Pegging: The Answer to Misogyny?

Oh Hugo, Hugo, Hugo. Where do we begin? Let us start here:

Want to make straight men better in bed — and better feminist allies? The path may be simple: fuck them up the ass. According to one brand new book, the path to making men more compassionate, appreciative and playful may be straight through their butts.

Speaking as someone who had a feminist “fuck him up the ass” for quite some time when I was younger, I can assure people that it did not make me a “better feminist ally”, although it did prepare me for the kind of moronic logic Schwyzer uses in his article on Jezebel.

Schwyzer argues, using The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure: Erotic Exploration for Men and Their Partners written by Charlie Glickman and Aislinn Emirzian, that “pegging”, the act of a woman using a strap-on dildo to anally penetrate a man, is “liberation from the masculine straitjacket, with happy consequences that extend well outside the bedroom.” As Schwyzer explains:

In a deeply misogynistic culture, there are few greater fears with which men are raised than the fear of being labeled as someone who acts like a woman, allowing himself to be penetrated. There’s a reason why insults like “pussy” and “cunt,” when thrown at men, are so much more inflammatory than “dick” or “prick.” Reducing a man to what he already possesses is mildly insulting at best. Calling him a female body part that men penetrate with their penises: fighting words.

Except calling a man a female body part that men penetrate with their penises is really not the issue. The issue is stripping away men’s masculinity and manhood, which is why calling a grown man a “boy” carries the same weight as calling him a “pussy.” It has nothing to do with the fear of being penetrated. If it did “asshole” would carry unmanly connotation. It does not. Yet that little social fact does not stop Schwyzer from trying to rationalize his poor argument:

In his Myth of the Modern Homosexual, historian and cultural theorist Rictor Norton explains that the term “asshole” developed as a homophobic (and thus woman-hating) slur; while women and men both have rectums, a man who is anally penetrated has lost his manhood, and thus become feminized.

It is interesting that feminists assume that homophobic comments directed at men are at their core really woman-hating. If that were the case, one would expect to see people accepting masculine gay men without question. That does not happen. Homophobia in Western culture stems from many places, particularly religious biases, and it is misleading and dishonest to ignore that history.

Secondly, people call women “assholes” all the time. The reason it may occur less often than with men might stem from the other insults people prefer to direct at women.

This is the problem with using ideology to make an argument. From the start, Schwyzer’s ideology takes over. Instead of looking at men’s fear of anal sex rationally, he offers this:

Glickman and Emirzian acknowledge that this myth is persistent: “The idea that penetration is an act of dominance is almost certainly tied in to sexism and the notion that the woman’s role is inferior. Plenty of men have absorbed these ideas at a subconscious level. Even if a man doesn’t think it is an act of dominance when he penetrates his (male or female) partner, he may still hesitate to switch roles because he is afraid that it will mean losing his masculinity if he takes a turn catching instead of pitching.”

Ironically, in their effort to conform to feminist theories the authors and Schwyzer must maintain the notion that being penetrated is a feminine act. This concept is not unique to this particular topic either. Whenever feminists like Schwyzer talk about relationships, emotions, feelings, and such they present those inherently feminine. This shows how warped their ideology is. Even as they complain about sexism they perpetuate it.

This odd logic leads to the authors and Schwyzer’s ultimate point:

 In 2011, Glickman wrote a column entitled “How Pegging Can Save the World,” arguing that no other erotic experience a man can undergo can create greater empathy with women than being penetrated by his partner. “For men who have never been on the receiving side of penetration, sex is something that happens outside the body. And when sex is external to your body, it can be easier to do when you have a headache or you’re not quite in the mood. A lot of men discover than when sex is about catching rather than pitching, their mood, their emotions, and their connection to a partner can often have a bigger influence on what they want to do and how it feels.”

Again, Glickman associates being penetrated with being a woman and feminized. Yet the worse argument is the notion that sex for men is something that happens outside their body. That men are not being penetrated is true, however, men’s mood, emotions, and connection to their partner often have a big influence on what they do and how it feels.

Does Glickman, who is male, think that men’s bodies work like machines, completely disconnected from men’s minds? Does he really think that it is easier for men to have sex when they have headaches? Does he really think that it is easy for men to have sex, by which he means a man getting an erection in order to penetrate someone, when men are not in the mood? It makes one inclined to ask if Glickman, despite being male, knows nothing about how the male body works.

Men cannot just go shoving their penises into other people. It may sometimes get as hard as a bone, but is not one, and it is very easy to injure the penis by using too much force. Most men know this. When men have sex, unless they have a nerve problem, they are pretty aware of what is happening to and around their penis.

