Book Extract: The Field Guide to F***ing

While popular opinion tends to assume that congress has evolved, and modern sexual practices are more sophisticated than those practised in the past, in reality, texts as ancient as the Kama Sutra outlined numerous types of caress which may still be considered as extreme, such as scratching, slapping and .hair pulling. While modern depictions of these acts in adult videos often focus on threatening and degrading behaviour, the skilled lover can utilise all of these forms of touch in a way that enhances pleasure without objectifying a partner in a negative way.

Scratching and Pinching

The Kama Sutra categorises the art of scratching with great levels of detail, such as marking the body with half moons, a circle or a ‘tiger’s claw’, and utilising the nails to demonstrate love, passion or leave a lover with a reminder of oneself during a period of separation. It also recommends suitable times to engage in scratching: on the first visit, when setting out on a journey, on return from the journey, when an angry lover is reconciled and when a woman is intoxicated.

This information may seem shocking to the contemporary scholar and indeed, it is most definitely inadvisable to use a state of intoxication as an excuse to enter into any sexual encounter. Similarly, scratching on initial encounter may be considered to be more than a little forward. However, once a relationship has been established, there is certainly truth in the concept that marking a lover in such an intimate way may help trigger positive memories during a period of absence.

While the Kama Sutra recommends marking a partner in public places such as the decolletage, modern culture tends to frown upon such sexual markings, identifying public scratches (and indeed, love bites) as being an indicator of immaturity or low morals. Instead, scratches should be employed in more private places such as the inner thighs or buttocks, ensuring the only person who knows the markings are there is the person who has been intimately marked. The genitals should not be scratched as this may lead to infection.

Pinching is another form of touch that can combine pain and pleasure. However, it should be used in moderation, and focussed on fleshy areas such as the buttocks or breasts unless more thorough pinching is specifically requested by a mate. In extreme cases, you may wish to employ clothes pegs or nipple clamps for pinching, should this be to a partner’s taste.


While slapping a partner without consent is never acceptable, incorporating loving slaps into sex play can increase passion. It suggests an animal nature which can be appealing on a primal level. Play fights can form an entertaining method of foreplay, as long as both parties are fully consensual and no actual harm is administered.

Spanking, in particular, is a popular fetish and has solid scientific benefits. When the body is slapped, it produces naturally pain-killing endorphins that can provide a natural high. This is most effective if slaps start gently and are gradually increased in intensity once the body’s endorphins start to flow through the body. For safety, spanking should be limited to the buttocks and thighs, and under no circumstance should you strike a lover’s lower back as you may inadvertently hit the kidneys which can cause serious harm.

Should spanking be deemed too extreme, you may wish to proceed at a milder level, with a gentle slap to the buttocks as a teasing gesture (or during coitus, once you have progressed to that level).

Conversely, should you wish to entertain more niche practices, slapping the face can be arousing to a submissive partner, and used as part of a sub/Dom fantasy, though again, only with prior consent and mutual desire. Care should be taken to ensure that you don’t inadvertently hit the ear, as this may cause the eardrum to pop, and rings should be removed prior to slapping to avoid accidental nicks and bruises.

Hair Pulling

While hair pulling may be deemed as too extreme for many people, there is no reason for it to be as crass or violent as it is presented in contemporary adult films. Washing a partner’s hair can be enhanced by gently tugging on the hair while lathering it, as this helps relax the muscles of the scalp. Gripping a partner’s hair during fellatio or cunnilingus can help indicate your desires, and tugging the head back by the hair during a passionate kiss can also demonstrate arousal.

At a milder level, stroking the hairs on the back of the neck, before gently pulling them to tilt a lover’s head backwards and initiate a kiss combines both passion and sensuality in equal measure. And should you wish to explore a more animal experience together, pulling the hair back during doggie style sex may appeal.

Taken from Field Guide to Fucking, Quayside, £10.49. Download another free excerpt here

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