After more than 50 hours of research, including reading hundreds of reviews of 49 bestselling models, interviewing six sexperts (including sex researcher Dr. Debra Herbenick), and crowdsourcing opinions from sex-toy enthusiasts, our mixed-gender panel of six testers chose Njoy’s Pure Plug as their top choice. This stainless steel butt plug is beautiful, has no friction when used with lubricant, offers feelings of fullness with prostate stimulation, and stays firmly in place after insertion. It’s available in three different sizes, is absurdly easy to clean, and doesn’t retain unpleasant smells.
Of all the toys we tested, the Pure Plug was the easiest to clean, an important feature for an anal toy. Unlike some of the silicone toys we tested, the Pure Plug didn’t smell funky after washing. The Pure Plug can also be used with oil-based and silicone lubricants, which are ideal for anal play because of their long-lasting viscous texture. While the Pure Plug was the most expensive of the toys we tested, its stainless steel material is indestructible, guaranteeing that your investment will last a lifetime.
For those on a budget, Doc Johnson’s Mood Naughty 2 offers incredible value for a silicone buttplug. Like the Pure Plug, it is available in three different sizes, offers great sensations of fullness and P-spot (prostate) stimulation, and stays in place once inserted. Our male and female testers alike reported that it dramatically intensified their orgasms when used during intercourse. However, our more-advanced testers complained that the largest size could have been bigger and that the toy had a tendency to retain smells even after washing.
For those who are brand new to anal play or those who prefer a smaller toy, the Tantus Perfect Plug Kit is a fantastic set. It contains an ultra-slim beginner-level plug and a thicker intermediate-size plug that vibrates. These plugs are probably be too small to satisfy more advanced players but can help smooth the transition for beginners.
Sex toy reviewer Epiphora recommended this toy, describing it as “one of the best and most beautiful things that has ever been in my ass.” Our tester agreed, reporting that it offered more intense prostate stimulation than the Pure Plug. The Romp is made of wood treated with a nonporous coating, which makes it body safe, easy to clean, compatible with all lubricants, and lighter weight than the Pure Plug, while offering comparable firmness. The primary drawback is the relatively expensive price, making it a step-up option.
I’m a full-time writer and sex educator who has tested more than 130 different sex toys in the past 15 years. I began blogging about sex toys in 2011 and worked as toy tester and copywriter for the retailer Stockroom.com for several years. I received my Master’s of Public Health from Indiana University in 2014, where I assisted research scientist Dr. Debra Herbenick with academic and consumer research related to sex toy use. While at Indiana University, I also worked as a blogger and sex educator at The Kinsey Institute.
We determined our initial selections by reviewing data from retailers including Amazon, Babeland, Good Vibrations, The Pleasure Chest, and Early to Bed. We looked for the toys that were bestsellers and/or top-rated by users. We also reviewed picks from sex toy guides on mainstream websites such as Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and Women’s Health, as well as picks from bloggers Epiphora, Mr. Will, Dangerous Lilly, and countless others.
We followed up our preliminary research with interviews with the following experts:
Anal toys are one of the most versatile categories of sex toys because they can be used by people of all genders. People with vaginas1 may find that anal toys add an additional dimension of stimulation to both solo and partner play, and one of our testers even reported experiencing “anal orgasms.” People with penises may find that anal toys are great for stimulating the prostate, or P-spot, an erogenous zone similar to the G-spot in the vagina.
Some heterosexual men may feel insecure about receiving anal play because of social stigmas that equate anal penetration with same-sex attraction. However, enjoying anal or prostate stimulation says nothing about an individual’s sexual orientation. Using anal toys does not make a heterosexual man any less heterosexual; it simply means he enjoys prostate stimulation. Check out Tristan Taormino’s DVDs “Expert Guide to Anal Pleasure for Men” and “Expert Guide to Pegging” to learn more about how heterosexual men can enjoy anal stimulation with their female partners.
