People who aren't into BDSM ask me sometimes, "Don't you ever just want to have regular sex?" It's hard to know how to answer that. For one thing, you'd have to define precisely what makes sex regular versus nonregular. But I think people who ask this are imagining me wiggling into a latex catsuit and getting out the floggers every time I want to have an orgasm. Which, of course, I don't. I don't know any kinky people who do that with their long-term partners. So, yes, I have sex where I don't use special costumes and equipment, and where I'm not acting out a highly stylized role. But while I don't always need all the bells and whistles of BDSM, I do want to have really good sex.

I have learned a basic premise of how to make sex hot for me, which I can convey in one slightly vulgar statement: Someone has to run the fuck.

I'm not talking about overt dominance and submission in the BDSM sense of those words. Good sex is like partner dancing: There must be someone who leads, and there must be someone who follows. Both partners are equally important, but you have to dance your part. It doesn't have to be the same arrangement every time you take to the floor, although people do often prefer one role to the other. You can even switch leads halfway through, if that's your style. But whether you always take the same parts or you decide dance by dance, someone has to take control and lead you both through the steps for the dance to be reliably brought to a happy ending.

That the matter is even open to question is a fairly recent cultural development. Before the rise of feminism, men were supposed to lead sexually, and women to follow. Now we're slowly getting hip to the fact that it's neither desirable nor realistic to assign those roles based on gender. There's much more space for talented and skillful sexual dancers to make up their own steps. But with something as laden with tension and performance anxiety as sex, a lot of people are happy to have a partner who takes control and directs the action toward a mutually pleasurable climax.

I think I'd be a strong sexual lead no matter what career path I'd chosen. But my natural inclination paired with my professional experience means that when I get into bed with a new lover, I always assume I'll be the one running the fuck, and I'm rarely mistaken in that assumption. However, I do occasionally meet people who want to be Fred Astaire to my Ginger Rogers. If I think you have some sweet moves you can show me, then I'm open to letting you twirl me around the floor. Just remember that when it comes to sex, you need to either lead, follow, or get out of the way. recommended