The 12 Best Anal Beads for *Bumping* Up the Pleasure of Your Butt Play

You’ll get closer to anal orgasm with each stimulating pop and plop. To the uninitiated, anal beads may sound like a cutesy name for rabbit pellet-esque poops. But actually, anal beads are a type of pleasure product designed to make you moan, groan, or sigh one pop and plop at a time. Specifically, “anal beads are a series of beads or balls that are connected by a body-safe string usually made out of silicone,” says somatic sex educator Court Vox, founder of intimacy coaching platform The Bodyvox. Designed to go in the butt hole, these beads have a flared base or ring at the tail end, which keeps them firmly planted in your peach (so that they can’t travel up the digestive tract). Both inserting and removing the beads from your body can massage the nerve-dense anal opening and provide a feel-good feeling of release, says Vox. As enjoyable as anal beads can be when used correctly, however, they are an advanced anal tool that requires a little savvy to use properly. And it’s important to know a bit about the different types of anal beads before you purchase some, so that you can choose the best kind for you. Ahead, sex educators share everything you need to know about using, choosing, and caring for a string of anal beads. Oh, and they share their favorite anal beads on the market (including vibrating, stainless steel, and glass options) for everyone from beginner anal players to advanced bead enthusiasts. Best anal beads at a glance: Best overall: Tantus Ripple Small, $31 Runner-up: Le Wand Swerve, $150 Best budget: Petite Sensation Bubbles, $30 Best textured: Satisfyer Silicone Love Anal Beads, $30 Best stainless steel: b-Vibe Stainless Steel Anal Beads, $90 Best glass: Lovehoney Sensual Glass Iridescent Anal Beads, $40 Best remote-controlled: b-Vibe Triplet, $141 Best for partnered play: Booty Call Booty Beads,$15 Best for beginners, short: Romp Amp Booty Beads, $16 Best for beginners, long: Cheeky Beads Silicone Anal Beads, $20 Best vibrating, beginner: Femme Funn Vibrating Anal Beads, $100 Best vibrating, advanced: b-Vibe Cinco Vibrating Anal Beads, $170 How do anal beads work? Anal beads are a tool designed to help you lean into the pleasure potential of the anal canal and anal opening. Full of nerve endings, the anal opening is an erogenous zone that can respond favorably to stroking, pressure, and stretch. And with each insertion and removal, anal beads can provide just that, explains certified sexological bodyworker Ron Stewart, co-founder of Back to the Body sensual retreats. “You’ll experience the sensation of your anal sphincter momentarily stretching with the addition of each bead,” he says. “You’ll experience the sensation of your anal sphincter momentarily stretching with the addition of each bead.” —Ron Stewart, certified sexological bodyworker The exact length of a string of anal beads varies—most contain at least three beads, but others have six or seven. (Generally, the more beads a string has, the more advanced it is considered). “[Using more beads] creates an increased sensation of fullness, depth, and volume in the anal canal,” says Stewart. This kind of anal play can result in its own brand of orgasm, dubbed an anal orgasm. In people assigned female at birth (AFAB), anal beads can also indirectly stimulate the G-spot (or G-zone), which is an internal hot spot located along the front vaginal wall, says sexologist and sociologist Carol Queen, PhD, sex educator at Good Vibes and co-author of The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone.  Meanwhile, in most people assigned male at birth (AMAB), the beads may press against the prostate. As a refresher, the prostate is a walnut-sized gland located two to four inches inside the rectum that can respond favorably to stimulation, in some cases leading to a prostate orgasm. “In instances when the anal beads are large or the string that connects them is rigid, the beads can get deep enough to effectively stimulate the prostate,” says Dr. Queen. The real pleasure of anal beads, however, cums (heh) if you can time their removal with orgasm. “Pulling out the string of anal beads—either quickly or at a fast pop-pop-pop rate—when the user is about to orgasm can bring that orgasm,” says Dr. Queen. “Or, if the orgasm has started, it can intensify and prolong the sensation.” What’s more, adding anal beads into intercourse or oral sex can bring about the particular magic of a blended orgasm—in this case, an anal orgasm combined with a vaginal or clitoral orgasm. Anal beads vs. anal dildos vs. butt plugs From butt plugs to prostate massagers, anal-safe dildos to flared-base thrusters, anal beads to anal vibrators, there are all sorts of sex toys on the market designed with your backdoor in mind. What sets anal beads apart from these other anal sex toys is their shape. While anal beads essentially look like (very big) pearl necklaces, and are designed to be moved in and out of the butt, butt plugs look vaguely like carrots and are designed to go in and stay in, says Vox. “You also usually get more volume filling the anal canal with anal beads than with butt plugs,” he says, adding that “there is only one point of stretch with a butt plug, while you get a stretch with [the insertion of] each bead when using anal beads.” Meanwhile, anal-safe dildos are designed to move in and out of the rear with a smooth slide, which means they can usually be thrust in and out at a much faster speed than anal beads, says Vox. Anal dildos can also be used by hand, suction-cupped to a surface for hands-free play, or inserted into a strap-on harness, he adds, while anal beads can only be used by hand. Prostate massagers, on the other hand, are most similar in shape and function to butt plugs. Both are