Pegging is a “taboo” practice that actually has the potential to transform your life, not just your sex life. So why isn’t it as much a part of heterosexual bedroom play as fellatio and intercourse? Because we first need to unpack psychological baggage around gender roles and penetration, and then ask what’s the deal with men and their butts?  

What is pegging?

Otherwise known as Bend over Boyfriend, the practice involves a woman penetrating a heterosexual man’s anus with a dildo or finger. This immediately challenges our heteronormative “ideals”. In fact, when we talk about anal penetration between straight couples, it’s rare that we distinguish who is penetrating whom, assuming the woman is “taking it”.

 Catriona Boffard works in psychosexual therapy and says, “For as long as sex has been discussed, from the bible to sex-education, we’re taught that the man penetrates the woman, and often does so in a position that is active while the woman is passive. Plus it’s the norm to talk about the male orgasm, and not the female. Almost all of us have grown up putting men first in the race for pleasure.”

Yet for those who are curious about expanding their sexual experiences, pegging has much to offer by way of physiological and psychological benefits. Catriona adds, “Anal penetration can lead to a great deal of excitement and deeper intimacy. It gives both partners an opportunity to explore and experience a role that has always been deemed gendered or taboo.” 

Let’s Talk Male Butts

The male G-spot, or P-spot, is in the prostate gland and located about two inches inside a man’s rectum beneath the bladder. It can be stimulated externally by applying pressure on the perineum, or internally via anal stimulation. The area around the anus is also full of nerve endings that promise intense release regardless of your sexual orientation.

Silva Neves also specializes in psychosexual and relationship therapy. He explains, “Men fear that they will become “gay” just by asking about pegging or that other people will think they’re “gay”. This fear of homosexuality can begin in puberty when boys confuse a sexual practice with their overall sexuality. That’s why it’s important to emphasize that anal play does not mean a man’s sexuality is going to change, and nor should it challenge his masculinity.”

Let’s Talk Masculinity

Our cultural understanding of masculinity can make heterosexual men feel trapped says Silva, “The emphasis is on performance; on being the one to take control and penetrate. Men must always be rock hard and never cry. But there are other ways to be masculine and this becomes easier to understand if a man can explore his body beyond his penis.”

But what about the latest wave of feminism; has this increased men’s fear of being emasculated? “Men are much more aware of their words and actions now,” adds Silva. “They may fear that a woman could use penetration as a weapon of control. Yet playing with penetration and mixing up traditional gender roles can be a loving act between a consenting couple without the need for a dominant / submissive dynamic.” 

Does Penetration Equal Power Play?

“The erotic thrives on making commands and not being polite,” Silva affirms. “So there’s always an element of power play, but sex also makes us feel vulnerable. When we come to the bedroom we bring our naked, unedited selves, our body shame or histories of abuse. We all want to know that we’re loved and desired, and men also worry about the size of their penis and their ability to perform.

“Anal play can alleviate this pressure, which allows men to experience more pleasure. When the prostate is stimulated a man can experience new levels of arousal, and anal play without penetration can bring new levels of orgasm. More pleasure means more feel-good chemicals means better mental health.” 

Butting Up Against Barriers

Normalizing all sexual practices is essential, as is eradicating the idea that anal play changes a man’s sexuality. “Talk of anal play can trigger a feeling of disgust that’s associated with feces,” says Silva. “This can begin in childhood during toilet training. If a parent is overly critical, they can instill shame around anything to do with the anus.”

Another barrier planted during childhood could be the fear of castration. “An overbearing or controlling mother could actually inhibit a boy’s psychosexual development. But often these fears are subconscious and so deeply buried that it takes time to unpack them.”

The Great Equalizer

Research explains how traditional gender roles can make sex less enjoyable. Women might feel obliged to “surrender”, while men feel the need to “earn” their manhood through power and control. But, in reality, sex isn’t binary, so how can we engender greater understanding between genders? “Anal play can enhance a relationship,” says Silva. “When a man understands how penetration feels, he can better understand his female partner, which can bring people closer together.”

Catriona agrees, “Sex is the most vulnerable state we can find ourselves in since we have to let go emotionally and psychologically. For men to experience this during a sexual encounter might enable them to become more comfortable with both vulnerability and gender role reversal.”

Top Tips For Pegging

“Pegging is not for everyone and that’s OK,” says Silva. “If you have a history of childhood abuse, anal play could be a trigger, but if you are curious, go gently. Try stimulating the anal area with your fingers before introducing a sex toy. If you do this alone while you masturbate, you don’t have to worry about shame. And remember this is manly and your sexuality is not threatened.”

Catriona concludes, “There’s a lot of pleasure to be taken from penetration for men and women. If a couple communicates how they feel about anal play and agrees to the parameters in which to try it, this can create further intimacy. What’s more, couples who openly discuss their sexual relationship can have more and more satisfying sex overall.”

By Jo Murphy

Follow Silva here and Catriona here.

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