Her Fiancé Is Willing To Dominate Her But Only At Her Request and That Kinda Ruins It



" a cis bisexual woman in her mid-20s who's been in a relationship with a wonderful queer man "
I get that language is dynamic, but I think I missed the memo.

"Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls
It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world
Except for Lola"


Honestly, I think BDSMERR needs to be called out a bit for her somewhat problematic bodice-ripper mentality.

The fantasy is fine, but it should be implemented in a framework of clear consent and stated desires. Really, it seems like the fiancé correctly wants clearly stated consent and parameters, and the letter writer is complaining that's a boner killer. So, the letter writer really needs to get over herself, and just have those conversations about when, where and how she wants it.

From there, she might benefit from hanging three signs:
1) Fiancé, you have my consent to initiate kinky sex as long as this sign is hanging. That includes now!
2) I promise not hold it against you, if you guess wrong about something I might like.
3) (rotating topics) Hey! Remember when we talked about ?

Seriously, this sounds like a simple failure of reasonable expectations and basic communication.


Getting married in her mid-twenties to her first relationship/sexual partner. Somehow I expected a more involved talking-to that LW got. It certainly seems as though someone working from that baseline would merit a specific brand of warning (though that may be due to other LWs bringing up religious backgrounds into the discussion).


mid-20s, together for "about two years", her first sexual partner, she's kinky and he's not, and they're engaged? Um, hoping this is a years long engagement so they can work this shit out and actually get to know each other before they make a "lifetime commitment". Their brains aren't even done fully developing yet. That engagement is the bigger issue here.


Anyone care to predict that BDSMERR will be writing Dan again in a few years' time complaining that her husband just doesn't turn her on at all?

First relationship. Mid 20s. Rushing to get married, or at least be engaged. She sounds like the hyperactive opposite of last week's ITS.


"BDSMERR, I have the Dept. of Poor Life Choices for you on line one. They keep calling you every day!"


Meh, they'll never be 100% compatible, but then again, who is? I have a good feeling about these two. I'd suggest they reach out to their local kink community and go to some kinky social events together once the lockdown is lifted. Keep it low stakes, just go and meet people, make some friends, see what's out there. I think they can both learn something. Good luck!


My experience says don’t marry this dude no matter how good all the other stuff is unless you are both pretty open to an open marriage at some point and even then maybe not. I’ve been down the road of talking through the kind of stuff I like, having it be really hot the first few times because I’m stoked to be getting any kink and he’s happy that I’m happy. But in my experience - since he’s just doing it for me - it always reverts to only vanilla after a while. And the next talk you have about it has a little guilt on his side and a little resentment on your side and goes a little less well, and the next time there’s crying, and the next time there’s anger. Until you’ve been married to your best friend for 20 years but also kind of hate him because you only have sex outside the marriage so you haven’t had sex at all since the lockdown started, which is going on two months now. So that was maybe a little specific, but is a real possibility from someone who started out in a similar place.


Yes, @8, I thought Dan’s advice was very sweet and slightly naive, which is a surprising combo for him.

I hope you do give bf a chance for all the reasons Dan said, but I also hope you hold off on marriage. If you are having major doubts about your sexual compatibility, it’s not the right time to make a lifelong commitment to monogamy.


“You” = LW, not @8. (Wish we could edit comments.)


J.T.Cornball, @6, they keep calling me too, I just hang up.


I think all the new-fangled open relationships are preventing some young people from tearing the band-aid off and going through the somewhat natural life-cycle of falling in love, falling out and learning to move on. She should move on, experience new things/people and find out what she wants out of life before even considering getting hitched.

That said, she needs to know that real doms who are horny to do all sorts of nasty things to her, they will want instructions, guidance and feedback as well. A subset of subs think the whole thing means they will get bodice-ripper of their dreams without doing a bit of work or coming to terms with their own desires. It's a way to put the responsibility on their dom to take care of their entire erotic lives, and they better get it exactly right without any feedback or they are bad doms.. In real life, you are going to have to describe what you are into, you are going to have to ask for the thing you want now and then. Get used to using non-sexy time, texts etc. to be explicit that you need X soon then let your dom make that happen to you. Be ready to slow down the action to correct course if it is not what you are into, even though you are supposed to be a sex slave, 'rape' victim etc. in the scene.


Wow, I fully expected Dan to go break up, full stop. They ARE going to have kids before she realizes the extent of their mistake.


This is her first sexual relationship and it's already going wrong, but she's proposed to him anyway? A bunch of big red flags there. She needs to get out more. So does he.


"Unlike closed relationships, which are famously headache-free." Haha! Good one, Dan. And good advice. I think the reason this was not a DTMFA was "Any time I bring up wanting to incorporate a bit more kink into our sex life he is very accommodating and does his best." That is the very definition of being GGG, is it not? She's just young, naive and being unrealistic about what she can expect from a non-kinky man. He's stepping up. He wants instructions, which she finds unromantic but which Dan is correct, are necessary. The sub DOES lead, even when the Dom is into it. BDSMERR is going to have to let go of those Fifty Shades ideas of hers. He sounds willing to learn. She also doesn't say what his attitude to open relationships is, but I think she should reconsider hers. If she wants someone who's willing to indulge her kinks, she's found him. If she wants someone who enjoys the same kinks as she does, she's going to have to seek that elsewhere. Why don't they go to fetish clubs where she can play with Dominants, while he observes (and learns)? Sounds pretty headache-free to me.


Funny, there is a mix of viewpoints here but they're all so well expressed I find myself agreeing with all of them. Don't get married yet, I think is a good universal piece of advice. You may need some time to tell whether this can go the distance, and if the answer is no, you don't want to have to get divorced.


l-dub... you sound young and stupid in so many ways. it's tough to know where to start. so many labels. so little experience. unrealistic desires for mind reading. getting married young... to your first sexual experience,.. who you are not sexually satisfied with... after not much time dating. i mean, we all follow the 'do it wrong' playbook to a certain extent when we are young, but man are you checking all the boxes.

as far as your relationship goes, i'll say this. you sure are getting a lot of what you are looking for. but you are focused on having everything you want, the way you want it, without having to communicate it. that's a long term loser right there. take a step back, quit the marriage talk and start figuring out what is realistic in this world.

i'm sympatico w/ dan on developing sexually together and giving it time. that's how it works for a lot of couples. they figure out sex together and get better at it together over time. and time means years. hell, my wife and i had great sexual chemistry right from the start. and then later, after years, we had to figure out a whole new dynamic (people change). that took time. and my wife and i even went the 'don't talk about it, just feel it out route' and that means it took even longer. but, on the other hand, getting there was gradual, exciting and fantastic along he way (even a decade into a sexual relationship).lots of GREAT times. learn to enjoy the process.

a lot don't do that, and go bed death or whatever. but you seem like you could be early on the path to working it out together, but you think it should just happen. well, yeah. that's not reality for most people. good luck, l-dub! time to get reasonable!


I admit I'm a bit torn. You seem to have a great relationship and I'd really like to root for you guys. However, while your guy is GGG, this doesn't seem to be enough, you want him to make your kinks his own rather than just being GGG. You might get there,then again, you might not, so yeah, realize you might need to move on until you can either resolve this or learn to live without.

While you included quite a bit about the what (I want him to WANT to do X) you don't include much about the why. If it's really totally not his thing, you need to appreciate he's being GGG and that's all he can do. As John Prine said, "you are what you are and you ain't what you ain't.") If he's concerned about your consent, which is a big deal when you're starting to tie someone up and ravish them, you will just need to work through this. Since this is your kink, it really is your responsibility to move this forward.


