I get questions. You get answers.
People read my stuff on the various web boards, Usenet groups, and Yahoo groups, and because (I hope) they perceive me to be articulate and sensitive, they email me. These are usually people who tend to “lurk”, that is, read those groups without breaking their anonymity to post. They are also usually men. And they usually email to ask me about chastity and orgasm denial, or sometimes about introducing kink to a vanilla partner.
I am fairly articulate and sensitive, and because I’m also very introspective – and very handy with tools – I tend to research something until I’m, well, maybe not an expert, but certainly in the intermediate class. When my wife and I decided to use OD and chastity play as a way to have some compromise between my desire for D/s kink and her desire to have nothing to do with whips and chains, I set about reading as much as I could. Eventually I stopped asking questions and started answering them, especially in several Yahoo groups where I’ve logged well over 1,000 posts on those topics in the last several years.
I’m frequently asked about introducing some kind of kink to a more vanilla partner, and more often than not the person who has emailed me is already pretty worked up about the entire situation. I feel badly when this happens, but I well understand – I’ve been there: got the T-shirt, the postcards, and the henna tattoo and hair beading at the sidewalk vendor. And I’m going to share the gist of some of those emails and my responses in hopes that they will offer some support to others walking down this road.
About two years ago, someone wrote that his desire for some kind of femdomme kink was so strong that they could no longer keep it to themselves, but that his partner had no interest – in fact, refused to discuss his desires at all. He was concerned that by bringing it up he had ruined their relationship.
Let’s get this straight right now: “Kink” does not ruin your relationship; rather it is the incompatibility, the inability of two people to come to some understanding or reconciliation of the kink. Our own problem is that we so often face the kink issue alone, completely out of context of any other aspect of our relationship.
Your partner could have an issue with your job, your other family members, or certain other lifestyle choices, and you would either work it out or part ways with the understanding that not everyone is going to be compatible with each other. Unfortunately, when we deal with kink we often bring in other issues: Your partner doesn’t always understand your kinks, and there really aren’t any easily available resources for help and support. Also, so often in anger our partners will make us (or try to make us) feel ashamed, sick, perverted. Never mind tht they are usually reacting out of their own insecurities about sex, the problem is tht many of us are already wrestling with feeling perverted or sick – in part because we have nowhere to turn when we need to discuss our desires. And too often we’re afraid that they will tell our family or friends; the idea of being “outed” creates anxiety and sometimes we again try to bury those desires in order to avoid the pain.
But if kink is something that’s very important to you, then not bringing it up early in the relationship will end up being a relationship killer at some later point. And if the kink itself doesn’t kill the relationship, then the slow erosion of your psyche will kill it later on as you draw away from your partner, from the relationship, and lose the intimacy that you need to stay healthy.
Take a look at this passage from “Getting Close” by Barbara Fast:
In building an intimate relationship, trust is the major structural factor. Once you have trust you can risk emotional honesty. You can open yourself to your partner and reveal the good and the bad within you [….] Because we are afraid to risk, we settle for mediocre lives…which are really quiet desperation. Risking intimacy is a difficult, challenging task but you must always keep in mind the fact that if you settle for a life with little or no intimacy, your life will be measurably impoverished as time goes by.
Unfortunately, many of us are ashamed of our kinks. Because we haven’t brought up the subject with our partner early on, it seems like it gets more, not less difficult to raise the issue the more involved we are. Soon it becomes easy to imagine parents, relatives, cow-orkers, ministers, etc., staring at you and asking derisively “Ugh, what kind of sicko would want that?” and letting those feelings of embarrassment and shame over-ride our desires for something that’s not normally shown on tv.
For anyone in that position, I’m going to recommend picking up the short, easy-reading book at Greenery Press called “When Someone You Love is Kinky” by Dossie Eaton and Catherine Liszt. It’s written in plain, slightly humorous, easy to understand laguage for people who are vanilla at heart. It’s meant to provide some understanding to people who have a kinkster in their lives. Perhaps you might consider spending the $17 on the book and giving it to someone that you’ve been dating for a while, with the caveat “Before this relationship goes any further, there’s something that you need to know about me.”
I know a guy who is into spanking, but he’s really embarrassed by it. He goes between telling women right up front, or not telling them at all. The problem is that after dating for 6 or 8 months, he takes a huge risk: if he tells them and she flips out, then they’ve both just wasted 8 months, and there’s a lot of hurt on both sides. But he can’t bring himself to mention it early because he doesn’t want to “risk” losing a potential partner. His thinking seems to be that someone who’s emotionally attached is more likely to stick around; unfortunately his experience seems to be just the opposite.
And look, we have to accept that some kinks are going to be easier to deal with than others. As they go, chastity play is probably pretty mild, at least, if approached as a game. I think that most people can deal with kinks when they look at them as something “fun” to do, instead of as a lifestyle choice. On the other hand, if you don’t get that out of the way soon, then you’re just begging for emotional heartache. I’ve read posts in other groups from people who have decided to get their kink issue out of the way by the third or fourth date. This way, if the potential partner isn’t interested and they can part as friends.