Anal Toys 101

Finding the right anal toy and keeping it in good shape so it lasts for a long time can be a bit of a challenge. In this 101 I talk about what to consider when buying an anal toy and how to care for it properly.

Buyer’s Guide to Anal toys

There are many aspects to consider when choosing an anal toy. Especially when you are buying your first one and have not developed personal preferences yet, giving each aspect some thought is a good idea because a good anal toy is quite an investment. But if chosen wisely will bring you fun for years to come.

Material

Deciding out of which material your new anal toy is going to be made is the first step when choosing it because the material properties impact many relevant aspects of anal play.

Material composition

This is the most important aspect of choosing a toy. In the old days before EU regulations and custom testing imported goods, toys which I would not have recommended to put up your butt were widely available!

The inside of your colon is basically one big mucosal that will happily absorb whatever the lube (especially water-based lube) washes out of the toy’s material. Thus I recommend only purchasing toys which are manufactured in the EU or USA where dangerous plasticizers like phthalates or lead as a catalytic agent for silicone are forbidden. Just to be safe look for the label “Platinum Silicone” or “Phthalates Free” when choosing a toy. At the end of Buyer’s Guide there is a list of manufacturers I personally source from if you want a recommendation.

Lube

Not every lube can be used with every material. Some lubes will actually cause to disintegrate your toy. Thus depending on your lube preferences you have to choose the toy material.

The following chart shows which lube can generally speaking be safely used with which material. Of cause individual material composition can lead to unexpected effects. If you want to err on the side of safety only use water-based lube.

Water-base Lube Silicone-Base Lube Hybrid Lube Oil/Fat-Base Lube
Silicone X X
PVC/ Vinyl
Rubber X
TPR (✔) (✔)
Other hard Plastic
Wood
Glass
Metal

The Square Peg Charlie Horse Wiggly in Supersoft Bronze from Regulation

Firmness & Surface Smoothness

While glass, metal and wood are always hard, the plastic ones come in different degrees of firmness. With the latter group the thickness is also influenced by the thickness. The thicker a toy the harder it will feel.

Which degree of firmness is good is depends on the usage situation. For training your ass a softer toy is better because it adjusts a bit to the sphincter. For wearing a toy for an extended period of time a harder material is better because the sphincter will adjust to the form of the toy which is more comfortable in the long run. Also with hard surfaces the likelihood of skin folds and thus a pinching sensation decreases.

The firmness also impacts the structural integrity. The firmer the toy the easier it will stand up by itself. This is especially important then you want to ride or sit on a toy. If it is too soft, it will collapse.

Furthermore the surface structure is important. The smoother the surface the easier the toy glides in and the easier it will be to clean.

Pervertables

A quick word on pervertables: There are wooden, metal and glass objects which are not made for anal play but are being used for it, most prominently baseball bats or batons. Before inserting them into your rectum make sure they are deburred and 100% smooth! Especially which with wood it is imperative that is has a sanded and treated surface! Getting a splinter into your colon is always a reason to rush to the ER! As for glass objects, especially vases and bottles: Keep them out of your ass! The glass used to anal toys is a special type of glass that almost never breaks and glass anal toys are always solid. The injuries caused by shards of broken glass inside your rectum can be lethal!

The Bolder Stoll Doll from Regulation

Toy Form Factor

There are two major form factors: Dildos, which are compared to their thickness relatively long shafts with a tapered ending for easier insertion, and plugs, which are shorter and between the maximum diameter and the base taper again so they can stay inside the butt.

Dildos

Dildos are probably the oldest sex toys humans invented. Stone penises as old as 28.000 years have been excavated. They induce a friction sensation on the nerve endings inside the sphincter while sliding in and out and at best hit the prostate. Depending on the glans’ shape there can be some stretching sensation.

Dildos come in two varieties. The first one are realistic dildos. They mimic the penis shape of humans, animal or anthropomorphic beings. This means the shaft is textured with veins which intensify the friction and thus the sensation. At the bottom end most of the them feature a base shaped like balls. The second variety are shape dildos. They are bullet or torpedo shaped and lack natural texturing.

