Sex Tips

Power, control, or rough sex

Power, control, or rough sex. Cue S&M by Rihanna because whips and chains excite millions of Americans.

Sadism and masochism (S&M) and bondage, discipline, dominance, and submission (BDSM) make up the second most popular fantasy.

BDSM is basically about the consensual exchange of power in a sexual or nonsexual situation.

“The idea of being sexually submissive can be arousing to people who are always in control outside of the bedroom,” says Engle. “And the idea of being in control can be hot due to the taboo nature of rough sex and [a] sense of authority.”

Daddy/step-daughter, professor/student, boss/employee roleplay falls into this category. So does “forced sex” (which Dr. Lehmiller calls “mock rape”).

S&M is about giving or receiving pain through things like spanking, whipping, humiliation, and more.

Corrado says, “Really, this kind of play is about radical trust because it’s a vulnerable type of play. And that vulnerability has arousal potential.”

What to do about it

From spanking and blind folding, to electroplay or needle play, BDSM contains a wide range of sexual activities.

So the first step to enacting this fantasy IRL is to ensure it’s safe, sane, and consensual (SSC), then figuring out what the fantasy is, exactly, and then talking to your partner about it.

“Whatever the fantasy, there should be a plan in place around what will happen in that sexual scene,” says Daniel Sayant, founder of NSFW, a club hosting sex-positive events and workshops.

“That way you can eliminate the risk of unwanted, or nonconsensual, acts — even in the face of control play,” he adds.

How to define the scene:

Agree on a safe word.
Talk through what the roles are.
Establish boundaries.
Take it slow.
Check in continuously.

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