How Common Is Pegging?

Although 16% of adults have tried pegging, sales of related gear are rising 44% each year, according to our proprietary research and data.
split screen image featuring a woman riding piggy back on a man's back at the beach on the left and a donut chart depicting that 16% of sexually-active adults have tried pegging on the right
Updated:October 2023

Our research found that pegging is more popular than ever, with pegging gear sales rising about 44% each year since 2018. [4]

Pegging generally refers to a sexual activity that involves a woman wearing a strap-on dildo while performing anal penetration on a straight man, although the term can also be used to describe it regardless of gender roles.

In this article, we dug deep and uncovered the real facts about pegging, including how many folks do it, why, and where it’s most popular, along with expert commentary from a leading researcher focused on alternative sexuality.

Key Statistics To Know:

  • 16% of sexually active adults have tried pegging. [1]
  • Sales of pegging gear and equipment have risen overall about 44% each year since 2018. [4]
  • 24% of heterosexual male college students have experienced some form of anal pleasure. [9]
  • Most straight adults reported having anal sex an average of 1-3 times a month. [1]
  • Many men have no qualms about pegging and do not feel it impacts their sexual identity in a negative way. [3]
  • Almost 60% of men have reported fantasizing about being on the receiving end of anal sex. [6]
  • 79% of men said they would be embarrassed to ask a female partner to finger their anus; however, 16% self-finger their own anus, and 5% rub their own anus at least once a month. [9]
  • About 10% of women report having tried pegging, and a further 10% say they’re interested in giving it a try. [1]
  • About 40% of women reported having fantasies about giving anal sex to their male partners. [6]
  • Pegging harness kits accounted for roughly 10% of sex toy sales at The Enhanced Male for a 12-month period; roughly 70% of those were purchased by men. [5]
  • Pegging equipment makes up roughly 17% of all sex toys sold at The Enhanced Male. [5]

I spoke with researcher DJ Williams, who studies BDSM and alternative sexuality.

He noted that research and literature are limited in regard to pegging and to explore it further, he took part in conducting a series of interviews alongside Lynnette Coto and Dana Berkowitz.

The eventual research paper, “It’s Absolutely Intense, and I Love It!” A Qualitative Investigation of “Pegging” as Leisure, was published in June 2023. [11]

The idea behind the study was to explore pegging as a form of leisure — something people do simply for the enjoyment it brings.

“To be defined as leisure, something has to be pretty much freely chosen and intrinsically motivated,” Williams said, later adding, “So, of course, sex is gonna fit that” unless it’s not consensual or one is engaging in it for other reasons.

He noted that when he went through the data analysis the team had gathered on pegging, he found that “people are happy. They talk about how much fun pegging is.”

Ultimately, their research found that pegging is a more causal form of leisure explored (and enjoyed) for many reasons unique to the participants.

What Is Pegging And What Does Getting Pegged Mean?

Most often, pegging is a form of sexual play that involves a woman wearing a strap-on dildo in order to penetrate a man anally.

That description may not sound sexy, but pegging has considerable appeal in the heterosexual scene.

As it turns out, a lot of men enjoy getting pegged.

“We define pegging quite broadly,” Williams explained of his research study. “So, … basically inserting objects by the biological female into the male.”

The term itself resulted from a contest held by sex columnist Dan Savage — more than 12,000 people cast their votes to name the act of a straight man being anally penetrated by a woman. [7]

Decades later, “pegging” is commonly accepted slang still used to describe strap-on sex between heterosexual couples.

illustrative donut chart depicting that 16% of sexually active adults have tried pegging
  • While anal play, in general, is practiced by adults about half the time, only about 16% of sexually active adults have tried pegging. [1]
  • Sales of videos featuring pegging among heterosexual couples increased 81% during a one-year period starting in 2021. [4]
  • Pegging equipment (including harness kits, dildos, and lube) makes up roughly 17% of all sex toys sold at The Enhanced Male over a 12-month period ending in June, 2023. [5]
  • Sales of pegging gear and equipment have risen overall about 44% each year since 2018. [4]
  • In terms of enjoying anal stimulation (or the thought of it), 10.4% of men found it “very appealing” to have their anus stimulated by a partner’s fingers, while another 19.2% found it “somewhat appealing.” [8]
  • One study of university-going men found that 24% of heterosexual respondents had experienced some form of anal pleasure. [9]

Researcher DJ Williams told me that his study team asked peggers about their sex life and how they got into the activity.

