Sexplain It: My Girlfriend and I Have Our Best Sex After We Fight

"We'll be at the peak of arguing, and then, it's like a movie scene. We end up ripping each other's clothes off."

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I'm Zachary Zane, a sex writer and ethical manwhore (a fancy way of saying I sleep with a lot of people, and I'm very, very open about it). Over the years, I've had my fair share of sexual experiences, dating and sleeping with hundreds of people of all genders and orientations. In doing so, I've learned a thing or two about navigating issues in the bedroom (and a bunch of other places, TBH). I'm here to answer your most pressing sex questions with thorough, actionable advice that isn't just "communicate with your partner," because you know that already. Ask me anything—literally, anything—and I will gladly Sexplain It.

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Dear Sexplain It,

My girlfriend and I have INCREDIBLE sex when we get into an argument. We'll be at the peak of arguing, and then, it's like a movie scene. We end up ripping each other's clothes off and fucking. The issue is, none of our problems get resolved. I want to bring this up as an issue, but I know she'll just get mad, and we'll argue, and then we'll have sex again, and it won't get resolved. Please help.

— Angry Sex

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Dear Angry Sex,

I’m in the business of teaching people how to have the best sex ever, but sadly, this is one of those times where I’m going to ask you to stop having Earth-shattering sex. I’m aware this will require some heavy-duty restraint, because when the options are having a challenging relationship talk and having toe-curling sex, nobody wants to opt for the former.

I think you're experiencing this pattern because one (or both) of you has an anxious attachment style. (FYI, attachment style refers to the way in which an individual relates emotionally to others; someone with an anxious attachment style often fears being abandoned, and therefore seeks a lot of reassurance in the relationship.)

I showed your question to Emily Jemea, Ph.D., a sex and relationship therapist in Houston. “It's not uncommon for people with an anxious attachment style to turn to sex as a way to soothe relationship anxiety that is triggered during a fight,” she noted. “Sex, at least temporarily, makes them feel reassured that their partner still wants them and isn’t going to leave them."

When you talk to your girlfriend—which, yes, you need to do—about your pattern of tabling problems by having sex, I would start by reassuring her that you care for her deeply and want to work through your issues so you can be as strong a team as possible. (Translation: "I'm not going to leave you!") Then, as calmly as you can, convey what’s going on: “I love the hot, passionate sex we have when we fight, but we never end up resolving our issues. I think we should start trying to resolve conflict without having sex. What do you think?”

Hopefully, she’s on the same page, and from there, you can start discussing some other problems in your relationship more calmly. But, if you end up in an argument, you’re going to have to use some willpower and resist having sex. If it reaches a point of heated passion, excuse yourself and return to the conversation later. Go jerk off in the bathroom! I don’t care what you do, but don’t do it. The more you get used to resisting sex in the middle of an argument, the easier it will be going forward.

Now, Angry Sex, I know you might be worried that if you stop having rage-fueled sex, then you'll stop having passionate sex altogether. But that doesn't have to be the case.

The human body is a miraculous and complex vessel, and in your case, it’s conflating being sexually aroused and angrily aroused. “Arguing releases lots of adrenaline. It increases heart rate and activates the nervous system, which may feel similar to the way the body feels in the throes of passion,” Jamea says. “Sex (and orgasm) is a great way to reset the nervous system into a state of calm."

Clearly, you both like having sex while riled up. So, rile yourself up! Just not through fighting. Get that adrenaline spike by doing a HIIT workout for 30 minutes together before you have sex.

If working out isn’t either of your things, then get kinky. Honestly, some light BDSM would be perfect for you two. Maybe impact play? Spanking, slapping, and paddling are all quick ways to get your adrenaline jumping.

Angry Sex, I want to remind you that intensity is not intimacy and high-intensity negative emotions do not equate passion. I believe that when you are more intimate with your partner by expressing your feelings, being vulnerable, and resolving conflict, you will have equally as good if not even better sex than fucking for reassurance or to avoid issues in your relationship.

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