Rough play is the anal sex of the kink world—an acquired taste and not for everyone.
For some, rough play isn’t an area of Kinkland that they ever wish to explore. For others, it is Nirvana.
So how does one engage in rough play safely and with minimal risk? Like with everything else, it takes practice and patience.
While any play carries with it some risk (and honestly that is part of the appeal) rough play registers higher on the risk scale. Traditional BDSM play is very carefully structured and implemented. You are not in a rush, and every move is thought out in advance. Often there is high protocol and rituals to be observed. This is not the case with rough play. Rough play is primal and messy and highly energetic, like over caffeinated Tasmanian Devils on a bender.
The truth is rough play only looks chaotic from the outside. On the inside, there are actually more rules and structure than there first might appear. The most important rule is to always hold back a little. If you go into an abduction or takedown scene at 100%, you are going to find yourself winded and making mistakes. Neither you nor your partner(s) should be giving it your all. Playing at 50-65% is fun enough to be interesting without crossing into accidental injury.
Before you take on the challenge of a rough play scene, you first need to have a working knowledge of how the human body works.
It is vital to know what areas of the human body to avoid, what are safe, and which to be wary of. Without at least a basic idea of how anatomy works, I cannot counsel attempting rough play. I highly recommend taking an impact or rough play class to get you started. Can’t find any classes in your area? Check out these videos instead: Rough Body Play: Controlling the Body and A Rough Body Play Demo. Once you have a grasp on anatomy and areas of the body to avoid, you can start expanding on your knowledge. Often rough play includes wrestling/grappling and breath play.
Many skills learned in a jiu jitsu class transfer smoothly over to BDSM play and erotic wrestling. It is my firm belief that any kinkster will find benefits in taking some jiu jitsu classes, especially if you are planning on attempting rough play. While health or work or family circumstances may make taking such a class unfeasible, if you can at all fit it in, I highly recommend it.
Before beginning a rough play scene, there are many factors to consider.
Do you or your play partner(s) have asthma or a current cold? Did either of you sleep poorly the night before? Are you feeling out of sorts, or in a bad mood? Rough play tends to be energetic and easily winding. If you are not feeling 100% that particular day, it is perfectly okay to shelf your rough play plans. One should never attempt to play if their head is not completely in the game. Forcing your way through a scene in an attempt to not let anyone down only increases your chances of something going wrong.
Allow for a safe space if someone is triggered by the play, as landmines can go off when you least expect it. Rough play is the type of play that pushes you outside your comfort zone. People can be triggered by their partner failing to read them and going too far. For this reason, be sure to always have clear negotiations before starting a scene. Follow this with thorough aftercare and a scene breakdown when everyone is in a headspace to do so. The more you analyze and breakdown your scenes, the better they will become.
As long as you are careful and take the time to do your research before charging into play, there is very little that you cannot explore. Kinkland is a wide and wonderful place, and there is something for everyone there. Now go out and have some fun! You have little to lose and much to gain on your journey.
Rain DeGrey is an international educator and presenter who has lectured at Harvard and Northwestern. She regularly teaches classes on a wide variety of sexual and kink topics, writes a bi-monthly advice column, and blog. For more information, event listings and classes, check out her website raindegrey.com!