It’s hard not to like a body-safe toy made of silky-smooth silicone when it sells for only $10.
The Blush Novelties Luxe Explore Butt Plug has some great features, for sure. Most notably, its silicone has the same “smooth satin finish” that I loved on my Luxe Purity 2 dildo (review here). But, as someone who’s relatively new to (comfortable) anal play, I found that the Explore plug had one big downside. That downside was its big leap up in size between the top bulb and the bigger bottom one.
The Luxe Explore’s body reminds me of a bowling pin—one with a very large lower half. The top bulb is under 3″ girth (less than 1″ diameter), so very beginner-friendly. It’s like an anal bead in that my sphincters pull it in, then close around it and don’t want to let it go. The feeling is pleasant…but then I need to insert the other almost three inches of the plug!
Even though the Luxe Explore is made of a fairly firm silicone, the bit between the small and large bulbs folds over on itself when you try to push the plug in by the T-bar base. Grip higher up, because otherwise, there’s no way this plug is getting inside your butt.
Then, of course, comes the larger bulb. Mine measures right at 4.25″ around, so about 1.35″ diameter. This isn’t a big size overall—it’s a bit under what I’d consider “medium” girth—but I found that its roundness made it harder to get in and keep in than a similarly sized dildo. There’s a reason that the majority of butt plugs have a gradual taper: to give your anal canal a chance to open up more slowly. If your butt is on the tighter/less experienced side like mine is, you’ll need to do some warming up with a dildo or a tapered plug before trying to insert the Explore plug. That way the jump up in size won’t be such a stretch.
So the Luxe Explore turned out to be true to its name, in one sense: my fingers thoroughly explored the area around my asshole before I could get the larger bulb’s roundness to get in, and stay in, without popping out! But I’m not quite sure that’s what Blush Novelties had in mind when they chose the name “Explore.” 😉
Also, I really wish there was just a little more length between the bottom of that bulb and the base, so that the whole big bulb would get past my sphincters. Instead, the bottom of the bulb presses down in a way I’m not used to. But, if you’re looking to not forget that you have a plug in, this is an advantage. I do think it’s fun to wear around for an hour or so at a time. The pressure from the big bulb makes me remember that it’s there. In the long run, though, I’m 100% more comfortable wearing a plug with a longer, thinner stem: for example, I love my b-Vibe Snug Plug (review here). Honestly, I think the Snug Plug has spoiled me.
Finally, I have mixed feelings about the Explore’s T-bar base. It’s an interesting comet shape that widens on the front side and is more pointed in the back. It’s also fairly long for a plug base: it covers half my vaginal opening. If you’re looking for something to wear during PIV sex, some T-bar-based plugs may be OK, but probably not this particular one.1
When I first got the Luxe Explore all the way in, I thought it might irritate my vag because of the base shape. But I was wrong! It turned out to be fine once I got the base situated inside my labia. The slight pressure the plug creates on the back of my vaginal mouth is actually kinda comforting. But because I’d really gone overboard with the oil-based lube on the Luxe Explore, I did worry only about bacteria transferring from my anus to my vag. (Note to self: Put more lube inside your butt beforehand, rather than trying to add globs when the toy’s halfway in already.)
The Luxe Explore plug is fine. (I’m so enthusiastic, right?) I might wear it occasionally because the big bulb does create some pressure. To me, its roundedness makes me feel as stretched as an average-girth penis (say a bit under 1.5″ max. diameter) does, even though the plug’s diameter is technically less.
Blush Novelties’ Luxe silicone toys have a nice feel and are all incredibly affordable, so it’s hard to find any fault there. My main issue with the Explore plug is that the lack of taper makes the bigger bulb hard to insert, and a bit difficult to remove too. It’s not a plug that you can just whip out and stick in immediately if you’re less experienced with anal play (or if you just like smaller butt toys).
If you’re looking for a butt plug/anal bead combo that’s easier to insert, you might check out the Luxe Be Me 3 instead: it’s longer, but the beads increase in size more gradually. Or, for an affordable silicone plug that’s nicely tapered, look at the Luxe Discover Plug (1.4″ max. diameter, and includes a vibe that’s not too bad!) or the Doc Johnson Mood Naughty medium (1″ diameter) or large (1.25″ diameter).
But if the Luxe Explore plug’s bowling-pin shape appeals to you, you can find it at SheVibe here!
My thanks to SheVibe for sending me this plug in exchange for my honest review.
Believe me, I will tell you when something does not work for me or when I think it’s just badly designed. By making your next purchase through my affiliate links, you can support my writing at absolutely no cost to you.