While BDSMERR should not marry this man presently, it does not necessarily follow that she should end this relationship. It would certainly be helpful to have been provided more context, specifically, what the "X" is that BDSMERR is seeking. Most likely, "X" is not one thing, but a range of BDSM activities in the context of D/s sexual connection. Aiming for regular spankings and collar-and-leash play is a realistic near-term goal, rough consensual non-consent scenes which leave BDSMERR crying, but amazingly satisfied, isn't a reasonable expectation for BDSMERR for a long while. Molding her BF into the Dominant of her fantasies may never be realistic, but he can grow far more comfortable and confident in dominating BDSMERR, and may get there (or close enough to there) in time.

Lots of people assume being given power over a sex partner and dominating them is easy. It is not, because domination requires a lot of mental effort, and dominants typically have to break through a psychological barrier. In Freudian terms, the sexual and aggressive drives of dominant's id are given free reign by the ego suppressing the moralizing force of the super-ego. BDSMERR should spend more time in this relationship trying to nurture more of the D/s sex that she wants, by increasing her partner's comfort level in being her Dominant, and giving him experience in incorporating D/s into their sex life.

Here, I would echo the comment of @12/drjones. D/s requires loads of conversation about desires and expectations, and high degrees of trust. If you do not enjoy that work, which frankly never ends, D/s may not be for you.


As the voice of someone who has been through this, the comment of @8/SomethingElse is something that @Dan should highlight for BDSMERR directly and in the Friday round-up.

BDSMERR does need to know now that her guy may simply be vanilla, and may not grow into the role of Dominant. If BDSMERR is sexually submissive and needs to be dominated to be sexually satisfied, vanilla sex will leave her numb. And the fact is, that even most people in open marriages generally want sex regularly from their spouse, and never having good sex with your spouse is a seems like a nightmare.


What does BDSM... mean by a 'headache'? Does she mean something that presents logistical challenges? Merely logistical challenges? Perhaps, particularly, challenges that she will have to rise to meet largely off her own bat, given that her fiance is more passive than she is? Or does she mean that going poly would run into big psychological problem-areas, hangups, if she gave it a go? 'Headaches' skates over the most important issue here. She has gone out of her way to say that she's bi in her desires and that he's queer, which would seem to leave room for an easily amicable 'open' arrangement ... they both have sex with people of their own gender in secondary relationships.... She's also been clear that he's her first sexual partner, which would seem to encourage a reader to think that she should explore sex with others, maybe esp. sex with women, before tying the knot.

And then in her next paragraph she goes on to discourage the idea, saying that she's almost perfect with her monogamous partner, and that the being-dommed is the last piece of the jigsaw.... I think the letter advertises conflicting messages, and that BDSM... needs to be clear--with herself, primarily--about what her fears are. For instance ... does she fear losing her fiance if their relationship goes open? Does she think he'll leave her if he can have sex with someone else? Or that she will discover much better sex than she has with him, and will want to leave for the hotter fuck(s)? Is it an indication of a lack of love for her, either in her conscious mind or unconscious, that she could give an all-clear for them both to experiment? Would it court an unacceptable amount of social embarrassment now for her to break off the engagement? Is this actually a small thing for her--like the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle--or a big thing--that she doesn't want to marry someone who doesn't mesh with her sexually?

I also thought that, inevitably for a relatively sexually inexperienced person in their early-mid 20s, BDSM... is exaggerating in her own mind her knowledge of what being Dommed is, and of how she responds to it. For example, she might love, like, really love, being Dommed, being mindfucked by, a creative and experienced Dom. The experience could thoroughly change how she thinks of sex and what she wants out of a relationship. She probably owes it to herself to find out about this--about how it is for her--before any wedding.


@22. Sublime. You talk about 'the role of dominant'. But that's not what the letter considers. BDSMERR just wants her fiance to take her roughly and use her for his pleasure once in a while.


@7. Lost Margarita & @17 Bi. Good suggestions about the local kink community and the fetish club. What ran through my head reading her letter was her seeing a Pro Dom.

@8. SomethingElse. Widescreen realism! And I hope very cautionary.

@12. drjones. I don't believe that there are that many young people who would ordinarily enter into monogamous relationships, run into incompatibilities, break up, and enter their next monogamous relationship who now try to make a go of the first because there's a new opportunity of poly or openness. Yes, there will be some--but that's not the cultural trend. The trend is a relaxation of the stigma against homosexuality in young people growing up in sexually conservative contexts. This leads to more people like BDSM... and other LWs to address Dan with their problems, which involve some sort of maladaptation to, or lack of fit with, the presumed dating, marriage and sexual norms of their backgrounds.

Lots of these people agree with Dan and understand his usual lines in theory--but they haven't always experienced the kinks they fantasise about, or gone through the hard work of negotiating conditions and boundaries in relationships that aren't dutifully down-the-line normative and exclusive. This can mean they underestimate the magnitude of their sexual problems.


I am yet again reminded of the classic oglaf cartoon.



Harriet @24: "BDSMERR just wants her fiance to take her roughly and use her for his pleasure once in a while." Is that -just- what she wants? Or is it the only thing, so far, she's been able to convince him to occasionally do? She hasn't spelled out exactly what she wants him to do to her, but does say she's given him "in-depth instructions," which sounds like she wants scenes that are more complicated than "just" rough sex. She herself is inexperienced, which is why she hopes for a partner who will take the lead. She may not know how to turn these fantasies into reality, which is why I think outsourcing is her only option here. Pro Dom is a good idea; they can both attend some sessions and he can get a better idea of what she wants him to do. Unlike many of these letters, she hasn't said "my partner would never agree to an open relationship" so I think she just needs to risk a "headache" or two and get out there.

Traffic @26, so accurate!


Hachacha @13, you made up the bits about their never having had same-sex kisses. She never says that. She's never had sex with a woman; she may have snogged plenty. He may have sown plenty of wild oats. Unless, um, are you responding to a different letter?


OK, BDSMERR, here's what you do - first, think of the hottest, kinkiest D/s fantasy you have, imagine all the details, and masturbate until you have the best orgasm you've ever had. Then forget about it - the sex you actually have with your actual partner will be many things, but the one thing it will never be is like your fantasy. This is a good thing, because your real life boyfriend has one advantage over your fantasy b/f - he can surprise you.

Next, remember you are both beginners, and there is no need to rush. You do not mention your boyfriend's interests, desires or perversions at all, which is a bit of a worry. Have you discussed each other's fantasies and desires, watched porn together, found out where you boyfriend's Dom limits are, and challenged him to go a little further, or gone to your limits towards his kinks, and pushed yourself to go a step beyond? Just relax, and remember the best advice ever given to young lovers - Wisely and slow, they stumble who run fast.

Finally, I have to agree with BiDanFan - there are many opportunities to learn from more experienced players other than an open relationship - when these become available again, take them.


@21 SublimeAfterglow - I must disagree with your assertion that taking the dominant (or indeed, submissive) sexual role is difficult. If we think about it in Foucauldian terms, we are all well versed in the discourses of power, in the language and gestures that mark power over others, and of the endless and often humiliating demands made on our bodies to submit to the institutions of power and their representatives. It is, in fact, easy to reproduce these discourses in our sexual relationships - the trick is doing it playfully and subversively to undermine patriarchal power structures.


I'm a little confused the difference between her being bi and him being queer. If he's sleeping with women but also enjoys men, doesn't that mean he's bi as well?


