Epic Guide to Butt Plugs Part 2 – Shape

In this part of the guide I will focus on how butt plugs are designed and how it impacts the fun we get from them. I hope I’ll help you to figure out at least a bit what you are looking for before you ran out for a shopping trip.

Let’s start: a run of the mill butt plug has a base, a neck and a body.

Base

this is the most important part when it comes to safety. It has to be wide enough and firm enough and the curve leading up to it steep enough to prevent the plug from fully entering the anus and getting stuck there. If it doesn’t do it’s job we risk a highly embarrassing and a bit painful trip to the ER, where they have muscle relaxants and forceps.

At the same time the base shouldn’t dig in our butt cheeks as it simply doesn’t feel good. Ellipses, tabs or rectangles (with rounded edges, please!) may prove much more comfortable than traditional round bases, especially when we are looking for long time wear. Please be careful of silicone plugs with loop bases – unless you put a vibe or finger through them, they can get squished and sucked in.

Neck

it connects the base with the body of the plug. If it’s too short, your muscles can’t close enough to grip the plug which causes discomfort. This, of course is not always a drawback – sometimes a bit of harmless discomfort is the goal. However, look above to the red plug – this neck/base ratio is looking for trouble.

On the other hand necks that are too long just stick out of our butts. It looks silly and may cause the base to dig in to our cheeks more. Wearing a tight butt plug harness or using them sitting up will fix those issues, but it won’t feel as good as a plug that is “juuust right”.

The thickness of the neck, compared to the body of the plug is also super important. Wider necks give more stimulation, sometimes to the point of distraction, but narrower ones provide more secure placement. Beginners often buy slim butt plugs, fearing they won’t take a bigger diameter and then get very surprised when their new toys shoot out of their butts like comets.

This is even more important when buying animal tail butt plugs. They are even harder to keep in place because of the weight of the tail, but even small ones can stay in place easily if properly designed. If we buy one with almost no dip we might end up playing “pin the tail on the donkey”. That doesn’t sound so hot… oh wait, is there a creative punishment for dropping it?  Well, I changed my mind.

A very big difference in diameter may make removing the butt plug tricky, particularly if narrowing is sudden. I personally prefer not to leave spades shaped plugs for longer periods of time, no matter how comfortable and non-bothersome they are for casual wear. There always comes the time when they need to be taken out and better to do that before the sphincter forgets how to let the large body through.

Body

In most butt plugs this part has drop or spindle shape. If your butt is stubborn like mine, you might want to take note of the next bit:

Let’s start with the top of the plug – for me this part dictates how easy it will be to get the plug in. The steeper the curve, the quicker the diameter grows, the harder is to convince my butt to stay relaxed.

If the plug has a gentle slope I can take quite a reasonable size. A bit of fingering and here we go! But give me a ball shaped plug and 1 1/4″ diameter feels like 2″, which is pretty much “nope” for me.

I can tolerate longer plugs just fine, but I know there are some people who hate them, so take that into account too. Do you like deeper anal penetration? Or are you more of “just the tip” kind of a person?

For me the moment when the thickest part of the plug slips through my muscles is the best part of using it. I usually time my orgasms so that I can come after that, especially if I’m using a bigger plug.

Another thing that needs to be watched for is the “exit” curve I’ve mentioned earlier. The more abrupt it is, the harder it can be to remove the plug – if you get stuck, I there’ll be a trouble shooting at the end of this guide.

Epic Guide to Butt Plugs Part 1 – Silicone, glass, steel – what are fun butt plugs made of?

As I wrote before in the article on sex toy materials not all of them are equally good. I may be repeating myself, but how can I not when so many people are unaware that no one controls sex toys when it comes to safety. Sex toys made from cheap materials not only stink hard enough to give some people migraines, degrade and quickly lose their looks but can also cause injuries similar to chemical burns. If you are in a mood for extreme sensations, instead of that jelly plug I’d recommend using a piece of freshly peeled ginger. Stings about the same but at least it’ll leave you undamaged.