That makes the authors’ statement about women all the more odd:

For women, Glickman and Emirzian write, the experience of pegging a man can be equally revelatory, suggesting that “many women who use strap-on dildos discover how much work, responsibility, and (sometimes) power can be part of fucking someone.”

Curious how the penetration narrative flips when it is women doing the penetrating. When it is men, it is all about sexism and dominance. When it is women, it is about work and responsibility.

The authors stop there, but Schwyzer cannot help himself:

It’s intellectually reckless to impose political meanings onto private acts, but it seems telling that in an “End of Men” era where exhausted and stressed-out women already are shouldering so much more “work” and “responsibility” than ever before, those burdens are extended — in a novel way — to the bedroom as well.

Yes, of course. Now poor women have to take on all the “work” and “responsibility” in the bedroom, too. Granted, few men are asking women to, let alone making them, “fuck them up the ass.” No one is burdening women with anything. But again, Schwyzer cannot help himself. No matter the situation, women are always the victims, always the losers, always, no pun intended, on the bottom.

Back to the authors’ comment, they fail to note that a dildo is not a penis. It does not matter how “responsible” a person thinks they are, by using an object they lack physical sensitivity that someone using their finger or penis has. It is much easier to get a sense of what your partner is feeling and enjoying using one’s own body rather than a sex toy, and this is part of the problem is with that kind of activity. It is easier to not to read the person’s cues and as a result easier to hurt them.

The authors also address the obvious issue here: if penetration is about dominance, as they assert, then does that not mean that women simply want power over men? Logically, if the first assertion were true, the correct answer would be yes. However, the authors disagree:

“We suspect this is also why some straight guys may fear that their female partners want to penetrate them not for mutual pleasure, but as some kind of passive-aggressive payback.” That’s just not true, Glickman and Emirzian insist, and the sooner men get over their anxiety and guilt, the more fun they and their partners will have. And maybe, just maybe, we can peg our way right out of sexism itself.

Schwyzer offers no support for his assertion that “pegging” will “cure” sexism. However, if one followed the arguments made in the piece, the only given explanation for that “cure” is that by feminizing men via anal sex men will essentially learn what it is like to be a woman and therefore treat women better.

Not only is that stupid, sexist logic to a degree no human being should be capable of, but it also ignores that some women may actually enjoy the power aspect that comes from doing something culturally taboo and something the authors and Schwyzer says is really about dominating another person.

But most curious is the absence of any discussion of men’s consent or pleasure. Read the article again. Nowhere in the piece do any of them mention what a man would get out of anal sex beyond “liberation from the masculine straitjacket.” Nowhere in the piece do any of them mention getting a man’s consent. Instead, they argue that men who do not engage in anal sex “may fear that their female partners want to penetrate them not for mutual pleasure, but as some kind of passive-aggressive payback.”

That is the greatest irony of the article. While trying so desperately to show how men  penetrating women is about men’s dominance over women, the authors and Schwyzer essentially argue that pegging is women’s dominance over men.

16 thoughts on “Pegging: The Answer to Misogyny?

  1. “Ironically, in their effort to conform to feminist theories the authors and Schwyzer must maintain the notion that being penetrated is a feminine act. This concept is not unique to this particular topic either. Whenever feminists like Schwyzer talk about relationships, emotions, feelings, and such they present those inherently feminine. This shows how warped their ideology is. Even as they complain about sexism they perpetuate it.”

    In many countries who are extremely homophobic (punish it harshly, if not by death), gay sex still happens. The penetrating party is not seen as gay, while the penetrated party is seen that way.

    From what I heard this is true for some Middle East countries, for Thailand, for China and probably other places where being gay is considered (often legally) extremely undesirable (but only male on male).

    It’s not true in more enlightened countries where being a male bottom doesn’t mean you’re “no longer a man”, are worth punishing in prison or even with death for it.

  2. I’ve been reading a copy of Charlie book, and those Schwyzer quotes are not representative of the book. The book can mostly be summed up as “poking stuff up your ass is AWESOME! here’s how to do it safely.” The book is absolutely about male pleasure, especially on the receiving end.

    It is about consensual anal sex, solo or with a partner of either gender. There is one chapter, chapter 13, about masculinity gender and dominance, where Charlie goes to great lengths to explain that consensual anal sex is not an act of dominance. I think that hugo has the wrong end of the stick. A big chunk of that chapter about how to persuade a reluctant female partner to poke stuff up your ass.

