BDSM handcuffs

Why Do We Like Rough Sex?

In the era of fourth-wave feminism and equal rights it can be tricky for some women to admit that when the lights go off, they want to be dominated and pushed around a little (or a lot), even in the context of consensual play (which is, to be clear, what we're discussing here). But the truth is, many women, as many as 57 percent (according to some studies) are turned on by the idea of forceful sex, as un-PC as it might be. 

In 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey marked the first time a book about kinky and rough sex disappeared from bookshelves at an astonishing rate. Yet much of the buzz it sparked initially was hushed conversations at girls' nights. And its immense popularity as an e-book — it was the first book to sell one million copies for the Kindle — suggests that many fans weren't cool with friends coming over and seeing a fetish-themed book jacket on their coffee table. Fast-forward to July just three years later: The racy trailer for the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades premiered not on HBO, not on late-night TV, but on cheery, morning-time Today. That made it official: Kinky, rough sex has gone mainstream.

The Psychology of Submission

Liking to be choked or dominated doesn't mean you're damaged, it doesn't mean you're sexist, and it certainly doesn't mean you're OK with being bossed around in any other context.

Most women who are into rough sex are into it for a very simple reason: It turns them on. As evolved as we've become, some aspects of sexual attraction are, well, primal. Physical size and strength and muscularity are essential differences between men and women and those kinds of differences are going to be erotic. That's not to say a penchant for rough play is the sole domain of hetero couples. What really makes rough sex sexy is the urgency factor — someone wants you so badly, he can't stop himself from pinning you to the bed. "To feel that power, that's a seriously arousing situation!" says Claire Cavanah, co-author of Moregasm.

For many women, who so often grow up thinking sex is dirty or bad, engaging in sexual play in which they're "forced" into sexual acts can help alleviate feelings of guilt or anxiety. It's a way for women to share responsibility for their desires.

There are also physiological reasons that account for the popularity of threatening-seeming situations. When you're scared or on edge, your blood circulation increases, your pupils dilate, your whole body is in a state of heightened arousal. When you add a sexual component to that, it can be very pleasurable.

Can You Like It Rough and Still Be a Feminist?

This rough-sex renaissance seems to be lining up with a period of history in which women wield more power than ever before, and there may be a correlation. According to some studies, women who play dominant roles in their lives may prefer to be submissive during sex. If you feel empowered in your daily life, being dominated in bed can be a nice break fro some women.

It's not so surprising when you think about it. Powerful men have been paying dominatrices to rough them up in underground sex dens for decades. Maybe powerful women are just catching up. 

Like sexual desire, the concept of feminism itself is not black and white. We police ourselves in so many areas of our lives — maybe sex is the one place where we want to be able to let go. 

And ultimately, isn't being empowered to do what you want — even when it isn't what you feel is expected of you as a strong, self-possessed woman — what good sex is all about?

Via Cosmopolitan. 

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