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Listen to an audio summary

While slow, tender, sensual sex creates intimacy and romance, sometimes we need to revert to our animal instincts and enjoy some wild and wicked sex; the rougher and more explosive, the better.

However, rough sex doesn't merely release tension and ignite lost passion but can help grow trust and improve communication skills within your relationship.

It's good to switch things up; a varied sex life keeps things interesting, so whether you're in the mood for rose petals and being worshipped or a hard and fast spanking littered with hair-pulling and verbal abuse, there's a place for every type of action.

More people than you might think regularly enjoy rough sex as part of their relationship. About 80% of those with a current sexual or romantic partner engaged in rough sex with them and most who engaged it liked it.

Let go and lose yourself in the moment

When it comes to maximizing your pleasure—apart from consent—confidence and trust are the keys to rough sex and the best wild foreplay. Once you've discussed your limits, boundaries, and the things you're game to try, relaxing into the action and getting out of your head will bring the best results.

When it comes to maximizing your pleasure—apart from consent—confidence and trust are the keys to rough sex and the best wild foreplay.

For some, that will feel perfectly natural; for others, it may take some practice. Take your time and go easy on yourself (and your partner) if that sounds like you. Practice makes perfect, as they say.

Part of a healthy sex life

Despite a common misconception that rough sex is the result of aggression or abuse, rough sex is commonplace between couples as a result of curiosity and sexual exploration, as this study from the Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium uncovered.

Findings indicate that rough sex is most commonly associated with curiosity and a need for novelty, and that rough sex is associated with pornography consumption and other sexually adventurous behaviors, such as public sex and the use of sex toys. The relationship between rough sex and pornography appears to be rooted in a need for sexual novelty, with only a small subset motivated by aggression.

Suggesting a little rough sex and foreplay is one of the easiest ways to broaden your sexual repertoire. While your bucket list of sexual kinks and fantasies might include some truly unique, dark, and niche activities, exploring a little rough and tumble will seem fairly tame by comparison.

The Importance of Consent

Before we get to our foreplay tips and rough sex ideas, be aware that everyone's tastes and kinks are unique, so discussing what both of you like and are comfortable with is a must. To completely lose yourself in the moment and truly enjoy yourself, always get consent whenever you're trying anything new. The best sex revolves around trust, so don't spring any surprises on your partner that could damage them physically or emotionally.

We hope you enjoy our foreplay tips as much as the rough sex they lead to!

1. Biting and Nibbling

Every inch of your partner's body is on the table for some biting and nibbling. Lips, ears, nipples, thighs, genitals, shoulders, necks; it's all sexy when done well, and every last inch of your body can be an erogenous zone.

Explore your partner's desires by varying the pressure and intensity of your bites.

Some will want you to tease them softly, whereas others will want you to take them to the edge of their pain threshold to maximize their sexual experience.

How to bite and nibble like an expert

Start kissing and nibbling your partner's neck and ear lobes softly. As they start to groan, work your way around their body, down their necks to their nipples, eventually dropping to administer soft bites and nibbles to their genitals as you tease them with oral sex. Giving oral sex can be the ultimate act of giving or some of the best foreplay you can share.

2. Hair-Pulling

Grabbing a handful of your partner's hair while kissing them or nibbling on their neck and earlobes is incredibly hot and a huge turn-on. From a few gentle tugs to out-and-out hair pulling, either of these foreplay techniques is seriously hot and a long way from traditional vanilla sex.

How to make pulling your partner's hair their biggest turn-on

Always grab hair from the roots. Sliding your fingers to the scalp is the best way to avoid discomfort while maintaining firm control. Lightly scratch their scalp to add extra sensation, but don't dig so deep you draw blood or cause unwanted pain.

3. Dominant Play

Pinning down your partner's body, pushing them up against a wall, a table, or a door, or pulling them in to kiss you are all great starting points to explore the dominance of BDSM.

Switching from the traditional roles is one of the key kinks of becoming a dominatrix, so why not move away from who usually takes charge during sex? It's time to get the restraints out and go for it.

How to dominate your partner like an expert

Push their hands to the places you want them—on your body or theirs. Take what you want without asking, and fuck them as though you don't care what's in it for them.

Be very careful when grabbing a partner by the throat or if they ask you to strangle or choke them.

Despite its thrilling eroticism, choking during sex can be incredibly dangerous, as damage to the throat and windpipe can lead to being unable to breathe.

