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Thursday, July 5, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: Whips & Chains & Prudie

Posted by on Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 6:13 PM

I met my fiancee a year ago and I am crazy about her- I have more fun with her than with anyone else I know, we're very sympatico on many important issues and I'm so excited that we met. I've dated many women over the last 20 years, but she is the only woman I've met who I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with.

Here's the rub: I made it clear from the beginning that I'm kinky and love to be dominated. She seemed to find this interesting and she's a very confident and strong-willed woman, and so I figured over time she would start to dominate me. Our sex life has been very enthusiastic—she's quick to initiate and thoroughly enjoys sex and we use vibrators. But it's pretty vanilla and, in the absence of any kink play at all, I find my interest in sex flagging. I've talked with her about it and while she seems to hear me and call me pervert in an affectionate way, nothing has changed.

Our lives together are pretty fantastic and yet, there's my kinky side, which is going unexplored. I'm trying to balance this need with my others needs (all of which are being totally exceeded by my fiancee) and am trying to put my kinks in context. Thoughts, advice?

Whipless In San Francisco

My response after the jump...

························

Before I get to your letter, WISF, I'm gonna take a moment and respond to another reader's letter.

Prudie dissed you last week, Dan. Did you see her column last Thursday? The line about "those" who urge people to "accomodate each other's sexual kinks" could only be about you.

She's Always Ragging About Heteros

I never miss one of Prudie's columns—I'm a fan! Really!—so, yeah, I saw Prudie's response to "What's Next?" WN's husband "enjoys wearing bras and panties," which he didn't disclose to her until WN after she had given birth to their first child. "I decided to accept him as he was because I loved him," says WN, "[but as] the years went by I found this part of him to be a complete turn-off." With their children now grown and out of the house, WN's husband appears to be pushing the bra-and-panties envelope: he recently had his toenails painted bright red. "If he’s going to increase his cross-gender desires as we age," WN's letter concludes, "I wonder if I can live with him for the rest of our lives. What should I do?"

Prudie advises the woman to have a blunt talk with her husband about the state of their marriage—companionate & sexless—and then decide whether they have a future together. Thirty years ago WN made a choice to stay together for the kids, Pruidie points out. Now she has to decide whether she wants to stay together for the grandkids. Then Prudie adds...

Your letter is also eloquent countertestimony to those who say loving partners should try to accommodate each other’s sexual kinks. Sure, that’s ideal. But it’s simply a fact that the partner without the fetish might find the other’s a libido-killer, as in your case. It was dishonest, even cruel, for your husband to withhold the revelation that he’d literally like to get into your drawers until the birth of your child.



Yeah, SARAH, I'd say Prudie is taking a slap at me. I mean, I am the world's leading proponent of partners trying "to accomodate each other's kinks." (GGG and all that.) So it may shock Prudie to learn that I agree with her. WN's husband should be faulted for not disclosing his kinks before marrying WN and knocking her ass up. (In all fairness to Mr. WN, being honest about your kinks was a lot harder 30 years ago.) Anyone who regularly reads my column knows where I stand on this issue: kinksters have a responsibility to lay their kink cards on the table early in a relationship so that a vanilla partner can walk if their kink—to use Prudie's excellent expression—amounts to a "libido-killer." Examples of me slapping around kinksters who didn't disclose can be found here and here and here. (Since anyone who regularly reads my column would know my stance on disclosing kinks... I can only assume that Prudie isn't a regular reader of my column. Which stings.)

But vanilla people should resist—and advice professionals should encourage them to resist—the impulse to immediately dump someone who has disclosed a kink. Too many vanillas round "unfamiliar sexual interest" up to "libido-killing sexual perversion" when a kinkster discloses. There are two big problems with this. First: your average kinkster is more likely to disclose if disclosure doesn't mean being dumped immediately. (If you want to live in a world where kinksters disclose, Prudie, you should join me in encouraging vanillas to take a deep breath and think before deciding that this, that, or the other kink is a libido-killer.) Second: you'll meet two kinds of people at BDSM clubs, fetish shops, and lurking on Fetlife. You'll meet people who were always kinky and you'll meet people who fell in love with someone who was kinky, didn't dump their kinky partners after they disclosed, and somehow grew to love their kinky partner's kinks just as much as they loved their kinky partners. The existence of these happy couples stands as eloquent countertestimony to those who say that accommodating each other’s sexual kinks is a mistake.

Let's pause here to codify the rules for kinksters and vanillas alike:

Kinky? You have a duty to disclose your kinks early in a new relationship. It's fine to let the other person get to know you first, of course, but you absolutely must disclose your kinks before any major commitments are made—i.e. before you move in together, get married, adopt, or scramble your DNA together, etc. Six months is a good rule of thumb.

Vanilla? You shouldn't immediately dump a kinkster who has just disclosed his or her kinks to you. Take some time to think it over. If the kink isn't extreme, if it's something you could see yourself maybe trying, then keep dating, keep talking, and keep fucking. Give kink a chance.

