Coming out: Explaining Your Kinks to Loved Ones

December 26, 2014
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Coming out: Explaining Your Kinks to Loved Ones

I had never seen a gimp before – not in real life anyway. But I stopped him to ask if it was okay for me to touch him. He unzipped his mask around the mouth area and his juicy lips pops out, “Oh yeah! Touch me anyway you want!” He certainly was a lot friendlier than I expected.

Don’t ask me how I knew this, but under all that rubber he ‘felt’ cute and I was certainly interested in exploring whatever this was further. But then his Mistress beckoned and he had to leave but not before saying, “I’ll be around here, come find me!”

His Mistress was a leather-clad redhead with a whip, thigh high boots and cat-eye glasses. I thought she might whip me for talking to her gimp but she only smiled and gently took the chain attached to his collar and led him away.

This was my first fetish party and while I didn’t understand half of what was going on, I was certainly turned on. By what? I don’t know exactly, but there it was sitting at just above my vagina, slowly churning and keeping me warm. Or maybe that’s the wine I’m drinking?

As the night progressed I noticed my favorite gimp shackled to a stand with a something attached to his exposed penis. Something with a wire and a remote that his Mistress controlled so she could stimulate him electrically.

I was enthralled. So enthralled that I didn’t notice a handsome man in a suit sit down next to me. “It’s pretty crazy eh?” he said.

I nodded, “But it’s also kinda hot!”

“Yeah! That’s my wife!” and now he had my attention.

That whole night I had just assumed that Gimp and his Mistress were partners. It never crossed my mind that her husband would be sitting next to me just chilling as his wife gave little electrical shocks to a man tied to a stand.

Obviously I was curious. Why wasn’t he tied up? Because he didn’t want to be! Was he cool with his wife playing like this? Yes. Why wasn’t he playing as well? Because he was more vanilla in his sexual adventures.

It was all very loving and consensual – his wife gets to play in a way that makes her happy and turns her on without being judged. And he not only gets a happy wife but also access to a whole different world where he too can explore sides of himself.

Ultimately this led me to get curious about how people with fetishes can “Come out” to their partners. We all remember the scene from Ally McBeal when the character John Cage spanks Nelle Porter (Portia de Rossi) with a hairbrush only to have her threaten to call the cops on him! No? Just me? Well here’s a little video to remind you (sorry for the quality! It’s an old show!):

Armed with this curiosity I sought out Miss Kitty Stryker – who I had already talked to about femdom for BaDoink. But this time I wanted to pick her brain about ‘Coming out’. Ms. Stryker is an expert on everything kink and regularly gives talks and workshops in London and San Francisco, not only in sexy art spaces, women’s clubs and conferences but also in academic settings.

Take it slow

I was curious about how one would even bring this up with their partner. Especially if they have a pretty ‘out there’ fetish, say golden showers (or actions involving pee on for the rest of us).

“Don’t come out with the most extreme part of your kink as a surprise. I’ve very, very rarely seen the surprise full on “HERE’S MY FETISH LOVE IT AND LOVE ME” thing work,” says Ms. Stryker.

Sure we want to be honest with our partner, and sometimes one might have been bottling up feelings and fantasies for years and it might just all spill out one night. But it’s best to plan for something like this before you reach your boiling point, or worse get caught doing something with someone else.

“If you’re already in the relationship, then introduce them to your kink slowly and gently – like with bondage, say, having hands held down during sex is a lot more accessible for many than a full on vacuum bed!” she explains.

Coming out: Explaining Your Kinks to Loved Ones

Keep calm and talk about your kink

This isn’t something you want to do during a time of distress or when you’re backed into a corner, not only because your distress might rub off on your partner – making it hard for everyone involved to be objective – but also because planning ahead means you can come from a place of strength.

You want to provide a safe space where both of you can talk freely and share and/or ask any information. Perhaps avoid a very public space like a restaurant where your partner won’t be able to react in a way that is natural to them. Another good thing to remember is to come from a space of joy rather than shame. Having a kink is nothing to be ashamed of! Although it might be hard for your partner to handle. Which bring us to…

Have patience

Congratulations. You bravely let your partner into your world. And that is great, however for someone who has never ventured into this world, this might be a lot to handle. Don’t expect them to openly accept your kink immediately. If you’re lucky they might have their own secret kink and this might be a relief for them to hear, in which case, great! But don’t expect this to be the case.

“Try not to take your partner being taken aback, uncertain, or awkward as a personal affront – it’s probably not about you, but rather their own re-exploration of their erotic landscape,” advises Ms. Stryker.