4. Pinching and Scratching

Some people like a souvenir of their passion, and in those cases, it's fine to leave a mark—just make it something they can cover so they're not broadcasting it to the whole world (who hasn't suffered the embarrassment or humiliation of an unwanted hickey?), and make sure they're only light scratches, pinch marks, or bruises.

Anything more severe creates medical concerns, so be careful.

If you get a kick from seeing your post-sex scratches or bruises, you're not alone, according to this 2019 article, Consensual rough sex typically results in little violence and only superficial injuries such as scratches, bruises, and welts. Rough sex does not correlate with violence in the relationship or abuse.

How to pinch and scratch your partner like a pro

Sensitive areas and erogenous zones will make your pinches next level: nipples, buttocks, thighs, and chests. Also, ensure your nails are clean and trimmed before scraping them down the length of your partner's back, inner thighs, or butt.

5. Dirty Talk and Degradation

Talking dirty works in so many ways:

  • Degrading your partner: if they get turned on by them, use terms like bitch, slut, and whore to add an extra level of deviance to your experience.
  • Praising your partner: "That's so fucking good."
  • Tell them what you want and how you want it.
  • Telling them to go harder.
  • Increasing the intensity of the dirty talk to match the intensity of the foreplay and sex.
  • Gag them so they can't answer back: create a makeshift gag by stuffing your partner's panties in your or their mouth.

How to talk dirty like you've been doing it forever

It's all about confidence. Building confidence takes practice, so start by saying things you initially feel comfortable with (that could be simply describing what you're doing or how turned on you are). As you get a sense of what your partner likes and what works for them, build the intensity as your confidence grows.

If you want the full rundown on dirty talk, read our page, 'How to talk dirty in bed,' written by the sexual educator, writer, and researcher Niki Davis-Fainbloom (MA). She includes a list of suggested phrases you can try before, during, and after your rough play and sex.

6. Choking

Given the sensitivity of the throat and windpipe, it's essential to take the utmost care to avoid mishaps that lead to medical issues. Strangling during sex is commonplace with those exploring power dynamics and different sensations during climax (autoerotic asphyxiation).

Given the sensitivity of the throat and windpipe, it's essential to take the utmost care to avoid mishaps that lead to medical issues.

In this 2021 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, choking was found to be the most common behavior during rough sex. 1795 individuals who reported a romantic/sexual partner of at least 3 months responded to questions about engaging, liking, and initiating rough sex. The most common behaviors participants considered to be rough sex were choking, hair pulling, and spanking.

How to introduce choking into the bedroom safely

When it comes to rough sex, it's often better to simulate strangling and choking than actually blocking your partner's airway. With exhilaration and euphoria running high, squeezing too tightly could happen by accident. Unless you're highly experienced with this type of rough sex and foreplay, perhaps it's better to prioritize safety and experiment during an alternative, more controlled, and constrained play session.

7. Tearing Off Clothes

You've seen it in the movies; tearing off each other's clothes is one of the hottest foreplay ideas Hollywood has ever brought to our screens. In real life, however, you or your partner will unlikely be delighted with the damage it can cause to expensive clothing or her favorite Victoria's Secret underwear, never mind the cost of replacing or repairing them.

How to tear off clothes in the sexiest way possible

For those of you who get incredibly turned on just by thinking of ripping the clothes off each other's bodies, a little advanced planning can help you achieve your sex goals without disappointment or unnecessary expense.

Wear those garments you wouldn't miss, that don't quite fit anymore, or those waiting for your next big clearout. Alternatively, wear clothes and underwear that unfastens at the lightest touch—those with snaps instead of buttons or even have something custom-made with velcro fasteners.

8. Using Props and Toys

Paddles, floggers, blindfolds, whips, clamps, and canes are all ideal commercially available sex aids, toys, and props. Alternatively, you can get just as creative using what you've already got to hand: hairbrushes, rulers, belts, spatulas, silk scarves, clothespins...

How to make the most of props and toys during foreplay

You should only have to look at your sex toys to build a clear picture of how you'd like to use them—just remember to go easy as you build the power behind each tap, slap, or blow and to monitor your partner's body language to know when you've reached their limit.

9. Engaging in Roleplay

Roleplay gives you the chance to become someone else entirely and is one of our greatest foreplay tips for a night of fun sex. It offers a chance to try out all kinds of foreplay ideas, from light BDSM to your darkest sexual fantasies.

Roleplay gives you the chance to become someone else entirely and is one of our greatest foreplay tips for a night of fun sex.

