[Content warning:  Discussion of sex toys, as well as photos of related items.]

This post has a general description of what a butt plug is and how it is used.  The post contains images of plugs, but not in a sexual setting.

Butt plugs are, as the name implies, meant to be used anally.  They are typically designed to be inserted and left in while other activities take place.  This means most of them have a wide section, a narrow neck, and a wide base.  This shape helps them stay in place.  They are often a sensation enhancer, rather than something that produces an orgasm itself.  Some plugs are straight, while others are curved, for prostate stimulation.  Some vibrate, but many do not. 

Plugs come in various sizes, so start small and work your way up as you understand your comfort range.  Do not use a comfortable vaginal toy as a guide for how big of a plug you should use.

Butt plugs (and anything else used anally) should always have a wide base of some kind, otherwise you may find yourself having an uncomfortable and embarrassing conversation with your friendly local ER staff.

I’m not really going to go too far into hygiene practices here, but think about where they’re used, and you should see why you’re going to want to clean them well.  You can put a condom over them, but you still need to clean them when you’re done.  If you have a vagina, do not ever use a toy vaginally that has been used anally without a thorough cleaning in between.  You’ll probably want to have a towel or a tissue or something like that handy when you take it out.  They are not going to come out in pristine condition.

Only use plugs that are made of a non-porous material, like silicone, metal, glass, or hard plastic.  Rubber or jelly or other materials can be difficult to clean and may be holding on to pockets of bacteria and general nastiness even when they look clean.  If you’re using a plug made from a porous material, use a condom on it.

You need to use lube when using a butt plug.  It probably won’t go in otherwise.  Inadequate lube can cause irritation.  Thicker lubes are generally recommended.

For people with a penis, plugs can be used to stimulate the prostate.  Many people who have them find that prostate stimulation can be extremely pleasurable, but this pleasure is offset by how difficult it is to access.  Some plugs have a curve or slight hook shape that is designed to press against the prostate and provide stimulation.

Here are a few images of just a sample of the wide variety of plugs that are out there:

This image is a photograph of a plain butt plug. It does not have an anatomical design. No nudity is shown.

This is a generic plug.  The flared base prevents it from accidentally being inserted all the way, where it can get stuck.  The narrow neck will help hold it I’m place.  This is made out of flexible silicone.

This image is a photograph of a curved butt plug. It does not have an anatomical design. No nudity is shown.

This is an Aneros, designed for prostate stimulation.  The curve will press against the prostate.  The narrow neck will hold it in place.  The round tab is meant to press a sensitive area just behind the testicles.  The handle is there to make removal easier.

[Content warning:  Discussion of sex toys, as well as photos of related items.]

This post contains images of dildos, but not in a sexual setting.  One of the toys depicted is a realistic replica of a penis.  

Dildos are a type of vaguely cylindrical rod shaped toys, used for masturbation.  Sometimes they are a plain cylinder with a round end, sometimes they are penis shaped (ranging from vaguely penis-inspired, through realistic, all the way to exaggerated and mutated), and sometimes they are abstract and curvy.  Many of them vibrate, and some incorporate moving bits.  Certain dildos have a curve that is designed for G-Spot or prostate stimulation.

(Note:  Dongs are related to dildos.  There’s a slight technical difference, but in common usage, the words are largely synonymous, so I’m just going to use “dildo” here, even though some of what I’m talking about would more correctly be called a “dong”.  Additionally, some dildos that vibrate are simply called “vibrators”.)

Dildos are frequently used for vaginal penetration.  Sometimes they are used in a thrusting motion, while other times they are inserted and left in place.  Ones that vibrate can be held against the clitoris for stimulation without penetration.  Dildos are generally not that useful for a penis (although vibrations can be mildly stimulating).

Some dildos can also be used for anal penetration, but only if they have a wide or flared base.  The wider base will prevent them from being pulled inside where they can get stuck, which prevents having to explain to the ER staff why you’re visiting them.  An additional word of caution:  Do not switch a toy between anal and vaginal use without a thorough cleaning, unless you like infections.  You might want to use a condom on the toy when using it anally, as that will help simplify the cleanup process.

Dildos come in many sizes.  If you are inexperienced with penetration and are unsure about what various sizes are actually like, start small.  And take note of the physical dimensions of the toy, because many times a “small” toy is still six inches long and two inches across, which would be above average for a penis and uncomfortably large even for many non-aces.  If you’re looking for an anal toy, go even smaller.  Most dildos are waaaay too big for a first anal experience.

One of the more common reasons I hear for asexual people being reluctant to try a sex toy is “I’m not a fan of penises, even fake ones”.  That’s a perfectly valid reason.  However, you should be aware that there are many dildos that do not resemble a penis at all.  There are abstract curves, plain rods, and things with twisty bits.  Alternatively, there are a number of companies that sell fantasy creature dildos, which can be vaguely penis shaped (often including a glans-like shape), just not human penis shaped.  You are not missing out on any sensations by picking an abstract toy.  In fact, some non-realistic toys have special shapes (like g-spot or prostate curves) that are designed to enhance sensations.

If a dildo does not have any electrical components (No vibrators, no waggly bits, no lights, no batteries or electrical cords), then it’s probably safe to use in the bath or shower.  If a dildo does have electrical components, it may not be waterproof.  If a toy is waterproof, it will say on the packaging.  Waterproof toys are also typically completely sealed.  The speed adjustment tends to be a series of rubberized buttons, instead of a dial, and the battery compartment tends to have a rubber sealant ring around it.  Some dildos have a suction cup, so they can be stuck on the tub or tile for hands free use.

Lube might come in handy when using a dildo.  Sometimes when aroused, a vagina might produce enough natural lubrication, but that’s not always the case.  A few drops of lube might make penetration smoother.  When using a dildo on a clitoris, some lube might help prevent irritation.  And when using a dildo anally, lube is practically required, because there’s no natural lubrication back there to help out.  Water based lube is probably your best bet, as silicone lubes can damage some toys, and oil based lubes can both damage toys and lead to infections and other problems when used internally.


Here are a few images of just a sample of the wide variety of dildos that are out there (The one that looks like a penis is at the bottom, so if you don’t want to see it, scroll slowly and stop reading after the paragraph about the rabbit.  You will not miss any other content.)

This image contains a photograph of a plain vibrator. No nudity and no anatomical features are shown.

This is a basic, no-frills vibrating dildo.  This type is meant to be used to stimulate the clitoris and for vaginal penetration.  This type should not be used anally, because it does not have a flared base.  It’s hard plastic, so it’s easier to clean, but not soft at all.

This image is a photograph of a somewhat abstract penis-shaped vibrator. In particular, it has a glans-shaped head on one end. No actual nudity is shown.

This is a “rabbit”.  The shaft is meant to be inserted into the vagina, while the appendage with the rabbit ears is designed to be pressed against the clitoris.  This model has spinning beads for internal stimulation and a bullet vibe in the rabbit part for external stimulation.  The buttons on the handle control the speed of the various features.  This one is made of a softer material, so it has some give to it.

[The realistic penis toy is beyond this point. There is no other content below this line.]

This image is a photograph of a realistic-looking penis shaped vibrator, including testicles. No actual nudity is shown.

This is a “realistic” penis shaped dildo.  (Although typically, real penises are not capable of testicle pushups like this one is doing.)  This model does not have a vibrator inside it.  This toy can be used vaginally or anally, as the testicles provide a wide base that will prevent it from being pulled completely inside.  The suction cup allows it to be stuck to a hard, smooth surface, like a bath tub or tile, so it can be used hands-free.