We are awash with inferior butt plugs. Many manufacturers are oblivious to the basic elements of plug design.
I have recommendations for great plugs, but you want more than that: You want to know why they’re great. So here are guidelines to help you identify the gems amidst the mountains of junky plugs.
Tapered, Not Pointy
Butts don’t like blunt toys. Your hole is not a door you can open wide at will. You need to gradually coax yourself open.
You can do this with your fingers or thinner toys. But a taper provides an all-in-one solution. No need to switch between several instruments.
Most sex toy manufacturers have gotten this memo. Tapered plugs = good.
Problem is, they take the principle too far.
This is Tantus’ Ringo. Damn good toy: Awesome for slowly stretching yourself open.
But that tip.
It may not look too pointy. But it feels pointy.
Go ahead, stand up and walk around with Ringo: You won’t feel the tip. You won’t feel it lying down, either.
Just don’t sit.
Sit down and Ringo’s tip will stab your rectal wall, threatening to bust through. Gentle going in, but harsh once inside.
Tantus had a great idea with the taper. They simply took it too far.
Saw off Ringo’s top inch and you’d have a first-rate plug. Yes, it would be blunter. But all the top inch does is allow you to insert Ringo with your ass beginning at 100% closed.
That’s not necessary. If you have to use your fingers a little bit before you start on the plug, that’s okay. If you ask a toy to do everything, it will not do everything well.
Ringo’s 5.8” insertable length also plays a role here. If it were shorter, the tip may not jab you when you sit.
Tapered plugs are great. As long as they don’t taper to a point.
The top of a plug isn’t the only place it needs a taper. The drop-off from the bulb to the neck also needs a taper.
This is CalExotics’ Colt Big Boy. Like Ringo, it suffers from Pointy Tip Syndrome. But that’s the least of its problems.
That drop-off is a cliff. When you get past the bulb, your sphincters will snap onto the neck.
But this isn’t about inserting the plug.
Suppose the Colt Big Boy is biggest toy you’ve ever had and you’re using it to stretch yourself. After weeks of training, you finally, barely fit it in. It’s a thick plug, so that’s quite an accomplishment.
Now you have to remove it.
You’re asking your sphincters to suddenly dilate to a circumference they’ve only managed once before—this time with no assistance from a taper. When you finally manage to birth this bastard, you’re going to be in a lot of pain. For the rest of the day, you’d be wise not to sit down.
A steep drop-off is most formidable when the toy’s girth is at the upper end of what you can handle. But even if you have an advanced level butt and the Colt Big Boy’s girth is easy for you, the drop-off is still a problem: When you remove a plug, you’re likely done playing and no longer turned on. You want to let your ass relax. This is not the time to give it an unnecessarily difficult task. You may be able to handle it, but it’s going to be unpleasant.
When removing a plug—especially one that’s thicker than anything you’ve taken before—you want a taper between the neck and bulb. It doesn’t need to be as gradual as the tip’s taper, but it needs to be there. This makes removal much, much easier.
You don’t have one sphincter: You have two. An external sphincter you can relax and clench at will. And an internal sphincter that’s nearly impossible to control consciously.
These muscles take up room. You can’t scrunch them into a tiny space. If both can’t fit on a plug’s neck, you won’t be able to keep that plug inside you for long.
What the hell is this, you ask? Pipedream claims it’s a plug, their Anal Fantasy Collection P-Spot Plug.
Its neck is unconscionably short. There’s no way you will retain the P-Spot Plug.
In my estimation, the ideal neck length is 1.25”-1.5”. But it should be at least 1”. Any shorter and your internal sphincter may sit partially on the bulb. This will prevent it from relaxing and encourage it to push the plug out.
A good plug errs on the side of having a giraffe neck rather than an owl neck.
Softer = Comfier
We’re moving beyond definite prescriptions, into the realm of preference. Firm plugs can be great. They can provide delicious pressure on your prostate, if you have one of those. And many people enjoy how they assert their presence, unyielding.
But if you want comfort, you want soft. Plush. Squishy.
A soft toy is so much gentler on your butt. It provides a cushion, giving your sphincters something to hug. It conforms to your body, rather than forcing your body to conform to it.
This is butt heaven. It’s optional for short-term wear, but for long-term wear, I believe it’s essential.
Note, however, that the only body-safe, non-porous material that can be soft is silicone. And, unfortunately, there aren’t loads of soft silicone plugs on the market.
The best ones, in my opinion, are Oxballs’ Ergo Plugs and SquarePeg’s Egg Plugs. They were designed by people who knew what they were doing, so they follow all the principles I’m laying out. Just be sure to choose their super soft versions if you want that squish.
T-bar Base > Round Base—Most of the Time
Plugs have two primary base designs: round and t-bar.
A round base chafes. When you walk around, it rubs uncomfortably against your cheeks. It can look pretty if there’s a jewel in the base, but your cheeks will pay for that prettiness. The longer you wear the plug, the more of a problem this will become.
A t-bar base fits your crack like a glove. It sits snugly between your cheeks. No chafing, no discomfort. Long-term wear? No problem.
This looks like a clear win for t-bar bases. Except…
If you have a vag, you may want a round base for some purposes.
Do you want to walk around and do other things while plugged? A t-bar base is still your best option, by far.
