This is a question that confuses some husbands, and some wives as well, including those who like their hair pulled. They wonder why they like it. They didn’t like it growing up when their siblings pulled their hair, and in any other circumstance it’s not pleasurable, so why does it seem like such a turn on during sex? In fact, a survey conducted by Men’s Health listed hair pulling as the third most desired aggressive move in bed by women. So, what’s going on?
One possible reason (there isn’t a lot of research on this that I can find) is that pulling on hair in turn tugs on hair follicles, which in turn stimulates the nerve endings at the back of the hair/neck. There are quite a few nerve endings there which is why having your scalp massaged feels so good. If done right, this can end up being quite a pleasurable sensation.
As well, the nerve centers related to pain and tension and the nerve centers for pleasure are very similar, and, particularly in the female brain, the response in a brain scan for pain and pleasure (particularly when approaching or during orgasm) are extremely similar.
There is also something called the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), which is best described as a tickle in your brain. It is set off, in some people, by whispering, rhythmic sounds, tapping or striking (which is a reason spanking might be considered pleasurable by some). Some of you might know the feeling as then response you get to having a hair cut, as that seems to be a common trigger. It’s sort of like a tingling that happens and runs down your spine. Not enough to make you shiver, but just enough to make your nerves all light up. People experience this feeling when getting massages, haircuts, listening to a whispered conversation, and a host of other things. This same response might be triggered by having your hair pulled as it stimulates the hair follicles in a similar manner as getting a hair cut. Combine this with arousal, and it’s an incredible, almost indescribable feeling, which is why some women can’t quite tell you why they like it…just that they do. In fact, some of them are quite worried that they like it, but that may be for the psychological reasons as well.
The psychological response for why hair pulling is desired, and is a lot easier to guess at. Hair pulling is a dominant act, akin to pinning someone down or tying them up. It is a controlling action and many women are turned on simply by that fact alone. As I discussed in My wife wants me to tie her up?!, many women are incredibly turned on by being dominated. For many it’s an odd sort of juxtaposition: Most women say that the number one thing they want to feel is safe and secure, but at the same time, they want their control taken away, at last some of the time. This could be for a variety of reasons.
Some are required to be in control so much of their life, with kids, management jobs, C-level executive positions, that to have some moments where control is taken away, when someone else is calling the shots, is a relief, in fact, it can be arousing and exciting. The hair pulling is just symbolic more than anything else in cases like these. Others desire to be lead in a world that abhors this hierarchy of gender roles: men leading/dominating and women following/submitting, and doing so in the bedroom is “safe” because it is behind closed doors and no one is around to make comments.
Now, in one of our surveys, we found out that twice as many women want this rougher type of sex than men. So it’s also possible that they are tired of the beta-ized version of males that society has been trying to pump out for the last few decades and are really wanting a big strong masculine husband to grab her by the hair and have his way with her (in a consenting, married sort of way, of course). I know when we started questioning gender dynamics in our marriage, my wife told me that I needed to start asking for sex less and just “do” her sometimes. Turns out this is a fairly common complaint among wives.
How to pull hair correctly
So, now you know the reasons, so how do you do it? I mean, this isn’t grade school hair pulling. You aren’t actually trying to hurt them, and they’ve already married you, so you don’t need to to it to get their attention. Now, there are two good ways I’ve found in my research:
The first is the easiest, this works best if your wife has long hair. Get her to tie her hair in a braid, then, pull the braid. You can either just hold it in your hand, or you can wrap it around your hand. Because it’s already all gathered, it’s not going to create too much tension in one area of the head, so it shouldn’t hurt. It should just feel like pleasant tension.
The second way is a bit harder and requires some practice to get the technique write, particularly in the moment. It might hurt a bit the first couple of times until you get it. I’ll see if I can describe it. Basically you can to put your fingertips on the back of her neck and slide them up, fingertip against the scalp until your palm is off of her neck. Everything under your palm should be skin where hair grows. So, your fingers should be fairly surrounded with hair. Turn your wrist slightly (like when doing a very subtle “royal wave”) and then grab. Ideally, you should have each finger interlaced in within her hair. You should have a fair bit of it, so, again, no individual hair or piece is under too much tension causing pain. Sometimes you can just get it wrong and end up pulling the little short hairs at the top of the neck though, and that can hurt. If you did, try moving up higher next time. Now, try to keep the tension downward, not up, as that will pull wrong and cause really irritating pain.
Now, both of these work really well when just kissing, or having sex doggy style. You can use it during missionary, but it’s harder to keep your balance and hold yourself up with one hand (don’t hold yourself up with the hand holding the hair, it hurts).
Some things to keep in mind: Don’t just go pulling her hair randomly. Wait until she’s pretty worked up. The more aroused she is, the more arousing it will be. If your wife has been sexually abused in the past, be very careful with this, definitely talk about it first and go slow. For the others, gauge for yourself if you need to have a discussion first. Some couples prefer to talk every new activity over, others like to be surprised.
Oh, and don’t you dare ask every 5 minutes if you are hurting her, you’ll completely ruin it. If it hurts, she’ll tell you…or maybe she won’t because she wants it to, as I said, those pain and pleasure circuits are pretty closely tied. Oh, and if you bring up the topic and your wife seems interested and intrigued, or if she hands or send you this post and the next time you’re having sex doggy style, she flips her braid over her shoulder so that it is within reach: that’s probably a not-too-subtle hint. Don’t spent time trying to figure out if she wants you to or not, and don’t ask if that’s what she wants.
Do you incorporate hair pulling in your marriage? Why does it work for you?