Sex
Before you peg a man for the first time, brush up on how to do it safely.

Welcome To Pegging 101: Here's How To Do It Safely

Ingredients: consent, lube, and an open mind.

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“Butt stuff” comprises a murky area of sex that some straight and straight-passing couples are mystified and enchanted by. Under this umbrella, pegging is especially fraught with stigma and mystique. If you're a vagina-owner who's been wondering how to go about your first time pegging, know this: There are a lot of moving parts (literally) when it comes to the physical and emotional success of this back-door operation. First off, what does it mean to peg someone? Pegging, by definition, is the "the sexual act of a woman anally penetrating a man with the use of a dildo or strap-on," according to sexologist and reproductive justice activist Michelle Hope.

Anal penetration can also come in the form of fingering, using a vibrator, and using your tongue on the anus, aka rimming. In general, those who like butt stuff say it feels "dirty, in a sexy way" and "hot." Pegging can feel good for men and people assigned male at birth, Hope says, because there are "a lot of nerve endings in the anus or rectum." It also feels lovely because of "prostate stimulation, which can cause orgasm and ejaculation."

If you’ve been quietly interested in learning how to peg someone but have felt unsure of how to bring it up with your partner, Luke Thao, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate (LMFTA) and member of the PNW Sex Therapy Collective based in Seattle, says the first step is a level of self-acceptance. He says that when his clients are introducing a new form of play into the bedroom, he always emphasizes “the process of learning to be comfortable with your fantasies. So many of us have fantasies but it’s in the interpretation or valuation of our fantasies that a lot of people get caught up. So having that space for yourself or with a group of friends or with a therapist to be able to explore that fantasy space is where I’d start. And then take it into the partnered space.”

Pegging is pleasurable for the person getting pegged as well as the pegger, because of the way it plays with and subverts traditional gender roles. Typically, women and femmes are the receiving partner in heterosexual sex. The chance that pegging offers women to penetrate and even dominate in bed, too? That can be super exciting. Here is everything you need to know about pegging your partner for the first time.

But(t) First, Consent

Before you peg someone, you must get enthusiastic consent.

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Anal sex is no different from other kinds of sex in that consent and safety should be your top priorities. Not only should all parties consent to sex, but the receiving partner needs to consent to being pegged specifically — you shouldn't just spring that on someone. Hope recommends establishing a safe word, which is, in their words, "a clear unambiguous signal to communicate a stop to sexual activity."

Along with consent and safety, communication should also be a priority — especially when it comes to pegging. "There are a lot of misconceptions about pegging and some men are not as open to talk about their desires in exploring this practice, for fear of having their sexuality shamed," Hope explains. The stigma around pegging is often based in homophobia. Some people think that only a gay woman would use a strap-on or only a gay man would like to be anally penetrated.

"So, the idea of non-judgmental communication is highly important," they add. "I always recommend that people have real conversations about sex, prior to hopping in the sheets, to establish an understanding about one's desires and kinks." Having a frank, judgment-free convo about pegging (and other turn-ons) will help you realize your most authentic, sexual selves, Hope says.

Safety Is Key

One crucial aspect of anal sex is that the anus is not self-lubricating. I repeat: The anus is not self-lubricating. "And therefore has a higher risk of tissue tears," Hope says. "Lube is your best friend when looking to explore the back door!" Water-based lube is best when using silicone toys, which you will be, thanks to your handy, dandy dildo or strap-on.

What's more is that the anal sphincter, a muscle that Hope calls the "doorman to the rectum," needs to relax. "The process of being able to relax the sphincter may take some time or even multiple tries over time," Hope explains. Your partner's sphincter relaxing isn't just a matter of pegging position — it's about them being in the right headspace.

If you know that music relaxes your partner, you can put on your fave Spotify sexy time playlist. You can also give them a sensual massage as foreplay or engage in a bit of dirty talk to set the mood — whatever it is that helps them feel at ease. You can also reaffirm to them that you two can check in or stop at any time.

Another thing to consider during anal sex is protection. Condoms and latex gloves make excellent barriers against bodily fluids and bacteria, namely E. coli, as well as illnesses like hepatitis A. It's important to remember that oil-based lubes wear down latex — therefore making it less effective. So just be mindful of what kind of lube you're picking up if you're also going to use latex products.

One latex glove pro-tip from Hope: If you have long nails or love acrylics, put cotton balls on the tips of your fingers and then put on the latex gloves. It'll prevent you from being "an Edward Scissorhands nightmare for someone's sphincter," they say.

...And So Is Comfort

If you've never done anal before, it's important to be realistic and know that you can't just jump straight to pegging. Not only will pegging take a few tries, but you might want to work your way up to a strap-on with a butt-plug or anal beads first. This gets the receiving partner's sphincter used to opening up.

It can also aid in determining how much they can take. Open communication between both parties is crucial. So is the receiving partner being vocal about what is pleasurable for them. "Remember, anal play of any kind is not a race and it damn sure ain’t a sprint," Hope says. "Rather, it is a walk on the booty beach of love that could provide years of fun memories — if you just take your time."

Sh*t Happens

Welcome to the rectum! Exploring anal sex and pegging means poop is never far away. Hope recommends that the partner being pegged focuses on their food and water intake 12-24 hours prior to anal play. "Eating foods high in fiber are important — as well as avoiding processed foods and meats, which often make us bloated," they say. Lots of water, fruit, and veggies should put the receiver on the right track. "You probably wanna avoid that chili cheese dog prior to play!"

Of course, like any kind of sex, it will always come down to what works best for you and your partner. There will be trial and error. "So don’t be surprised if you come out of an experience with a lil chocolate surprise," Hope says frankly. It would be wise to put down a towel and/or have some baby wipes on hand.

Check In Before, During, And After

Just as chit-chatting about anal safety, consent, boundaries, kinks, and desires is imperative beforehand, so is communicating during and after. Hope says it's critical to "be understanding and willing to talk though the good, the bad, and messy."

They also urge you and your partner to engage in some aftercare. A term popularized in the BDSM community, aftercare is a non-sexual debrief after sex. What worked? What didn't? "Couples can do this by just holding each other and having a quick check-in about what they enjoyed about the experience," Hope explains.

This convo is necessary, especially when partners are exploring new sexual acts. "Something unintended may have come up for one or both parties while being overwhelmed with desire in the act. This is just a good way to maintain a loving and supportive sex life between all parties involved."

As always, with any kind of sex, patience, consent, and communication is key. And when it comes to pegging, those three elements are especially important in order to leave stress and discomfort behind you when trying something new in the bedroom.

Experts

Michelle Hope, sexologist and reproductive justice activist

Luke Thao, MA, LMFTA (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate)