SL Letter of the Day: Whips & Chains & Prudie
by Dan Savage
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.