Here's to sharing kinks, I am so happy to report that both my girlfriend and I share a bunch of kinks. Once we discovered that we were both kinky people we've had the best time indulging those kinks on a pretty regular basis. Nothing ventured nothing gained!
LW: Toughen up your nuts now, cause they're about to get pounded.
Probably wants to flog you with a porcupine tied to a broomstick. I found that out the hard way...
...but on the plus side, I’ve saved a fortune on acupuncture!
I bet it’s maybe something “varsity” but not way far out there, like CNC.
My kinks are so mild and so commonplace that I never thought they'd scare anyone off. But they have, several times. Not only were they scared off, one of them felt the need to tell me that I needed therapy or wondered what had happened to me to make my self-esteem so low that I'd want to be called names like "dirty slut" while having sex.
You never know what will scare someone off. But you've got to be true to yourself, too.
However, it seems downright foolish to set someone up for a bad reaction and then not spill the possibly relationship-killing information.
This is damn good advice.
I'm pretty old and cynical, but most often I've seen people who say "I don't wanna scare you off with my kinks" turn out to mainly be posturing because the real turn on is being perceived as scary and daring.
Duh bro, her kink is not scaring you off. She gets off on you wondering but not leaving. She is probably rubbing off to this letter right now.
She wants to dress you up like Donald Trump in a bad blue suit and a Trump mask, tie you to a chair, walk in with a strap-on, make you blow the dildo, and peg you while you tell her that she's making America great again and you have ruined the country.
Now I want to know what her kinks are. You’re asking the wrong person, LW. Though Dan’s answer is spot on, it’s you who has to ask her to stop with the hinting, and tell you her truths.
No shaming of her and no obligation to indulge said kinks yourself, as Dan said. She obviously feels safe enough with you to refer to this part of herself. Pour her a wine or whatever you use to relax, and gently coax it out of her.
Donny @3, that’s a good one.
Okay - gonna overshare as a survivor of early sexual abuse. Sharing ones inmost fantasies is one of the most serious forms of intimacy I can think of. Especially when you realize that while for most people fantasies may be formed by harmless exposure to sexy images in the course of everyday life, for some people - ahem - kinks may be formed in response to serious sexual trauma. It’s a sad fact of life that traumatic or abusive sexual experiences may have lifelong consequences as far as what turns us on and makes our dicks hard/pussies wet. Coming to terms with the ways in which trauma has informed our sexual development is a lifelong process, and most of us survivors are not lucky enough to do it early on in life with the help of competent therapists. Most of us muddle through with oblivious partners. Be aware that at LEAST a quarter of cis women and at LEAST a tenth of cis men have early sexual trauma in their backgrounds. It’s a safe bet that asking your partner to share their kinks is also asking them to delve into those memories and experiences. This is not to say you shouldn’t do it. You should. IF you have the best of intentions and you realize what you are actually asking for. Are you really asking for that kind of intimacy? Are you really willing to be present for what you might learn? Okay. I realize my response is way more than might have been called for. But if anyone is wondering why their partner seems to be excessively coy about their turn-ons, please keep in mind that the reason might be trauma.
TFR, I have had many such conversations with kinky women, including one recent conversation, in which I said the following: "You know there is nothing you can tell me about your sexual fantasies that would make me think less of or differently about you. Fantasies are just that, thoughts which we find exciting. They don't speak to who we are as people, and at most represent the primal urges of our id. In any event, getting to know you - for me - means understanding the darker side of your fantasies." Through approaches like this, I have learned the rough, sexually aggressive, and occasionally deeply taboo fantasies that turn on my partners. Your conversation may not continue by learning the very dark sexual fantasies of your girlfriend, but it can set the stage for her to be comfortable doing so in time, assuming that you have the maturity to not merely recite these words, but to follow through on them.
As for what erotic thoughts she is withholding from you present, that is less important. One of the most potent aspects of BDSM is the freedom to communicate openly with partners about erotic desires, and it is the communication, as much as the actualizing of any kinks that brings two people in a relationship closer. For now, focus on getting the conversation started, rather than where it might lead.
"We can affirm our partners' kinks without having to indulge them." Everyone should get this engraved on a plaque and display that plaque prominently in our bedrooms. So well said, Dan! Be that non-judgmental person, and your girlfriend will gradually learn that she can be safe in revealing her kinks.
