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Love is a Battlefield: An Overview of Rough Body Play

Two people on a bed, woman on top of a man looking at him aggressively.

If physical violence during sex sounds extreme to you, that’s fine. It’s not for everyone. But if you felt hot under the collar from the fight scene in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, you might find Rough Body Play interesting enough to explore.

What exactly is Rough Body Play?

It can be playful; it can be intense. If you’re not careful, it might even be dangerous. That’s why Rough Body Play (RBP) is sometimes classed as an advanced form BDSM — maybe even veering into edgeplay.

If it’s hard to wrap your head around, you can think of rough body play as a subset of impact play without the props. That means no whips, no paddles, no flogging. Punches, kicks, and spanking, on the other hand, aren’t just on the table — they’re the menu.

RBP can sit at the same table as Play Fighting. However, people like to separate the two either by technique or intent. Play Fighting can feel more like a fun game and incorporate chasing each other or wrestling. RBP should feel more aggressive — think punching, hair pulling, or struggling while being held down.

Two people in bed together, cuddling. One person has their arms restrictively around the other's upper body.
Photo by Claudia van Zyl on Unsplash

Why get into Rough Body Play?

There are many reasons for RBP to appeal to different people. But contrary to what you might think, it isn’t always about punishment and discipline. While those themes, in particular, might be famous for their physical aspect, RBP can even be enjoyed by a relationship dynamic that’s more on equal footing. If you’ve ever been spanked and wanted to hit back, you might be less into the submission and more into pain.

Two people on a bed, woman on top of a man looking at him aggressively.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Fighting can be hot.

There’s no denying it. There’s loads of sexual tension to be found in fighting because it’s so physical. The close proximity. The body weight. Warm skin and friction — not to mention the high of an adrenaline rush, your blood pumping, and the complex emotions swirling around in the air like anger, competition, or just wanting to rile someone up and to see how far they’ll let you push them.

There’s a reason action movies are so popular, and it’s not always thanks to a riveting plot.

It’s a primal release of energy.

Even if hitting is involved, sometimes it’s not about inflicting pain. Sometimes it’s the fact that you can.

Using your body aggressively doesn’t always have to be about violence. Especially for adults, it can get hard to find a safe space or outlet to roughhouse or just physically let go. While there are rules and a structure that has to be involved (to keep things safe and avoid injury), rough body play can help you tap into your primal side, unburdened by the pressures of work-life and society.

Subverting tropes feels good.

There comes a time in many girls’ lives where they’re told they’re too old to play a certain way. That they’re too old to run around, that girls don’t play like boys do. That girls can’t fight because girls are weak, and anyway, boys can’t hit girls. It can be a thrilling satisfaction for anyone used to being perceived as weak to know they can dish it out or take it.

As long as you explore rough body play safely with a trusted partner and negotiate limits beforehand, kinky sex can be your safe place to untangle such complicated feelings and even heal past trauma.

How can you safely incorporate rough body play into your scenes?

The key for everything is, as always, consent and communication. While spontaneity can be discussed, never initiate a scene without warning or preparation.

Negotiate limits with your partner/s.

Limits here don’t end at traffic lights and safe words. While those basic limits are always necessary, during RBP, all the adrenaline can dull or delay how you feel pain and how much force you dispense. Getting caught up in a scene might lead to incurring or inflicting more damage than you meant to, and you might even aggravate an injury before you realize it was there.

Three people are in bed together, talking and smiling.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
  • Types of strikes or holds allowed
    Are kicks allowed? Punching? Which body parts are safe to grab?
  • When to stop or keep going, outside of safe word use
    For example, ending the scene at the first sign of blood or bruising
  • Where to hit or strike
    Map out the body. Bound Together has a great resource on which areas are safer to hit during RBP. As a rule, stick to fleshier parts and limbs, and avoid bony areas (sternum, head, face), joints (knees), pressure points, and areas around your delicate organs (lower back, chest, or abdomen).
    Remember to ask and keep in mind if your partner has any areas of weakness or chronic injury. Think weak ankles or wrists, sensitive breasts, etc.
  • Hitting or gripping can cause bruising.
    Unless your partner doesn’t mind visible bruising, ask if you should keep marks below the collar and over the hem.
  • How to hit
    Test out the shape of a fist or a slap first. Unlike in an actual fight, the goal is to feel, not to damage. Never punch with your knuckles and use looser fists. Your thumb should be on the outside of the fist, not inside. Finally, don’t wind up. The closer you strike from, the more control you have over how strong it will be and where it lands.
  • Holds or Grips
    Practicing how to hold your partner down or in place can keep them from panicking when being overpowered. There are popular classes and training videos down at Kink Academy for RBP-approved fighting techniques.
  • Check yourself and your partner for injuries.
    Ice any bruises, attend to any scratches, check if any bones or joints could be strained or broken. Seek professional medical help.
  • Check in with each other.
    • At any point in the scene, is there an action or move you would like your partner to do more of? To stop?
    • What did you like and not like?
    • Which body areas are particularly sore and should be avoided next time you engage in rough body play?
    • How do you feel about each other? What kind of emotions or thoughts did the scene bring up?
    • Was this satisfying? Will there be a next time?

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, there are many reasons why Rough Body Play could potentially be satisfying for you. It’s also a field you can potentially grow; after a session of RBP, many find themselves more motivated to hit the gym or even enroll in martial arts classes. Nevertheless, you should also remember that the human body can deal and sustain real damage, so it’s important to explore your limits and give your body time to heal.

Itching to learn more about kink and BDSM? Head on over to Pleasure Uncensored to read about kink community culture or how to find a good BDSM partner. Or check out the FOXXXY shop for some beginner BDSM gear.

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