Taking technology very seriously: pegging

pegging

This post was originally written for Wired

If you read Italian media you’d be rightfully puzzled by its latest obsession. For the last week or so, lots of websites, magazines, radio shows and so on have been giving way too much space to dissecting the newfangled fashion of pegging. Those unfamiliar with the word – which is used in English throughout the world – should better be aware that it euphemistically refers to sodomization with objects. While it is an unisex term, it is generally used to describe heterosexual scenes where the passive role is taken by males who, if you believe the news, “have discovered” the pleasures of taking it up the ass. Reality of course is a bit different, and although the topic may look baffling you only need a tad of research to uncover lots of surprises.

Pegging of course is nothing new at all: just think that in the third century B.C. the entire economy of the Greek city of Miletus revolved around the production of olisboi, the very same phallic belts we nowadays call ‘strap-on dildos’. The only reason for its sudden popularity is the proverbial laziness of my ex-colleagues, who mindlessly copied a post that appeared on the hyper-popular online tabloid Dagospia (who copied it from the US Cosmopolitan site in the first place), showing the same creativity of a tofu block.
Pity, because if they just made the effort of going beyond their hypocritical faux-outrage and juvenile jokes about anything anal, they would realize that sex tech evolved quite a bit since the age of the polis.

An overlooked but really game-changing news came for example last month, when the Swedish sex toys giant Lelo published its last 2015 quarterly results. The best selling product for Christmas wasn’t in fact one of its many designer items for female customers, but Hugo – a high tech prostate massager obviously reserved for guys. If you disregard the remote control, the powerful motor and the advanced plastic materials that simulate skin, it is the same kind of object that has been making the Aneros company rich for the last quarter of century: an anatomical stimulator meant to massage in relative comfort an otherwise difficult to reach spot. Which unleashes the most intense orgasms a man can experience.

Yup, the secret just there, in the human physiology. Trends and scandals are wholly imaginary… The simple truth is that since the Internet allowed to directly access a complete information about sexuality, more and more people have been learning that ignoring absurd taboos («if you just consider your asshole you are gay and you’ll burn in hell», «the only proper sex is missionary», «healthy people don’t use sex toys», etc.) allows to experience many new harmless pleasures. This in turn gave rise to new market demands and to new products to satisfy them – from the very interesting such as the male vibrator Pulse II to idiotic junk like the Illusion VR “virtual reality” sex simulator.

The biggest popularizer for pegging was however another geek hero: the psycho superhero Deadpool, who in its ubersuccessful movie treated this type of penetration as just one among many games you can try with your partner. That three-seconds scene taught millions of people worldwide everything they had to know about a sex practice previously unmentionable in mainstream media. In a nutshell: you can do it; your heterosexuality won’t disappear for that; it doesn’t exclude other games; if you discover you don’t like it you can just laugh it off with no harm done. Was it really the case to get so riled about it?

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