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Butt Plug vs. Anal Beads: Which One Is For Me?

Barret - Nov 15 2021

Butt Plug vs. Anal Beads

Butt play isn’t anything new, but it may be new to you. Or, the toy component may be new, at least. And if that’s the case — welcome! We’ve got a lot of ground to cover. 

Maybe you’ve engaged in anal sex with a partner or explored it solo. Perhaps you’ve never participated in any sort of anal play. That’s all okay!

Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end, butt stuff is no joke. Unfortunately, misusing these toys can lead to pain or even injury. So let’s not mess around, okay? Luckily, we’re here to take you through everything you need to know about butt plugs and anal beads: the differences, advantages, and how to use them. 

With the right toys and techniques, anal play can be a real treat. So let’s dive into the good stuff. 

What’s the Deal With Anal Play?

If you’ve ever learned about anal play through porn, it may seem...intense. But let’s remember that porn isn’t a great way to gain a sex education. So instead, let’s try our best to disregard anything we’ve about anal sex through pornography and start fresh. 

Who Engages in Anal Play?

Anyone can engage in anal play! People of all genders and sexualities can enjoy giving and receiving anal sex with a partner (or partners) or solo. 

One of the biggest misconceptions about anal is that only gay men like receiving it. It’s so untrue! 

No sexual acts are solely reserved for people of specific genders or sexualities, and enjoying certain types of sex doesn’t determine your orientation. 

So if you want your partner to peg or penetrate you, don’t let false ideas of what it means for your sexuality stop you. 

And thanks to toys, you don’t have to own a penis to give. Dildos, strapons, butt plugs, and anal beads all exist at your disposal. No specific anatomy is needed! 

Does Anal Play Feel Good? 

Like all types of sex, anal play can feel great, but it’s not a given. Each body is different, and every person has unique preferences. As with any erogenous zone, some may find anal stimulation extremely pleasurable while it may not do anything special for others. 

So whatever you do, remember there isn’t a right or wrong way to feel about anal sex. Your partner (or anyone else) shouldn’t make you feel inferior or inexperienced for not being into anal. 

Butt stuff can be intimidating for people. Think about it: we’re more used to things exiting our body this way, not entering. Let’s not beat around the bush — some people describe the feeling of anal penetration as a “reverse poop,” but pleasurable. 

Both assigned male at birth (AMAB) folks with a prostate and assigned female at birth (AFAB) folks without prostates can reach orgasm during butt play. 

  • Anal sex orgasms with prostates. AMAB people have a prostate gland that can be stimulated during penetrative anal play. Considered the male G-spot equivalent, this area is filled with nerve endings that feel incredible when touched. Unlike penile orgasms, you can feel a prostate orgasm throughout your entire body. Pretty drool-worthy, right?
  • Anal sex orgasms without prostates. Don’t worry, prostate-less folks! You aren’t left out of the anal orgasm fun. However, it is a bit different. You’ve heard of the G-spot, but did you know that AFAB people have an A-spot? It’s located a few inches above the G-spot in the vagina but can be indirectly stimulated through anal penetration. And the sensation? Unbelievable. Get ready to get wet and take your orgasm to the next level. 

Of course, anal play can cause discomfort or pain, too, especially if done too fast or without lube. But more on that later. 

All About Butt Plugs

Butt plugs come in all sizes, colors, and materials. With options available for anal newbies and thoroughly experienced folks, these toys are suitable for anyone interested in butt stuff. 

Carl Butt Plug

What Is a Butt Plug?

Butt plugs are toys specifically for anal play. They’re often tapered in teardrop-like shapes for easy insertion and always have a flared base to prevent them from getting lost in the body. 

Unlike many other penetrative sex toys, butt plugs do just that — plug the butt. These babies aren’t made for thrusting. Instead, you just insert them and let them fill you up

You can also find vibrating butt plugs, textured ones, or good old smooth ones. 

How to Use Butt Plugs

So, if butt plugs aren’t designed for thrusting, how do you use them? 

Compared to other toys, butt plugs are pretty passive. You can just insert them and leave them be. Or, if you have a vibrating one, you can control the sensations while it’s inside. 

Overall, the most important things to remember are to use lube and go slow. It may take a bit to get accustomed to the feeling, so be patient with yourself or your partner. 

Advantages of Butt Plugs

Do butt plugs sound like something you might be interested in? Here are some more great things about them.

