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Spring Colloquium 5/8/17

Pegging and the Heterosexualization of Anal Sex: An Analysis of Savage Love advice

May 8, 2017
12-1 pm
714 PLC

Jade Aguilar
Associate Professor of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies
Willamette University

This presentation examines the act of  “pegging,” a term that American sex advice columnist Dan Savage and his readers coined to describe a woman performing anal sex on a man by penetrating the man’s anus with a strap-on dildo. Since 2001 when the term was coined, the act (and the term) have gained popularity in the United States, appearing regularly in the mass media. This talk analyzes the Savage Love columns that discuss pegging. Using a queer theory approach, I show how Savage and his readers discursively normalize deviant sexual behaviors to construct socially “appropriate” sexual acts, bodies, behaviors, and identities. Straight-identified peggers are benefitting from the gains that gays/lesbians/queers have made in opening norms and sexual culture, but at the same time are working to highlight their straight identity and the social privileges that come with it.

Jade Aguilar is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies at Willamette University in Salem, OR. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado-Boulder. She studies and teaches courses in gender, sexuality, and family, in particular examining and challenging essentialist and biologically determinist perspectives. Her main areas of study include Intentional Communities, non-normative sexualities, and women in the construction trades.