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Sex toy shopping is largely a to-each-their-own practice. Someone’s too strong is someone else’s too subtle; someone’s phenomenal is someone else’s eh. Given this, there are very few rules when it comes to sex toy shopping. There’s no right or wrong way to do it—just right or wrong for you. Except that there are wrong ways to do it. At least, there’s one: Buying anal toys without flared bases is a categorical no-no. Ask any sex toy expert or gynecologist, and they’ll agree.
Anal toys can be an excellent investment, no matter your anatomy.
First things first: Anal play can feel great—like, really great—no matter who’s receiving. That’s because the anus is rich in nerve endings. And since a lot of those nerve endings are exclusively sensory (meaning, they’re designed to pick up on physical sensations), your anus is basically a stimulation hotspot.
Not to mention, anal play can be a great way to explore targeted G-spot and P-spot action. The G-spot, as you well know, is a pleasure zone tucked away on the anterior wall of the vagina. The P-spot, also known as the prostate, is a small gland located between the bladder and the penis. Both of these areas are extremely sensitive and can result in immense pleasure when stimulated. And anal play can offer direct access to both.
But buy an anal toy without a flared base, and you risk genuine (maybe even serious) injury.
Though the anus can be an absolute treasure trove of pleasure, you can’t treat it exactly like you’d treat a vagina. Because, well, it isn’t one. A vagina is kind of like a cul-de-sac: It dead-ends at your cervix, so even if a sex toy gets lost inside you, it doesn’t have very far to go. Your anus is not a dead-end—quite the opposite. It connects to your rectum, which is part of your large intestine. So theoretically, a toy lost inside your anus could make its way up your intestines—and end up somewhere it’s definitely not supposed to be.
And yes, a toy could actually get lost inside your anus. Because when you orgasm, your muscles contract, and there can be a “vacuum effect,” Dr. Natasha Chinn, M.D., a New Jersey-based ob/gyn tells StyleCaster. It’s totally normal for your muscles to contract during orgasm (put simply, that’s what an orgasm is). And it’s also totally normal for those contractions to be so intense that they create a “suction-type effect,” Dr. Chinn says. And that’s exactly why you should be thoughtful when shopping sex toys—because some sex toys are less likely to get engulfed than others.
“It is super important to only purchase anal toys with flared bases,” Annabelle Knight, Lovehoney sexpert, tells StyleCaster. “There is a very real risk of over-insertion if the toy doesn’t have a flared base.”
But what is a flared base, exactly? Many anal toys taper toward the bottom and then widen—a lot. And that wide part is exactly what we’re talking about when we say flared base. That flared base can come in the form of a T-bar (a horizontal bar at the bottom of the toy that makes it look like an upside-down T), a large ring, a suction cup—even the testicles you find on realistic dildos could get the job done.
Thankfully, most anal toys come with a built-in flared base. But a lot of vaginal toys don’t. So you can’t just repurpose your favorite vaginal dildo for anal play and expect things to go OK.
And for what it’s worth, if you do end up with a toy lost inside your rectum, Dr. Chinn recommends that you go to the emergency room immediately. “The longer you wait, the higher the chance that you’ll need more of a major surgery—and the higher the risk of damage,” she says. (If you lose a toy inside your vagina, you can also call your doctor. But they can usually “get it out with ease,” Dr. Chinn says, so there’s less risk of surgery or major damage.)
Don’t worry—there are tons of flared-base anal toys on the market for you to choose from.
Again, finding flared-base anal toys isn’t hard at all. Browse any sex toy shop’s anal section, and you’ll see flared base after flared base. There’s actually enough variety that you could develop preferences about which flared bases you like best.
Once you’ve met that baseline criteria—once you’ve found an anal toy with a flared base—there are a few other things to consider. “Body-safe, non-porous materials are best for hygiene and prevention of bacterial infection,” Dr. Jenni Skyler, Ph.D., Adam & Eve sexpert, tells StyleCaster. “For pleasure, it’s good to start small—and maybe even get a toy that vibrates for a little extra pleasurable sensation.”
And don’t forget the lube. Though your vagina self-lubricates, your anus doesn’t. “So whether you’re inserting a toy, finger or penis you’ll definitely need to use a thick water-based anal lubricant…for long-lasting slip, comfort and safety,” Knight says. (You can try oil- or silicone-based lubes too, just remember that oil-based lubes can degrade condoms and that silicone-based lubes can degrade silicone toys.)
“For beginners, go slow, warm up the whole body, and make sure the arousal of the receiver is super high before attempting penetration,” Dr. Skyler says. Go slow. Feel it out. Have fun. And of course, shop responsibly.
Stock up, and enjoy.
BASICS Slimline Butt Plug
Not only is the BASICS Slimline Butt Plug a truly excellent starter toy, it’s also a fan-favorite. Over the years, it’s garnered a 4.5-star rating after a whopping 1,704 reviews. Shoppers appreciate its cute appearance and sleek (“not overwhelming”) silhouette. Plus, it’s got a pretty classic flared base. (Lovehoney sexpert Annabelle Knight recommends this toy for beginners.)
