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AdviceHey, Bonita!

Should I Explore My New Boo’s Kinks?

Hey Bonita,

I got rejected by someone I was very interested in not too long ago, but I started dating other people right away ‘cause damn, I have needs, sexual needs! After a few dates (and before sleeping together) this lovely person let me know he’s into domination. So my question here is about trying new things that don’t appeal to me at all. Do I try it and see if I like it? We had a good [conversation] about our expectations around it, yet deep down it just seems like it’s not my thing. Sex is already so performative for cis women, and his kinks would be around additional performance. Also, he’s a straight cis guy; I’m a queer cis woman; I’m not into the textbook guy dominating the lady vibes this gives off for lots of stereotypical reasons. I don’t want to yuck anyone’s yum here, and I’m not judging anyone’s motivations, I just want to know if this is something people have been hesitant to try and then liked. Maybe my own biases are keeping me from experiencing something potentially freeing? Or maybe this just isn’t my vibe, and I’m lying to myself? And maybe there’s a million vanilla people to bone that are into what I’m into and I should just go find them. Anyway, let me know what you think about this, or if you’re seeing something I’m not about the situation.

Reluctant Sub?

Note: First off, I want readers to know that BDSM stands for “bondage, domination, submission and masochism,” and practitioners have their own conventions around capitalization to reflect the hierarchy of the roles that participants choose for themselves. I will not be following those capitalization norms. 

Hey Reluctant,

I’ve been in your exact position before, and I also gave it a try, but I quickly (and I mean quickly, like right then in the moment) realized that this was not something I was into and called it all off.  Power exchange and BDSM are sexual proclivities that require lots of informed consent to be fulfilling for all parties involved, and I think that your guy clearly knows that. He wouldn’t be so willing to talk this out with you if he wasn’t; he’d just jump in and expect you to play along, which is what happened to me. We exchanged maybe three sentences before I told him to kick rocks for pulling something so egregious on me, and hopefully he’s somewhere now being smarter about his kinks. He was also well-known around town for sending unsolicited photos of his junk to women, so I highly doubt it.  

That soft-headed idiot was absolutely an outlier in my experience of the BDSM community, and your guy sounds like someone who understands the public perceptions and apprehensions that most people have about his fetish. Your guy sounds like he’s not being pushy about it, and that’s respectable as hell, but if you’re not into it, then you’re not into it. I would recommend reading and watching some documentaries about the community before trying this play yourself, but I don’t get the sense that you even want to go that far. If that’s the case, then you shouldn’t—your feelings are valid, and you don’t owe him this kind of play, after all. But still, this is a great learning opportunity for you, and I’d definitely recommend seeking out literature from people who are active in the community as opposed to non-kinky academics who can sometimes lose the forest for the trees on topics like this. Kayla Lords is a submissive woman who blogs about BDSM and sex in general, and her blog chronicles her journey from mid-life divorce to figuring out she’s a sub. Check out her website for writing directly from a member of that community.

Plenty of people who are into BDSM have relationships with folks who aren’t, so I don’t think of this development as a dealbreaker. Maybe this will just be a thing that y’all don’t do with each other, but that’s a conversation for you to have with your boo. I think you’re in a good spot to learn about something new that your partner enjoys, even if you’re not into it yourself.

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