Is it possible to like rough sex more when you're starting from not liking it at all really?
December 12, 2010 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to like rough sex more when you're starting from not liking it at all really? (Straight male POV) Is this even something I should want to try to do?

I'm male, late twenties, have had many sexual partners, both casual and in serious relationships, and have just started seeing a new girl who is obviously very into rough sex. She communicates this through both body language in bed, and in words out of bed.

The problem is that rough sex doesn't do anything for me and never has. I'm embarrassingly, and, at times it can seem like, cripplingly, vanilla.

So, on the one hand, I feel, if I'm so sexually incompatible with this new person that it's more effort than it's worth to try to give her what she wants, I could just end it before it gets too serious.

On the other hand:
a) this seems like a really common desire in women - at least a third of the women I've been with, probably closer to half or more if you only count the ones I got to know better, have been into some degree of rough sex - and so a part of me sort of feels like it's something I'm going to be coming up against for the rest of my life;
b) I'm sort of curious about it - if it could be an acquired taste, maybe it would be fun; and
c) another part of me feels like maybe, just maybe, this is a subset of the problem of my arousal being based very largely on simply how pleasing I find my partner to look, and that itself will probably start to be more and more of problem as I get older, for obvious reasons - so maybe I should try to start now to condition my sexuality to be more “in the head.”

I also wonder: am I fooling myself? Am I just too inhibited? Do I actually not understand my own sexuality? If I got drunk enough, would some "real" animalistic part of me come out, and I'd enjoy hitting a woman I was having sex with, holding her down, choking her, "fucking her face", tieing her up, etc - all things I've been asked to do, and sometimes have done while not enjoying it at all?

I realize the ideal place to explore this stuff is probably in a trusting long-term relationship, but I don't happen to be in one right now, and to be honest, I feel like it might actually be easier to try on different personas with someone I don't know that well.

So. I'm wondering if anyone (men's responses would be most relevant but I'm very open to women's too) has had any kind of turning point with this stuff, where at Time A they didn't like rough sex and at Time B they did. If this is you, what happened between Times A & B?

A more general question, for men and women, is maybe: has your sexuality gone from pure optics-based to something involving more higher-level cognitive? As you've gotten older perhaps? Is this a pipe dream?

Thanks.

Throwaway: roughroughrough123@gmail.com

This may be asking for trouble, but I'm also open to "you're thinking about this all wrong" type answers.

(I've checked out http://ask.metafilter.com/145055/Is-there-a-Rough-Guide-to-rough-sex, but it's pretty different. For instance, "She’s keen on being choked while we make love which I’m happy to do" does not describe me. This one http://ask.metafilter.com/149019/How-can-I-learn-to-be-more-dominant-in-bed is also pretty different.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (25 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
You're not going to magically become an expert in, start performing, and enjoy every single one of the bedroom activities you listed. I hope this new lady doesn't expect that of you. Slow down, man. "Rough sex" is such a big buffet and you don't even know where the plates are. Hell, you're still driving in circles trying to find the restaurant.

Not being into "rough sex" doesn't mean you're cripplingly vanilla. What's crippling is that we bind so much of our identities up in the kinds of sexy times we like to have. So instead of being paralyzed by thoughts of "OMG, I am totally not that type of person", relax and pick on or two items off the menu and explore them with your partner. I mean, only if you want to. And also, your partner has to help out. She can't just lay there and expect you to become the master of sexy torment.

I suggest starting with tying her up because there's tons of books, classes, seminars, and internet videos dedicated to teaching you specific techniques, and knowledge here is power. Being able to tie your lover up quickly is sexy. You don't have to slap her while you're doing it, and you can start with very very very mild stuff--tie her wrists together, put a blindfold on her. Gradually you build up to more intense stuff. Also, read these books and go to these classes with your partner. You both learn a lot, and it's a kind of foreplay.

Good luck and remember that if you are really, thoroughly, completely uninterested in any of the sexy stuff she wants to do, well, that's fine. She's gotta respect your needs too.
posted by guybrush_threepwood at 11:59 AM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I suggest starting with tying her up because there's tons of books, classes, seminars, and internet videos dedicated to teaching you specific techniques, and knowledge here is power.

If I had to attend classes and seminars to learn new sexual techniques, I think I would just pass on those techniques. Wouldn't the very appeal of rough sex be deracinated by the process of attending "classes and seminars"?
posted by jayder at 12:15 PM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dan Savage might be a good resource for you.
posted by theora55 at 12:31 PM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


And sorry, that didn't really answer your question.

