Help clue me in on what to expect in spending time with a man who has had dom-fem experience but wants to leave that in the past.
May 18, 2011 10:29 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine has had Dom-Fem experience and wants to leave it in the past. He believes it ruined his marriage of many years (she wasn't into it), but also got addicted to internet sex sites and liaisons. He's asked me out....what do I need to know?

Dear Me-Fites,
Things are heating up with a friend of mine who has had past experience with Dom-Fem relationships. He is just fresh out of a long marriage in which he tried to bring his wife on board with these desires, but it resulted in the ultimate demise of his marriage. His interest was there and to satisfy his wishes, he got pretty entrenched in porn and online liaisons.

Ultimately, the trust went out the window with his wife.

He's informed me of his past experiences, but doesn't want this in his present.

I'm a pretty open person, but have not explored this culture and am not sure about the idea. I have other ideas about keeping the sexual relationship spicy.

Because of his use of porn and online dating sites, etc, he developed a pattern of keeping secrets from his ex-wife. That, of course, is a slippery slope, with little white lies becoming "okay" and really easy to tell. We all know about this.

I'm not sure if he's really progressed to the place of rigorous honesty in his life. How that ties into his sexual needs is pretty critical...I suppose we hide things and lie when we fear our needs won't be met in legit ways...or at least agreed up on ways.

Anyway, I'm not judgmental of his past...just unaware...but the pattern of hiding things does send up some red flags for me. I'm not big on being lied to, as it hurts. I can keep this relationship a friendship.

Some insights, perspectives, understandings of where he's coming from.....even some suggestions on questions I might ask and information I might need to get from him....all this would be really helpful. I've done a bit of online reading, but Me-Fites always bring a good collection of wisdom together.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Are you sure you are not a rebound?
posted by Neekee at 10:31 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Relationship-breaking habits take a long time to change, if they ever change at all. Even if the person puts his whole heart into changing for the better. It's highly unlikely that he'll quit the secrecy and addictions cold turkey.

You're trying really hard to see "where he's coming from," but where are you coming from? You don't sound particularly excited about BDSM and you clearly don't think dating this guy is a wise idea for either of you. What's in this for you?
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:47 AM on May 18, 2011 [10 favorites]

I think that simple and concise communication will set the table properly.

Ask him, -specifically-
- If this stuff still interests him
- If he is still using pornography
- If he is willing to be as rigorously honest as you want him to be in the context of your relationship (presupposing that you know what that is)

Once you have the answer to these questions, you'll have a better idea of how (and if) to proceed.

Entering into a relationship always carries with it the risk of hurt. It sounds like you're being rationally cautious, though. For what it's worth, the fact that he's told you about his past struggles with honesty is a good sign (in my view).
posted by DWRoelands at 10:53 AM on May 18, 2011

The problems here have nothing to do with D/s and everything to do with his ability to communicate honestly. But memail me if you have questions about the D/s stuff.
posted by desjardins at 10:53 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

If he's presenting this as "the marriage failed because my wife didn't share my sexual proclivities" without also acknowledging the many, many, many ways in which he could have been part of the problem (for example: didn't communicate them to her, wasn't willing to compromise to help her be comfortable with it, was only willing to engage in sex 'his way') and the many, many ways in which it could have been much more than "just" a sexual issue (such as, for example: actively lying to his wife, refusing to acknowledge that his manner of meeting his sexual needs was hurtful to her & the relationship, etc), I would, personally, run away immediately. I've known of too many people who use some version of "my partner doesn't share my sexual preferences" as a cover to excuse their own dishonesty, unkindness, and selfish behavior. This isn't a D/s thing, it's a communication and partnership thing being masked as a D/s thing.

However, there are, I am sure, exceptions who are undeserving of my suspicion. If this guy is openly acknowledging his share in the issues that caused the breakdown of the relationship and actively seeking to address them, it might be worthwhile to cautiously see where things go. The key piece here, for me, would be if he's actively taking steps to recognize and address his own behaviors. Is he in therapy? Is he seeing a therapist who specializes with sex and sex-addiction issues? If so, yellow-light-go. If not, red-light-stop.

It is very difficult to change behavior patterns, even with complete willingness to recognize them, a strong desire to change them, and good professional help. It may be possible to do with two of those three elements, but not less. If he's not fully committed to changing, he probably won't. In that case, stop now and save yourself the hurt.
posted by Kpele at 10:59 AM on May 18, 2011 [10 favorites]

He's fresh out of a marriage in which he cheated on his wife, hid secrets from her, and lied. Expect the same treatment she got if you get together before he's had a chance--and has made the effort--to figure himself out and determine how not to engage in those behaviors in another relationship.