The Square Peg Depth Probe from Regulation

Somewhere between dildos and plugs are shape dildos which consist of a series of bulges. The most extreme form of this form are anal beads. They are a series of balls connected by a string or a tubes which are inserted into the ass and then slowly pulled out. Of cause these toys aim to create a stretching sensation rather than a friction one.

A special form of dildos are so call depth trainers, also commonly called colon snakes. They are long (at least 35cm long), made out of flexible materials and don’t have much texture; a depth indication scale at most. They are designed to seduce the second sphincter to gradually open up to prepare for deep fisting.  Since this sphincter is not used to physical stimulation and unlike the anus can’t be relaxed purposefully, training it takes some time. So don’t rush it!

The Oxballs Pig Hole Deep from Mr S

Plugs

The shape of a butt plugs is best compared to the bottom half of a sand clock. From the tip they gradually increase in diameter and then – depending on the plug – either taper again or go directly into a short neck which is attached to a base. Through the gradually increasing diameter the main sensation of plugs is a stretching one.  So plugs are good to slowly accustom to and train the sphincter to a certain diameter.

A special form of plugs are hollow or tunnel plugs. Their outside form is like a butt plug but instead of being solid they have hole in the middle. Through the opening in the middle the tip is dull. So even if you can take the maximum diameter of the plug you might not be able to take it or only after a long pre-stretching. The hole is useful for many things. Through it lube or other liquids can be poured or the closing function of the sphincter can temporarily be taken away. The plug also protects the nerve endings in the sphincter from friction. Thus hollow plugs are especially useful in combination with depth trainers. Such plugs shield the anus from the friction sensation allowing the bottom to focus on what is happening at his second sphincter. When the tunnel plug is made out of a stretchy material (and is large enough) it can be used to fist through it making a formally too small interesting again or put it over a standard butt plug to increase its size.

With the increasing popularity of pet play there is a growing market of tail plugs. Instead of a base an appendix mimicking the look of an animal’s tail (most common are dog and pig tails) is attached to the plug’s body.  When choosing a tail keep two things in mind: Don’t buy a too small plug section because if it slides in too easily it will also slide out easily causing you to lose the tail when walking or wagging. Furthermore the mass ration between the plug and the tail should not be too much off. The center of gravity should be at the plug otherwise there is also the danger of the tail popping out easily. Tails are also popular with switchers not into pet play. When fucking somebody the tail will develop an momentum which is transferred to the plug section which than stimulates the prostate.

Finding the Right Size & Form

The following factors determined first if you will be able to take the anal toy and second how much you will enjoy it.

The Domestic Partner Crack Attack from Regulation

Maximum Diameter

Usually 3cm to 4cm is a good size to start out anal play. As you progress to bigger toys I recommend going up in steps of 1cm to 1.5cm increased maximum diameter. This is enough of a challenge yet you get the satisfaction of conquering the toy after a couple of days to weeks depending on how thoroughly you train. I know that this is costly by trying to get a toy in for weeks and always failing is very frustrating!

Slope

The slope of a toy defines how quickly the diameter from the tip on increases.

Even though the sphincter at the anus can somewhat voluntarily be relaxed it still is a muscle humans cannot control completely. It needs to be seduced to open up and in order to establish a certain training level actually carefully (!) stretched like every other muscle. Thus generally speaking steeper slopes are better because they allow the sphincter to open up more gradually. Especially when you are a novice stay away from toys with large dull tips because it will just press against the sphincter and it won’t open up. But even with a well-trained ass you will encounter toys that diameter wise are not really a challenge yet you won’t be able to take due to a weird slope. Sadly there now way to know before the purchase with which toys this is going to be the case so please be prepared for one or two useless purchases.

At butt plugs there are two slopes to look it: First the one before the maximum diameter which I just talked about. The second one is the one behind it. It defines how easily the toy comes out again. When you want to train your sphincter a steep slope is preferable. Once inside you can slowly fuck yourself with the plug, enjoying the stretching sensation. If you want to wear the plug for an extended period of time a duller to non-existing slope is preferable because it makes involuntarily popping out more difficult. However please keep in mind: When keeping a plug in, the “warm-up” effect of pushing it in slowly fades so seducing your sphincter to open up and release the plug becomes increasingly more difficult when keeping it in for long.