Buying sex toys can be an intimidating experience for newbies and experienced users alike. Beyond the shyness factor many people experience, high-quality sex toys are often expensive and non-returnable. It can be difficult to determine what toy will work best for you based on reviews because every person’s sexual response can be so different. Nobody wants to spend $100+ on a toy that turns out to be a dud. For this reason, we will be going into a great amount of detail about what makes each toy we’ve picked great according to our panel of testers, and we tried to focus on toys that will work well for most people, including beginners. We’ve also included a budget option for those who are looking to test the waters before diving in.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of sex toy models available, and the criteria for what makes a sex toy “good” can be highly subjective. These are items that stood out after considering dozens of models. There are many other models not addressed in this article that are “also great” for some people, and our pick may not necessarily be the best pick for all people. They are simply the models that most (if not all) of our testers enjoyed the most.
There are many different styles of anal toys on the market, including dildos, beads, plugs, and prostate stimulators. We decided to focus primarily on butt plugs, since these seem to be the most popular style of anal toy.
We determined our testing criteria using feedback from experts and a diverse pool of sex-toy users. These criteria were:
Features that were viewed as “added bonuses” were vibrating functions (though some people hate these), a base that stays put and is comfortable for wear, and availability in multiple sizes.
Dealbreakers included porous materials that can trap bacteria and leach toxic chemicals, as well as toys that were too large or small, painful or uncomfortable, difficult to clean, lacking a flared base to help them stay put, or extremely expensive.
We narrowed our picks down to five or six of the most popular toys that met our criteria (which will be further discussed in the following sections) and tried to balance them across a variety of manufacturers, price points, and features.
Our anal testing panel2 consisted of three people with vaginas and three people with prostates, ranging in age from their early 20s to late 30s. All testers had tried anal toys in the past but were evenly distributed as beginner, intermediate, or advanced users. The testers identified respectively as queer, heterosexual, and bisexual.3
Testers were to use each toy at least once, preferably twice or more, and incorporate these toys into partner play when possible. We asked testers to give each toy a score from one (hate it) to 10 (love it), rank the five toys in order of preference, and give subjective feedback. Our picks were based on two averages: the average score each tester gave a particular toy on a scale of one to 10 and the overall average score each toy received across testers.
We also tested all of the silicone toys for interactions with silicone lubricant by applying a test patch to each silicone toy for one minute, rubbing to simulate friction, and leaving the toys to sit for one hour. More about this in the Care and maintenance section.
The elegant Njoy Pure Plug was far and away the toy our anal testers enjoyed the most. This heavy stainless steel toy (weighing in at 5, 7, and 11 ounces for small, medium, and large sizes, respectively) created pleasurable sensations for both beginner and advanced users alike. Our testers loved the toy’s aesthetically pleasing design and found it stimulated the prostate and stayed firmly in place for the duration of use. The Pure Plug was also the easiest to clean and is compatible with all types of lubricant.
Stainless steel may seem like a peculiar choice for an anal toy, but as with the Pure Wand we tested for our G-spot article, testers enjoyed the feelings of weight and fullness this toy provided:
“The steel is very, very heavy and sunk nicely into me due to the weight. It feels a lot ‘larger’ than it actually is once you put it in, due to the fact it does not ‘give’ against your tension.”
“The combination of heavy, smooth, and cool soothed my insides.”
Another tester also noted that the toy would repeatedly nudge against his P-spot when he moved, providing intermittent stimulation in a pleasant way: “the weight makes it move around inside you and rub against your prostate.”
Stainless steel is aesthetically pleasing and virtually indestructible, guaranteeing that it will last a lifetime. It is virtually frictionless when used with lubricant (it doesn’t drag or pull on your skin the way some silicone toys can). Unlike silicone toys, it can be used with silicone lubricant, sanitized via boiling, and cleaned easily with soap and water. Unlike some of the silicone toys we tested, the Pure Plug did not retain any unpleasant smells whatsoever after washing. Stainless steel also transmits temperature, so this toy can be chilled in the fridge or heated under warm running water prior to play.
The Pure Plug’s stem and base are narrow enough that it comfortably fits flat between butt cheeks, and the narrowness of the toy’s stem ensures that the toy won’t accidentally slip out. Of all the buttplugs we tested, this one stayed in place most securely, with no risk of popping out during sexual play or prolonged wear.
