How Young Women Feel About Pegging Their Boyfriends

Photo by Karen Sofia-Colon.
Back in 2001, sex writer Dan Savage posited a question in his Savage Love column: “What term, from this day forward, will be the commonly accepted slang for a woman fucking a man in the ass with a strap-on dildo?” His readers answered: pegging.
Twenty years on, pegging’s popularity is only on the up. Online sex toy retailer Lovehoney reported that sales of strap-ons were up by nearly 200% in 2020. Depictions of pegging in TV and popular culture have also become more commonplace: in Peep Show, Jeremy gets pegged by his kinky girlfriend Michelle, while Abbi Abrams pegs Jeremy Santos in an iconic 2015 episode of Broad City.
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Most recently, in millennial comedy-drama The Bold Type, Kat pegs the guy she is seeing, Cody. Initially, she is sceptical. “You know I’ve never liked being dominant in the bedroom,” she confides in Jane. “And I’m not very good at it. It’s not for me.” But Jane encourages Kat to try it, which she does, and enjoys. “I guess I thought it would be physical, and sexual, and primal, [which] it was, but it was also intimate, you know?”
This chimes with 22-year-old Joanna’s* experience. “I’m actually incredibly submissive and I don’t particularly like feeling dominant,” she tells me. “[But] it gives me pleasure to see how much he’s enjoying it.”
She first tried pegging with her boyfriend, who is also in his early 20s, after he brought it up six months into their relationship. “He was nervous of how I’d react when he first told me but I was actually super open to it,” she recalls. “This was during the first lockdown last year, so we didn’t see each other in real life for months but we spoke about it quite a lot. I was interested in it, so when we saw each other again we started experimenting.”

One of the biggest misconceptions is that to do it you have to be this massive domme, but you can actually do it very lovingly.

megan*
“I started out really nervous because I was scared of hurting him but once you get into it, it’s fun,” Joanna continues. “At first I made a few mistakes, like being too rough or going too fast, but you learn. My boyfriend says I get better every time we do it.”  She adds that as her partner is disabled and the number of positions they can do is limited, pegging has been a great way of keeping their sex life fresh and exciting. “A new way of having sex has been good for us.”
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Megan*, also 22, has been dabbling in pegging too. She once pegged a close male friend of hers, after a conversation where they both expressed a desire to try it. “We were just talking about how interesting the power dynamic would be and then we were like, actually, this could be more than a topic of conversation – this could be something really interesting to try,” she recalls. “It seems like this really niche thing but actually I think the more it becomes a topic of discussion, the more people are into the idea.”
Meanwhile, 25-year-old Claire* is yet to peg anyone – but it’s certainly a fantasy of hers. “I think pegging would make me feel powerful. It’s the idea of bending over the guy and putting them in that vulnerable position,” she says. “Also I think the guy would like it and I like the idea of a guy who would even just be willing to explore it. It’s exciting to be able to kind of have equal footing but then also both be vulnerable at the same time.”
There has long been a taboo surrounding pegging which, in no small part, must be related to a reluctance to embrace sexual fluidity. Though the stigma is slowly getting chipped away, many misconceptions about the act still abound. This has certainly been Claire’s experience when it comes to broaching the topic of pegging with heterosexual men. “They often question if it’s ‘gay’,” she says. “That always makes me laugh. Why is your masculinity so fragile and associated with dominating girls?” Joanna agrees that this is a wrong assumption. “People [assume] that someone receiving the pegging can’t be straight – but quite a lot of straight cis men I know are into pegging, including my boyfriend.”
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Gillian Myhill, sex therapist and cofounder of the BARE dating app, hopes that open discussions about pegging will help us all to become more accepting and understanding of sexuality as a broad spectrum. “There is definitely a link between the rise in popularity of pegging and the rise in open discussion currently surrounding gender and sexuality,” she says. “For too long these have been taboo subjects and it’s wonderful to finally see ongoing and open discussion in these areas.”
Megan adds that another common misconception is that people assume women who are into pegging must also be into kink. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that to do it you have to be this massive domme, but you can actually do it very lovingly,” Megan says. “It doesn’t have to be this really kinky thing, it can actually just be a source of pleasure for both of you.”

[Some guys] question if it's 'gay'. That always makes me laugh. Why is your masculinity so fragile and associated with dominating girls?

claire*
Megan’s right: Myhill explains that stimulating the prostate – aka the male G-spot – can be hugely pleasurable for cis men. “It’s a highly sensitive area due to the number of nerve endings contained,” she says. “Not all men find prostate stimulation pleasurable but most do. Prostate stimulation can produce a completely different kind of orgasm.”
So, what advice would Joanna and Megan give to someone who’s keen to try pegging? Both are quick to say that you definitely shouldn’t skimp on lube and Joanna adds: “Go super slow and steady – less is more at first.” Megan also stresses the importance of communication. “Make sure that you talk about your emotions afterwards,” she advises. “Talk about your comfort and about how you’re feeling, because it could be quite an emotional experience for both of you.”
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Ultimately, if both you and your partner are keen to experiment with pegging, it’s probably worth having a go. “It’s nothing to be ashamed about – no matter you or your partner’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” Joanna says. “If you’re interested in it or would like to experiment – go for it! It’s also fine if you end up not enjoying it. Communication is key.” Which, surely, is sound advice for anyone having any type of sex.
*Names have been changed to protect identities
This story was originally published on Refinery29 UK.

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