How to Use Anal Beads: A Sex Educator’s Guide
What’s the point of anal beads?
It’s not uncommon for anal toys to be a mystery to people. Part of this comes from the vast misunderstandings about how the butt and anal play work.
What are anal beads?
Anal beads are a series of bulbs attached to a cord. They look like beads on a string. Often, though not always, each bead gradually increases in size as you go up the string.
What’s the difference between butt plugs and anal beads?
Butt plugs are meant to go in your anus and stay there. They give you a feeling of fullness, help you simulate double penetration, and can help prep the anus for larger toys and/or anal intercourse.
Anal beads stimulate you by being moved in and out of your butt. You may still get a sense of fullness when they’re fully inserted. Much of the sensation, however, comes from their removal. When pulling them out, you stimulate all the nerve endings in your anal sphincter.
What do people use anal beads for?
Anal beads can feel less intimidating for someone who wants to explore butt play. As a hands-free toy, they also let you multitask. Fill your hands with your partner or yourself while wearing them!
Many people enjoy wearing anal beads during intercourse to enhance sensation, and especially removing them as orgasm hits. Still, others prefer to use them during foreplay.
As long as both people consent and you’re being safe, there aren’t any wrong ways to play.
How to Use Anal Beads
As with any sex toy, and especially any anal toy, be sure to use lube—lots of it! Opt for either a water-based anal lube (it’s thicker than the standard water-based lube) or silicone lube. Not all silicone lubes and silicone toys play well together, so do a patch test beforehand or use water-based lube instead.
Always start small and go slow. Get comfortable with the smallest bead, inserting and removing it a few times, before you go to a larger one. This also may mean trying out the beads on your own first. Of course, this isn’t desired by or feasible for many people so the most important part here is to listen to your body.
If you’re nervous or struggling to insert the beads, focus on taking deep breaths. Think about breathing all the way into your pelvis. It may help to place a hand over your mons—the area just above your genitals—as a physical indicator of where to breathe.
Lastly, don’t leave them in for more than an hour or two, max.
Are there any health concerns using anal beads?
The anus contains different bacteria than any other part of the body, and it shouldn’t be shared. Any toy or body part that goes in the back door shouldn’t go in or near other orifices until it’s been sterilized. Alternatively, you can use condoms and change them out between holes.
It’s also recommended you wash anal toys as well as dirty sheets or towels immediately after use. Consider keeping sex toy cleaning wipes near your bed (or wherever you get it on) to make this easy. No access or desire to do laundry right away? Consider using disposable puppy pads or doing it in the shower.
How to Choose Anal Beads
Like with all sex toys, not all anal beads are made equal. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping.
- Look for body-safe materials. Silicone is the most beginner-friendly but you can also find beads in body-safe ABS plastic, stainless steel, wood, and glass.
- Make sure there’s a loop or handle (also known as a “phalange”) at the end. This lets you remove them easily and ensures they won’t get lost.
- Avoid fabric strings as they can’t be sterilized and therefore will harbor bacteria that can mess up your anal microbiome and increase your risk of infection.
- Don’t go cheap. Save up if you have to! It’s vital to invest in beads that can be removed safely. You don’t want to make a trip to the emergency room.
- Choose a size and length based on your experience level. If you’re new to anal play, start with a string that only has three or four small beads.
Our Favorite Anal Beads
Flexi Felix is the rare toy that delights beginners and advanced users alike. The flexible beads are elliptical shaped, giving new sensation to those who’ve used beads before and making them easier to use for beginners. Made of 100% silicone, they don’t absorb germs and have no rough edges, while the face and eye holes make removal easy.
Triplet or Cinco Vibrating Anal Beads come in two lengths: three or five beads. The benefit of using vibration is it can help the muscles (and user!) relax more—plus they feel good on all those sensitive anal nerves. These beads are a bit firmer and larger than Felix above but the Triplet is still a good option for anal bead newbies who want a little buzz.
Linger Anal Beads are erotic art that doubles as an anal toy. Made of responsibly harvested wood, they’re finished in a 16-step process that makes them smooth as can be—no knots here! Their firmness gives an entirely new sensation while their phalange lets you slip a finger in for ease of use.
The Fun Wand gives you two toys in one: a g-spot dildo and anal beads. Made of stainless steel, the weight helps to relax the anal sphincters to allow for easier penetration and thrusting. The wand also retains temperature, allowing you to incorporate heat or cold into your play.
Author Bio Kait Scalisi, MPH, is an advocate for the revolutionary power of pleasure inside the bedroom and out. Through her public workshops, private counselling, and online platform Passion By Kait, she harnesses her science education, social justice insight, and radical empathy to empower folx to get more in tune with their bodies, discover what brings them pleasure, and integrate it into their lives and relationships in ways that are both practical and powerful. Learn more and find #freedominpleasure at PassionbyKait.com, Instagram and Twitter @PassionbyKait, and Facebook www.facebook.com/PassionbyKait.