The Pure Plug is available in three different sizes, so it’s accessible to beginners and advanced users alike, and users can size up or down. The smallest size is 1 inch in diameter, the medium is 1.25 inches, and the large is 1.5 inches. Beginners should opt for the smallest size, while more experienced players will likely prefer the medium or large. The Pure Plug large is not huge as far as anal toys go—all three models measure less than 3 inches in length, and the large Pure Plug’s diameter of 1.5 inches is manageable even for many intermediate users—but the hard texture may make these toys feel larger than a softer toy of the same size.
Beginners will appreciate that the small size is slim, easy to insert, and relatively unintimidating (about the size of a thumb). One user with a vagina reported she prefers the small size for longterm wear and wearing during vaginal intercourse because of its narrow, comfortable shape. These toys also come in a beautiful hinged box with a pink satin lining that is discreet and easy to tuck away in a bedside table, which is a nice little perk.
One of the primary complaints about the Pure Plug is that its tilted teardrop shape can make the toy difficult to insert and remove. Some testers also found the hardness of the material to be mildly irritating with prolonged wear, but as one tester noted: “Well it’s of course very hard and that can be uncomfortable, but that’s the point of using a metal toy.”
The base may be too hard to be comfortable when sitting in a chair (for those who like to wear butt plugs for prolonged periods of time), but is perfectly comfortable for standing or walking. One tester adored it as a wearable plug: “The real fun of this toy is the continuous stimulation if you wear it while doing other things.” A female tester loved using it during vaginal intercourse but didn’t like wearing it for longer periods of time because of the toy’s tendency to absorb body heat: “I could not wear it very long because it gets very, very warm inside you. It was so hot to the touch and I felt like its adjustment to my body heat got almost uncomfortable.”
Apart from these minor complaints, testers seemed to be very happy overall with the form and function of this toy. Some testers did find the price to be somewhat intimidating, but as a lifetime investment, it’s a good value toy.
Doc Johnson’s Mood Naughty 2 is a fantastic value and received very high overall ratings from our testers. This silicone toy is available in three sizes, making it accessible to beginners and more advanced users alike. The small size is 3 inches long and 0.75 inches thick, the medium is 3.5 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, and the large is 4.5 inches long and 1.25 inches in diameter. We do recommend sizing up, as testers reported that the girth of these toys seem to run smaller than average (it’s a quarter of an inch slimmer than the relative sizes of the Pure Plugs).
Testers loved the thick, curvy shape of this toy for P-spot stimulation. Compared to the Pure Plug, this toy is easier to insert and remove. It stays in place during various activities and features a flexible flat base that comfortably lies along the butt crack and perineum, making it comfortable for longterm wear. One female user found that the length of the base overlapped with her vaginal opening, making it difficult to combine with other penetrative activities, but this may be an issue of individual anatomy, as other testers with vaginas did not have this problem.
The advanced users enjoyed this toy but expressed that they would have liked the large size to be larger than it is. For this reason, this toy is probably best suited to beginner and intermediate players.
Almost all of the testers also found that this toy retained strong odors even after repeated washings with warm water and soap (this seems to be an issue for silicone products, as we found with the silicone ice cube trays we tested for our ice cube tray guide). Fortunately, the smell was most noticeable directly after washing and tended to fade somewhat after the toy had dried.
The Perfect Plug Kit is not one plug, but two, and is designed with the newbie in mind. A first-time butt-plug user will find the smaller perfect plug very easy to insert with its slim shape (.75-inch diameter, 3.5 inches long) and tapered tip. The curved shape offers gentle stimulation, while the toy’s slim stem and base help it stay in comfortably in place. The toy is made of a frictionless, silky matte silicone that doesn’t attract lint. Unfortunately, like most silicone toys, it retains some odor even after washing, though this tends to fade with time. It could easily be worn during intercourse or safely remain inserted for an extended period of time.
The second plug in the kit, the Perfect Plug Plus, is thicker and a little longer (1.2 in. diameter, 4 in. long) and contains a removable battery-operated vibrator, which can help relax the anal muscles. One of our testers, who usually finds larger toys to be uncomfortable, found that she was able to comfortably insert the PP Plus after wearing the first plug a few times.
While these plugs are great for wearing or incorporating into partner play, they don’t offer much in the way of intense prostate stimulation when compared to our main picks. Although the Perfect Plugs are reasonably priced for a set of two high-quality toys for beginners, those interested in regular anal play will likely outgrow these plugs fairly quickly.