A lot of porn these days is heavy on the aggressiveness (perhaps a mirror into the sex lives of many, now that I think of it). You could try to check some of that out and see what you can get out of it.
posted by Defenestrator at 12:32 PM on December 12, 2010


Forcing yourself to do something because you feel you should like it often causes you not to like it. This is a self-perpetuating cycle. If you want to proceed, I'd do it very, very slowly, stop if you're uncomfortable, and ask for LOTS of positive feedback. If your partner isn't comfortable with the pace, she is not the partner for you.

It may turn out that you're never going to be into it, just as a gay guy is never going to be into women. No one would fairly expect the gay guy to keep trying straight sex until he gets used to it. You shouldn't put that kind of pressure on yourself either. There's plenty of straight women who aren't into being recipients of rough sex.
posted by desjardins at 12:32 PM on December 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


This is merely a suggestion, but would it perhaps help to be on the other side of the equation once or twice? In other words, would it maybe assist you in understanding, if not the turn-on, than the mechanics of it, if SHE tied you up and (very, very lightly-- this is the sort of scenario that safewords are made for) tortured you a little? I find that, often, if someone asks me to do something to them, I am much more capable of getting in the headspace if I've had it done to me first.

If that doesn't work, I would ask myself: does anything make me uncomfortable about being rough in bed? Does it make you feel squicky, or like a bad person, or weirdly emotional, or insanely turned on, or do you just not feel a damn thing towards it? If you have some emotion surrounding it, I would try to work it out with your partner-- what is it that interests or disgusts you about it? You might find deep down that it's quite liberating to move past that by engaging in rough sex. If you are just totally neutral towards it, well, you'll probably never learn to love it but you *can* learn to be skilled at it.

What may also help is to ask her to vocalize her enjoyment. I know you've said you're most turned-on by visuals, but sound may work too. If you're being rough with her and she's very very into it and subsequently even more turned on than usual, letting you know about that (whether through dirty talk or just moaning) may help reinforce her pleasure in your head, and you might start to associate rough sexy times with equally sexy sounds and the absolute assurance that your partner is so turned on they might never make it back to Earth.

One last thing and then I'll be quiet, and let more experienced Mefites take the stage. You don't mention if she just likes rough sex, or if she actually enjoys the experience of being dominated (those are two different things, so ask!) If she's open to domination, doing that to someone in bed can be a very visually pleasing experience. Is there a way you've always wanted to have her-- up against a wall, tied to a chair, face down on the bed-- a way that you already think about the way she would look? Order her to do it. How about tying her up in a way that accents her breasts, or taking your time watching her suck your cock with your fist in her hair? Get creative. There are plenty of ways to be both dominating and visual-- she's your canvas and now you get to be the artist, making a one-woman show just for you.

If, of course, you're comfortable with that. If you're not, that's fine too!
posted by WidgetAlley at 12:34 PM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd like to amend "stop if you're uncomfortable" to "switch to something that's more comfortable for you." Freaking out and stopping mid-coitus is not going to be pleasant for anyone.
posted by desjardins at 12:34 PM on December 12, 2010


(Female here): You're allowed to not enjoy, or to dislike, some forms of sexual activity. When it comes to something as loaded as "rough sex", which might feel contrary to not only everything you enjoy and prefer but also a desire to not hurt your partner, even in play, it's okay to say no, I'm not into it. It's not a requirement; if it is for your partner, then you are perhaps sexually incompatible. When an activity bumps up this hard against your personal boundaries, it's fine to acknowledge that. (And I think that if a woman was asking this question, the majority answer would be the same, rather than take a class in bondage.) Re: the visual aspects, from what I understand from talking to male friends, your visual pleasure can age with you-- younger woman will eventually look too young, and women your own age more attractive. Obviously this varies, but I have heard men assert this.
posted by jokeefe at 12:38 PM on December 12, 2010 [11 favorites]


a) this seems like a really common desire in women - at least a third of the women I've been with, probably closer to half or more if you only count the ones I got to know better, have been into some degree of rough sex - and so a part of me sort of feels like it's something I'm going to be coming up against for the rest of my life;;

Why not just stick with the other half, with whom you're already sexually compatible with?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:39 PM on December 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'd also recommend taking Dan Savage with a very big grain of salt, personally.
posted by jokeefe at 12:39 PM on December 12, 2010 [11 favorites]


Is part of the aversion to heading down that road the worry that you'll go too far? It would be for me. Some of the things mentioned can go from naughty to Awful in an instant. That's probably why it is a turn on for the recipient, because they are trusting you not to cross the line. Meanwhile, you don't really know the line.