designed to hang out in your hinny once inserted. However, prostate massagers have a unique C or claw shape that enables them to stimulate the prostate in those who have one, says Stewart. “Beads might stimulate the prostate by chance, through depth and volume, but that is not their primary function.” Given that AMAB people are the only individuals with a prostate, prostate massagers are also primarily for one group of folks, while anal beads can be enjoyed by people of any sex, gender, or sexual orientation. How to choose the best anal beads for you Picking out the perfect anal beads requires intention and attention. Below, you’ll find what to look for (and what to avoid) when it comes to material, bead size, length, vibration, and rigidity when shopping for anal beads. Material No matter what type of sex toy you’re investing in, you want to make sure it’s made of non-porous material. (That means that it doesn’t contain any microscopic holes or pores where bacteria could get trapped and fester). But that’s especially important for anal beads, given that they go in where poop does come out! For most people, medical-grade silicone is the best option, says Stewart. That’s because in addition to being safe, it’s silky smooth to the touch and easy to clean. “It also feels the most like skin, which is appealing to some,” he says. That said, more advanced anal-sex explorers may opt for an option made from stainless steel or borosilicate glass instead. While anal beads made from these heavier materials are non-porous and therefore safe for anyone’s butt hole, their heft can be overwhelming if not painful for people just dipping their tail into anal play. Bead size Most anal-bead strings have beads that get progressively larger in size. However, the size of that first bead can vary, with some being no bigger than a blueberry and others being as juicy as a lime. “If you’re new to anal play, the smaller the first bead, the better,” says Dr. Queen. If you have some experience with butt stuff, Dr. Queen suggests picking a string where the last (and biggest) bead is equal in diameter to the toys or body parts you have used in the past. And “if you’re a seasoned anal fan with experience with larger toys or anal intercourse, you can shop for bigger beads,” she says. Length A nice feature of anal beads is that you don’t have to insert their entire length at once, and just using some of the beads doesn’t require much maneuvering (the way avoiding the full depth of a penis or dildo may, for example). That said, you want to spend some time thinking about the overall length because it’s easier to remove a string of anal beads mid-orgasm that is as deep inside you as it can be, compared to a string that is not. Why? Because unless your partner is Pippy Long-Arms, if too much length is hanging out your rear, it will be too hard for your partner to grasp the ring or base at the tail end to remove them. Generally speaking, however, shorter is better for beginners. Vibration That’s right, some anal beads vibrate! “Vibrating beads allow your bum to experience the popping sensation along with powerful vibration,” explains sex educator Searah Deysach, owner of sexual wellness retailer Early to Bed. Some people report that the sensation of vibration helps their anal sphincter relax, which enhances their overall experience with the beads, she says. Most anal beads that vibrate are on the bigger side, due to the fact that they have to fit a motor. But the nice thing about vibrating anal beads is that the vibration is simply an option, not a feature you have to use each and every time. Rigidity One last factor to keep in mind is the rigidity (or flexibility) of the string. Stainless steel and borosilicate glass beads are going to be very rigid, simply due to the unyielding nature of these materials. Silicone anal beads, however, can be either quite floppy or firm. Stewart recommends opting for a more rigid option, as they will be easier to insert. How to use anal beads Anal beads can be used during solo, partnered, or multi-partnered play. Further, everyone has a butt, so even in the circumstance that you and your partner(s) agree to try using anal beads together, you’ll want to make sure you’re on the same page about whose butt they are going into first. “How you use the anal beads will not change if you are using them during anal masturbation versus in partnered play,” says Dr. Queen. “You’ll just have to figure out the angle and position that feels most comfortable and work out which hand you want to use, since you might be using the other hand to hold a different toy or touch your bits,” she says. Below, the experts share a few tips for getting started. 1. Check your beads before using them Before getting going, take a minute or two to feel around the edges of the beads, looking for sharp spots where the toy was molded, suggests Dr. Queen. Given that the toy is going inside the most sensitive hole in your body, she says the extra time is worth it. “You never want to use something rough, sharp, or breakable for penetration, especially anal,” she says. In instances where there are rough spots, you can either return the toy and get a replacement or smooth them out with a nail file, she says. Similarly, “if you’re using a glass toy, don’t use it if it has been dropped or chipped,” says Dr. Queen. “At that point, it is no longer a sex toy, but instead a very sexy paperweight.” Le sigh. 2. Lube up Unlike the vaginal canal (which can be self-lubricating), the anal canal is never self-lubricating. Lubricant offers the slippery wetness that enables pleasurable slide-and-glide while reducing friction, says Dr. Queen. Without it, the feeling of skin-on-toy can be irritating, if not painful and damaging to the delicate anal tissues. The solution? Squeeze