The real reason men are so turned on by rough sex

It seems that since 50 Shades of Grey became popular, rough sex and BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism) have hit the mainstream.  References can be found everywhere from Cosmopolitan to The Guardian newspaper.  But the desire for rough sex is not new.   Rough sex can be biting your lover, holding her down or the favourite ‘caveman’ (picking her up and carrying her off).    Rough sex can also be more intense including some BDSM – tying her to the bed and being very rough – pinching, spanking and finally pounding into her.   


The trend for rougher sex has worried lots of women, some men and lots of parents.    There was lots of discussion about the premise of abuse in 50 Shades of Grey.    Research has firmly shown that people who enjoy BDSM are generally mentally healthy and have experienced about the same level of sexual abuse as the general population. 


One of the reasons men (and women) are turned on by rough sex is the element of surprise that turns on our dopamine receptors which gives us more sexual pleasure.   Unexpected experiences help keep our relationships exciting and fresh.    We are more daring when engaging in rough sex so will try out different sensations.  Biting and nipping, for example, will stimulate dopamine as well.  Scientists suggest that this comes from our animal heritage where friendly biting and nipping is part of early play and is embedded in social rituals.  Some primatologists note that biting usual happens between trusted family and friends and sends a message of trust. ‘I trust you so much I can put myself in your mouth and you won’t hurt me’. 


Biting can also be used to establish dominance.   Power is exciting and this is real reason so many men (and women) are turned on by rough sex.  Control is a central feature in sexual interactions.   Both having the power and giving up the power are extremely sexually exciting for many people.     With many women today being in powerful positions at work and spending all day making extremely important positions, giving up control can be an extreme aphrodisiac.  Having someone take control, and take over physically can be a relief as well. 

The real reason men are so turned on by rough sex?  Power is intoxicating.  During rough sex, the man feels he can take what he wants from his partner.  She feels how much he wants her and is more open to him.    Sexual submission is active receptiveness not passivity.  His strength turns her on and the more turned on she is, the more powerful he feels and the hotter the sex becomes.    Dominance and submission create a feedback loop. 

Rough sex is a time where the partner being rough can be a bit selfish.  He (or she or they) can take what  he wants.   It is his turn to lead the dance and make the decisions about what it will look like.  He controls the rhythm and the pattern the dance takes.  He doesn’t have to hold back.     He holds the control.

Of course, not all men want to be in control.  Some love rough sex because they can let go of control and let their partner be dominant.  Many men who wield a lot of power in their careers enjoy the opportunity to let someone else have the power, be in charge.  Being receptive becomes the ultimate turn on.   


In relationships that are usually egalitarian, the partner who has the power drives the sexual experience.  Some couples enjoy switching roles so each of them have the opportunity to be the one on top.  Others tend to have defined roles when they indulge in rough sex.  Either way, rough sex is an exciting change from their usual equal exchanges.


So now that you know (or are ready to admit) rough sex is a turn on, how do you start?  Rough sex works best with someone you trust.   Talk with your partner about increasing the roughness a bit next time you have sex.  Make sure to get clear consent before getting rougher.  Clear consent is detailed consent.  Especially if this is the first time you are introducing this into your relationship – set aside time to explore exactly what rough sex means to you.  For example:  Giving someone a hickey can be rough to some and usual to others.  Biting might look like nibbling to some and might mean almost drawing blood to others.  Rough sex might be going faster and harder to some and leaving bruises to others.    The more detail – the more likely you are to have a great experience and the less likely you are to have a misunderstanding that causes hurt and upset or at worst that causes someone to feel as though they have been violated.  Once you have done this, just go for it!  That is one of the electrifying things about rough sex. 

Questions about rough sex? Curious about technique or the best first things to try?  Email me .