Euphoria” has to be the one of the most memorable series that I have ever seen. Difficult and uncomfortable to sit through , visually gorgeous , it shows the lives of a group of  High School teens living their lives. And their lives are any parents worst nightmare of drug addiction , web cam sex work, abusive relationships and brutal teen friendships. What is difficult for me to erase from my mind are the sex scenes. Not the many dick scenes or  the tender love scenes, but specific  scary sex scenes between consenting teens.

In these scenes I saw fear in  the female characters eyes as they consensually submitted to sex. Sex that  was actually scary for them. In the eyes of their male partners, I saw determination to take control  of their emotions through taking control of the sex scenes. Even as   their partners very obviously showed passive resistance, silence, and fell into freeze. These  sexual encounters  usually followed after conflict, jealousy or anger.

Scary Sex may  be consensual but not wanted. People feel  “bad” to let down a partner ,  pressured or coerced. Some  find it chronically painful  or beyond one’s own ability to stop or control so go ahead with it.

Where does this “scary sex’ come from ?? Is this the unveiling of  a new genre of seuxlait that is flittering into the realms of “normal” sexual behaviour between consenting adults?? And if so , what are the consequences ?

I am a proponent of porn, advocating for it not to be vilified . Rather for it to be seen as sheer arousing entertainment.  And certainly not for the users of porn to be shamed. Alongside this advocacy, I strongly, super strongly advocate that  comprehensive sexuality education  must be present so people, especially young people,  get that it is acting  and fantasy by paid actors. .

Porn as a stand alone medium is gong to confuse people, especially young people,  about what is consensual  and healthy sexual behaviour. This is what I was witnessing on Euphoria: scary sex, directly out the box of porn. However in porn  this scary sex is portrayed as delicious, orgasmic and desired.

Studies indicate that difficult things happen as part of sex, particularly to women. In one study, about 8% of young women indicated that they never felt able to tell a partner when they did not want to have sex, and an additional 30% felt able to do so only some of the time. What a ripe fertile  environment in which scary sex can thrive !


Have you ever felt scared during sex? Describe what was scary about the sexual situation ?Please share an example with me of something that happened that felt scary to you.

I first heard Debby Herbenick’s  Scary Sex research findings in May , 2019, in Toronto,  at the SSTAR meeting.,

Using data from a U.S. probability survey of individuals aged 14 to 60, sex therapist and researcher,   Debbie Hebernick and colleagues at Indiana University  aimed (1) to assess the proportion of respondents who ever reported scary sexual situations and (2) to examine descriptions of sexual experiences reported as scary. They asked the following questions:

“If you have engaged in  in oral, vaginal, or anal sex, answer: , “Thinking about your whole life, how many times have you felt like someone did something during sex that made you feel scared?” Response options were as follows: never, 1 or 2 times, 3 to 5 times, 6 to 10 times, and more than 10 times.

Those who indicated this had ever happened were asked, “You said someone had done something during sex that made you feel scared. Can you share an example with us of something that happened that felt scary to you?”

Scary sexual situations were reported by 23.9% of adult women, 10.3% of adult men, 12.5% of adolescent women, and 3.8% of adolescent men who had ever engaged in oral, vaginal, or anal sex. results.

Scary sexual experiences were reported significantly more often by women (70.9% vs. 46.9%)  respondents with lower reported household income (37.7% vs. 29.4%) and gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals (15.8% vs. 5.4%);  and less often by married respondents (50.8% vs. 61.4%)

More women than men reported that someone had done something during sex that had scared them. And Hebernick et al, found that gay and bisexual men are at disproportionately greater risk of sexual violence.

Let’s look at the main themes that emerged. Perhaps you can recognise yourself in one or more of them ,at some point of your life.

Scary Sex themes included sexual assault/rape, incest, being held down, anal sex, choking, threats, multiple people, novelty/learning. Novelty learning is sex toys, threesomes, swinging ,  impact play, BDSM.

Let’s break some of these behaviours down . The fascination with anal sex is not new. And when done properly, i.e. ,discussed before hand,  consensually in the moment, , safely with lube and a condom, then it is another choiceful  pleasurable sexual activity.

However when it is done without discussion , when it continues after you say “stop”, when it feels forceful and you feel you are pinned down in pain , then it is no longer pleasurable but rather scary. Anal sex was flagged by respondents as one of the most common descriptions of sexual situations that they  found scary.

The novelty of anal sex has worn off because it  has  been normalised by porn. Also  comprehensive sexuality educators  and health care professionals, include it in their discourse as a consensually healthy and safer sex activity when done with a condom and good lube.

Now here is the thing: porn is commonly showing sexual  behaviour that respondents in Hebernick’s study, cited as being “scary”. Namely choking, hitting , forceful hair pulling, and facials.

Let’s unpack choking and other aggressive behaviours (such as hitting and forceful hair pulling)

Like anal sex, choking appears to have become more commonly portrayed in sexually explicit media and sexual choking behaviours (and interest in choking) are associated with pornography use.

In Hebernick’s study, most of the choking instances described appear to have not been discussed by partners in advance – the other person just started choking the respondent. Consequently, some worried they were being strangled. You get how scary this must feel. I feel scared knowing that choking is happening in   first time hook ups,  in  age group of 14-29 year olds.

Let’s talk about facials.  Porn has made the face a common target. Men ejaculating on women’s faces used to be  called “the money shot” . Now it is known as “facials” or ‘face fucking “. . Consider the harm .A man’s sperm can  carry all sorts of diseases and infections, including  HIV, Once this gets into the eye, the risk of infection is very high.  In the Herbenick study, 58% of people said that their sexual partner did not ask permission to come on their face.

Another  survey found that 25% of people who received a facial felt either disgusted, queasy or angry afterwards. That’s compared to 41% who said they were aroused or pleased by the experience.

Be warned before you click onto this Porn Hub video. It might arouse you. It might scare you.  It depicts  Face fucking and throating. also known as “aggressive blow jobs ”

 I invite you to consider the following “scary sex”activities as  noted in Debby Herbenick’s research. First prize is to discuss this with a partner/s. Perhaps he/she/they have no idea that you define their behaviour as scary. And if you cannot discuss your sexual  fears with a partner, book a session with me . You need to explore the ties that unhealthily bond you to a person with whom you have scary sex.  . .

  • Have you ever experienced rape, forced sex, or feared you were going to be raped?
  • Have you ever  explicitly said ” no, Im  not consenting,”  and asked someone to stop but the person did not  stop
  • Have you ever been drugged and made to have sex or been very intoxicated during sex
  •  Engaged in sexual encounters that became rough, uncomfortable, or painful,  asked your partner to stop to no avail.
  •  A partner didn’t stop when you said that you were  hurting or were  uncomfortable
  • Declined anal sex only to be pressured, coerced, or forced to have it:
  • Forced into unprotected anal sex
  •  Had hands around your neck, choking you
  • A partner  wanted to try breath play or choking. You said you didn’t. They started choking you before you consented and you passed out
  • Being scared because there was more than one person in the room or involved in the sex act, often without prior discussion or consent.
  • Felt afraid of a partner finding out about  the  number of past partners  you as a woman has had.
  • Felt scared in connection with sex toy use or BDSM play,
  • Been  held down or pinned down during sex:
  • Been  held down when trying to pull away
  • Been threatened with violence . Fr example, had a gun next to the bed
  • Felt partner’s angry/violent behaviour when  you refused sex.