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Do us a favor and try to do the splits. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

Can’t do it? Most people can’t without a lot of stretching and training first.

Turns out it’s the same for stretching your anus.

Like other muscles, your anal sphincter is only accustomed to stretching so far. If you want to loosen it up, it’s going to require some work.

Pleasure for starters.

Your anus is full of sensitive nerve endings that make anal play feel oh so good. And the fun isn’t reserved for folks who have a prostate.

Anal training can make anal penetration of any kind pleasurable. It can also help you work up to larger anal toys and other butt play, like gaping.

What’s gaping? You’ve likely seen it in porn — the close up of a butthole open wide after being penetrated with a big butt plug or penis. That’s gaping, or hashtag HoleGoals.

Like any other sexual activity, it’s generally safe if you take the proper precautions.

The anus isn’t self-lubricating like a vagina, and the tissue is thinner and more sensitive than the rest of your skin. This makes it more prone to tearing and infection, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Taking it slow, using lots of lube, and practicing safer sex can help.

If you’re pregnant, have hemorrhoids, or have any other condition that affects your anus or rectum, you may want to check with your doctor before giving anal training a go.

Nope.

Your sphincter’s number one priority isn’t to accommodate a mammoth butt plug; it’s meant to contract to hold your poop in your rectum and flex to let it out when you’re ready.

It’ll bounce back because that’s its job.

Nope — no matter how big you go.

Along with elasticity in your tissues that help them flex and contract, mental relaxation is a big part of anal training.

Anal penetration gets easier because you develop better control, not because you’ve got a big butthole.

Pretty far.

The average rectum is roughly 12 centimeters (about 5 inches) long, but you’re better off listening to your body than focusing on that number.

Take fisting, for example. It’s totally possible for your partner to work up to fisting you until they’re elbow deep if that’s something you’re into exploring.

Fingers are a good place to start because you can begin with a pinky and work your way up to five fingers, or even an entire hand or fist. You can also use sex toys.

Dilator

Anal dilators, also called rectal dilators, are medical devices used to widen the rectum after anorectal surgery to help make passing stool easier.

Dilators — which you can find online — used for pleasure are similar, though the goal is slightly different, obvs.

Their shape is pretty basic — usually smooth and tubular. They’re usually sold in sets of five or more, each increasing roughly a quarter of an inch in size so that you can work your way up.

Plug

You’ve gotta love the butt plug and its efficient shape. They generally have narrow tips that gradually widen toward the middle then taper down again.

Their shape makes them easy to insert and helps to keep them comfortably contained in your anus even in the throes of ecstasy.

A flared base prevents them from getting sucked in, sparing you from being one of those Untold Stories of the ER cases that goes viral.

They come in all sorts of lengths and widths, ranging from small (like this one) for anal training amateurs to some pretty intimating monster-sized plugs (like this one) for seasoned pros.

You can also buy butt plug trainer kits online, like this one.

Lifelike dildo

If you like cock and want a sex toy that looks more like the real thing, then dildos are the way to go. They come in just about every length and girth so you can work your way up as you please.

Fantasy dildo

Like a little whimsy with your anal workout? Fantasy dildos are shaped like pretty much everything you wouldn’t normally think of putting up your butt, like dragons, aliens, unicorns, and even a magical hammer (like this one) inspired by the God of Thunder.

Don’t try to be a hero and start big because you can — quite literally — tear yourself a new one.

If this is your first foray into anal play and stretching, starting small is a must even if you think you can handle more.

If we’re talking in fingers, start with a pinky. In toys, something between 0.25 inches to 0.5 inches in diameter is a good place to start.

An anal training kit like this one by VuVatech is perfect for beginners.

Size matters, but here are some other things to consider when choosing toys to stretch your anus.

Material

First, you want to be sure to choose a material that’s body-safe. Look for toys that are phthalate and BPA-free.

Silicone, stainless steel, and borosilicate glass — or Pyrex — are great because they’re nonporous and easy to care for.

Silicone has more give, which might be better for a newbie.

Weight

Unless you’ve got carpal tunnel, you don’t need to worry about weight if you’re choosing dilators or dildos.

Butt plugs are another story since they’re meant to remain inside you. You want enough weight for the plug to stay put and not shoot from your butt with a sneeze, but it also needs to be comfortable.

Vibrations and other variations

To say you have a lot of options would be an understatement. There are dildos and other anal toys out there with bells and whistles your bum can’t even imagine.

Vibrating, heating, and curved for prostate stimulation are just a few.

You probably don’t need any of these things to stretch your anus, but they sure make a fun reward for all that hard training.

It comes down to your comfort level, but aim to train once or twice a day, at least 5 days a week, for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.

Stick with it for 1 to 2 weeks before moving to the next size up.

If you feel no resistance or discomfort when inserting, then congrats — you’re ready to size up!

If you’re doing it yourself, you’ll want to lie on your side and use your dominant hand, which is the one you write with.

Here’s how:

  1. Lie on side with your knees bent so you’re comfortable.
  2. Reach your hand around to your anus to insert your finger or toy.

If you’re with a partner, you have a couple of positions to choose from. You can:

  • Lie facedown.
  • Have your partner sit or kneel next to you.
  • Get on all fours.
  • Have your partner kneel behind you.

Here are a few things to do to get ready for an anal training sesh.

Try to have a bowel movement

It’s no secret that poop comes out of the anus. Most fecal matter sits higher up in your rectum, but anal play can bring on the urge to poop.

