingers, tongues, and butt plugs are all excellent ways to introduce gradual sensation that will help your muscles open and relax.
What isn’t the best way to start anal play? With a penis, dildo, or larger vibrator. The key to success is to start small, go slowly, and give your body a chance to adjust before moving on to bigger things!
Here are some easy and effective ways to prep for anal play:
- With a finger. Try stroking the anus with a finger (yours or a partner’s), and pressing it against you as you feel more comfortable. Slowly inserting a well-lubed finger can be a good way to explore the unique feeling of fullness that comes with anal penetration.
- With a tongue. The soothing warmth of a tongue can help prepare your body for anal play. Also known as rimming, tongue play can be a nice introduction to anal sensation that doesn’t involve penetration. Rimming can also add a little extra lubrication to the area and feel particularly intimate.
- With a warm bath. If you’re not comfortable stimulating your anus directly, try taking a hot bath instead. The warmth of the water can be just as effective in relaxing your muscles as a tongue can!
- With a butt plug. A butt plug is one of the best ways to relax the muscles of the anus and prepare for play. We’re partial to small, tapered plugs made from body-safe silicone. This kind of toy is great for prep and for play on its own! Just lube it up with a silicone-safe glide and insert it slowly, allowing your anal muscles to “pull” it into place.
If the plug continues to feel comfortable, let it stay in place for around 20 minutes while your body adjusts to the sensation. You can enjoy the plug without advancing to other kinds of play, or remove it and transition to some well-lubed, gradual penetration with a penis, larger plug, or other toy.
Finally, make sure any toy you use for anal penetration has a flared base. A flared base will prevent your toy from getting lost inside the anal canal, which doesn’t have a natural barrier like the vagina.
Before we talk penetration, let’s discuss another P word: protection. If you’re fluid bonded with a partner you trust, you may not need to use a condom for anal play. But if you’re concerned about the potential for STIs or other infections, a condom will be an important part of play preparation.
Because the anal lining is fragile, small tears can increase the risk of transmitting HIV or other STI such as the human papilloma virus, which can cause cancer. When in doubt or when playing with a new partner, a condom can dramatically reduce the risk of infection. Talk with your partner about how best to protect each other’s health, and be sure to use a condom-safe lubricant with a water or hybrid base.
Now that you’re lubed up and protected, remember to be patient with yourself and your partner as you explore anal play. Give yourself time to relax and adjust to each new sensation before trying something new. You may want to start with a finger (or two!) or a tongue as you get your bearings, and move on to toys and penetration if and when you get more comfortable.
Penetration can be an important part of anal play, but is by no means the main event! Every body responds to butt stimulation differently. While some of us may be happy with a little fingering or rimming, others will prefer deep penetration and a more intense feeling of fullness. And still others will learn about anal play and decide it’s not for us after all, at least not for now.
More: Browse gender-inclusive toys in my Cute Little Fuckers review!
If you decide to try anal penetration, keep the lube front and center and take your time. A patient approach can help banish tension and maximize pleasure for both partners (or solo players using toys!). As you start out, you may want to control the depth of penetration by moving while your partner stays still. Some of us prefer to give up the feeling of control, but only with a partner we trust who is careful to respond to safe words and requests to stop.
Need a bit of anal inspiration? Overwhelmed by the myriad options? Here are some of our butt stuff faves and must-haves!
Best for Beginners: B-Vibe Anal Training Set. If you’re new to butt stuff, an anal training kit is a great place to start. This 7-piece set includes plugs of different sizes for gradual progression, as well as an enema and lube launcher to help you feel fresh and ready.
Best for Strap-On Sex: Strap-On-Me Remote Vibe. Those looking to enjoy strap-on anal sex should give this strapless vibe a try. It’s flexible, body-safe, and designed to simultaneously stimulate the wearer and receiver! This vibe also comes in a large and an extra-large size for more experienced anal players.
Best for Advanced Play: Le Wand Swerve Stainless Steel Dildo. The weighty pressure and girthy construction of this stainless steel dildo is ideal for experienced anal players looking to explore new sensations. Its dual design offers rippled beads for a sphincter massage, and a bulbous, curved end for G and P-spot stimulation.
Best for Pet Play: Crystal Delights My Lil Pony Plug. If you have a pet play fetish and also happen to be a fan of My Little Pony, this is the butt plug for you. Colorful, playful, and 100% body safe, this plug brings an enchanting element to anal play.
Best Butt Plug for Long Term Wear: B-Vibe Snug Plug. This soft silicone plug is designed with long term comfort in mind. It features a tapered tip, torpedo shape, and long, slim neck for easy insertion and removal. This plug comes in multiple sizes, from petite to eye-poppingly girthy.
Best Vibrating Butt Plug: Lora DiCarlo Tilt Dual Warming Vibe. This gender inclusive vibe is uniquely versatile and designed for all anatomies. It features 7 intensity settings, and emits a gentle warming sensation to promote muscle relaxation.
Best Prostate Toy: Vibratex Black Pearl Prostate Vibe. From the creators of the uber popular Magic Wand, the Black Pearl Prostate Vibe is perfect for P-spot pleasure. A slender shaft, rounded tip, and curved body make this toy great for prostate massage and extended wear!
Best Glass Toy: Chrystalino Genius Glass Butt Plug. This smooth, pretty plug brings a cool, gliding texture to the game. Plus, you can run it under hot or cold water to experiment with temperature play!
Best Stainless Steel Toy: njoy Pure Plug. The njoy Pure Plug is perfect for those who prefer a firm, weighted feel. It’s made from medical-grade stainless steel, is easy to clean, and makes a fabulous tool for temperature play.
Best Anal Beads: Rocks Off Pearls Anal Beads. This slim set of vibrating beads is great for anal players of all experience levels. It features 3 speeds, 4 settings, and is 100% waterproof!
Best Lube: Sliquid Ride BodyWorx Silk Hybrid Lube. A long-lasting lube like this is crucial for maximum anal safety and enjoyment. Plus, its hybrid formula makes it compatible with most toy materials.
Anal play can add a new depth of pleasure and connection to partnered or solo play. If you’re new to anal sex or just want a little extra guidance as you explore, feel free to reach out for ideas and personalized recommendations! Email us at email@example.com, or DM us on Instagram or TikTok. We’re always happy to help!