Crazy @1/Book @31, tomayto, tomahto. For whatever reason she prefers the term bisexual and he prefers the term queer.


@24/Harriet_by_the_bulrushes: BDSMERR writes: "Our sex life is good but the lack of kink, BDSM, and dominance makes me feel pretty bleh sometimes."

To me, it seems clear that BDSMERR is submissive and wants a sexually dominant partner.


This relationship it's not going to last long I predict.


Book @31: "Queer" just means "not heterosexual and cisgender." There's lots of variations to it.


Dan's advice is bang on. The fiancé needs to be groomed. Play the long game. Start by telling him that, when you're walking around the house in your collar and leash, you want him to take you roughly and use you for his pleasure.

Also, show him your letter and Dan's reply so he's clear that it's important to you, and maybe watch your favourite kink porn with him, so he learns some moves and, most importantly, what turns you on.

(With him being your first sex partner, and vanilla to boot, do you know what specifically turns you on? If not, you need to figure it out. The D/s menu is substantial.)

Then put on your collar and leash, and call him Sir.

After a couple of trips to the BDSM rodeo, Pavlovian conditioning should kick in, and the fiancé's dick should take over. Also, put off the wedding until you have it sorted.


Mr Savage's response I'll file under "reasonable but too nice". LW proposed to her first sexual partner in her first relationship. Maybe that's not necessarily the equivalent to buying a ticket for a three-hour tour on the SS Minnow, but the final sentence [And with circumstances as they are right now, he's my only in-person company and I want us to both feel satisfied in every way.] does have a little vibration of the Howells (especially in conjunction with the "headache"), or at least hints at "The One"-style thinking.

I am not at all so certain as M?? Harriet that the proposal was accepted. QM is called her boyfriend but never her fiancé, which is not conclusive but certainly does not establish that their status as a couple is Engaged. She also writes that she wants to spend the rest of her life with him, but does not even mention what he wants or has said about it. Whether she's avoiding looking at that too closely might yield something in cross-examination, but I don't have any cosmic vibrations about it.

I'd advise LW to concentrate hard on whether she could accept his "growing into it" or whether his wanting it on his own is an absolute must. At the moment, she's coming off as a cross between Marianne Dashwood (who "could not be happy with a man whose taste did not in every point coincide with my own") and Barnabas Collins (the original Reluctant Vampire, who didn't want to force any of the women he desired to become his perfect mate), but at least some of that seems to be youth and inexperience. Here's hoping the proposal was declined.


Excellent advice from Dan. I'll add some more, which is that the farther you go into fantasy, the more you need to suspend your disbelief. Yes, you had to pre-negotiate your limits, yes, you hopefully have pre-negotiated a safe word if something stops working for you.

But if your fantasy is having sex with a centaur and you'll have to settle for a human, you're going to have to close your eyes and pretend. Do the same thing with your guy. You might find the domination / submission more convincing if you bring in some restraints or have a go to fantasy you can do over and over again, where he can both be performing the domination and getting comfortable with the fact that you find the submission hot.

If you have porn that reliably gets you off, watch it with him and act out the scene over and over until he gets better. You can teach an old dog new tricks.


I'm not really sure a "queer man" is going to want to give her the treatment she really desires. But maybe it's just a terminology issue?
My nephew is a 20-something construction worker who gets a crazy amount of hot college educated women who can't get what they want from the PC sensitive guys they meet at work or know through college friends. I'd offer to set her up, but he's gotten serious with a corporate attorney who needs someone to keep up with her rather aggressive nature.


Consensually trained, not groomed.


Dogs need to be trained and groomed. If a man needs to be groomed to provide the sexual experience a woman wants... well...


i think 'grooming' is fine here. it is what it is. that's what she needs to do if she wants this to work. can't run away from every word in this world just because it makes you uncomfortable. well, i guess many can and will.


Tim @41, your sentence presumably finishes "well... that's fine because nobody is a mind reader"?


If your partner is so ignorant about your sexual requests that they require training, you’re not really compatible. She wants to be dominated. I don’t know how you teach someone to be Alpha when they’re clearly not.


One of my grandmothers used to say that we (children at the time) should simply know what needs to be done around the house and do it and that if she has to tell us to do it then it defeats the purpose and we are just being lazy. And later as an adult, I do understand how it's important for other adults to share responsibility and a huge part of that is taking initiative- if I have to micromanage everything and give you a to-do list to get you to do your share then you are not behaving like a responsible adult, so in my more charitable moments I think my grandmother was trying to teach us kids this lesson. But as a kid who honestly did not know all the various things that needed to be done in her household nor how to do most of them (after all we are not born knowing these things) the best I could muster up was a readiness to please and jump when she said jump so that she would stop being disappointed in us all the time. So the result was that we did all the things she said any time she said them, always at the ready, and yet she was never pleased. It felt bad.

Now of course the situations are not the same and I'm projecting to a certain extent, but I tell this little anecdote b/c I wonder if it relates to the LW in this way. Your partner is willing to do all the things you want him to do and exactly to your liking and you must like him otherwise too or else you would not be planning to marry him so it seems a shame to linger over the fact that he needs instruction and isn't inherently independently interested in doing all these things except because he likes to have sex with you and likes to share pleasure with you. So... how about you continue your instruction and ask him in the future, he can from time to time show some initiative in initiating these scenes without needing instruction beforehand- the things you've already done, he starts to initiate as well. From time to time.

That's my nice response. My more digging one for which I do not have time at this moment is to reflect on how much you really want him to take control (perhaps you do, perhaps I'm projecting again) but my experience is that people who take the time to describe in detail what they want others to do have very specific ideas in their heads and they might not be so receptive to being led by others who take initiative in their own way to do the things that more naturally please them. Like, you can't have it both ways! What I mean- if what you want is an alpha who does to you exactly the things you want him to do to you wihtout you having to tell him to do them to you, I mean this might be a fantasy? And perhaps some reflection on marrying at 25 your first ever real relationship and nitpicking and perhaps also some about his pleasure and preferences.


In case that sounds harsh, what I mean is you are planning to marry this person which means as life goes on you will be facing lots of obstacles together and having a partner who is willing to listen to all your sexual preferences (where, how, whats) and fantasies and take the lessons and put out the effort and enjoy them too is going to be a boon that should not be diminished by the fact that he might not think to do those things himself, might not have some deep burning desire to do them if he were with a different person. On the other hand, I don't know if on the flip side, it bodes as well- being willing to please, willing to take instruction and take risks- and still it's not good enough, hmm. Like, there's a habit of some people to imagine a perfection and then compare it to the reality and then find resentment that one's fantasies aren't real, and this tends to get worse as the stakes in life increase beyond simply getting 99% of what one wants in bed but not 100%.

On the other hand, the LW is a young person and I'm not blaming her for not lingering over not having exactly what she wants- life is before her, she is young, there is nothing stopping her from looking for exactly what she wants, she'd probably have a lot of fun doing so, have some really good sex with a lot of alphas, no reason to limit herself to what she has right now with this dude at mid 20s, and her fantasies / experiences can grow, etc, and then at a later date she'd probably be more able to realistically consider a potential life partner's qualities in relation to her desires.


@30/Pan Sapien: "It is, in fact, easy to reproduce these discourses in our sexual relationships." I don't know whether you engage in D/s or not, or whether you are plugged into any kink scene in your area, but I would say the weight of opinion on this question is decidedly against you.

