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Illustrations by Brittany England

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Thanks to “Broad City,” “Weeds,” and “Deadpool,” pegging has slowly made its way into the mainstream sexicon. Still, odds are you have Qs about it.

We believe pleasure is a fundamental aspect of a safe and healthy sex life. That’s why we rely on experienced writers, educators, and other experts to share their suggestions on everything from the technique you use to the sex toy you buy.

We only recommend something that we genuinely love, so if you see a shop link to a specific product or brand, know that it’s been thoroughly researched — if you know what we mean. Wink.

When the term was coined by sex advice columnist Dan Savage in 2001, it was meant to name the scenario when a cisgender woman dons a strap-on to anally penetrate her cis male partner.

But, according to Lisa Finn, a sex educator at sex toy boutique Babeland, the term has since evolved to be more inclusive than that.

“The defining feature of pegging is that there’s a strap-on and anal sex, not the gender or assigned sex of the partners doing it,” Finn explains.

Umm… because why wouldn’t you want to try something that can be hot physically, emotionally, and mentally?

It physically feels good for the receiver

“Most people with penises have a nerve-dense prostate gland that can be accessed through anal penetration,” Finn says. It can even help unlock a prostate orgasm, which is usually more full-bodied than other orgasms.

If the receiver doesn’t have a P-spot, anal penetration can still feel good. After all, the anal canal and anal entrance have as many nerves as the head of a penis (around 4,000).

And (!) for the giver

Yes, really! The base of the dildo can oh-so-pleasurably press up against the pubic mound or clitoris.

The rocking against your partner can feel similar to dry humping, which is how many people experience their first-ever orgasm, Finn adds.

It flips the script

In most heterosexual pairings, one partner traditionally does the penetrating while the other partner is penetrated.

“Pegging switches up those typical roles, which can be psychologically and emotionally really great for all parties,” Finn says.

It can be used during BDSM play

Pegging + blindfold? Or pegging + restraints? Hello, power play!

A Dominant might peg their submissive to exert power, explains Lola Jean, a sex educator and creator of the “Quick ‘N’ Dirty: An Introduction to Butt Stuff” video series.

Of course, the person being pegged doesn’t have to take on a more submissive role.

“It’s absolutely possible to be dominant while taking it up the ass,” Finn says.

It’s all about your energy. Rider-on-top is a great way to feel in control while being pegged.

No, you can’t just show up on your boo’s doorstep strapped-on or sling a dildo to them mid-romp. Yes, you have to bring it up ahead of time.

When you and your S.O. are on neutral ground (read: not the bedroom), Jean suggests the following formula: Introduce the idea, explain why you’re intrigued, and ask a question.

You might say:

  • “I recently read an article about pegging, and I think it could be really hot to explore together. I’d love to send you the article and talk about it after. What do you think?”
  • “I think it could be really fun to explore pegging together. Have you ever been interested in exploring the pleasure potential of your prostate?”
  • “I love when you finger my ass during sex, so I’m thinking I might enjoy something bigger. Would anal strap-on play be something you’d be willing to talk about with me further?”
  • “I recently stumbled on an educational pegging series and became curious… Would you be open to watching it with me?”

Who knows, maybe they’re intrigued, too, but they’ve been too nervous to bring it up with you.

You at least need a harness, dildo, and lube.

Harness and dildo

You’ve got two options here: You can either purchase a dildo and a harness separately, or you can purchase a strap-on, which is a set that includes both.

For first-time peggers, Finn recommends buying a strap-on, like the Tantus Bend Over or the Pegasus Curved Realistic Harness Set. Why? One word: ease.

The benefit of buying the harness and dildo individually is that you can customize the experience.

“The giver can pick a harness they love, and the receiver can pick a dildo they’re excited to receive,” Finn explains.

For a harness, you can either buy an underwear style or a strap-on style. As the names suggest, an underwear-style harness looks like skivvies.

Underwear-style harnesses to try:

Strap-on-style harnesses have a similar aesthetic to a jockstrap. They’re much more adjustable than underwear harnesses, which can help the wearer feel more in control.

Strap-on-style harness to try:

As for the dildo? Start small. Like five times as small as you think you need.

Especially if you’ve never been anally penetrated with more than one finger before. Trust us, slow and steady wins the anal O.

Oh, and make sure it’s made out of medical-grade silicone, which you’ll be able to get completely clean after use.

Finn recommends:

Lube

If you remember one thing from this guide, make it this:

“Lube is literally the difference between anal penetration being friction-y and a pleasant, orgasmic experience,” Finn says.

Silicone-based lubes aren’t compatible with silicone toys, which is what most dildos are made of.

Opt instead for a gel-like, water-based lube, like:

Optional sexcessories

Depending on what types of stimulation you and your partner enjoy, there are a few other sex aids you might consider, such as a:

OK, so you’ve had the convo and bought your supplies. Now what?

Talk about it… in detail

It’s very possible that you’re envisioning an intimate rendezvous with candles, lots of making out, and missionary position, and your boo is envisioning a kinky evening complete with handcuffs, red satin sheets, and doggy style.

That’s why Finn recommends addressing:

  • What ~vibe~ are you both hoping to achieve?
  • What position do you want to try?
  • Are you going to have a safe word?

Get turned on

All kinds of sex are better when all parties are practically begging for it. So, don’t go from zero to butt sex. Start with kissing, hand hanky-panky, and oral.