There are a lot of non-toxic, but still porous toys made out of TPR. At first glance they look like a cheap and safe way to start experimenting with anal. But there are a couple of issues. First one is that there is no way to tell if the toy is made out of TPR (which doesn’t need plasticizers such as phthalates) or PVC unless you have a pretty advanced lab at our disposal – in that case CALL ME! Second: those materials degrade in really unflattering ways too, so you end up paying more for replacements. Third: very hard to clean the germs off so they can’t be shared between holes or people unless covered with a condom (please don’t use pre-lubed condoms for toys as they are covered in silicone lube that bonds to soft toy materials!) – additional expenses.

If we discard dubious materials we are left with:

Silicone

Only flexible material used in sex toy industry that is both completely body-safe and easy to disinfect. It is also not unlike Tolkien’s elves, immortal unless somebody kills it (so keep your pets away). Depending on shore hardness silicone butt plugs can be more or less squishy but they are usually far from “jellies”. Silicone quickly warms us to body temperature. Because of the two former features silicone butt plugs can be less “noticeable” after insertion.

Another aspect in which silicone toys differ from one another is finish from shiny smooth (some Tantus stock) to velvety (e.g. most Fun Factory). That of course has impact on how the toy retains lube and how much drag it creates when used. Luckily silicone toys are compliant with not only water based but also oil based lubes. That last bit is very important to me. As a person with an Extremely Stubborn Butt™ I frequently need that extra slippery feeling the addition of coconut oil can provide.

There used to be an ironclad rule of not mixing silicone lubes and silicone toys together but right now things aren’t as clear cut. There are plenty of exceptions, lube-toy duos that work together without any damage. If you are bent on using silicone lube with your silicone toy (because you need the durability, because you want to do it under water…) you can do a patch test with a small bit of lube on the base of the toy (much like testing new cosmetics on your skin). If there is a bad reaction the surface will get gummy quickly but you’ll be able to scrape it off with a fingernail. In this case don’t use that combo!

Because of slight material give silicone butt plugs are great for double penetration. More so if they are paired with a glass or metal vaginal dildo. My body has a one hard toy at the time policy – even a plug with 1″ diameter and 1 1/2″ dildo can feel bruising if at least one of them isn’t malleable.

Please don’t be fooled by tones of TPR sold as silicone! It shouldn’t be used with oil or silicone based lubes, it’s porous and it can degrade. Just because it’s opaque doesn’t mean anything. When in doubt, flame test.

Plug B - Godemiche

Plug B – Godemiche

Fun Factory Bootie Kit

Fun Factory Bootie Kit

Glass

Hard and quite heavy, which makes it more stimulating. Glass retains temperature longer than silicone, allowing us to experiment – do we want it soothingly cool, shockingly frosty, or relaxingly warm (let’s leave burning hot out)?

Due to its smoothness glass requires less lube than silicone and can be easier to take for a beginner. What’s even better you can use silicone based lubes with glass to reduce unpleasant friction even more. That’s why it was with a combination of fingering and glass toys that I first experienced quality anal penetration.

Another thing that should be mentioned is fetishistic potential of glass. With toys wide enough one can practically look inside your body. Just like that, you are wide open and you can’t hide anything.

Artisanal glass butt plugs make great gifts (provided we know the size and shape our giftee wants). They are unique, can be custom made to our specifications. Also knowing that the majority of the profit will go to the artist who designed and made the product and not to an army of middle-men is a nice bonus.

Ciemnozielony szklany korek analny

GlassbyWoozy on Etsy

szklany różowy korek analny z Hello Kitty z cyrkonii

Pink Kitty by Crystal Delights

Szklany korek analny z niebieskim fiołkiem w podstawie

HedonicGlass on Etsy

 

 

Stainless steel

Just as hard and smooth as glass but heavier and more resistant to temperature changes. That makes stainless steel very stimulating while also keeping it as a good candidate for long time wear.

While superb this material isn’t cheap and we should remain wary of cheap knock-offs that are advertised as stainless steel when they are neither stainless nor steel and in some cases not even metal. Pits, discoloration, jagged edges? None of those things has any place on a sex toy. It’s best toy buy from places that guarantee quality, genuine products if we don’t want to be left with an empty wallet and a plug that we can use safely only as a paperweight.

The best example of high quality stainless plug makers is n-joy. While their shapes might be less than ideal for my stubborn butt (but lots of people love them) their quality control is flawless. I’ve even seen them fix products scratched by users free of charge.

