Play Dirty: The Importance of Roughhousing in a Relationship

8-13-2013 1-40-21 PM

Think back to your schoolyard days: when you liked a girl, what did you do? Did you saunter up to her, throw out a witty one-liner, seeped in innuendo, and slyly ask for her number?

Of course not. You pulled her pigtails, called her “icky,” threw mud on her shoes—or worse.

And what would she do in response?

Stick her tongue out and call you a jerk, then doodle your name inside a heart on the cover of her TrapperKeeper.

Human beings like it rough. We’re living creatures, after all, and any pet owner can attest that cats, dogs, fish and fowl, alike, enjoy their fair share of good-natured play fighting now and again.

In romantic interactions, rough-housing is especially important. Not only is it an opportunity to showcase your strength and agility, it’s a testing-of-the-waters for couples: after all, the way you play has a lot to say about how compatible you’ll eventually find yourselves to be with one another.

Back to Basics


Now, there’s absolutely a line—any unwanted aggression between partners, or words and actions fueled by hate, instead of playfulness, are immediate signs of trouble and aren’t to be overlooked. If your partner crosses that line—even if you’re sure it was unintentional—make your discomfort known. Immediately!

That being said, teasing, playful shoving and a little bit of rough-housing are all parts of a healthy, instinctual human mating ritual.

It’s the human courtship ritual: we start out very young, testing boundaries and seeing what works, and the people we end up attracting to us—friends, love interests, or otherwise—are generally attracted to our level and intensity of this playfulness.

The Beyond Diet Program reviews attest that a back-to-basics approach to all aspects of your life (diet, exercise, socializing, or otherwise) is the healthiest way to spread happiness throughout every facet of your life.

Simplicity is the key to true happiness. Why over-complicate things? Especially things as wonderful as romance!

So when it comes to dating, you don’t need expensive dinners, pricey jewelry, lavish dates or fluff and puffery—you need to be your primal, playful self.

Strengthen Your Connection Through Play

Whether you’re just getting to know each other or working on a long-time relationship, every interaction can benefit from some playfulness. Making light of a bad day with a bit of teasing or maximizing a lazy day around the house with some tickling creates a lightness in any relationship, bringing both partners closer by filling each with a sense of joy in each other’s presence.

Come up behind your partner when she’s brushing her teeth and tickle her sides; (gently!) pull her hair when you walk by her as she’s relaxing on the couch; toss a piece of fruit her way while you’re grocery shopping with nothing more than a quick, “Heads up!” as warning.

I can’t say it enough: physical interactions that involve roughness or jest make you laugh, and laughter makes you feel good. Making your partner feel good? That’s good!

Know When to Quit

Learning to pick up on your partner’s “playtime” persona is a key factor. You don’t want to come up behind your girl while she’s relaxing on the couch after a hard day and tickle her if she’s not in a good mood; that’s likely to result in some retaliation, and not the fun kind.

If you’re not sure whether your partner is in a playful mood or not, start with something affectionate. A kiss on the forehead, a big hug, or even a hand rested on her shoulder will serve as segue.

You know her, and you can read her reactions. Is she looking to just bury her head in your chest and cuddle for a bit? Then it’s probably not the time to whip out the teasing.

But if she blows a raspberry on your neck in response to a kiss on the cheek, game on!

Get Physical

When it comes down to it, rough-housing in a relationship is just one of the many physical connections a healthy couple practices. It’s as important as a supportive shoulder rub, a soft caress, or a warm hug.

The Truth About Abs reviews of healthy people overwhelmingly state that being active should incorporate every part of a lifestyle-not just small half-hour blocks of time.  So tailor rough-housing to your specific relationship. Are you both football fans? Play some one-on-one tackle football in the backyard. Love boxing? Take a class together.

Or maybe you both love to cook? Who doesn't enjoy a good food fight! Just keep it exciting, keep it active, know when to quit, and keep it fun!

Author Profile

About Dr. Mike Tremba

Dr Mike is a writer, publisher, and of course, past (pre-marriage) dater. He can usually be found on the great beaches of Southern Alabama, or somewhere outside getting exercise. Through the failures he's had (as well as the successes), he loves sharing his tips on making life more enjoyable.

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