Dear Em & Lo: My Wife Asked Me to Slap Her

photo by Mickey Sick

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


  1. I’m OK with spanking a woman if she asks, because the odds harming her with my hand is infinitesimal. But to slap anywhere on her head is to risk serious injury. I don’t think causing lasting physical harm is especially loving, and I will refuse to do it even if asked.

  2. I love this site! My husband and I are having the same issue! He has always known that I like a little spanking but I do think the slapping is freaking him out a little. He is still far gentler than I prefer when he spanks me, but he is coming out of his shell. All of the advice is great and I am so happy you guys are here so my husband doesn’t think I’m broken.

  3. baby fishmouth? worst safe word ever. Anyone that loves Family guy knows the safe word is “banana”

  4. My boyfriend is amazing. He treats me like a princess and would never hurt me. He’s gentle, protective and wonderful.

    During sex, he knows I like a little pain. So he will pull my hair, bite and generally just make me squeal.

    It doesn’t mean he’s violent, it just means we both enjoy the sexual acts of BDSM. Set up a safe word and explore. Get a beginners bondage kit and some movies.

  5. Eek! Back in the late 1970s or early 1980s I ended up breaking up with someone early in a relationship because she wanted me to slap her. It just totally freaked me out. A few years later I was really freaked out when a partner told me she was terribly turned on by spanking.

    It wasn’t that I didn’t know about BDSM. In fact I’d done a fair amount of bondage and coercion role-playing. But neither of those partners had seemed the least bit interested — they’d just had previous partners who’d done it to them and they’d discovered they liked it.

    My loss in retrospect, and of course theirs too.

    What I didn’t understand at the time, and it’s really important for Slap Unhappy too, is that boundaries and respect for boundaries are really important not just to protect the sub, and in more gendered terms they’re not there just to protect the woman.

    You’re absolutely right that, especially when we’re turned on, people can withstand far more “impact” than their partners may be psychologically or even physically comfortable giving. (Psychologically as in Unhappy’s and my case where hitting someone went against ingrained upbringing. And physically it often hurts one’s hand more to spank someone than it hurts the spankee’s bottom.)

    So anyway, while it might be Unhappy’s partner’s wildest turn on to be slapped, if it’s a turn-off for him then she needs to a) recognize that it’s a boundary issue for him, b) negotiate to see if there’s a way to make him comfortable enough to consent, and if not then c) respect his boundary and his decision not to participate.

    Oh, and possibly if he goes ahead anyway then she may also need to d) help work with him through what I’m going to call potential “top drop” afterwards. Because what he might agree to try he might still be bummed about after.

    Bottom line: We don’t usually think of boundaries and consent as moving in the direction of the top, or in heterosexual relationships as working towards the man. But boundaries are boundaries and consent is consent and when they’re confronted it’s important that they be respected regardless of who’s boundaries they are or who’s consent is required.

    It’s always ok to say no.


  6. My ex asked me to do this same thing.
    The look on her face was exquisite.
    It was so much better when she had her (female) friend slap her though. That was the hottest thing I’ve ever seen. No joke.

  7. Thats a really good way to look at it! Guys do other stuff to women’s faces during sex so why the hesitation? Having a “safe” word seems like a great way to have fun in the bedroom with out a misunderstanding. Plus, if you use your judgement and common sense, I’m sure you know better than to actually hurt your significant other.

  8. I’ll make that suggestion stronger; if you are going to do this at all, you should have a safe word!

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