Okay, WISF! Here's my answer for you...

Your fiance doesn't seem to understand how important your kinks are to you, how central they are to your sexual expression, and how negatively your quality of life is impacted by a complete lack of D/s play. Just reading between the lines, WISF, I'm guessing she doesn't know these things because you haven't told her. Yes, yes: you've had "talks." She listens to you talk, she insults you (affectionately!) when the talk is over, and nothing changes. Time to call the question: Is D/s sex something she's willing to explore with you? If her answer is yes, WISF, then make a concrete plan to start incorporating some D/s sessions into your sex life as soon as possible. If her answer is no, then you get to decide if your fiance's D/s disinterest or disgust is a libido-killer.

And if it is... don't marry this woman.

 

Comments (53) RSS

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2
Even handed and fair, as usual from Dan. That annoying Prudie person was encouraging the letter-writing woman to throw away the 30-year love and support of a person based on an in-private clothing and accessory preference. Based on the woman's intolerance and "ick" factor. My immediate thought was that the woman was heartless, cruel and had never loved her husband.
Posted by Daily in LA on July 5, 2012 at 6:43 PM · Report this
AnberNen 3
@2, the letter-writer WN was only writing Prudie because her husband's preference *wasn't* in-private any longer - he got a pedicure and showed it off to all of their friends. The woman is not heartless and cruel, she's concerned her entire social circle will disappear, and she must have great love for her husband to stay with him for three decades despite being icked out.

Not only is it obvious you didn't read the letter to Prudie, it doesn't seem like you read Dan's column today with attention either, because it is impossible to say you agree with Dan who says he agrees with Prudie, and then turn around and say you don't agree with Prudie.
Posted by AnberNen on July 5, 2012 at 6:47 PM · Report this
4
@3 Well, it's clear that you didn't read my post "with attention" either. I admit that Dan was fair and even-handed (and right) even though my own gut reaction was that the woman was being reactionary and cruel.

And when I said private I meant "on vacation with family members" and not, say, every day at work. Perhaps I should have said semi-private?
Posted by Daily in LA on July 5, 2012 at 7:13 PM · Report this
nocutename 5
I didn't see Prudie as taking a shot at Dan; I thought Dan would have answered the question in much the same way. Compared to Abby and Amy, Prudie is one of the more sex-positive and open-minded advice-givers out there. And she reaches a much larger and more conservative percentage of the population than Dan. Its really kind of unfair to expect someone in a mainstream publication to parrot Dan exactly. I think Prudie gently nudges people toward being more aware of the importance of sexual compatibility between spouses. And let's face it: the couple in Prudie's letter are having some massive incompatibility issues.

As is this couple. The lw wrongly assumes that just because a woman is assertive in the "outside world," she'll be open to being his Domme; I almost can't believe how ignorant that is. I have short hair and am very competent and assertive in my non-sexual life, so a lot of very YOUNG men assume I want to be a Domme to their subs. AS it happens, I am extremely submissive sexually; I expect that there's a lot of that dissonance in the world. I used to be on OkCupid, where I answered literally dozens of questions about my sexual preferences and practices. Anyone reading my responses would be very clear that I was not going to dominate him in the bedroom. Yet young guys saw my age, my confidence, my profession, and assumed they could be my slaves. I once asked one why he thought I was a Domme personality when I so explicitly described myself as submissive, and he told me that in my pictures I looked "bossy." When I asked for clarification (I'm just smiling nicely in all my photos), he said it was because I have short hair.

I'd like to think that after dating someone and getting to know her well enough to fall in love and get engaged to her, someone wouldn't be misled by her competence in the outside world to assume that she would have no problem switching her entire sexual persona and preferences, but obviously, that isn't the case. This problem is entirely of the lw's making--because he isn't seeing what's really there, but only what he wants to be there.
More...
Posted by nocutename on July 5, 2012 at 7:20 PM · Report this
johnyawl 6
In all fairness to WISF's partner, perhaps she doesn't KNOW HOW to initiate D/s play. He should possibly give her some books to read, and show her where the cuffs and whips are, and make a playdate.
Posted by johnyawl on July 5, 2012 at 7:29 PM · Report this
7
I replied to that Dear Prudence letter in the comments over there and got pretty thoroughly tarred and feathered.
Posted by Marrena on July 5, 2012 at 7:35 PM · Report this
9
agreed with #6 - it's not clear whether WISF is expecting her to make it happen for him, rather than taking the initiative and getting what props he wants and showing her what to do with them. Most people will give it a go if it's clear what to do and all prepared for them, as opposed to a vague conversation about someday. The first time is pretty intimidating- you gotta help her along.
Posted by sari on July 5, 2012 at 7:46 PM · Report this
nocutename 10
One of the hardest decisions to make is when you're in a relationship that's working on every level except the sexual: do you "grow up" and accept that you're not going to get everything you want, or do you cut your losses and keep looking for that perfect match which may be a myth.

It's very difficult to know what to do, especially if, like the lw, you are getting a bit older, maybe tired of the dating game, and want to settle down and have a family, or take a look around and see that there is no such thing as perfection.

