I'm a 35-year-old mostly straight guy with a love for kink. I've been with my girlfriend for nine years, we have an 16-month-old son together, and I love both of them very much.

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In my younger years, I was active in the swinging community, I hooked up with couples and singles, and I enjoyed exploring the kinkier side of sex. My girlfriend, however, is pretty vanilla. I've tried everything I can think of over the years to get her more attuned to her sexuality. I've had no real success. She's humored me a few times and tried a few things I've suggested only to turn around a few weeks later and angrily tell me that it never did anything for her and that she doesn't want to do it anymore. We have friends who are kinky. When I hang out with them, without my girlfriend, the tongue-in-cheek flirting between everyone is electric to me! I've come to realize how much I miss that in my life.

Dan, I love this woman and I realize that I need to round up. This is my price of admission to be with her. My question is: How do I stop myself from feeling trapped? How do I not let resentment set in? I don't want to throw away everything we've built together. Leaving is not an option. I just don't know where to go from here.

Kindly In Need Kinkster

You say you've attempted—you say you've tried everything—to "get [your girlfriend] more attuned to her sexuality," KINK. But it sounds like your girlfriend is plenty attuned to her sexuality. It's just that she's vanilla. She's into the kind of sex most people are into, the basics, e.g., kissing, sucking, fucking, rolling around. People who are fundamentally and authentically vanilla aren't defective, KINK; they're not a tune up or two away from wanting to swing or getting off on your kinks.

The complicating factor here—the thing prompts kinksters with vanilla partners to keep trying even after they've already tried everything—is that many vanilla-identified folks actually do have hidden and/or suppressed kinks. Swingers clubs, fetish parties, and bondage devices are filled with formerly vanilla-identified folks who are thankful for the loving, patient, sex-positive, and solicitous partner that helped them accept and explore their kinks.

But you gotta know when to say when, KINK, and after nine years of asking—and some experiments that she clearly didn't feel good about—it's when time. Your girlfriend isn't into group sex and isn't interested in (further) exploring your kinks, whatever they are. If group sex and kink is crucially important to your sense of sexual fulfillment, KINK, then you should've found someone with whom you were sexually compatible—you should've partnered with someone else—or, after falling in love with this woman, you should've negotiated an accommodation that allowed you to get explore your kinks outside the relationship before you scrambled your DNA together.

There's no way to open those negotiations shortly after you've had a baby without your girlfriend feeling trapped. Even if it wasn't your intention to put your girlfriend in a position where walking away felt impossible—even if you break up, you'll be parenting together for the next, oh, 198 months—she's unlikely to view the timing as a coincidence.

Seeing as you very recently scrambled your DNA together, KINK, I would advise you to wait at least 12-24 months before broaching the subject of opening the relationship. You need some kink in your life to feel sexually fulfilled—you'd prefer to do those things with her but she doesn't enjoy them. A convo moderated by a sex-positive, kink-positive, monogamish-positive couples counselor after your child is out of diapers and in preschool might result in an agreement on an accommodation for outside sexual contact and/or a breakthrough in your relationship that results in you two having mutually pleasurable monogamous sexual adventures that satisfy your need for something more than strictly vanilla sex.

Or, you know, it might not.

If your girlfriend insists on monogamy, KINK, and leaving is not an option, then monogamous vanilla might be the price of admission you have to pay to be with her. And as for your feelings of being trapped, KINK, I don't know what to tell you. This relationship isn't a trap—you're free to go—but if you're unwilling to leave and she's unwilling to let you get your kink on with others, then you're kindasorta trapped.

But it's not a trap she set, KINK, it's a trap you set.

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