Pooping before play will allow you to go deeper and help you focus on the task at hand.

If you’re still pretty shallow, consider a douche

If there’s too much poop in your rectum, shallow penetration will probably be all you can muster. Using a rectal douche to clean out poop in the lower rectum can help.

They’re easy to use and you can buy one online for just a few bucks.

If you’re getting deeper, consider an enema

If you’re planning to go deeper than 3 or 4 inches, you might want to consider an enema to flush any remaining poop from your rectum.

An enema injects liquid deeper into the rectum to completely clear it out.

You can buy enema kits online or in drugstores.

Enemas are safe as long as you only use them occasionally and as directed on the packaging. Be sure to use lube on the tip before insertion.

Relax yo’self

You need your mind and muscles to be as relaxed as possible to keep your hole from clenching.

Try a hot bath, a massage, or some foreplay to help you get your stretch on.

Be generous with the lube

Apply a liberal amount of lube to your finger or toy, as well as around your anal opening. By liberal I mean basting yourself up like you would a turkey on Thanksgiving.

Not using enough can cause pain and tearing.

Silicone lube, which you can find online, is awesome for anal play because of its thicker consistency and lasting power.

If you’re using a silicone toy, however, you’ll need to use a water-based lube instead because silicone breaks down silicone.

Oil-based lubes generally aren’t recommended because they break down latex, and that’s a major no-no if you’re using condoms or latex gloves on your fingers or toys.

A natural lube, like this one from Passion Lubes, is a good choice for your delicate derriere.

Say no to numbing agents

Using a numbing agent increases your chances of going too far too fast and causing potentially serious damage.
Your discomfort will help you gauge when it’s time to stop or move up to the next size.
Plus, the point of anal training is to get your butt accustomed to the sensation of being penetrated.

Once you’re relaxed and greased up, it’s time to get in there.

How do you insert?

Slow and steady wins the butt play race. Get ready for insertion by lightly pressing your toy against your hole with minimal pressure.

When you’re ready:

  1. Take a deep breath and increase the pressure, slowly pushing your finger or toy inside.
  2. Try to insert the toy an inch or so over the course of about 3 or 4 minutes.
  3. If met with some resistance — which is totally normal — gently remove it, apply lube again, and try again.
  4. Once inside, use a gentle circular or thrusting motion.
  5. Be sure to reapply lube every time you take it out and start again.

What’s the difference between plugging and thrusting?

Thrusting is pushing and pulling your toy in and out over and over, while plugging involves literally plugging your anus with a butt plug and leaving it inside.

Using a circular motion is helpful when it comes to stretching. Whether you add thrusting or plugging into the mix depends on what feels good for you.

Plugging frees up your hands for simultaneous fun, like caressing your erogenous zones, or allows you to train while your partner goes down on you.

What should you do if it hurts?

Minor discomfort while you get used to the sensation of being penetrated is to be expected. Adjusting the depth or motion, or even just taking a deep breath, should help.

If you’re feeling actual pain — like a severe, sharp, or throbbing pain — then slowly pull out. You can try again in a couple of days with a smaller toy or after being sufficiently relaxed.

If the pain returns, it’s a good idea to see a doctor to find the cause.

What should you do if there’s blood?

A little bit of blood that resolves quickly — think light spotting — probably isn’t a big deal.

See a doctor if there’s a lot of blood, bleeding continues for more than a couple of minutes, or is accompanied by pain.

What should you do if there’s poop?

First, don’t freak out. Everyone has a butt, and everyone poops.

A little poop is to be expected. Wash your hands and toy thoroughly, lube up, and start again.

If you get a bad case of the runs or have an actual bowel movement, then stopping to properly clean yourself up and out is a good idea.

You can always try again once your bowels are empty.

While we’re on the subject of cleaning up, here are some tips for after your stretch sesh.

Sterilize your toy

Sex toys should always be washed after use to avoid transferring bacteria. Most can be washed with warm soap and water, but always check the information included with your toy for any special care instructions.

A quick shower and a hot bath

You’ve earned a nice, relaxing bath after all that hard work — just make sure you take a quick shower first.

This will allow you to wash off any fecal matter or bacteria that’s made its way inside your anus (aka the last thing you want to be soaking in).

Soaking in a warm bath afterward can help you unwind and release tension afterwards.

Add a cup of Epsom salt to help relieve any soreness.

Look at you being all ambitious!

The general rule here is to size up once you’re able to take a toy in without any discomfort or resistance.

By sizing up, we’re talking around a quarter of an inch at a time — not jumping from a pinky to a penis. Ouch!

A few things. Not to scare you, but here’s a rundown of what can happen if you’re not careful.

Fissure

An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of your anus or your anal canal. Sometimes, you can actually see a crack or tear.

You might also experience:

Hemorrhoid

A hemorrhoid is a swollen vein in your anus and lower rectum. They can cause swelling around your anus, along with bleeding, pain, and itching.

Internal hemorrhoids, which develop inside the rectum, can make pooping painful and cause bleeding. Sometimes, an internal hemorrhoid can push through your anal opening, causing even more pain and irritation.

Perforation

Yep, perforation is possible and it’s as scary as it sounds. Fortunately, it’s also very rare.

There are case reports of people having their colons perforated after inserting vibrators and foreign bodies — including a zucchini — into the anus.

Anal training can help you master anal play and take it to another level. When done right, you can work your way up to easy and pleasurable anal sex, or take it even further with gaping or fisting, if that’s your bag.


Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.