But the BDSM franchise is out there, and has sparked a number of conversations regarding consensual rough sex and put a spotlight on the people who like it. Even Barbara Walters found time to weigh in. Since the it's release, a lot of women have credited the book for giving them a way to address long suppressed sexual preferences. To be clear, those participating BDSM activities that demand safe words and contracts still seem to fall in the minority.
But the 50 Shades boom does lend itself to the idea that women can, in fact, like rough sex. Women should certainly experiment with what turns them on in the bedroom, even if it means entertaining a few taboos.
Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day. But rough sex still presents a very distinct set of difficulties. And that can put a lot of 21st century men in a very uncomfortable position. Toss out a profanity on the street and you might get trouble. Do it during sex and she might moan loader? Hitting women is bad, but a spanking is hot? Spitting on people is unacceptable, but it can work in the bedroom? A lot of guys seem to have a hard time stomaching these kinds of inconsistencies.
Nobody wants to seem rape-y. But where does it leave them when confronted by a partner craving that level of kinkiness? Psychologist Megan Fleming specializes in treating both men and women with their sexual health and relationship concerns.
The conditions might not be right for a guy to have sex… to be rough in that way. I'm a pleaser, a giver, someone who enjoys giving pleasure more than taking it from someone else. So for me, I like slow, passionate, intense love making, crazy intense orgasms from lots of teasing and buildup… I also don't enjoy giving pain, sure a smack on the ass can be fun and all that, but I don't know that I'd enjoy causing pain even if mixed with pleasure.
I think I'm too much of a sensual pleaser for that. That extends beyond sex. My wife wants to use a strap on… Even if I had a desire for that level of play I could not be submissive like that. Sexuality, in my mind, should be an extension of who you are as a person. There is no dissonance that way. I'm sure we both can agree that the brain is the primary sex organ and chief erogenous zone.
If there's dissonance then the experience will probably lead to frustration as there is some disconnect between body and brain. That's viewed as a typically submissive position.
I am all for experimentation and light bondage has its place. It adds a flair for the taboo I guess. But when it's almost scripted I'd rather not. Sometimes it feels as if I am just the tool for getting [my girlfriend] off… Now it seems you have to be rougher and more dominant. You have to [have sex] very hard and stay hard for a long time. Certainly not the over crew.
I think it actually puts much more of a performance demand on men. You condition your mind and your brain to have all these sensory experiences… in some ways, rough sex is one way of building more intensity.
And I think for any sexual partner, it goes back to the idea of range. His girlfriend, on the other hand, is. They can be as aggressive as men in there professional lives and I believe this carries over into their sexual desires. They can be as aggressive and demanding as men, and they feel deserving of a great and satisfying sex life that they can now brag about just like men used to. They just want to not have to think and it can just be about her pleasure.
It can be all about her pleasure. And I think equally men want the same thing, right? But those of us who enjoy rough sex have a tendency to skip over the conversation and jump right to the act.
And that can leave a lot of guys blindsided. In particular, what is it about him doing it for you. Men are motivated to try, they want to give you pleasure. Men can feel just as objectified these days as I think historically women have felt. That part is obvious enough. But when their partner is, the pressure to forge that desire can run deep. Maybe Steve and Fleming are right. Empowering disempowerment, or something like that.
I got a lot of different types responses, but one that seemed to reappear was that no guy was going to admit to that. At least not publically. It speaks to how we define masculinity, femininity and everything that falls in between. Names have been changed Carrie Weisman is a writer focusing on sex, relationships and culture.