Are Butt Plugs Safe?

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Are Butt Plugs Safe?


When it comes to adult sex toys, butt plugs are incredibly popular and perennial best sellers. But why do people wear butt plugs? Well, there are a couple of reasons. First off, they are a type of sex toy that can be used by just about anyone. Not everyone has a clitoris, a penis, a G-spot, or a prostate, but everyone has an anus! Secondly, they are versatile; butt plugs can be used in a bunch of different contexts for a bunch of different reasons. They even make a great add-on to any other sexual activity you enjoy. Finally, the anus is packed with nerve endings, meaning that using a butt plug can, for many people, just plain feel good. 

For the uninitiated, however, butt plugs can be a bit daunting. Some folks are wary of anal penetration in general (which is totally fair, sometimes there’s stuff we’re just not into), while others might be scared off by horror stories of ER trips brought about by toys becoming stuck in the body. For a lot of folks, the big question about butt plugs is, “are they safe?”

Today we will break down butt plug safety. We’ll discuss whether they are safe, what rules you need to keep in mind for safe butt plug play, and even the dreaded “will it get stuck?” question. So, if you are butt plug curious, read on for everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the safe use of butt plugs. 


Are butt plugs safe?

This is really the big question, so I won’t keep you waiting for the answer: Yes…. generally. Butt plugs are safe if you safely use a safe butt plug. What does this mean?


1. Only butt plugs are butt plugs

Often folks are tempted to repurpose a sex toy they already have or to experiment with objects they find around the house. Please don’t do this. Butt plugs are designed to comfortably and safely go in your butt, so as long as you pick a good one (more on that in a moment), you will be safe. Don’t give in to the temptation to try and use anything that is not a butt plug as a butt plug. 


2. Pick a body safe butt plug with a flared base

Not all butt plugs are created equal. You want to pick a plug made with a nonporous material (porous toys can harbor all manner of bacteria and funk, and no one wants that!) like silicone, glass, or stainless steel, and make sure that plug has a flared base. This means the base is wider than the widest part of the plug. 

This is important because the anus is a place toys can be pulled into the body and become irretrievably stuck, requiring medical intervention. A flared base like the one on the PinkCherry Love Plug keeps the butt toy safely anchored outside the body for safe use and easy removal. 


3. Use LOTS of lube

Unlike the vagina, the anus does not self-lubricate. Additionally, the skin of the anus is very delicate. That means that, in order to keep butt plug use both comfortable and safe you absolutely need to use lubricant. For anal toys I recommend a thick water-based formula like PinkCherry Water Based Anal Lubricant or a long-lasting oil based lube like Doc Johnson Anal Lube


4. Think slow and gentle

Being aggressive with a butt plug can lead to anything from slight discomfort, to outright pain, to actual bleeding, none of which should ever be part of butt play. Take your time, never force it, and listen to your body.

So, now you can see that if you follow a few simple rules butt plug use can be 100% safe. That said, I know there are probably some more specific safety-related questions so let’s dive into those.


Will a butt plug damage your anus?

So, like we said above, butt plugs are safe if you use a safe butt plug in a safe manner. As long as you make liberal use of lubricant, go slow, be gentle, and listen to your body, using a butt plug should not damage your anus. Now, am I saying there’s no way a butt plug could ever damage an anus, of course not but, for the most part, the ways a plug could damage the anus pretty much revolve around improper use.  

Using a butt plug aggressively (especially for novice butt plug users), neglecting to use lube and reapply it as often as necessary, or moving too fast are all ways one could possibly damage the delicate tissue that makes up the anal region. The good news is, it’s super easy to avoid that by being gentle and listening to the body if you take things too quickly, it is possible to damage the delicate tissues in the anal area. However, this damage is easily avoided if you don’t overdo it, use lots of lube, and take things slowly even after you’re used to using your butt plug.

The anus is full of nerve endings which make that area very sensitive and make anal play feel good. This can make the possibility of damaging that area extra scary but you can keep yourself and your butt safe by keeping your play slow and gentle and making liberal use of lubricant. Really, safe butt plug use -- like a lot of things in life -- comes down to common sense and listening to your body. 


Can you use a butt plug too much?

The question of whether you can use a butt plug too much is an interesting one because the answer requires some nuance in how we think about it. Frankly, you probably can use a plug too much, but it would take a whole lot of trying. Basically, it’s hard to use too much butt plug. However (and this is a big, however), you absolutely can’t use a plug for too long. Wearing your plug every day isn’t problematic but wearing it for hours and hours on end is. 

There are a couple of different reasons one might think it’s a good idea to wear a butt plug for an extended period of time. Some folks want to stretch their anal muscles and enable themselves to use bigger anal sex toys or have more comfortable anal sex. The thing is, wearing a plug for a really long time is not the way to do this. 

If anal muscle stretching or relaxing is what you are after, it is something you should work on. You want to do it slowly and over a period of time. So rather than wearing a plug for hours on end, you might try wearing a plug a little bit each day and progressively moving from a smaller plug to larger anal toys. 

Some people enjoy wearing a butt plug for extended periods while they are at work, or running errands, or even asleep. If you are thinking about wearing a plug as you go about your day-to-day business or while you are sleeping, you definitely want to limit the time you do this. First off, if you use a water-based lubricant, it will absorb into your skin, leading to dryness and discomfort, and that’s no fun. Additionally, the body really needs to be in its natural state (aka without a plug in the butt) for most of the day. For this reason, it’s a good idea to limit butt plug wear to 2 to 3 hours. 

