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Want to Try Pegging? A Beginner's Guide for You and Your Partner

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By Stephanie Delgado and Meagan Drillinger

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What is pegging?

If you ask Urban Dictionary, pegging is “when a woman fucks a guy with a strap on.”

Eloquent, right?

While their definition of pegging isn’t wrong, it is a bit more simplistic than what pegging actually entails. In fact, you don’t even necessarily have to use a strap-on during pegging (but more on that later).

Let’s cover the basics of what pegging sex is:

Pegging is when a person without a penis anally penetrates a person with a penis. (Or, in Urban Dictionary terms, pegging is when someone without a penis fucks someone with one anally.)

Chosen over “punting,” the term “pegging” was originally coined by Dan Savage and his listeners back in 2001 and has since been picked up in mainstream media.¹

With both parties on board, pegging is a great opportunity for a couple to explore their pleasure together.

Further to that, it’s a patriarchy-smashing sex act! Pegging invites and embraces the idea that masculinity is not tied to being a penetrator. When we embrace our heterosexual, cis-male partners and their pegging fantasies, we’re encouraging them to explore their sexuality while supporting their masculinity in non-toxic ways.

Sexual pleasure, genuine intimacy, and a good time in the bedroom? It sounds like a dream come true, right?

How do I tell my partner I want to try pegging?

TJ, a 35-year-old, confidently heterosexual man, felt secure in his two-year relationship with his girlfriend. But he was keeping a secret: he’d begun to experiment with anal sex, and he wanted his partner to join him.

“I had trouble asking for it at first, and still do,” said TJ, who asked to remain anonymous. “I’m trying to let go and enjoy being taken. It’s not something I’d want my friends to know, but I’m starting to care less these days.”

Like TJ, many men fear asking for anal sex will cause their partners to question their masculinity. With open communication, women can help their heterosexual partners feel more comfortable with exploring their own sexuality.

Talking it out: questions for talking about pegging together

Before anything sexual, the best and most important thing is to communicate with your partner. Sex is always an act between two people...or more. Who cares as long as it's consensual?

The truth is, many heterosexual men are already experimenting with anal sex on their own, and might be too ashamed to tell their female partners.

"[Anal sex] is a source of pleasure for many cisgendered men, who have kept it a secret from their cisgendered partners," said Doug Braun-Harvey, co-founder of the Harvey Institute, a center for helping individuals and organizations integrate sexual health principles to improve personal well-being. "Fear of letting this pleasure be known to a partner is so intense for some men that they will avoid it for decades."

Whether you’re hoping to be pegged or interested in doing the pegging, talking is the first step. Try using some of the following open-ended questions in order to explore the topic with your partner:

  • How do you feel about anal sex and anal play?
  • Is anal play something you enjoy on your own during masturbation?
  • What do you know about pegging?
  • How comfortable are you penetrating me/being penetrated by me?
  • Is this something we can talk about and consider trying when we’re both ready to consent?

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Testing the waters: trying pegging for the first time

After you’ve talked it out with your partner and you’ve decided to move forward, the next step is to take it slowly.

"For many hetero couples, anal sex is not included in their sexual repertoire for many reasons," said Dr. Rosara Torrisi, an AASECT Certified sex therapist and founder of the Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy in New York. "We usually hear about anal sex being physically uncomfortable."

Dr. Torrisi echoes our recommendation for lube (and lots of it), as well as space for relaxation. She also recommends starting slowly with anal dilators.

Is pegging about being dominated?

The short answer is this: no.

Just because you or your partner want to be pegged does not mean there is automatically a desire for domination, or a right to practice it.

So what’s the difference between pegging and femdom pegging? The easy answer is consent versus consensual nonconsent.

If you’re unsure whether your partner is interested in femdom pegging or being dominated, stop what you’re doing and go back to talking it out. The only way you will know for sure is if you ask.

And if you haven’t asked, you’ve got no business pegging your partner just yet.

Why does pegging feel good?

Surprisingly, the prostate and its capabilities for pleasure are as understudied and ignored as those for vaginas.

Still, there is one notable study by R.J. Levin, an independent research worker, that calls into question this lack of information and what may make stimulating the prostate pleasurable for those who have them.

Essentially, the pleasure behind pegging is two-fold and comes down to anatomy and mental/emotional stimulation.

Anatomically speaking, the prostate is the MVP during pegging. Measuring at about the size of a walnut, the prostate’s main function is to help push semen out of the penis. (Read: ejaculate.)

