If you’re thinkin’ about anal sex, you may have heard of vaginal dilator and their cousins, anal dilators. Believe it or not, everyone’s got a booty, and everyone can even stick things inside it for fun and pleasure! While some people use anal dilation for more pleasure-based pursuits, others do it for medically-necessary reasons. Enter (insert?) anal dilators.
What is an anal dilator?
Anal dilators are devices used to stretch the anus. They can be used as one of the steps on how to prepare for anal sex, strap-on sex, fun with a butt plug, or even fisting! They can also be used for medical reasons, such as to help the rectum get to an ideal size after anorectal procedures (i.e. hemorrhoid surgery, prostate cancer treatment, etc.). They can also help with pelvic floor issues that limit blood flow to the region; increasing the opening can help with this, too.
The fact is, the anal opening is tight and small by default. That’s its purpose: to keep the butt closed so that nothing escapes when it’s not supposed to. However, sometimes it makes sense to stretch that opening a bit.
Anal dilators are usually smooth, tube-like devices that frequently come in sets, with both smaller and larger ones in the same set (similar to anal sex toys like the butt plug). Both recreational and medical anal dilators have the same purpose: getting that hole nice and comfy (more loosey-goosey) so that larger things can go inside or come out. The rectal dilator from specifically a sexual lens goes under another name: Anal trainer sets (maybe a master series anal training set?).
What are rectal dilators used for?
The purpose of rectal dilators is to slowly widen the diameter of the anus. This doesn’t mean the anal sphincter will permanently stay open, just that the default position will be looser. Thus when things like a cock or anal toys pass into the booty, or something is coming out, or into and then out of, then back into (etc etc), discomfort is mitigated.
Medically speaking, this could be necessary because of an underlying medical condition, such as sphincter scarring. This is when scar tissue exists on the anal opening, making expelling, ahem, matter is extremely uncomfortable. Those who’ve had anal fissures could be in this boat.
But you could also want to play with anal dilators just because you like sticking things in your butt, and you really want to get that new giant dragon dildo all the way up in there. If the dilation is for a medical purpose, you don’t need to practice getting objects inches up inside, but if it’s for personal satisfaction you might be trying to achieve a full dragon dildo or related product insertion. (Most dilator kits start at around 0.5 inches in diameter, and go up from there.)
Rectal dilators can also be used as an effective treatment to help retrain your pelvic floor and anal muscles, leading to a reduction in pelvic pain that doesn't involve surgery. When the anal sphincter muscles tighten up around something too large for it to handle, it can tear and cause anal fissures. These fissures are actually relatively common — they really only become a problem when they don’t get the time to heal. An anal fissure is considered chronic if it lasts more than 8 weeks.
If the butt is too tight from an anal muscle spasm or an issue like anal stenosis, or a symptom like constipation leads to ejecting large and compact amounts of fecal matter, that’s when tearing can happen. Tearing can also happen during sexual activity when bottoming (receptive anal sex) either from a penis or sex toy. If you’re desiring to be the bottom in anal sex but are experiencing pain, that’s when rectal dilation can help create more lasting comfort during anal sex.
Is it safe?
Anal dilatation is a safe, cost-effective procedure that can generate lasting results. For example, according to one study on chronic anal fissures, “Anal dilatation, performed in a systematic and standardized way, has a successful outcome with no complications and has no clear long-term negative impact on anal sphincter function.” This is with a time horizon of many years.
Does it hurt?
When using anal dilators, there might be some discomfort or generally foreign feelings if you’ve never played in the world of anal before. However, it shouldn’t hurt. You might experience mild discomfort at first, but not for extended periods and only when scaling up to a larger size.
If you’re experiencing pain when using anal dilators you should stop, give your booty a rest, and scale back to smaller sizes for a while.
How to choose an anal dilator
Anal dilators, like vaginal dilators, look like small, thin dildos, but their purpose is less explicitly sexual. There are more amateur versions of dilators as well as patented dilators that are considered more of a medical device.
If you’re using anal dilators at the behest of a doctor or other medical professional, you should follow their instructions thoroughly to get the best results. If you’re working on your own to prep for anal play or anal training, pick a dilator set made from body-safe materials.
You want adult sex toys made from things like medical-grade silicone so you can clean the set properly. Also, choosing a set that has smaller graduations in sizes is a good choice so there’s less pain or discomfort when stepping up dilator insertions to larger diameters.
How to use an anal dilator
Before you start the play, there are a few things that you should do:
Consider the full scope of the activity
Before you begin, it’s important to consider the full scope of the activity. First you want to collect all your supplies, then get comfy, then insert the dilator, then maybe swap to a larger dilator, wait around for a bit, then gently take the rectal dilator out of the booty, and clean up.
Follow the instructions
If your dilators are meant to be used at a certain temperature, make sure to set that up prior to play. Some anal dilators come with thermal jelly, which, when you heat it up or cool it down, help the dilator to maintain a certain temperature. You may be instructed to engage in cryotherapy (when the dilator is used cold) or thermotherapy (when it’s used warm).
Use the right cleaning materials
For materials on hand, some mild soap is a good idea, a washcloth to wipe your hands on, and perhaps a towel or absorbent cloth to put down on the area where you’ll rest while doing the dilation.
Don’t forget to use lube
You should also have a bottle of body-safe anal lube on hand to help with easy insertion. Finally you’ll want a spot from which to easily grab clean dilators, and a spot to place used dilators for later cleaning.
Once all these prerequisites are handled:
- Sit or lay in a way that’s comfortable for you. That might be on your side, creating access to your rectum from over your hip, or on your back accessing the booty from between your legs.
- Whatever’s comfortable for your own body is the right positioning. Once here, put some lube on the end of the dilator you’re starting with (likely the one with the smallest circumference), and the rest of the shaft of the dilator.Then put some lube in your hand and spread it onto and gently inside your sphincter with a finger. Be sure that you’ve first washed your hands and that your nails are trimmed (you definitely don’t want to cause any small cuts or tears from sharp nails!).
- With your now-lubed booty and dilator, press the dilator gently against your sphincter with firm pressure. It might take a minute for your body to relax, and for you to calm your nerves enough to admit the dilator. Doing some nice, deep breathing can be very helpful here.
- Eventually your body will relax around the increased pressure and allow the dilator inside. If you experience pain or discomfort during the insertion process, pause, back up, and apply more lube. You really can’t use too much lube during this process!
- Once the dilator is all the way inside, it’s a great time to relax, calm nerves with some soothing music, peaceful breathing, or maybe just by playing some games on your phone. You might need to do two 30-second rounds of dilation (meaning inserting the dilator and keeping it there). In other cases, you might want to leave the dilator in place for a few minutes. Remember to insert the device slowly and remove it slowly. Slow and steady!
- If you’re supposed to size up, prep the next dilator while the current one is inside you. When you’re ready, gently remove the current dilator, placing it over the ‘used’ side of your space. The new dilator should be slightly larger, so be patient with yourself while inserting it. If you’re experiencing significant pain or discomfort, stop. You might just be done with playing with dilators for the day, and that’s fine. The anal dilation process is done over more lengthy periods of time and results aren’t instantaneous. Depending on your regime, this process might need to be done once a day or multiple times a day. Always be patient with yourself and allow your body to relax.
- After finishing your dilation routine, it’s time to clean up! Use mild soap to wash away any fecal matter that may have come out of your anal canal, and let your dilators dry. Afterward, stow them away so they can safely await their next exciting anal adventure.Whether you’re into butt stuff for the joy of it, or you need to have a wider anal sphincter for medical reasons, you can get there with anal dilators, patience, and lube. The magic password for anal play is always, always: lube.