We passed over the NobEssence Romp in our first round of testing because of its low availability and high price, but we were finally persuaded to test it by sex-toy reviewer Epiphora. Like the Pure Plug, the Romp has a curve and firmness that make it optimal for prostate and indirect G-spot stimulation, but it’s less weighty and does not retain temperature in the same way. Unlike other plugs we tested, it’s also perfectly shaped to fit the curves of rectal cavity, making it especially comfortable to use. While the concept of a wood toy may seem odd initially, the wood is treated with a proprietary “biocompatible” coating called Lubrosity, which makes the wood nonporous (and thus bacteria-resistant, low odor, and easy to clean), splinter-free, and compatible with all types of lubricant. With four wood options and luxurious packaging, this toy also rivals the Pure Plug in terms of sheer aesthetic beauty.
Our female tester who prefers smaller toys found the size and firmness (3.5 in. long and 1.5 in. wide) too intimidating, but our male butt plug enthusiast loved it: “It’s good at putting rhythmic pressure on your prostate when you come. I found that it intensified orgasm more than the Pure Plug but is not as suitable for wearing.” We also asked Epiphora for her thoughts to see how a person with a vagina liked it: “The lightweight wood feels substantial but not overwhelming, and the gently sloped shape hugs the inside of my ass gracefully.” The NobEssence also has only one sizing option, which is relatively large.
Our beginner-level tester told us that the Tantus Perfect Plug kit has held steady as the anal toy she uses the most, because of the two size options and their relative softness. Our more advanced testers continue to swear by the Njoy Pure Plug and the pricier NobEssence Romp.
Our tester who is a die-hard fan of the Pure Plug reported: “That wooden thing [NobEssence Romp] is awesome. I thought I lost it for a little while and was very upset. I’d say it’s my go-to if I’m masturbating and want it to be a big production.”
This blog post from The Kinsey Institute gives a helpful overview, but in a nutshell, body-safe toys are:
Materials considered to be body-safe include 100 percent silicone (some toys that are billed as silicone are sometimes made from a blend of silicone and other materials, so make sure that the toy is actually 100 percent silicone), all types of glass, metals such as stainless steel and aluminum, certain types of treated wood, ceramics, and hard nonporous plastics such as ABS, lucite, and acrylic.
The presence of possibly toxic chemicals in sex toys has been a source of a great deal of concern in the sex-toy aficionado community. Sex toys are still not well-researched (beyond this study by the Danish EPA) or regulated by any consumer safety agencies. The Danish study found six different hazardous substances in the sex toys they studied, and advised that “normal” usage of the toys they tested (which they defined as 15 minutes once a week) was safe, provided the user was not pregnant or breastfeeding. However, the anus and rectum are delicate mucous membranes that are highly absorptive and prone to irritation, and many people use their toys more frequently than 15 minutes per week. For this reason, we decided to err on the side of caution and choose toys made from high-quality, nonporous materials for this guide.
Keeping your anal toys clean is extremely important, especially if you are sharing your toys with partners. We don’t recommended using toys made from porous materials anally, as they can retain bacteria from the rectal cavity. We recommend that your cover your toys with a condom when sharing them with partners, especially if it’s someone you are not fluid-bonded with (i.e. you typically use barriers for other types of sexual activities). A toy that is used both anally and vaginally should also be covered to prevent transferring bacteria from the anus to the vagina.
Waterproof toys made from nonporous materials like silicone and stainless steel can be washed with soap and warm water. Non-waterproof toys can be carefully wiped clean with a solution of soap and warm water. Spray-on toy cleanser can be useful for toys that cannot be submerged. Tool Shed Toys offers a great in-depth guide for how to care for a variety of toy materials here, as does Dangerous Lilly here.
It is generally not necessary to disinfect toys that are only used by one person or covered with condoms, but there are several techniques that work well if desired. Some non-motorized 100 percent silicone and stainless steel toys can be boiled or put in the top rack of the dishwasher without detergent to be steam sanitized. Waterproof toys of all stripes can be soaked in 10 percent bleach solution for 10 minutes to disinfect and thoroughly washed with soap and water afterwards. We do not recommend these techniques for glass and wooden toys, as they are more fragile and prone to breakage.
