Open and honest communication is the fuel that keeps relationships running smoothly. In an ideal world, we should all be free to tell our deepest desires to our partners and have them heard without shame or discomfort. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world. Sometimes partners request things we have no experience in. Sometimes partners share intimate parts of themselves that are waters we don’t wish to tread in or feel uncertain about.
How do we make our partners feel safe and heard when they want to do things we have never done before? What if those activities are things we have been told we should not do? Threading the needle in such situations can be tricky—luckily the Dirty Talk advice column has some answers! Ready to get rough? Because rough is what is on the menu…
“I am in a new relationship, and it is going pretty well. We are still in the “getting to know each other” phase. Recently she asked me to be “rougher” with her in bed and…I have never done anything like that. Not ever. I was raised to respect women and it is deeply ingrained in me. I don’t want to disappoint her, but I have no idea how to “be rough”. Figured you would be the person to ask. Help! What do I do here?”–Rough Play Request
There are a number of different ways to answer this RPR. However, what I am missing is if rough play is a hard limit for you or not. There is a big difference between “I’ve never done rough play and it goes against everything I’ve taught” and “I CAN’T do rough play”. Only you can decide where you fall on that spectrum. Perhaps even you don’t know where you fall, which is why you have written to me.
Is This Something You Can Do?
Step one, and the most important step of all: decide if rough play is something you can do. If you sit down with yourself and come to the conclusion that rough play is an activity that you are just not comfortable doing, then you need to tell your partner. You need to communicate it in a nonjudgmental manner. They were honest about their desires, which takes a fair amount of vulnerability. You need to tell them your “pass on that” in such a way that they don’t come away feeling rejected, hurt or scared to be honest with you in the future.
If you decide that rough play is not for you, your partner’s responsibility is to accept that fact with grace. None of us are 100% compatible in every single way with our partners and successful relationships require some degree of compromise on both sides. Pressuring partners into things they don’t truly want to do causes resentment and can even destroy relationships. Resentment is a dry rot that crumbles the foundation of a relationship and before you know it, the house has toppled right over.
If your reservations are only that you don’t know HOW to play rough, then you are in luck! There is a wealth of information available, from classes to articles to books, that can teach you exactly how to ethically engage in rough sexy time play. There are online rough play classes, endless articles and discussion groups, etc. The internet is a treasure trove of knowledge and information and it is all easily accessed.
There Is Skill Involved In Rough Play
Rough play is a specific set of skills. You need to know anatomy, have a working understanding of how to read someone’s body language, how to successfully use safe words and go over limits, etc, etc. By its very nature, rough play has a risk factor associated with it and can go wrong—sometimes badly wrong. The more knowledge you bring to the table, the more successful your rough play is going to end up being, and the lower your chances of something going sideways.
This brings me to my final point, however—you could decide that rough play is something you are comfortable with attempting to explore, take some classes, read articles, learn anatomy, try to introduce it into the bedroom, and find out that…it just isn’t your thing. And that’s okay. We are not going to be into everything single thing our partners are.
Do You Have The Desire To Be Rough
Successfully implementing rough play requires more than just technical know-how. It requires having the genuine desire to be dominant. Not everyone is wired that way. Without a genuine desire to be rough, you will just be going through the motions of some technical skills you have acquired in the hopes of pleasing your partner, and if your heart isn’t into it, it will show.
The term for people that are not wired to be dominant but will engage in dominant play at their partner’s wishes is a service Top, but even service Tops have a desire to dish out the sensation, if not the dominance. Figure out if rough play is something you are okay with exploring and then go from there. No matter what you end up deciding to do, always make a point of being a welcome space for your partner to be honest with you. The more accepted a person feels, the more comfortable they will be and the smoother the relationship will run. Best of luck RPR!
Keep it Kinky My Friends,
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