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Peg, Peg Karne Laga: The Mazedaar History of Pegging and Why It Matters

How the term ‘pegging’ came to be and the larger questions it raises about gender roles and sex

An illustration of someone wearing a strap on penetrating someone's butt. Only the bottom half of these figures have been depicted. The butt has been depicted as having an expression of pleasure. 

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A Brief History of the term "Pegging."

Pegging bole toh, when a person uses a strap-on dildo to penetrate their partner anally.

  There are four images on this card. The first is a photograph of an ancient strap on dildo, made of bone. The second is a drawing of the Greek poet Hipponax. He is bald, older and wrinkled. The third image is of a pair of eggs, and a sprig of lilac. These have been arranged to look like a penis and a pair of balls. The fourth image is of line drawing depicting a person lying in a come hither position. The face given to this figure is of Shahrukh Khan, from the movie Jawaan, where it is covered with bandages (like a mummy.)   

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Pegging ke deewane have been around for a very long time.

Archaeologists have found a strap-on belonging to the Upper Paleolithic period (i.e. 50,000 – 12,000 years ago).There are even murals in Pompeii depicting pegging.And then, there’s a 5th century Greek poem, by a poet named Hipponax, that describes pegging:  

“In Lydian tone she said, "Come hither, I will plug up your tight asshole." And she beat my egg sack with a sprig of lilac as if I were a satyr.”

Side note: The note was found on a piece of recycled papyrus that was used to wrap a mummy.

  There are one image on this card. It is the cover of the Bend Over Boyfriend CD, which depicts a woman spooning a man. They are both naked.  

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Then came movies such as Bend Over Boyfriend:

A 1998 instructional movie about cis-women penetrating cis-men anally with a strap-on.


Dr Carol Queen, a sex-educator, and co-owner of a women-owned sex-toy business.

Robert Morgan (her husband)

Laura and Greg & Cupcake and Troy : Heterosexual couples; novices learning from Queen and Morgan

Directed by: Shar Rednour and Jackie Strano, a lesbian couple.

Financed by: SIR Video Productions, pro-sex feminist production company, specialising in lesbian porn 

The female characters in Bend Over Boyfriend were experts on sexual knowledge. Including male sexual pleasure.  

  There are two images on this card. The first, features a still from the movie, Bend Over Boyfriend features a woman pegging a man, wearing a strap on harness. A text bubble has been drawn, so it it seems like the man is saying, "Please ________ me." The second image is the face of Dan Savage, who is a Caucasian man.  

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The movies led to an interest in the act of men being penetrated anally by female partners. But, there was still no term to describe the act. Plus, there were lots of men who had tons of questions.

Dan Savage, a sex advice columnist for a Seattle-based publication called Stranger, was getting sawaal pe sawaal from these men.Word count issues tha. He needed one word which could say: “women fucking men in their butts with strap-on dildos.” 

So, he decided to crowdsource a term, in 2001.

The card features three strap on dildos in increasing sizes. The words Bobbing, Punting, and Pegging are written above them, with the word bobbing being above the smallest dildo, and the word pegging being above the biggest one. 

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The top options were – bobbing, punting, and pegging.

Savage Preferred Bobbing - created from the initials of Bend Over Boyfriend. But Pegging got 5216 out of 12103 words. 

And new star was born in the sexual galaxy. 

But why did pegging win?

This card features two images of peaches being penetrated by pegs. In the first image, the word pegged appears above the peg, and the words, my ass appears on the peach.

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Why Did Pegging Win?

In Savage’s own words, the word ‘pegged,’ just seems to beg the addition of the words “my ass”. Also, ‘Peg,’ is a popular female name, isiliye he felt it was perfect for describing a sex act in which a woman takes the lead.

Some respondents claimed that pegging refers to “peg boys” with whom purane zamane ke sailors, of the British Navy, sought sexual pleasure.Rumour has it that they sat on pegs during the day, to ensure that their anus stayed open. However, this is a bebuniyaad claim.  

The card features Rosie the Riveter, more popularly associated with the feminist "We Can Do It!" icon. In this illustration, she has been featured holding a strap on dildo. 

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Many people felt that pegging was revolutionary because it gave cis women sexual agency and power. 

Lisa Finn, a sex educator at sex toy boutique Babeland, felt pegging inverts the typical gender roles of the penetrator and the penetrated, “which can be psychologically and emotionally really great for all parties.” 

Charlie Glickman argued in his 2001 essay, How Pegging Can Help Save the World, that it helps men better understand their partners, and vice versa.

It held a promise of new pleasures - for cis men the possibility of a prostrate orgasm. For cis women, the base of the dildo put pleasure-pressure on the clitoris.

This card features the "disappointed uncle," meme, in front of an illustration of a rainbow. 

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But not everyone was happy with the word pegging.

"But today we can – and should – listen to queer voices which historically have been marginalised when it comes to sex. Lots of those voices are asking why we need the term 'pegging' at all.

 The use of the term 'pegging' reinforces the idea that there’s something 'wrong' with being gay."

- Quinn Rhodes, bi-sexual trans man 

An additional criticism was that even if it had reversed gender roles, pegging still viewed sex through the limited lens, i.e.

penetrator = “dominant” 

penetrated = “submissive” 

There’s also Savage’s own history.

He has been accused of transphobia, racism, and misogyny. And so, some queer people do not like the word.

This card features an anthromorphized strap-on, that is holding two name tags. One of the name tags says, "hello my name is pegging," while the other says, "hello my name is strap-on sex." 

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Classic pegging vs New-age pegging

Savage’s response: The definition of pegging is broadening to be more inclusive.

“Pegging classic is when a woman fucks a man in the ass with a dildo. New pegging is anyone fucking anyone anywhere with a dildo.”

He also clarified that ‘pegging’ doesn’t mean ‘straight.’ The important thing is the tool – the ‘peg’, not the gender or sexuality of the person using it.

Many queer people, however, prefer the term, ‘strap-on sex,’ or ‘strapping.’

  This card features three images. The first is a still from Deadpool in which Ryan Reynolds' character has been depicted being pegged by Morena Baccarin's character. The second is a still from Broad City in which the character of Jeremy has been shown lying in bed in a come hither position. The character Abbi stands in front of him wearing a strap-on. Only Abbi's thighs and a part of the dildo are visible to us, from behind. The last image is a screenshot of an Instagram post by Cara Delevigne, which shows her wearing the "Peg the Patriarchy vest."   

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Pegging in pop culture

Pegging has grown in popularity. 

Movies and TV shows that depict it: Weeds, Broad City, Deadpool, and The Bold Type.

The band Steely Dan, got its name from ‘Steely Dan III from Yokohama’ – a steam-powered strap-on worn by the character of Mary, in Naked Lunch, a 1959 novel by William S. Burroughs.

Also, pegging’s fashion moment came when

Cara Delevingne’s appearance at the 2021 Met Gala, wearing a Dior vest, with the words “Peg the Patriarchy,” on it got more people to Google the term.  This made conversation about pegging mainstream.

Know any other interesting facts about pegging? Tell us!

Some of our sources:

1.  Savage Love columns by Dan Savage (dated May 24 2001, Jun 7 2001, and and Jun 21 2001)

2. How Pegging Became More Mainstream by Fancy Feast (2022) in BuzzfeedNews

3. A Beginner’s Guide To Pegging (2022) by Jamie J. LeClaire in Healthline

4. The Problem With The Term ‘Pegging’ by Quinn Rhodes (2021) in Refinery29

5. Bend Over Boyfriend to Take it Like a Man: Pegging Pornography and the Queer Representation of Straight Sex by Curran Nault.  

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