The problem wasn't his wife. She didn't make him cheat or lie. He chose to do those things. That doesn't mean he's a horrible person and a pervert who should never date again. But it does mean that he has a lot of work to do on his own, without the complications of a new relationship, before he can be a good partner to anyone.
posted by Meg_Murry at 11:13 AM on May 18, 2011 [9 favorites]

I personally would walk away from this - things shouldn't be this complicated before you've even started dating. Where's the fun in all this?
posted by hazyjane at 11:17 AM on May 18, 2011 [7 favorites]

There are a loooooooooot of red flags here for someone you don't sound crazy about.

Here's what I don't understand. The dom-fem thing was a big enough deal to him that he believes it caused the destruction of his marriage. You aren't into his kink. You aren't sure if you ever will be, it's not your idea of sexy.

Sounds like a gigantic risk to take. If you can keep him as a friend, like you said, you should. Maybe you'll get to know him better over time and feel better equipped to assess his trustworthiness. Observe how he treats future girlfriends/dates.
posted by amicamentis at 11:34 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nothing you wrote suggests he's A+ relationship material (or even C-). You didn't even write anything that sounds reasonably positive about him. So I think you need to ask yourself why you're considering getting involved with him and what your expectations are and, if you still want to jump in after you've answered that, how to best protect yourself.
posted by 6550 at 11:36 AM on May 18, 2011

Yeah, I see at least 2 major red flags here, which to me would be enough to stop a relationship that was this new.

The biggest one obviously is the lying and related behavior. This is one of the worst things you'd want in a relationship, and even if his intentions to change are good it's not easy to change a long term behavior pattern that quickly. He should be in therapy or some other means of working on it for a while before jumping into another relationship.

The D/S stuff is another, in that it sounds like he really feels it is necessary. I mean, _maybe_ that was just an excuse, but there's also a very good chance he really does need it. He might think he can overlook it now (especially with a new partner) but if it's very important to him that probably won't last. And the thing is, a lot of people are into this. He really should find a partner that is interested, rather than potentially setting up another situation where he is going to be frustrated.
posted by wildcrdj at 11:39 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

This is already sounding like a soap opera and nobody's even fucked yet. Why on earth would you want to get involved with this mess?
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:40 AM on May 18, 2011 [5 favorites]

This just sounds like......too much. If I were you, I'd pass on the date.
posted by PsuDab93 at 12:02 PM on May 18, 2011

Here are your options:

--These desires are enough to overwhelm his normal ability to use rational ethical judgment and he is deluding himself

--They are so unimportant that he can ignore them in a new relationship, but he just isn't that ethical

--He plans to slowly try to get you to dominate him but instead of being upfront, he's manipulating you

So which is it?
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:14 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Someone who's really, really into a kink is probably sexually wired that way. I would consider what he's saying now to be only a little short of "I had a gay relationship and it ended badly so now I'd like to not be gay."

Sex is a pretty big part of a relationship. He is ultimately going to want the kink. Vanilla probably isn't going to do it for him.

I think if you're his friend, you'd guide him into finding someone who rocks his world in and out of bed.

I wouldn't come down too hard on him about the lying. He hasn't come to terms with how he's constructed sexually, and his wife wasn't into it, so he lied about it. Maybe his wife was judgmental about his porn and so, since he was so drawn to it, he hid it from her. The fact that he's told you about the lying suggests that he doesn't want to do that again.

I would encourage him to embrace who he is -- and hang out with other people in the BDSM community -- rather than trying to run away from it. Then he can just be your happy, kinky friend who has the most outrageous stories to tell.
posted by musofire at 12:28 PM on May 18, 2011 [5 favorites]

I don't understand why you want to date him if you aren't actively into fem-dom. He clearly IS into fem-dom, so much so that he pursued it to the detriment of his marriage.

A man needs to go way out of his way to get dominated by a woman, you know? It's not like it's a "whoops, that happened" kind of thing. He needs to prioritize it, hide it from his peers and friends, and most often pay for it, in order to get the need met. He's not going to do that for something trivial, something that he could just as easily decide not to do.

I'm sure he WISHES he could just drop the fem-dom, but it's not the sort of thing one just gets over - if it were he would have done that long ago. He's going to continue to crave it, either from you or behind your back. If you're not sure you're into it, just say no thanks to the date.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:59 PM on May 18, 2011

From the OP's question, I can't tell if the guy likes to dominate or be dominated.

OP - whichever way the guy favors it doesn't really matter - he's still not dating material.