The Square Peg Happy Hour from Mr S

Position of Widest Diameter

Especially when you progress in training the position of the widest diameter becomes an important aspect to keep in mind. If you stick with a steep slope and increase the diameter the location of the maximum diameter moves further away from the tip so you have to insert more length for the maximum stretch. Since the colon is a quite small body cavern you might not reach the neck or even the maximum diameter. From a psychological point of view this is bad when training because inserting a toy completely fills you with a sense of accomplishment and giving you an opportunity to rest. This is usually a boost of eagerness to train further. Constantly failing on a plug is quite demotivating.

Texture

The texture describes the surface of a toy beyond the material properties (see: Firmness & Surface Smoothness). Since texture increases the friction of a toy it makes the insertion more difficult. So a textured toy with a diameter you usually take easily might not fit afterall.

In the section about natural dildos I have already briefly talked about natural texturing. They comprise of veins, the molded glans and foreskin and when we look at anthropomorphic toys scales, etc.

Detail of the Convex Shape and the Heavily Textured Surface of Apollo the Chimera

On shape dildos and plugs these three texture patters can be found (in ascending order of intensity): Groves, bumps and ridges. Which form delivers the best sensation is very individual. But a good rule of thumb is: the higher the texture is risen the stronger the stimulation. This of cause means that these toys are meant for play when the hole is already relaxed and well played with so it is not about the stretching (sensation) but about teasing the nerves in the sphincter. Please keep in mind that this form of play can wear out an ass quickly so be prepared for the scene to end rather sooner than later.

Extra Features

Sometimes toys come with extra features for a more intense or varied play. The most commonly found extra are sucktion cups. They enable you to temporarily securely attach the toy to a smooth surface (tiles are best for it) using vacuum. This is nifty feature when you really want to ride at toy so it doesn’t slip away.

For training the sphincter or creating a feeling of being stuffed without being able to take large diameters inflatable toys are useful. Once inserted you can pump them up in order to increase the diameter. I recommend buying only inflatable toys with a solid core for easier insertion.

Detail of the Base with Suction Cup Feature

A less commonly found feature are cum tubes. At the tip of the toy there is a small opening onto which a tube is attached. At the end of this tube is a syringe filled with a cum like lube. If you pus the end of the syringe the cum is getting splashed into the colon simulating an ejaculation. As nifty and unique as this sensation might be, a cum tube makes cleaning and drying of the toy more difficult.

For added stimulation some anal toys feature a vibrating function. When you are using quite hard toys this sensation can also be achieved by pressing a magic wand against the toy’s base. Another added stimulation is e-stim. Please refer to my in-depth review of e-stim plugs here for more information.

Personal Recommendations

This is a highly subjective, certainly not complete list of brand and retailers where good anal toys can be found. From these I source my anal toys from because I trust them for their product safety and quality.

Caring for your Anal Toys

Cleaning & Safer Sex

From a Safer Sex point of view a toy should either be used only by one person or covered by a condom. While the first is unlikely if you are having an active “social” life, the latter is unpractical as soon as it comes to toys larger than an L size penis. So cleaning the toys the right way is essential.

To clean your toys after play fill the sink with water between 40°C and 50°C, add dish soap and let the toy soak for approx. 15 minutes. I recommend using dish soap without perfume or lotion because these additives are bad for rubber and some PVCs. If you have used very thick water based lube add salt to break down the lube. At the soaking scrub the toys with a soft brush and rinse the soap water off. As a first step of sanitizing fill the sink again with hot water, add vinegar-based cleaner (possibly organic because you want to shove the toy up your butt again) and let it soak for a quarter of an hour. The acid in the vinegar will also deal with most of the unpleasant smells. Rinse the toy off and let it dry. Finally spray the toy with a sanitizer. The agents in the sanitizer can make glossy surfaces dull so you might want to try it on the base where the blemished surface is inconspicuous.

