Since sex-ed left a ton of us high and dry (like, very dry) when it comes to implementing info we can really use, let’s just cut right to the chase about pegging: Originally, “the term refers specifically to a sexual practice in which a woman performs anal sex on a man, using a strap-on dildo,” says sexual-wellness expert and director of education at sex-toy brand Satisfyer Megwyn White. The term was born in 2001 as a result of columnist Dan Savage’s contest for coining a term to describe strap-on play between a woman and a man, because at the time, it was somehow a dictionary blank space.
But as pegging has continued to make its way into the popular consciousness (thanks, Broad City!), queer and non-binary folks have started using the term, too. “It’s become a more fluid term as gender boundaries have become less rigid,” says Stuart Nugent, brand manager at luxury sex-toy company LELO. And it’s good news, considering the healthy effects experts say pegging allows for.
First, there’s the physical pleasure to account for: For men, pegging targets the prostate gland (essentially the male G-spot), and many describe the resulting sensation as a full-body orgasm, says Alicia Sinclair, sex educator and CEO of anal-sex-product company b-Vibe. “It’s usually different than other orgasms. It’s full-force.” The pegger, meanwhile, may find the act to be empowering as well as physically stimulating , Sinclair says. And, many experts agree, pegging may boost the health of your relationship on another level: “You will often find that after you explore pegging, there is a deepening of trust as [your partner] opens up to being even more vulnerable with you,” White says. Cheers to intimacy.
While it’s great that the term is now understood across demographics, knowing your way around a strap-on is another issue entirely. And whether you already know you want to give it a try or still have some lingering questions, you’re covered below in the veritable Pegging 101 lesson.
8 steps to take before pegging like a pro.
1. Talk about it first—in-depth
And by in-depth, I mean in-depth. If you want to peg your partner, or they want to be pegged by you, SparkNotes-esque chats about it just won’t do. “Have a real conversation about what you’re hoping to experience,” says Sinclair. For instance, if your partner wants to try it to play with submission and dominance, the act may play out differently than if they just liked recent butt-centric action and wanted to explore the sensation further.
Maybe even incorporate pegging into your sexting or dirty talk so that you can fantasize about the act together. “What positions do you want to try? Do research together to figure it out if you don’t know,” suggests Sinclair. Being able to really talk about pegging is a good sign that you’re on your way to being ready to try it IRL.
2. Go shopping
Now, for the accessories: a dildo, a harness, and lube (I hear CBD varieties are worth trying). If you have access to a sex-toy shop, it’s a great place to start. “The experts at sex shops are used to talking with folks about pegging, and they’ll be able to point you toward the best toys for beginners,” says Sinclair.
White says to look for a dildo that’s 5.5 inches in length, and about 1.25 inch in diameter. (Note: bigger is not better!) Other features to prioritize: body-safe silicone, a phthalate-free label, and something smooth in texture. (There are a lot textured dildos, which you and your partner may eventually work up to, but Sinclair says smooth allows for a simpler starting point.) Also, “avoid dildos that have bulbous heads,” says White. “The narrower the tip, the easier the entry.”
For your starter harness, Sinclair recommends an adjustable model (like this one from Spareparts) because it can help you feel more in control. That said, the first priority is finding one that makes you feel sexy, so if an underwear-style harness, like offerings from Rodeoh, is your preference, go with that. And depending on the store you visit, you might be able to try on different options.
Pro tip: Once you get the strap-on, practice wearing it around the house, just like you might break in a new pair of heels. Get used to the weight of the toy, and maybe even practice thrusting, since Sinclair notes the movement can be unfamiliar to many women.
3. Take things slow, then even slower
“You can’t go from zero to dildo,” says Sinclair. Start with a finger (and then two fingers) or a butt plug. If you go the finger route, White suggests experimenting with a few different types of strokes: in and out, circles, side to side. She says if you can feel tissues softening, it’s a good sign that the nervous system is relaxing, which means your partner may be ready for you go deeper and apply more pressure.
Adam Lewis, co-founder of sex-toy company Hot Octopuss, suggests also trying to locate the prostate, by curling your finger when you’re an inch or two in, which can make finding it later on with a dildo easier.
4. Use lube, lots of lube
This is non-negotiable, since the anus is not self-lubricating—and now’s not the time to worry about getting messy. Mess > anal pain. If you’re using a silicone dildo, as suggested, make sure the lubricant is water-based, since silicone lubes can break down silicone toys over time.
5. Assume the position
The “right” position to start will vary couple to couple, but Nugent suggests that from behind is be a great point of origin, since it “gives both partners some effective control.” Missionary is also choice, which works by having the peggee lie on their back and draw in their knees toward their chest. This allows for kissing and eye-contact (hello, intimacy). A spooning position works, too, by both people lying on their side, facing the same direction. A sex pillow under the peggee’s hips may be helpful here for finding the right angle.
And just a reminder: Being the pegger doesn’t mean always being the one in control. “It can be incredibly sexy to peg someone in cowgirl/reverse-cowgirl position, where they lower themselves down onto your strap-on so they can control the angle and speed of penetration,” says Lewis.
6. Get into it
“Allow yourself to be turned on, and if sounds want to emerge, allow them to. This will help your partner feel more comfortable with something that might have felt scary,” says White. Basically, pleasure is contagious—so lean in.
7. Take care—literally—with the cleanup
Once you’re done, slide out slowly while communicating with your partner what you’re doing. “If you used the right amount of lube, it will probably slide right out. But you can also add more,” says Sinclair. “Once it’s out, practice after-care. Get a warm washcloth. Maybe wrap the dildo in a towel and put it off to the side. Check in with how your partner is feeling.”
And, okay, okay, about the poop: There’s certainly a chance you’ll see some, but the right prep can help. “In general, if he empties his bowels ahead of time, and you go slowly and prepare him with tools like plugs, or small vibrators, or a finger, there is less likelihood that you’ll have any accidents,” says White. To this point, she suggests dressing the bed accordingly (as in, maybe stow away those new white sheets) and having wipes on hand.
8. Spice things up
Tried? Liked it? Great, now spice things up with different or additional accessories. “Just remember the golden rule of pegging: communicate, communicate, communicate,” says Lewis.
For more sex-speak, here experts answer all your burning questions about getting it on. And did you know there’s such a thing as a B-gasm (a breast orgasm)?
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