Note that there are a few variations in anal beads. Some have vibrating bullets in the handle or base, but you should never insert a bullet without a handle into your rectum as it can become lost. Many beads are smooth, but you can find ribbed and bumpy beads if you prefer those textures.
You’ll also find toys with bulbs that are inspired by anal beads but aren’t flexible. Glass is a common material, and you’ll find them labeled as anal wands or glass massagers. The longer style with a bend allows you to safely keep your grasp when playing with them. Some butt plugs are more like anal beads because they’re longer and rippled/ribbed—more on using butt plugs.
Once you’ve picked out your beads, lube is a necessity! The rectum doesn’t self-lubricate like the vagina, and playing too roughly can easily cause micro-tears that are too small to see by the eye. These abrasions can make it easier for bacterial or other infections to set in.
Always Use Lube
While it should pretty much be mandatory to use lube, the type of lube you use is definitely a personal choice! You can safely use oil-based lube anally as long as you’re not using anal beads made from latex (and never if you plan to use a condom because oil degrades latex). Water-based lubes are compatible with everything, and thicker formulas provide cushioning.
Your third option is a silicone lube, which will be slick and long-lasting. Low-quality silicone lubricants can degrade silicone toys, however. You can apply a bit near the base of your toy and rub vigorously to look for any reaction. If the toy becomes tacky, don’t use it with that lube.
Some lube is made specifically for anal sex, making the search for the right product easier. You can choose to lube up your anus or the beads or both. Keep in mind that you probably don’t want your fingers to be soaked in lube because that can make it harder to insert the beads.
Experiment on Your Own First
If you plan on using anal beads with your partner for the first time, you might want to try them on your own first. This way, you can get a feel for what you like and confidently tell your partner how to use sex beads in a way that feels pleasurable to you or to use as a foundation for trying new things. This can reduce anxiety and awkwardness for you both.