Rough Sex Anyone?
My current lover and I have been having quite rough sex. Hair pulling, choking and slapping, etc. I am really enjoying it in the moment but afterwards feel a bit strange about it. He is very loving and respectful generally, but I worry I am betraying my feminist principles by allowing / enjoying these activities. What do you think? – Ivy.
Rough sex gets a bad rap sometimes, and often for the wrong reason. Sometimes people assume that rough sex means that one partner is being coerced, and the other partner is being unnecessarily aggressive, or aggressive as a form of genuine punishment, hatred or anger. While this can and does happen in many contexts and especially in situations where consent is not established; the difference here Ivy, is you are consenting and enjoying it. This is an extremely important distinction.
Pleasure and eroticism come in many forms. Sadly, because human sexuality is not discussed frequently enough or widely enough in helpful and useful ways, it’s hard to know exactly what other people enjoy and how many people enjoy it. We are often forced to keep our sexuality and desires to ourselves for fear of being shamed or ridiculed for it.
The current surge of interest in rough sex play and kink blossomed around 10 years ago with 50 Shades of Grey. Regardless of what one thinks of it from a literary perspective, this book, while a wildly inaccurate teacher of kink and consent, offered a green light to people worldwide to get their kink on. Books like this, along with other kinds of media including porn, give permission for people to experience new forms of excitement and arousal, and decide for themselves whether or not they would like to try them, and then decide if they like them.
While some aspects of rough and kinky sex do carry a degree of danger, the acts you’re describing (aside from the choking) are essentially harmless, as long as you pay attention to your limits and honor them. The dangers with choking are very real, and even the most experienced kink practitioners warn strongly about it. Learn and understand your limits with spanking and hair pulling, communicate them, and stop immediately if it ceases to be fun! It’s always a good idea to have an agreement with your lover about what your ‘stop’ word (also known as a safe word) is, so he knows when he hears this word, it really means STOP IMMEDIATELY, and is NOT part of the game. In advance, choose an incongruent word that you both identify as being the STOP word. e.g. potatoes (or some other random and un-sex related word).
Feminist principles are a valuable part of being a compassionate and thinking person regardless of your gender, and so too is your relationship with your sexuality. As a person of any gender, allowing yourself to freely express and enjoy your eroticism is a healthy and fundamental part of being an adult. Depending how you engage your feminist principles in light of sexual pleasure, you may find that the two can very comfortably go hand in hand, because as women, we have fought (and continue the fight) to be allowed to decide what we do with our own bodies, who we share them with and how. Give yourself permission to be all of who you are; sexual, sensual, kinky and feminist. They do not need to be in conflict with each other.
Listen to your body, notice its responses. This is where you will find the greatest liberation.
Need help managing sex, life and relationships? I am available to you from wherever you are in the world.