Anal play for beginners

Butt play is one of the most taboo sex acts around. A lot of folks are interested in giving it a try, but feel totally intimidated by the thought of putting something in their back door. There’s so much stigma around anal sex, and many people feel anxious that it will be painful or messy. In spite of those worries, there’s still plenty of adventurous individuals who are curious to start exploring anal play. If you’re one of them, good for you! The great thing about butt stuff is that everyone can do it, because everyone has a butt! The anus is packed with nerve endings, which means that stimulation of this area can feel pleasurable regardless of your gender or anatomy. If you’re interested in taking a few tentative steps towards exploring your back door, I have a few things you should keep in mind.

Only go as far as you feel comfortable

“Anal play” is a term that covers a huge range of activities, including external stimulation of the anus (without penetration), rimming (stimulation of the anus with the lips and tongue), and penetration of the anus (with fingers, toys or a penis). Just because you’re interested in trying anal play doesn’t mean that you’re automatically signing up for all of the above. If you only want to go as far as touching the outside of your anus with a finger, that’s absolutely fine. If you’re curious about penetration but the idea of rimming squicks you out, you don’t have to go there. If you’re happy to explore alone, but don’t want to play with a partner, that’s up to you. Decide what type of play you’re interested in trying, and identify anything that is outside your limits. You only have to go as far as feels good to you. Don’t feel like you have to “do it all”.

Lube is non-negotiable

Unlike the vagina, the anus doesn’t self-lubricate. If you’re doing any sort of anal play, you will need to use lubricant to keep things feeling slick and smooth. Playing without lube is likely to feel sore, dry and painful. Get yourself a good quality lubricant and make sure that you use plenty while you’re exploring. If you’re not sure you’ve used enough, use a little more. Water- or Silicone-based lubes are both great for anal play. Avoid any product that is advertised as “numbing” lubricant for butt sex. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong, so you need to be able to feel if something hurts. Plus, numbing agents will also stop you from feeling any pleasurable sensations, which really defeats the whole exercise!

Start small

If you’re exploring penetration for the first time, start with a single finger or the smallest dildo or plug you can find. The Tantus Silk Small is an ideal size for beginners. You can build your way up to larger toys, more fingers or a penis as you get more comfortable. But start with something really petite to get used to the feeling of penetration.

Use gloves

If you’re using your hand to stimulate your back door, it can be a good idea to snap on a pair of gloves beforehand. Gloves will smooth out any rough skin or hangnails which will feel uncomfortable on the delicate skin of your anus. If you’re nervous about getting your hands dirty, a pair of gloves will help to settle those fears (you might also want to read this post about whether butt stuff is messy). Playing while wearing gloves also helps to keep things lubricated, because any bare skin will start to absorb lubricant (especially if you’re playing with water-based lube). If you’re wearing gloves, your lubricant will stay slick for longer.

Listen to your body

When you first start exploring, it’s important to go very slowly. You’re going to feel a lot of new sensations, and it’s important to give yourself time to relax and enjoy yourself. Take your time and spend a while on each stage of your exploration. If you’re planning on trying penetration, spend some time gently stimulating the outside of the anus before you try to slip anything in. If something feels good, lean into it and enjoy it. When you do begin, go really slowly and gradually. If at any stage you feel pain or discomfort, stop and reassess. There’s a misconception that anal play is painful, but in reality if you’re feeling pain that means that something is wrong. If something hurts or feels uncomfortable, you might be rushing, your muscles might be tense, you might need more lube, you might be trying to insert something that’s too large. Take a beat and a few deep breaths and make adjustments. If you make a few attempts and it still doesn’t feel right, it might be best to stop and try again another day (or not! Don’t feel like you have to try again if you don’t want to).

Explore solo

I personally think it’s a good idea to explore butt play on your own before you try playing with a partner. If you’re by yourself, you’re less likely to feel self-conscious and worried about mess or smells. You also won’t feel pressured to go faster or further than you’re comfortable. You can feel confident because you have complete control of the experience. If you would prefer to explore with the help of a partner, make sure that you’ve had a conversation beforehand about your limits and what you’d like to try.

If you’ve been curious about giving anal play a try, I really hope that reading this has quelled some of your fears and given you the confidence to explore. Remember to take your time, go at your own pace and don’t skimp on the lube!


  1. Great post, Nessbow! I would also add that relaxation exercises prior to insertion are a great idea. Just as you would with any other muscle, try clenching the muscle (in this case, the buttocks) tightly and then releasing. Doing this several times helps warm those muscles up and release any muscle tension. And go slow…tease yourself a little….arouse yourself. Happy playing 🙂

    • This is such an awesome suggestion! Actively relaxing your muscles will definitely make things go a lot more smoothly, especially if you’re feeling nervous.

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