In Bed with Friends: Anal Sex, Anal Play and Why You Should Try Pegging

Anal sex and pegging are either despised or fetishised. In this article, our author Cleo King delves into the topic of anal: experiences, fears and the joy of intimacy.

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“This is not a quickie kind of situation.”

In the series In Bed with Friends I have open and intimate conversations with friends and friends-to-be about sexual topics and practices that need more loving attention.

Discussing anal sex, play and pegging intrigued me. I had never spoken about anal practices with anyone other than my partner before. It just never came up. Once I started, I realised the number of taboos, clichés, misconceptions and stereotypes still existing around all things anal.

Anal sex has to be one of the most controversial forms of sex. It’s considered dirty, naughty, forbidden, gay, exciting, disgusting, degrading, pleasurable, obscene, harmful and only for submissive characters. Simply put, it’s either despised or fetishised.

I grew up with the impression that anal sex is something boys want girls to do because it is the dirtiest thing you can do in bed and it gives the boy ultimate power. I also grew up thinking it would be incredibly hurtful and I would be labelled a slut if I would let anyone penetrate my behind. We are still in the midst of a sexual revolution aimed at eliminating ongoing gender inequality, homophobia and religious shame. The thought that sex is for reproductive purposes only, makes anal sex pointless and therefore even more shameful.

How can we expect ourselves to have unbiased and curious encounters with buttholes, if we have to work through years of conditioning first?

Generally speaking, being penetrated, wherever that may be, always puts you in a vulnerable position. In most cultural frameworks, the person with a penis is the one penetrating, while the person with the vagina gets penetrated. This establishes a potent power dynamic that can lead to increased intimacy or heightened inequality. Whether in a homosexual or heterosexual relationship, exploring both aspects of the power dynamic can be enlightening and unifying. Placing oneself in the position of the other, even if only once, fosters a deeper understanding of them.

In my discussions, I’ve found that anal sex is not uncommon in long-term relationships. However, it is practised consciously and very slowly. It can be a welcomed variation, expanding the sexual playground. But it’s never “a quickie kind of situation”.

“I need to be completely relaxed, and I need to feel safe, then I’ll really enjoy it.”

Pegging, on the other hand, hasn’t been tried by nearly as many people. Some of my male friends fear putting themselves in such a vulnerable position, while others may subconsciously question their sexual orientation, and others are still afraid of being dirty. But those that have tried it, loved it! This is because the prostate is the P-spot. The prostate, a small, walnut-shaped gland located a few centimetres inside the rectum, is packed with nerve endings. Stimulating the prostate can be exceptionally pleasurable.

If you don’t want to start with pegging, start with anal play.

There are so many ways to explore this part of the body. You could start by getting a massage around the anus using some lubricant. Since the area is typically tight, it requires time to relax and loosen up. You can ask your partner(s) to lick and kiss your butthole or play around with different positions to find what’s comfortable for you.

Only proceed to rectal penetration when you feel fully prepared, not a second before. They should enter you slowly, gently, and with a lot of lube. They can use their finger (with a latex glove to prevent any damage from the nails), an anal plug, a dildo, a vibrator, a wand or a strap-on. If a finger is used, your partner(s) can provide a prostate massage by slowly moving up the rectum until it feels more spacious.

Both of you can explore and identify the location of the prostate and what kind of touch feels pleasurable. Given the abundance of nerve endings in this area, it can be quite an emotional experience.

Regardless of gender, whether you’re the one entering or penetrating, stay present with your partner(s) during and after the experience. Ask for what they want and how it feels. Listen to their needs.

When I talked to Camilla Storgaard, a sexual therapist in Berlin, she pointed out that “the harmful effect [of shame and conditioning] is that many people decide to not fully explore their sexual potential or maybe use anal sex as a way to execute power and control over another person. But despite us still being undermined by ancient and harmful beliefs[…] more and more people seek sex therapy to rid themselves of any shame and misbeliefs they might be carrying around, imposed on them by family, friends or society.“

Remember, where and how you receive pleasure does not determine your sexuality.

Everyone has very different preferences and experiences, there is no one way to do it. I’ve spoken to friends who simply don’t enjoy anal sex, and some are uncomfortable with the idea due to its association with faeces. Whether you choose not to engage in any form of anal activity or are eager to explore it, don’t hesitate to talk to your partner(s) about it.

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