The Do’s and Don’ts of Ruff Playtime

Steve writes: So my girlfriend and I have been dating for a while now, and she’s starting to get really into being spanked and slapped around in bed. I’m pretty turned on by that idea, but I want to know when she really wants it, yanno? One time she said “No, no!” and wanted more of it. Needless to say I’m new at this. I don’t want to sound kink-crazy – for now it’s just hitting, scratching and biting. My question is, how do I read her better, and are there resources I can to “dominate” better?

Hudson Cole and his puppy extraordinaire“Here be dragons.” That’s what they used to write on old maritime maps to mark uncharted waters. This phrase comes to mind as I find myself sitting in a coffee shop on International Women’s Day about to pen an article on how sometimes “No! No! No!” means “Yes”.

From the way it sounds, it seems we are over the difficult part and you are both at least on the same page. She likes to be smacked around a bit and you are more than happy to do the smackin’. In the most serious way, it sounds like a love connection to me. I have always said, the couple that hits each other (in bed) stays together. Sounds wrong, doesn’t it? I mean, you don’t hit girls, right? They are delicate flowers. Flowers made of sugar and spice and…wait, I remember reading that women have a higher pain threshold. And also, if you really stop to smell the flowers and converse with them and get to know them and earn their trust and respect you might learn that sometimes your delicate flower wants to feel instead like a dirty dirty worthless flower that you would do anything to have. Maybe it wants to be picked and “de-flowered” and tossed across the bed, touched, tugged, and spanked. Wait, can you spank a flower? You bet your sweet ass you can spank a flower. I put a ring on it and now I do it all the time (thanks Beyoncé).

What I am trying to say is that I am excited that you guys are compatible. It seems like your problem is more a question of guidelines and technique. I know that you didn’t want to sound “kink crazy” but you two are freaks now. Face it. I encourage you to let that flag fly. Don’t hide the light of your burning D/S torch. You’ll find that there are many available resources for you both (my recommendations are below). You are not the first person in this position. And please don’t think that just because you like it when your back is clawed that you are on a slippery slope to being called “The Gimp” and living a leather bound life in someone else’s dungeon (though some of us could think up worse fates). AND just because a gal owns some fuzzy handcuffs in a shoebox in her closet doesn’t mean she is also into blindfolds. “To each their own” reads the placard above the human sexual buffet.

Let’s get down to the “when and how”. Your girlfriend said she wanted to be roughhoused but then said “no “and immediately turned to ask you “why did you stop?” It sounds to me like your girlfriend might be a bit of a light “painslut” with a streak of “brat” who enjoys a very particular “scene” (all BDSM terms that I encourage you to look up for yourself). Allow me to translate. From your description, your girlfriend sounds like she wants to be handled a little bit roughly, and she wants to put up a good fight. She wishes to be submitted but not to submit. When you were just getting into being rough she told you to stop and it understandably threw you for a loop.

The best way to avoid that is to talk beforehand. The “scene” she might enjoy is to be “taken” by you. Perhaps, in this scenario you two are other people or in another place? Sometimes assigning roles help the players get lost in the play of it. When you meet, the “scene” begins. Discussing the scene before hand prevents any nasty surprises or confusion. This is called a “negotiation.” You discuss what you are both comfortable with and what you are not willing to do. You pick a safe word and then you go for it. When the scene is over you get to work on the aftercare (second best part). Negotiation, play, and aftercare are all art forms unto themselves. Practice makes perfect! Watch and be amazed how these skills magically seep from the bedroom and effortlessly translate to you day to day relationship, and you will see what I mean about how the couple that hits each other (in bed) stays together.

Negotiation sounds technical and quite possibly like the most un-sexy thing ever but in actuality it’s kind of awesome. You are going to wish you negotiated before all sex. This simple back and forth that establishes boundaries will actually end up becoming a sort of highway to freedom. The beauty of a safe word means that she can pretend more effectively by verbalizing as well as physicalizing her resistance fantasy. So, let’s say that your lady friend says “No, stop” or “you’re really hurting me”. Because she didn’t use the safe word (which is code for “stop”) you don’t have to stop. Because you negotiated the scene you knew that she might say something like that therefore lowering the likelihood that you’ll be thrown off guard. It should be noted that you should select a safeword that would never be used to actually stop something or would ever be uttered in the throes of ecstasy. Something innocuous like “banana” works well…but it might make you giggle. Negotiating also ensures that you each know what the other wants out of a scene; no one is left worrying about whether or not they’ll get that anal play they really want b/c it’s all been worked into the scene already.

As you get better at playing (essentially learning how to sex up one another’s minds) you will also pick up tips on how to play more effectively and safer. For instance, it’s good to also include another safety mechanism other than just the safeword such as hand squeezing to signal everything is “A-O.K.”. Let’s say she is putting up a really convincing fight and you think she might really want to tap out. You start to get worried but right now you are supposed to be acting tough and mean and you think, “Oh my God! What if she forgot the safeword?!” That’s when you might reach to squeeze her hand and if she gives you two good firm squeezes back, then you now know that she is fine. You didn’t have to stop and say “Oh shit, I am so so sorry was that too much? Are you ok?” Cause that might not be sexy for her every three minutes.

Learning what and when is something that takes time. Just because you are a good Dom with one partner doesn’t mean your magic will be spot on with another. If you want to Dom your lady right you have to practice. You might know she likes to be spanked but you need to dig deeper and really find out why. Is it just the tingle? Is it a little humiliating? Does it seem more like age play? When you have those answers, you are on track to creating the dirty talk that comes with the spanking. You will now be spanking that bottom with an objective that cuts right to the core of what she enjoy about it. You see, D/S play or most any kink really, tends to be popular because in order to do it you are including the mind. It might sound hokey, but the mind is truly the largest and most effective sex organ we posses. Anyone can fuck, anyone can hit his or her partner. It takes a special spell to have them beg for more.

Lastly, it’s important to bone up on your research. Books like The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book by Easton and Hardy or even Jay Wiseman’s book The Loving Dominant are all awesome books on this very topic. The fairly new DVD by VIVID ED called Rough Sex covers all your basic bare bones need to know safety rules. This is very important stuff. Knowing where you can hit a bum, knowing how to warm one up before you go to town, and knowing what to use are all things you should be concerning yourself with as a responsible play partner. I can also recommend Nina Hartley’s work. Try watching Whipsmart — not only will you learn how to play safely, but you might also find one or two other things that turn you on. Most of all, just use the mantra of the sex positive world: Keep it safe, sane, and consensual, and you can’t go wrong. I’ve given you a few tools to help you get started. Now go enjoy.

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  • Sangria4ever

    Yes. I like using multiple codewords. The stoplight works well for telling your partner when to go, stop, and when to show caution.

  • Sangria4ever

    Yes. I like using multiple codewords. The stoplight works well for telling your partner when to go, stop, and when to show caution.