  • Hands-free. Since there isn’t any in and out thrusting involved in using butt plugs, no hands are needed. All you have to do is insert them, and you’re set. This leaves your hands available to touch your partner, masturbate, be bound, or anything else! 
  • Discreet. One of the great benefits of butt plugs is that no one knows you’re using one. Can you say public play? All the exhibitionists out there can discreetly wear a butt plug outside of the bedroom for some extra steamy foreplay. 
  • Great for stretching or prepping. Butt plugs are an incredible precursor to anal sex. They’re great tools for stretching out your anus and letting those sphincter muscles get accustomed to the sensation. Of course, using a butt plug doesn’t need to lead to penetration, but it’s a great way to prep if you do plan on it happening. 
  • Various sensations are available. Into smooth toys? Great! How about temperature play with glass? Perfect. What about vibrations or ribbed textures? Amazing. You can find butt plus with any of these qualities — it’s not a one-size-fits-all experience. You get to choose your favorites!
  • Easy to combine with other toys. The whole point of butt plugs is to provide a full feeling. They can elevate all sensations! Try using one while you have a suction vibrator on your clit or an automatic masturbator around your penis. If you’re a vagina-haver, experiment with vaginal sex at the same time. The combo of anal and vaginal penetration can be mindblowing not only for you but also for your partner
  • Generally affordable. It’s no secret that sex toys can be pricey. Some can even hit the $200+ mark. Ouch! That’s not great for the wallet. But not butt plugs. They’re reasonably affordable, making them an excellent purchase, especially for those still unsure about anal.
  • Suitable for beginners. Thanks to the many sizes of butt plugs available, they’re wonderful toys for beginners. If you’ve never had penetrative anal sex or are looking for one step past using fingers, butt plugs are the way to go. You can even purchase sets to help you work your way up. They’re so beginner-friendly!

Disadvantages of Butt Plugs

Because everyone’s preferences and experiences are different, there’s no toy universally loved by everyone. They all have not-so-great aspects — it just depends on what you’re looking for. So here are some potential drawbacks of using butt plugs.

  • Lack of interaction. Part of the fun of a sex toy is actively using it. Sure, a butt plug may be in use while it’s inside you, but you aren’t really doing anything with it. Once it’s in, it’s in. That’s that. This also partially eliminates the visual appeal that comes with other toys — it can be really hot to watch someone use your toy on you. 
  • Not enough stimulation. Are you going to orgasm just from wearing a butt plug? If you aren’t moving around or stimulating other erogenous zones, the chances are lower than with other toys. While butt plugs can enhance stimulation from vaginal, clitoral, or penile touch, they aren’t super stimulating by themselves. 
  • Feels too full. Let’s be honest — some people just won’t vibe with the sensation of a butt plug. Whether it makes you feel too full or the fullness isn’t a turn-on for you, that’s reason enough to skip it. 
  • It may not hit the right spot. Sitting around with a butt plug in might feel meh to you. Not bad, but not pleasurable. Unlike toys that move or someone thrusts into you, it might be more work to get your plug in the correct zone. 

All About Anal Beads

Anal beads

If you’re looking to level up your anal play, it’s time to look into beads. Does it sound strange that a string of bulbs could be your newest orgasm-enhancing toy? We understand that they may sound unique on paper, but don’t knock it ‘til you try! It’s time to chat all about anal beads. 

What Are Anal Beads?

Anal beads consist of multiple spheres, all connected by a string. They’re typically made of a flexible material like silicone, with each ball spaced out. However, firmer options such as glass exist too. The beads may get gradually larger towards the base, each could be a different size, or all could be the same. 

Don’t be intimidated if your anal beads are longer than you expected — you don’t have to insert all of them. 

How to Use Anal Beads

The pleasure of anal beads lay in their insertion and removal. Anytime you do either, you’re stimulating nerve endings around the sphincter which can feel oh-so-good. 

As with all anal play, you’ll need to start with lots of lube. 

Choosing a more rigid strand such as glass can make insertion easier, but flexible toys may be more comfortable once inside. 

You may want to prep for the beads using a finger or even a small butt plug. Once you’re ready, you can begin inserting the beads as far as is comfortable, then gently pulling them out immediately or gradually during sex.

Advantages of Anal Beads

There isn’t anything quite like a strand of anal beads. From sensations to interactivity to visual appeal, there’s a lot to be said about these babies. Here are reasons why anal beads are so special. 

  • Unique sensations. There’s no doubt that anal beads offer incredibly unique sensations. Butt plugs provide only one feeling after insertion — fullness — and dildos don’t stimulate the sphincter in the same way even when thrust. Anal beads are in their own category completely. 
  • Great for beginners. Even small butt plugs can be quite large if you’ve never had anything up there before. Anal beads, on the other hand, can start very small and gradually build up to bigger spheres. Plus, you can insert as many or as few as you’d like. There’s no pressure! 
  • Interactive play. Anal beads are incredibly interactive. You or your partner actively pull them out of you — they aren't just held against your body. The visuals are mind-blowing! And if you’re a BDSM fan, the power dynamics can be next level. 
  • Can be more flexible than other anal toys. Softer materials like silicone and spaced-out balls can make anal beads more comfortable than firmer anal toys. This is wonderful for newbies or those who don’t love that full feeling. 

Disadvantages of Anal Beads

There isn’t anything quite like a strand of anal beads. From sensations to interactivity to visual appeal, there’s a lot to be said about these babies. Here are reasons why anal beads are so special. 