Nocute @5: "It seems downright foolish to set someone up for a bad reaction and then not spill the possibly relationship-killing information." I thought that too! She's scaring him by NOT telling him what the kink is. I bet whatever it is, it's not as scary as the worst-place scenario his mind has already jumped to. TFR (who somehow became "DTF" by the last paragraph), show your girlfriend this letter and tell her you're ready to listen without judging.
But don't show her these comments. Sheesh. They're everything that makes her scared to open up!
Gueralinda @12, except for yours. Thank you for being a rare voice of empathy here. "I don't want to scare you away" may be cover for other reasons she's not ready to open up, and that should be respected. Sublime @13, good stuff as well.
Yes Linda @12, kinks can have complex origins. Thank you for sharing.
@13 Did she put you to the test? How does "White slaveowner rapes black slave" feel to you?
Of course, I grant before responding that I view GF's situation as possibly a variant on my own.
What strikes me as the operative bit of the letter is LW's asking, "What did I do to make her feel that she can’t share this with me?" Why does LW frame her (granted, LW's saying they're both open-minded "people" instead of "women" is a negative inference that LW is not female, but I'd be tempted to suggest to a male LW that "what he did," while being equally unknowable, might range from Being Judgemental With a Waiter [I'd say "or worse" but I'm not sure how much worse one could get without being dumped or at least deserving it] to Existing While Male [or even just Human]) concern as a question Mr Savage couldn't possibly answer, AND presume GF's reluctance to be due to LW's own conduct?
Sportlandia, you had to voice that one? While there have got to be rare individuals who are into this racism-fueled CNC, and their kinks are their own, the black people I've heard from on the subject are DONE with hearing about this fetish from oblivious white people.
""I don't want to scare you off"...she's not ready to talk about it."
Or maybe it's only /he/ that wasn't ready to talk about it. Maybe he (as he implied with "nervous") was too afraid to reply with something like "c'mon baby, it's OK, tell me" (his need for guidance before hearing it is after all whole substance of the column). He likely just dropped the ball. I think she should now let her know he's now scraped up the courage to hear what she needs to share.
oops, I meant "HE should now let her know"
I guess he can only say 'your kinks won't scare me off. I hope you'll tell me about them when you're ready to'. @12 gueralinda is right that kinks form in response to deep, traumatic, possibly shameful events; and what can seem to the listener relatively standard or milquetoast ('yeah, know that one!') can be to the person divulging, or who has only previously indulged that fantasy in private, a formidable hairball to cough up. It may be that she chose him as a partner because they both listen to Savage Love--and was taking steps, at her own pace, to be with someone who would not shame her for and might accommodate her kinks.
@5. nocute. I find that awful--kink-shaming and misogyny of a high order--and these guys, no doubt, are the ones who would claim to feel upset. It's a bit astonishing to me (of course I implicitly believe you).
@9 -- But to truly fulfill her Trump fetish you'll need to gain some serious weight and have your dick shortened...
@18 of course I did. Does it make you feel uncomfortable to be confronted with a way-more-common-than-you-know kink? Me personally I'm more into age-play/DDLG (no diapers or pacifiers tho, not my bag). That more normal for you?
@18: I agree with Sportlandia: the point he was making was that there may really be kinks that one hears about that one finds truly upsetting; maybe one shouldn't offer unconditional support and understanding before hearing the kink.
Personally, I can think of a couple that I'd find too disturbing to even be able to say, "your kink is not my kink but your kink is okay." I would refrain from using judgmental language, but we probably all have our "don't-even-like-to-think-about-it" lines drawn in our own particular sandboxes.
I do understand that kinks are not deliberate or intentional, that we don't ask for them and that there is nothing horrible about thoughts (as opposed to some actions). I think it's a valuable thought experiment to do as Sportlandia did, and imagine the kink that for you would make you take a second look at a person. I understand the kink he suggested to be about power imbalance. Actually, both the kinks are.
I'm with nocutename @24. Don't promise you'll be unconditionally supportive. Promise you'll try your best to respond in a positive or neutral manner, which is the best you can do, because it could be something you find disgusting or embarrassing or horrible or immoral or intensely weird and offputting.
Saying "it's OK" (as I suggested @19) doesn't have to mean a blanket "your kink is okay", it might simply mean that worst case scenario if it's it's a dealbreaker (or mass murder or whatever) it should still be spoken if it's important to them. In other words, breaking up for example would not be the end of the damn world. Better to move forward saying what needs to be said than to prolong it. It's been 4 months for them, it's better to know her: wherever that leads.