Move on to anal massage and anal fingering

“Most anuses need to be eased into being penetrated,” Finn says. “Start on the outside of the butt, massaging the ring of muscles around the anus.”

Then, when the receiver communicates that they’re ready, use a well-lubed finger to penetrate the anus.

Technique-wise, try:

  • making circles inside the anus
  • slowly thrusting in and out of the anus
  • making a “come hither” motion against the prostate (2 inches inside the anus, along the front wall)

Lather the receiver’s anus and the shaft of the dildo with lube until both are nice and slick. Better yet: Have the receiver use a lube applicator to lubricate the walls of the anal canal, too.

Now, get into position. Finn recommends either lifted missionary, which will allow you to read each other’s facial expressions, or doggy style, which can help open up the anal canal.

“Have the giver press the tip of the dildo against the receiver’s entrance,” Finn says. “As they exhale, the receiver can lift their hips to slowly accept the dildo at the speed that works best for them.”

Continue this pattern until the receiver has fully adjusted to the dildo. From here, the receiver can thrust, make circular motions, or stay perfectly still. Receiver’s choice.

Let the record show that aftercare following pegging is nonnegotiable. Why? Well, sex in general is quite vulnerable.

But pegging can be an especially vulnerable sex act, because having something enter your body can be emotionally (and physically) intense, explains sex expert and journalist Zachary Zane, the founder of BoySlut and educator with Promescent.

Pegging also posits the person who is usually doing the penetrating, as the person being penetrated.

“Many men, especially cisgender straight men, haven’t had anything inside of their rear end before, so this is a completely new experience for them that may elicit unpredicted emotions,” he explains.

Pegging isn’t just emotional for the receiver, it can be for the person strapping on, too. Zane notes that it can be especially emotional for women and trans men, who are using pegging as a way to explore being more dominant sexually for the first time.

“Some people also use pegging as a way to engage in sex that affirms their nonbinary or trans identity, which is vulnerable in its own right,” he adds.

For all these reasons (and others), it’s a must to check in with each other when the harness comes off and underwear goes back on.

“The penetrator should check in with their partner to see how they’re feeling and if there’s any way they can provide support to the person being penetrated,” says Zane. “This can come in the form of cuddling, grabbing water, [or] telling them how much they love and mean to them.”

If the receiver’s anus is sore, there are the physical aspects of aftercare you should add in, says Zane. “Hopefully, you used a lot of lube and didn’t push past your limits, but if your booty is sore, I’d recommend taking Calmol 4, an anal suppository that can help heal fissures.”

Aftercare can also take the form of a Q&A, with both partners checking in on how the experience was for the other. Questions you might ask include:

  • “Any initial thoughts after that?”
  • “How did it feel for you?”
  • “What parts of the experience did you really like? Which would you rather I skip next time?”
  • “Is there anything I can do differently next time to make it more pleasurable for you?”
  • “Would you like it if I went harder next time? Slower?”

Anal sex is safe. But there are some precautions you need to take to limit the risk of poop, pain, and infection.

Poop is a very small risk, but you can reduce the risk even further

“Poop is the number one reason people don’t want to try pegging,” Jean says.

But contrary to popular belief, pegging doesn’t actually knock at the poop door. Poop isn’t stored in the anal canal, which is what’s being entered during anal sex. It’s stored in the colon.

For poop to pass from the colon to the rectum to the anal canal and eventually into the toilet, you have to voluntarily contract the muscle that pushes poop out.

So, the idea of pooping on a strap? Pretty unfounded.

That said, some poop (ahem) residue is possible. Especially if your wipe job is subpar.

Finn recommends hopping in the shower a few hours before pegging. Some folks like to use a water enema, but that’s not a must.

Pregnancy isn’t a risk, but STIs may be

If one or both of you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or don’t know your current status, STI transmission is a risk.

This includes STIs spread through bodily fluids, like gonorrhea and chlamydia, and those spread through skin-on-skin contact, like HPV and herpes.

To reduce the risk of STI transmission via pegging:

  • Use a condom over the dildo.
  • Avoid using an oil-based lube if you plan to use a latex condom.
  • Switch condoms if you change who’s being penetrated.
  • Buy a dildo made of a nonporous material, such as medical-grade silicone.
  • Wash the harness after each use.

Lower the risk of pain by going slow

The anal canal is oh-so delicate and vulnerable to microtears. But that’s avoidable so long as you follow the golden rule of anal: slick, slow, and chatty.

In other words: Use lube, ease it in there nice and slow, and communicate with your partner the whole time.

If the receiving partner experiences any of the following a few days later, they should consult a healthcare professional:

  • bleeding
  • persistent pain
  • sores
  • lumps
  • bumps
  • discharge

It depends on whether you’re interested in having them peg you.

If you want to be pegged? Well, lucky you. But if you don’t? You should never feel pressured to try anything in bed that you don’t want to try.

You might ask them why they want to. Is it that they like the idea of strapping on a dildo? Maybe you’d be interested in giving them a dildo BJ, a dildo hand job, or watch them masturbate a dildo while you touch yourself.

If they want to peg you because they want to be more dominant, Jean says, “Having them grind against and hump your butt without a dildo can create a similar sensation.”

Other options include handcuffs or a blindfold.

As orgasmic as pegging can feel for the giver and receiver, it isn’t for everyone. So, if you don’t want to sport a strap or take it anally, don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to get and give pleasure.


Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She’s become a morning person, tested over 200 vibrators, and eaten, drunk, and brushed with charcoal — all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books and romance novels, bench-pressing, or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.