What Are Anal Beads and How Do You Use Them?
Plus, nine anal beads sexperts recommend for A+ pleasure.
What looks like a very large statement necklace your ~eccentric~ middle school art teacher would wear but actually belong in your butt? You guessed it: anal beads!
Anal beads are exactly what you think they are: "A number of beads, or balls, attached to a string that goes in your anus," explains certified sex coach Gigi Engle, author of All The F*cking Mistakes: a guide to sex, love, and life.
What are anal beads?
The point of anal beads is simple: pleasure. "The nerves at the entrance of the anus are incredibly sensitive and when stimulated, you can experience pleasure," says Evan Goldstein M.D., CEO and founder of Bespoke Surgical which specializes in helping folks of all genders and sexualities engage in anal. If you have a vulva, "you can actually stimulate the vaginal canal through the backspace [that means butthole, FYI] and create a sensation of fullness," says Goldstein. And if you have a penis, anal beads can be rubbed on the prostate, which is colloquially called 'the male G-spot'. "The best part of anal beads is that they can enhance pleasure in almost any sex act for every body and partner combination," he says.
How do you use anal beads?
Well, unlike butt plugs, which go in and stay in, "anal beads are inserted into the anus, one by one, and in most cases pulled out, at varying speeds for a heightened sensation," explains Engle. "Each time a ball pops in or out of the anal opening, the anal opening is stretched, which ignites that nerve-rich area very effectively." So, while butt plugs create a sustained feeling of fullness, anal beads provide continued and varied sensation. (BTW: Any time you engage in anal play, foreplay and lube are a MUST. Learn more in our guide on How to Prepare for Anal Sex.)
Dr. Goldstein says anal beads are a super different sensation than anal fingering. "Unlike a finger which has multiple joints and nail, a string of anal beads offers a smoother glide in and out of the anus. That means the beads are able to elicit pleasure from this erogenous zone in a way a finger can't." The more you know! (P.S. If you do try anal fingering, he suggests giving your nails a trim and file job, and using a finger cot).
If all this info about anal bead's pleasure potential makes you want to purchase a string ASAP, we understand. Engle offers one word of advice: When you're picking anal beads you want something with a ring or flared base. "Anything that does not will get sucked into the butt, leading to an unpleasant trip to the ER and an awkward conversation with a nurse," she says. Um, pass.
Carnal Bliss Beads
If you read all 1,664 pages in the Fifty Shades trilogy (Buy It, $23, amazon.com), these anal beads are for you. Part of Love Honey's Fifty Shades of Grey Weekend Collection, the Carnal Bliss Beads are six inches of beginner-sized pleasure. With three beads of increasing size, they're perfect for testing the waters of anal bead play.
Enhance the sensation of pleasure by trying this Christian Grey-inspired, sex educator-approved move: pulling the string out mid-orgasm. "When the receiver is climaxing, it can feel really great to have each ball on the string pulled out one at a time," says Engle.
Seamless Silicone Anal Beads
These are the best anal beads on the market for beginners, according to Dr. Goldstein. "They're soft, really good quality, and inexpensive." Plus, the ultra-smooth silicone chains are easy to maneuver. "They have a big ring at the base so that they literally can't get lost inside you and can be inserted and removed comfortably," he says. (BTW: Anal should never be painful!)
While B-Vibe offers chains with 3, 6, or 9 beads, you really don't need a long, slithering chain when you're just starting out. These beads are literally less expensive than a lunchtime salad, so start with the shortest string and adventure with the longer ones when you're ready to expand (er, lengthen) your anal bead collection.
Silicone Anal Bead Wand Attachment
"Doc Johnson is another brand that has some really great stuff," says Dr. Goldstein. One of their best anal bead products IMO? Their Anal Bead Wand Vibrator Attachment. ICYDK, Wand Vibrators are microphone shaped vibrators meant for external stimulation—and this silicone cap fits over the head of most wand-style vibes on the market.