With some materials other means of sterilization are also possible once the lube has been washed off.  Metal toys can be flamed or autoclaved; the latter is also possible with high quality silicone toys.

A common question is how to deal with discolored toys. Sadly this effect is irreversible and simply comes with ages of plastic toys. To avoid it, buy only black toys.

Storage

In order to have long lasting fun with your toys keep some simple storage rules in mind. Always clean the toys after using them. The lube or body fluids otherwise can foster chemical reactions which might harm the toy. The storage place should be dry and well ventilated especially when you are storing toys from different manufacturers or made out of different materials together. The toys must never touch! The different plasticizers used by different manufacturers and materials can cause the toys to dissolve when touching or the air being filled with them. If the process started (an area getting sticky or gooy) it is too late. Sadly the process is irreversible and sooner than later you have to throw away the toy. Especially soft toys should be stored upright (or in case of depth trainers loosely rolled up) otherwise they might get permanent creases.

Bad Dragon Dildos

Bad Dragon's David the Werewolf (XL), Apollo the Chimera (XL) and Vergil the Drippy Dragon with a Bottle of my Favorite Tonic Water for Size Comparison

Bad Dragon’s David the Werewolf (XL), Apollo the Chimera (XL) and Vergil the Drippy Dragon with a Bottle of my Favorite Tonic Water for Size Comparison

Vendor: Bad Dragon

Some toy makers quickly establish a reputation that is almost iconic. This is the case with Bad Dragon. Founded in 2008 only within 8 years they have become one of the most esteemed makers of anal toys. What sets them apart from other manufacturers is that they take the inspiration for their shape from anthropomorphic fantasy creatures.

Their unique design and praise online lead to many questions regarding the toys. So I was very happy when Bad Dragon sent me the three dildos for a thorough test which I got the most questions about: Apollo the Chimera, David the Werewolf and Vergil the Drippy Dragon. Since my testee panel and I are more on the fistee side of the experience curve the first and the third toy are size XL while David the Werewolf is an L.

Material

All Bad Dragon anal toys are made out of high quality Platinum silicone. The term platinum refers to the catalyst used to make the material. Platinum silicone can withstand acid and heat better than other catalysts like tin for example yet is soft enough to be cast into anal toys. Bad Dragon cast the toys in various firmnesses. To find out which firmness is right for you, you can order a sample set. Soft toys are good for not yet well trained asses or really large toys because the sphincter can deform the toy a bit to fit well; because of that Bad Dragon only makes their XL toys up to medium firmness. However the softer the material the less stability a toy has so especially with long toys there is a chance they will collapse with the soft material. Also keep in mind: The thicker a toy the harder it will feel. Since silicone is by default a softer material even the hard firmness is way softer than hard vinyl or even metal. Another material property of silicone is that compared to other materials you can more easily add color. Bad Dragon really takes advantage of this property and offers the widest range in colors and patterns in anal toys I know off!

Vergil the Drippy Dragon as a Representation of Bad Dragon's "Glans and a Knot"-Dildo Design ontop of an Anthropomorphic Base

Vergil the Drippy Dragon as a Representation of Bad Dragon’s „Glans and a Knot“-Dildo Design ontop of an Anthropomorphic Base

Silicone toys are great if you use them with multiple partners. Even on a microscopic level it is super smooth so bacteria have a hard time to establish themselves. The smoothness and heat resistance also benefits cleaning because you can easily wash the toy with hot soapy water and spray it with a sanitizer afterwards. If you want to be really sure you can actually autoclave the toy.

When it comes to lube silicone is a bit special. ONLY use water- or oil-based lubes! The silicone oil in silicone or hybrid lubes will disintegrate the toy!

Shape

Currently Bad Dragon offers different 52 shapes all inspired by fantasy creatures. Most of the toys have a size range from small (close to the size of a normal dick) to XL (for the experienced fistee) so almost everybody can enjoy the shape matching his width experience level. One thing to keep in mind when choosing the size is the ration between maximum diameter and length. Unlike most other anal toys at Bad Dragon the maximum diameter in the lower third of the shaft. So even though you theoretically might be able to take the diameter if you are not trained for depth you might never reach it. So carefully asses your training level and maybe choose an intermediary toy for training.