Yes of course one can't promise "you'll be unconditionally supportive", but one can reassure them that with a gentle "it's OK" even if that means "it's ok if we break up" or "it's ok if the FBI has to take you off the streets so you can't be a serial killer anymore".
Two points. First, as others have said, she may be mistaking ordinary BDSM kinks for something big and scary. If so, she should just say them and let the chips fall where they may.
At the same time, some people have kinks that are genuinely squicky. I'm kinky as fuck, I've got a lifetime of images and turn-ons built up, and I'd be willing to try almost everything.
But 'almost' is the operative word. I know full well that there are fantasies and kinks that I have no interest in participating in.
The LW should promise to listen carefully. They should also promise that if they hear something that upsets them, they will take some time to think before responding. It never hurts to ponder overnight or longer.
Reading gueralinda’s post @12, show the timing of kink disclosures may need to vary. So how does this gel with kinks being disclosed before attachment develops. The LW may well have a disgust response to his gf’s kink, and while his mouth may say the right words something might have shifted in his heart.
These two have known each other before becoming lovers. Four months in, its best for both of them if she tells him, in case his feelings do change.
I'm sympathetic to the fact that this woman might have a lot of shame around her kink and even that she might have been treated badly about it before as in NoCute's situation. So I'm not saying she's doing this intentionally BUT her framing is manipulative. Or at least it puts the LW in a tight situation. She is entitled to owning her kink without shame and no one should treat her bad about it, but he is likewise entitled to not share her kink. I know we all agree on that, but what naturally follows is that if he responds by saying her kink is incompatible with his sexuality, she has scared him off.
Again, I know this is not the intent and I understand the reasons why someone would feel this way so I don't know what to suggest someone who has been kink shamed should do about it, but it seems really unfair to me to phrase something as "I have a secret that is important to me and could potentially affect our relationship including its future success but I'm not going to tell you because it might scare you away". Like, whatever the right way to reveal a kink is, this isn't it.
They are four months into a relationship, so around time to put the kink cards on the table and see if they are compatible and if not if some mutually happy arrangement can be made etc. Sounds like they will handle it like grown ups and all will be well, but we need to move away from this idea of "scaring people off" and of shame when what we are talking about is basic compatibility which is not a judgement on the value of a relationship nor a person's character. I wish we could talk more honestly about this in our culture without getting caught up in taking it so personally.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE getting turned on the things my partner is turned on by! It's like a double-win! Triple-win if it helps my partner get off extra hard.. :>)
Generally... I guess it's generally better to word things in a way that doesn't project on another person. Like I'm usually suspicious of a lot of psychobabble but there is something to a skillful use of I-messaging in some situations. I don't know if this is an example of that specifically, but here's what I mean.
Instead of "I'm afraid it will scare you off" which focuses on his response to her revelation in a way that doesn't give him very many options, it would be better if she asked directly for what it is she needs to become more intimate. Like, instead of saying she's afraid of HIM being scared, why doesn't she state what it is that she is afraid of? Gueralinda made a very insightful post about this and Sublime's advice seems like it would provide that as well from the other side.
But the "I'm afraid of scaring you off" part just seems manipulative (UNINTENTIONALLY) to me because if the LW does choose that he doesn't want to be in a sexual relationship with someone with a kink he cannot share (and that's perfectly OK) then he can't say so without confirming that she did, in fact, scare him off. Which is unfair to both of them.
He must have the right to assert his feeling that they are sexually incompatible if he feels that way without it making him the bad guy. He must show her respect and trust and not shame her- there's nothing wrong with her nor her kink and it's very good of her to share it but that doesn't mean he's going to be into it and this can't be framed as being scared off.
True EmmaLiz, it is about compatibility/ incompatibility. To someone who may have had sexual abuse in their past which is caught up in their kink, as gueralinda explained, such a neutral explanation may not compute.
She used the words ‘scared off’ so in her mind her kinks are scary. And that may be because these are kinks which are linked to her pain and her being scared.
The gf mentioning it could also be her way of inviting the LW to ask, and has he? He lets her words hang there and goes off and feels nervous and writes to Dan.
@33: "She used the words ‘scared off’ so in her mind her kinks are scary. And that may be because these are kinks which are linked to her pain and her being scared."
Or maybe she's told other men about her kinks and they have reacted badly.
Personally, I view my kinks as a jackpot someone feels happy and lucky to win, but not everyone in the world is the Savage Love readership.
