How Rough is Too Rough in Bed?

Is it okay for a couple to be “rough” with each other in bed, where one or both spouses are using strength or control in the midst of sexual passion?

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about physical abuse, which obviously would not be acceptable.

What I am asking is, “Does physical dominance have the potential to add to a couple’s nurtured intimacy?”

Truth be told, some people find it arousing to be passionately overpowered physically within a sexual context.

To a degree, I get this.  I understand (and honestly, appreciate at times) my husband’s strength and my own desire to be “taken” by that strength.

But I feel completely safe with this man and know he would never harm me.

Not everyone could say the same thing about the dynamics in their marriage, so physical dominance in bed becomes a source of contention rather than a pathway to healthy sexual connection.

With regard to physical roughness during sex, here are questions you and your spouse should explore:

1. Is God’s heart and standard your gage?

If something is forbidden in God’s Word or is definitely going to cause physical or emotional injury, please heed those warnings.

Inflicting harm on your spouse or losing control to the point where sexual release becomes the god in that moment would be detrimental to the marriage and to the sexual relationship.

If you’re wanting to get a bit rough beneath the sheets, make sure you are filtering everything through God’s lens.

2. Are you both consenting to the roughness? Is it a turn on for both of you?

Playful spanking? Being held down? Firm grips?

All can be arousing if both of you in those moments see such physicality as a turn on, particularly the person on the receiving end of the roughness.

I imagine that for most women there is a tipping point here.  What can be arousing one moment for a woman can quickly drift into “too much.”

It can become downright frightening rather than arousing.

I encourage husbands to pay close attention to this, because guys.. you are usually the ones who are physically stronger.  And sometimes you underestimate your own physical strength.

The last thing you want is for your Beloved… your Lover… to question her safety with you.   Mutual consent is a non-negotiable where roughness is concerned.  Are you both on the same page that what is happening is arousing and nurturing?

3. Do you both have the freedom to say “no” and “stop”?

This point builds on the last one.

Someone may think they want to be handled firmly… or may be willing to “give it a try”… but then in the throes of it all starts to experience pain or fear. That person needs complete  freedom to say “no” and “stop.” And there needs to be no repercussion or “punishment” for that.

Our compass must always be love.

I also would add that if the domineering person starts to second-guess if the roughness they are using is really building intimacy, then that person also needs the freedom to put on the brakes.

Our marriage beds should not be a place where malicious selfish force and intimidation reign.  One person’s sexual pleasure at the expense of the other person’s sense of security is not going to strengthen sexual intimacy.

It may indeed destroy it.

4. What is your communication revealing about your sexual comfort levels?

The safer a couple grows in being completely honest with each other about their sexual intimacy, the more likely it is they are willing to embrace physical dominance at times in their intimacy.

Hear me out on this one, because I’m sure my point could be misunderstood.

Have you as a couple shown through your words, actions and genuine understanding of each other’s bodies that the sexual intimacy you share is sacred, safe and valued?

If so, my guess is that you may be a bit more comfortable with each other’s firm handling.  You don’t question the other person, you know where they are coming from heart-wise and you mutually are okay with what is happening sexually in those moments.

If you have not reached a place in your sexual intimacy where you both feel deeply treasured and secure, then I doubt any kind of rough sex has a place in your bed.  There is just too much likelihood of misinterpreting someone’s intentions, which obviously is going to inhibit intimacy, not foster it.

How rough is too rough in bed?  Each couple has to answer that for themselves. Exploring all of the above questions thoroughly may be a good place to start.

Copyright 2012, Julie Sibert. “Intimacy in Marriage Blog.”

11 thoughts on “How Rough is Too Rough in Bed?

  1. D says:

    I was taught to respect women from an early age. I love my wife dearly and try to care for her as instructed in Eph 5:25-33. I could never even consider doing anything to her to cause her harm so I never try to impose myself on her in our very intimate moments but do to her what she wants me to do.

  2. Judy says:

    Julie ,you did a great job ! I believe each couple has different outlooks and standards set within their own marriage as to the degree of “rough sex” between them As for me,I love for my husband to be dominating….there are times when I feel I am pinned down to the point there is nothing I could do about it,even if I wanted to,until he is through with me,and just the thought of it,usually brings me to orgasm. Each couple is different,but so important should it become too rough for the woman to let it be known to her husband immediately, rather than put up with it !


  3. HMT says:

    I’ve often wondered about this. There is an excitement to this, in the moment, but we’ve never talked about it. Power–sexual power–is an aphrodisiac.

  4. hubbyforher says:

    D, I agree with what you’re saying, but I think you may have missed the point. You state you’d never do what your spouse doesn’t want you to. I agree. But the issue is, what if your spouse wants you to be extremely aggressive?

    My spouse loves it when I’m extremely assertive when we’re intimate. She likes it rough, a little. What is “fun” rough, and what is too rough needs to be agreed on and communicated and respected clearly.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I did not miss the point but I did not express myself very well. I should have added that my wife always likes me to be gentle with her when we make love.

  6. Doris says:

    Ever since the first moment we started to make love, my husband said to me that his mission and meaning is to please me. I come first! This very generous attitude of his gave me not just security and confidence, but also a desire to do my best reciprocating.

    Lately, because I often “succumb” in dealing with the kids, and because he considers that I need to balance, he calls me his Domina in bed, asking for mild spanks while in me, and does everything he thinks that will have an empowering effect on my soul.

    I wasn’t thinking of me being the “dominant” force in bed, but I’m required to. And I grew to like it 😀 Highly arousing for both of us!

    Great article, Julie! Are there other wives in my situation?

  7. Tony says:

    That happens in my marriage as well. DW doesn’t like me being physically dominant with her apart from the sense that I lead. However I do love it when she spanks me. This is always done because I ask her to not because she is dominating. I suppose that I am the only christian man in the world that loves this but there you go.

  8. Married Sally says:

    I’ve alluded to this in other comments, and found your post on this and really appreciate reading this.

    I will say that for me, there is a difference between “rough sex” and “aggressive sex.”

    For my sake, what I enjoy is when my husband simply pounds away – so the emphasis on the aggressive is the thrusting, not pinning or spanking or anything like that. To me, great sex is mostly about power – so if he can pound and maintain that level for enough time to really enjoy it, the better it is for me.

    Not that I mind those things – but to me they are not necessary and might be more equated with rough than simply a more intense pace.

  9. DB says:

    Sally I especially appreciated your comment because you stated that it wasn’t just about the pinning, spanking or any of those things; but also the sheer “pounding” (I use your word which I think brings it across quite clearly), which as you say means the actual intensity or pace of the husband’s movements. So when I ask the question “Is rough sex ok?”, I mean that as well – along with however the wife might respond (favorably of course) to the husband’s “pounding”. So it helps me to know that “pounding” – and wanting to be “pounded”- are Okay 🙂 – so long as there is the mutual trust, etc.

  10. Angela says:

    Not all wives want ‘pounding’. I’d get no enjoyment from that… My husband knows I like slow gentleness and that is what he gives me. Oooh just typing ‘slow gentleness’…er, well never mind. Everyone’s different.

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