Anal sex used to be considered one of the most taboo sexual acts, but that’s certainly not the case anymore. These days, you can pick up any magazine with a sexual health section and you’ll likely read something about backdoor loving. The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior in 2010 found that 20-30% of those surveyed said they regularly engaged in giving and/or receiving anal penetration, so you can imagine how that percentage might look more than a decade later.
These days, pegging is mainstream and analingus isn’t that big of a deal. In other words, a sizeable segment of pleasure product consumers are shopping for anal pleasure products. Plus, while only some customers have penises and only some customers have vaginas, all customers have anuses. When you take that into account, you can see the potential for big sales — if you know your anal ABCs.
For some, however, anal play/sex is still seen as a little scary. Some folks worry about pain, others worry about mess, and some folks don’t even know where to begin. Suffice it to say, there are many reasons people find butt play daunting. With that in mind, today we’re going to look at the basics and discuss what brand-new anal players need to know and how retailers can help support them in their backdoor exploration.
Beginner Butt Toys
While getting started with anal play, beginner toys and kits are important as they can often serve as a jumping-off point for further exploration, allowing users to get used to the feeling of anal and determine what sensations they do or don’t like. Beginner toys can also help users let go of their inhibitions about butt play and understand their body’s specific needs and limitations. These products can also be a means for users to test the waters and possibly figure out they aren’t into butt stuff at all! Knowing that, it’s important to offer your shoppers multiple Anal 101 toys and kits to choose from.
For those new to anal play, it can be helpful to offer sets that let them start small and work their way up, with items such as a dilator set to guide users through larger-sized toys. When it comes to beginner toys, we tend to think “simple” or “basic,” but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are plenty of beginner-appropriate toys that bring a little something extra to the table, such as butt plugs with special features like LED lights or that offer unique sensations such as added weight, or with functions like vibration or e-stim. Couples can also venture into anal play together using toys that are remote-controlled.
Know the Basics
Before selling any product, it’s important that staff know how to talk about anal from an informed perspective so that, no matter what a shopper might take home with them, they are prepared for a pleasurable experience.
First: Communication. Pleasurable anal sex starts, continues and ends with communication — not just about limits, boundaries and consent, but also expectations, feelings and any likes/ dislikes that need to be disclosed. The receiving partner’s communication plays a key role in the experience because they are the one who’s in control and whose safety and pleasure is of utmost importance. Offering feedback, including speed changes, positioning, adding lube, or even compliments, is a fantastic way to help make sure everyone involved is having a great time. The giving partner’s job is to be ready and open to this feedback and make any necessary adjustments, and check-ins are a great way to make sure they are present and aware of their partner’s needs.
Second: Relaxation. Don’t forget that the anus is a tight muscular sphincter that’s used to staying closed and keeping stuff in the body, so it needs some TLC to help it get into a more open and receptive place! That means pausing in insertion and spending time relaxing the mind, body and butthole. Licking, touching or running a bullet vibe along the outside of the anus is a great way to wake up the area and boost blood flow and pleasure. Starting slowly with something narrow, like a pinky finger encased in a nitrile glove, is a great way to get the anus accustomed to something being inside of it. Work your way up to something thicker or simply enjoy the sensations that fingers or smaller plugs can offer!
Third: Preparation. This can look like different things for different people, but for the most part, preparation has a lot to do with preparing the anus and rectum for something going inside of it, which often includes using an enema or a douche. We love recommending reusable bulbs because you can avoid the irritating solutions from store-bought brands, plus reduce waste since you can use and reuse them. Remind shoppers that when playing with butts, there’s always a chance of encountering poo — that’s what this part of the body is designed for — so while there’s no way to actually “clean” the area 100%, we can use products to support our GI tracts and make a little more space for fun. Try putting a towel or waterproof blanket down before getting down. It’s also great to have nitrile gloves nearby, and to use a new glove for every new trick or technique you try – that way you can reduce the risk of bringing any bacteria or fluids from the butt to parts of the body where they don’t belong.
Fourth, and very important: Lubrication! Remember, no matter what anal product you’re selling or brand you’re promoting, be sure to remind your customers that friction is anal pleasure’s biggest foe – and it can even cause actual injury! Since the anus, unlike the vagina, does not self-lubricate, purchasing lubricant is a must for customers when buying any anal pleasure product, and an ideal add-on sale for you.
Anal play isn’t just a fad, it’s here to stay. You will always have customers who are curious about butt stuff, so the best thing you can do is have both the knowledge and range of products to satisfy that curiosity. Remember, beginners don’t stay beginners for long and if you can help a shopper safely and healthily navigate their introduction to anal play, odds are they’ll keep coming back as they learn and explore!
Essential Tips for Banking on the Popularity of Anal Play in Retail by Rebecca Weinberg originally appeared in XBIZ