  • Sensations may be uncomfortable. We get it. Removing anal beads may feel a bit too reminiscent of pooping for you to enjoy them sexually. We won’t judge you for that. Butt plugs or dildos may be more up your alley instead.
  • Intimidating appearance. For many people, it’s nice to have some sex toys that aren’t realistically phallic-looking. Though anal beads certainly aren’t, they still may be off-putting. The entire strand can be intimidatingly large. Visuals matter!
  • Greater risk of breaking. Anal toys always pose a higher risk than others since the anus connects to the digestive system. Toys actually can get lost up there! Flared bases of anal toys typically combat this hazard, but anal bead strands can potentially break off due to their structure. This isn’t common and shouldn’t happen with high-quality toys, but there is a chance.
  • Difficult to pair with a condom. No, a sex toy can’t get you pregnant, but it can cause health issues if not used properly. You should always cover your toys in a condom if you’re sharing them with others and definitely switch them out if you go from anal to vaginal play. But remember the shape of anal beads? Condoms don’t exactly pair well. 
  • Less stimulating for some. Those with vaginas may not enjoy anal beads as much as others since they don’t provide that full feeling. And the advantage of said fullness? It can stimulate the A-spot — hello wetness! You might not get that same pressure when it comes to anal beads. 

Which Is Better: Butt Plugs or Anal Beads?

It’s impossible to say which is better: butt plugs or anal beads. Not only does each boast such unique characteristics, choosing a favorite sex toy is a personal experience. It all depends on what you’re looking for in an anal toy! 

But of course, we’ll still help you pick between the two. 

Butt plugs are best for:

  • Full sensations. Whether you fantasize about threesomes when you’re with a partner or you’re searching for that A-spot orgasm, butt plugs excel with feelings of fullness. 
  • Various textures. Butt plugs come in metal, silicone, glass, and other materials. Plus, you can choose between smooth or textured surfaces and vibrating options. 
  • Solo play. It’s easier to insert a butt plug into yourself than a string of beads. Simple as that. 
  • Discreet use. We’re always looking out for those who want wearable toys, and butt plugs undoubtedly are. A strand of anal beads? Not so discreet. 
  • Sharing toys. Condoms are crucial if you’re sharing toys with partners, and it’s just easier to use them with butt plugs. 

Anal beads are best for:

  • Interactivity. While butt plugs take more of a “set it and forget it” approach, anal beads can be inserted and removed — partially or fully — at any time. It keeps things fun! 
  • Partnered play. Flexible anal beads may be challenging to insert alone, but they’re a gold mine with a partner. Let your partner take complete control of them or have them add or remove at your instruction. 
  • Unique sensations. There’s no toy comparable to anal beads. Period. Try these if you want to spice up your sex life. 
  • Anal beginners. Tapered anal beads allow you to start small and gradually work your way up. You can stop wherever you’d like and take more if you’re up to it. Perfect for those new to anal play! 
  • BDSM. There’s a clear power dynamic when someone is pulling beads out of you at their own will. So if you’re into BDSM or just exploring dominance and submission, give anal beads a go. 

Tips for Using Anal Toys

Anal play requires more caution and care than other forms of sex. First things first, anal shouldn’t hurt. If it does, you’re not going slow enough, small enough, or using enough lube. Uncomfortable is okay; painful is not. 

Keep these tips in mind when you’re playing with anal toys.

  • Lube, lube, lube. Seriously, you need lube. Lots of it. Unlike the vagina, the anus isn’t self-lubricating. Plus, the muscles can be tighter. So use lube, and use it generously. You can never have too much. But don’t forget to check your lube’s compatibility with your toy! Consider silicone-based ones for a universally safe option. 
  • Keep condoms on hand. Sex toys can transmit STIs if you’re sharing them with partners. So if you plan on taking turns with your butt plug, condoms are non-negotiable. And don’t forget you must grab a new condom or thoroughly clean your toy before switching from anal to vaginal. The same goes for hands and penises too! No one wants UTIs. 
  • Clean them thoroughly. As with all sex toys, you need to wash them between uses. Yes, even if it’s only you using them. Yes, even if you washed them last time. Keep them clean! 
  • Start small. It’s unrealistic and dangerous to think that you can take a 9” dildo your first time. Absolutely not. You need to start small. Even if you’re an anal expert, give your body a chance to relax and warm up by using fingers or smaller toys. If you don’t, you could cause tearing — and nobody wants that. 
  • Take it slow. Remember when we disregarded everything porn taught us about anal? It’s for a reason. These videos won’t show you how slowly most people need to go. It gives us and our partners a false idea of how quickly we should be moving. Instead, give yourself time to insert your toy and more time to adjust. If you’re with a partner, communication is key. You have to move at your own pace, and no one should be pressuring you. 

Final Thoughts

Both anal beads and butt plugs are excellent toys for anal play. However, neither is better than the other. Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Before choosing between the two, consider your preferences, desires, and habits.

If you plan on sharing your toy with partners, want to reach an A-spot orgasm, love the feeling of fullness, and enjoy lots of options, a butt plug may be more suitable for you. Plus, they’re better for solo play, threesome fantasies, and public play.

On the other hand, anal beads may be more up your alley if you want an interactive toy to use with a partner that’s great for beginners. They provide unique sensations and can help you get your feet wet into BDSM too. 

No matter what you choose, be patient, take it slow, and don’t forget the lube. 

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