WISP, I would say that if you have a kink that operates as a sort of "icing on the cake," if you can satisfy it through porn and fantasy, then you may want to consider how much this woman brings into your life and "put [your] kinks in context"--the context of everything else that is so wonderful about your fiance. If you can still be satisfied sexually, and will only regret in a mild way that you never got her to be the Domme of your dreams, in the same way that people make peace with the fact that they're never going to be president of the company, or get a chance to climb Mount Everest, or sleep with some object of their fantasy NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY MIGHT WANT THOSE THINGS, then let it go and embrace what you've found.

If, on the other hand, this kink is one of the defining things about you, if you can't really be satisfied if it isn't satisfied, if you NEED to be dominated in order to find fulfillment, then you should break up. It's one thing to ask a partner to indulge a kink, particularly if it represents no skin off her teeth; that's what being GGG is. But to ask someone to change the essence of her sexual self, her sexual persona and response, isn't fair, and ultimately, even if she understands what you want and tries to accommodate it, if she isn't dominant, she can't/won't be able to be sufficiently dominant to make it work for you and she will be unfulfilled and resentful.

Take some careful stock yourself, before you bring the topic up and think about what you can live with. This woman isn't going to dominate you the way you want.
More...
Posted by nocutename on July 5, 2012 at 8:24 PM · Report this
11
Also agree with #6. You might need to top from the bottom for a while. If she's open to experimenting, maybe taking a workshop together, then pursue that. Realize that you're the experienced one, though, and for a while your Good and Giving will be helping her learn the ropes of a new realm of sexuality. (Pun intended).
Posted by K3 on July 5, 2012 at 8:25 PM · Report this
12
Do we know the LW is male? Dan doesn't say. And he or she is writing from San Francisco, for what that's worth...
Posted by EricaP on July 5, 2012 at 8:27 PM · Report this
13
My advice for WISF is the same, regardless of gender: there are a lot more submissives out there than dominants. Also, dominants usually don't give their submissives exactly what the submissives want. Read Dan's interview with a Femdom couple:
http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/femdo…
"What I really wanted was a submissive to do the fucking laundry," she says. "I wanted him to do the dishes."

So if you really want more kink in your life, talk to your partner about what she is looking for, both in bed and out of bed ("do the fucking laundry!") See if you can find an artificial compromise, where she'll beat your ass one night a week, in exchange for you doing all the fucking laundry, or giving her two orgasms for every one you get, or whatever works for her.

Saying "I love to be dominated" is like saying "I love getting massages." Yeah, we know, there are lots of us out there. But keep in mind that what you want (humiliation, beatings, whatever) is what you want; it's probably not what turns on your partner. Think about what might make it worth it for your partner, and start the conversation there.
Posted by EricaP on July 5, 2012 at 8:36 PM · Report this
14
Prudie didn't say anything judgmental about Mr. Savage. She said that the writer's letter contradicted or served as counterevidence for those who say that loving partners should accommodate each other, which is true. She also says that kinks can be a turnoff. I don't think Mr. Savage has ever quite acknowledged this in these words (though a few columns could be said to have implied it), but it doesn't seem a slap at him either.

Frankly, I'm not surprised that both advice columnists told the pair to talk about their lack of sexual synchrony. That's the tack that both have taken for years.
Posted by DRF on July 5, 2012 at 8:37 PM · Report this
15
(By "artificial compromise" I mean something structured, so you can experiment with these roles for a while. You don't want to have to nag to get your beatings (or humiliation, or whatever) so find something she wants, and make it an explicit trade until you each get a sense of what works for you.)
Posted by EricaP on July 5, 2012 at 8:38 PM · Report this
Irena 16
I had no problem with Prudie's response, with one huge exception: what's the problem with guys wearing their hair back in what she horrendously calls "ballerina-style man buns"? Who cares if a guy, gay or straight, puts his hair back into a twist? It's no different than a pony tail, and I personally think it's pretty hot. When my guy had long hair he'd often put the top half up, and it was cute as hell.

I generally like Prudie's hard-nosed advice, but I really resent when she plays gender police this way. Girls get to wear short hair, fedoras, whatever they like -- why should guys get mocked for copying girls' longer styles?
Posted by Irena on July 5, 2012 at 8:49 PM · Report this
18
I think being so anti-kink it kills your libido to think about any sort of kink is in itself a perversion and should be shared as soon as you make eye contact with anyone remotely plausible as a sexual partner.

Posted by EclecticEel on July 5, 2012 at 9:04 PM · Report this
mydriasis 19
@1
Bingo!

@16

Haha, IMHO no man (gay or straight) should put his hair in a bun (or a ponytail *shudder*). Nothing to do with being the gender police (although I'll also admit I don't like say, breasts, on men) it's more just that it's not really attractive/flattering in my mind. Even Mr. Cobain looked better with the short cut.

