Kelly Gonsalves
September 04, 2019 6:30 am
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Butts are in these days. Instagram is filled with attractive influencers showing off their bodacious backsides, anal sex is all the rage, and thanks to a growing movement toward pleasure-positive sexual exploration and away from the rigid gender norms of our past, even the straightest of straight dudes are feeling free to access all the pleasurable possibilities located just within their own anus. Enter: the age of pegging.

Pegging typically refers to when a cis woman performs anal sex on a cis man using a strap-on dildo, although, really, people of all genders can enjoy the magic of pegging. The term itself arose in 2001 after popular sex journalist Dan Savage conducted a poll asking his readers to come up with a name for the sexual practice. It got a pop culture boost in 2015 when Abbi Jacobson tried it on Broad City, and another in 2016 when Ryan Reynolds took it up the ass from his on-screen lady friend in Deadpool.

How popular is pegging in real life? There’s not a lot of research on the subject, but in his 2018 book Tell Me What You Want, sex researcher Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., surveyed more than 4,000 Americans (most of whom identified as heterosexual) and found that 60% of men fantasized about receiving anal sex and 40% of women fantasized about giving it. And sex toy companies can attest that the trend isn’t limited to people’s fantasies: In 2017, sex toy retailer Xandria told Your Tango that it has seen a 300% increase in the number of straight couples using strap-ons for pegging and a 100% increase in sales of strap-ons and harnesses in the last decade. Clinical sexologist Paul Nelson also recently told MEL Magazine that roughly half of all his straight male clients “love having something in their ass.”

Why do people enjoy pegging?

Well, for the guys (or whoever is on the receiving end of the peg), it literally just feels good. Anal penetration stimulates cis men’s prostate, a walnut-sized gland that sits just in front of the rectum and helps the sperm get in the right place for reproduction. Stimulating the prostate can produce powerful orgasms—orgasms that, for some people, even surpass the orgasms they get from penis stimulation. (You might’ve heard the prostate being called the “male G-spot” before: this is why.)

But the appeal of pegging goes beyond the physical pleasures, particularly for straight, cis folks.

“Pegging flips the traditional heterosexual power dynamic on its head and puts women in a dominant position and men in a submissive position,” Dr. Lehmiller wrote in Playboy last year. “This activity therefore offers a convenient way for people to break free of gendered scripts for how sex is ‘supposed’ to go by licensing women to act on their dominant instincts and men to act on their submissive instincts.”

To get some firsthand accounts of what the appeal is, I reached out to six couples who are into pegging and asked them what’s so great about it. Here’s what they told me.

“I love being submissive for her.”

I have always loved ass play and she had interest in pegging a man for many years. We met a few years ago, got to know each other, started having a sexual relationship, and decided we would entertain each other’s fantasies and kinks. She brought up pegging right away and I was wanting to be pegged. We bought a few different straps, and over the few years have moved up to some very large toys. I’m a size slut and she loves pegging me with huge toys.

I love being submissive for her, being her anal slut. She loves being dominant and pushing my limits seeing how deep, how large/thick [of] toys I can take.

We enjoy pegging very often in our sexual practices. I would say on an average week, she will give me the strap 6 to 7 times a week.

—Kate (26) and Steve (39) from Hartford, Connecticut

“It allows her to play with the power dynamics within our sex life.”

We have been expanding our sexual repertoire a lot this past year and began exploring things like kink and group sex. We’ve adopted this mentality of trying anything at least once (well, twice, in case we mess it up the first time), so nothing has really been off the table. After we had successfully done anal for the first time nearly two months ago (where she was the bottom) and loved it, we both became been curious about pegging. We regularly use butt plugs as part of our play, so it wasn’t too difficult to transition to using a dildo. We’ve only done it a couple of times so far, but see it becoming a more regular part of our sex life as we both become more comfortable with it. He loves it because of the new and different sensations, the way it heightens the experience, and she loves it because, since it is less about the physical sensations for her, it allows her to explore taking on a more dominant role and play with the power dynamics within our sex life.

—Woman (29) and man (30) from Berkeley, California

“I love the feeling of giving her total control.”