“There were varied responses,” he said. “Some had looked at porn and kind of thought about it, were curious about it.”

bar graph highlighting the popularity of pegging related content: sales of pegging videos have increased 81% in a one year period beginning in 2021; sales of pegging gear have risen about 44% annually since 2018.

Williams noted that others “had an interest [in pegging] already and talked to their partner. And then they negotiated and decided to try it and ended up really liking it, and it became a regular part of their sexual repertoire.”

“Some had heard from friends or they’d looked on the internet at different groups and kind of got ideas and learned and decided to try it,” Williams said. “So, there’s kind of a variety of ways that people encountered it.”

“But there definitely was that fear from stigma,” he noted, which we’ll explore in greater detail later on.

Frequency Of Pegging: How Often Are People Pegging?

  • Most straight adults reported having anal sex an average of 1-3 times a month. [1]
  • In recent years though, this number may have grown. As 54% of couples say that since COVID, they’ve become more adventurous sexually and a whopping 76% of those said they expect this exploration to continue now that precautions are lifted. [2]

Data is limited in regard to how frequently people are actually pegging.

Researcher DJ Williams pointed out that the research that does exist on pegging frequency is “kind of flawed.”

“I think there’s a response bias,” he noted of previous studies. “A lot of that research doesn’t separate who’s receptive and who’s giving.”

“My guess is because of the cultural stigma around that, I think the numbers would be pretty low,” he said. “And especially for males.”

“Because so many men will think, ‘Am I sort of latent homosexual? Or am I this?’ There’s a lot of homophobia that comes around all of that,” he explained.

I came to the same conclusion — there isn’t a lot of differentiation between forms of anal play, or pegging as an exclusive activity.

Even the way “people define ‘sex’ varies a ton,” Williams added.

Is Pegging Gay And Are Straight Men Getting Pegged?

graphic with three pie charts depicting 10% of women have pegged their partner, 60% of men fantasize about being an anal sex recipient, and 70% of the purchases of pegging gear from the enhanced male were made by men

Not necessarily, and yes — plenty of straight men enjoy pegging and other forms of anal stimulation or butt play.

  • 10% of sexually active women say that they’ve pegged their male partner. [1]
  • According to one study, many bisexual men have no qualms about pegging and do not feel it impacts their sexual identity in a negative way. [3]
  • As one survey respondent explained: “It was just really enjoyable and sexual labels never really meant a whole lot to me anyway. It is what it is—pleasure.” [3]
  • Almost 60% of men surveyed by Dr. Justin Lehmiller had reported fantasizing about being on the receiving end of anal sex. [6]
  • Although about 89% of survey respondents reported understanding the mechanics behind anal pleasure, 62% cited cultural connotations of homosexuality as being the primary reason for the stigma associated with the activity, and 20% cited fear that others would think they were gay. [9]
  • Just 5% of male survey respondents agreed with the statement “Straight men can’t enjoy anal pleasure,” but 24% agreed with the statement, “Only gay men like to be anally stimulated or penetrated during sex.” [9]

Enjoying anal stimulation has nothing to do with orientation and everything to do with your response to the P-spot — which means stimulating the prostate gland (the male G-spot) may or may not lead to an intense orgasm.

Researcher DJ Williams said that of the participants in his study [11], the introduction of pegging as an activity to try was not attached to a consistent role — both male and female participants initiated first interest.

He noted that “a lot of couples would plan it” — it was not something most people would do out of the blue without preparation.

“There was clearly a conversation, negotiation, ‘Are you up for this? Do you wanna do this kind of a thing?’” he explained.

“And then they prepare however they wanted or felt comfortable doing, and then they would engage,” he said.

How Comfortable Are People About Discussing Pegging Or Anal Play In General?

a bar graph depicting how comfortable people are discussing pegging or anal play with their partners: 44% somewhat or very comfortable; 22.4% neutral; 21.3% somewhat uncomfortable; 12% very uncomfortable

When it comes to Americans discussing butt play, almost half of them are pretty open to the idea.

  • While over 44% of people are “somewhat comfortable” or “very comfortable” discussing anal sex, less than 12% of people find it “very uncomfortable.” [1]
  • 21.3% of people reported feeling “somewhat uncomfortable” about discussing anal sex, while 22.4% reported feeling neutral about the idea. [1]
  • One study found that homohysteria — the idea of homosexual suspicion being cast onto heterosexual men if they enjoy anal stimulation — is eroding. [9]
  • Only 11% of men from that same study expressed surprise when presented with information regarding the anatomy of anal pleasure and safe methods for prostate stimulation; 36% reported learning about male anal pleasure through pornography while the majority (48%) learned about it from friends. [9]
  • Although 24% of men reported having some type of receptive anal stimulation (penetration, analingus, or touch, as examples), 7% reported that they “would react very negatively if a sex partner touched their anus.” [9]
  • 79% of male respondents of that same survey reported that they would be embarrassed to ask a female partner to finger their anus; however, 16% reported self-fingering their own anus while 5% reported externally rubbing their own anus at least once a month. [9]

Researcher DJ Williams told me that a number of participants in his study [11] had “reached out to other people who have done pegging.”

