Wishing your lover would take a bit more control in the bedroom? Frustrated by his hesitation to be the boss while you happily submit? Don’t know how to bring this up without embarrassment and possible disappointment?
You are not alone!
Though there are a number of respectful and knowledgeable books on the market that inform new practitioners about the hands-on aspects of BDSM, what seems to be missing, or at least downplayed, are the psychological complexities many new fans are encountering.
An answer to your disappointment about your partner not taking the lead may come from an example from a client of mine.
Tom, a 53-year-old heterosexual man arrived in my office concerned about the sexual requests he was getting from his girlfriend of two years. She had told him she wanted more experimentation in their sex lives, and suggested some props. He enjoyed her sexy new outfits and picking her up in a bar while pretending they were strangers, but when she then asked him to spank her, he found himself in a quandary.
Raised by ardent feminists, he knew well the rules about “hitting” women. When he attempted to please his lover with a light spanking, she begged for more — and harder. Tom soon began to avoid sex rather than confront his anxiety. He felt torn between being a “good man” and a “good lover.” He came to me worried about his role and the future of the relationship.
Like you, Tom is in good company. Many people, regardless of gender, confront how BDSM intersects with abuse. The surface answer is simple: consent. If everyone playing clearly agrees with what is happening, it is not abuse.
The more complex answer is that, even with unambiguous and enthusiastic consent, it can be difficult to lay hands on another person. It goes against our ethics and our lifelong messages about not hitting another person. It can feel beyond naughty and sometimes downright evil.
What to do?
- First of all, talk to your lover about your feelings. Ask for their views on what’s hot and what’s not and share yours.
- Make lists comprised of What I Like, What I Would Like to Try, and What’s Off the Table, and then discuss those lists. Talk about your fantasies and fears. Negotiate your differences while you celebrate your similarities.
- Establish safe words to be used if any of your limits are threatened, even unintentionally.
- Proceed slowly…not with caution but with a sense of exploration. Add to your inventory of desired behaviours as you each and both become comfortable.
Tom found that following these tips led to increased vulnerability and intimacy with his girlfriend. In fact, ‘kinksters’ credit this open communication with strengthening their bond as well as keeping their sex lives hot and fresh.
If you long for more intense stimulation, or if someone you love is asking for more, consider how confronting your old messages and trusting in honest communication can enhance an already rewarding experience.
Trying new things is often scary. What is sad is allowing your fear to cost you growth and adventure!