Can you be a feminist and like rough sex?

Slapping, choking, spitting — if a woman gets off on a little consensual degradation in the bedroom, does that make her less of a feminist?

Many women who demand equal pay by day and harder spanks by night wake up feeling conflicted (and a little bruised) about their two favorite F-words: feminism and fucking.

Almost every version of feminism has been hell-bent on equalizing power structures and fighting gender-based oppression. But those feminists who are also hell-bent on bending over in the bedroom — using those very same power structures to get off — may be faced with questions about whether or not their political walk matches their pillow talk.

“I love being spat on during sex,” says Zoe, a 28-year-old graduate student I’m sipping espressos with. “The nastier the spit, the better. Does that make me a bad feminist? Do I need to burn all of my Audre Lorde books? Give back my Smith College degree?” She tosses aside a lock of hair as she laughs at the ridiculousness of her own rhetorical questions. I wonder how many times she’s caught a loogie.

Of the 1,500+ self-described “kinky” women Jennifer Eve Rehor studied in 2011, the majority were found to have participated in “at least one of the following activities for their own sensual or erotic pleasure: physical humiliation, deprivation, punishment (physical), breath play, obedience/training, verbal abuse/humiliation, other forced activities and service-oriented submission/domestic service.” They did so in the role of the receptive or submissive partner.

For the record, the dominant partner(s) needn’t be male in these scenarios. Nor does rough sex necessarily imply penis-vagina intercourse. Feminist women can and do experiment with power structures well beyond male-female play.

In the past few years, women have both devoured countless (controversial) copies of 50 Shadesand rallied around Beyonce’s “Flawless” definition of feminist.

But what does this mean for our real, kinky sex lives? How does getting flogged contribute to our feminist ways? How can we create kinky sex lives that are both feminist and degrading instead of just plain degrading?…continue reading on…



Tying to Get Kinky

My girlfriend and I are in college and we’ve done some like really, really basic BDSM: blindfolding, a little handcuffs, and some bondage stuff, but nothing serious. Now we want to do some tying down. What would you suggest?

Like a bad sex columnist, I just watched 50 Shades of Grey for the first time (and never read the book). Like a good sex columnist, I read the countless reviews and critiques of the material, in which many people panned 50 Shades as partner-abusive, non-consensual garbage — which it is. Continued…


Feeling Rough

Ladies, when it comes to bangin’ banging, if you do the crime, you gotta do the time.

Though this “time” can come in many forms, such as cramping, bruises, welts, and off-cycle vaginal bleeding, rarely will you get slapped with a life sentence. Sexual pleasure, much like alcohol, has many endorphin- and adrenaline-induced effects on our bodies which can simultaneously allow us to make abnormally hasty decisions and significantly increase our pain tolerance. This is a recipe for a great slap-happy time, but the aftertaste can also be more bitter than sweet when the orgasms are over. While yelling, “Harder!” may have seemed like a fantastic idea in the moment, it can be unnerving to feel the results the next day, especially if you were on the receiving end of such enthusiastic penetration. Continued…