Sexploitations: Butt Stuff, Part Three: Pegging

Why is it called that?

So far, on our fantastic voyage around and into our buttholes, we’ve explored the joys of inserting fingers, dildos, and dicks into your poop chute — above all else, use lots of lube! — and discussed how best to ensure you don’t end up needing to change your sheets.

I hope that you’ve all learned a thing or two, and that having an honest conversation about the pleasures (and pains) of anal sex has diminished some fears and made ass-play a little less mysterious. For this, the final installment in all things butt-related, we’ll end with an explanation and a question for straight guys who like getting it up the butt.  

Let’s start with an explanation of poppers, and I don’t mean a jalapeño stuffed with cheese and deep-fried. I’m talking about amyl nitrite. That scary-sounding chemical refers to the liquid that’s often sold as video head cleaner, air freshener, or an industrial solvent. (OK, that does sound a bit scary, but those names are for manufacturers to sell a drug without drawing the attention of law enforcement or nosy, overprotective mothers.)  

The truth is that poppers are a vasodilator, which is to say a substance that increases blood flow. Amyl nitrates expand blood vessels by acting on smooth muscle tissue. Curiously, they’re called “poppers” because they were originally sold in small glass vessels that you had to break open, or “pop,” and which were used for people having a heart attack to increase blood flow to the heart.  

Poppers are usually sold at adult bookstores and sex-toy shops in small, brown bottles, as they break down when exposed to heat and light. Historically, they’ve been used as a party drug at discos and raves, often in combination with cocaine or ecstasy, because they give the user a sense of euphoria, dizziness, and a throbbing sensation that mixes with a good beat and some disco lights.

It’s been rumored that at small, packed dance clubs, someone would occasionally “accidentally” spill the poppers on the dance floor, resulting in a room full of people getting high at once. I don’t know if that’s true, but in college, my friends and I would dip unlit cigarettes in poppers to be more discreet. I don’t recommend this for many reasons — namely, who has cigarettes at the club anymore?

By way of a quick health warning and history lesson, while poppers have not been shown to be harmful when used as an inhalant, you should not ingest them. (Besides, they’d taste awful.) In the late 1970s and early ’80s, doctors mistakenly thought a mysterious cancer appearing in gay men in urban areas was caused by the use of poppers. But now we know that AIDS is caused by HIV.

In any case, poppers work by relaxing smooth muscle, and the lining of your rectum is smooth muscle. When someone inhales poppers, it causes their anus and rectum to relax and expand. Combined with the euphoric effects of increased oxygen in your brain, this makes getting fucked in the ass feel fucking fantastic!

Speaking of getting fucked in the ass, we’ve come to the question portion of today’s column. Some people call getting fucked in the ass with a strap-on dildo “pegging.” In my experience, “some people” almost exclusively refers to straight men, and pegging seems to be defined as a straight dude who is into ass-play getting fucked by a female partner wearing said strap-on. (If any of you gay or bi guys out there call it pegging, please let me know. I’m genuinely curious about this.)

So, the question that I put to you is this: Do you think it’s called pegging because “getting fucked in the ass” sounds too gay?

Whatever it is, I’m thrilled more and more straight-identified men are learning the joys of anal sex. I believe this is a step in the right direction, as everyone can be more open about various types of sexual experimentation and play. I just have the nagging sense they can’t say “getting fucked in the ass” because even the most open-minded men are still concerned that someone — the woman fucking them in the ass, maybe? — might think they’re secretly gay. Entrenched homophobia hurts us all.

Now, head over to the Castro and buy some poppers. I hear there’s a place or two that sells them. I bet the person behind the counter can even answer any lingering questions you might have about poppers and/or sticking things in your butt.

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