Amorous and Angry?

Posted by Beth Darling on Jan 22nd 2024

Amorous and Angry?

Dear Beth,

My husband thinks the way for us to stop fighting is to have sex because he and his ex used to have great angry sex. Seems to me that he’s just trying to distract us from the problem, hoping we can ignore it after. But I’m tired of fighting about sex in the middle of whatever else we’re fighting about. 

Please help! 

Pissed Off Pam

Hi Pam,

I’m glad you wrote, I think others struggle with this issue also. Especially since the angry sex we see in movies is hot AF. I mean, who doesn’t want intense, passionate, and hugely orgasmic sexy fun? Too bad that’s not always the case in real life.

Your husband's view that intimacy can be good for relationships isn't wrong, but it's definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution. For some couples, angry sex does help them feel more connected and is a great way to reaffirm their bond. But others, not so much. So let me just give you some insight into the advantages so you can figure out whether or not you want to try it sometime.

1. One thing that might influence your decision is the fact that studies have found that anger can evoke (or indicate) a desire for greater connection. Even if you’re someone with a tendency to withdraw when angry. When viewed from this perspective, it’s easier to understand the urgency and frenzy of angry sex.

2. Physiologically, angry sex can feel extra powerful because it’s fueled by high emotions which cause higher levels of adrenaline. This level of excitement can then be perceived as or inspire sexual arousal. It’s not wrong to say that anger feels like an aphrodisiac to some people. Especially because anger also causes our heart to beat faster, and increases our blood pressure, both of which are also caused by arousal. Lastly, and significantly, anger increases testosterone, which amps up one’s libido regardless of gender.

3. But, it's not all about body chemistry. You can’t think about angry sex without accounting for emotionality. In this regard, angry sex can be good for your relationship in a few ways. It might break up an argument that’s going nowhere, allow you to burn off any mental or physical frustration, and/or help you both feel closer despite not resolving the issue. Plus, don’t ignore the happy hormones that sexy fun creates – oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin – they all come into play, promoting feelings of comfort, closeness and communication and diminishing one’s anxiety level. 

However, there's a big "but" here. Angry sex needs to be safe and consensual. If it makes you or your partner feel uncomfortable or unsafe, it's a no-go. Remember, consent is always key, and "Code Red" means stop, every time.

While I encourage partners to get naked and touch each other even while disagreeing, I also firmly believe in setting boundaries beforehand. Some couples agree that they will only get naked together in the shower, others refuse to get naked but will have a “quickie” while standing up... you’ve got to figure out what can feel ok to both of you. If angry sex is going to cause resentment, skip it.

That being said, if either of you is counting on angry sex to dodge the real issues or emotions, that's a problem. It can be a temporary band-aid, but the goal is to use the resulting closeness to ease the tough talks or dealing with underlying problems. My suggestion is that you make a standing agreement to return to the touchy topic an hour after you interrupt things with angry sex.

Of course, it goes without saying that if you find yourself in the angry sex zone a bit too often, or it’s the only way sexy fun is instigated, finding a relationship coach or counselor might be a smart move. Professional help isn’t just for relationships in crisis mode. It's about maintaining the happy relationship you want and deserve.

Given all that, why not give occasional angry sex a try? Maybe you’ll enjoy being more aggressive, outspoken and emotional together in a mutually satisfying way? It’s worth noting that some women find their anger gives them the motivation to speak more freely, ask for what they want, give the directions they typically hold back- and even have the more intense orgasms that elude them during calm love making.

I think that with love, commitment and honesty, angry sex can be a magical tool in your relationship toolbox. Here’s hoping you learn to use it wisely and it helps you build a better marriage.

With heat and high hopes, 

Beth Darling