The desire to want to spice things up in the bedroom is perfectly normal. As a result, some may explore their kinky side or even dive into trying rough sex activities. However, there is a fine line between rough sex and abuse. As we take a closer look at the concept of rough sex, we’ll highlight its pros and cons and the effect that it can have on one’s mental and sexual health.

What is Rough Sex?

When we think of rough sex, there can be more to it than just a spanking or a choke. In general, it can mean different things to different people. However, one definition pointed out by Web MD that we can mostly agree on is that rough sex refers to some form of aggressive behavior. For those who enjoy rough sex, there is usually a nice balance between pain and pleasure.

Rough sex can include but is not limited to: hair pulling, spanking, choking, throwing a partner or partners onto a bed or against a wall, biting, and more. With this in mind, the most important factor to consider is consent. It is also necessary to discuss what each participant feels comfortable with and what rules and/or safe words and gestures will be established to make everyone involved feel secure.


What are the Pros of Having Rough Sex?

So, why do we choose to have rough sex? Well, there are many reasons. Having rough sex can provide you with a feeling of control and dominance. If you’re on the receiving end of things, this could give you a euphoric feeling of freedom and surrender, giving yourself permission to feel new levels of pleasure and achieve an unparalleled release. Other benefits of having rough sex include stress relief, a self-esteem boost, raised immunity levels and improved sleep.

What Are the Cons of Having Rough Sex?

Though rough sex can produce amazing feelings of euphoria and confidence, there can also be some unforeseen consequences. For instance, if we’re talking about activities above the belt, you can face bruising or other injuries which are related to your chosen activity.

If you’re specifically dealing with rough penetration, this could potentially lead to tears in or around the vaginal area, and damage to the vulva, the vagina itself, or the rectum and bladder.

If you experience symptoms such as swollen labia, pain, or irritation, in the vulva or vaginal canal itself that persists longer than a couple of days, it is important to see a healthcare provider in order to receive the proper treatment.

If you experience genital pain after rough sex some of these remedies may be useful:

  • Ice pack: hold against the vulva for 5 to 10 minutes. (Wrap the pack in a towel or a pair of underwear. Do not apply it directly to the vulva or inside the vagina itself.)
  • Lubricants: Lubes can help to make the area moist, reducing friction which can cause tears and irritation.
  • Antibiotics: These are useful to treat conditions such as UTIs, yeast infections, and some STIs. Over-the-counter medications are available for some of these as well, but it is advised to seek the care of a healthcare professional before self-treating.

The cons of rough sex are not only physical they can also be mental. If you aren’t ready or hesitant about having rough sex, the experience may lead to trauma or negative self-talk.


How Does Having Rough Sex Affect Your Mental Health?

While rough sex may be a dream to some, it is important to be mentally ready for it, especially if you’re a beginner. It must be made clear to all parties involved what is sexy and what is not, what is tolerable and intolerable, and what makes you feel physically or emotionally uncomfortable or victimized.

Due to the aggressive nature of rough sex and/or BDSM, it’s often been associated with mental disorders, early trauma, or emotional issues. While this can be the experience for some participants, this isn’t exactly true for everyone who practices rough sex. Truthfully, there is nothing wrong or disturbing about rough sex, BDSM, or kink, as long as it’s done with consent.

What is the appropriate aftercare post-rough sex?

If you enjoy having partnered rough sex, try engaging in supportive aftercare to ensure that all parties feel supported. After vigorous sex, you may want to cuddle. This is the perfect time to check in with each other and ask your partner(s) how they feel and if they need anything.

After you’ve had a chance to process the experience and get comfortable, this would also be a good time to tend to any sore areas or clean up any messes.


Rough sex means many things to many people, and it’s enjoyed by individuals and partnerships all over the world. However, there is a difference between engaging in rough sex and abuse.

You should not feel pressured in any way to have rough sex or any type of sex if you’re not into it.

But, if you want to enjoy rough sex and you’re feeling a little nervous about it, talk to your partner(s) about your concerns, create safe words or gestures, and always keep an ice pack, lube, and towels handy. Be sure to contact your healthcare provider if you experience pain that persists for more than a couple of days.