First, What is Pegging?

Pegging, maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s gone pretty mainstream, so you’ll see pegging anywhere from Broad City on Comedy Central and Marvel’s Deadpool to Teen Vogue, and even celebrities social media with Amber Rose referencing that Kanye enjoyed a finger in his ass. So what is pegging? When it comes down to it, it’s simply strap on sex; or sex that involves penetration where one person wears a strap on harness, and the other partner receives penetration. So why is it making the rounds in popular culture, then our google searches? The word pegging has more to it then just strap on sex. Dan Savage popularized the word in 2001, to specifically refer to when a cis woman wears a strap-on to penetrate her cis male partner anally. So you can see why this would be taboo, especially in mainstream pop culture.

Cis men receiving anal penetration and pleasure has a lot of conficting implications for masculinity and gender roles. It makes the cis man the receiving partner, which is assumed to be the submissive partner. It also implies that cis men can’t enjoy anal penetration and also be heterosexual. All of those implications completely depend on the person. You can be straight and enjoy anal sex with yourself, or a partner. Or you can be a homosexual cis man who doesn’t like anal sex. It’s all a personal preference and what we choose to explore. Our culture is also steeped in predetermined sexual roles for men and women, and for centuries the penis has been the center of the universe for hetero sex.

The ass is a treasure trove of nerve endings and parts like the prostate that can feel incredibly pleasurable to be stimulated. The act of stimulating an erogenous zone doesn’t inherently have a sexuality, or gender. It means you enjoy a specific type of stimulation. So why do cis men need specific terms to assert their heterosexuality and their masculinity while receiving pleasure? The patriarchy ruins everything for everyone. It makes a sex act between a cis man and a cis woman questionable, unless called a very specific word (like pegging) that asserts it’s straightness. People are afraid that by engaging in an non-traditional sexual behavior that flips ingrained gender roles, they will somehow become queer, as queerness can be understood as a philosophy and identity that rejects sexual and gender binaries altogether. 

Broad City represented pegging in a less taboo way—the act of pegging was not the punch line, the joke was about ruining an expensive sex toy. The man involved was never questioned about his sexuality, attractiveness, or masculinity. In fact, Alana is so excited she starts dancing when Abbi calls to ask advice. Abbi isn’t turned off, just needing reassurance because of her inexperience with pegging. The core of pegging is strap on sex. While we’ve come a long way, we still need to lose the need to gender specific sex acts and generalize what were doing. This could normalize all kinds of pleasure and sex. Sure, playing around with taboo can be fun within itself, but toxic masculinity tends to take all the fun out of it. Submission can be an aspect of pegging, but unless you’re playing around with power dynamics, throw away the word pegging and embrace strap on sex!

Why Is Pegging Enjoyable?

If we were thinking about pegging in the “traditional” sense where the receiver is a person with a prostate, then pleasure is the answer. The prostate is actually a highly erogenous zone, and when stimulated, can supply its host with more intense orgasms. Prostate stimulation is also used as a medical procedure to reduce inflammation of the prostate. The prostate lives in the anal cavity of people assigned male at birth. It is about two inches into the rectum toward the belly button, and enjoys firm pressure on it. The prostate is about the size of a walnut, and before you stimulate it you should do a lot of warm up to get blood flowing to the area. Think of it as a sponge that needs to fill with fluid before you can put pressure on it to essentially wring it out.  Prostate stimulation has been linked to having particularly intense orgasms, as well as full body, or even multiple orgasms. 

For cis women, wearing a strap on harness can be an empowering experience. For one thing, pegging is a novelty because it’s not a part of most straight people’s sexual repertoire. Trying new things in the bedroom can be a real turn-on because of the Coolidge Effect, which refers to our tendency to grow bored with sexual routines and to be excited by sexual novelty and variety. For cis women, having the opportunity to be in charge or penetrate a lover can be pretty groundbreaking. And cis men that open up and receive penetration often say that it helps them learn to be better lovers and be more giving. It can help cis men in terms of appreciating the need to take things slow or to have longer foreplay sessions.

So How Do You Do It?

Besides the mechanics of the harness and dildo (and of course consent) the most important aspects of pegging and anal sex in general is relaxation, communication and lubrication. Anal can bring partners closer if done mindfully. 

