Q&A: Can Pegging Help Hemorrhoids?

Q: My partner and I are very interested in pegging play, but he’s super prone to hemorrhoids.

He’s afraid pegging will provoke a hemorrhoid so we haven’t been able to get far.

Will pegging provoke hemorrhoids? What advice do you have around pegging (or any anal play, really) and hemorrhoids? Thanks, Carol!

This is a great question! And the answer is relevant to non-pegging anal intercourse too, at least mostly. I’ll just mention the definition of pegging here, since it’s a fairly new sex term — it means female-to-male anal sex, as when she straps it on a la Bend Over Boyfriend.

As Jack Morin addresses in Anal Pleasure and Health, as long as you do anal insertion and intercourse properly — enough lube, relaxation, don’t force it — it’s likely to be good for hemorrhoids, not bad for them. ‘Rhoids are actually a kind of varicose vein, and bringing blood into the area is good for them; poor circulation is worse for varicosities of any kind. Any kind of erotic play involving touch, massage, and arousal are good for blood flow.

If anal play is done without regard to relaxation, timing, and lubrication, this might not be the case — it would certainly be possible to irritate hemorrhoids this way. So if someone has them, it’ll be important to always play nice.

And here’s where I’d say something only slightly different about pegging, compared to other kinds of anal intercourse. Because some dildos are quite firm — firmer even than a hard erection — and because when wearing a strap-on it can be possible to lose track of the angle of entry (until such time as they make dildos we can plug into our nerves), extra care should probably be taken when doing this kind of play with someone who has ‘rhoids. Use a softskin dildo, or something else with some cush to it; stay aware of how the dildo’s aim comes at the peg-ee’s anus, and make sure there’s always plenty of lube. That’s the only difference, and some intercourse experiences that are not pegging or strapped on (the penis variety, that is) run the risk of similar problems if the insertive partner is very rigid, insufficiently lubed, or not paying attention to what they’re doing.

The thing that tends to be worse for hemorrhoids than anything else, FYI, is bearing down and straining, as with bowel movements, and that means that a person’s diet has a real impact on this part of genital/anal health. Plenty of leafy green vegetables to eat — then on to a satisfying session of pegging! Is this why people these days are so into kale?

Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at carolqueen.com.

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