Communication seems to be key. Perhaps watching relevant pornography together might help.
posted by gjc at 12:50 PM on December 12, 2010


Everyone is different. No two people will define "rough sex" the same way. Sometimes you're just not sexually compatible, and its better to find out now and move onto someone more compatible. Especially before anyone get a ring on their finger.

You're not weird for not liking rough sex, and your partners aren't weird for wanting it. You just have different tastes. Don't try to force it.

Personally I love, L-O-V-E, to be tied up for sex. Tightly, creatively, roughly. But I don't want to be choked or hit, and am not into S&M. But before I play, the lines are drawn, the limits are defined, and play is fun.

Now, to someone like you, I'm sure I fall in the non-vanilla rough-sex girl. But to the rest of the rough-sex crowd, I can be considered a prude, and have been told so. (I like to say I'm too kinky for 97% of the population and not kinky enough for the other 3% :-)

My point is that you should find girls you like who like what you like, and not force yourself to do things that aren't in your nature (we can tell when you're "faking it").

Good luck and have fun!
posted by sandra_s at 1:15 PM on December 12, 2010


I'd just ask that if you're not into choking people, don't really want to be into that, would prefer just not knowing about it, etc.-- don't try it just to please your partner.

Breath-related stuff requires both interest and precise education; it carries high risk of injury when done incorrectly. It's not really something you can pull out of your bag of tricks without a clear understanding of both technique and what your partner expects to get from it.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 1:19 PM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't do anything you won't find fun. Absolutely do NOT get drunk to experiment with rough sex--that is a recipe for injury and disaster. Seriously, that's just foolhardy.

Take a look at books like SM 101 by Jay Wiseman and Safe, Sane, Consensual, and Fun by James (?) Warren. See if any of the stuff they're talking about looks appealing to you.


As for the other bit, maybe focusing more on how personally and sexually compatible you and your partners are, instead of focusing on what they look like, will help you find women you click with more? I mean, everyone has their things they dig and don't dig, but it sounds like you've trained your eye to a very narrow window of "this kind of person gets me hot." One way to fix this is to switch your porn habits from commercial porn to real-person amateur porn; watching people of all ages/shapes/sizes/grooming habits/levels of fitness/you name it getting it on can help retrain your eye.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:30 PM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering if anyone (men's responses would be most relevant but I'm very open to women's too) has had any kind of turning point with this stuff, where at Time A they didn't like rough sex and at Time B they did. If this is you, what happened between Times A & B?

I've successfully encouraged lovers to be more aggressive as part of the sexual getting-to-know you process. The turning point into "uh, I guess I could try that" to enthusiasm to taking things a little rougher came about from two things. One, we talked somewhat geekily about how power and sex work together and ways in which it's hot to play with those lines. Second, my really enthusiastic reactions were apparently delightfully persuasive.

Now, I'm not into humiliation, so a lot of the typical examples of "rough sex" aren't really what I want to do in bed -- that I didn't want him to be, like, actually mean was a big relief. For me, it was more about inspiring a Very Nice Proper Boy to let go and get less polite.
posted by desuetude at 2:00 PM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I also wonder: am I fooling myself? Am I just too inhibited?

You might have inhibitions that are keeping you from liking this stuff. It's not uncommon. A lot of guys internalize the idea that you are a VERY VERY BAD PERSON if you get rough with a woman, and end up feeling VERY VERY BAD about even consensual roughness. So, who knows? There's definitely a chance you could get your feelings about this stuff sorted out over time and eventually come to like it.

On the other hand, why force it?

Look: there's this weird idea that uninhibited people are better than people with inhibitions — that hesitating or knowing your limits is some kind of flaw. Fuck that. If you're happy having vanilla sex, then keep having vanilla sex, and lose the idea that the perverts are somehow superior. If you find yourself liking the kinky shit later, that's cool too. But basically, you should do what you enjoy and not moralize about whether it's The Right Thing to enjoy.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:31 PM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


If I got drunk enough, would some "real" animalistic part of me come out

Please don't get drunk and have rough sex.
posted by the_bone at 3:09 PM on December 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think that part of your problem may be equating "vanilla" with "inhibited." Vanilla sex is unfairly maligned -- it can be so wonderful: sexy, intimate, focused on sensation and enjoyment. When just staring into your partner's eyes is so intense that you feel your heart is going to stop, or when a long kiss seems to wrap the two of you in a timeless parallel universe of your own...it's a little reductive to call that "vanilla." Ultimately, good sex is about communication rather than these labels. It's not a performance to a preplanned script.

