I want to be a normal person
October 10, 2012 7:29 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I'm kinky, but I feel like my life is over and I wish I could just cut this out of me and get rid of it.

*Straight woman in mid-20s*
*Yes I have begun seeing a therapist for this very issue, ok proceed*

So I guess it wasn't just a fluke that 90% of the guys I've slept with did nothing for me. I guess all those weird fantasies I've had for years and years weren't just a quirkily extreme manifestation of garden-variety sexual urges. No, I guess in real life I enjoy hurting men and holding them down and teasing and mocking them, or being wrestled down to the bed and slapped hard in the face. Because those are really the only times I've truly had fun in bed- when I was with guys I met under normal circumstances who just so happened to be really, really kinky.

Well, so now I'm trying to accept this. Which means I have to pursue kinky guys. But, so now I can never again in my life walk up to a cute guy in a library and give him my number. Now I can never meet a guy through a friend of a friend at a cosy little party and flirt with him. Because I'm a fucking freak. Now, I have to either write down every detail about how I like to fuck and post it on the internet so that guys who just want to get laid can find me, or I have to go to some semen-crusted basement dungeon and try to flirt there.

Online dating... I tried just putting 'GGG' in my OKCupid profile- and then it was all guys ever messaged me about, and I felt like they didn't care about me as a PERSON at all, they just saw that and figured I'd be easy to fuck. So now, according to the advice of everyone I've read, I have to make all of my sex-related match questions public, and my little sister can find out I have rape fantasies, and creepy 60-year-olds can send me pictures of their dicks, and the cute little artist boy who is otherwise 100% compatible with me runs screaming away.

And, going out into 'the scene'? I have friends already. I have spent a very long time, in fact, building up a circle of friends. I used to be a fucking weirdo, and now I'm a cool friend-haver. But now I have to get an entirely new circle of friends in addition, that I can't tell my other friends about, and that will primarily know me as 'person who has sex in X way' and try to make me have some stupid scene name and call me 'Miss' or whatever the fuck.

Bottom line, I don't WANT my sexuality to be the first thing people know about me. But now I have no choice.

And I barely ever really click with anyone as it is- and now my dating pool has been reduced even further, and I want to get married and have kids some day and the mother fucking clock is ticking. But if I want to have more than like 6 satisfying sexual experiences ever, I have to make FUCKING my primary consideration in a life partner. And that SUCKS.

I tried to ask about this on Fetlife and, well they just didn't get it. They didn't understand WHY I feel like I'm losing something. But I feel like the entire universe of love and dating and romance and sex has been cruelly snatched away from me and replaced with something twisted and horrible with no love in it, and I'm scared and I don't know what to do. I wish I could just go on denying this forever but I can't anymore. What do I do here?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (52 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

You don't have to narrow yourself to the guys who currently like the things you like in bed. People can learn to like things sexually, especially if they care for you as a person. It's a balancing act, but don't discount meeting guys through traditional channels, and also, don't discount the idea that occasionally, more "vanilla" sex could appeal to you with someone you come to care for.
posted by xingcat at 7:33 AM on October 10, 2012 [20 favorites]

Well, so now I'm trying to accept this. Which means I have to pursue kinky guys. But, so now I can never again in my life walk up to a cute guy in a library and give him my number. Now I can never meet a guy through a friend of a friend at a cosy little party and flirt with him. Because I'm a fucking freak. Now, I have to either write down every detail about how I like to fuck and post it on the internet so that guys who just want to get laid can find me, or I have to go to some semen-crusted basement dungeon and try to flirt there.

Bullshit, there are plenty of guys out there that would be willing to push their boundaries and play a bit with the right person. If the guys you date aren't willing to do that, you're not dating the right guys.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:34 AM on October 10, 2012 [19 favorites]

You are greatly exaggerating the practicalities of the situation. I like perverted sex and yet have a nice relationship, regular friends, etc. The one is no barrier to the other, but if you really are finding it to be this much of a burdon in your life I hope you can find a more effective therapist or some other intervention. Good luck - this should be a source of happiness, not stress and loss.
posted by Forktine at 7:37 AM on October 10, 2012 [9 favorites]

Maybe you should reveal less in your profile, because I have the opposite problem - cannot stand kink, never have, never will be able to, this girl is vanilla to the end.

