Love & Sex

Why Pegging Is the One Sex Act You Should Save for Marriage

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Most of us spend a great deal of time imagining a moment when we will profess our love to a person, perhaps the person, and tell them we hope to spend the rest of our lives with them. We envision speeches of intense amorous imperative and vulnerability or grand gestures meant to express our passion. For me, even more stimulating than these diehard romantic daydreams is thinking what it might be like for my future wife to take me from behind.

Marrying someone used to mean something — physically — and for a diminishing number of piously chaste people it still might. In Western civilization, a wedding contract used to serve as one’s civically sanctioned opportunity to shed the bonds of modesty and discover just how amazing intercourse is, or at the very least it was a legal way to get one’s rocks off on the regular with a partner. But nowadays you’re in the minority if you’re actually waiting for a ceremony before your sexual debut.

According to data from the National Survey of Family Growth from 2006-2010, 86 percent of women and 91 percent of men in the US who had ever been married had sexual intercourse before marriage. Hell, almost two-thirds of everyone finishing high school has already done the deed. We’re not waiting for it, and no matter what Republican politicians would like you to believe, we’re all pretty okay with that fact.

In the best light, most people would consider the idea of “saving themselves” for marriage to be quaint. We’re living in an age where a device in our pockets could locate a sexual escapade for us within minutes. And in the context of practices like purity balls, where fathers swear to protect their daughter’s virginity, “saving oneself” often reeks of patriarchy, oppression, and misogynistic notions of ownership over women.

Still, 95 percent of Americans believe that they will find someone so special that they would ask them to enter into a legally-recognized tax-status-altering contract. For us wide-eyed romantics who won’t wait until our wedding night for intercourse, isn’t there something we can do with our bodies to show the person we marry that they mean more to us than everyone who came before? Granted, there are plenty of possibilities: matching tattoos, having a child together, riding a tandem bicycle.  But for me the answer is anal. Specifically, the penetration of my ass.

I’ve spent the last decade as a sex-geek. My bookshelf is stacked full of pop and academic literature on sexuality. I’ve penned relationship columns, taught sex education classes, and developed sexual health promotion efforts. I’ve approached everything from cuddle parties to exhibitionism, analingus, home videos, threesomes, boy-toyhood, furry conventions, and footjobs with a healthy attitude of dilettantism and professional development. Curiosity combined with the feeling that I need to “practice” before I “preach” compelled me to try a little bit of a lot of things.

Yet even after all my investigative efforts, I’m not above fantasizing that there will one day be a person that I will aspire to grow old with. I think I might like to consecrate that commitment with a wild party for our friends and family, tax benefits, and a ring. But I still yearn for something more to symbolize this person’s significance in my life.

For me, the alluring option of pegging was discovered right here on Nerve, via an Em & Lo exposé that a giggly high school buddy shared with me. Before that article, the diversity of erotic acts I knew of was limited to the often misguided information from public school health education text books, derivative sex scenes from movies or television, and other exceedingly misinformed adolescent guys. Being a cis-gendered straight male, it’s easy to go most of one’s life considering the possibility of being penetrated by a woman with the same mystical unfeasibility as bearing a child or the hearing the sound of one hand clapping. But thanks to Em & Lo, I learned that some heterosexual men enjoy having their female-bodied partners strap on a manufactured cock and give it to them in the ass. Like most millennial males, the Internet exploded the realm of X-rated options I was aware of.

Pegging seemed different from the facials or titty-fucking that had perplexed me in the pornography I had already stumbled across. The act was new, but unlike a lot of porn scenarios, it didn’t carry the weight of potentially demeaning a partner I respected. It didn’t involve more people in the room or new uses of sexual fluids. Pegging was, and still is, nothing more than one-on-one straight sex, but with an effortlessly simple way of switching sexual scripts in a world-shaking way. Throw in the potential for new levels of ecstasy and increased intensity of orgasm from the prostate stimulation, and we’ve got one sweet deal.

Your run-of-the-mill anal play is one thing, and there are plenty of ways to bend the gender dynamics involved in male-on-female sex, but getting fucked in the ass is in a league of its own. Being pegged calls for the willingness to explore uncharted territory, a trusted partner, someone with similar sexual interests as well as patience, and, within a hetero partnership, comfort and security in playing with gender roles. Here was the perfect way to participate in the tradition of purity I found distasteful, yet inescapable, and subvert it at the same time.

What else is the song and dance of marriage if not choosing to what degree one wishes to participate in a convention while imbuing it with their own personality? In the modern era, the institution as well as the ceremony are themselves malleable gestures. A couple selects from a collection of customs and social indicators that convey the notion of “partnership,” both inwardly and to others, hoping to select the aspects that seem morally worthy of perpetuation and befitting the personalities of the betrothed. Everything from the proposal, to the ceremony, to the following years of wedlock (or separation), bear some resemblance to one another, differing at times only as much as choice of centerpieces for the reception or font used in the holiday cards that follow. To me, what goes in a pre-nup or the cardstock weight used in our save-the-date is less important than making sure that the foundation of our relationship is instilled with open communication of our reverence for one another and our irreverence for the system in which we live.

For the overwhelming majority of people who believe a monogamous marriage is right for them, it might be important for them to sexually explore far and wide before promising not to get freaky with anyone new for as long as their marriage lasts. But if we also hold on to a desire to share our bodies in a unique way with our “one and only,” then we’ve all got to decide on something to save after we’ve tied the knot. I’m not pushing pegging on anybody else, but if you’re interested, and I’m invited to your reception, feel free to add a strap-on dildo to your registry. I’ll be sure that it sits proudly on the gift table during your big day.