We recommend that toys be stored in boxes or pouches to remain dust-free in a cool, dark place where they will not be exposed to direct sunlight. Many high-end manufacturers include free cloth pouches or attractive storage boxes with the purchase of a toy.
Several prominent sex educators have recently made claims that the interactions between silicone lube and toys are overstated, so we decided to conduct our own test. The toys we tested included PleasureWorks’s Don Juan and Siren, Lelo’s Mona and Gigi, JimmyJane’s Form 2, the JeJoue Mimi, the Jopen Comet Wand, Doc Johnson’s Mood Naughty 1 and 2, and the Fun Factory Bootie. We applied about a quarter’s worth of Uberlube silicone lubricant to a patch towards the bases of the toys, rubbed it into the surface of the toy for 1 minute to simulate friction, then left the toys to sit for an hour. Following this experiment, we discovered that every single toy had been affected by the lube. In some cases, the patch exposed to lube appeared raised. In the worst cases, the lube completely took the finish off the toy, causing it to become gummy, sticky, and blistered.
In some cases the stickiness can be scrubbed off, but we do not recommend that silicone lubricants be used with silicone toys because we don’t know how these lubricants will affect the porosity and integrity of the toy over time. In the interest of scientific validity, the staff at Early to Bed replicated our test and found similar results.
Many high-end toy companies offer limited warranties or guarantees in case your toy breaks within a certain amount of time (typically one to three years). In order to redeem your warranty, you will need to purchase the toy from a licensed retailer (due to problems with counterfeit toys sometimes being sold on Amazon and eBay) and save the receipt. It’s generally a good idea to file away any and all documentation of your purchase in a safe place in case you need to redeem the warranty. We asked manufacturers of our picks for links to licensed retailers; we included either their suggested link if we received a response or a link to Early to Bed, a respected shop based in Chicago.
If you’re looking for guidance on how to use anal toys, many good books have been written on the subject, including Tristan Taormino’s Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women, Anal Pleasure & Health: A Guide for Men & Women by Jack Morin, and The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure by Charlie Glickman and Aislinn Emirzian.
The Pure Plug 2.0, which is a whopping 2 inches in diameter, and the Pfun Plug, which is the same size with a longer 3.5-inch insertable neck, may be too intimidating for beginner and intermediate users. But advanced users might be interested in checking them out.
The Aneros Eupho Syn is a prostate stimulator capable of inducing what the manufacturers call a “Super-O,” or an intense prostate-focused orgasm. As a result, it’s really intended for people with prostates. One tester described the experience of using it as “really intense and almost meditative,” another said “it literally felt like I jammed a hard stick into myself.”
The Tantus Neo is sort of the logical sequel to the Perfect Plug Plus, with its 1.4-inch diameter and 4-inch length. The Pure Plug is the superior option overall for beginners, and the Mood Naughty 2 is a better choice for bargain hunters.
At 1.5 inches and 2.5 inches in diameter respectively, the Tantus Ryder and Ringo were too large to appeal to a general audience (though they seem to be great options for intermediate and advanced players).
The Fun Factory Bootie was our original best-for-beginners pick. However, we found that the Tantus Perfect Plugs were easier to insert, and the vibrating function on the larger plug helps make the process of upsizing more comfortable.
The Implicit Creations Core plug was too intimidating for our beginner-level tester with its 1⅝-inch girth (their Beta plug is even larger at 1⅞ in.). One of our more experienced testers reported that it was a little tricky to take out due to the narrow base and didn’t offer much in the way of prostate stimulation. These are best for more advanced users who want a comfortable, easy-to-insert plug for longterm wear.
The Doc Johnson Mood Naughty One was too firm, and testers found the straight up-and-down shape to be uncomfortable at times. While the tapered shape made this toy easy to insert, most testers expressed a desire for a curved toy that could more effectively stimulate the prostate.
The Pleasure Works Don Juan was too slim and soft for our testers’ liking. The silicone has a slightly sticky texture that causes this toy to collect lint like crazy when not in use. Virtually every user complained that this toy did not stay in place once inserted.
Originally published: January 29, 2016