Korek z cyrkonią

LuxGem on LoveHoney

trzy korki z pentelką

Pure Plugs by N-Joy

Metalowy korek z różą w podstawie

Medium Rose by Jullian Snelling

Ceramic

Unfortunately still not very popular, apart from Ceramix line from Pipedream, and small artisan companies. A bit lighter than glass, some ceramic plugs can be filled with water which supposedly makes temperature play easier but also lets us play with weight a bit. Ceramic is sealed with glaze that makes it body-safe and non-porous.

Pipedream Ceramix

Pipedream Ceramix

Honey Plug od Honeypot Porcelain

Honey Plug by Honeypot Porcelain

Pipedream Ceramix

Pipedream Ceramix

Wood

Light, quick to warm but stiff and smooth wood can give unique sensations as a butt plug material. However, it needs to properly sealed to be used in that way. Know how a glass of water can damage antique furniture? Same goes for moisture and improperly sealed wooden sex toys.

Unfortunately I don’t have enough knowledge to recommend anything besides Nobessence right now. I hope to expand this section soon.

Hard plastic

I didn’t leave out this material only because of Dorcel’s rattle plugs (let’s forget their actual name, shall we?) and this little set (expensive and some reviewers say badly made but so similar to original Young’s!). Hard plastic is light, quick to warm and conducts vibration beautifully but I feel it ‘s best suited to bullet vibes and not as a butt plug material. Maybe if I had a prostate I’d sing a different tune.

Avoid using “PU coated” toys anally as they can stain.

 

This would be all when it comes to popular and safe butt plug materials. Next week we tackle shape.

 

Orchid’s Epic Guide to Butt Plugs

I’ve explored my g-spot because others told me I’d have fun. And I had. A lot of it. But my ass? That I’ve discovered on my own.

Youngs Rectal Dilators - butt plug precursors

Youngs Rectal Dilators XIX/XX century, prescription only

It started with fantasies about medical procedures – growing up without quality sex ed this was the most fitting narrative for my instinctively felt desires. Medical Encyclopedia was my porn before I even knew porn existed.

It soon escalated to some experimentation, experiencing my first orgasm out of the blue and finally cottoning on what those “weird thoughts” were about. Later came the time of bad fan fiction and even worse commercially published erotica. The time of making my own anal beads and the time of hiding school supplies in the drawer under the bed.

Luckily it didn’t take long before I came upon enough information to put a stop to molesting my brushes and pens. Before I managed to do any damage swallowing something the other way around, I turned my interest to mainstream, vanilla sex toys. Unfortunately as it was almost 13 years ago, in my effort to be “normal” I picked what “should” give me pleasure – toxic jelly rabbits.

Changing the contents of my “sex drawer” didn’t however change anything that happened in my head. While I rabbited semi happily (“That burning sensation in my pussy during penetration isn’t normal? Huh?! It’s been there for years”) my fantasies still orbited around butt stuff. Slowly I started to accept that and let my turn ons guide my next purchases.

I quickly discovered an obstacle – nobody told me about the Great Divide between what happened in my head and in the stories I was reading and what my body was able to take. My butt proved to be extremely stubborn. It’s a testament to my anal fixation that I didn’t let lost money and accumulating unusable toys discourage me. Instead I continued my exploration, finally gaining skills and knowledge necessary for butt fun.

One of my better discoveries on that journey were butt plugs. Of course those I bought at first were either too large or badly designed or both. When I finally learned what works for my butt and how to work with it, butt plugs became one of my favorite kinds of sex toys. I may not use them as frequently as my g-potters and certainly not as often as my clit toys, but whenever I want more than a simple means to get off and get on with life, I reach for a butt plug.

Butt plug with a magic 8 ball

If I had this one, this guide would have been done ages ago ;) Etsy

This article has been hibernating, growing and metastasizing in the drafts for months. What you are reading now it’s just a preface and a table of contents. Now that I have everything down, let’s start putting it up. Instalments will go live every couple of days.

  1. Silicone, glass, steel – what are good butt plugs made of?
  2. The shape of the plug – safety, comfort and stimulation
  3. Making plugs more interesting – cool features and where to get them
  4. Incorporating butt plugs into your erotic play
  5. Butt plug troubleshooting.