One rule for using toys with anal is that all toys that are inserted anally must have a base. For strap on sex, that’s perfect since most harnesses will hold onto the dildo by the base, so harness compatible dildos tend to be anal safe. If you’re just starting out, the easiest way to figure out the size of the toy you want is to go by fingers. If you’re comfortable taking one finger, then getting a toy that’s two or three fingers wide is going to be an issue. Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your hole. Be realistic about where you are in your pleasure journey, and you can always add more options to your collection for days that one finger is enough and options for when you want more fullness then that. 

Something else to consider is that trusting is a lot of work! Don’t be discouraged if you get tired. Just adjust your position, or let the bottom be on top for a bit. Keep in mind that you don’t need a lot of back and forth, and shallow thrusts can be very effective, especially for prostates. Check in with your partner and see which feels best for them.

Pegs Over Easy - Carly Strap On - Spectrum Journal
Carly S in the kitchen

Tools Of The Trade

Strap on up

Start with picking your strap on harness. First thing to consider besides your budget is what material do you want your strap on harness to be made out of. Leather is sturdy and has its own appeal for people who are into leather. They can also be fashionable pieces like this Talisman Leather Gallo Harness. I prefer fabric harnesses because not only can you wear them in water, which opens up more avenues to play, but you don’t have to spend any time breaking in the material– like leather. The cloth molds to your body, and I feel, holds the toy more flush to the wearers body. The Spare Parts Joque harness is my favorite. It’s adjustable but still very sturdy and stays put. 

Warm Up Toys/Supplies

Warming up the backdoor is all about relaxation. So the receiving partner should focus on receiving pleasure and relaxing their body. There is no way to trick your body into being relaxed. If you’re tense or nervous, your body will be tense as well. So starting with a massage is a great way to relax and connect with your partner. A massage candle can set the mood, and have warm oil ready to go for body massage. JimmyJane’s Afterglow candle is in an easy to pour shape with a range of scents. I prefer the sandlewood to create a romantic atmosphere.

Use the tools at your disposal to begin anal exploration on the receiving partner. Fingers are great to massage the outside of the sphincter and get the muscle relaxing. Putting on a glove will help smooth out any rough edges or nails that can make things uncomfortable. So grab a glove and your favorite lubricant and rub the outside of the sphincter. Then you can start dipping your fingers into the hole itself. Then you can move to using small finger sized toys. They can stay there so your hands are free to stimulate other parts of your lover’s body.  The Fun Factory Bootie Plug is my go to plugs for all bodies. It’s curved and solid but still has flex to it so it’s comfortable to wear. It’s also easy to figure out what size you want as a warm up toy. Small is one finger, medium is two fingers, and large is about three fingers.

Lube it up

Lube is one of the top three things you need to make anal comfortable. Silicone lube is great for anal, but not compatible with silicone toys. Silicone toys are what you want, especially for the back door because it does not absorb bacteria. So it’s durable, and hygenic, but you don’t wanna mess them up with silicone lube. With backdoor play, thicker gel formulas are great, especially if they have added moisturizers in them to help them last longer. I love the Sliquid Satin water based formula because of the added aloe and vitamin E. If you don’t like the texture of water based lubes than an oil based lube is a good option. The Butters Cocoa Butter oil based lube is my go to. It’s thick and long lasting, and moisturizing as hell. Read more about The Butters Cocoa butter oil based lube here. 

Choose your fighter

Now the dildo. A good place to start is the wearer picks the color and the receiver picks the size. If you’re playing around with gender and getting a BJ is part of your scene, the BJ dildo is my go to. In general the back door is more sensitive to texture. So starting with slim smooth toys are easiest to insert. The Blush Temptasia Twist dildos are a set of 3 mostly smooth toys. The size ranges from about one finger to three fingers and where a plug sits in the body, these are good to use for penetration. Or if vibration is wanted then the Blush Nude Impressions N4 suction cup dildo is a good place to start. Smooth, curved, silicone and vibrating. Let’s say the bottom wants more intense prostate stimulation, then look for toys that have more of a pronounced head or ridge. The Vixen Mistress dildo is a good example of a smooth, slim dildo, that has more of a pronounced head. Or the Tantus Sport dildo, or BS Atelier Alex dildo. When using the toys with more of a pronounced head, focus on pulling out and down on the prostate rather than the thrust in. This motion is more effective on the spongy tissue of the prostate.

In general, most strap on harness guides focus on the pleasure and experience of the bottom, or person receiving penetration. While giving your partner pleasure can be fun in itself, options for making it more pleasurable for the wearer are out there! There are lots of ways to not only make it more comfortable, but add things you like. It all depends on how you want to make strap-ons more fun for the wearer. Check out this guide on Dildo or Dildont for more tips to expand pleasure.

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