Him: She was under the misguided notion that pegging would connect her husband to his not-yet explored bisexuality. But I had always had an interest in trying anal sex, and finally worked up the courage. It was an equal decision to try pegging, although we both had mixed feelings [about] it after that first time. However, with practice, we both relaxed, and it soon became an enjoyable part of our sex life.

I love the feeling of giving her total control. Watching her body thrusting, moving in rhythm with the sensations I experience. The intimacy of this connection between us. I love the moment she enters me, as I give myself over to her. I feel full, and even though she is inside me, I still crave that feeling. I prefer a dildo with a slight upward curve, and I’m not one that needs deep and rough thrusts. Slower is better for me.

Her: I love being in charge of his pleasure, while also being able to reach climax myself. [What it physically feels like for me] depends on the equipment I have chosen for that time. If I’m using a feeldo type situation, then I feel the pleasure of penetration as well as the vibe on my clit. The clit vibe also is used for his pleasure.

Probably 50% of the time we have sex, pegging is involved. We also have friends in the swinging lifestyle and incorporate this with willing partners as well.

—Man (47) and woman (46) from north central Kentucky

“We are both bisexual, so meeting each other’s needs that previously were only met by the same sex feels very intimate.”

Mathew actually was on a journey of his sexuality for a while. He had a little bit of shame and embarrassment about what he liked in the bedroom, and when we finally talked about it, I was happy to try it, but a little scared.

I was a little uncomfortable with it—just because I’d never done it before and am a little bit of a germaphobe. He liked it, and that made me feel better about having done something out of my comfort zone.

For Mathew, he really enjoys it. He says that it helps him to satisfy his needs that I can’t physically, organically meet myself, without having to invite a man into our bed. For me, I feel a little awkward at first because obviously the strap-on isn’t an appendage, so I can’t feel it, but when I see he is enjoying it, I feel much better.

He likes the physical satisfaction and my dominant nature. I like dominating a little bit more than normal and the fact that we can be so sexually comfortable together. We are both bisexual, so meeting each other’s needs that previously were only met by the same sex feels very intimate.

[We don’t do it] extremely regularly, maybe once or twice a month. If the moment feels right.

—Mia (22) and Matthew (24) from Dallas, Texas

“The ‘taboo element’ is a real turn-on for me.”

We decided to try pegging as a couple out of curiosity because Antony had enjoyed anal play during intercourse many times before.

We were both interested in pegging but also reluctant to give it a go for different reasons. He didn’t want me to think him weird for wanting it, and I didn’t want to tear him a new one, literally. I took a class at a sex shop to make sure that wouldn’t happen.

Antony: When Marie is pegging me, it feels very intimate and the prostate orgasms are intense, never-ending, and sometimes exhausting.

Marie: I like pegging because the whole scene is dirty, but in a good, sexy way. The “taboo element” is a real turn-on for me, too. When I’m pegging Antony I feel strong, more in control, and, depending on the position, uncomfortable. I like pegging because of his reaction, which is different from the norm. It really turns me on and gets me off.

Pegging is never a spur-of-the-moment thing with us since thorough cleaning is done beforehand to lessen the chance of accidents. Because of this, we do it at least once or twice a month.

—Marie (42) and Antony (45) from the mid-Atlantic area

“I wanted to feel what it was like to have a dick as a power trip.”

We incorporate it not so regularly at the moment, but when we first started doing it—when we were long distance—we did it often. Now, it’s kind of reserved for special occasions.

I wanted to feel what it was like to have a dick as a power trip and I’d just found that he had slept with a guy and was open to it. I’d never really thought about it before that. He liked the feeling but didn’t want it to be from a guy, so it worked out. I was more apprehensive at first because I didn’t know if I’d be good at it.

For me, I was surprised that I could actually get pleasure from it depending on the toy we used. I was having some pain during regular sex, so using the toy would warm me up, and we’d often switch back and forth because of that. It also turns us on that the toy matches my skin color and doesn’t need a strap, so it looks real. I get an endorphin rush from the power trip knowing that I can fulfill a fantasy for him because we communicated about wanting it. The second time we did it, he came hands free. It feels intense for him because he is used to only the penis being stimulated and it’s really cool to have the same good feelings of sex without even using the penis.

—Danielle (27) and Ethan (33) from New Orleans

Interviews have been edited and condensed.

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