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Butt stuff has been getting its fair share of the limelight in recent years.

These days, you can’t go to a comedy open mic without hearing at least three people mention anal sex, and words like pegging, rimming, and even poppers are becoming household names.

Like with any other kind of pleasure, it’s incredibly valuable to explore anal play as a solo journey before — or along with — partnered play.

Toying with your tush on your own can help you get more comfortable and in tune with your body. Intrigued? Here’s how to get started.

We believe pleasure is a fundamental aspect of a safe and healthy sex life. That’s why we rely on experienced writers, educators, and other experts to share their suggestions on everything from the technique you use to the sex toy you buy.

We only recommend something that we genuinely love, so if you see a shop link to a specific product or brand, know that it’s been thoroughly researched — if you know what we mean. Wink.

Healthline

Simply put, anal masturbation is any sort of self-stimulation of your anus, rectum, or prostate for the purpose of sexual pleasure.

“If the anus is involved and you’re doing it by yourself, it’s anal masturbation,” says sexologist Megan Stubbs, EdD.

The benefits are the same as with any other masturbation:

  • lowered stress
  • better sleep
  • improved mood
  • pain relief
  • self-exploration

And most importantly, pleasure!

Despite so many myths to the contrary, anal shouldn’t be painful — and it won’t be if you’re doing it right.

As Alicia Sinclair, CEO and founder of the anal pleasure product company b-Vibe, always says, “Everybody has a butt!”

That means anyone can experience pleasure — even orgasm — from anal stimulation, regardless of gender or genitals.

“The anal opening and canal have a wealth of nerve endings that are primed for pleasure,” adds Caitlin V., MPH, clinical sexologist for Royal.

For people with vulvas, internal anal play can also stimulate areas of the vaginal canal and larger clitoral structure.

And if you have a prostate — a walnut-sized gland located about 2 inches inside the rectum — you’re in luck. According to Adam Levoy, CEO of prostate health and pleasure brand Giddi, prostate stimulation can strengthen penile orgasms by 30 percent.

“Taking the time to learn how to train sphincter muscles and get comfortable with the sensations alone opens the door to more comfort, pleasure, and exploration,” says Caitlin V.

You can try a number of ways to explore the back roads on your own! Here are some of the most common.

Manual stimulation

You don’t really need anything other than lube to be able to explore anal play. You can use your fingers to pleasure and massage the rim of your anus, as well as explore some shallow penetration.

If you have a vulva and are using your fingers, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before touching your vulva to help prevent infection.

The same applies if you have a penis: Wash your hands before touching your penis head.

Alternatively, you can use latex or nitrile gloves or finger cots that you can take off and toss in the trash afterward.

Butt plugs

Plugs are probably the most popular and most widely recognized anal toy.

Designed to be inserted into your anus and provide a feeling of fullness, butt plugs are often worn while you’re engaging in another form of stimulation, like clitoral, penile, or erogenous play. In this way, they can add to the experience.

They come in an array of styles, shapes, colors, sizes, and materials. With silicone, you can choose between motorized and nonmotorized plugs. Either type is great for beginner anal play, as long as you choose a modest-sized toy.

Some nonvibrating options include this beginner plug from Tango or the striking Romp by Unbound. For a beginner plug with vibrations, try the b-Vibe Novice vibrating plug or the Shimmy by Unbound.

Many people like plugs made of glass (like this one from Crystal Delights) or stainless steel (like this one from Love Honey). They offer a different sensation, have a weighty feel to them, and are often pleasing to look at.

Anal beads

Consisting of a series of spheres or balls attached to each other, anal beads are designed to be continuously inserted into the rectum and removed according to your desired sensations.

Similar to plugs, beads come in a variety of materials and are also available in vibrating and nonvibrating options.

If you’re looking for silicone nonvibrating beads, try this set from Satisfyer. In need of some good vibes? Try the b-Vibe Triplet vibrating anal beads.

Not into silicone? Check out njoy’s Fun Wand for a stainless steel moment. If glass is more your style, try this one from Love Plugs.

If you’re new to using anal beads, it’s best to start small and use lube to increase your comfort.

Prostate massagers

These are similar to butt plugs, but shaped and designed specifically to target stimulation to the prostate. They also come in a range of materials, sizes, and shapes, plus motorized and nonmotorized.

Many massagers provide dual stimulation to the perineum (the area between your genitals and anus) or penis. You can always find a wide selection of high-quality, body-safe prostate toys at Spectrum Boutique.

Rimming toys

Rimming toys are intended to stimulate the rim of your anus. Most often they come in the form of a vibrating plug, like this collection from b-Vibe, which features rotating beads in the neck of the plug.

Alternatively, you can choose a toy like the Sir Richards Rim Joy that aims to replicate the feeling of rimming with a motorized “tongue.”

Dildos

Most dildos can be used for solo anal penetration.

As long as it has a base to prevent your bum from sucking it up and you’re comfortable with its size, you’re good to go.

There are dildos specifically designed for anal strap-on sex, too. “Pegging dildos” tend to be softer and smaller in size, like this one from Tantus.

These basics will get you up and running in no time.

