Recently, bi/pansexual model and actress Cara Delevinge, who identifies as genderfluid (and who uses she/her pronouns), wore an outfit to the 2021 Met Gala, which read ‘Peg the Patriarchy’ across the front. The outfit, which Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri designed, was controversial, but perhaps not in the ways Dior and Delevinge had initially hoped it would be.

For starters, the expression ‘Peg the Patriarchy’ is a term first trademarked in 2015 by a queer artist named Luna Matatas, who received no credit or recognition from Dior or Delevinge. “Hey y’all,” Matatas said in a video shortly after Delevinge walked the carpet, “so apparently ‘Peg The Patriarchy’ made it to the Met Gala without credit to me or mention of me from the person wearing it.” Not crediting the originator of the phrase while using their work for publicity is wrong and extremely frustrating. But the nuanced issues with the outfit don’t stop there.

“You know, it’s a bit like, ‘stick it to the man,’ if anyone wants to look up the word,” Delevinge said, referring to the word ‘peg,’ prefacing that by saying the message of the outfit was about “female empowerment” and “gender equality.” On the surface, sticking it to the man sounds like a good, albeit lazy, message to send in 2021. Certainly, considering all that’s going on, there is only ground to be gained by trying to dismantle patriarchal ideology. However, using pegging in this context expresses a deep misunderstanding of the sex act and is overall a disservice to pegging by framing it as something that is about violence, destruction, or humiliation.

In an effort to right that wrong, let’s take a deeper look at pegging. Where the expression comes from, what it is, and how it can be used as a way to enhance intimacy with your partner and bring your relationship and sex life to a whole new place.

Where does pegging come from

In his 1795 book Philosophy in the Bedroom, the Marquis de Sade describes what is understood to be a sexual encounter that involves pegging. The first pegging scene to be seen on the silver screen happens in the 1970 film Myra Breckinridge, based on a novel written by Gore Vidal.

However, neither of these depictions use the word pegging, and with good reason. Because that word didn’t yet exist, or at least, it wasn’t used to name what we know today as pegging. We actually didn’t have a proper word for pegging until 2001, when gay sex columnist Dan Savage noted that there was a hole in the vernacular for such a thing in the English language.

“What term,” Savaged asked his readers, “from this day forward, will be the commonly accepted slang for a woman fucking a man in the ass with a strap-on dildo?”

One submission, ‘pegging’, was the clear winner, and the rest, as they say, is history. Of course, the act of pegging existed long before 2001, as the Marquis de Sade’s book proves, and it’s certainly true the act predates even that depiction.

One of our favorite uses of pegging in popular culture, and no doubt one that catapulted into society’s common consciousness again, is the pegging episode of Comedy Central’s Broad City. In the episode, Abby, cheered by her best friend Ilana, pegs her hot neighbor Jeremy. This episode celebrates pegging in all the glory it deserves, a far cry from the negative connotations Delevinge’s Dior outfit purported.

So what exactly is pegging

As Dan Savage so expertly put it, and as quoted above, in the simplest of terms,’ pegging is the act of “a woman fucking a man in the ass with a strap-on dildo?”

Certainly, you can peg and be pegged as a person of any gender and sexuality. Honestly, the more pegging, the better. However, a lot of people have a lot of different language to describe the act of having sex with a strap-on, and pegging is usually understood to be an act that takes place between a cis-man and a cis-woman.

Of course, call it whatever you like, and let it be between whoever you’d like it to be between. We’re not here to police anyone’s sexual nomenclature. (But we are here to provide a few fun alternatives.)

Should I try pegging

Yes, of course! Well, if you and your partner(s) want to, that is. Let’s actually take that one step further and say, not only if your partner(s) want to, but if, as with all sex, enthusiastic consent comes first.

Pegging can be a wildly fulfilling, pleasurable, and connective type of sex to have. For those being pegged, it’s a great way to explore booty play and all the pleasure that comes along with it. A caveat to that is if the person being pegged is relatively new to booty play, it’s best to start small and take it slow. There’s a lot of fun to be had but noting with stop the fun quicker than getting sore too soon and for all the wrong reasons.

For the person doing the pegging (who are, as we said before, typically cis-women), it can be a really powerful way to subvert traditional sex roles and explore and own their sexuality. It can also be, as all kinds of sex should, fun and freeing. It’s an opportunity to learn more about yourself and connect with sexual partners in a whole new way.

If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, have a conversation (or several) with the person you’d like to explore it with. It might be strange to bring up at first, but the only thing stranger than talking about pegging is not exploring your interests in the first place. And if you do decide to go for it, make sure you’re prepared with the right equipment. Search around for a dildo and harness that both you and your partner(s) are comfortable with and excited about. And don’t forget the lube. Trust us.

If you’d like to explore pegging on your own before getting a partner involved, check out these two stories below, where you can listen in as characters in the Dipseaverse explore pegging in all its glory.

And always remember: Don’t peg the patriarchy. Burn down the patriarchy, and peg the people you love. You know, if they’re into it.