When a person with a penis is penetrated anally, the prostate receives all the good feelings from direct stimulation. “While the prostate is involved in forming part of the ejaculate (as detailed above) it is also involved in ejaculation per se as its fibromuscular covering containing smooth muscle contracts clonically under its adrenergic innervation²,” says Levin.

In other words, even though the prostate’s job is to aid in ejaculation, it is also covered by tissue that physically contracts. (Read: orgasm.)

It helps to compare the vagina and the g-spot to the anus and the prostate. Penetration itself may provide physical stimulation that feels good, but ultimately, pleasure and orgasm come from giving the prostate attention.

On a mental and emotional level, pegging has a few facets that make it alluring or arousing to both the partner with a penis and the one without. Levin also touches on this in his study.

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“Increased body awareness has been linked to increased genital awareness and arousal in women (see Handy and Meston, 2016 for references),” Levin writes. “It is possible that similar heightened awareness occurs in those males who focus on and practice prostate stimulation. Such awareness could enhance the sexual pleasure obtained as modulation of physiological function can occur through changes in mental processes (Mitani et al., 2006).²"

In other words, pegging challenges society’s traditional messages of masculinity and power. All to often, cis-het men are taught to equate their status as a “man” to their ability to penetrate people with vaginas.

When they allow themselves to be penetrated, cis-het men are in direct conflict with that ideology and they are acutely aware of that. Sometimes it’s the taboo, rule-breaking aspect of pegging that leads to their arousal; sometimes it’s the intimacy and acceptance of their fantasies by a partner. More times than not, it’s a combination of both.

For the person without a penis, the shift in the power dynamic is often arousing as well. Suddenly, a person who has been told they are meant to be penetrated is given the power of penetration.

While both the act of penetrating itself and the act of controlling someone else’s pleasure can have arousing effects on the partner without a penis, there is something to be said about enabling fantasies as well. Seeing a partner in the throes of pleasure can be as equally arousing as being the person causing it.

Am I still heterosexual if I enjoy pegging?

Many men (and some of their partners) often wonder “Am I gay if I like pegging?” In fact, this question alone can be enough to deter cis-het men from exploring anal play of any kind.

Rest assured, sexuality is complicated and being interested in pegging or anal play does not mean you or your partner are homosexual.

Liking pegging (or anal play in general) is not the same as being attracted to the same sex, plain and simple. The important thing to remember is there is nothing wrong with you or your partner enjoying either or both.

The more you open yourselves to the things that turn you on—regardless of how they may or may be linked to sexuality—the more you will enjoy sex!

In fact, former Professor and Vice President for Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Jade Aguilar of Willamette University surmises that by exploring anal play and pegging, “straight-identified peggers benefit from the gains that gays/lesbians/queers have made in expanding norms in sexual culture, they simultaneously engage in a form of ideological work to expand the definition of 'straightness' in order to maintain their straight identity and the accompanying social privileges.¹”

One of Dan Savage’s listeners was at first skeptical of having the term, but then discovered that it opened up her husband to exploring anal play he previously wouldn’t have considered:

“When you first suggested a term be coined for a sexual act that specifically applied to a woman doing something to a man, I wondered why we had to be so specific? After all, the terms fucking or fisting or kissing don't specify the gender of the actors. Then I saw the advantage. My husband (like most straight men) can't break the connection between being fucked in the ass and being gay--but a gender-specific term might help! If you're gay and another man is fucking you in the ass, he isn't 'punting' you. You have to be straight to get punted. A woman has to do the job. I vote punt!¹”

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What do we need to try pegging?

Like I mentioned earlier, pegging doesn’t necessarily require a strap-on. Any number of penetrative sex toys will work for pegging:

Using a dildo for pegging

A dildo is a penetrative sex toy that does not vibrate, gyrate, or offer any other motorized simulation. Oftentimes, dildos are made to look like penises with varying length, colors, girth, and features available.

If you are pegging your partner with a dildo, you may be manually thrusting the toy with your hands, or you may use it as a strap-on.

Remember, even if you’re using your hand to maneuver the toy, you’re still pegging your partner.

Using a vibrator for pegging

A vibrator is another penetrative sex toy like a dildo, however, it does vibrate, gyrate, or provide some other type of motorized stimulation. Vibrators come in varying shapes, sizes and colors as well.

If your partner wants to be pegged using a vibrator, you should consider the type of stimulation they’re hoping for. For example, vibration will feel different on their prostate compared to a vibrator with a rotating head.

Using a strap-on for pegging

The strap-on sex toy is very widely known for its use in pegging. What most people don’t know, however, is that it’s not a one size fits all ordeal.

If you and your partner agree that a strap-on is what you would like to use for pegging, consider whether you want to find a harness that fits the toy of their choice (sold separately from one another), or a harness and toy combination that is sold together and fits your preferences.