BTW the kink doesn't have to be disturbing or immoral for him not to be into it. I feel like people are going to an extreme here with those sorts of responses. There are loads of things that I think are fun to indulge from time to time for novelty, but I wouldn't want to spend years centering them in my sex life unless I was into them. It might be more like "hmm... that seems like a hassle." They've been together 4 months. This is the time in which people decide if they are compatible enough to carry on and make it a longer term thing, and it's perfectly fine if not. It's just more complicated for them because they've been friends for so long that it probably feels like a deeper level of intimacy than you normally have with someone at that stage.
Again, if he's not into her kink, other arrangements are possible so that doesn't mean it's a deal breaker , and who knows, he might be into her kink or at least enjoy playing along. But absolutely he should not promise acceptance without knowing what he's accepting.
The reason I'm banging on here is because of his word choice:
"What could it be? What did I do to make her feel that she can’t share this with me? What should I do?"
I'd think that most people would respond the way several of the commenters above did- we would assume that SHE has some reason for feeling the way she does (having been shamed in the past for example or having be socialized with shame around sex as has happened to so many of us). But instead, the LW responds by asking what did he do to make her feel this way and what he should do to make it better. While it's good to ask how to skillfully handle increased intimacy, it's bad to feel responsible for other people's emotional states and actions when there's no indication that they have anything to do with you. Combine that with her "I don't want to scare you away" which again puts the responsibility all on him- how he responds. And it sure does feel like LW is being put in a corner where he is forced to either enthusiastically accept her kink or be responsible for her feelings of rejection because of it.
Yes EL, I see what you’re saying. I agree, the gf is being manipulative by playing hinting games, and not being straight with the LW. He needs to cut thru it all, and ask her. At the same time stop telling himself it’s because of anything he’s done, and not let himself be manipulated into any response. He needs to show empathy and compassion once she discloses, he doesn’t have to take her kinks on, and act them out with her, if he doesn’t want to.
Personally, I don’t take kindly to that form of teasing/ manipulation and would be wondering a few things about a relationship where such tactics were used.
She is either shy about her kinks and afraid of rejection, or part of a game she plays to be mysterious and keep him on edge (based on how she framed her response, according to the LW). Though, if I were the LW, I would assume the former and act accordingly: with acceptance and honesty. The latter I would hold as a possibility to myself.
Mizz Liz - Thank you for running with my second instinct.
Ms Cute - Perhaps there should be a kink scale. Some are better suited to Mr Savage's super-upbeat presentation than others. On the benign end are things that a partner would likely enjoy even in a non-kink context - the "You get to do (or receive) X!" What you've related seems like a relatively low-burden accommodation (have you ever been put off by someone who got into it too enthusiastically, which might be better suited to an "I get SO turned on when..." approach. But if I were magically to be socially active again and be on the receiving end of the presentation that, lucky me, I'd get to be called vile and disgusting slurs during sex, I'd likely provide such an enthusiastic marketer with a visual demonstration of LMB - preferably all over his most expensive pair of shoes.
If only I knew what LMB meant. The jest of the comment Mr Venn, caused quite a silent hooray!
Oh, Mr. Ven. You know what I mean. I have rather Penelope Pitstop interests, and if I were to judge by Savage Love standards, I'd be a hot commodity for having them--if anything, I run the risk of being too boring and too vanilla around here.
But apparently, I come off as a sick and demented freak to some people, and it's not a bad idea to remind ourselves periodically that we're not necessarily representative of the norm. I'm just starting something up with a man who is in his 60s, and has never uttered any phrase other than "make love" to refer to intercourse. His mind is being quite blown by me. I want to tell him that he should really talk to more people. Yet he's slept with literally many hundreds of women. I do think that an honest admission of kinks and fantasies is more common and more felicitously received than it once was, but I think it's still far from the typical experience.
@40: LavaGirl, LMB stands for "Laissez moi barf," or "let me barf," or, more colloquially from my youth, "gag me with a spoon."
Nocute@41~ I have a hard time believing that any man who has “slept with literally many hundreds of women” would be surprised by a gal who likes to fuck and is open about talking about kinky options. Just the opposite is my experience, most women I’ve met have been at least willing to experiment a bit, and way more than half have been more than willing to let their dirty little inner slut come out to play.
@43: What can I tell you, DonnyK--he's not by any means unhappy by my way of speaking and the rest, but he claims to have had very, what for lack of a better term I'll call, "soft-focus" sex: you know, peace and love, and worshiping the yoni, and making love, and all that incense-and-candles-stuff. Which all may have their place--at least for some people.