"[T]he trick is doing it playfully and subversively to undermine patriarchal power structures." What about the many dominants and submissives who enjoy playing toward "patriarchal power structures?"


So many comments here are predicated on the idea that BF is lacking something he should acquire, ignorant of something he needs to learn, a sorry beta male when his woman needs an alpha male. I’m not buying it. He is fine the way he is. He doesn’t need to change for her. Good on him for not wanting to dominate women. BDSMERR should let him go so he can find a compatible partner.


Venn @40: The word "groomed" is rather loaded, and wasn't the best choice. Trained is not quite right either. How about coached?

Whirled @48: "Good on him for not wanting to dominate women." Yeah, no. There's absolutely nothing wrong with men (or women) wanting to dominate women (or men) who want to be dominated.

The word "alpha" gives me the willies, especially when it's applied by men to themselves. Doubly so in a BDSM context. They're often just jerks. Dominants are not alphas. They're people who, amongst other things, are giving the sub what she or he needs. It's absolutely possible to do that, even if it wasn't originally part of your schtick, and get right into it. I know this first hand.

Also, I'm not sure what qualities LW wants in her partner, but he's been able to provide what she wants in the past, so he's not lacking anything. Some combination of her suspending disbelief and him improving his performance might do the trick.

She should still put off the wedding.


I'm lucky to have a girlfriend who shares all my kinks, all the ones I know about at least, or I share hers, anyway we line up as perfectly as I can imagine, and we resort to vanilla sex often, for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it is just too much work to crank everything into high gear. Sometimes by the time we get to that point we are just tired from our lives. Sometimes you get locked down due to some freakin' virus and you end up in the longest spell of monogamy your relationship has endured, together 5 years, monogamous for 1 month! Do I get a special chip for that? We are both so desperate for a threesome or foursome we are gonna burst! Sometimes I forget that she's just not a leader in the bedroom, she's down for anything, she just isn't going to ASK for it, so I have to lead.

I'm also a recovering (soon to be ex) husband that was in a relationship for 29 years where something that was totally ok yesterday is now evidence that I'm a cad and not worthy, or that I asked the wrong way if we could do X. So sometimes it is hard to un-wire very ingrained behaviors.

When it comes to BDSM stuff (which I kind of suck at) I'm also pre-programmed by a lifetime of respect for women, and eschewing bullshit macho behavior for equal treatment. It's pretty hard for me to get in a headspace where I can dominate someone I love and respect. I know for sure that if my girlfriend wanted to be dominated regularly by me it would take some serious assurances, and HER taking the lead, at least for a while, before I got comfortable enough to just "turn it on" and take the lead on stuff like that. I do think I could get there, but as suggested by many here, sometimes the sub has to lead.


Sorry to hear that, coolie, re your marriage. Hope things work out.


Hi EmmaLiz. Good to see you.
LW, your beau says he’s willing to join you in D/s play, that’s a start. You can’t make him want to from his own side, that’s controlling and could kill any sparks which might ignite for him.


Thanks Lava...its all good, I'm happier and healthier than at any time in the last 20 years at least. I stuck it out for the kids, hoping it would get better when they went to college, it didn't. It was worth it, but now it is time for me to be happy.


Oh and as Dan always says there are two kinds of kinky people, those who were born that way and those who dated someone who was kinky and came to like it.


"he is my first relationship AND my first sexual partner"

I have one (lifelong, as it happens) friend who married the first person he ever slept with and dated, and his relationship is great. Out of the hundreds to thousands of people I know, he's the only one (I know one other person who married her high school boyfriend, and he's a shitty person who has gotten worse, spiraling into Right-wing conspiracy fantasy world since Donald Trump's presidential ambitions took off, and who dediced he was done working in his early 40s, while also refusing to contribute by doing housework whe his wife's earning their oy income - NOT a good situation). The odds are that you should call off the wedding (understanding "engaged" as a term with specific material meaning - we have planned a wedding - and not a vague feeling that you might eventually want to marry) because you may not actually be compatible long term; not even really because you have literally no basis for comparison because this is your only sexual relationship ever, but because you note significant (to you, though that inability to accept that you can't dictate other people's moods or mental states is just generally going to cause problems for you, so you should work on it no matter what) incompatibilities on top of that.

I'm not saying break up, necessarily, I'm saying don't enter into complicating legal contracts before sorting this out. And consider that if the sex side DOES turn out to be an irreconcilable problem, assuming that is outweighed by everything else may be a very bad idea. People tend to find sexuality really important, and if you can't get to a place where you're truly fine with it, it's likely to breed the sort of compounding resentment that will destroy all the other good parts. Someone you really like in every other way but sex is a great candidate for a FRIEND, perhaps a close/best friend (perhaps with whom you live - do people not realize they can set up shared households without fucking or marrying their housemates?), NOT a lifelong sexual partner. You might be able to work this out, but don't assume that as an inevitability or the only acceptible long term goal.

@31: His queerness may be related to his gender rather than his sexuality, or he may have a non-normative sexuality with regards to sonething other than the gender(s) of his partners, or he may be into people who are neither men nor women, or or or… "Queer" is a catch-all for "not normative" (one some people sue ezactly because it defies more specific classification, or stable classification), and there are lots of non-normative sexual expressions in addition to "homosexual" and "bisexual".

@43: Doubtful; the other comments make it sound very much like he'd prefer that everything be easy for people into normative sex roles by having those be universalized and unquestioned.


Ugh, so many typos even after checking multiple times, sorry.


@49 Fubar, I don’t disagree. But as Yukon Cornelius said, you eat what you like; I’ll eat what I like. Not everyone has to like dominating or being dominated. Why pound the square peg into the round hole? She just keeps pounding away. There is nothing wrong with BF. He is wonderful just the way he is. He should not be made out to be deficient for not enjoying doing to his GF what she is asking. It’s good to be kink positive, but how did we go so fast from kink is abnormal to kink is mandatory?

He clearly is trying it only to please her. So far, he’s not meeting her expectations. His heart’s not in it. Why bother? He’s young. She’s young. They both could be happier with someone else.


His heart is not in it, Whirled, now, doesn’t mean it won’t ever be in it. The LW could stop thinking of her relationship as a jigsaw puzzle, just gotta find this last weird shaped piece and all’s complete, and use her erotic energy to entice him.


@ 8 & 9

My guess is it's because Dan and his husband were fairly young and had not been together long when they made it official, not through marriage of course as that was not legally available to them at the time but through adoption which entails more lifelong bonding and commitment than marriage anyway. And it's been a while since I read his book about the adoption so correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe they were both fairly young when they got together, and that his husband who is a little younger was in his mid 20s? And they adopted the kid within a short time after they got together, I want to say like two years in?

Which isn't exactly the same as this LW of course, but it does appear (as much as we are privy) to work out just fine for Dan & his family so he might be more open-minded about the chances stuff like this would work out. Anyway until recently this was the norm- mid 20s would seem practically elderly for a young woman to be single especially in the US- and if people want to have a family, there are pros (and cons) to starting young.

Anyway it's one thing that I like about Dan that he rarely takes a "kid you are too young" approach to his LWs and callers as, even when it's true, doesn't work to say. It's like he's retained the ability to remember how grown up you are SUBJECTIVELY at that time in your life.

Also as John H pointed out, I know a very small number of people who married their first partners and it worked out well. Usually it doesn't. And of the small number of couples I know who did so, I have no earthly idea if they remained each other's one and only- for all I know they could be swinging every weekend.

