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Is kink curable?
August 16, 2007 10:59 AM   Subscribe

SexFilter - is kink curable?

Long story short - Ever since puberty, all of my fantasies have revolved around fetishism and various forms of humiliation. In these fantasies, I am always the one being humiliated. Although my fantasies nearly always involve physical contact, very rarely do they involve actual intercourse. In the past two years, I've only attempted to have sex twice. Both times, I have failed to maintain an erection, even though I never have trouble being erect when I am masturbating by myself. You could say that I suffer from extreme performance anxiety. These experiences have been absolutely devastating, to the point where my social life and performance at work were affected.

I have tried viagra, but unfortunately, I have chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and the viagra caused a very painful flare-up. I've been seeing an outragously expensive therapist for the past month or so to help me with my impotence problem. He believes that one of my problems is the fact that my fantasies are all about humiliation and don't involve intercourse. He suggests that I change my fantasies and masturbation material; that I no longer fantasize about humiliation, but instead fantasize about more "vanilla" sex. Here's the problem, though - sexual humiliation is all that really turns me on. Although I fantasize about a number of scenarios, they are all based around some sort of humiliation or fetishism. The idea of "vanilla" sex doesn't really turn me on.

I have had girlfriends before - my last girlfriend was awesome, she was totally accepting of my sexuality. We started out having "vanilla" sex, with me thinking about my fantasies in order to maintain an erection. However, as time went on, I shared some of my fantasies with her, and we even worked one or two of them into our sex life. The weird thing was that after a while, I actually started to enjoy the vanilla sex, and began to think about her and not my fantasies during sex. I even indulged her in some of *her* submissive fantasies, and actually enjoyed it. To be honest I think that what allowed me to enjoy sex with her was the very fact that she accepted my weird, embarrassing sexuality - she didn't even really need to indulge my fantasies. Needless to say, she was the first woman I actually enjoyed having sex with.

I've thought about seeking out the BDSM community here in NYC, but I'm afraid that doing so will only make me more depressed; I'm aware that there is a grossly imbalanced ratio of submissive men to dominant women. I've also considered trying one of the BDSM dating services, however I'm deathly afraid that people I know will somehow find out that I'm on there.

Anyhow, my question is this - is it even possible for me to do what my therapist wants me to do, and exchange my submissive fantasies for normal ones? I don't even know where to begin. I like my submissive fantasies, but I really want to have a sex again. I'm sick of being lonely, and I'm sick of masturbating by myself in my room.
posted by Jake Apathy to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Getting a woman to indulge you in your "kink" is secondary to (and perhaps a byproduct of) establishing a respectful, mutual sexual bond. Unless you happen upon a dom woman here, but like you said, that narrows down options. Then again, maybe you should just get used to it. I'm gay, which means my dating options within the same sex are incredibly limited. NYC skews more in my favor than yours (though the ratio of single men to single women here gives you a head start).

Frankly I think psychologically you have painted yourself into a corner by setting up a spectrum that cascades from "vanilla" to "kink". Your fantasies are just that-- your fantasies. Sometimes our fantasies actually come into play when we are with a lover, but what is really supposed to be happening is there, between you two. Are you curious about each other, or does each have their own private agenda they are trying to fulfill through the other?

Frankly, if the latter is the case, then even when you're with another person, you may as well be masturbating by yourself in your room.
posted by hermitosis at 11:17 AM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


To ponder this further (since no one else has taken a swing) I think you ought to work with your therapist's ideas, if you can afford to continue the therapy.

Say you try new fantasies, new material when you're on your own. At first, nothing happens. Which means, if you stick with it, that you will go through a period where you're not turned on and not sexually satisfied. This is different than repressing your sexuality; this is simply allowing your sexual energy to gather to the point where it finds new ways to manifest. After a while (weeks? months?) you may find that you respond sexually to fantasies that you wouldn't have necessarily before.

Part of why this seems so hard is that you're so used to being able to satisfy yourself with your humiliation fantasies at a whim. They are personal, satisfying, and immediate. After a few days you are going to be incredibly tempted to indulge them-- but when you're tempted, come back and read this question to remind yourself how unsatisfying it is to lead yourself down that path. You've already TRIED all that, it didn't make you happy. You need to push beyond, actually give the spectrum of your sexuality room to broaden, so that eventually it can withstand and sustain partners and experiences of every stripe.