Posted by mydriasis on July 5, 2012 at 9:04 PM · Report this
mydriasis 20
@18

Simmer down there buddy.
Being anti-[specific kink] is not the same as being anti-kink in general. If there isn't a single kink out there that your S/O could be indulging in that you would find a turnoff then you're in the majority. Poop, for example, is a turnoff for most. And you know what? I don't feel a need to tell everyone I make eye contact with that I'm not into shit.
Posted by mydriasis on July 5, 2012 at 9:09 PM · Report this
Sandiai 21
I could have written @5. I make it very clear very early in every relationship that I'm submissive, and... it's like it doesn't matter what I say: that submissive man I've just met (I attract a lot of them, I guess due to my "public" demeanor) wants what he wants. Nothing I say, nothing I want, no amount of reality, is going to intrude on his fantasy. I'm of course willing to switch things up if a guy is willing to as well, but that just ruins his ultimate fantasy apparently. (I'm talking generalities, of course).

I like this from the LW:

"so I figured over time she would start to dominate me."

I'm sorry. This just sounds lazy. She can't read your mind about this and just start being dominant from scratch. YOU made assumptions because it was what you wanted to think. Don't make her pay for your assumptions (like @5 said, "just because a woman is assertive in the 'outside world,' [doesn't mean] she'll be open to being his Domme").

Please tell me it occurred to you that she might not be dominant sexually, or might even be submissive herself. Maybe "vanilla" is her compromise position when she realized she is kind of submissive too. Perhaps you should show her what dominance looks like a few times, how does that sound?

(Submissive men who are both pushy and inflexible bug me. Can you tell?)

Actually, the LW here seems more clueless rather then selfish. And yes; What Dan said of course and as usual. Make sure your fiance knows how important this is to you and offer to fulfill her fantasies as well (she does have them, I promise).

Posted by Sandiai on July 5, 2012 at 9:34 PM · Report this
22
Red toes are a big deal?
I rocked them for at least five years straight (yes straight, though I might have branched out into other colors once or twice as well), all the while refusing to wear shoes unless it was really cold, rain be damned (surfing teaches you that wet feet are not a tragedy). I got some comments but there is no shock value in red toes; someone needs to find a better problem to freak out about if she wants a divorce.
Posted by SifuMark on July 5, 2012 at 9:46 PM · Report this
Anne in MA 23
Inclined to agree with the comments noting that LW may need to "top-from-the-bottom" for a while. LW's fiancee might be perfectly open to domming in theory, but not really sure where to start.

I've totally been there. An ex-girlfriend of mine was really into dirty talk, but I had a hard time accommodating this very mild, barely-kinky kink for a pretty long time. Not because I wasn't willing to indulge, but because I felt so damn silly and awkward every time I tried. It all felt so unnatural. What worked for us is that *she* would start - she did a lot of the talking, and I would do my best to play along and respond. It got easier over time, and it wasn't too long before I felt comfortable enough to take the initiative (without feeling like a character in a poorly written 70's porn flick).

LW - your fiancee might just feel like she doesn't know what she's doing. You can't expect her to become an experienced domme overnight. If she's willing, take the time to show her the ropes (no pun intended).
Posted by Anne in MA on July 5, 2012 at 9:46 PM · Report this
24
Red toes are a big deal?

I rocked them for five straight years (maybe one or two variations in the colour but the years were and are straight). During this time you could only get me to wear shoes (as opposed to sandals) by putting me on the clock or dropping the temperature below 50. I'm a hippie like that.
I did get some humour out of it: I'd tell some of the people who asked that it kept the wrong women off of me, they're like danger spots on a toxic fish, insect, frog, etc.
Shock value: zero.

Back to the Prudie LW: someone needs to come up with a better excuse to be upset at her husband so she can move along.
Posted by SifuMark on July 5, 2012 at 9:58 PM · Report this
nocutename 25
@11-13 (EricaP): I think it's commendable that you offer such a reasoned compromise and I happen to love the idea of trading doing the dishes or laundry. (As an aside: a friend of mine was getting married and her fiance wanted her to change her last name to his, which was difficult to spell and pronounce. She agreed to on the condition that he always do the dishes. Of course, changing your name is a one-time hassle, whereas the dishes always need to be cleaned, so . . . you can guess where this is going. Nevertheless, it was good while it lasted!)

But this particular kink really depends on the enthusiasm of both parties for the roles they play; if someone doesn't really want to be dominant, she makes a pretty poor one. It's not a small thing he is asking--actually, he isn't asking; he's expecting her to magically want to be what he wants her to be and she isn't--it's a total sexual identity. It's pretty hard to fake and even harder if it isn't a just once-in-a-while thing, but the paradigm in their relationship.

If what WISF is asking for is some willingness on his fiance's behalf to change things up a bit on occasion, to indulge his kink now and then in the interest of keeping things interesting and varied and because she understands how much he enjoys it, then I'm all for him having a compromise talk with her and think she should be generous enough to accommodate him every so often.

