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We’ve Reached Peak Pegging Culture

Some guys are requesting it by the second date

A colleague of mine recently met a guy on Bumble who asked her to peg him on the second date.

After grilling a steak for them, he led her to the bedroom and opened a drawerful of dildos.

“Will you fuck me with this?” he asked, holding a strap-on. She’d love it, he promised — she was so alpha!

She wasn’t, however, keen on smelling like “poopy dildo” — as she describes it — for the rest of the night and politely, but firmly, declined.

“We’ve only hung out twice,” she told him matter-of-factly. “We can’t do that yet.”

“He definitely thought I was gonna say yes,” she remembers.

She recently told this story to another guy whose eyes lit up. “I think I’d be into that,” he said innocently, as though considering it for the first time.

“Pegging is a full-on thing now,” she concludes.

“There’s definitely been an increase in men wanting to try prostate stimulation,” confirms Abby Sauers, manager of Cupid’s Closet, a “romantic boutique” near our office. “My partner loves it.”

Two pop culture pegging references come to mind, too: A 2015 episode of Broad City and a brief nod during a montage in Deadpool a year later. “Happy International Women’s Day!” Vanessa whispers into Wade’s ear as she tightens the harness of her strap-on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtfimElPHVw

In terms of scientific study, Paul Nelson, a clinical sexologist at The Men’s Sexual Health Project in New York, also confirms what now seems obvious — we’ve indeed reached peak pegging. “It all started with the ‘P-Spot’ craze in the late 1990s,” he explains. “Straight guys on AskMen.com admitted they liked their asses played with and started asking their girlfriends to do it. The popularity has grown steadily ever since.”

For his part, Nelson asks all of his new patients to complete an intake form about their experience with various sexual activities, including “anal play.” It turns out that more than half of his straight male clients answer that they love having something in their ass. “The female usually makes the first move,” Nelson explains, which he credits for the growth in popularity. “Woman want to try it — and men get addicted.” (So to speak.)

Sauers confirms that most pegging inquiries at Cupid’s Closet come from the ladies: “It’s usually women wanting to surprise their man with a toy.”

But, as my colleague learned, more and more men are doing the asking these days. I, in turn, ask Nelson if he thinks it’s okay for a man to request that you peg him on the second date. “It’s a lot to expect,” he says, stating the obvious. In the same breath, though, he says he jokingly tells young male clients to “marry the first woman who sticks a finger up your ass while giving you a blow job.”

The reason her finger and/or strap-on feels so good, Nelson says, is due to the cluster of nerve endings in the anal region. “Guys love getting fucked because it’s stimulating the exact same nerve as the penis — the pudendal nerve, which enervates the anus, the perineum [aka taint] and the genitals,” he explains.

To find out even more, Nelson suggests I reach out to Charlie Glickman, a sex and relationship coach in Seattle who has spent his career recommending that straight men getting anally penetrated — and who dedicated a chapter to pegging in his 2013 book, The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure: Erotic Exploration for Men and Their Partners. He, too, tells me the conversation about men being on the receiving end of anal play is louder than ever, thanks to society’s shifting attitudes about sex.

“The common idea about men’s sexuality has always been, ‘Men do. Women receive.’ For example, we talk about men giving women an orgasm. Women don’t give men an orgasm, though — they give men a blow job. For many decades the mantra regarding men’s sexual satisfaction has been Get it up. Get it in. Get it off. But we’re now realizing there are many ways straight men can have sex. A lot more guys are on the receiving end of BDSM, for example.”

Glickman says he commonly hears three reservations about pegging from male clients:

  • Is it going to hurt?
  • Is it going to get messy?
  • Does it mean I’m gay?

“The first two are technical questions, and held by straight and gay people alike,” he explains. “The third question relates to an ingrained belief that receiving penetration means taking on the woman’s role, and being submissive equates to losing masculine status.”

The irony is that anal intercourse is actually rarer than people think in gay relationships. I, for one, am not a big fan. “The idea that gay men always have anal sex comes from a widely held heterosexual belief that all sex equates to penetrative intercourse. It’s why lesbians get asked, ‘How can you have sex when no one has a penis?’ They did a survey recently of 2,000 gay men and found that anal intercourse only happens 37 percent of the time. Imagine what the world would be like if heterosexual couples were only having intercourse 37 percent of the time.”

Glickman credits the popularity of pegging among straight men to society’s warming to LGBT people in general. “A culture that’s more accepting and welcoming of LGBT folks is probably going to be less rigid in their thinking about how men and women are supposed to act.”

Pegging’s greatest virtue though, Glickman says, is its ability to promote empathy. In 2001, he wrote a blog post entitled “How Pegging Can Help Save the World” in which he explained how the experience of pegging allows men to better understand their partners. The inspiration came from speaking with multiple clients after they’d begun pegging. “Guys would say, ‘I now understand what my wife means when she says she needs to start off slow — or that she’s not in the mood to get fucked.’” This empathy also leads to a better understanding of their own bodies and a realization that they have more than one erogenous zone — the penis. “We have pleasure-sensitive nerves all over the body,” Glickman notes. “It’d be like eating one food your whole life and suddenly realizing there’s a whole buffet available.”

As for my colleague, she’s open to revisiting the topic — in time.

“Maybe later,” she says. “Y’know, after we’ve been married for a couple years.”