Once your vibe is outfitted with this cap, you can flip on your vibe for a DIY vibrating anal string. Or, keep the toy in the locked and off position and use the handle to extend your reach so you can more easily insert and remove the beads during your solo sessions. (Related: The Best Wand Vibrator For Intense Pleasure)
Frisky Double Fun
If you like the sensation of wearing a butt plug (like the Tantus Perfect Plug, Buy It, $24, amazon.com) while your partner penetrates you vaginally with a penis, dildo, or finger, you might like this double penetration toy from Frisky. The Double Fun features a vibrating cock ring which will slip over your partner's penis or dildo, and a protruding sturdy string of 4-beads, which will work you anally as they fill and thrust into your front-hole (positions like Lifting Missionary, Rider-on-Top, and Doggy Style work well here). If that sounds like a lot, feel free to opt for the beginner beads from bvibe mentioned above. (Related: Exactly How to Use a Butt Plug)
Njoy Fun Wand
"This is the most bought and most loved sex toy at almost every sex shop in America," according to sex educator Sarah Sloane, who's been coaching sex toy classes at Good Vibrations and Pleasure Chest since 2001.
On one end you've got three bulbs of increasing size, which can be used as a string of anal beads or for G-spot stimulation. And on the other, we've got a bulbous head which can be used to apply pressure along your G-, A-, or C-spot. And because it's made of stainless steel, it can be used for temperature play, with water- or silicone-based lube, and is easy AF to clean. PS: If you're on the market for a new silicone-based lube, Engle says SKYN's All-Night-Long Premium Silicone-Based Lube, (Buy It, $16, amazon.com), is the best.
One of the most cost-efficient options on the list is this 2-strand set of anal beads that makes a great option for people new to anal beads and those interested in anal training (aka gradually increasing the girth of "the object of insertion".) Both strings are about eight inches long, feature five beads of increasing diameter, and have a practical removal ring, but you're meant to start with the pink string and progress to the blue string after proper anal training.
Coated in pink, silky-soft silicone and featuring a first bead that's only 0.8 inches in diameter, the first string in the set is gentle and unassuming. If you try it, like it, and want more, you'll move on to the blue string. This chain's first bead is also only 0.8 inches in diameter but the beads are shaped like soft-edged diamonds, which add an interesting (and for some, arousing!) texture.
BTW, Satisfyer is responsible for my favorite sex toy ever. See: I've Tried 100+ Vibrators—and My Favorite is the Yummy Sunshine Vibe
Triplet Anal Beads
If you've had a finger, penis, or dildo up your bum and liked it, chances are you'll enjoy anal beads, too. So, why not invest in a ~multifunctional~ toy like B-Vibe's remote-controlled, vibrating Triplet Anal Beads. Obvi you don't *have* to use the vibration feature if you don't like it. "Vibration activates anal nerves that wouldn't be able to be pleasured without the vibration, so the feature allows you to experience a different kind of stimulation when you want it" explains Dr. Goldstein.
If you were wondering if just any vibrating toy can be used rectally, the answer is it depends. You only want to stick something in your butt if it's made of a non-porous material like silicone, glass, stainless steel, or ABS plastics (which can all be completely cleaned), and has a flared base. So, while you wouldn't want to use a bullet vibrator or finger vibrator, you might be able to use your G-spot vibrator.
Cinco Anal Beads
The Cinco is basically the Triplet (mentioned above) on steroids. Made of the same body-safe silicone B-Vibe is known for, this five-bead beauty has an easy-grip handle, three powerful rumbly motors for (optional) vibration, and a remote control your partner can use to control the vibration patterns from up to 30 feet away.
Consider these anal beads as the more advanced toy in the chest. And remember that "anal penetration isn't a race," says Dr. Goldstein "Start small, and slowly work your way up to bigger sizes and new sensations." (Related: The Best Anal Sex toys, According to Sexperts).