But it sounded to me more like he wants to be submissive to a dominant woman, found an assertive and confident woman, assumed that because she is those things she would turn into a dominant sexual partner and is unhappy and losing interest in all sex altogether if it doesn't have a D/s aspect to it, with him being the sub.

If that's the case, do you really think this can be addressed though negotiation? Someone isn't going to be able to be who or what s/he really is here, and that's not going to get better with time.
More...
Posted by nocutename on July 5, 2012 at 9:58 PM · Report this
26
Yeah, and now I'm feeling the pull again . . . Back to the beginning with red or the chrome that got me re-booted after a couple of years of paint free toes is really the only question.
Posted by SifuMark on July 5, 2012 at 10:01 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 27
@26: One of my good (straight) guy friends is always wearing polish either on his fingers or his toes. Red, pink, purple... his girlfriend definitely doesn't find it objectionable.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on July 5, 2012 at 11:18 PM · Report this
28
@25 -again, we don't know that WISF is a guy.

The first step is for WISF to realize that there are almost no women out there who want to be a fantasy domme. Since WISF and fiancee have great sex together, that's rare enough that they should try to build on that. I do think it is possible to get a vanilla person to see the advantages of having the upper hand in a relationship. I think the femdom couple Dan interviewed had a situation like that, where at first she was doing it to shut him up (and, hey, laundry!), but gradually it dawned on her that she liked this too, because she really had the power, and he wasn't just pushing her around to get what he wanted. That's the part that subs need to understand: it's not just about their desires.

Along those lines: I don't like the advice to top from the bottom. That reinforces the idea that the dom is doing it for the sub, rather than that they're both getting something out of the situation. They should focus on what she wants, and build on that with imagination and sexiness and love, rather than focusing on teaching her how to serve WISF's desires.
Posted by EricaP on July 5, 2012 at 11:21 PM · Report this
Sketch 29
I was positively surprised that Prudie mentioned an open marriage as an option. I don't see how it's going to help in this specific case, but yay for her for telling the letter writer to consider it.
Posted by Sketch on July 5, 2012 at 11:28 PM · Report this
30
To follow up yet again (sorry!)...WISF should start by figuring out what part of the fantasy is most important. Is it a physical act, like being pegged, or beaten? For physical acts, you ask nicely and you offer something that the other person likes a lot, preferably something sexual, so you both feel sexually satisfied.

But if it's more the mental domination you want, like being bossed around and/or humiliated, that's when you have to do the mental gymnastics of remembering that the domme is going to get what she wants most of the time, and you have to be happy about that, and happy that at least you'll get the physical stuff you crave every once in a while, if you're good.
Posted by EricaP on July 5, 2012 at 11:31 PM · Report this
Corylea 31
Trying giving your fiancee "The Sexually Dominant Woman: A Workbook for Nervous Beginners" by Lady Green. Amazon has it for $9.46

Posted by Corylea http://corylea.com/ on July 5, 2012 at 11:50 PM · Report this
nocutename 32
As to whether or not WISF is a man or woman, does it really make so much difference whether this couple is straight or lesbian? The basic difficulty remains the same. Maybe it's too heterocentric of me to assume and address a straight couple, but really, nothing I said was dependent on the lw being a man. Perhaps it's not ideal, and we could either ask right away before addressing the issues the letters raise, or write a lot of tortured, clunky prose to get around the fact that we don't know the sex or the orientation of the writer. Except that I find that both of those solutions are far from perfect, too. Why do we even need to know the characters' sexes or orientations, at least insofar as this particular problem is concerned?
Posted by nocutename on July 6, 2012 at 12:10 AM · Report this
33
I'm also of the opinion that the lw needs to speak up. Yes, they have had talks but it's clearly not enough to get the lw what they want. The next talk needs to be specific about what is desired, lay out the fantasy and say specifically I want you to do x, y, and z to me. Then, if your partner won't play it may be time to dtmf already because no matter how well the rest of your relationship is working, this key part is not.
Posted by PenguinGirl on July 6, 2012 at 12:29 AM · Report this
35
A kink workshop or at least checking out some books or stores together would go a long way toward helping this. "Surprise Dominatrix," while sounding hot, might not be what LW was hoping for. And with safety concerns, it's much better to start with good practices and co-learning.

Until an awesome Babeland workshop can be attended, a good way to start might be to initiate by saying, "Okay, for the next half hour, I will do anything you want me to do to please you," and following through on it. 30 min of foot rub? Do it. 30 min of eating pussy? Do it. Doing dishes while naked? Do it. No smirking, no negating. Show her what it's like for her to be completely in charge of you.

Make it a fun game so she gets a feel for fun, enjoyable, but not OMGSCARYHARDCOREDOMINATRIX play. LW is going to have to "grow" this dominatrix if he wants her to top him, and that starts with the core fun/power aspect. Whips and chains come later.
Posted by MemeGene on July 6, 2012 at 1:28 AM · Report this
36
Also, I get a "guy" vibe from LW because of this: "she's a very confident and strong-willed woman, and so I figured over time she would start to dominate me."