How to clean yourself is up to you

If you want to freshen up your booty, that’s your decision. Sometimes a shower and a lather helps people feel cleaner and more in the mood.

“If you don’t have the time, an unscented baby wipe will do,” says sexologist Malika O’Neill, LPC.

“Try emptying your bowels 45 minutes to an hour before anal play,” she adds. “[But] if you aren’t feeling well or things are a little loose, you might want to hold off on the anal play.”

Load up on lube

If you remember one thing from this guide, make it this: The anus doesn’t self-lubricate. Lube — and lots of it — is required for pleasurable anal play.

Skin-to-skin contact or skin-to-silicone contact without lube will be extremely uncomfortable and can easily cause microtears and fissures in and around your anus.

The type of lube you need depends on what you’re using to play.

If you’re using your fingers or toys made of wood or stainless steel, or if you’re covering your toys in latex barrier methods, stick with silicone-based lubes, such as Uberlube. These tend to be thicker and higher in viscosity.

Using a silicone toy? Stay away from silicone-based lubes. Go for a water-based lube instead, like Sassy by Sliquid.

Another option with silicone toys is the cult favorite The Butters Original Lube, a smooth, moisturizing, and long lasting oil-based recipe that includes aloe and shea.

The Butters Lube can also be used with fingers, glass and stainless steel toys, and nonlatex condoms like nitrile, lambskin, and polyurethane.

Get relaxed and in the mood

Relaxed muscles are another key to a pleasurable solo anal experience.

You can try releasing tension with a warm bath, essential oils, or deep breathing, or, as O’Neill suggests, by playing with yourself!

Stimulating your genitals or other erogenous zones and becoming aroused will significantly relax your muscles in the area.

Another option? CBD. It comes in many forms, including edibles, capsules, tinctures, and topicals.

You can even get a CBD suppository, like this one from Foria Wellness, that’s designed to relax your anal or pelvic area and promote arousal.

Start slowly and go at your own pace

Whether you choose to use your hands or a toy to make the magic happen, always listen to your body and take your time. There’s no need to rush.

It can be helpful to begin by slowly pushing and pulling your finger or small toy in and out of your anus, past your sphincter. This will allow you to get used to the sensation before going farther.

Here are some ways to make sure your anal masturbation session not only goes smoothly, but has you shouting from the rooftops:

  • Trim your nails or wear gloves. Keep yourself safe from tears and scratches.
  • Take breaks as needed. Keep some water nearby.
  • Try it in the shower. The warmth can keep your muscles relaxed.
  • Pay attention to your other erogenous zones. Pair anal play with stimulation in another area, like the nipples or genitals.
  • Try different speeds and motions. Shallow thrusts, deep thrusts, gentle tapping, circular motions, the “come hither,” twisting — whatever feels good!
  • Use a suction cup dildo — or a suction cup dildo attachment — to open up more positions. Check out PeepShow Toys or Spectrum Boutique for some hands-free options.
  • Try this trick. Pull out your toy just as you give yourself a genital orgasm to take your O up a notch.
  • If it’s legal in your state, consider a cannabis lube. Check out this one from For Wellness. THC can promote relaxation and pleasure.

Experimenting with different positions can help you unearth some incredibly pleasurable experiences. Here are a few to try out.

On your back

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Bring your knees to your chest.
  3. Place a pillow under your lower back to raise your hips for easier access.
  4. Reach your arm down and around toward your anus.
  5. Stimulate and penetrate to your liking.

Doggy style

  1. Assume an all-fours position on your hands and knees.
  2. Reach one arm around behind you.
  3. Use fingers or toys to massage or penetrate your anus.
  4. Alternatively, fasten a suction cup dildo to the wall and back up onto it.

Facedown

  1. Lie facedown on a bed.
  2. Reach your arm behind you and rest it on your back.
  3. Reach your hand down toward your anus.
  4. Tease and insert your finger or toys at your leisure.

Straddle

  1. Attach a suction cup dildo to the seat of a chair.
  2. Face the chair and straddle it.
  3. Hold the back of the chair for stabilization.
  4. Lower your anus onto the dildo at your own pace.
  5. Ride the dildo.

When you’re finished, make sure to throw away — not flush! — any barrier methods. Then wash your hands and any toys used with antibacterial soap and warm water, letting the toys air-dry.

O’Neill tells Healthline that it’s possible to experience slight discomfort after anal play, but you shouldn’t experience any pain.

“You may also feel the urge to use the bathroom soon after anal play, but it shouldn’t prevent you from having a bowel movement,” she continues.

If you experience any soreness, take a break from anal play until you feel ready to try again. Remember, use lots of lube and go slow!

Anal masturbation can be a chance to experiment, learn what you like, and get to know your body — which can ultimately improve your partnered anal sex experiences should you choose to have any.


Jamie J. LeClaire (they/them) is a sexuality educator, pleasure coach, freelance writer, and consultant. Jamie’s work focuses on the intersections of sexual health and pleasure, dating and relationships, queer and transgender/nonbinary identity, and body politics. You can follow them on Instagram and Twitter at @jamiejleclaire.