If you like the idea of rough sex but tend to be a little cautious in the bedroom, becoming a stronger, more passionate version of yourself gives you a free ride to enjoy sex with more slapping, biting, and dirty talking than you'd usually feel comfortable with.

How to maximize roleplay during foreplay

Be as wild as your imagination allows! The only caveat is that you enter the experience with 100% commitment to the role. To rough things up, devise a situation that demands one of you must be punished. Not only will you get to let your inner animal out, but you could also experiment with bondage gear.

10. Building Anticipation Throughout the Day

It's been said that foreplay can start way before any physical contact might happen. That psychological foreplay starts at any point leading to your sex play session. It might be during the day with a few naughty texts, during dinner on a date night before you head back to the bedroom, or even as you leave your last date with a naughty, "If you liked that, wait until you see what I've got planned for next time."

How to build anticipation towards rough sex and foreplay

Sending dirty messages throughout the day will help you count down to when the fun starts. Littering your messages with how you're going to pull their hair, how red their booty will be after a good slapping, and how you're going to rip their clothes off as soon as they walk through the door won't fail to light a spark that builds the more you pour it on.

11. Mastering Eye Contact

There's nothing quite as sexy as locking eyes during sexual experiences. Maintaining eye contact is an incredibly intimate experience, so much so that many of us can't manage to hold someone's gaze for more than a few seconds without looking away. Add that level of intimate connection while you're kissing, going down on your partner, or pulling and pinching their nipples will only add a smoldering intensity to the moment.

How to deliver the sexiest eye contact

Stare deep into your partner's eyes while slowly pulling their hair and grinding against them. Hold that gaze as you ramp up the intensity until you can no longer hold yourself back.

12. Setting the Scene

Setting the scene and preparing the location means different things to different couples: it could mean laying out toys and props or adding a little low-level colored lighting (a red glow springs to mind), but as with all good sex settings, make sure the area is clean and free from distraction, the bed is made, with clean sheets, and you've catered to those little details that help your partner feel sexy.

How to set the scene for a night of wild foreplay and rough sex

There are two parts to setting the scene: first, through the conversations around what's going to happen in your next rough sex session (see our earlier section about building anticipation), and second, preparing your bedroom (or wherever you're planning to play) for action. Whether you want to recreate a sex dungeon to play in, your favorite passionate movie sex scene, or fill it with the things that help you achieve maximum relaxation, this is one for your pre-sex conversations.

13. Using Temperature Play

Remember the iconic sex scene between Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger in 9 1/2 Weeks, where he blindfolds her and melts an ice cube on her body? Apart from bringing temperature sex play to the masses, it was probably the hottest thing in the movies of its time.

How to add temperature play to foreplay

Using ice cubes and hot water, mix up the temperature of glass or metal sex toys, or for the budget-conscious, metal spoons or other kitchen utensils—a metal spatula makes a great paddle for slapping when the hot and cold action has run its course. Delicately run them over your partner's sensitive areas to create tension and new sensations. Alternatively, chill or heat massage oil for a sensual massage that can turn into a pinching and slapping fest as the temperature rises.

Our Rough Sex Kit

Discover our top picks for exploring the adventurous side of your sexuality:

PRODUCT AND HOW IT HELPS WITH ROUGH SEX EXPERIENCE RECOMMENDED MODEL

Anal Dildo

- Intensifies rough play with targeted anal stimulation.
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Icicles No. 62 Anal Dildo

Water-Based Warming Lubricant

- Ensures smooth movements without discomfort.
- Offers extended lubrication for uninterrupted pleasure.
- Gentle on the skin, promoting comfort and intimacy.
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Aqua Heat Warming Lube for Sex & Masturbation

Deep Throat Flavored Oral Sex Numbing Spray

- Reduces discomfort, enhancing oral enjoyment.
- The numbing effect promotes relaxation during intimate activities.
- Helps alleviate performance anxiety, fostering open communication.
Good Head Deep Throat Flavored Oral Numbing Spray
Good Head Deep Throat Flavored Oral Numbing Spray

Temperature Play Toy

- Provides options for both warming and cooling sensations.
- Stimulates nerve endings, intensifying pleasure.
- Adds an element of excitement and exploration to intimate encounters.
Jewel Butt Plug with Diamond Gems
Jewel Butt Plug with Diamond Gems

14. Slapping

Slapping is a popular activity during rough sex and foreplay. It's a great kinky sex starter, with first-timers aiming for the softer, fleshier body parts that can take a decent slap without causing much pain. Slap their butt and thighs, and if they enjoy being dominated, soft slaps across the face, chest, or breasts can create an incredibly intense turn-on for both you and your partner.