I've heard that sort of assumption made by a lot of men who liked to fantasize about assertive women they knew when the reverse is actually more true. I'd like to think that a lesbian (esp. one dating for 20 years) would not make such an assumption.
Posted by MemeGene on July 6, 2012 at 1:45 AM · Report this
37
Dang: It looks as though in the course of creating a new profile (something about a new standard regarding cookies that happened a while back) I managed to double post. Oops.
Posted by SifuMark on July 6, 2012 at 2:32 AM · Report this
38
@SifuMark: I think the reason she felt publicly painted toenails were such a big deal wasn't the toenails in and of themselves, but the fear that his whole cross-dressing kink was becoming more public and that she'd have a drag queen husband on her hands soon enough. It's not so much the act itself as the fact that to her, it looked like the beginning of a slippery slope.
Posted by alguna_rubia on July 6, 2012 at 2:58 AM · Report this
singing cynic 39
Apropos of nothing: does anyone else think that the dude in the picture of the the "man bun" that Prudie was complaining about is SUPER HOT?
Posted by singing cynic on July 6, 2012 at 3:20 AM · Report this
Megaera 40
LW met their fiancee 'a year ago' and is 'crazy about her'. Clearly, s/he is still in the limerence phase of the relationship, but it's beginning to wear thin as s/he has now realised s/he is not getting what s/he wants sexually and it is becoming a problem. It will take masses of re-negotiation to get through this stage of the relationship, as once limerence starts to fade, your priority stops being 'stay with me at any price: I'll sacrifice anything, it's fine' to 'Actually, this is what I want/need in my life.' You almost have to re-negotiate the whole relationship, recognising that you may not be OK with things that you thought you were fine with before.

Given how absolutely basic the issues facing them are, I think this couple should wait *at least* another four years, focussing on working on their relationship all that time, before getting married/having kids/co-owning a pet. It could work out brilliantly well, but after just one year it's impossible to tell. 5 years in all gives them a good opportunity to enjoy and get over the head-scrambling effects of limerence and to build the basis of a solid, mature relationship.
Posted by Megaera on July 6, 2012 at 3:31 AM · Report this
robwolf 41
You know what would be great? If Dan and Prudie had a sex advice and relationship advice throw down on the Savage Lovecast. Perhaps another live charity event in support of...whatever. Although, I can't think of an appropriate musical guest for that one.
Posted by robwolf on July 6, 2012 at 4:15 AM · Report this
42
This is a very useful discussion for people like me who want to get partners to be dominant without being unfair or making the whole thing seem fake.

'Course, the problem with being submissive is that it feels uncomfortable to take the initiative sexually: but you have to do it to get what you want, and then you feel bad 'cos you've been the opposite of what you wanted to be. But I assume very dominant people have to modify their desires all the time, so welcome to being an adult.

It's taken us ten years to get more kinkiness and domination happening, and that's with a partner who was already sexually dominant but not kinky. For some reason it had never occurred to me to use #35's phrase - thanks very much, I will try that!
Posted by misspiggy on July 6, 2012 at 4:29 AM · Report this
43
@20, I was talking about being anti-kink not being anti-[specific kink]. Oh, I see, sorry, I wrote "to think about any sort of kink" when I meant "to think about all kinks of any sort"
Posted by EclecticEel on July 6, 2012 at 5:05 AM · Report this
44
I don't think Mr Savage needs Ms Prudie to make him look good. She's marginally better than many of the others out there and has established herself as the Pun Queen, but she routinely misses the main point of far too high a proportion of questions.
Posted by vennominon on July 6, 2012 at 6:16 AM · Report this
45
I actually find Prudence to be a fairly open-minded advice columnist for a mainstream writer and audience. (See her advice to a regular cannabis user.) I usually read her columns (missed this one, tho), and I agree with her advice in this case.
Posted by Sally Hemings' daughter on July 6, 2012 at 7:41 AM · Report this
46
(I too am operating under the assumption that the LW is male.)

His problem strikes me as a fairly simple one, and fairly easy to fix. He seems to be assuming that because he has expressed an interest in being dominated, and because his partner is a "confident and strong-willed woman," she'll take the initiative to start dominating him unless she finds his kink a turn-off.

This is a mistaken assumption. If she's vanilla, then she may have no idea how to dominate a man and/or feel shy about initiating it. Even the most confident woman may feel inhibited about exploring completely new sexual territory. The LW needs to give her some specific suggestions for what he'd like her to do. Tell her HOW to do it, and show her how excited you are to try it, and she'll probably deliver.
Posted by Skipper Jo on July 6, 2012 at 8:25 AM · Report this
47
nocute@32, if it doesn't matter which WISF is, and if it's clunky to use s/he (as @40), then go ahead and use she for WISF, though that's a bit awkward too, given that the fiancee is a 'she'. How about using LW like a pronoun? I do think it's important for us to not assume everyone is heterosexual, as vennominon has noted repeatedly.
Posted by EricaP on July 6, 2012 at 9:10 AM · Report this
48
@31 The Sexually Dominant Woman: A Workbook for Nervous Beginners by Lady Green.

