Rough Sex: What You Need to Know To Keep it Physically and Mentally Healthy

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Some experts agree that rough sex is healthy, and there isn’t anything wrong or taboo with enjoying vigorous intercourse between two consenting adults.

Rough sex is empowering for couples and can be a healthy expression of love and desire. It can even be a tool to get through a mental crisis like grief or stress, provided, of course, that it is completely consensual and that the consent that comes from both parties is both active and constant.

The term ‘rough sex’ can vary between people and couples, which means that anything outside of vanilla, under-the-covers, lights off, missionary sex can be considered ‘rough’. For some, the term BDSM may even come to mind. Not that the latter is in and of itself wrong: if that’s what you enjoy. For people who want to explore something a little more intense, however, it’s best to be mentally prepared for it.

Rough sex or, indeed, any physical and intimate relations you’ll have as an adult, can be a liberating and exciting experience, or it could be deeply disturbing and traumatizing, depending on how you approach it, both with your partner and with yourself.

To maximize your enjoyment of rough sex and to make it healthy both for you and your partner, you should ask yourselves these things before engaging in rough sex:

Can I Trust My Partner with my Sexual Needs?

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Prior to intercourse, most people will already have a certain level of trust for their sexual partner, whether it’s someone they’re casually dating or it’s a long-term partner. However, when it comes to preferences during sex, many couples –even those in long-term relationships –can have trouble communicating exactly what they want because of a number of reasons, trust and latent insecurities being the most common.

Engaging in rough and vigorous sex can be intense and can even involve physical pain. This means that, for rough sex to be healthy for both participants, there has to be a strong level of trust between them. Prior to engaging in rough sex, boundaries must be set, and both partners need to trust each other that those boundaries will be followed and respected.

If you’re toying with the idea of engaging in rough sex, whether it’s with a long-term partner or a casual fling, you need to ask yourself: do I trust this person with my sexual needs? Can I trust them to respect the boundaries, both physical and emotional, that I have set? If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, then you might need more time to think about whether rough sex is something that you want to explore.

Trusting your romantic and/or sexual partner/s is a healthy habit to adopt in your 30s, as you’ve entered a new phase in life where your physical and emotional needs have evolved.

What are my Physical and Emotional Limits When it Comes to Rough Sex?

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Again, the concept of ‘rough’ sex can vary from person to person: it can be as simple as vigorous intercourse, involve light pain, involve toys, etc. It’s important, however, for you to define exactly what rough sex is through your personal perspective. Take note, however, that it doesn’t matter what gender you are: if you want it, initiate it!

Not only does this make communicating what you want from your partner much clearer, it also sets physical and emotional limits. These limits are important, both for you and your partner, because rough sex can be mentally and physically taxing on people who might not be ready for it. These boundaries are set to put both mind and body at ease.

Remember: rough sex, just like any other kind of sex between consenting adults, should be fun and enjoyable for both parties. There needs to limits as to the amount of physical and emotional roughage that you and your partner are willing to enjoy before it becomes uncomfortable.

Do I Know Enough About Rough Sex to Engage in it?

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Rough sex can be exciting: after all, there is a fine line between pain and pleasure that makes for intense and passionate intercourse if done correctly. However, as mentioned before, the definition of rough sex can differ from person to person, which is why it’s extremely important to both trust your partner and define exactly what rough sex means for you.

If you’re entertaining the idea of engaging in rough sex with your partner, it’s a good idea to read up on the options available to you. When it comes to your sexual preferences, there is no shame in reading as much material about it as possible. Learn as much as you can about your sexual preferences, especially when it comes sex that can potentially involve pain.

There are numerous resources regarding various kinks and sexual positions that you can check out online, as long as you keep an open mind!

Am I Using Rough Sex as a Form of Therapy?

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For some people, rough sex helps them process certain, personal experiences of theirs wherein they underwent physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological trauma. While it might be healthy for some people, it’s always best to be honest with yourself: am I using rough sex to explore my sexuality further, or am I using it to process my personal traumas? Is it a fun experience, or am I using it as a way to cope with drug abuse, or coping with painful memories?

There’s nothing wrong with using it as part of your therapy, but only if it’s something that your actual therapist or psychiatrist recommends. Remember: your partner is not your psychiatrist. You need other outlets for you to talk about and process your feelings. Yes, rough sex, and indeed any kind of sexual intimacy, can be part of the healing process, but it shouldn’t be the only outlet that you have.

Now That I’ve Had Rough Sex, Is it Something I Actually Enjoy?

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Once you’ve engaged in rough sex, ask yourself: is this something I actually enjoy? If the answer is anything but an enthusiastic ‘yes’, then rough sex might not be for you, and that’s ok! Again: the point of sexual intimacy is mutual pleasure and enjoyment. Sex between two actively consenting adults should never be uncomfortable or unenjoyable.

The key takeaway from all of this is: if you want to engage in rough sex, you need to be able to communicate with your partner and yourself in a healthy, constructive, and comprehensive manner (and it’s a great tip for improving your mental health in general). Only by realizing your wants and needs and explaining it to someone you trust in a way that they can receive and understand can someone enjoy sexual intimacy.

And never forget that the keyword here is consensual. If it’s not consensual, then it’s not sex. That’s assault.

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