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The Woman I'm Dating Wants Me to Smack Her, and I Don't Want To 

Dear Athena,

I started going out with this really awesome woman and I totally dig her. We had a great thing going, but she recently asked me to smack her across the face while we were having sex. At first I sort of pathetically swiped her face and she let it go. I thought that would be the end of it, but she keeps asking me to do it with more aggression, and I don't want to. When I finally tried again and hit her very lightly she kept saying, "harder, harder." I couldn't do it. I got soft, and then she left. Things have been awkward since. I really like her and want to stay with her, but I don't know what to do.

Help me,

Sex Smackdown Confusion

Dear Sex Smackdown,

I must start by saying that I do not condone domestic violence in any way, shape or form. There's a fine line between pleasure from pain and causing harm. But for a lot of people, BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) is a thrilling form of erotic pleasure. Many people grow closer through sharing physical pain in the bedroom, and others are just not into it. Your new gal apparently gets off on a little masochism. That, or she is deeply troubled.

Wild sex can be a huge turn-on. A little ass slap, some gentle choking, being tied up or whipped are all examples of the kind of kinky fun you can have with your partner. Some folks like to be peed on or humiliated; others like to play dress-up. The list goes on and on, and exploration can be an exciting erotic adventure — if it's mutual. What concerns me is that you're clearly not into it and she is pushing her sexual agenda on you. It's time to talk.

You have to discuss your comfort level with this kind of action in the bedroom. While you want to please her, you've got to discuss boundaries and limits. She has to understand how you feel, or you're trying to play a role you can't sustain. The longer you try to keep it up, the harder it will be to keep it up, if you get what I'm saying. It's understandable that you want to make her happy; but if you don't voice your concern, distance will grow between you. Sounds like that's already started.

If you decide you're willing to give this sort of play a try, then agree in advance on a way to do it that works for both of you. A safe word is crucial, so that when/if things go too far, you can clock out quickly and without question. As cool as this woman might be, the fact remains that you might not be compatible in the sack. Disappointing, sure, but how long do you think the relationship will last if you withhold your true feelings? Speak up before someone really gets hurt.

Yours,

Athena

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