There are lots of questions about kinky sex I'm qualified to answer. But there's one that I am frequently asked, but for which I have no ready response: "I've discovered I'm kinky—but my long-term committed partner isn't. How do I get him/her into my fantasy?" On that issue, I am like Governor Sarah Palin on Russia: I've seen it from a distance, but I have no experience dealing with it. All of my partners were kinky when I got them.

So I asked some experienced diplomats. Take my friend Tom, who married his high-school sweetheart 25 years ago. And about 10 years ago, he began a successful campaign to turn her on to a pretty high level of BDSM play. How'd you do that, Tom?

"First I spent some time figuring out what she wanted more of in our sex life and providing that," Tom told me. "When she said she wanted to try a vibrator, I bought a dozen of them and we tested them all. I also read the book She Comes First, by Ian Kerner, about cunnilingus. It's a great book, every man should get it."

Oral sex is often the best persuasion method one can employ, of course. And Tom confirms that pleasing his wife in ways she liked made her receptive to trying the things he wanted.

"And once you get into the pattern of trying new things sexually, then it's easy to keep that going," said Tom.

Shelia was married eight years to a man she calls "enthusiastic but not exploratory" before she decided she needed some kink in her life. "I took it slow and didn't try to change him overnight," said Sheila. "I showed him how much it turned me on and how happy it was making me overall. Like I'd cook his favorite dinner for him and tell him it was because he'd rocked my world last night."

Tom and Shelia both recommend peaceful negotiation over a "shock and awe" strategy that might involve threats and tears and ultimatums. And they have something else in common: Their marriages were stable and happy when they started seducing their spouses into foreign territory.

When I talk to people who are conducting unsuccessful kinky-sex sieges, what often emerges is that the relationship is stressed or off-balance in other areas. If there's ongoing tension and simmering resentment between you and your sweetie, forget making big changes to your sex life. Don't try, "But honey, we could work out our differences in a bondage and spanking scene!" It will not fly. If your partner feels like you're not giving her what she wants—whatever that is—then why should she give you what you want?

Diplomacy, they say, is the art of letting someone else have your way. Learn that art. Otherwise your partner will treat you like Sarah Palin treats the media: She won't listen to questions or give answers, and it'll be nothing but the same old party line every night. recommended