There is really no definitive definition of "rough sex"; even resources devoted to BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism) leave the field pretty open. Every individual has her own experiences, preferences, and reference points for deciding what's pleasurable and what's not, what's intense (in a good way) and what's scary. Sharing a sexual event is the ultimate act of making yourself vulnerable–to each other. You should never, ever, not for a moment feel unsafe in that encounter, but rather feel surrounded by your shared and reciprocal respect and love.
If you're asking the question, I suspect you're in or close to uncomfortable territory for you. Please take things very slow and make sure your "sexual voice" is heard loud and clear.
To ask your own question, use the pink “Ask Dr. Barb” button top and center on our website. You’ll receive a confidential reply via email, and your question may be used as the basis for a Q&A post here on our blog.