How to slap your partner like a pro

Know your partner's limits and boundaries, but own the action 100%; remember, confidence is key. Start with soft slaps that look more powerful than they are. Check in with them, "Yeah, do you like that?" to find out how they feel about the force and where you're slapping them. Asking what, where, and how hard can soon become the dirty-talking turn-on we discussed earlier.

Remember: a little pain can be sexy—too much is abuse, so be careful how you go and always remain within your partner's tastes and boundaries.

15. Spitting

Spitting can be used to degrade a partner during BDSM, but for rough sex play, spitting on your partner's genitals to act as a temporary lube can add a little spice.

How to use spit for sexual pleasure

Try mixing our rough sex foreplay techniques by staring deep into your partner's eyes as you spit directly onto their genitals before working it in roughly with your hands and fingers. Remember, spit isn't the greatest lube, especially when it comes to rough sex. If your play session is heading towards anal sex, remember to apply plenty of additional lube, as the anus is delicate, and remember to re-apply if things get rough.

16. Using a Mirror

Men are visual animals when it comes to sex, but in this instance, all genders and sexualities with a penchant for performing will love seeing their partner's or their own body pulled, pinched, scratched, and slapped.

How to use mirrors during rough sex and foreplay

Sit on the floor (or on your bed) with both you and your partner facing a full-length mirror as you tweak and pinch nipples, bite necks, and slap butts and chests to enjoy your own homemade rough-sex porn scene without filming a single second of it.

17. Queening and Face Sitting

When it comes to great oral sex positions, face-sitting (or queening, as it's also known) is incredibly hot. The receiver can control the pressure, pace, and intensity they need to achieve climax. For the giver, it can be a huge turn-on to experience their partner completely lose themselves in the moment, thrashing over their face until they reach orgasm.

How to turn face sitting into rough foreplay

Have your partner sit on your face as you lick, nibble, and gently bite at their genitals. As they become more involved, losing themselves in the moment, encourage them to ride your face as hard as they can until they experience an explosive orgasm.

18. Play Fighting

As cheesy as porn movies have made girl-on-girl pillow fights during sleepovers, play fighting within couples can disrupt power dynamics and create intensity when one partner takes control of the other.

How to play fight and wrestle with your partner

As with all sexual exploration—especially where dominance and sex fighting are involved—have a pre-planned safe word ready to go to help you both feel secure when things get rough and be aware of the difference in size and strength between partners.

Mixing play-fighting with roleplay creates a great starting point.

Does your partner need punishment for getting out of line? And are they the type to fight back? They are now.

19. Fisting

Taking an entire fist in a vagina or anus is often seen as the ultimate in rough sex foreplay. It's certainly not for everyone and couldn't be further from vanilla.

How to engage in fisting with your partner

Nobody should dive into fisting without taking the time and precautions to ensure it's safe. We can't express how important easing your hand in little by little is and how essential it is to use plenty of lube.

Start with a single finger, adding one at a time to allow the receiver's body to adjust to each addition. Only when the whole hand is inside your partner should you form a fist and play with the motion and pace.

20. Everything—But rougher

For those embracing rough sex, it's totally fine to spice things up that might normally be considered vanilla. Rough sex ideas are often regular sex ideas with the intensity turned up. Kissing, stroking, tongue probing, and genital grinding—do all the things you usually do, but increase the force and vigor.

Hard kissing bumps up potency and sensation while really getting the message across.

Throw your partner onto the bed, push and pull them into position; just do it harder to build and release the sexual tension. Sex & Psychology writer Dr. Justin Lehmiller brought this interesting insight to the conversation while unpacking the content of a rough sex study from the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science. For those having rough sex with women, this could be the reason they're happy for you to dial things up a notch.

When asked to compare their rough sex experiences to “typical sex,” men and women alike reported that it tended to be more arousing and that their orgasms were more intense. Men also reported thrusting more vigorously during intercourse, and women reported reaching orgasm faster. Given that, on average, women report that it takes them about twice as long to orgasm as men, faster orgasms might be part of the appeal of this activity to women.