5 reasons not to dismiss brick and mortar stores

I admit, I love shopping on-line. The ease of it, the privacy, and almost unlimited choice in items! However, I still love checking out a well-equipped brick and mortar store. There are things that you simply can’t get unless you get off your butt and do some off-line browsing. That holds true for sex toys and intimate apparel.

Sh_-Exterior

1. imagined inches are always shorter

When I got my first vibe I was shocked at the size. I ordered it on-line and even tough the dimensions were listed just above the „buy now” button, I was still completely unprepared. In hindsight it was a pretty standard sized rabbit, but for me – a teen new to vaginal penetration – it still was way too big (and toxic). If I visited a sex shop beforehand I would know to look for „small” and „petite” if I decided to order on-line. Or, intimidated , I would have left the store with a non-penetrative toy. Both options would be a lot more pleasurable than forcing my body to like that I got instead of getting what I liked.

That was 10 years ago, now on-line shops have videos or even scaled photos of their wares. Nevertheless, I still recommend that toy newbies visit an off-line store just to see how 7” length and 1.5” girth looks like.

2. some things just have to be felt

Right now every toy that has a motor is billed as super-powerful and earth-shaking, while very few actually are. A lot of the vibrators just aren’t that well developed when it comes to motors. Some are just plain weak, some have the power but utilize it in a clit-numbingly buzzing ways. There is just no way to tell. Neither the look, nor the price can tell us what’s inside. Only feeling the toy in our hand, listening to the timbre of the vibrations, can we get the most of the bang for our money.

Not only electronics are better chosen in person. The finish of the toy – whether a dildo or a clit vibe, can differ widely. Is the silicone powdery or rough – that can’t be decided from just looking at the photos. Is it squishy or firm? How firm, exactly? Does the handle fit comfortably in our hand or is it awkward? Are the buttons easy to operate or do they need to be pressed really hard?

3. partnered trips are the bomb

On-line shopping is just fine when we know exactly what we want – with the help of a few reviews we can usually land a really good product. But what if what we want most is inspiration? What if we don’t know what we lack but “we’ll know it when we see it”? Then a trip to a sex shop is in order. Even better idea is taking our SO with us – who knows what we are going to find out about our turn ons?! We might surprise each other and ourselves.

4. no shipping

On-line shopping has one major drawback – shipping. Not only does it add costs and waiting time but sometimes boxes can come banged up, or worse – our item is dead on arrival. Thankfully discretion is a standard these days. No one is going to send out a package that screams “sex toy”. However, I was shocked to find out that in the US it is standard practice to leave packages unattended on porches! And what about nosy family? By bringing the item home in our shopping bag we can avoid all of those problems and make sure that our toy is ready to be used right away.

5. classes!

Unfortunately my town is too small to have adult sex ed classes, but a lot of quality sex shops in larger cities have them. Some of them are free, some require a small speaker fee. The topics range from vanilla to advanced BDSM. Not only are those classes given by knowledgeable speakers but there is usually an Q&A section that gives us an opportunity to get advice tailored to our circumstances and difficulties – something we can’t get from a book.

There are a lot of good sex shops out there, not just in the US (for those, check out RedheadBedhead’s blog!). Big cities such as Toronto, Sydney or London have tens of them – click on the links to check out the best ones! Those lists include not only regular, mostly vanilla establishments, but also specialty fetish stores. Some of them, like Sh! have their own toy lines.

Better safe than sore – overview of sex toy materials

When shopping for a sex toy people usually take into consideration price, size shape and overall look. Not everybody wonders what that toy is made of and whether the material is safe to use. In this post we’ll try to shed some light on this matter.

2014-03-24 14.52.12

Let’s start with the most important thing that we need to warn you about: phthalates.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable burning sensation while using a sex toy? Many women who experience that tends to blame their body – they think they have an infection or that they rushed the penetration. I know I did. However, if this burning sensation occurs while using the toy or afterwards it might be caused by phthalates. What exactly are phthalates? They are substances that are added to hard PCV to soften it. The problem is that this mixture is not a stable one. Phthalates start leeching from the toy making it smell bad, covering it in an oily film that irritates and dries out skin. What makes matters worse is that doctors aren’t aware of the toxic toys problem and therefore can’t properly diagnose irritation caused by phthalates.

How can we avoid unhygienic and unsafe toys?

We need to chose wisely, picking toys made of safe materials. Below you will find a list of most frequently used sex toy materials.