Stop seeing it as oppressive; you are not being asked to stifle your sexuality, but to explore it, which doesn't always feel good (just like BDSM!). This is work you need to do on yourself in order to be happy, and your therapist will be able to help you.
posted by hermitosis at 11:53 AM on August 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


If you're looking for new jerk-off material, try this one on for size.

You're at a bar [the opera, a ball game, a coffee shop] when you bump into this cute girl you know from work [school, Metafilter]. It turns out she's really into cooking [model planes, rock climbing, Linux] too, and she keeps blushing and smiling when she looks at you. One thing leads to another and you find yourself making out at her place, where you're startled to see a riding crop [ball gag, chastity device, set of handcufs] peeking out from under the couch. Embarassed, she tries to hide it, but you stop her: "It's okay — you know, I've always been curious..."

I think you can take it from there. The point is, you can fantasize about real sex and real warts-and-all women without giving up your kink. As you've already found with your last girlfriend, the mere idea that an actual woman accepts and enjoys your kink can make anything (even straight vanilla sex!) super-hot.

And as an extra bonus, most of the submissive guys crowding up the room at kink events are suffering from an even worse version of your problem. They can't even begin to imagine women as anything other than idealized super-Dommes. The more practice you get treating dominant women as people — with lives, interests and opinions that matter more than their killer bullwhip skills — the farther ahead of the competition you'll be.

Incidentally, if your therapist really wants you to give up your kink entirely, rather than just broadening your fantasy life, see Kink Aware Professionals for the name of someone with a clue.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:06 PM on August 16, 2007


To be honest I think that what allowed me to enjoy sex with her was the very fact that she accepted my weird, embarrassing sexuality - she didn't even really need to indulge my fantasies.

That could be a solution right there. Perhaps just sharing those fantasies could make you feel vulnerable enough to enjoy sex...or emotionally bonded enough to enjoy it.

If I were you I'd try just opening up with my next girlfriend. Don't ask her to participate, just be honest. See where it goes.
posted by christinetheslp at 12:10 PM on August 16, 2007


You can proceed with this project in more than one way at once.

If this therapist is outrageously expensive, dump him and pay a good dominatrix with your newfound pocket money. Don't worry about the BDSM scene at large, just yet, just get your needs met and explore in the safety of a pro's dungeon.

I'm not certain, but Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques work on undoing many other innate thought processes, they might work for undesirable fantasies, too. They are also something you can DIY. Deliberately replacing these fantasies with preferable others is a good idea, but you might need a boost from some outside stimulation to make them adequately attractive. I don't really think fantasizing about Vanilla Sex is the answer. I mean, that's almost like fantasizing about your right hand. I don't fantasize about Vanilla Sex, it's always weird or extreme in some way.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:18 PM on August 16, 2007


Seconding nebulawindphone (once)

Dump your therapist. Find someone a bit smarter. The link nebula provided didn't work. Updated link here. You also have an excellent reason to check out the BDSM scene: The leaders of the community groups will be able to recommend smart/tolerant/sane therapists.

Seconding nebulawindphone (twice)
"And as an extra bonus, most of the submissive guys crowding up the room at kink events are suffering from an even worse version of your problem. They can't even begin to imagine women as anything other than idealized super-Dommes. The more practice you get treating dominant women as people — with lives, interests and opinions that matter more than their killer bullwhip skills — the farther ahead of the competition you'll be."
Best advice ever :)

Some extra reading (found after a cursory google search. looks kinda helpful): here and here.
posted by whitneykitty at 12:20 PM on August 16, 2007


let's get something out of the way: you are mistaken in thinking that you are the only one in the world or even city who enjoys this type of fantasy and that there is nobody compatible to you. consider taking a look alt.com and collarme.com ,though I will have to tell you that it's not going to be easy. submissive males are a dime a dozen.

the thought of replacing your fantasies with other ones strikes me as rather problematic. you don't have an obvious issue with yourself because of it, you are merely looking to fix another problem - loneliness. I don't think who you are is the issue but how you approach people. your therapist seems to be curing the symptom but not the issue.