Sassy Anal Beads
Anal beads can be a great toy for beginners and experts, alike, because they put the control in the customer’s hands. Slide in one bead at a time, stop whenever you want to, and use the handle to pull them out when you’re finished. More advanced players may want to pull more forcefully than beginners—but focus on doing what feels best for you.
The Snug Plugs are an excellent investment for any beginner. Start small, and work your way up as you get more comfortable with anal play. (And enjoy the many colors your varied-size collection has to offer.)
Lifelike Lover Luxe Silicone Dildo
Many dildos can be used for anal play—just make sure they come with balls (or some other kind of widened base). This particular option comes complete with a suction cup that you can attach to your wall (at least, your shower wall) and use for hands-free play.
Beginner’s Anal Fantasy Kit
This starter kit comes complete with five of Adam & Eve’s most popular starter toys—including a beaded probe, prostate stimulator, suction-cup plug, textured finger sleeve, and some anal beads. Explore the toys, one by one, to see what you prefer. And rest assured knowing each comes with an expert-approved flared base (except the finger sleeve, but as long as you keep it on your finger as intended, you should be in the clear). (Adam & Eve sexpert Dr. Jenni Skyler recommends this toy for beginners.)
Petite Sensations Bubbles
In addition to looking incredibly cool, the Petite Sensations Bubbles is beloved my those who’ve used it. The bubble-lined shaft offers the same versatility as anal beads, while the removable bullet vibrator at the base allows you to up the stimulation as you please.
Naughty Candy Heart Butt Plug
In the case of the Naughty Candy Heart Butt Plug, the flared base doubles as a command. Each base is shaped like a heart and inscribed with a pithy phrase, like “Be Mine,” Spank Me,” or “Do Me Now.”
Adam & Eve’s ‘My First Anal Toy’
This vibrant pink toy was designed with beginners in mind. The super-slender anal probe lends itself particularly well to first-time place, and the toy’s 10 vibration settings offer sensations that go beyond standard penetration. (Adam & Eve sexpert Dr. Jenni Skyler recommends this toy for beginners.)
Adam & Eve Booty Boot Camp Training Kit
This starter kit comes with three butt plugs of different sizes, so you can start small and work your way up. Each toy comes with a tapered tip for ease of penetration. And of course, all three come with flared (suction!) bases. (Adam & Eve sexpert Dr. Jenni Skyler recommends this toy for beginners.)
The Pfun Plug is shaped to target the G-spot—or the P-spot—of whoever’s wearing it. It’s also crafted from stainless steel, a heavy material that leaves the toy feeling heavy (in a good way) and that lends itself to temperature play. (Run the toy under warm or cool water, and explore the sensations that await.)
Crystal Jellies Anal Trainer Kit
The Crystal Jellies Anal Trainer Kit was designed with beginners in mind. Use them the same way you’d use anal beads—one ridge at a time—and once you’re accustomed to the sensation, enjoy the length and girth these jellies have to offer.
Luxe Wearable Vibra Plug
Whereas most butt plugs come with a tapered end that makes penetration more gradual, the Vibra Plug goes all in. Not for the faint of heart, the Vibra will certainly delight on entry. And its hollow form leaves it lightweight enough to leave in all day long.
Aneros Progasm Ice Prostate Massager
Super-fans of the Aneros Progasm Ice Prostate Massager call it “the best of the best.” Though it was designed with prostate massage in mind, the toy’s sleek form lends itself just as well to G-spot stimulation.
Bunny Tail Plug
The Bunny Tail Plug is proof that flared bases don’t have to be a buzzkill. Whether you’re a fan of tail play or someone who simply appreciate the appearance of a fluffy pink pom-pom, the Bunny Tail Plug is here to protect you from potential anal accidents—and to look good doing it.
Vibrating Anal Plug Set
Many starter kits include the same toy, scaled to different sizes. But the Vibrating Anal Plug Set takes a different approach, including a number of beginner-friendly toys in different shapes, instead. If you’re interested in exploring the sensations offered by different silhouettes (and if you’re not particularly interested in sizing up anytime soon), the Vibrating Anal plug Set may be just the thing for you.
Lovehoney Butt Tingler 10-Function Vibrating Butt Plug
A classic beginner toy, this flared-base butt plug comes with a removable bullet vibrator you can turn on to add stimulation as you see fit. You can also use the bullet vibrator on its own. But since it doesn’t come with a flared base, you’ll want to reserve it for surface-level play. (Lovehoney sexpert Annabelle Knight recommends this toy for beginners.)
Crystal Heart Wavy Glass Dildo
The Crystal Heart Wavy Glass Dildo may look like a fairy princess wand, but it’s actually a glass dildo fit for vaginal and anal penetration, alike. Go in one ridge at a time, and rest assured knowing the heart-shaped base should keep you accident-free.
BASICS Vibrating Anal Beads
Classic anal beads crafted in a slightly less classic silhouette, the BASICS Vibrating Anal Beads truly offer the best of both worlds. Scale up the intensity, ridge by ridge, and use the built-in bullet vibrator to add extra stimulation as you see fit.
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