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Love Lab


Play Fighting – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.

Play fighting was a completely confusing concept to me before I met my current partner. Sure, I remember fighting with my brother when we were kids but we quickly grew out of it and it was never something I did as an adult. But now, with the relationship I’m in at the minute, play fighting generally takes up at least 60% of our time together (the rest generally involves puppy training, playing games and watching TV). I’ve never been in a relationship like this one. It’s so different to everything I’ve had before, we have so much fun together, he’s my best friend along with everything else, I’m so free to be myself and he’s managed to add himself to the small list of people I feel 100% comfortable with. But apparently when combining fun and comfort, play fighting ensues. I’m not completely sure it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but here’s what I’ve discovered whilst analyzing our play fights.

The Good.
I’m not going to lie I love a good play fight. I give as good as I get, despite my partner being a pretty big, strong guy. We’re both huge MMA fans so trying out a new move on each other usually goes from “oh, that’s how they do it” to all out war. And by war I mean slapping, grabbing, tickling, pushing, shoving, throwing, pinching, kicking, screaming and the occasional wet willy (not the literal kind).  And now we have a puppy, she usually gets involved as well. I laugh until my cheeks hurt, until I cant breathe, until tears stream down my face. So it is an incredibly fun past time. There’s also the added flirtation that comes with it. Whilst most of our play fights do not end up in sex, it’s an excuse to be close to each other, to keep some kind of flirty spark going. Its also really helped me to come out of my shell. I’ve always been kind of withdrawn and boring, not often silly, but this play fighting thing has awoken a whole new side of me I didn’t know existed. I’ve lost inhibitions I’ve clung to in previous relationships and I know we’re closer for it.

The Bad.
So I briefly mentioned the sex thing, well that’s one major worry I have with relation to play fighting. As much as I’ve said I enjoy it I often wonder if instead we should be indulging in a more romantic past time. We live together so sex doesn’t happen as often (oh he’s going to hate me for this) as it once did, but I sometimes feel we’ve replaced sex with play fighting. Because he’s my best friend, the play fighting and slight lack of sex sometimes gets me thinking we’re more best friends who live together rather than partners who live together. Should there be some boundaries in place between best friend and boyfriend? We’re pretty happy with the way things are, but I’m a worrier, and with play fighting being so unusual to me, I wonder if it really enhances or actually deteriorates a healthy sex life?

The Ugly.
When we play fight, we play fight hard and sometimes it does get a little rough. I wonder sometimes if we’re crossing boundaries that we shouldn’t. What happens if we have a bad argument, knowing how comfortable we are with hitting and such, that something could be thrown in the heat of the moment with the worst intentions. This has yet to happen, but it worries me slightly. And I don’t just mean him hitting me, but me hitting him also and it not being a joke. We don’t usually argue about much, and when we do there’s little shouting, its more the silent treatment and some passive aggressive comments before the real problem comes out. But I do worry that play fighting can just develop into fighting. Do couples who play fight, seriously fight more or less I wonder? Maybe any frustrations we have with each other are quelled after a good play fight?  I never used to play fight with my ex and he had a huge anger problem and when we would argue, which was often, he was usually aggressive and violent.  Those who play fight, don’t fight maybe?

I have so many questions and wonderings on this subject but there’s one thing I know for certain, we’re happy. And thats all that matters really, but still I’ll always continue to question whats in front of me. As I’m so unfamiliar with this whole thing I’m curious, is it something that’s common practice between most couples? Or, is it all a little strange to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts, if you do it, how much, and why you think you do it.

To play fight, or not to play fight, that is the question.


  • Amy Tocknell says:

    My partner and I love a good ‘ruck’ as we call it! Our dog gets involved and we just lark about on the sofa and really enjoy it. The only time it went a bit wrong was when I fell off the sofa, straight onto my tailbone. I never cry, but tears welled up and my other half was so upset. I think those who are comfortable being silly and enjoy play fighting would never hit in anger. xx

    • Katie Lewis Katie Lewis says:

      Thanks for your comment! It’s so interesting to me to see if other couples do the same! We’ve had our fair share of mishaps as well, namely an accidental eye poke, my partner had a blood shot eye for a week!x

  • gartten.lione@gmail.com says:

    disclaimer, I am male and I don’t know how inappropriate it is for me to be posting here, so please inform me if I’m trespassing,
    but I am similarly interested and worried about play fighting with my partner/s.
    In my admittedly very small experience, play fighting was let about the physical contact or the competition, but about the openness and passion that comes from trusting.
    It isn’t that it is rough, all of my experiences have been rather gentle in comparison to what I’ve heard elsewhere, and it isn’t about power, neither of us took anything from the other, but it is in that nebulous ground of competition of giving.
    It is so hard to explain that I will stop with my third rewrite of this paragraph before I just confuse myself further.
    What are other people’s views, and how have they changed over your experiences?

    • Amy Tocknell says:

      Hi there! Your comment is MOST welcome! As you say, these things are all based on trust and mutual tastes!

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