Good news – ESSENCE’s “Ask An OB-GYN” series is back to bring you very public answers to some of your most private questions. When sexual and vaginal health concerns arise, renowned Obstetrics and Gynecology physician Dr. Tosha Rogers wants to ensure you have the answers you need to feel at ease. If you have a sexual health concern or question you want to swing her way, we’ve got you covered.  Email [email protected] with “Ask An OB-GYN” in the subject line and ask away!

Q: I love the feeling of rough sex, but I wonder what if it can causing permanent damage to my vagina. Is there such a thing as too rough?

A: Rough sex can include many different things. It can be hair pulling, biting, whipping, studded handcuffs (real-life Fifty Shades of Grey type stuff!) Then there is another “type” of rough, as in vaginal or anal ramming, fisting, excessive deep thrusting, etc. The former speaks to rough behavior with respect to other parts of the body. The latter speaks to rough behavior with the genitals.

When it comes to being “rough” with the genitals, yes, damage can occur. It could be as mild as a laceration (tear) requiring surgical repair due to excessive bleeding. It could be as severe as damage to the vulva (lips of the vagina and outside structures of the vagina), damage to the vagina itself, the rectum and or the bladder. 

I have seen some very extensive damage to the vagina due to “rough sex”, leaving permanent damage. I suggest when having “rough sex” you use a safe word, be with a sexually skilled person that has a reasonable discernment for what too far means, and make sure there is adequate lubrication.


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