some anal lubricant into the mix. It’ll work double-time to enhance pleasure and reduce your risk of an anal sex injury, says Dr. Queen. The best way is to apply some lube to the toy (including the string or stalk) and the opening of the anal canal, and to use a lube shooter or lube applicator to coat the entire anal canal with the good stuff, she says. “If you’re using anal beads that are made from silicone, be sure to use a water-based lube rather than silicone-based lube, so the product doesn’t degrade,” says Vox. Anything from Good Clean Love will work well here. Meanwhile, if you’re using a steel or glass toy, any kind of lubricant is a-okay. 3. Pull, play, and plop away Once the beads are coated in as much lube as a cupcake is frosting, and you’re salivating for them the way you would for the aforementioned dessert, you’re good and ready. Here’s exactly how to use them: Get in position. “Lying on your back in ‘happy baby’ pose gives you or a partner access to your anus and also opens up your body in such a way that you can receive and release the beads more easily,” says Vox. Though, he adds that you can also try kneeling on all fours. Insert the beads one at a time. Do your best to exhale right as each bead is being inserted, suggests Dr. Queen, as doing so helps relax the body for easier insertion. Oh, and “if you’re using these with a partner, be sure to communicate the entire time,” says Stewart. The inserter should check in on how the receiver is doing, while the receiver should share what feels good (or what sensations they’re feeling), he says. Leave the beads in place. Vox suggests having the receiver “explore clenching and releasing their sphincter and pelvic floor muscles, seeing how they enjoy the sensation of the balls moving and shifting.” You can also leave them in place while exploring other types of stimulation, including nipple play, oral sex, or intercourse, he says. (Just note: The anal canal and vaginal canal are next-door neighbors, so when the anal canal is filled, it will affect the shape of the vaginal canal, and penetration could feel different as a result.) Explore pulling out the beads. Dr. Queen suggests aiming to pull the string out as straight as possible. “The beads shouldn’t come out at an angle, which can cause friction and irritate the anal opening,” she says. 4. Practice aftercare Checking in with yourself and/or your partner(s) after sex is always a good idea. But it’s especially important when you try something new, as doing so is vulnerable, notes Stewart. Such aftercare can take plenty of different forms. “Some people like being asked questions along the lines of, ‘How was that for you?’ while others prefer a gentle massage or just lying quietly and being present with the afterglow of the experience,” says Stewart. Oh, and Vox suggests giving your tush a little TLC, too. “Putting an ointment like Preparation H or even plain old vaseline on your hole after play can help heal any micro-tears that might have occurred,” he says. How to clean anal beads Hate to break it to you, but when all is stroked and cum, you need to wash your anal beads—no matter how drowsy you might feel once those orgasm endorphins wear off. Why? Well, because cleaning your sex toys after each and every use helps prevent bacteria from collecting on them, sexologist Rebecca Alvarez Story, founder of Bloomi, previously told Well+Good. Given that the anal canal is full of bacteria and viral particles, cleaning anal toys is especially important. “Toys made from body-safe materials like silicone, metal, and glass can be cleaned with soap and hot water,” says Dr. Queen. “A mild dish soap is okay, but don’t use antibacterial soaps with the antimicrobial ingredient triclosan,” she says, as triclosan has been linked with endocrine disruption. You can also invest in a sex toy cleaner designed with body-safe ingredients, like the Cake Toy Cleaner or Afterglow Toy Tissues. “Remember to dry your toys before storing them to prevent any build-up of mildew,” adds Dr. Queen. 12 best anal beads for ultra-pleasurable butt play Best overall: Tantus Ripple Small — $31.00 Clap it up for our gold-medal winner: The Ripple, size small, from Tantus. Made from Tantus’s signature silicone, this anal play product is actually the love-child of anal beads and an anal plug. It has a bead-like contour, but offers a rigidity and base that is more like a plug. This crossover ensures that the Ripple is easy to use, even for people who are brand spankin’ new to anal play. At the narrowest point, the Ripple is as thin as a pinky finger. As such, this toy is a good option for individuals who can comfortably accept a finger in their bum and are interested in switching up their play. The widest bead is just one inch at its thickest point, which is thick enough to provide the pleasurable pop with insertion and removal, but not so big that newbies risk hurting themselves. Material: Silicone Dimensions: 4.95 in x 1 in Vibration: No Pros: Small size is ideal for beginners Affordable Can be worn in a strap-on harness Cons: Base does not have suction Not a traditional string design Not compatible with silicone-based lubricant Shop now Runner-up: Le Wand Swerve — $135.00 The Le Wand Swerve is a cross between a double-ended dildo and a steel anal stimulator. Anal-safe thanks to its S-shape, one end of this toy is double-bulbed, designed with G-spot and prostate stimulation in mind. Meanwhile, the other end is a six-bead anal string, which features beads of increasing size. The smallest bead is even less girth-y than a pinky finger, while the largest bead is half an inch in diameter, making it accessible for people who aren’t size-hungry. The anal bead portion of the steel wand can be plopped in and

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