He explained, “There’s kind of a community connection in that way, which I think is important” in regard to engaging in an activity that others enjoy and having people from whom you can learn, gain ideas, and enjoy a sense of social support.

At the same time, there is a stigma associated with pegging and a reluctance to talk about it openly.

“‘Do I dare communicate this with my partner?’” Williams said as an example, noting there are constraints involved in pegging as a leisure activity and the necessary discussion that must take place beforehand.

“What’s my partner gonna think?” he gave as another example of a question someone might ask themselves. “How am I gonna communicate? Is she [or he] gonna be okay?”

“All of these taboo, or what are thought to be taboo activities, require a lot of negotiation generally,” he explained. “And usually at the interpersonal levels.”

“The communication around [pegging] actually seemed to spill over into other aspects of the relationship, which is also really cool,” Williams said of his study’s participants [11].

“That is actually a really positive thing [when] you’re having such thorough communication about something,” he explained.

3d pie chart graphic depicting the popularity of pegging gear sold by the enhanced male: 10% of its sales are harness kits; 17% is pegging equipment; 17% of its sales are dildos specifically

According to data and statistics provided to Women’s Health Interactive exclusively by The Enhanced Male over a 12-month period ending on June 30, 2023; roughly 70% of the purchases were made by men [5]:

  • Pegging equipment makes up roughly 17% of all sex toys sold
  • 14,717 harness kits (which include a harness and attachable dildo) were sold, accounting for roughly 10% of total sex toy sales (excluding categories not considered to be toys, like extenders, lube, and other accessories).
  • 18,663 dildos were sold, accounting for 17% of total sex toy sales
  • The most common size of dildo sold is 5” in length — leading the company representative we spoke with to believe that most users are new to pegging or have average experience with the activity
  • 80% of all pegging equipment was also purchased with a personal lubricant

The most common types of pegging gear across various toy brands include the means of wearing the dildo, as well as the dildo itself.

Dildos for pegging can be worn in a panty-style holder, or a harness type.

Most types of dildos with a flared base can be used for pegging — depending on the wants and experiences of those using them.

→ For more, read: Best Pegging Toys

Do Women Like Pegging Men?

donut chart depicting that 10% of women reported having tried pegging

Women do like pegging and the practice has many ardent fans.

  • About 10% of women report having tried pegging, and a further 10% say they’re interested in giving it a try. [1]
  • Women who have tried it say that what they loved most about it was power and control. [1]
  • About 40% of women surveyed by Dr. Justin Lehmiller reported having fantasies about giving anal sex to their male partners. [6]

As researcher DJ Williams explained in regard to his research [11], “Some of the peggers, the women [who] wore strap-ons, talked about what a workout it was.”

He said of the themes that emerged among his study’s participants, “intense mutual physical pleasure” was a major one, along with improved, thorough communication between partners.

“Another big emphasis was partners really focusing on the other person. They really wanted the other person to have pleasure and have a good time. And that was one of the more salient findings, quite honestly,” Williams said.

“Women would talk about how they just loved giving intense pleasure to their partner and the partner loved pleasing the woman,” he explained. “Which again, is a huge kind of benefit to the relationship overall.”

“I think a lot of females are empowered by it,” he added.

With her partner in a vulnerable position, a woman can explore her male partner’s anal canal as an erogenous zone, offer pleasure (or orgasms), and feel empowered — all at the same time.

Do Men Like Getting Pegged (Or The Idea Of Anal Play)?