Good suggestion! Helps avoid the long-term problems that come with topping from the bottom

Another good book is: The New Topping Book, by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy
Posted by EricaP on July 6, 2012 at 9:15 AM · Report this
nocutename 49
EricaP@47: I guess you're right, and I get Mr. Ven's point about the presumption of straightness.

I deplore clunky awkward constructions meant to correct for hetero-normativity or hetero-centricity: s/he and his/her; the use of a noun every time rather than ever using a pronoun; the grammatically incorrect "they/them/their" for a single person.

English has long needed a gender-neutral, third-person singular pronoun, and letters to Slog demonstrates this need even more effectively than the problems that arise when speaking/writing about a hypothetical person, in which case the writer can either change the number of theoretical people to a plural ("teachers" as opposed to "teacher") so that the corresponding pronouns agree in gender and number ("teachers should treat all their students alike," rather than, "a teacher should treat all their students alike"). There have been two times in recent SL history when a letter writer or commenter omitted his or her gender (both times, the relationships were same-sex ones), and in comments each was called the opposite-sex pronoun. In both cases, the letter writer or Slog commenter wrote back, and corrected our mistakes.

It would be nice if WISF were to do the same thing, but in the absence of that, we either have to ask, or work on the presumption of straightness--either because the odds are high that straightness is a statistical probability, or because we get "cues" within the letter as to the sex of its writer (a very bad idea, as we are laden with cultural assumptions that often aren't true), or commit to an inelegant mode of address.

I suppose in light of all that, that your solution is the best, but damn it--it really sounds/reads torturous and awkward.

Or--and I wonder what Mr. Ven would say about this--we can, if the writer's sex is immaterial to the problem and there have been no clues to the contrary, assume heterosexuality, as that is the greater possibility and understand that no bigotry is meant. I am a religious and ethnic minority in this country, and I don't expect anyone who doesn't know me to know I'm not gentile. In virtually every interaction I have, it doesn't matter a whit if the other person or people assume me to be a different religion than I am. And in the few interactions when it does matter, I am not offended that my religion is mistakenly believed to be the same as the majority's. Sometimes, if I think it is germane, I kindly correct the mistake, and sometimes I just decide it doesn't matter, and let it go. But I don't think it is a part of a deliberate or unconscious conspiracy to not recognize me, and keep me in a powerless position.

I realize that my analogy is not the very best one, but since I am a member of a group historically as hated and oppressed as gays have been, it seemed "apt enough."

Nevertheless, while awaiting a third-person, gender-neutral singular pronoun, I will try to follow your example.
More...
Posted by nocutename on July 6, 2012 at 11:22 AM · Report this
50
Glad to be of service, misspiggy! I hope it opens up new ways to play.

At the risk of invoking massive nerdiness, top/bottoming is reminiscent of activities like tabletop RPGing - the Dungeon Master / Game Master has to go through a lot of prep work to set up an adventure for the players' enjoyment, and the DM/GM enjoys being able to provide a fun experience. But the players have to be active in buying into it as well, and the best players are the ones who understand how much is involved in "surrounding the situation" for someone else.

This is part of the reason that "cross-training" is useful - wanna-be bottoms reading "top" books, and wanna-be tops reading "bottom" books and even being bottom a few times. It's improv with sexiness, and it takes two (or more) active participants to really make it work.
Posted by MemeGene on July 6, 2012 at 11:25 AM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 51
[I'm assuming LW is male, even though it could be a woman with a fiancée in Ca. If the state were one where same-sex marriage is not legal, then it would be easier to assume. And for two women to use a vibrator shouldn't be anything out of the ordinary, but men usually aren't so quick to admit to using one.]

Anyway, LW has jumped into his relationship to Ms. Almost Right with a whole bunch of misconceptions that are sadly not becoming his reality. I also get the impression that the fiancée is avoiding the subject, first by jokingly calling LW "pervert" and secondly by not addressing the issue which may be her way of avoiding how often he talks about what he wants.

Even if both were to talk honestly about LW's desires, LW may not get what he wants. So, should he accept this outcome and consider it (as Dan has coined it) the cost of admission for this relationship?

However, if LW feels that the relationship would be marred and diminished if he doesn't get what he wants, then he has two choices: seek out a professional to get his submissive needs met, even though he won't be getting any integrated sexual/ romantic/ kinky fulfilment from it OR break off the relationship altogether and hope he'll meet someone who will share the quirks he likes.

Even so, I still get the impression that the fiancée really hopes the subject will disappear if she ignores it for long enough. Not a wise move, especially if both of them end up eventually resenting one another.

After rereading the letter, I'm also questioning the LW's seeming haste to get engaged (and presumably married). He met her one year ago, but is already engaged though he doesn't mention how recent the engagement is. I think he was so overwhelmed by the possibility that she might fit his requirements that his judgement was impaired.