Also, just logistically speaking, you want to give your body some time to allow the anal muscles to go back to their natural state which can take a little while after you remove a plug. Finally, as the anus is where bowel movements happen, you are going to want to keep the area free and clear to allow that process to happen. If you want to wear your plug out in the world, it’s a good idea to carry some lube and a plastic bag with you. The bag is good for if you want to remove the plug while you are out and the lube will help if you need to remove your plug to go to the bathroom and want to put it back in after. 


Can a butt plug get stuck? 

When people ask if using butt plugs is safe, I’ve found that often they are thinking about the possibility of an anal plug getting stuck. I certainly can’t blame anyone for that, the idea of not being able to get something out of your butt is scary! That said, you will not get a butt plug stuck in your butt if you -- say it with me now -- use a safe butt plug in a safe manner! 

This comes down to two pieces of advice I’ve already given you:

  1. Only use butt plugs that feature flared bases.
  2. Use lube. Lots of it. 

When you use a butt plug with a flared base, not only does the base hold the plug securely in place, preventing it from being pulled too far into the anus, it also gives you something to grab on to when it’s time to pull the plug out. Those two things will prevent most instances of a plug becoming stuck in the body. 

In the last paragraph I said “most” because in that case I was talking about butt plugs getting stuck too far inside the body but there is actually a different way your plug could get stuck, it’s less scary but still unpleasant and something you want to avoid. A butt plug can get stuck in more of a “I can’t seem to move it and trying to pull it out hurts” way if you don’t use –  know I sound like a broken record here -- lubricant. 

The anus does not self-lubricate and water-based lubes can dry out pretty quickly so it’s important to start with a lot of lube and reapply BEFORE you feel like you need it to avoid dryness and irritation. If you do feel dry, irritated, and like your plug has become difficult to remove, don’t panic! Adding more lubricant will usually solve the problem. Lube is one of those things where it’s better to use more than you need than to need more than you used so don’t hold back. 

If you are still nervous about trying a butt plug, let’s take a minute to really break down the steps you can take to minimize the risk of a butt plug mishap. 


How to minimize risks

If you select a safe butt plug (flared bases FTW!) and use it safely, there is very little chance you could suffer a mishap. But just to be totally safe, here’s a master list of tips for minimizing risks when using butt plugs.

  • Only use toys designed for anal play

Do not use other toys or household objects as they could become lodged in your body. The one exception here is dildos, you can use a dildo with a flared base anally. 

  • Without a base, without a trace

Use this helpful little rhyme to help you remember that any butt plug you buy should have a base that is larger than the widest part of the toy. This will keep your plug safely anchored outside the body and eliminate the risk of it going too far in and ending up somewhere you cannot see (that’s that “without a trace” part) or retrieve it. 

  • Be aware of size

Do you know that old expression about the eyes being bigger than the stomach spoken in regards to someone wanting more food than they can actually eat? There’s a thing like that that happens with sex toys too. You see a big sexy anal toy and your eyes say “yes!” when your butt might not be so agreeable. So, if you are just starting out with toys, start small. Maybe consider a set that has plugs of multiple sizes so you can try bigger ones when you are ready.

  • There’s no such thing as too much lube! 

Seriously, even if you use so much that you find you can’t grip your anal toy to pull it out, that is easily solved with some hand washing and running a paper towel around the base of the plug, so don’t be afraid to go big with the lube! The risks that come with insufficient lubrication are numerous and unpleasant so lube it up! For anal play, I recommend a thick water-based lube or an oil-based lube. 

  • Clean your plugs

Seriously. Do it before and after each use. This will help avoid infection and generally keep everything comfortable. Silicone, glass, steel plugs are super easy to clean. 

  • Listen to your body

Pain, swelling, and blood are all signs that something is wrong, and you should stop what you are doing and, if the problem persists, see a doctor. 

In the end (some pun intended), safe and enjoyable butt plug use comes down to something we have said a couple of times now: choosing a safe plug and using it safely. Follow the tips we’ve discussed here, and you should be fine!

Thinking about picking up a plug? Take a look at Pink Cherry’s huge selection!


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Written By: JoEllen Notte

JoEllen Notte is a writer, speaker, sex educator, and mental health advocate whose work explores the impact of depression on sex and relationships. Since 2012 she has written about sex, mental health, and how none of us are broken on her award-winning site The Redhead Bedhead as well as for Glamour, The BBC, Bitch, PsychCentral, and more. JoEllen is the author of The Monster Under the Bed: Sex, Depression, and the Conversations We Aren’t Having.

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Sunny Rodgers

This content was reviewed for accuracy and relevancy by Dr. Sunny Rodgers.

Dr. Sunny Rodgers is a clinician, author, and speaker who has worked in the wellness industry since 2000. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality, a Master of Arts in Clinical Sexology, and is an accredited Sexual Health Educator. She is the Founder of The Institute of Intimate Health, an Ambassador for the American Sexual Health Association, regular lecturer for the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Sexual Confidence Coach for the Marigold App, and a professional Sex Toy Concierge™. Rodgers hosted a popular weekly show on Playboy Radio, has been an expert guest on several TV and radio programs, and is a regular contributor to HuffPost, Men's Health, Cosmo, Bustle, and many more publications.