As for myself, I married relatively young though I'd been with several people by then, we had no kids and we frequently lived/traveled apart. I'd say now that we are more than 20 years into the marriage, there is a comfort and a trust there that I can't imagine trading for any other experience, can't see even how it would work, honestly can't even imagine him not being there, the things you build together, the foolishness and luck of it all- if something were to happen to him god forbid I can't imagine that I'd ever entangle myself financially and legally and family etc with another person- what a huge amount you trust someone else with, do young people even realize? and if so why do they marry at all! ha ha But this is why I'm not an advice columnist and Dan is because "listen here, dumb kid" approaches usually don't work.


@59 yeah I mean same - we were mid 20s and had our first child after 18 months. And all the stuff you said about what we have from spending a life together making this relationship unique and precious is all totally true and is why we’ve never seriously considered splitting up even with the issues I described in @8. I don’t even guess I would take it back if I could because that is all tangled up with the life we’ve had and the children and everything but I do very much wish I had this with someone who isn’t sexually incompatible. I have no particular issue with OPs age, just she still has a chance to hold out for making that beautiful life with someone who really turns her crank. Or at least someone who she can have desperation quarantine sex with - have I mentioned it’s been two months?!? ;)


Someone may have asked this already but I'll forge ahead. I was wondering if the LW might have been her queer boyfriend's first relationship and sex partner also? Also, just an observation from experience. Going into a long-term relationship (marriage) when you already know there is a difference in what you want sexually is going to be harder to ignore the more years that go by. If you can't get it worked out BEFORE the wedding day, best to reconsider the options, up to and including saying goodbye. In my longest relationship, I liked some mild kink but my partner had a few that were a lot further than I felt comfortable with, or ever would feel comfortable with (involving biting his penis and fisting, two things I would never feel comfortable with). Your boyfriend seems willing to accommodate your needs, but does he really feel comfortable with it? It may be that he's just afraid of being aggressive when you don't want it, which is something you can probably work out with good communication. But if he's deep down not comfortable with being that type of aggressive guy, then you have a problem unless you can find a viable alternative (for example, a night out now and then settle your needs, or inviting the occasional third into your bed).


This sounds like a topping from bottom dynamic, in the sense that the bottom is the one initiating the extra curricular activity.
I suspect LW gets tremendous joy form seeing her man playing rough with her, knowing he may not be hard-wired that way yet capable from time to time.
If she wants to encourage him further maybe she can find some playful ways to get him there, like doing something she knows he doesn’t like and once it is brought up expose her ass and tell him how much she deserves to be spanked.

As in all other relationships LW should indicate that there are also some things FOR HIM in all that. What is it that he likes that she can do in return to being spanked, called names, treated rough, or whatever? Not sure if this is applicable in this situation, but one thing that comes to mind is giving him an enthusiastic bj while wearing a maid or implied schoolgirl uniform, telling him all along what a slut she is and how she needs to be punished once it’s over. (Or maybe not finish him off, assuring him she will once HER needs are met.)


Pan @30, I join Sublime in hooting with laughter over your suggestion that domination is easy. I'm naturally more inclined that way and it is NOT easy to intuit what, out of the vast constellation of submissive activities, your partner is turned on by and which leaves them cold. Where are their limits; in the absence of an orgasm, when are they satisfied; when will it be time for what YOU want; will a slight tangent enhance a scene or ruin it? There is also the psychological barrier to overcome of doing things to people which you yourself would not enjoy at all, and learning to trust that this act which repels you is actually something they want. Or to recognise when they have consented to something only because they want to please You, when in reality it is not doing much for them. Sure, we all understand power, but we are not talking about topping, we are talking about Domming. There is a difference.


Whirled @48, bwahaha! Where do you get that from? BDSMERR is asking for advice on how she can make this relationship work, and that's what we are giving her. Nobody (except for the incel troll Tim Browne) is saying there is anything wrong with her partner. In fact, he's received praise for being willing to accommodate her needs. The consensus is that there is something wrong with BDSMERR's expectations. Why should he change? He's doing just fine. If she wants to stay with him, she needs to accept that domination does not work the way she thinks it should. If, indeed, independent interest in being dominant is something she needs, she should indeed let him go and look for someone else.

Fubar @49, I like the word coached. Oversensitive men might find a sporting analogy in that word and get less offended by the, apparently controversial, idea that they may be able to become better lovers by listening to what their partners want.

Coolie @50, I don't like the language of "resorting to" vanilla sex -- is it not your preference at least some of the time? Vanilla sex can be great sex, even when you also have other interests. I'm with you on the de facto monogamy problem, though. All I've had for close to TWO months is vanilla sex with the same straight dude. Which I'm not knocking, it's more than some people get, but this is no longer the kind of relationship I want to have. May this lockdown end soon so I can struggle with the choice of whether to see my other existing partner or my new OKCupid interest first (spoiler: of course it's gonna be the long-term partner. I'm a grownup).

John @55 re @31, your point about queer perhaps meaning genderqueer is well made, but BDSMERR describes her partner as "a queer MAN." Hmm, perhaps he is a trans man. Re @43, I was employing sarcasm.

Whirled @57, she doesn't keep pounding. She keeps asking and he keeps agreeing. There is no reluctance on his part to please her. In fact, that is one of the things which makes him wonderful, is it not? He's not meeting her expectations because her expectations are not reasonable. The solution is to make them reasonable and appreciate what she has.

EmmaLiz @59, Wikipedia says Dan was born in 1964 and married in 2005, having been together for seven years. So that means he was 34 when they got together, and Terry was 27. They do seem to have adopted their son a year into their relationship. However that affects your point, I'm not sure. :) I do agree that saying "you are too young" is counterproductive, but "you are not experienced enough" would have been a valid point to have made. He could even cite ITS's letter as backup.


@64 BDF. Her expectations are perfectly reasonable, just not reasonably expected of a certain person (her BF). She wants advice on how to make her relationship work. I don’t think she can make it work, the way she wants it to work. It’s more likely she could have exactly the relationship she wants with someone else.


Whirled @65, no, as Dan explains, expectations that -anyone- will know how you want to be dominated and not need any instruction or negotiation are not reasonable. She is harboring "bodice ripper" fantasies, no doubt gained from porn or Fifty Shades, that if someone were to try in reality it would be abuse. I don't disagree that she could have a better matched sexual relationship with someone else, but it would still not be "exactly the relationship she wants" because she would be trading away her current partner's good qualities. Even if she does ditch this guy, she needs to realise that her "bodice ripper" fantasies are not reasonable expectations, and that the reality of BDSM is that she will need to tell even an enthusiastic Dom what it is she wants, or she'll end up dumping great person after great person because they can't provide exactly what she wants without her telling them.


@27. Bi. " "BDSMERR just wants her fiance to take her roughly and use her for his pleasure once in a while." Is that -just- what she wants? Or is it the only thing, so far, she's been able to convince him to occasionally do? "

It's the second thing you say--as the last paragraph of my original response made clear. She is relatively inexperienced as a sub. She may have an idea of the scenes she wants to play out, and have laid them out in 'instructions' fairly fully to her partner--but, almost necessarily, she will have little idea of how a good Dom might blow her mind by doing something that's within her boundaries--maybe just within her boundaries--but which she has not herself conceived or somehow initiated.

I have the sense we have roughly the same view of BDSM...'s best course.

@30. Pan. Maybe it's easier to exercise power over someone in a non-sexy, being-an-asshole way e.g. never letting them finish their sentences, than in a playfully subversive and happily sexualised way?