And, for the record, showing an "interest" (as she did) does not signify inclination or enthusiasm. I may be interested in a whole bunch of things but not in doing them - and I happen to actually like kink.
More...
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on July 6, 2012 at 2:37 PM · Report this
52
Ms Erica, Ms Cute et alia - My thanks for the thoughtful consideration. Just an amusing aside - I read the letter at three different times. Once I thought my guess would change if I liked the LW, once paragraphs read differently, and once the letter seemed to have a bisexual flavour without seeming to come off predominantly M or F.

I certainly accept that Ms Cute's idea is without malice. While it is a reasonable way to interpret letters, the problem is that it condones and encourages appropriationist behaviour on the part of the LWs, which is really where I have been focusing most of my attention of late. I won't repeat my whole post in the weekly thread, but I've been looking at Ms Cute's analogy the other way round. One should not enter a non-Christian domain and expect that, without disclosing, one will be taken for and treated as a (privileged) Christian. Looking at it from Ms Cute's side, even if most (I'll grant I'm extreme personally in this regard and perhaps alone) people in the minority don't take being mistaken for a member of the majority as malicious or condemnatory, it's privileging behaviour towards those sloppy members of the majority who think they don't have to disclose even when it's relevant. Unfortunately, I can't get around that.

May I joke that perhaps we could establish an acronym for the beginning of a paragraph indicating what sexuality the comment assumes? The joke is that three come to mind - (PSS) for Presumed Same-Sexer, (PBS) for Presumed Both-Sexer, and...

There might actually be some merit in doing this with different acronyms, but it was such a good joke that I couldn't resist. Pity it doesn't work any better with Assumed instead of Presumed.
Posted by vennominon on July 6, 2012 at 7:02 PM · Report this
53
As a former vanilla, introducing a kink used to be a fiercely scary thing. I wasn't able to acknowledge my own kinks, due to my upbringing, society, what have you. It's possible that WISF's partner may be the same - kink is some place completely walled off, not because the kink isn't there, but because she is not able to admit to it, even in her own mind.
When I read The Ethical Slut, it was like a light bulb went supernova. No wonder the vanilla erotica did nothing or me - I'm a kinkster! And I want multiple partners! But until I got outside confirmation that this was OKAY, the repressive upbringing held sway. Much happier now.
There's a lot of anti-kink programming out there, lot's of advice columnists, relatives, movies that send the message that it's weird, twisted, to be avoided. Maybe WISF's partner is in that situation, and needs loving guidance to embrace her own kinks?
Posted by literatevixen on July 7, 2012 at 7:54 AM · Report this
54
Unless you're really into it (i.e. its your kink), THE long term problem with being the dom in a relationship (sexual or otherwise) is that you have to do all the heavy lifting. That can get OLD really quick. Are passive people inherently submissive? It can be really annoying to be involved with someone who can't or won't make even simple decisions for themselves, but can be very resentful when you make the decisions for them. Playing 50 questions with bored teenagers about what they want to do in summer is such a joy.

A good case can be made that most conservative/traditionalist/Christian males are kinky (just not sexually). They expect women to be subservient in all things. I sometimes think that women who voluntarily (and not just socialized) submit have to be masochists at heart.

The last thing I want after participating in dominance games all day at work (that is often really emotionally draining) is to come home to the same thing. WISF needs to consider/ask whether his/her fiancee wants to keep his/her work/public persona separate from his/her private persona. A lot of people wear masks that are situational dependent. Reality may be very different from what he/she perceives her fiancee to be. A lot of times some shade of vanilla or cuddling may be the only thing you have the energy for.
Posted by beentheredonethatgotthetshirt on July 7, 2012 at 9:06 AM · Report this
55
@54 well put.
Posted by EricaP on July 7, 2012 at 11:51 AM · Report this
56
@54: yep.
Posted by Sarah in Olympia on July 7, 2012 at 10:04 PM · Report this
57
< rant >
what really annoys me is the way that some people conflate 'submissive' with 'passive', and/or 'masochistic', or (gods help us) 'bottom'. these are all separate things!! you can be submissive and assertive (the best subs are) or even a tad stroppy... you can be masochistic without the least shred of sub-ness.... you can be dominant, sadistic, and a bottom... etc, etc. but it seems so often when i hear someone who i.d.'s as sub, and wants their 'vanilla' partner to dom them, that what you're really looking at is passive-aggressive. not too attractive, and not exactly sub. if you are submissive, and its part of _who you are_, then it's going on, when you walk down the street, when you're at work, when you're home alone, whether you're partnered or not, and irrelevant of who/what you're partner/s may be. if you're a _good_ sub, you will push peoples buttons, and create the dynamics automatically. a good sub can draw out dom tendencies in even the most vanilla folks. but if you want x, y, or z done to you, then you ask very nicely and be prepared to negotiate. especially if it's not a priority for the other. because, lets face it, if you're submissive, then it's _what your partner/s want_ that matters. if it's all about you, then you're not sub, you're a passive-aggressive do-me-queen.
< /rant >
Posted by sappho on July 17, 2012 at 2:31 PM · Report this

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