You may also want to look into strap-ons that allow for double penetration (that is, a portion of the toy is meant to be inserted into the penetrating partner’s vagina and another portion is for anal insertion into the partner being pegged).

Lube and pegging

Believe it or not, the sex toy you and your partner use during pegging is only as good as the lube you choose to go with it.

As with all anal sex, lube is the most important factor. Whether you’ve got a penis or vagina, one thing remains true: you have an asshole and it doesn’t lubricate itself.

Once you’ve chosen the sex toy that you and your partner will be using for pegging, it’s time to choose the lube. Essentially, you’ve got three options:

  1. Water-based lube
  2. Oil-based lube
  3. Silicone-based lube

Depending on the material of your sex toy, one lube will work great (water-based) while the others might actually ruin the toy (oil and silicone-based). For more specifics, you can check out our lube guide as well as our lube guide specifically for anal play. In the meantime, a good rule of thumb is oil-based lube and silicone toys do not go together and that water-based lube is generally the best choice for all materials.

Pegging tips & tricks

In order to get you started off on the right foot, take a look at these easy to follow tips and tricks for pegging:

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Tip #1: Foreplay first

Foreplay is one of the most important parts of anal play of any kind.

In case you didn’t catch that, let me say it again: foreplay is one of the most important parts of anal play.

When you and your partner are getting ready to try pegging, make sure you’re using foreplay to relax each other. Relaxing will help you both enjoy and respond to this newfound penetration more readily.

Pro-tip: foreplay doesn’t change just because you’re spending time around your partner’s anus. Begin by touching them in arousing ways that you know they enjoy, paying attention to all their erogenous zones, not just their backside.

When it comes time to include their anus, however, use techniques such as rimming or anal-fingering to prepare them for penetration. The goal is to help them relax while providing increasing stimulation that leads up to penetration.

Tip #2: More lube

The only thing as equally as important as foreplay and relaxation before anal play is lubrication.

Once you’ve made sure your lubrication is compatible with your sex toy, use it liberally. If you think you have enough, add some more for good measure.

We recommend adding lubrication to both your sex toy and your partner’s anus. While more lube will only improve penetration, a lack will hurt.

In this case, more is more and if you can incorporate it into your foreplay as well, you’re off to a great start.

Tip #3: Go slow

From talking about pegging to giving it a try, slow and steady wins the race. And when it comes to actually penetrating your partner during pegging, there is no race.

Going slow and responding to your partner and what they’re comfortable with will improve their pleasure. Plain and simple.

Pacing yourselves will also allow you to explore where their prostate is, what feels best, and process any emotions that may come up for either of you.

Tip #4: Have a safe word

Okay, so maybe it seems silly or like it’s out of a movie but we cannot recommend having a safe word enough.

When pegging is an especially new territory for you and your partner, there may be some hesitation or changing of minds. That’s okay.

By having a safeword, you’re keeping the doors of consent open for both you and your partner. At no point in your pegging journey should either of you feel like you can’t ask to stop or bow out.

Tip #5: Mind your thrust

If you are the penetrating partner, it’s important that you pay attention to how you are penetrating your partner.

Certain angles, depths, and motions will not feel good. Others will produce moans of ecstacy!

Paying attention and communicating in the moment with your partner will allow you to find a motion they like.

Pro-tip: Dirty talk during sex is a tool. Use it! When you talk to your partner in the moment you can gauge how they’re feeling or experiencing pegging. Simple questions like “Do you like that?” can be sexy and safe at the same time, as can the feedback they give you.

Tip #6: Prioritize aftercare

While aftercare is often associated with BDSM, it’s a great tool for any couple.

Once you’ve given pegging a try, it’s important to create space for reconnecting with your partner. Make sure you discuss things like how you each felt, what you felt worked, what didn’t, whether you’d like to try it again, etc.

This connection after pegging may lead to increased intimacy and an even better experience should you give pegging a second, third, or fourth try!

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References

1. Aguilar J. Pegging and the heterosexualization of anal sex: An analysis of Savage Love advice. Queer Studies in Media & Pop Culture. 2017;2(3):275-293. https://go.gale.com/ps/anonymous?id=GALE%7CA511005181&sid=googleScholar&v=2.1&it=r&linkaccess=abs&issn=20555695&p=AONE&sw=w. Accessed October 7, 2020.

2. Levin RJ. Prostate-induced orgasms: A concise review illustrated with a highly relevant case study. Clinical Anatomy. 2017;31(1):81-85. doi:10.1002/ca.23006

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