If you're going to try rough sex, it can be hard to tell to what it's going to look like for you. Any beginner's guide to rough sex will lay out different ways to play, but it's only by talking it out and trying it that you're going to find out what's right for you. There's going to be some experimenting and there has to be a lot of trust.
You should unquestionably be with someone you feel comfortable with, but it can still be difficult to navigate those boundaries in the bedroom. Especially if you've never done it before, you might not be able to tell where that line is until you're really, really close to it.
Honestly, when it comes to figuring out if your boundaries are being crossed, trust your gut. If it doesn't feel right for you, it's probably not right for you. And it's completely fine to think that something's going to be really great or fun or sexy and then once you try realize you don't enjoy it. I've totally been the one to put a pause and say, "Actually, this doesn't feel fun for me, we need to stop,"which can be difficult to do, but so, so necessary.
So how can you tell if the sex is too rough? It's really down to you, but here are five indicators:
1. Agreed-Upon Boundaries Are Being Crossed
If you're engaging in rough sex, you need to negotiate some boundaries beforehand. They can be as descriptive as you want them to be— everyone's different, so you may want to lay out exact do's and don'ts or certain areas you are or aren't OK with. Whatever it is, you have to stick to them. If boundaries that you agreed on are being crossed without your consent, you're going to lose your feeling of safety in the situation.
2. It's Too Difficult, Physically
Rough sex is, for most people, predicated on the fact that pain thresholds are lower during sex, so what may normally be uncomfortable isn't. There can be, and usually are, other factors, of course— sub/dom at play, or some people deriving pleasure from pain. But for most of us, especially if we're new, we want the "pain" to be enjoyable.
If the actual physically sensation isn't pleasurable in any way and you're finding it goes over a threshold you are enjoying, it's not OK for you. And it's completely fine to admit that something you thought you would enjoy just isn't working or that you feel uncomfortable.
3. It's Too Difficult, Emotionally
Rough sex isn't just a physical toll— it's about how you're feeling emotionally. According to the Headmistress at head mistress at BDSM training chateau La Domaine Esemar, "BDSM is about creating vulnerability, opening yourself up to your partner." And in rough sex there's a good chance you'll feel vulnerable, which can be in a great way that feels like a release or bonding you and your partner together. But if— despite enjoying everything physically— it doesn't sit right in your own mind, you're not comfortable with what's happing, or you're starting to get second thoughts, it's time to take a pause. Make sure that you feel comfortable with what's happened, mentally as well as physically.
4. It Feels Out Of Control
In my experience, there needs to be some element of containment. Whether this is negotiating boundaries, safe words, communicating during with eye contact and body language. Whatever works for you. Because even if you're being submissive, or technically not the one in control, you should still feel like you're working within a certain framework that you've established. There's a lot of trust. You've chosen to be submissive, chosen how much control to give up, what you're OK with within that. If it starts to feel like there's too much momentum or unpredictable or lack of control, it's completely fine to say you want to reign it in.
5. If You're Wondering, It Probably Is
The truth is that if you're wondering if things have gone too far for you, it probably has. Because it should be a fun, joyful, relaxed experience where you feel safe. And if you're starting to wonder whether or not you're comfortable, that questioning comes from a place of not feeling 100 percent solid with it. It shouldn't be a question. So listen to your gut instinct and if you're feeling unsure, trust it.
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