Coming out: Explaining Your Kinks to Loved Ones

Come with information

There is a lot of misinformation out there about fetishes and kinks. If you drop this bomb on your partner without actually explaining and answering all of their questions, they’re going to go to the one place that will tell them – Google. And you don’t want that.

Not only might they stumble upon fetish/kink porn, worse they might find the book 50 Shades of Grey and think that that is a representation of BDSM in the real world. Everybody is different and each person creates their own kink storyline, while porn tends to be more ‘female-body-part-centric’ and not representative of real world fetish/kink play.

Leaving your partner to search for information on their own means there’s a high chance they’ll stumble upon some extreme porn that will freak them the hell out. This is a delicate time, you don’t want to overwhelm them into thinking that they’ll now have to wear a gimp suit, wield a whip or have to be tied up and hung upside down forever more. That’s scary for anyone to think – at first. So be there to guide them at this critical time. Better the information come from you than to let their mind run wild!

Show the good side of things

Ms. Stryker explains that it is always good to have a few positive resources about your kink. This way you can offer it to your partner if and when you are asked for it.

“Maybe you can take this as a chance to explore fantasy talk about your kink, a little bit at a time – some dirty talk, watching some quality (pre-watched and approved) porn, reading erotic stories… and seriously, make sure you’ve looked into them first – I’ve totally had wank sessions where a lover was reading to me ruined by random racism in the story!” she says.

Coming out: Explaining Your Kinks to Loved Ones

Don’t be pushy

So you’ve laid your cards on the table and you’re eager to see where it goes. Hopefully you can start playing with your partner soon. You have all these fantasies you want to make come true. But patience, young padawan. It is really important that you don’t push your partner to play with you especially if you want to successfully integrate down the line.

“Don’t push – sometimes time is enough to make it so your partner ends up bringing it to you, exploring it on their own time and figuring out how they can relate to it and you. If they’re really weirded out and you say “ok, no worries, thanks for taking care of yourself!” even when you’re feeling disappointed… they’ll feel their boundaries are respected, and that you’re not guilting them into things.”

Also be aware that integration might never happen and your partner might never be into your kick. It’s a shame, but it’s a possibility – like the story of the Mistress and her husband at the beginning of this article. They worked it out that she gets to play with other people but this might not be the story for all couples. I didn’t get their whole story, so I don’t know what their private rules are, so I can’t comment on it, but I am sure that they have them.

This doesn’t mean that if your partner is taking it slow in digesting this information you should bring up seeing other people. Nor does this mean you should force them to play with you. This will only lead to them resenting you. A whole lot of patience and communication is essential here.

Compromise is key

So maybe you notice that your partner is starting to open up to your kink a little. That doesn’t mean that you rush in full force. I know, it’s a lot of patience, and sometimes it will take a long time before they even get used to the idea. So compromise! Perhaps you can’t go full on fulfilling all hardcore fantasies, but you can definitely start small and slow.

Exploring together means you’re also involving your partner and perhaps they might discover something that they didn’t know existed! What do they like? What turns them on? Start with a milder version of your kink and as and when they get used to that take it up a notch. What can you do to incorporate your kink into your sex life that also appeals to your partner? Sometimes it might feel like for every step forward you take two steps back, but it’s better and more sustainable this way.

Be aware

Sometimes in your eagerness to learn from the ‘experienced’, you might drop your guard with ‘community leaders’ thinking that they ought to know best, being in the scene so long and all.

“Many of the stories I get as head of Consent Culture are from people new to kink who end up feeling violated by community leaders. The scene is full of humans, who are imperfect. Trust your gut,” warns Ms. Stryker.

This is especially true if you are newly discovering your own sexual kinks and fetishes and are hoping to learn from more experienced people in the scene. Just because they might have been around the scene longer doesn’t exempt them from being human. Keep your guard up and use your head. You are allowed to take a step back and evaluate the situation if things don’t feel right.

At the end of the day, it’s all about patience and communication, with your partner and also with yourself – whether you’re a newbie exploring, or you’re someone who has been in the scene for a while and breaking the news to your partner. Either way, don’t be ashamed of your kink and don’t feel that you need to hide it. Hopefully this article will help you ‘come out’ to your partner and you can both have a happier, healthier sex life.

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  1. I never heard of a vacuum bed until now…just looked it up…HOLY SHIT! I would panic. I think the movie “Fire in the Sky” made me forever afraid…

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