Rubbers, jellies, etc.

Most of the toys are simply made of rubber. Some kinds of rubber are safer than others. The best way to tell the difference is to smell the toy. It shouldn’t have much of a smell. If you feel a rubbery smell that means that the toy is most probably unsafe. Better safe than sore. The problem is that in brick and mortar sex shops toys are displayed in packages so we have to ask to check them. Moreover, toys are left in an airy room lose the smell. Other troubling signs are: changes in color (e.g. yellowing) and shape, leeching paints on other toys, being covered in an oily film, appearance of bubbles of gas. Those toys are a hazard not only to your genitals but also to everything they stay in contact with. They can decompose in a drawer or a bag, covering it and everything in it with toxic, stinky goo.

TPR/TPE

Thermoplastic rubber and thermoplastic elastomer are examples of non-toxic rubber (as long as the toy is really made of them and not only labeled as such on the packaging – a common practice). It can be cleaned with soap and water or sprayed with a toy cleaner. However, because toys made of rubber are porous, even branded toy cleaner won’t be able to remove all microorganisms. Using more effective methods of killing bacteria and viruses is either impossible (like boiling) or inadvisable (like alcohol or bleach solutions). Therefore if you plan to share between partners or orifices cover them with a condom. This is especially important if you plan to use the item anally as well as vaginally – a condom will always be safer than a thorough washing. Only water-based lubes are compatible with those toys.

Latex

Latex is most often associated with condoms and snug fetish clothing. Sometimes it is also used to make dildos, vibrators or plugs. It’s porous and therefore hard to sanitize. It is best cleaned with toy cleaners and lubricated with water-based lubes. Because frequent exposure to latex increases the risk of developing latex allergy that worsens over time, we recommend using latex-free alternatives whenever possible, especially if you already started developing a sensitivity.

Elastomed

Medical grade elastomer is another kind of rubber but this time non-porous and easy to clean. Despite it’s advantages there aren’t many toys made of it. Manufacturers we trust that use it are: Sin Five, Naomi Tang and Fun Factory (only in their Laya Spot and first model of Smartballs). As above soap and water or toy cleaner for cleaning and water-based lube for reducing friction.

Skin-like

Under this category we placed toys made of branded materials such as Cyberskin as well as those cast with whatever was left in the factory. We can’t be more specific since full composition of those toys is not publicly known. Some of them were tested and pronounced phthalates-free but the vast majority wasn’t, so we have no way of knowing. But what is known, is that even high-priced branded materials as Cyberskin are porous and prone to mechanical damage. If you want realism it’s safer to pick dual layer silicone dildos, particularly those made by Vixen Creations (their silicone blend is called VixSkin).

The problem lies with toys for penises called sleeves or strokers. High end ones are made of Cyberskin or TPR because this material is very soft and comfortable. Silicone sleeves are rare. Although the risk of acquiring an infection by putting the penis into a toy is less than when putting a toy in the vagina, keeping sleeves clean is still important. They should be rinsed right after use, before body fluids dry up on them. Some of the toys can’t handle even gentle soap so it’s important to read care instructions from the manual. CAUTION! Use only water-based lubricants with skin-like materials.

Silicone

Silicone is a non-porous material that can be sanitized with alcohol or bleach and boiled. However, going to such extremes is most often unnecessary as for our intents and purposes it’s non-porous. Simple mechanical cleaning with soap and water is all you’ll need, unless you plan to use the toy vaginally after putting it in the ass and wish to be extra safe. If it doesn’t have a motor, boil it (just don’t let the water boil out or the toy will get burned!). Dishonest manufacturers sell toys made of cheaper materials as 100 % silicone. Some of those products can’t withstand boiling. It’s for us to decide whether we want to use a toy that probably isn’t silicone and therefore has pores that may harbor bacteria or to risk boiling. True silicone won’t be harmed by boiling. As it happens toys made of pure silicone are very durable and unless we throw them into flames or leave them in the mercy of our pets they will serve us as long as we want, all the while looking and working just as good as they did when we purchased them.
We can use water or oil-based lubes with silicone toys. Silicone-based lubes should be avoided in this case since they can damage the toy making it gummy. If we really want to use a silicone-base lube we can do a spot-test on the base of the toy. A few of quality silicone lubricants are fine to use with silicone toys.
It is worth remembering that sometimes condoms come pre-lubricated with silicone-based lubes. So if we want to use one we should either buy the ones without lube or those where the lube is marked as water-based.