@33. Sublime. It's not clear whether BDSM... would accept being forcefully topped by her partner once in a blue moon and vanilla monogamous sex with him the rest of the time. Or if she would accept being kinkily Dommed by him once in a blue moon, having typically vanilla sex with him and being regularly and excitingly Dommed by someone else. Or whether she wants to have as a primary partner someone who can excitingly Dom her. It's not clear to me, because I don't think it's clear to her. She doesn't know. She doesn't know how important this form of sex is to her, and where sex ends and love begins. I think she should find out before she gets married.


I think there’s a disconnect in some how people are reading the letter. The OP never says she doesn’t want to talk through her kinks, she just says she wants her partner to enjoy it too (which may not really be possible) and to initiate or be a little creative within the framework they’ve already discussed. Consider taking out the bdsm aspect - suppose she said she wanted regular oral as part of their sex life and talked a bit about what works for her. It would be totally reasonable to expect that she wouldn’t have to then ask him to go down on her every time she wanted it - sometimes he would just go for it - and it would spoil things a bit to have to ask every time and feel like he was doing it as a loving chore. Sometimes you want to hear “your pussy tastes so good.” I think domming is the same - sure there’s a discussion if you’re going to do something intense that you haven’t done before, but that doesn’t have to happen every time in an established relationship and it’s not unreasonable to want a little spontaneity and enthusiasm from your partner whatever you’re doing together.


@36. fubar. Not every guy would get a reliable erection seeing his partner walk round the house naked in a collar and chain. It might have a detumescent effect on some--even young guys in their 20s, ordinarily attracted in a vanilla way to their partners. It could be that BSDM...'s fiance is one of these guys--and there would be no shame in it. They'd just be incompatible.

@37. venn. If she proposed, he demurred (or, rather, he hummed and hawed), and she's now writing about their sexual incompatibility, she would be at one level looking to retract her proposal. This would be a good thing--just as you say. I would guess that you're being too refined as to whether they're actually engaged or not; but I like the implications of your train of thought.

It would be an entirely valid reason to break off an engagement that he wasn't interested in Domming her.

@48. Whirled. He 'doesn't need to' change his usual mode of relating sexually to a partner as a result of having once dated a sub-by-inclination; but it's usual for fiances to take steps towards gratifying each other sexually, and trying to be a bit more baseline-compatible in bed. There is an onus on him to step up, and also an onus on her to negotiate more explicitly, giving him a clear sense of her boundaries, of the no-fault ways in which she could expect him to be a bit more unconstrained during sex. This will involve dissociating herself from the Fifty Shades-like presumption that she can just be resistlessly taken--have it be exciting, have it be something that she can expect as a matter of course...; she will have to do work prior to sex explaining what roles they will have.

Contrary to what you may have implied, it is not a respectful nor male-ally attitude towards women not to want to dominate them (consensually). Whether a guy in a het context wants to dom or be dommed by his female partner is not a matter of his underlying respect for them as persons.


I don't mind "coached". "Groomed" implies abuse.

Mx Wanna - Your "something for him" is still just more somethings for her.

M? Else - It's not unreasonable to want a little spontaneity and enthusiasm, but it's unreasonable to expect one's one and only to be a perfect fit without having led with that first. LW will need to climb down Mount Marianne, but Marianne didn't go about her romance with Willoughby entirely wrong. "The same books, the same passages were idolized by each - or, if any difference appeared, any objection arose, it lasted no longer than till the force of her arguments and the brightness of her eyes could be displayed. He acquiesced in all her decisions, caught all her enthusiasm, and long before his visit concluded, they conversed with the familiarity of a long-established acquaintance."



I am surprised that you hadn't included a suggestion of kink (eg, Shibari/bondage, BDSM 101) classes or workshops for the LW and her boyfriend as a possible way for him to become aware of and to learn how to safely engage in her kinks as well as for her to explore her own kinks. Part of the issue the boyfriend has is that he doesn't know how to perform her-preferred kink activities. If they attend classes together, the pressure is off him to “perform” and they can discuss what appeals to them in a neutral environment.

Also, there might be a way for them to “formalize” kink activities, which would give the LW her kink-fix without her having to initiate it. If there Home is large enough, they could establish one room as a kink room (AKA dungeon). They could “schedule” (eg, role play a scheduled doctor's appointment Or principal's office punishment [sorry for the stereotyped kink play scenarios]) kink sessions. They could alternate vanilla with kink sexual activities. They could create a “Wheel of Fortune” wheel with different kinks AND vanilla options as wheel spoke points and spin it to get a starting point (sounds silly but if it works...yay!) They could just agree upon something to signal that an interaction will be a kink activity and he could choose which one in which to engage (after he learns what she likes).



If those numbers are correct then it means Terry was mid 20s when he got with the man with whom he shortly thereafter decided to adopt a child. And adopting a child with someone is more of a lifelong commitment than marrying them. The LW is also mid 20s in a relationship with someone for a short period of time, considering a lifelong commitment, and the chat I was responding to is why Dan's tone was more sweet about this than warning, more practical about how they could work it out than was some other posters (including myself) who basically say don't get married in this newish relationship at this age, etc. And also that mid 20s is not THAT young however it seems to us with a few more decades on them.

@Something Else
That is a frustrating situation, I'm sorry. Yes I wonder sometimes about the tradeoff. If I'd done it differently, there'd be an entirely new set of problems and benefits. At a certain point, you can't imagine yourself in a different life since you'd have to imagine yourself as an entirely different person. But our sex life, while it's had its problems, has not been a major issue and has mostly been satisfying.


Harriet @69, you earned the magic number with this:
"Contrary to what you may have implied, it is not a respectful nor male-ally attitude towards women not to want to dominate them (consensually). Whether a guy in a het context wants to dom or be dommed by his female partner is not a matter of his underlying respect for them as persons." AMEN!

Venn @70: "Mx Wanna - Your "something for him" is still just more somethings for her." Exactly! Thinking that a vanilla/kinky mismatch can be resolved by asking the vanilla person what THEIR kinks are is like a bisexual offering a hetero partner the opportunity to date same-sex partners so that they can. CMD, I missed your post but I disagree that she could "entice" him to punish her by doing things he doesn't like. This is manipulative and a vanilla person will not see it as a fun game, but as the person being an asshole on purpose, and will be less inclined to reward her by punishing her. If I don't like spanking AND I don't like the lid being left off the toothpaste, doing one to encourage the other is a spectacularly bad suggestion. I'd offer a counter-suggestion of setting aside one night a week or month as Kink Night. They set aside plenty of time, prepare in advance with her telling him what she'd like, in writing perhaps, she prepares the tools she wants him to use, and the rest of the time they have vanilla sex that they both enjoy.


Coolie @50: Congratulations, and cudos for being GGG. You're doing it right. Best of luck!

Harriet: Congrats on the @69. I wasn't suggesting naked... she'd need at least to be wearing a bodice if she wants it ripped off. And my suggestion was specifically for LW. It appears to me that she needs to find a way to signal her mood that lets her pretend that she's not directing. If her boyfriend is discombobulated by a leash, she could hang a sock on the door.


@68 Something Else

Is it that she wants him to enjoy it too (which it seems like he does?) or that she wants him to want it for himself instead of just enjoy it as something that he does because she prefers it?

Like I have absolutely no desire to wear lingerie and if it were up to me and me alone and pleasure were more of a one-way street, like if I were hiring a sex worker to have sex with me just how I want it, I would never wear lingerie. But I don't mind wearing lingerie and I enjoy that it gives my partner pleasure so I'm even happy to do it because pleasure is not a one-way street and you get what you give.

