Dear Jamie. I’m a very creative person with a voracious sexual appetite. So, I’m kinky!
I have zero interest in mechanical sex—everything has to be elaborate. The set-up and anticipation and game involved is part of the thrill. Especially important to me is the stuff even some kinky folk find extreme. I’m into hardcore S & M, including bondage, humiliation, water sports, and suspension.
The problem is I’ve fallen in love with the most wonderful woman I’ve ever known. Not only is she totally vanilla, with zero sense of play in the bedroom, but she’s actually disturbed by my predilections. Help! – Aaron, 32
Hi Aaron. I’ll have to suspend my disbelief here and accept your word at face value, that you are in love. It’s my instinct that this love will be fleeting, because you sound rather dismissive about her tastes while accusing her of dismissing yours.
There is nothing wrong with keeping it simple!
While I usually rush to defend someone’s sexual needs from belittlement, it seems to me that you are bragging about your superiority. You didn’t tell me what it is about her that is so wonderful. You just put down her lack of imagination without humanizing her. That makes me conclude the problem is not her lack of kink but your selfishness. Relationships mean boundaries and compromises and accepting each other how we are—not just for the other person!
There are many successful kink-vanilla relationships that work, but here’s the caveat: it’s usually when both parties are a little more to the middle.
If the vanilla party is curious, and the kinky person is flexible, then there’s enough to meet on common ground.
Some relationships decide not to focus on sex. Since sex is easy to find and love is hard, there are a minority of couples who don’t even have sex with each other! There are lots of couples who are in open relationships that allow them to indulge their sexual needs with those able to meet them. Talk about these options.
There’s also the question of priorities. How important is kink versus partnership? I’m not saying they are mutually exclusive, quite the opposite—most of us attract some kind of likeness in our sexual lives. But when we don’t, and that person isn’t just a nice woman but the love of our life, then we have some difficult decisions to make about what’s most important. I don’t think we can change our stripes, but people have given up things, gone celibate, or added something new in order to change their focus in life.
That said, in these situations, I almost always advise that you keep looking. Again, if you are moderately kinky and your mate is not-quite-vanilla, it’s totally workable. But if you like to be locked up for days and pissed on, it’s not going to ever go over well on the other side, and it’s not fair to her when she wants and deserves equal tenderness to the brutality you seek in bed.
Friendship is too often underrated, but the amazing thing about friends is that they don’t have to break up just because sexual compatibility isn’t there, or because one is a Democrat and the other’s a Republican. In romance, those conflicts are usually too jarring.
Take some time apart and let the dust settle, or work on a friendship that gives you both the freedom to find the love you need. If you can’t stay away from each other, you’ll know soon enough.