donut chart depicting that 60% of men report having fantasies about receiving anal sex from a partner
  • Almost 60% of men surveyed by Dr. Justin Lehmiller, most of whom were heterosexual, had reported fantasizing about being on the receiving end of anal sex. [6]
  • One study suggests that straight male pegging enthusiasts are getting it an average of twice a month. [1]
  • Pegging harness kits accounted for roughly 10% of sex toy sales at The Enhanced Male for a 12-month period ending June 30, 2023. Considering the vendor’s gender analysis, it is assumed that roughly 70% of those were purchased by men. [5]
  • While 35% of heterosexual male respondents agreed that many straight men like to be anally stimulated during sex, only 14% agreed with the statement, “Many straight men like to be anally penetrated during sex.” [9]
  • Only 7% of heterosexual men cited hygiene as being the reason for the stigma associated with anal play (or avoiding male anal eroticism). [9]
  • 40% of heterosexual men surveyed reported feeling “ashamed of” their anal exploration practices, compared to 48% who reported feeling no shame. [9]
  • Among the reasons why heterosexual men reported not participating in anal stimulation: 29% cited disinterest, 17% said it sounds physically painful or uncomfortable, and 14% said they feel uncomfortable about the idea. Only 3.5% cited homosexual connotations or emasculation as personal reasons to avoid anal play. [9]

From William’s study [11]:

“Participants overwhelmingly described their experiences as being enjoyable, fun, exciting, being fully present, and extremely pleasurable. Several participants also reported that they enjoyed the anticipation and excitement of their next pegging experiences. 

For many, pegging reflected standard BDSM power themes of dominance and submission. Simply put, peggers liked being in control during anal sexual activities while peggees enjoyed yielding control to partners.” 

One participant, Jake, shared that he had anally stimulated himself with his fingers, butt plugs, or enemas before moving on to pegging.

“I was really into the power dynamic and the emotional aspect of it, as well as the physical sensations I found to be extremely enjoyable,” he explained. [11].

Tim, another pegee who took part in the study, said, “It’s nice to just lay back and be lazy and get fucked. It’s really pleasurable, and I didn’t realize it until I got pegged, and I found out that…it’s really nice.” [11]

An additional study by Williams and Lynnette Coto (2023, under review) [12] explored the pleasure experienced by peggers and peggees alike.

“Some participants reported that their very first pegging experiences were their most memorable and enjoyable, particularly among peggees,” the study noted.

One male participant said, “It built up to a great orgasm, and we both just felt wonderful.”

Another male participant in the study shared that it “was kind of a breathtaking moment. It was obviously exciting, but I also felt a heightened connection, and then also I felt all the fears and apprehensions kind of wash away at that moment.” [12]

graphic representation of the united states with five states highlighted based on the amount of pegging gear they purchase: 1. California; 2. Florida; 3. Texas; 4. Wyoming; 5. Idaho

According to data and statistics provided to Women’s Health Interactive exclusively by The Enhanced Male over a 12-month period ending on June 30, 2023, the highest sales of pegging gear occurred in [5]:

  1. California
  2. Florida
  3. Texas
  4. Wyoming — which has the smallest population in the United States [10]
  5. Idaho

Researcher DJ Williams said, “The data from The Enhanced Male are very interesting!”

He continued:

“A few years ago, Dr. Justin Lehmiller (sexologist) published a huge survey (over 4,000 participants from all 50 states) of Americans’ sexual fantasies. He reported that 85% of participants fantasized about using sex toys to add variety and spice to their sexual practices. 

Most commonly fantasized toys were directly related to BDSM activities, followed by strap-on dildos. Many women fantasized about giving anal sex, while many men fantasized about receiving anal penetration from a woman wearing a strap-on. 

The bottom line (pun intended!), is that such fantasies are quite common, though actual behavior is somewhat less common.”

“It’s interesting that the top states (apart from California) reported by The Enhanced Male tend to be conservative and religious,” Williams pointed out.

“Dr. Lehmiller also found that fantasy content differs between Republicans and Democrats and religious from non-religious folks. Religious, conservative people often tend to fantasize about exciting but taboo sexual practices (such as pegging), which, I think, may partly explain the data reported by The Enhanced Male. Of course, many people don’t act on their fantasies — but there are some that do!”

Sources:

  1. https://futuremethod.com/blogs/the-science-of-sex/statistics-on-american-anal-sex-habits
  2. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lockdown-lust-lovehoney-survey-uncovers-more-than-half-54-of-american-couples-have-become-more-sexually-adventurous-during-the-covid-19-crisis-301082179.html
  3. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-014-0376-1
  4. https://blog.clips4sale.com/b/the-c4s-fetish-of-the-year-2023/
  5. Statistics provided by The Enhanced Male
  6. “Tell Me What You Want” by Dr. Justin Lehmiller
  7. A Beginner’s Guide To Pegging,” Women’s Health Interactive
  8. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0181198
  9. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1363460716678560
  10. https://worldpopulationreview.com/states
  11. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01490400.2023.2226669
  12. “Best Sex He’d Ever Had!” A Qualitative Analysis of “Most Amazing” Pegging Experiences (under review) (Williams, Coto, 2023)