However, he is taking to it like a duck to water.
The Dirty Little Inner Sluts.. how’s that for a band name.
Ms Cute - True enough. One of my bridge players from the mid-1980's, from the bottom or next-to-bottom tier of players at my club, moved to Florida. When she visited about a year later, she said it was wonderful down there; at her new local club, they all thought she was an expert.
I was thinking mainly of Mr Savage's assertion that All Kinks should be presented as if they were highly desirable presents. I did during the post get a glimmer of a possible divergence. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem at least happy to accept accommodating play-along, while there's another school requiring that the second party get off on the scene and not just what a turn-on it is for the first party.
"Four months in, its best for both of them if she tells him, in case his feelings do change."
Yes (that sums up what I was sayin'). Doing so is maybe 3.5 months overdue.
I guess I'm feeling a bit pessimistic this morning. It seems as if she thought their both being Savagistas could be the common denominator but now she's feeling less sure of that and has mentioned "scared off" as her justification.
So, if I were the LW, my questions to her would be, "Is there a natural expiration date to our growing relationship? A point at which you will become so frustrated because you can't exercise your kink? And will break it off with me because you never took the risk of divulging? And seeing whether I could either accommodate you cheerfully or give you a Hall Pass to indulge elsewhere?"
If the kink is SO extreme (even though the LW has NO idea of what it might be), then perhaps she should have tried to find someone for a relationship through kink clubs, online resources, etc.
Thanks nocute @42. Though I’ll stay with my image of Mr Venn and expensive shoes. It might be vomit Mr Venn, it’s still you talking about sex, baby. ‘ Let’s talk about sex, baby.’ It’s a song.
Great point Helenka @48, good direction to hit it from.
Whatever is going on in this woman’s mind, it’s making her beau nervous. And nervous men often run, so best she ‘fess up and they get on with their lives.
Talking of sex Mr Venn, I’ve just finished reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and if I read it before I read it anew this time. D. H. Lawrence had some very bigoted and sexist views, however, this book is hot. Mellows is my new historical romantic figure, though I’m sure some feminists have made mincemeat of this story.
LCL is hot, a tender love story and beautifully written, if one can step past Lawrence’s difficult and flamboyant views.
I'd suggest LW ask if these are kinks she likes to engage in with partners that influence her sexual satisfaction. If she says no, hopefully he could just let it go. It may not be the case that she's holding back some kink she wishes she could roll out and act upon. It could be she just has thoughts that are sexually stimulating that she considers kinky, or she may enjoy different dynamics with different relationship partners and not feel a need or desire to explore the same kink in every relationship.
Curious @47, I would say she is about one month too late if these are not dealbreaking kinks.
And I agree with FutureCat @52 -- she may think of these kinks as solo kinks, in which case he does not need to know. What someone thinks about when masturbating doesn't, and shouldn't, affect the relationship at all, and in many cases shouldn't be shared. If these aren't kinks he even could participate in if he wanted, then he might be best off telling himself that the kinks aren't scary at all, but are none of his business, and he should take his partner at face value, while reiterating that if and when she's ready to share he'll listen without judgment.
@52 futurecatlady @53 BiDanFan
That his GF "made a few comments recently saying that she “doesn’t want to scare me away” with her sexual fetishes and interests" made me guess that they are dealbreaking non-solo kinks, but y'all are right, they might be things she can live without or not things "she likes to engage in with partners that influence her sexual satisfaction". I admit I didn't even consider the later; things that were just in my head wouldn't lead me to repeatedly bring them up anxiously.
We are using the word "kink" because Dan did in the title, but the LW says the girlfriend says they are "sexual fetishes and interests". Now we toss the words around interchangeably at times so who knows what he meant specifically, but if we take them at their word, a fetish isn't something that you can live without, right? It's central to your sexuality, not just something that you indulge from time to time for fun. That doesn't mean it can't be solo nor that it requires the participation of the primary partner specifically, but it does mean she has something to reveal that is central to her sex life that he should know about before deciding whether or not he wants to pursue a committed relationship. Even if it doesn't require his participation, it would likely require him to be aware of it so that she doesn't have to sneak around in shame. Again, no way of knowing if it's something that he might enjoy, be indulgent of, find a hassle, find disturbing, or just be able to ignore until she reveals what it is. The sooner the better.
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