For the full piece click here. Below, however, we’ve decided to give you Alex’s full answer. Enjoy!
“The main complaint people have about rough sex is that it is maybe too close to abuse. So, take a cis-gendered hetero couple where the man roughs up the woman, people have a lot of problems with this because the woman is seen as the object of the man’s outlet. While in a lesbian relationship it might be seen as permissible namely because lesbians don’t necessarily adhere to heterosexual gender binary i.e. you’re both chicks, that’s weird, do what you want. There are several different scenarios that distort women’s power in sexual situations, like the aforementioned gender non-conformity or how interracial dating in America and perceived power dynamics taint role play.
We are essentially talking about power dynamics and whether feminism can thrive in seemingly unequal power dynamics. The problem with power dynamics, is that to the naked eye, the more aggressive party has more of it. Two things make this false: consent and permission. If we take feminism’s main objective in this context to be promoting a woman’s equality to that of her partner, and we take that sex requires consent because non consensual sex is in essence, well, rape, then feminism must exist if there is to be rough sex or sex at all.
Rough sex inherently requires higher levels of consent because it’s so fucking risky. If my partner has asked me to degrade her until I hear a safe word, I risk seriously injuring her emotionally. In another example, if I’m asked to restrain my partner or torture her, then I risk physically injuring her and will likely leave marks even though it’s consensual. I am responsible for her body. My partner must check in and I must check in. Being the giver of roughness is equally scary to receiving it. With the heightened consent necessary, everyone has control. This equality is feminist in its purest sense.
Another thing is this: you are living out fantasies that you want to act out. A woman receiving roughness has given you permission to dominate her on whatever terms she’s laid out. That’s power. In fact, arguably more power that the giver. Throughout all roughness, the woman is in power, even if she has chosen to relinquish it.
I think rough sex is the ultimate feminist act because, as a woman, I am able to identify what I want and find someone to satisfy those needs on my terms.”