Dear Em & Lo,
My wife and I have been together just over five years. The other night while having sex, she asked me to slap her in the face. Repeatedly. I was raised not to lay a hand down on a woman, and now I am being asked to. We are pretty active and broad in our sexual tastes, but this one is kind of weird to me. Thoughts, ideas?
— Slap Unhappy
Dear Slap Unhappy,
We totally understand your hesitation. Spanking someone’s bum feels naughty in a playful, hot-for-teacher kind of way, but slapping a woman in the face? That’s a pretty loaded act. Then again, so is climaxing on a woman’s face, and plenty of couples seem to have no problem with that. Here’s the thing: What happens in the bedroom between two consenting adults — especially two consenting adults who are in a loving, trusting, long-term relationship like you guys are — doesn’t have to have anything to do with what happens outside the bedroom.
Agreeing to slap your wife during sex because it turns her on doesn’t make you the kind of guy who’d slap his wife for being five minutes late with the dinner. It just makes you the kind of awesome husband who’s into fulfilling his wife’s ultimate fantasy. And it is just that: a fantasy.
One of the most common sexual fantasies among women is to be overpowered/dominated/ravished by a man — but fantasizing about this during masturbation or even wanting a partner to play along with the fantasy during sex doesn’t mean that a woman actually wants to be raped…she just wants to lose control temporarily, in the throes of passion, with someone whom she trusts implicitly not to actually hurt her. (It’s the plot line for the majority of romance novels, too: man ravishes woman; woman swoons; etc. And it’s a discussion we’ve been having around these here parts lately.)
If you’re worried you will actually hurt her, then start with gentle slaps and build up force gradually at her request: you’d be surprised how much more people can take when they’re really turned on. (It’s that whole pain-pleasure thing that’s at the core of SM play.)
And if you’re worried you won’t know when it’s too much of a good thing, then you and your wife can pick a “safe word”: something that neither of you would ever say during sex (like, say, “baby fishmouth”). That way, she can writhe and moan and say “no” all she wants, and so long as she doesn’t yell out “baby fishmouth,” you’ll know that those are writhes and moans of pleasure.
— Em & Lo