I think this is a distinction that she must figure out. She says she wants him to WANT it. She did not say she wants him to ENJOY it. He might very well enjoy a thing with her that he wouldn't want to do if she weren't his partner. Based on the letter, I honestly can't tell which she's asking for and how he's approaching it.


"it loses its appeal if he's only doing it because I've given him in-depth instructions and it's totally not his thing."
If you are often rewarded for a behavior you can grow to like it. Pushing and pressing can be uncomfortable unless you do it in a sexy way (coaching, not dishonestly manipulative). If he's consented to do it, all you need to do is reward him every time, especially if he does something new right. Praise works but it helps to know the things that really turn him on and reward him with that. He'll want it again. It might take him awhile to trust that you like pain or humiliation, you could try to do something to him that you want him to do to you, to see how he likes it with his consent of course.. I most like doing dom things that I've liked experiencing from the sub side, I like pegging because I've really liked anal etc.. I need lots of reassurance in order to trust that my partner really wants me to do something that I'd dislike having done to me.

What if he's more sub too, and he wants to be ridden roughly for every time you are taken roughly? You could throw him away and try to find someone easier for sex, work out some terms of an open relationship with him so you don't have to take turns all the time, or live with taking turns.


Coolie, You seemed to love your wife but now you were just putting up with her until the kids were gone. It sounds like you both fell out of love at the same time, maybe you had just been pretending for awhile, unfortunately. At least gf picked you, you have it better than your wife while I also imagine it made everything 100x more confusing. Everything happens for a reason, best of luck.

SomethingElse, have you tried paying off, trading or begging your husband for sex? It is an emergency, and you were desperate enough to have sex with him at some point, why not now?

CMD - I'm not sure it's wise to reward annoying behavior with sex...

I would much rather ask a vanilla guy to do kinky dom things than date a guy who identifies as a dominant. That means they would enjoy causing pain with sex with those who were willing, and even if they really value consent and stick to dating subs or laying out their kinks early, they will end up encouraging their partners to enjoy pain if they want to please them. It seems less concerning if the sub takes the lead planning the scene and it's clear play and it's still fundamentally about the pleasure of both and it's not real abuse of power. Although I know informed consent and a respected safeword should be fine to set a guideline of play, it just seems much less like real abuse if the sub takes the lead setting the scene and the dom takes the lead during the scene. It's hard for me to see the difference between master/slave and an abusive relationship, I guess it's just if they truly enjoy a permanent power dynamic or not. That they have retained enough freedom to reasonably end things if it's truly not enjoyable seems important. It's funny that the same things that give abused people nightmares can fuel the sex drives of subs.


I'm with SNJ-RN @70 and BDF @73, that setting up some structures (weekly date, list of options) will help her get her kink fun without feeling she's nagging him.

She does then need to be GGG herself, which is to say no pouting about the state of his erections during her fun, and no whining if he makes her wait while he figures out some new technique.

Ideally (again, as suggested by SNJ-RN) they would take classes together, so he would have a basic familiarity with the skills. Alternatively they could just start with some basic scenes and do them once a week for a few months, while he gets used to it, before adding more complicated fantasies.

The basic idea is positive reinforcement. If he's GGG for you, then give him lots of praise and attention and orgasms and sex of the kind he likes. That will build positive associations for him.

If, instead, she criticizes his efforts and makes him feel inadequate, that will just build mutual resentment and frustration. So don't do that!

EmmaLiz @75 -- "I enjoy that it gives my partner pleasure" -- Absolutely! Part of being GGG is letting my partners enjoy giving me pleasure (and giving them pleasure in turn), as well as sharing activities we both love equally.


Letter writer needs to understand that their sexual incompatibilities mean that fiancé is probably not getting his full needs met during sex either. For this relationship to work, the two of them will need to take turns having the kind of sex they like, but will never be having their best sex at the same time. Kind of like how my partner and I have completely opposite taste in movies. Only one of us will be ecstatic about the movie we are watching, while the other will be tolerating it at best, and hating it at worst.. The moments of mutual movie bliss are rare, fleeting, and unexpected. I can live with this arrangement when it comes to movies, but it seems like a lot to give up when it comes to sex.


TaniaZ @79, this is a good parallel.


@74. fubar. Yes, for sure, she needs a way to signal her mood to him. I think she needs to--or let's say, could usefully--sit down by herself and work out what being Dommed means for her. Say she writes out a list of fifty things--sex acts, activities, props, scenarios--that would normally be hot to her, and then a further fifty things that she might be willing to try in the throes of heightened arousal. Then consider, then give them to her fiance as a reference. Not everything on the list will 'come off', in the sense of its being the sex she wants to have and willingly indulges at any one time (or in the sense of her partner just straightforwardly doing it). But there will be no suggestion her boyfriend has blundered if he tries it out.

Her letter was either too purse-lipped about this, or she genuinely didn't know. There are lots of things I might think hot and rough e.g. derogatory sexist language, that could have her clutching her pearls, or could genuinely hurt her. A vanilla guy can't be expected to know which are which.

Some guys might still quail at the hanging sock. Their prelude might have to be cuddles and endearments.


A while back I saw a suggestion of finding a list of kinks, there's probably one on Fetlife somewhere, and each partner marking each activity as either "hell yes / maybe / no way," then comparing lists. Anything that appears on her "hell yes" list and his "maybe" list would be good options.


TaniaZ @79, that's a good parallel when it comes to movies, given that, after watching each other's movie picks, your tastes haven't converged. As Dan and others (including myself) have said, it's possible to develop a taste for kink after one is introduced to it. In my experience, kink doesn't preclude vanilla, and IMO, GGG ought to indulge at least varsity-level kink.

Harriet @81, BDF @82: Those are great suggestions. And Googling "list of kinks" comes up with stuff I didn't even know existed.


I've got disagree with the idea that once he gets over self consciousness, once he knows what she really likes, he'll be able to give her the heat that she needs in her kink experiences.

For some people, power play is not sexy. Not even a little bit. It's something you can do for your partner, and not hate it, but never something that you can bring unfeigned heat and enthusiasm to, because it's as unsexy as dinner with grandma.

So if she just needs to have what she likes once in a while, then sure, him being willing to give it a try will work. But if his ownership of it is essential to her pleasure, they are probably not compatible. It's not impossible that he'll come to find his inner dom, but by no means as sure a thing as Dan and some commenters seem to think.


agony @84, it's not that it's a sure thing, but rather that it's worth trying rather than her either giving up on sexual pleasure or ending an otherwise good relationship.


@84 some people want to solve the sex problem in the context of a relationship. some people want to solve the relationship problem in the context of sex. the l-dub is the former. most posters here are the latter.


GGG only goes so far. Get out while the getting's not as painful as it will be later on.


BDF @82

There was an excellent list in "Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns" with several categories of enthusiasm (one of the best was "I'm scared to try it, but interested) that can be ticked, then compared by both.


@77, re this: “ SomethingElse, have you tried paying off, trading or begging your husband for sex? It is an emergency, and you were desperate enough to have sex with him at some point, why not now?”
It’s a little complicated but basically there was a sexual mismatch that I’ve already talked about a lot combined with some relationship conflict that made sex really fraught for a while - like we couldn’t even get through it without one or both of us getting really really sad. So we stopped and haven’t even tried the past couple years, which was his choice. In the past (pre-quarantine) I have said I’d like to try again and he’s always said it’s just too risky emotionally. Asking now and risking his emotional well being just because I can’t get my usual outside fun seems inconsiderate, even if I am going a bit crazy.


