We are delighted to welcome back Amy Norton to our blog this week with this piece in which she explores what men who have sex with women get out of being pegged.
If there’s one thing that fascinates me even more than sex itself, it’s the narratives we construct around sex. The ways they play into our desires, fears, insecurities, and perceptions of ourselves is infinitely interesting and infinitely varied.
One act that has attained practically legendary status in the world of sex is pegging. Coined via a contest in Dan Savage’s Savage Love column way back in 2001, pegging refers to a person with a vulva (often, but not always, a cis woman) penetrating a person with a penis (often, but not always, a cis man) with a strap-on dildo.
Because this is the kind of sex geek I am, I set out to discover what men who have sex with women get out of pegging, how they feel about it, and how it ties back to issues of masculinity and sexual identity.
First of all… why?
The first and most obvious reason people engage in pegging is that it can physically feel really good. People assigned male at birth have prostates, a “a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis” (WebMD) and can feel amazing when stimulated. It’s been likened to the G-spot that people assigned female at birth have.
My friend and fellow sex blogger, Exhibit A, said of being pegged that “it doesn’t just feel good, it feels good in a way that I can’t replicate on my own. Yes, I can use dildos on myself, or attach one to a surface and fuck myself on it, but that’s not the same as being thrust into, as being the recipient, with no or limited control over how I’m being given it. Without someone else pegging me, I don’t get to feel hands on my hips or pinning me down, and the solidity of the body doing the fucking.”
So yes – being pegged (and other forms of anal play) can feel amazing. But once you get beyond the pure physical pleasure of the act (which is a totally valid reason in and of itself, by the way!) things get interesting – and diverse – really fast.
One place in which pegging tends to show up a lot is in relationships or dynamics between a female Dominant and a male submissive.
This seems to tie into the notion that being penetrated is an inherently submissive role to take during sex, which I’m sure many Dominants with vaginas would dispute! What feels dominant or submissive to the people who play those roles is deeply personal, and also does not exist in a vacuum. And since our culture does tend to tie being penetrated to being submissive, it’s not surprising that many of us make that connection a part of our kink.
“Being pegged in front of a mirror, seeing her as she thrust into me and having that visual of the power exchange, was incredibly hot,” one male submissive told me. “The power dynamic is an incredible turn-on!” Another male submissive mentioned being curious about pegging for similar reasons. “It seems like it would be an awesomely vulnerable scenario. I’d prefer it to be in a D/s dynamic so humiliation could also be applied,” he said.
Exhibit A added, “I love sex where power is involved, so an act that lends itself naturally to that – like pegging – is not something I’m going to let slip by without enjoy it to its fullest! For that reason, while I’m happy to be pegged by anyone (within reason!), I gravitate towards people who are naturally dominant and who want to take charge of both the situation and me.”
Interestingly, pegging can also absolutely be an act of submission or service. I spoke to one female submissive who told me she’d pegged her dominant partner on his instructions. “I’m not sure if the willingness [to peg my partner] is because it’s something I want to experience or out of submission!” she said.
I’ve long believed that no sexual acts are inherently submissive or dominant by nature. All acts are only imbued with the power and meaning we give them. It’s totally possible to peg someone, or be pegged, in a way that is submissive, dominant, or neither!
Role Reversal and Beyond
Something that is often cited as a motivation for pegging is to experience sex from a different perspetive. One man told me he’s curious about the act because “it would put me in a position I’ve never been in before (the fucked, rather than the fucker!)”. Pegging appeals to many people because it gives them the opportunity to take a different role within sex than the one they’re used to. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life!
Years ago, Exhibit A and I collaborated on a discussion-style post for his blog all about pegging. One of our jumping-off points was this tweet by @HystericEm:
I thought they made an excellent point about the assumptions we make in sex. After all, pegging can only be considered “role reversal” if we assume that there are “roles” to begin with.
While I would love to reach a point where we are completely freed from assumptions about sexual roles, we’re not there yet. The reality is that in a relationship between a cis man and a cis woman, the man is likely to be the fucker (rather than the fuckee) more often than not. Exploring the reversal of that dynamic is one of the major appeals of pegging for many participants.
Masculinity and Sexuality
I really wish pegging were not a taboo subject. I’d love for it to be considered a fairly standard sex act that lots of people enjoy, and that folks can choose to engage with or not without having to navigate stereotypes and stigma. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world.
I believe that stigma against pegging is rooted in cultural misogyny and homophobia. As we’ve discussed, being penetrated is still viewed as being a “female” role by default, which misogyny codifies as lesser. Similarly, a man agreeing to be penetrated is coded as being gay or bisexual, even if he identifies as straight.
Aside from the fact that this simply isn’t true (if you’re a man who exclusively fancies women and enjoys anal play, you’re a straight man), it’s also attached to homophobia. This stigma simply wouldn’t exist if there weren’t still deeply ingrained prejudices against gay and bi men.
Whether or not to explore pegging and other forms of anal play is a very personal choice and many different factors go into it. But I wish that men weren’t being put off even trying it because they’re afraid of being perceived as feminine or gay.
Because not only is there nothing wrong with being either feminine or gay (or bi), but the sexual acts you prefer have precisely nothing to do with your masculinity or orientation.
Curious? How to Get Started
If you’re curious about being pegged, here are a few quick tips to help you get started.
- Choose an appropriate dildo and harness. Check out a few of our favourite harness picks. The Peg is a great all-purpose anal dildo. Want to try something a little thicker and smoother? Check out the Apprentice. Starting small and working your way up to bigger toys (if you want to) is the way to go.
- Get plenty of lube. You really need to keep things wet and slippery to ensure comfort and avoid pain or tearing your sensitive butt tissue. Water-based or oil-based lubes are safest with your silicone toys.
- Go slowly and take your time. You don’t need to achieve full penetration the first time you play! Are you and your partner having fun? If so, you’re doing it right.
- If something hurts, stop. A stretching sensation and feeling of pressure are normal when you’re doing anal play, but pain isn’t.
- Remember to communicate all the way through. Let your partner know how you’re doing and check in with them, too.
Amy Norton (she/they) is a sex writer, blogger, and pleasure product afficionado who has been running her site, Coffee & Kink, since 2016. She is a polyamorous, queer femme and lives in the UK with her nesting partner, cat, and frankly ridiculous collection of vibrators.