How to increase the roughness of your vanilla foreplay acts

Don't rush in—initiate foreplay and slowly build the pace and force as you read your partner's body language. A sensual massage can turn into wild groping and slapping; a soft and slippery blow job can turn wild with a firm grip and some frantic sucking, and a few little nibbles and light slaps can lead to the power-play fights both you and your partner can lose yourselves in.

Safety Tips for Rough Foreplay

However fun it sounds to many, it's always okay to say no; rough sex isn't for everybody. This isn't a tip, but a must: you should never be coerced into anything you don't want to do or feel uncomfortable with. No means no—always.

While it should go without saying, having sex while taking recreational drugs or too much alcohol may take you to places you hadn't bargained for but seemed okay at the time.

While they might heighten some preferable sensations, they can also impair judgment or enhance frustrations and anger—none of which are healthy in the bedroom.

1. Consent and communication are essential

Trust and relaxation are crucial to enjoying rough sex and foreplay. If you're busy worrying about what might be coming next, you won't be totally in the moment. This can prevent you from achieving orgasm or maintaining an erection, and that's the opposite of what you're trying to achieve.

Remember, rough sex means different things to different people. Going back to the What is Rough Sex? article published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, it was found to be multidimensional:

Also, rough sex was conceptualized as multidimensional, with one cluster being more consistent with earlier conceptualizations of rough sex (e.g., hair pulling, spanking) and the second cluster including behaviors such as choking, slapping, punching, and making someone have sex.

Trust and relaxation are crucial to enjoying rough sex and foreplay.

Setting limits and boundaries, choosing a safe word, and knowing how far is too far and what constitutes not far enough all center around open communication and are all designed to make you feel safe and secure with your partner.

Not everything has to be discussed in advance, though. Going with the flow is great for maximizing sexual pleasure, freedom in the moment, and expanding your sexual fantasies—as long as you check in with your partner during each activity.

2. Gear up

Restraints, whips, cuffs, gags, and more will add to the fun, but remember to include plenty of lube on your shopping list. Not only will it reduce the damaging friction from all that extra force, but it can take the sting out of slapping, making surfaces easier to slip from instead of taking the full force of every blow.

3. Start slow and build on what you both like

We'd suggest increasing the intensity in stages, starting slow and sexy and building to a frenzy of rough-housing that delivers explosive orgasms.

4. Alternatively, why wait when you've been waiting all day?

Slow and steady is said to win the race; however, we're also advocates of taking things from 0 to 100mph if you've both been raring to rip each other's clothes off for way longer than you wanted.

Returning to the Evolutionary Psychological Science article, The Rough Stuff: Understanding Aggressive Consensual Sex, being separated from a sexual partner was the second most common trigger for rough sex, particularly for men.

5. Know your partner's limits; there is such a thing as too rough

Vaginal bruising and penile fractures are real things, as are any other injuries, drawn blood, cuts, and other marks and contusions. Always prioritize safety, know each other's bodies and limits, and stay within your boundaries.

6. Always have a safe word

A safe word is essential for couples exploring new sex ideas. It should be something that would never normally come up in the bedroom and should be used the moment either partner starts to feel uncomfortable.

7. Check in with each before, during, and after

To ensure you're both on the same page about acts, force, language, and more, use the traffic light system, telling your partner:

  • Green means 'More of that, please.'
  • Amber means 'Slow down, I'm not sure about that.'
  • Red means 'Stop right now!'

That way, there should be no mixed messages or confusion about how hot and heavy—or not—the mood should take you.

8. Talk about how you both feel after your sessions

Unpacking your sex session gives you both a chance to learn more about each other's desires and limits. Again, great sex—and the healthiest relationships—benefit from great communication skills.

9. Engage in sex aftercare

When getting physically and verbally rough with each other, make sure you've got plenty of time to engage in aftercare. Despite the best intentions and the understanding that all the rough behavior and dirty talking was purely play, it can plant unhealthy thoughts that need dealing with before they become an issue. Reassure each other that the fun was just that, that you both truly value each other and your relationship, and that whatever happened in the moment was merely an experimental moment, however, it might have seemed.

Summary

If you can communicate openly about the different things you'd like to experiment with, a new world of sexy and passionate rough fun awaits.

Consent and conversation will ensure you both feel valued throughout your experience, however, rough things get.

Take care of each other, play safe, and be open to experimenting, and before you know it, our foreplay tips will be part of your regular sex life. With so many new turn-ons added to your sexual repertoire, a nibble on the back of your neck will never seem quite so innocent again.

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