The best course of action is to buy from trusted manufacturers. This gives us certainty that what we get is 100 % medical grade silicone. At the end of this post we compiled a list of manufacturers we trust.

Flame test

Flame test is quite popular with reviewers. It’s results can be hard to interpret, especially to those with limited experience as there are no clear-cut guides. It consists of putting a flaming match or lighter to the silicone. If the toy isn’t silicone it can melt. If it’s silicone it can burn, leaving a layer of light gray ash and soot that can be easily removed. The material damage to silicone toys is minimal unless we let them burn for too long.

(We plan on flame-testing a few of our toys and putting the video here)

That’s all for the soft materials, but we have a few others that are safe and fun:

Metal, Glass and Ceramic

All of the above are non-porous and can be cleaned well with soap and water. If we let body fluids get dry on them a bit of dish soap goes a long way. All three can be sanitized with alcohol and covered in all kinds of lubricants. However not all glass and metal toys are created equal. For example, beloved by reviewers, dildos and plugs by N-Joy are practically indestructible as they are made of high quality stainless steel. I wouldn’t say the same of their knock-offs despite the fact that they look just as good in official photos. Ceramic toys shouldn’t be boiled, metal and some kinds of glass can be, but we can’t see a reason to do so apart from piece of mind.

Glass toys!? Really?

Yes, really. Some people can be surprised but glass toys are a thing. Borosilicate glass that is used for high quality glass toys is very durable. It’s the same glass that is used by Pyrex brand for their cookware. But even if we buy lower quality glass there is no reason to fear that the toy would break during use. More care is required during washing since that’s when it’s easier to scratch the surface with rings or drop the soapy toy.

It is safer to store glass toys in separate padded pouches since they keep toys from taking a chip off each other. We should also be careful with extreme temperature differences, especially if the toy isn’t made of borosilicate glass. Instruction manuals usually warn against putting toys in the freezer or microwave.

Wood

Quality and safety of a wooden toy is determined by the finish that has been applied. Wooden toys made by top companies like Nobessence have long-lasting, body-safe and non-porous finish. However most of the wooden toys are made by small companies that only cover them in a few layers of washable waxes that leave them porous. Best way to determine whether the toy will keep it’s shine (and stay microbiologically safe) is to check what kind of sealant the company uses by visiting their website. Specific are instructions are usually provided with the toy.

Hard plastic

Hard plastic is another safe material (unless it’s been covered with a toxic finish or paint). Pores in it are small enough not to encourage bacterial growth. However, plastic toys are often covered with polyurethane (substance used to make non-latex condoms) to get satiny, matte finish. Those toys are marked with “PU coated”, “love cote”, “velvet cote” etc . As this material is easily stained we have our doubts whether it is non-porous. We recommend covering with a condom when sharing between orifices or non-fluid-bonded partners.

Plastic can be sanitized with alcohol or toy cleaners. It can’t be boiled as it will become brittle. We can use all kinds of lubes with it unless it’s covered with PU – then it’s best to stick to water-based.

Another problem with plastic toys is that they are sometimes covered in a layer of paint that chips off during use. If you don’t want flecks of probably not tested paint in your genitals better steer clear of vibes that look like they are made of metal but are actually plastic.

Leather and its imitations

We included those because of BDSM gear and harnesses they are used for. Both are impossible to disinfect so they are best suited for fluid-bonded partners. Other solution is to assign toys to people who are likely to leave their body fluids on them – e.g. a whip to the person who gets hit with it or a harness to the party who wears it.

Trusted companies

Below you’ll find a list of companies that don’t lie when they claim that their product is 100% silicone.

Tantus
Happy Valley
Babes-n-Horny
PleasureWorks
Standard Innovations/We-Vibe
New York Toy Collective
Bad Dragon
Aneros
Marc Dorcel,
Nomi Tang
Vibe therapy
Vixen Creations
LELO
Fun Factory,
BS is Nice
rocks off
Je Joue
Nexus
Bswish
Evolved Novelties
Toyfriend
Minna Life
Laid
Mae B