the dark side of sex

It’s Time to Talk About the Dark Side of Sex

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We like to celebrate sex in all its joyful glory. I rejoice at the very possibility that my articles might encourage someone to have better sex, but I’ll never claim that it’s a one-way road and that there isn’t a dark and sinister quality to sexuality. Sex is a risky game and some of its risks are too real to ignore (not just talking about physical here). 

Exposure to Violence

An experience from a female friend of mine really shook me to the core. We were a part of a group that wasn’t super close, but used to go out together. She suddenly stopped, and some of us were even upset that she ghosted us.

Years later we reconnected and she told me frankly about the night that triggered her change. A bunch of us were at a concert and she met a guy she liked. Long story short, she went to his dorm room to have sex. The guy was into rough play and she had no problem with it. He put his hands around her neck and she played along. Until at one point she realized she had no control over it.

He was squeezing hard and she was constantly on the edge of consciousness, falling in and out, convinced those were the last moments of her life. First petrified, then just resigned to fate. Afterwards, she threw up and barely remembered how she got home. She didn’t leave her house for a week until the bruising around her neck healed and never went to the police, embarrassed of her consent and being under the influence of various substances.

Years later, after lots of therapy, she worked through most of her fears, guilt and regrets of that night, but, she told me that there was one thing she still had trouble coping with – the feeling that she might have prevented bad things from happening to others had she reported the guy.

What’s triggered me about her story is how helpless one is to prevent such events. That’s the thing about sex; it truly is a risky act which exposes our soft underbelly in a psychological and literal sense.

There is a shocking number of predators out there, with one study among the student population showing the rate for completed sexual assault of undergraduates being 10.3% in women and 3.1% in men.

Erotic Asphyxiation Kills

If you really like being on the receiving end of choking, you can ask your lover to engage in this type of play with you. However, there’s a catch-22 type of paradox that should prevent you from ever consenting to another person’s request to squeeze your neck. The desire to play strangler in a sexual context comes from a dark place and should not be humored by any partner. You should not be desiring violent control over a person, and if you do, perhaps you should address it with your therapist, not lover.

Keep in mind that erotic asphyxiation (or breath control play) is dangerous, both during solo and partnered play, and has resulted in many deaths over the years.

The law is unfortunately still very unclear about protecting the victims of consensual violent sex in many places around the world, and hardcore sex is even used as a defense strategy in murder trials (sometimes refered to as “rough sex defence” or “50 shades defence”). Unfortunately, with some success.

Why Can’t You See You Belong to Me

Apart from direct violence in bed, our sexuality also exposes us to one of the worst human qualities; possessiveness. This desire to sexually own a person, paired with the conviction that you’re entitled to it, is an extremely dangerous “dark alley” of the human psyche. It’s often normalized in our societies, and to a degree, even celebrated in pop culture. Examples of this are all around the place, with hyper popular songs like Sting’s “Every Breath You Take” or “Delilah” by Tom Jones, which are basically apologies of a possessive femicide. 

The Price of Pleasure

But even without any violent context, sexual pleasure often comes with a price. The game of desire has strange rules and can hurt us in many ways. To a degree, most of us have experienced or caused pain, oftentimes both. 

Make sure to take sex for what it is and have it with those who have the same desires, physically and emotionally, as you do.