So I think you should dispell this notion that you're inhibited just because you don't right now crave the kind of sex denominated as "rough." Isn't there anything that piques your interest and you want to explore? Maybe when you begin to explore these things with a partner, you will slowly and organically learn about roughness too. It can be about the two of you experiencing sex together, trying new things, and learning about each other (and the unique sexual chemistry you have together), instead of fulfilling some rigid roles like "she's kinky and I'm vanilla." Throw away this idea that sexual skills and preferences are something that exist in a vacuum and that there are objective standards to live up to-- it's always something unique you create anew together.
posted by mrs. sock at 3:24 PM on December 12, 2010 [11 favorites]


my first question to you: have you tried any of the things you partner wants to try? within reason, i think it's fair to try things that you might not think you like but might just be something you haven't done. on the other hand, there are plenty of things that i refuse outright to do without having to try them, so...

i also think that perhaps you are jumping too far on the rough sex scale. because what i'm hearing you talk about it is much more BDSM in my book. maybe you should try something lighter. spanking? tying up to me is just a game of teasing. can you see it that way?

bottom line, though: don't do anything you aren't comfortable with really and truly. it's up to you to figure out your sexuality in your own way and in your own time. and maybe rough sex just isn't you. i know people who aren't into it at all. my last boyfriend was into much rougher sex than my current. i have found myself enjoying sex with my current just as much, if not more than, the previous boyfriend. does this girl REQUIRE rough sex? can she be ok without it?
posted by itsacover at 4:09 PM on December 12, 2010


Why not just stick with the other half, with whom you're already sexually compatible with?

This.

I mean, I'm totally into rough sex. It's fun, it's sexy, good times for all, etc. But there are plenty of other things I am Not Into, and I don't feel any poorer for not doing them. I'm not going to join a swingers' club, advertise for random dudes to pull a train on my partner, or get down and dirty with the scatophiles. That doesn't make me boringly vanilla, just honest about what I like and don't like.

So, while I encourage you to try anything that sounds like it might be at least kind of ok (and unless it's awful, to try it twice, because the first time is usually just awkward), I'd also encourage you to get more comfortable with knowing what you do and don't like. (I do wonder, though, if you are giving off some kind of mixed signals, if you are attracting such a high percentage of women who like rough sex -- be careful you are promising something in your flirting that you aren't delivering in the bedroom.)

Also, I think you are conflating two totally separate things, the visual/cerebral question and the kinky question. Rough sex people can be all into the visuals and vanilla sex can be 100% cerebral. These are different issues, and I think you will do best to approach them separately.
posted by Forktine at 4:46 PM on December 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


you know, it might wildly turn you on to make your partner very very happy. The first time you give er an earth shattering orgasm by doing what she wants will be pretty awesome. Better a sexually liberated lady who knows what she wants than someone who is inhibited about sex.E
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:45 AM on December 13, 2010


nthing avoiding Dan Savage. He's the Tom Friedman of sex advice--prone to easy answers and always harping on the same, less than complex answers.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:37 AM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Better a sexually liberated lady who knows what she wants than someone who is inhibited about sex.

Wanting rough sex is not necessarily the same as sexual liberation, and not wanting rough sex is not necessarily the same as sexual inhibition. People are complex critters with different likes and dislikes.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:49 AM on December 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


I know that, Sidhe - the fact that she knows what she likes and communicates it is what I'm highlighting here as liberated.
posted by By The Grace of God at 10:04 AM on December 13, 2010


There's a lot of space between "do not want" and "might want, but feel bad about it". If you genuinely Do Not Want, then that is the end of the news.

If you are thinking "she can't possibly want that" then you are very likely wrong.

In my case I came down on "she can't possibly want that" but with a wish to please that (long-term) partner I took baby steps. After taking a class in some aspects of dominance, discussed here, I tried creating a persona who could do a few of the things she was after.

The result was transformational. I found that her excitement was more than worth the work, and my own barriers became easier to question. The specific activities were not as important as the exploration.

Whether you want such a transformational experience for yourself is a completely different question.
posted by jet_silver at 7:22 PM on December 13, 2010


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