How Do Anal Beads Work?

Anal beads are a series of small beads fitted on a flexible cord. They start smallest at the end for ease of insertion and gradually increase in size over the length of the toy.

They’re often used in conjunction with oral or internal vaginal sex as well as masturbation. It’s recommended that couples who enjoy this type of play communicate during sex to establish how they will communicate when they want the toy pulled out or inserted.

The Beads

If you’re new to anal beads, it’s important to start off small and work up to more complex play. Beginners can choose a set that’s super flexible (like these Lovehoney silicone beads), which allows them to stimulate different areas inside until they find their hot zone. It’s also a good idea to use a lot of lube to make the beads slide into the anal easily and stay there.

Most anal beads are made with silicone, which feels smooth and slick and is easy to clean. Other options include glass or metal, which feel cool but are less flexible. Some anal bead brands are even made with special ingredients to provide additional stimulation. For example, Platinum silicone is designed to be used with heat and comes without phthalates, which are chemicals that may cause irritation in some people.

Some anal bead models come with a string that connects the beads together, which can feel tight or rough against the skin. Other anal beads are made without a string, which can be more comfortable or discreet for some users. Some anal bead sets come with a handle or loop to help insert the beads into the anal, which some beginners may find helpful. The best anal beads are designed with the anus in mind, and they can feel great inserted on their own or combined with other anal toys like bullet vibrators and dildos for double penetration sensations.

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The String

While you can buy anal beads at sex toys shops and online, many people opt to make them on their own, repurposing basic nylon string and plastic spheres from the convenience store. Making anal beads is relatively simple, though ensuring that you have body-safe materials is essential. You don’t want to play with beads that are made from jelly or any other non-ABS plastic, as those can leave bacteria behind and can never be completely disinfected.

A big part of the pleasure that anal beads give you comes from the process of inserting and removing them. Some couples enjoy using them as foreplay, gently rubbing the beads against the anal hole and perineum area to tease out excitement and sensual sensations. Others prefer to suck them inside themselves, enjoying the way each bead creates a pleasurable ‘pop’ and subtle stretching sensation as it passes through the anal hole.

It’s also fun to use them as a way to stimulate climax, by strategically popping out each bead just before or during orgasm, amplifying and prolonging the sensation and boosting the ecstasy of your big “O.” Some people like to experiment with temperature variation, too – heating up the beads to increase their warmth can feel deliciously hot and silky. It’s up to you and your partner to decide how you want to use them, but no matter what the plan is, be sure that it’s agreed upon ahead of time and that you communicate during sex about when to stop anal play if needed.

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The Perineum

Anal beads can feel like a whole new pleasure sensation when you or your partner gently rub or massage them. This can be a great way to stimulate anal play and help prepare for anal intercourse or simply to get acquainted with the feeling of having an extra toy in your anus.

Some anal beads have a fluid reservoir, which means that you or your partner can also use lube with them to increase the satisfaction even more. Experimenting with different types of lube can add a lot to the experience as well, including warm or cold lube.

In order to make the most of anal beads, it’s important to relax and focus on the positive feelings involved. That includes proper positioning and foreplay that makes both partners aroused. Then, when it comes time to insert the beads, be slow and steady. It’s also a good idea to start with just one bead and slowly work your way up.

Then, once you’re comfortable with the insertion process, it can be fun to have your partner pull them out at varying speeds to see how the sensations differ. You can also try removing them yourself to experience anal play from the other side. Or, if you’re in the mood for a little adventure, you can experiment with anal beads that vibrate and see how they affect the pleasure experience.

The Butthole

There’s a lot of pleasure to be had with anal beads, and you can use them alone or with a partner. “For beginners, experimenting with anal play by themselves can be a good way to figure out what feels best,” says Sinclair. She suggests starting with a few basic non-vibrating beads and then moving up to bigger products as you get comfortable. “Be sure to start slowly and gently, and remember to use lube,” she says.

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Using anal beads is also a great way to add excitement to oral or vaginal sex, or to use them as a pre-orgasmic sensation. “Have your partner insert the beads and then pull them out at varying speeds, to see what you like,” suggests Melancon. “Timing the removal of the beads to sync with orgasm can intensify the pleasurable feeling of muscle contraction,” she adds.

If you’re a vulva-owner, anal beads can also be used to create the feeling of double penetration when used in conjunction with a dildo or bullet vibrator, Taylor says. Just be sure to add plenty of lube and to be gentle—throwing a bunch of beads up into the butthole can cause discomfort if you’re not careful.

As with any sex toy, anal beads can collect bacteria, so cleaning them regularly is important, Sinclair says. Taking a shower beforehand, if possible, can help with this as well as making sure that you have a bowel movement before you’re ready to begin anal play, she adds.

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