@77 Philophile I did love her, it is a complicated story, especially at the end, I don't regret it except to the extent that I let myself be manipulated until I couldn't take it anymore. It is a shame it worked out the way it did, especially for our kids, and they blame me exclusively for the break up, because of course they don't know the whole story. The breakup is shocking to all our friends who thought we had it all. At some point I realized I don't have that many years left and I was tired of being emotionally manipulated (which I enabled for sure). I want my remaining days to be happy and I didn't feel that they truly could be with her.


SomethingElse, wow, that does sound tough, thanks for sharing. It's hard for me to wrap my head around sex as something that would drive a couple apart to attempt. And I had the totally wrong impression that it was hard for you to attempt sex with him. Well, that's sad and tough.. the nicest way I know to ask my partner to meet my needs when I am horny is to ask to go down on him while I get myself off, do you think that might make him sad too? Could you keep from getting yourself off before him, and laugh it off it it turns out it doesn't work for him and no one gets off, and do you think you could comfort any awful feelings he might have if you accidentally came but he couldn't get there? Or maybe you could make out while getting yourselves off or something that's both sex but not too intimate for him? It would just be so funny and awesome if COVID sparked sex back into your marriage but it does sound tough and I can only guess about your husband's sadness and how it affected your sex (first thought, take all pressure off his boner to perform, beyond just trying to figure out how to make him feel safe and sexy and horny). I'm not even sure if you have any specific sexual attraction to your husband anymore to show to him, although you did say you tried to initiate sex before the quarantine so hopefully you do, and can use that to make him feel safe and sexy. And maybe some part of him feels like sex is more safe and right within marriage, you can try to grow that out, so you can both be considerate and pursue sex with hubby. But in the worst case he's repulsed by something that happened or that you feel or believe and it'll take years of therapy with a decent therapist to calm down enough to have good sex, if you even care to try. I hope y'all can work it out someday.

Coolie, "I let myself be manipulated until I couldn't take it anymore"
It sounds like you snapped about something, since she's divorcing you. Why not just say that you're sorry after you calmed down? Yeah it sucks that things were getting worse and you never sat down and talked calmly about it. Manipulation happens when you can't ask for what you want or talk about it. You don't have to let it continue when you see it. You can investigate what they want, and if you want it too, so you can make a considerate choice to do what you truly want, and express yourself clearly to others, and never let your marriage become a "how'd that happen?" event. Also... if your kids blame you, they know enough about the situation for it to affect y'all's relationship negatively. Can you tell them just enough more so that they understand that you love them all and this is best for everyone even though it feels bad right now? Not badmouthing and fighting through the kids, but saying that you love their mom so you're going along with the divorce, it seems to better than fighting, you just want everyone to be happy, that you still love them just as much and you'll try to make the divorce easier for them, etc. It might not have immediate effect but the long term effect of being reassured of your love will be good for them and if they have any generosity in their hearts it will be meaningful far longer than this adjustment pain.


Coolie, Also if the kids attack you with "mom said you did X horrible thing", and your explanation involves your wife's mistake, reply with "there is more to that story than I can say because I don't want to violate your mom's privacy, if she wanted you to know, she would have told you." They will eventually realize that the parent who badmouths the other is the unwise one.


Coolie, I am assuming that she is divorcing you... because she's not upset that you're divorcing her, but about other things that you did. If you are actually divorcing her, just tell the kids that it's no one's fault when people fall out of love, it happens when people grow apart rather than together, and the best way you can love each other right now is by letting each other go to find happiness separately, none of your ideas for how to do it together had worked (especially convincing if you tried counseling first).


Philo – I am the one asking for the divorce, it was presented to me as an ultimatum and divorce was my choice, not initially, but after trying again to make things work. She made a half hearted effort to improve but it was clear that it was only a matter of time before the initial pattern resumed and due to some other life events in the family, I decided it was finally time to act. We did talk calmly, we have always been calm, I suggested counselling and she declined since she thought she did nothing wrong. She says she is brokenhearted but not apologetic. I’m apologetic but not brokenhearted, I’ve moved on. Ultimately that disparity is the heart of everything, she never said “I’m sorry” about anything, again because she thought she wasn’t ever wrong. I ALWAYS was the first to say “I’m sorry” because she gaslighted me into thinking I had always done something wrong even if it wasn’t clear WHAT that was. I asked many many times over the years what I could do differently to keep her happy, and the response was either “I don’t know” or on particularly snarky days “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you”. Incredibly frustrating to be on the receiving end of that.

As far as the kids go, they are older (out of college), so they will be fine, they are just kind of overly sensitive emotional types. Everything has been all about them and they aren’t very experienced having real life events fall into their laps. A parenting failure in my book, and a side effect of very blessed lives. We were overprotective as many are these days. I’m good with the kids, I started years ago converting our relationship from parent/child to more of a friendly advisor type thing, I don’t tell them what to do with their lives but I give my advice based on my life experience if asked. I offer help without conditions when asked. They know they can tell me anything and I won’t judge. I’m a much better father than the one I had and I’m proud of that. It has worked out well so far. They are both great unique individuals that I am proud to have had some part in raising. I’m a believer in the fact that WE don’t really have much to do with how our kids turn out beyond opening doors and saying thank you. They are who they have always been, I just smoothed the rough edges a bit. We both definitely do NOT fight through the kids, and my wife and I are friendly but distant which I’m not only fine with but happy about. Telling the kids any detail about the real events of the last few years is not an option because it would necessarily cast my wife in a bad light (at least from my perspective).


Coolie, It sounds like you both lost your way in that conflict. Outside of the courtroom, conflicts are not so much about right and wrong, but about what two people truly want and how they are going to get it, together or apart.. I gather that you petitioned.. You say that you are both moved on and apologetic. That you have been talking calmly, but also that you don't respond calmly when your wife is upset (reassure her that you didn't want to seek counseling to prove her wrong or get her to apologize or some aggressive reason, but because you wanted to calm down and work together better, it seems you just got upset too and dropped it). I'm glad that you decided to stop feeling guilty about doing your best, but I don't think the answer is to try to make her feel guilty in turn, but to really persuade yourself you did your best and aren't going to feel guilty about following your heart about what was best for everyone, just be happy you learned from whatever pain you suffered. So idk if I understand you, but if you're happy with how calm you are and are happy with your relationships now, that's all the matters. Digression: Sorry is the least important part of apologies imo, I care more about whether they can acknowledge and respect my pain, if they want to prevent it enough to make plans to avoid that sort of pain in the future.

Part of treating your kids as adults is accepting that they are not just the advisees anymore, but appropriate advisors sometimes too. I hope you listen to them as well as try to help them. And please be honest, their parents are likely their main example of good romantic relationships. I was much younger when my parents divorced so I'm sure my projection is off.


Coolie, I did not mean in any way to suggest you give them details of your personal conflict, but to be very honest and clear about the things that matter, that you love all of them, that you are doing what you think is best for everyone, and that staying in love is tough but you're sure they will do better or something.. you did initiate the legal end of the marriage but only after trying to fall back in love, right? If you're the one filing it's tougher, you should hopefully be able to say you honored your vows but that sometimes people just grow apart despite their best efforts and since y'all couldn't appreciate each other you are going to be alone or find someone who wants the same things you do and mom deserves someone who can appreciate her without fighting or feeling bad too...