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A butt plug is a sex toy that is designed to be inserted into the rectum for sexual pleasure.  In some ways, they are similar to a dildo, but they tend to be shorter, and must have a flanged end to prevent the device from being lost inside the rectum.
Unlike the vagina, which is closed off by the cervix, the rectum leads to the sigmoid colon. Objects that are inserted into the rectum can therefore potentially travel up into the bowel: the flared end on a butt plug exists to prevent this. Many dildos lack a flared end, and thus it is ill-advised to use such dildos anally, since they may get stuck, requiring medical extraction.
In addition, the lower bowel above the rectum is easily perforated. For this reason, butt plugs tend to be shorter than dildos, and their marked size generally indicates the circumference of the device rather than the length. They must also be very smooth to avoid damaging the rectum or bowel. In order to get them into the rectum, they most commonly have a general profile of a round-ended cone which then narrows to a "waist" which locates itself at the anal sphincter, with the flared part outside the body, preventing the butt plug from slipping further into the body. The sphincter muscle will hold the plug in place by the waist, preventing the plug from slipping out unintentionally.
Butt plugs are sometimes used covered by condoms for hygiene, and to allow for the easy disposal of any feces with which they may come into contact. Nevertheless, they should not be shared with other people, due to the risk of blood-borne diseases, including HIV that can arise from the transfer of body fluids from one person to another.
Butt plugs come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. Some are designed to look like penises, while some are ribbed or wavy. The majority, however, are shaped as shown in the picture above, having a thin tip which is wider in the middle, a notch to hold it in place once it is inserted, and a flared base to prevent complete insertion into the rectum. Some plugs are designed (long, flexible and curved) to penetrate the sigmoid colon.
Butt plugs are made of a variety of materials, the most common being latex. Other materials used include silicone, neoprene, wood, metal, glass, stone, and many other materials. Silicone is a particularly good material, as it can be disinfected in boiling water.
There are butt plugs that "ejaculate" by squirting water or other viscous fluids into the rectum. There are also vibrating butt plugs, and butt plugs that can inflate and expand. Some butt plugs are specifically designed for men and stimulate the prostate. Other butt plugs are manufactured with long hair or simulated animal tails attached to the base for use in human pony play or other animal fantasy role play. Butt plugs are also now available that incorporate electro-stimulation.
Butt plugs can be moved in or out for pleasure; for this type of activity ribbed butt plugs can increase pleasure. They can also be worn continuously (or be lockable) for long periods of time.
Anal jewelry is a type of butt plug where the bulbous end is inserted into the anus and the end that remains outside of the body is decorated. Most anal jewelry pieces are made of stainless steel and typically have some kind of gem or ornate sculpture on the area that is to be worn outside of the body. These stainless steel pieces are also designed to be worn for an extended amount of time; although they provide a feeling of fullness in the anus, they are more for show than for pleasure.
The flange isn't a foolproof method of preventing the plug from entering the rectum completely with subsequent inability to retrieve it. This is uncomfortable and may require medical intervention. Butt plugs of excess diameter can, especially when inserted too rapidly and/or too forcefully, lead to sphincter tear, detachment or other rectal failure. Kegel exercises can help maintain normal, healthy sphincter function.
Generally for optimal pleasure, when inserting a butt-plug, one should exercise manipulative gentleness, progressive sizing and cautious patience.
While medical data is sparse it is not recommended to leave a butt plug inserted for longer than two to three hours.
Fetish plugs are butt plugs that are designed in a way to be unusual, exciting, or unique in some way. A fetish plug is called such because it caters to male and female sexual fetishes.
One of the most common types of fetish plugs is the butt plug with faux animal tail. The animal tail, usually made with fake fur, is attached to the non-insertable end of the plug so that when worn / inserted the impression is given that the wearer has an animal's tail. Some "tail" butt plugs popular in human puppy play are moulded from medical grade silicone allowing a simulated tail "wag".
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- Taormino, Tristan (1997). The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women. Cleis Press. ISBN 1-57344-028-0.
- "Human anatomy and DIY plugs".
- Jack Morin (2000). Anal Pleasure & Health: A Guide for Men and Women. Down There Press. p. 96. ISBN 0-940208-20-2.
- Morin, Jack (1998). Anal Pleasure and Health (3d Edition ed.). Down There Press. ISBN 0-940208-20-2.
- Butt Plug Safety Guide accessed 20 October 2013
- Human Pup Play Tails accessed 20 October 2013
- Media related to Butt plugs at Wikimedia Commons