I would strongly suggest that you ask this question in a forum where you do have a fighting chance of getting the attention of people with a similar issue. try the bondage.com support forum. it's quite good.
posted by krautland at 12:21 PM on August 16, 2007


If you need a reference to a pro dom, I know one.
posted by hermitosis at 12:28 PM on August 16, 2007


Sigh - not it can't be cured. So don't try, besides vanilla sex is boooring. What you need to find is a partner willing to work inside your playspace.

If you have a strong paraphilia or the like, almost all the literature says your not going to substantively alter what turns you on. Get over this, accept it, stop being ashamed of it. If you are seeing a therapist who is telling you that you need to get over it to be happy, get the fuck away.

Find your scene. What's your specific kink. I don't care how freaky you think it is, there are other people who love to do it, who love to get together and do it to each other. There are message boards and websites and dating sites and places that sell gear to better enable you to do it.

For most alt sexuality people, this is a tough phase. This is the "I'm the only one, I will never find anyone that I can be happy with, who I can have a normal relationship like everyone else with" - I know hundreds of couples (and triplets, and quintets, etc, etc) who have found that happiness.

You live in NYC, there is such a wonderful variety of sexual expression here. Yes, it's gonna be a bit harder to find a dom woman at first. You might have to spend time playing with prodoms first, hanging out in the scene, before you find the special person. Depending on how strong your kink is, you might even want to think about if it's as important to you that you play with the opposite gender.

This is hard for vanilla people to wrap their heads around, but with kink and paraphillias, sometimes the scene is much more important than the person. This is okay, as long as your partner is okay with this. You might even find someone else who likes the same thing, who likes to be a little humilated subby, and you can switch off, try new things out on each other.

As for your therapist, without mitigating information, I'd say dump. I have a recommendation for a kink friendly psychiatrist, gentle and skilled with both pharmacologicals and counseling.

Sexuality is a chance to play, to have fun, to explore. You've been given a gift to explore part of it that most people don't dare. Have fun with it.

Now, I mostly know people in the gay scene, but please, if you want more information on anything, email is in my profile.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 1:35 PM on August 16, 2007


You've been given a gift to explore part of it that most people don't dare.

The poster isn't able to explore anything right now; he's retreading the same ground over and over and found himself isolated and unsatisfied. I disagree respectfully with a lot of this advice.

While your current therapist may not be ideal, I'm in favor of making sure one's therapist is someone who is supportively antagonistic to the principles that one thinks of as inviolable. The only way to understand our behavior and needs is to question them, and that means examining the parts that don't automatically affirm the aspects of ourselves that we like.

Granted if you know your therapist isn't hellbent on straightening out kinks, you may trust their advice more. Have this conversation with your him/her.
posted by hermitosis at 1:57 PM on August 16, 2007


PissOnYourParade: with kink and paraphillias, sometimes the scene is much more important than the person

OK, I e-mailed the OP privately, but I gotta jump in here. Speaking from a hetero-kinky perspective, the truth of this statement depends on what one is looking for. If it's just a hot evening, then sure, it's more important that you have compatible fetishes than you both like to rock-climb. If you're looking for true love, then you're shooting yourself in the foot by placing fetishes ahead of other areas of compatibility.

krautland: submissive males are a dime a dozen.

Speaking from my dominant female perspective, quality submissive males are quite rare. It was actually quite difficult to find a sub male that was 1) single; 2) close to my age (32); 3) mentally stable; 4) not socially clueless; 5) not solely focused on sex/fetish. If you take care of yourself physically (i.e., not incredibly overweight/heavy smoker), if you can form complete sentences, if you're comfortable with who you are, and if you're respectful and see women as whole people, not just avenues to fetish fulfillment, I'd say you have a much better than average chance of finding someone.
posted by desjardins at 2:12 PM on August 16, 2007


I see nebulawindphone already mentioned my second point.
posted by desjardins at 2:14 PM on August 16, 2007


desjardins: Speaking from a hetero-kinky perspective, the truth of this statement depends on what one is looking for.

Don't get me wrong, when I say the scene is more important I'm not talking about personality. I'm talking about details of physical attraction that most vanilla people find so important. With a kink, you can be wildly sexually attracted to, and have fun with someone because of what they do instead of what they look like

Obviously, all other aspects of relationships still hold. You need to be compatible. But I think what constitutes compatible is different for certain kinks.

hermitosis, I really appreciate that we respectfully disagree. I will admit there are many ways of approaching these subjects. It just has been my experience that people who have these issues suffer most deeply from internal shame. That much of the root problems comes down to just not liking what you find inside. And obviously you don't always want to just affirm everything you feel (i.e. A drug addiction is a terrible thing to be affirmative about). However, something that is fundamentally not harmful like a kink, and when the dialog is already about 'curing' (which is something that has just been shown to be impossible by all modern studies), I feel that affirmation is the only right path.

