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The Psychology Behind Rough Sex

Why do some people like rough sex so much?
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Why do some people like rough sex so much?

As humans, we have distinctly different sexual tendencies from person to person. But almost everyone likes rough sex from time to time, even if they’re the sweetest, gentlest people outside of the bedroom. Where is the appeal of mixing pleasure with pain? It’s tough to understand, even from those who are enticed by the idea of rough sex with their partner.

There are probably a million reasons why we may do the things we do, and sometimes they can be different from one person to the next. However, some of the reasons may be psychological in nature, and these can be grouped to help evaluate our individual situations.


We crave it.

By human nature, we crave being scared. Of course, the amount of this craving is different from one person to the next, and it’s important that your partner trusts you to respect her boundaries. But just like watching a scary movie or riding a roller coaster, when we feel safe that we can avoid the situation going out of hand (you can tell your partner to stop, you can shut the movie off, you can trust that the ride has been well maintained) we long to be scared.

This, of course, isn’t true for everyone, but as someone who loves both horror movies and sex that hurts, the connection is definitely there.

For the person who’s being rough, the craving is for the power and the control. Of course, this power truly lies in the hands of the person who’s receiving the roughness – or at least it should. When you are in complete control of your partner and are allowed to take her body exactly how you like it, it’s hard not to get excited – which generally leads us to faster, harder, and more intense sex.


It implies urgency.

There’s nothing sexier than the thought that your partner wants you so bad that she just has to have it now, and rough sex gives us that. The excitement of pinning a partner to the bed to have your way with her is intensely erotic, and usually what we think of when we hear the term “erotic”.

If you think about a “quickie”, for example. It’s not exactly sexy to have sex in the shortest amount of time possible – but if your goal isn’t to have sex quickly, but rather to have sex right that second regardless of what you might have to do in ten minutes… Well, the whole situation changes.

When we’re having rough sex, we’re tapping into the part of our brain that deals with immediate gratification. We’re not as worried about slowly working our way to climax – we’re taking it, and that’s sexy.


It’s an act of pure trust.

All (consensual) sexual activity requires trust on the part of the giver as well as the receiver. However, if you’re participating in rough sex, there’s an extra trust involved. You’ll need to be able to trust that your partner will stop if you need her to, if it becomes too much. Of course, in some cases this may mean a safe word, as we may think we’re done but our partner could have other ideas for us. But being able to trust her to listen to what you need to say, when you need to say it, and not overstep your boundaries is a huge commitment.

For a long time, rough sex has had the stigma of being purely sexual, but in fact it’s more intimate than gentler sex in some ways. Sure, you might not have that full-body skin-to-skin contact that you might have with “more loving” sexual styles, but you’re getting intimate on a much deeper level.

When you trust someone to take your body at their own demand, you are basically telling them that they are a part of yourself. There is an implied “forced consent” here, but in any healthy sexual situations, both partners will know what they need to withdraw their consent if needed – and their partner will honor it.

It doesn’t make you any less “dominant” if you ask your partner if she is okay with things, just as it doesn’t make your partner any less “submissive” if she says she’s not. It’s just a matter of communicating your trust, and if you’re too focused on your labels, it becomes a job instead of sex – and no one wants that.

There are hard and soft lines in any relationship, and rough sex helps bring some of those things to the front. And there’s no rule anywhere that says you can’t cuddle and talk about your relationship afterward – in fact, it’s encouraged!


It’s not a sign of psychological issues.

Many people think that enjoying the “dirtier” aspects of sex may indicate a deeper problem, aside from just a need to be dominant/dominated in bed. However, Dr. George Simon reassures that there is no real reason to make the assumption that these things indicate psychological issues in most cases. As long as your desire for rougher, kinkier sex doesn’t intrude upon your life, it’s perfectly fine.

That being said, there are a few things to look for if you’re worried that it might deal with a psychological problem:

  • If you (or your partner) cannot enjoy sex unless in the typical “dominant/submissive” roles – you should be able and willing to change it up every now and then.
  • If you (or your partner) always requires “newer, better” sex than the last time – if you’re not happy with “regular” sex every now and then, there may be a psychological tie to the rough sex and possibly your sex life as a whole.
  • If you (or your partner) is driven primarily by the search for sexual activity – there is nothing inherently wrong with sex, or even liking sex, or truthfully even craving But if your home life or your work life are suffering because of your sexual urges, this may indicate the need for professional intervention.

Aside from those things (which seem a bit extreme and will probably raise a red flag long before you read about it on the internet!), there’s nothing wrong with rough sex. It doesn’t mean you have a problem, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you’re going to have a violent relationship outside of the bedroom.

Remember, ladies – sex bruises are sex bruises, and violent sex is not the same as sexual violence! Make sure you are well educated on the difference and keep the lines clearly drawn, for your own health and well-being.


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Author
Barbara is a 26-year-old lesbian living in California with her partner (and their “fur babies” - an adorably chubby puppy named Porkchop and a ball python named Ru). In the spare time she pretends to have, she enjoys horror movies, music of all varieties, reading, and complaining about the weather.

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