Another thing to keep in mind when selecting the toys it the surface structure. Being anthropomorphic the shaft has more texture than other dildos. This can range from subtle veins (like on Vergil the Drippy Dragon) over thick ridges (like on David the Werewolf) to deep and complex patterns (like on Apollo the Chimera). The more texture there is the harder it will be to take the toy because there is more “stress” on the sphincter. But on the other side: The sphincter is one of the  body areas with the most nerve endings so the more texture there is the more the nerves will get stimulated. And for some people there is also an erotic pleasure to be found struggling a bit against the sphincter with “squarerish” toy (just don’t struggle to hard otherwise serious injurious can result!).

Detail of the Convex Shape and the Heavily Textured Surface of Apollo the Chimera

Detail of the Convex Shape and the Heavily Textured Surface of Apollo the Chimera

You can customize most Bad Dragon toys with different features. The most useful feature I found is the split firmness between shaft and base when choosing another firmness but hard. The hard base gives the toy more stability especially when riding it. Silicone as a material is a bit sticky so on must dry smooth surfaces a hard base in strong enough to keep the toy in place. If you really want to get a go on your toy or play in wet areas (for example your shower) most toys can be equipped with a suction cup. Another interesting feature I know only from friends’ toys is the cumtube. Bad Dragon will cast a silicone tube in the middle of the new toy. Cumtube equipped toys come with a syringe which you can fill with their (or other manufacturers) water-based (!!!) cum lube that you can shoot out of the tube into your ass. This cumtube provoked a bit of controversy in my test panel. There were guys who loved the feeling of a liquid being splashed into their ass and went on to order actually order a Bad Dragon dildo with a cumtube. On the other hand there were guys like me who didn’t feel that much or weren’t too impressed by the sensation and were more thinking about the practical aspect because a cumtube will make cleaning the toy a bit more difficult.

Detail of the Glans of Vergil the Drippy Dragon

Detail of the Glans of Vergil the Drippy Dragon

Playing with the Toys

Vergil the Drippy Dragon Size L

Out of the three this is probably the toy which comes closest to a “traditional” dildo. The long, steep glans-like tip is ideal for slowly opening up the sphincter. Once opened up the rather smooth and “simple” shaft does not irritate the sphincter too much when fucking the hole. The knot again gradually becomes bigger so with a little depth training taking the entire toy won’t be a challenge. Getting fucked with the entire length is an interesting sensation because it combines the friction sensation of a dildo on the shaft with the stretching sensation of a plug when you take the knot.

David the Werewolf Size XL

Theoretically the sensation is the same as with Vergil the Drippy Dragon. However this toy is more for the experienced play. The glans is a bit blunter and has a more complex shape so it is a little bit harder to take it. With the overall thicker ridges getting fucked with this dildo will be more stimulating (or challenging). Last but not least the ratio between the glans diameter and the knot is bigger so the knot is a bigger (and again probably more lustful) challenge.

Since this toy due to being XL is rather long and heavy most testees enjoyed this toy most in the middle of a fisting scene when their hole was already loose. Just lying back and relaxing proved best to take this big toy. Also navigating the length inside a hole was easier with a top in command who could use two hands. Of cause, if you have very well trained thighs and a greedy ass riding this toy is also possible and much fun.

Detail of the Thick Ridges of David the Werewolf

Detail of the Thick Ridges of David the Werewolf

Apollo the Chimera Size XL

The Apollo is unlike the other two toys. Due to the ratio of length and diameter and the fact that there is only a short “resting” section between the glans and the knot I would rather consider it a plug than a dildo. It is the most textured toy of the three which makes taking it a bit more difficult but you are rewarded with a great simulation of your sphincter. Especially the scale pattern on the outside of plug is awesome when riding it.

Speaking of riding it: The overall toy is convex shaped so it follows the way most colons bend which makes riding it easy. Of cause you need a trained hole to take such diameter yet the stretching sensation when taking the second bump is very hot. A friend actually coined the term “knotting the dragon” for it.