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Help, My Spouse Is Into Kinky Sex!

Below is one of the questions people ask me often. The situation is one that is not uncommon when it comes to erotic power exchange: one of the partners wants it, the other doesn't. Hopefully this question and answer will help others.

Although written for a Male in charge situation, we feel this is relevant if the sexes are reversed

The Question

“I am looking for information that might cover the troubles that crop up in a relationship, particularly in a marriage, when one partner reveals his/her tendencies towards BDSM. I am the vanilla spouse of a man who believes he is dominant. We have been married eight years, and until about two years ago, I had no clue he had such interests. We have done some experimentation since he “came out,” but I do not find any of it appealing at all. It's possible that the circumstances of some of our encounters turned me off to it all, but trust me, the turn off is permanent.
I have read a ton of information on this issue, have read stories, have talked to both dom(me)s and subs, have talked with my husband, etc. I'm one of those poor dull saps who just doesn't get it.
My husband and I have reached a point in our marriage where he has decided that he needs to shelve his BD notions. About a week ago, the issue was whether I was the stronger pull or BD was the stronger pull. When I began talking about taking some time off from the marriage to give him a chance to sort out his feelings (it's tough being married for eight years and realizing that you might not be picked), he said, adamantly, that he would put aside his feelings for BDSM and focus on the marriage.
It seems that our options are: he shelves his desires; I try to figure out a way to play with him (not going to happen); we negotiate a way for him to seek another “play” partner (this makes me whoozy because I understand the emotional involvement necessary and don't think I can cope); we split up and he pursues his needs without the baggage of a vanilla spouse (not a terribly happy solution considering I love this little guy).
My question is, how likely is it that these feelings will surface in the future and cause him more conflict? We have discussed the possibility of his finding a sub and having a “no sex” relationship with her. But a number of things are a problem with that possibility. No. 1, I believe that erotic power exchange, whether it involves intercourse or not, is a form of sex (in other words, I am terminally monogamous). I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself. No. 2, he doesn't want to “soil” the marriage with his needs (would rather divorce than soil it, I suspect). No. 3, he can't find a partner.
Anyway, if you know of any resources, people, articles, books, organizations, angels, fairy godmothers, ANYONE or ANYTHING that might help me come up with some answers on this, I would be so grateful that I would – well, I don't know what. I'm at a point where I'm struggling issues of trust, betrayal (of self and spouse), fear, etc. I looked through your listing of books and articles and didn't see anything that looked even remotely helpful.
I apologize for the intimate and personal tone of this e-mail, but I am rather desperate. We are about to seek counseling (ug! but it's necessary), but something tells me that I will find no answers there, that the focus will be on why he is the way he is. I AM grateful to have found your website. The listing of stages is MOST enlightening.”

My answer

Thank you for bringing up the question, because it is one many people have problems with. Let us start with saying that erotic power exchange emotions are not likely to disappear. Although science still has not determined exactly what determines our sexual preferences, it is becoming apparant that at least a substantial part of it is genetically encoded. Your husband is obviously facing a huge personal problem (and as a result so are you) that is not an easy nut to crack. Even though he may probably try to shelf his emotions for now, they are very likely to pop up again in the future and it is not unlikely they will become stronger, since he may try to shelf his emotions; the basic feelings and the fantasies will still be there. That brings a lot of strain in your relationship, no doubt.

There is very little or no literature on this. It boils down to incompatibality of partners (which is not uncommon - with or without erotic power exchange).

Having said this, the situation is probably not completely hopeless. We'll get to that in a minute. First however another warning. You are very right in saying that erotic power exchange (even without “the act”) is a form of sexuality, hence there is indeed no erotic power exchange without sex. Having a play partner outside the relationship is a form many find to cope with problems like these. Does that work? Usually not. There are a couple of risks involved in such a set up:

  • * the erotic power exchange will bring out feelings and emotions between the two playing. Emotions that weren't there before - at least not in a “live” situation. The play partners are very likely to bond, the non-playing spouse will feel left out and the other will be torn between two different people he (as in this case) shares his emotions with;
  • * “play without sex” is what many people will suggest to start with. You can take our word for it that some sort of “active sex” will evolve soon, since the tension built up in active play requires a release AND builds up sexual needs;
  • * since erotic power exchange to most people are very dear, personal and treasured emotions, sharing them with someone will automatically lead to a special bond that will grow and things that should not be in there will also slip in, even if the play partners sincerely do not want that to happen.

Hence, unless you find a commercial play partner (prostitute, which in this case is very unlikely because there are very little sub-prostitutes) you pay for playing but do do build up any “relationship” with, the risks of such a solution are huge. And you are right, you would have to agreee to all this too and cope with it.

Now, to the question, is this hopeless? Probably not. Without even knowing about exactly what has happened between the two of you so far it is likely things have started on the wrong foot and your husband is asking too much. Even without the specific dominant/submissive dynamics there are very little women that will not be attracted to “exciting” eroticism and sexuality (even though you may have to accept yourself and your desires first). Mind you, we are not going to throw the “you are submissive but you don't know that yet” routine on you, because that is nonsense.

However, do try and envisage the following situation: you are blindfolded (with something soft like silk) and all he does is carress you, arouse you, kiss you all over, maybe tickle you a bit and undertakes every effort to seduce you. No whips, no ropes and cuffs, no heavy leather stuff, just a blindfold, maybe a glass of wine, candle light, soft music, comfort, enjoyment and MOST IMPORTANTLY, no stress. Just pure and simple enjoyment. Chances are you'd like that very much and this IS an erotic power exchange setting where you leave it to him to work his butt off to seduce you, while he will be the one that has the initiative and these are exactly the dynamics that we are really talking about.

Something like the above - and please take out the strain and the stress, forget about being called slave, calling him master or anything, forget about the fact that this is erotic power exchange, just enjoy - might be pure and simple joy and fun. There are a lot of other simple ways to bring out the same eroticism. For example, allow him to “order” you to cook a wonderful candlelight dinner for the two of you. That will probably make a nice entree to pure enjoyment too.

The examples above are simple and very erotic and intimate forms of role play without all the heavy stuff and they - or other ways - may bring about a wonderful way to experience what you yourself like and what not. Letting him pick your clothes for a change, you doing simple things to please him and he being receptive to that and responding to it, all of that is erotic power exchange and that may appeal to him as well as to you without the heavy stuff. The idea is to learn and play and BOTH try and experiment with FUN things, without the stress, the need, etcetera.

Will this go further? Who is to say. That totally depends on the two of you. But do try. It isn't as scary as it seems as you can see (or at least it doesn't have to be). It offers both of you a possibility to explore, for him to learn and understand that the trick (in any erotic power exchange setting) is subtlety and NOT the heavy stuff (most of what you see is pornography and has little to do with the things people do in their homes).

By all means do talk about this, communicate and exchange what both of you can and can not do. That goes for you too and should be respected

©2007 Hans Meijer

Hans Meijer is 54, a Dutch former journalist and government spokesmen, webmaster and filmmaker, active in the sexual and erotic information realm He was the chairman for powerotics Foundation (now closed). This organization is dedicated to provide quality information about alternative lifestyles. His 5 e-book series “Shibari Fumo Ryu” about the Japanese erotic Shibari technique and art is considered groundbreaking. Reproduced with permission.

help_my_spouse_is_into_kinky_sex.txt · Last modified: 2022/10/24 03:53 by admin