The young rope rider really nailed it. It's not his proclivities, it's his character that's mostly at issue.

I guess if you are looking for a further breakdown of the how/why, you could email the mods with more details about this fellow. But really, the three options covered by rope rider cover it.

Don't get romantically involved.
posted by jbenben at 2:02 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think museofire nailed it. There's a lot at stake in a marriage, it's easy to fall into lying and denial about something when open discussion could legitimately jeopardize the marriage. (I mean, lying just kicks the can down the road, but that's a very human impulse, and not necessarily a sign of horrible character. Just normal-level human weakness.)

That said, if you are not willing to accomodate this man's specific kink, he will end up doing the same to you. So if you aren't willing to consider exploring, and you don't want an open relationship, give this one a pass.
posted by psycheslamp at 2:53 PM on May 18, 2011

Why do you really want this? Are you looking for us to sanction what sounds like an emotionally risky choice?

If you do explore this just keep in mind the high probability that you will be lied to and that he will want you to "explore" the Dom-Fem thing.

Just friends is good too.
posted by ofelia at 4:16 PM on May 18, 2011

As someone who's into D/s (domination and submission) myself, I am highly skeptical of the way he's framing this with you.

I don't think the problem in the relationship was that he wanted to be sexually dominated - the problem (or one of them) was that she wasn't into it and he turned to other outlets to get this need met. And again, the other outlets also aren't the problem, it's the fact that he lied to his wife.

Now he's telling you he doesn't want to be dominated anymore, but I find that pretty unbelievable. He wanted it so badly that he trashed his marriage over this - that sort of desire doesn't just go away. What I am willing to believe is that he wants to not want to be dominated anymore. People with deeply-ingrained, socially-marginalized kinks often have a very hard time accepting their sexuality, and denial is not at all uncommon.

I feel a lot of empathy for the guy - it was hard enough for me to accept being submissive as a straight female, and it's so much harder for submissive men because it goes against what men are told makes them "men." Even once they accept themselves, it can hard to find a partner willing - not to mention enthusiastic - to dominate them. It really sucks. But seriously, until he is willing to accept his sexuality, he has no business being in a relationship. He needs a good therapist and a good friend. Could you be the second for him?

There is a chance that he doesn't really, really need this to be happy. Sexuality is fluid and kinks do evolve. But I don't see anything here to support this in this case, and frankly, the guy still doesn't sound like he's ready for a relationship.
posted by the essence of class and fanciness at 5:54 PM on May 18, 2011 [6 favorites]

Yeah, he's into being dominated and he wants to know if you would like to do this with him.

If you would like to, go out with him. If you do not, do not.

I imagine the way he's pitching this to you is because he has a tremendous amount of guilt / shame re: being dominated (well, it did break up his marriage) but he can't work those issues out with someone who doesn't absolutely 100% want to dominate.
posted by mleigh at 12:51 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

So I fucked up a marriage by marrying someone who wasn't equipped to deal with my rather extreme kinky tendencies, and suppressing that major aspect of my sexuality for about 5 years. And I was more honest about my desires from the very beginning, and acted way more ethically than this guy, throughout the whole downward spiral.

If I was not already interested in being a dominant, I wouldn't date me. In fact, I won't date people who aren't already interested in dominating me -- at least I have the capacity to learn from my mistakes. See, if you're kinky like I'm kinky, no matter how you try to talk yourself out of it, no matter how that excited "omg i reallyreally like this person!!!1" optimistic little voice tells you that you don't reeeallly need to be submissive, that kink is still gonna be there, and you can't keep it buried forever. In fact, the longer you manage to suppress it through brute acts of will, the more forcefully and/or traumatically it will end up bursting forth. Because, at least for people like me, it's not just like "Oh, this is a fun thing I like to do every once in a while." It's more like "This is the sex that gets me off more than any other form of sex, and even though I seem to enjoy vanilla sex and have orgasms and stuff, it isn't the same and I fantasize about being dominated the whole time, and I can't be happy just doing what the normal vanilla folks do." And so dating someone like me would be -- no, *is* -- a fucking burden to a partner who doesn't share the same predilections.

Don't do it unless you want to dominate. And even then, you still might not want to do it: this is someone who obviously has a lot of issues with guilt, shame, trust... everything that is important in any relationship, and especially a relationship that involves power exchange in some way. My gut tells me cut and run: he might be a nice enough guy, but he is not going to be a good relationship prospect for anyone, dominant or not, until he works through some serious stuff.
posted by kataclysm at 12:49 PM on May 19, 2011

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