Do you want to fill both holes simultaneously? Unfortunately, a t-bar base may occlude your vag.
This depends on your body’s specific dimensions, what position you’re in, and the t-bar’s length, so it’s not always a problem for everyone. And you may find you can work around the base with your fingers or a toy. But if you want to have PIV while plugged, I doubt your partner will enjoy a t-bar base rubbing against their penis.
This isn’t a big deal, though: During sex or masturbation, the drawbacks of a round base don’t matter. You’re not walking, so chafing isn’t a concern. And your legs are probably spread, so you won’t feel the round base much at all. The only real downside is you need to buy one plug for sex and masturbation, and another for everything else.
How much do you want to stretch your sphincters?
If you want an easy plugging session, you might prefer a thin neck. A thin neck lets your sphincters relax after their feat of taking the bulb. The thinner the neck, the more likely you are to forget you’re even plugged.
A thin neck also makes long-term wear easier. By minimizing the stress on your sphincters, you maximize the time before they insist you remove your plug.
If you want to feel full, you want a thick neck. A thick neck keeps your sphincters stretched, giving them little relief after their feat of taking the bulb. The thicker the neck, the more it will constantly remind you of its presence.
A thick neck is also great if you want to train yourself to take thicker toys. I believe the easiest way to prepare yourself for a bigger toy is to wear your current largest plug long-term. And if that plug has a low bulb-to-neck ratio, it will be much more effective. After all, your sphincters are the tightest part of your ass, so the more you stretch them, the sooner you’ll be able to size up.
A thin neck makes long-term wear easier, but a thick neck makes it more challenging and fun. You may not want to go to work wearing a thick-necked plug. But for hanging out at home, I find a thick neck so much more satisfying.
A thick neck also makes removal easier. Particularly after long-term wear, your sphincters can be exhausted. The lower your plug’s bulb-to-neck ratio, the less your sore sphincters have to stretch to push it out. This isn’t a big issue for thin-necked plugs, as long as they have decent tapers from their necks to their bulbs. It’s just something that makes thick-necked plugs a little more pleasant to use.
You may be concerned a plug with a thick neck can pop out. I understand this fear, but, in my experience, it doesn’t happen.
This is Vixen’s Tristan 2, the plug in my collection with the lowest bulb-to-neck ratio. That is one thick neck.
When I began using Tristan 2, the thick neck made me feel like it was in danger of falling out. But with some practice, the feeling went away. I’ve worn it for hours and hours at a time, even overnight, and it’s never popped out on its own. However, poop may push it out if you wait too long. So when I’m wearing it and I feel the urge to go to the bathroom, I do not hesitate. And damn, that neck feels amazing, whether I’m wearing it for a short or long time.
Tristan 2 is at the absolute lowest end of bulb-to-neck ratios. You can get a thick-necked plug without going this thick. SquarePeg’s Egg Plugs still have thick necks and I’ve never had the slightest feeling mine could pop out, even when I’ve had to go to the bathroom.
You can probably tell I prefer plugs with thick necks. But for easier long-term wear, thin necks have their place.
The Increments of Butt Plug Sets
When sizing up, I recommend an increment of up to 1” in circumference, or 0.25”-0.3” in diameter. This should give you a challenging, yet fun and doable stretch.
If you attempt an increment much bigger than this, either it won’t go in or you’ll hurt yourself. If you try a smaller increment, you may find it too easy and too similar to your previous toy.
Unfortunately, many butt plug sets have increments that are way too ambitious.
This is Hustler’s Anal Training Kit. They look like decent plugs, though the largest size is afflicted with Pointy Tip Syndrome.
But those diameters: 0.8”, 1.8”, and 2.3”.
These increments are insane. Their tapers would help a bit, but nowhere near enough.
These plugs should not be sold together. Someone who hasn’t learned about safe increments is liable to think they should be able to progress directly from 0.8” to 1.8”, and that’s dangerous.
But if you’re interested in a badly sized butt plug set, buying it isn’t necessarily a bad decision. You just need to get supplemental in-between-sized plugs. For this Hustler set, you’d need three sizes between the 0.8” and 1.8” and another between the 1.8” and 2.3”.
These principles apply most forcefully to basic, traditional butt plugs. Prostate plugs and textured plugs can sometimes get away with breaking a few of them.
Lets sum this up:
- • The tip should be tapered, but not pointy.
- • The drop-off from the bulb to the neck should also be tapered.
- • The neck should be at least 1″ long to fit your sphincters, but preferably 1.25″-1.5″.
- • Softer plugs are comfier, though some people prefer firm plugs, particularly for prostate stim.
- • T-bar bases are superior to round bases, unless you have a vag and you want to fill both holes simultaneously.
- • Thin necks are great for long-term wear, while thick necks are great for stretching and feeling full.
- • Sets of plugs need to have sane 0.25”-0.3” diameter increments.
I hope these guidelines help you understand what attributes determine whether a plug is sublime or subpar. And here are my recommendations for plugs that (mostly) follow these principles.
3 thoughts on “The Elements of Good Butt Plug Design”
the bulb to neck on the tantus Tex is great too; 3.1″ bulb and about 2.3″ neck. wish there was a larger size :)
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If you want something larger, you may want to check out SquarePeg’s Splitter, Acorn, and larger Egg Plugs.
Hands down most helpful article I’ve read. Thank you.