Sure therapy can often be about challenging and changing ourselves. But make sure that your taking on the right challenge. I think it's a destructive path to try and take on your sexuality. Instead, take on the shame and the self-loathing.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 2:31 PM on August 16, 2007


A good, inquisitive therapist might want to spend time taking on the shame and the self-loathing by exploring exactly why a person can only get off when they're being humiliated. And whether that is a functional or dysfunctional aspect of their sexuality.
posted by hermitosis at 2:46 PM on August 16, 2007


With a kink, you can be wildly sexually attracted to, and have fun with someone because of what they do instead of what they look like

Gotcha. Agreed.
posted by desjardins at 2:52 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, another thing I feel I should mention here - I have personally known people who have ruined 20+ year marriages because they thought they could repress their kinks. A sense of shame and embarrassment about your kink is understandable, but please don't drag someone else with you in a quest to cure yourself.
posted by desjardins at 2:57 PM on August 16, 2007


In my experience, it works out best to try and date people for at least a little bit, then talk about the sexual stuff once you two get to that point. That would solve your loneliness problem, assuming you can find someone you like enough to date in the first place, and it might even get you to enjoy vanilla sex again, like you did with your last girlfriend, once you're with a woman you like.

Most experts (Dan Savage, etc.) agree that you can't un-kink-ify yourself. What you can do is hope to find someone who likes you enough to want to do what works for you in bed. Anecdotally: while my kink is very different from yours, this approach (just date people, see if you like each other, see if the person seems understanding, and then open up to him/her about it) works better than anything else.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 3:09 PM on August 16, 2007


however I'm deathly afraid that people I know will somehow find out that I'm on there.

*ding ding ding*

I think right now part of your impotence thing might just be fear. Your afraid that your sexuality won't be accepted or appreciated by the person you're having sex with, and in generally (although not always) sexuality is tied up in your genitalia, so it's no wonder they're not behaving properly.

Here's an interesting idea. Why not approach dating with the assumption that the other person will approve of and enjoy your fetish? If they don't you can just dump them like you'd dump someone who didn't like your sense of humor or your personality. Your sexuality is part and parcel of who you are and even if you chose, in the BDSM community at least, a fairly common fetish, that's nothing to be ashamed of.

Look, there are people who only get off if someone throws pies at them, or people who only get off if they get wet with their clothes on, or people who enjoy underwater rape fantasies. These are the people having trouble finding dates, not you. I'm guessing that most women would be happy to push their boyfriend on his back and whisper load mean nothings in his ear. Especially if he's willing, as you were, to reciprocate by fulfilling their dirty little fantasies.

Okay, to be fair maybe you're just afraid that Uncle Leo or your fourth grade homeroom teacher will find you on the BDSM websites. Of course, then you can always just ask, "So, what exactly were you doing on that site?"

By the way, I think *most* people have kinks, and most people don't like "vanilla" sex, which anyway is pretty much defined as "boring" sex. Really. Who likes boring sex? If you go into an ice cream parlor, the most popular flavor isn't vanilla, it's chocolate.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:46 PM on August 16, 2007


Thank you all for your responses. They were as varied as human sexuality itself.

I'm not entirely sure if my therapist is telling me to repress my submissive fantasies. He may just be telling me to find some new ones. I should ask him about this next time I see him.

It's nice to know that I may actually stand a chance in the BDSM scene. As a general rule, I don't have trouble talking to or dating women. In fact, I've backed out of a lot of potentially sexual situations simply because I was afraid that I couldn't get it up.

The idea of a pro-domme is an interesting one. I wonder if seeing one would help me. I think a lot of my problem is that I'm too used to being solo-sexual. Perhaps being sexual around another person may help with my impotence problem.
posted by Jake Apathy at 8:50 PM on August 16, 2007


desjardins: Speaking from my dominant female perspective, quality submissive males are quite rare.

quality is always rare. that is not a matter of sexual preferences but society in general.
posted by krautland at 12:03 AM on August 17, 2007


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