  3. My dislike of anal sex isn’t from homophobia, it’s because I don’t like the feeling of anything in my ass. I wouldn’t subject a woman to it either. There IS NO comparison between the genders, there is no equivelant to a penis or a vagina, the anus is not a comparison to a vagina. Being penetrated in the vagina is most likely worlds different to penetration of the anus, otherwise wouldn’t plenty of women also be interested in anal sex?

    And if you are of the view that the penetrator is the dominant person than you really need to take a step back and try understand the world better. This is just more patriarchal thinking of women being submissive in the bedroom, that the vagina is not able to be used as a weapon, that penetration is the big evil sign of the dominant man. Nevermind the fact that a woman on top can control a man’s penis quite a lot to the point I’ve heard someone admit they held onto the man with the penis inside her as he came and he didn’t want to….A guy who was bigger than her by the way so obviously she had some power over him to force it to continue.

    I don’t see penetration as power, why would I want a partner who does see it as power? I see penetration as one half of a version of sex that I enjoy, both of us have power and at most the penetrator needs to be careful not to go too hard too soon to allow time for stretching or lubrication for whatever orifice is involved, the other partner also needs to be careful of friction and jack-knifing the penis (very painful).

  4. It’s often shocking (just kidding, it’s not shocking at all) how often these “sexually enlightened feminists” (snort) seem to hate the idea of men having any boundaries. First we had Jill Fillipovic who claims that men who say no to (performing) oral sex or having sex while their female partner is on her period is a “misogynistic asshole.” Then there was that Crunk Feminist article that basically said that a man owed her sex because of patriarchy, and saying no to her was a “power grab.” And now we have Hugo Schwyzer saying, basically, that men should get pegged or else they’re homophobes. (and, bonus points- there was an article ~a year ago on GMP that essentially said the same thing.)

    I wonder how all of these feminists would react if someone wrote an article that said “if you don’t want to make out with another woman while men watch, then obviously it means you hate lesbians.”

  5. If ever anybody needed evidence that Schwyzer is a complete degenerate there it is in all it’s glory. He is complete filth.

  6. Best part:

    “Norton implies that this is why we don’t often call women assholes: the word has no particular power to wound someone who isn’t anxious about preserving masculine status.”

    Apparently, women don’t mind being called assholes. Hugo Schwyzer, women expert.

  7. I’m pretty sure “asshole” is an insult because it’s a part of the body that has a reputation for smelling bad and does nothing but spout shit. Not because, well, gay people.

    Of course, this line of thinking has me wondering why “cunt” is so insulting to women then. I mean, if asshle is only insuting to men because of homophobia, that is.

  8. “Being penetrated in the vagina is most likely worlds different to penetration of the anus, otherwise wouldn’t plenty of women also be interested in anal sex? ”

    Argument by popularity.

    Fail.

    You can’t judge something’s merit by how many people do or consider doing it. Or else Scientology is better than anal sex, see even Tom Cruise says so. And the Pope is the most enlightened person on the planet, look at his following.

  9. Strip away all the academic terminology and ego-boosting (Hugo’s specialty) and you’ve basically got someone saying: “Your man not interesting in fighting sexism? Bribe him with a good fuck in the ass.”

  10. Strip away all the academic terminology and ego-boosting (Hugo’s specialty) and you’ve basically got someone saying: “Your man not interesting in fighting sexism? Bribe him with a good fuck in the ass.”

    And that is my major problem with Schwyzer’s piece. It is also a problem many of the Jezebel commenters had with the piece.

  11. Who knows, maybe there will come a time when Jezebel doesnt think of Hugo as “their” type of feminist. 😉

  12. Who knows, maybe there will come a time when Jezebel doesnt think of Hugo as “their” type of feminist.

    Anyone who still follows whim, probably wouldn’t mind if he came out saying he microwaves kittens.

  13. Titfortat: “Who knows, maybe there will come a time when Jezebel doesnt think of Hugo as “their” type of feminist.”

    He can nearly kill his girlfriend and cuckhold a man into supporting a son that wasn’t the man’s in the first place and still have a place in gender issues according to their standards.

  14. Is Jeezabel still publishing Hugo’s waffle? Oh How the mighty are fallen when they have to stoop to below the barrel for content!

    So Hugo is just reliving (Yet Again) his past in public all over again? Bi Bi Hugo has such a complex history with so many unexploded bombs, I’m quite sure that one day he will figure out how to make buggering students all about their empowerment and with them in control….

    Now one has to wonder if there would have been such uproar if old Bi Bi Gugo had been raping and attempting to murder his Bedrugged and beaten Boyfriend – with delayed knee jerk Apoplexy from his adoring fan base?

    What? No?

    Just goes to show that Hugo is such a show off – cos if he was serious in bumping people off he would do it to his boyfriends, and get far less attention and publicity!

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