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Angry Sex in Relationships: Understanding the Pros & Cons

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

Two women in a relationship argue about angry sex

Angry sex is often romanticized as a frenzied, fiery, and passionate romp, resulting in the ultimate tension release. But is it healthy for your relationship?

Key takeaways:

  • Angry sex is often romanticized because of its intensity.

  • Depending on the circumstances, angry sex can be helpful or harmful.

  • It differs from routine sex for many reasons, including its adrenaline-fueled nature.

  • It can be healing when it helps resolve the “fight or flight” response.

  • Consent is important no matter what kind of sex is involved.

  • Sex while angry can be harmful if there’s no consent, if either partner feels uncomfortable or unsafe, or if you’re using it as a means to avoid emotions or important discussions.

If you’ve had angry sex before, you know it tends to be the stuff of movies and romance novels. It’s aflame with passion driven by emotions and pent-up frustration, culminating in the ultimate tension release.

Angry sex can be healthy for your relationship or it can be harmful. It depends on the circumstances. Consider this advice.

Angry sex is different than other types of sex

Yes, angry sex is different from other kinds of sex. It can happen when two people feel they need a physical outlet to release their tension. Couples who struggle with communication may use it as a form of communication and conflict resolution.

Angry sex can include:

  • Initiating sexual activity during an argument

  • Feeling a release of tension, frustration, and anger after sex

  • Arousal transference; your body may confuse the physical arousal from anger with sexual arousal because many of the physiological responses to anger and sexual arousal are similar, such as an increased heart rate and blood pressure.

  • A resolution to the “fight or flight” response

  • Being used as an outlet for aggression

Believe it or not, anger can be an aphrodisiac. Not only does it cause some of the same physiological reactions as sexual arousal but it also increases testosterone, which in turn increases sex drive.

Studies have shown that anger can evoke the desire for closeness which can also drive the urgency and frenzied passion behind angry sex. There’s also an increased spike of adrenaline during angry sex that isn’t typically present during routine sex.

Benefits of angry sex

When done in a way where both partners feel safe and supported – even during the intense, animalistic aspects – angry sex can have benefits. Here are a few:

  • It can be a disruption to an argument that was getting hurtful or out of hand.

  • Sex stimulates the body into releasing the so-called “happy hormones” oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin.

  • Increased oxytocin is linked to psychological stability and communication, both of which are important for conflict resolution.

  • May help resolve the “fight or flight” response that’s activated during an argument.

  • Angry sex can help you and your partner feel closer to each other after having an argument.

Angry sex can be helpful and healing. There are times when it should be avoided, though.

When can Angry Sex be harmful?

If angry sex makes either you or your partner feel uncomfortable or unsafe, it shouldn’t be happening. Consent is vital – anytime sex happens without consent, it is rape…even if you’re in a relationship or married. “No” always means no.

Angry sex can also get rough due to partners using it as an outlet for aggression, and it can be easier to cross boundaries in the heat of the moment. It’s advisable that you and your partner have already had a discussion when things are calm about what sexual boundaries look like in your relationship – and that said boundaries are honored at all times, even when angry. For couples who get really rowdy during angry sex, a “safe word” is recommended to be agreed upon prior; this should also be decided when things are calm, clear-headed, and rational.

When you’re deciding if angry sex is a “go” or not, consider why you’re having it. Is it for the emotional release, to bond with your partner, or because you’re using it as a means to avoid difficult conversations and emotions? If you’re using it as a means of avoidance, then it can be harmful to your relationship.

When should you seek couples counseling?

If you find yourself having a lot of angry sex – or if it’s driven by an avoidance of issues and emotions – your relationship might need couples counseling. Couples counseling is for anyone who wants to improve their relationship by improving their communication skills with each other. A relationship doesn’t have to be in crisis – or heavily riddled with angry sex – to attend couples counseling. It’s better to see a therapist sooner rather than later, before your relationship enters crisis mode.

Get support from a qualified, caring therapist in the South Florida area

Recognizing when angry sex is productive and healthy – and when it’s not – is important. Making the decision to attend couples counseling together to work on how anger and communication are managed in the relationship can be a huge step in the right direction.

A highly-trained therapist will support you and your partner as you explore your relationship, its patterns, roles, and communication styles. Attending couples counseling can improve your relationship – and your sex life.

The team at Love Discovery is ready to welcome you with open arms. If you’re ready to start therapy to help facilitate healing within yourself and your interpersonal relationships, make an appointment with any of our therapists today. Feeling hesitant about how we can help? Call 305.605.LOVE (5683) for more information and to discuss how therapy can help you.

We are here to help you improve your mental health, your relationship, and support you during a challenging time in your life.


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