You know that feeling when you just want to squeeze your cuddly dog to death? That’s called “cute aggression,” a term coined by Yale researchers in 2015 to explain humans’ aggressive desire to squeeze or bite an overwhelmingly cute puppy or baby. It’s a neurological impulse—basically, it’s how our brains cope with the heightened sensations brought on by positive stimuli (i.e., said puppy) so that we don’t become disabled by them. After all, no one actually wants to smother a puppy.
On that note, it’s also unlikely that people who bite during sex actually want to eat their partners (although the jury’s still out on Armie Hammer). But that brain-driven aggression can absolutely translate to the bedroom. Biting our partners out of playful desire is actually called pseudo-biting, according to Megan Fleming, Ph.D., a sex and relationship therapist. This behavior, Fleming noted, is rooted in trust and can have a stabilizing effect on people’s moods by neutralizing, or grounding, an overwhelmingly