Ask the Doctors: A Condom on an Anal Toy Instead of a Flange?

This query comes to us courtesy of a YouTube viewer:

If you’re using a condom on a toy that doesn’t have a base, wouldn’t the condom be enough to pull it out with? Assuming of course that the shape is consistent all the way to the base, and not tapered wider to where the condom might break in your struggle to get the toy out of your ass. Dr Carol or anyone else, thoughts appreciated?

This strategy is better than nothing, but still not recommended. My concern here would be twofold: one, some kinds of play (including having an orgasm) might be enough to get the whole toy to slip inside, condom and all, at which point the condom wouldn’t be much more helpful as a removal device than nothing at all; and two, that just grabbing on to the condom and rassling with it might, in some cases (fingernails, the wrong lube), be enough to break it. I’ve heard it recommended that people tie a knot in the condom and tie a string around that — which seems like a bit more effort than most folks would want to put out, probably only worthwhile if your very favorite toy is non-flanged. Even then, a broken condom would cancel out the string. In short, for anal toy aficionados: yay, flange! All of our anal toys have flanges on them, for exactly that reason.

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Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at

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3 Responses

  1. You are a very smart and talented writer! I’ve been reading your article content for an hour or so and it has made me reconsider this issue. I think you have great insight. Thank you. This information help me.

  2. Very Familiar with Toys says:

    I think that all variety of dildos should have an ergonomic flange base- not from concerns of being lost, just for ease of use. Typically many dildos are sold by length, but at least three inches of that length are taken up with a hand holding them if they don’t have a harness base (which is very unwieldly in hand) – and not everyone uses harnesses. Lubricant tracks and travels everywhere, making them difficult to hold, and in my experience, not everyone likes seeing testicles on a dildo (which aren’t really effective as a hand-hold for use anyway).

    Paying more attention to details like this in craftsmanship at the toy designer’s level makes for a more desirable toy too- it shows that the company is more concerned about producing quality products rather than just gag novelties.