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Red In The Face

Dear Rosemary,
I just moved to Montreal, and I don’t know a lot of people here, but I started dating this really attractive guy. He asked me out at work, and he seemed like a total catch – he takes me out for dinner, he has a gorgeous downtown apartment, he’s an awesome dancer and a total gentleman. Except, when we have sex, he really likes to choke me. He started because he said I “obviously liked things rough,” and to an extent I do, but it also kind of scares me. I’ve told him I’m not into it, but sometimes he “forgets” and does it lightly, or just generally is way more rough with me than I like. Is this guy a weirdo?
Breathless

Dear Breathless,
Statistically, though I’m not particularly into research, your pretty-boy boyfriend (and his rougher alter ego) is not a weirdo: lots of men—and women too—appreciate a little tough love. If you must, blame your body; pain and pleasure both release endorphins, your bod’s chemical good-time high. Problem is, rough sex ranges from playful spanking and hair-pulling to love bites (though don’t break the skin; this ain’t Twilight) and full-on Michael Hutchence behaviour—a broad spectrum where your perv quotient can quickly be surpassed by your pervier bf.
Or so you’d have us—and yourself—believe. If dude’s as observant as he is deviant, and you do in fact “obviously like things rough” (though what possibly makes this obvious is beyond any experience I’ve ever had), then you owe it to yourself—not him, that’s key—to drop your inhibitions and get funky.
Firstly, the facts: choking reduces oxygen flow to the brain, resulting in a drug-like hallucinogenic state (good) and, according to racy rumours, a better orgasm (even better). Unfortunately, your brain needs oxygen and you may die (bad). But like all taboos, asphyxiation nonetheless developed into a fetish, and like all fetishes, making rules is the name of the game. Discuss thoroughly beforehand, and if you’re finding yourself strangely more into it than not, then pick an unsexy safe word and demand he respect it.
But in this case, Breathless, your forgetful date rapist has already and repeatedly disrespected these boundaries. Sexuality is a slippery slope and while it’s very possible your kinda-into-it ‘tude is confusing to both parties, No still means No. Factor in the heat-of-the-moment factor and his supposed inability to control himself and you’re looking at a very dangerous situation in-the-making.
So if you really dig this dude, and not just the free dinners, ditch any coy indecision and talk it out very clearly. Decide definitely what you will and will not do, and tell him straight. If he “forgets” one more time, then do yourself a favour, admit your peaches and cream boyfriend has gone sour, and punch him in the face on your way out the door. Hey man, he’ll probably like it.

6 comments
Skittles
Skittles

Would she stay with him if her were less attractive, etc? I think this dude has domination issues. If so, he should just stick to butt slapping, and cheeky word play...i.e. things that cant result in accidental death.

Crazy Blonde Chick
Crazy Blonde Chick

I think you two need to sit down and figure out what you both like.... you seem to imply that you don't really know what you are or are not into or how far is too far. It sounds like he's doing it because he thinks it's what you want- and when you say you don't want it, and he continues to do it, that maybe suggests that HE likes it. I personally am not a huge fan of having it done to me- but there are some 'pain' things that can be kind of fun. Talk to your man about it, figure it out- we're all adults here and should be able to bring this up to one another in a relationship. If you decide to go down the rough path, a safeword is a great idea- and probably a bit hotter than freaking out and trying to take shots at him when you can't breathe anymore.

Scarlet
Scarlet

Hey there, I don't think you've emphasized enough that sexual choking is EXTREMELY dangerous. There are tons of ways to have "rough sex," most of which can be done safely and easily and can be incredibly fun. Some are more complicated and require some background knowledge to be executed safely. However, choking falls into the "don't-do-this-ever-ESPECIALLY-if-you're-not-aware-of-the-risks" category. Do a quick google search for BDSM and erotic asphyxiation and you'll see what I'm talking about. Professionals who engage in extreme pain or bondage play usually still won't go near asphyxiation. I think the spirit of her letter was more about rough play in general and your advice about that (explicit conversation, etc) was awesome. I like Seashell's point too. Just wanted to emphasize the choking thing.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Why would he think she likes it rough? Is she one of the girls that loves it while its going on and then feels ashamed about it later?

KK
KK

Does the beau have a ceiling fan and a length of rope? If so, maybe you guys can do some turnabout, since that's just fair play. And when he croaks like David Carradine, move to Toronto, and I'll roger you roundly. I'll treat you right -- instead of choking you, I'll just cry a lot when you laugh at my fumbling awkwardness, and instead of worrying for your life, you'll only need worry about how uncomfortable the rest of the evening will be and whether you should just stay or leave early.

Seashell
Seashell

It's a great idea to try out a safe word in this situation. I'd also suggest Breathless ask herself if she would put up with this treatment from a less attractive guy or in a place where she knew more people. Just because one is lonely or because a person is gorgeous doesn't mean one should settle for behaviours usually not preferred. Lack of respect is a deal-breaker as is unwanted sexual roughness.