A Beginner's Guide to Pegging

Illustration by Emma Olswing

by Gabrielle Kassel

No need to beat around the butt: Today we’re talking about pegging—also known as D-in-B sex, butt-boning, and strap-on anal play. 

Intrigued? Grab the lube and scroll down for a lesson in pegging. 

What is pegging?

Put simply, pegging is when a vulva-haver straps on and anally penetrates a penis-haver—or, more broadly, when anyone wears a strap-on and anally penetrates anyone else. 

The term was coined in 2001 by Dan Savage, who decided heterosexual couples needed a term for the anal sex that happens when the man is the catcher. According to sex educator Sarah Sloane, who's been coaching sex toy classes at Good Vibrations and Pleasure Chest since 2001, the word “is still largely used within heterosexual contexts.” But folks of any gender and sexual orientation can do and enjoy pegging, she says. 

Why pegging feels good for the receiver

Anal penetration can feel good for any body with a butt (read: everybody!) due to the sensitive ring of nerves around the opening of the anus. 

For folks with penises, being anally penetrated can also massage the prostate. Colloquially known as the male G-spot, the P-spot is an erogenous zone located about two inches inside the rectum towards the belly that’s made of nerve-dense muscle tissue. 

According to sex educator Cassandra Corrado with O.school, “For many people with prostates the sensation of prostate stimulation is incredibly intense.” One 2017 study published in the journal of Clinical Anatomy found that combining prostate play with penile stimulation can make orgasms “exceptionally pleasurable.” 

However, just touching the erogenous zone without also touching the penis is enough for some people to have a prostate orgasm, says Corrado. Prostate orgasms don’t require an erection, don't always entail ejaculating, and sometimes don't even have a refractory period, she says: “Many people describe them as being full-body.” 

“This erotic switch can be hot for both partners, and some feel like it promotes egalitarian action in the bedroom.”

For people with prostates, any kind of anal stimulation can elicit this physical response, but pegging can be especially hot emotionally and mentally, according to Carol Queen, a Good Vibrations sexologist who made the instructional video series Bend Over Boyfriend

For heterosexual couples, pegging flips the script of which partner penetrates the other, says Dr. Queen. “This erotic switch can be hot for both partners, and some feel like it promotes egalitarian action in the bedroom,” she says. 

This role reversal requires a ton of vulnerability. Because anal sex has been historically stigmatized as a “gay thing”FYI, it’s about pleasure potential, not sexual orientation! anal penetration can be difficult for heterosexual men to request, Sloane explains. “That vulnerability can boost intimacy and trust,” she says. 

Can pegging feel good for the person who straps on? 

Yes! “Where you’ll position the dildo will depend on what you feel gives you the most control,” says Corrado. But for many folks with vulvas, each thrust will cause the dildo to press against the pubic mound or clitoris. 

Most harnesses also have a pocket in the front where you can pop a bullet vibrator like the Zee for constant clitoral stimulation. 

Where to begin

Excited? Of course you are. But don’t get ahead of yourself: “Before you and your partner experiment with pegging, you need to talk about how you see the encounter playing out, and what about pegging turns you on,” says Sloane. 

Once you’ve communicated (and communicated some more), get your gear. For a harness, Sloane recommends the Joque by Squarepants, which, she says, “is extremely adjustable and therefore will move with your body. When you pull out, the dildo will pull out, when you go in, the dildo will go in."

For first-timers, Sloane recommends a simple silicone dildo like Tantus Silk Dildo or the Charm. “Start small to adjust to the sensation, and to help your partner’s body create a pleasurable memory around anal play, then increase in size as desired,” she says. 

And don’t forget the lube—the rectum is not self-lubricating. Because your toy is silicone, opt for a water-based lube like Alu or Sliquid Sassy. 

If you or your partner are especially nervous about poop, you might want to invest in an enema douche bulb. (Or, for a cheaper option, a Fleet enema will do: Just replace the irritating saline solution with warm water.) But this is not an absolute must! 

Okay, so what about the day of? “You can’t have enough foreplay, go slow enough, or use enough lube," Sloane says.

Start by loving on the other body parts your partner likes having licked, sucked, bit, stroked, and caressed. Then, help your partner acclimate to the sensation of anal stimulation by using your tongue, a finger, or a smaller plug. When you’re both ready, get in position and lube, lube, lube! “Doggy style can work well because it gives both partners some control, while missionary allows you to maintain eye contact,” says Sloane. 

Make it hotter

Now that you know pegging can be fun, experiment with a girthier or longer dildo, or vibrating cock ring. Or, try positions like rider-on-top and spooning, both which will allow you deeper penetration. 

And remember: If it ever feels like you’re fitting a square peg into a small hole, pause, breathe, add more lube, and try again.

Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. When she’s not testing sex toys, Tindering in public, or asking folks about their sex lives (all in the name of journalism, of course) she can be found reading self-help books, bench-pressing, or pole dancing.