At least every other message I get is from a kinkster. But almost never in a crude way - just politely drops the keyword "dominant" or "submissive" in there so I'll know the score from the beginning, which I appreciate, because there's no point wasting anyone's time.

But maybe I should send them all to you! Because I feel like it's just one big world of kink out there and I'm the outlier! Otherwise, I think just a discreet keyword politely embedded in your profile will be enough, and if that still attracts too many weirdoes, leave the keyword out of your profile and drop it into your first message.
posted by tel3path at 7:45 AM on October 10, 2012 [8 favorites]

It sounds like you feel the need to acknowledge your kink is equal to being ENTIRELY public about it.

Those two things are, in fact, not the same.

You can answer the sex questions privately on OK Cupid, and it will still calculate the algorithm correctly. Perhaps you weight those questions as more important to you now, as it seems that they are more important.

Most people who are into kink aren't into "the scene". There is no reason you have to sit in a room with people with whom you have nothing in common.

If this really is as important to you as you believe it is, then yes, it will be harder to find someone. But luckily for you there are many, many kinky websites to find people. Ten years ago, it was even harder.

It sounds like you've been reading things that talk about a culture of kink, as opposed to simply acknowledging your own personal desires. You don't have to participate in the culture if you choose not to. Simple as that.
posted by frizz at 7:46 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

When it comes to choosing a life partner, everyone has not just a list of criteria, but a scale of priorities. It sounds like one the issues you're running into is that if you make sex a priority, you only get people for whom this particular kinky sex is a huge priority. There are probably people out there who would be interested, who like the kind of things you like, but who don't consider themselves defined by a kink, who prioritize other aspects of their life above the bedroom games they play. If you go looking for people based on the sex act, that may end up being all you'll have in common; maybe in the short term that would be a fun priority to have. If you go looking for people based on overall life compatibility, there will be some fraction of those people who you can't agree with about what's "fun" in the bedroom, and that just won't work out - but very likely some percentage of them that you can find things that work for both of you.
posted by aimedwander at 7:49 AM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

How did you find out that you enjoyed kinky sex? In your own words, it was with "guys I met under normal circumstances who just so happened to be really, really kinky." Until you met those guys--at parties with friends, or through plain old online dating, or in any of the other usual ways people meet--you didn't know how much fun you could have exploring a larger range of sexual activities, you never would have responded to a personal ad for kinksters or gone to a meetup at a dungeon. You can be for the men you date what those first men who introduced kinky play into your life were for you.

There are lots and lots of people out there like you. Men who have had sex in their lives that maybe wasn't as satisfying as they always hoped it could be, but they don't really know why yet. Yes, finding those men might be a bit of a challenge. But it's not really that much more of a challenge than finding someone who agrees with your politics or laughs at your oddball jokes or shares your distinct philosophy of child-rearing. Sexual compatibility is important, of course, but that doesn't mean that you need to seek it out above all of the other kinds of compatibility you look for in a partner, all of which are also important.

It sounds as though you're panicking, which is perfectly natural. You're going through something difficult, coming to terms with this new aspect of yourself. But I promise, this isn't going to ruin your life or scuttle the future you've always hoped for. It's just another way you'll know whether a person you meet is right for you. And I promise, it will get easier.
posted by decathecting at 7:50 AM on October 10, 2012 [11 favorites]

But, so now I can never again in my life walk up to a cute guy in a library and give him my number. Now I can never meet a guy through a friend of a friend at a cosy little party and flirt with him.

Nice rant, but no.

Now you can flirt with the guy and see where it goes, hinting at or explicitly stating what you like at any stage of the process from the initial flirting to after you've been dating a while. You can walk away from a guy who doesn't like 100% of what you like, or you can decide to live with only getting 20% of it because he's otherwise so great. All that's new is that you have more information and can decide how, when, or whether to act on it.

You're assuming everyone else to be a vanilla blank slate, but it's not so, and even vanilla blank slates have sexual preferences, tastes and incompatibilities. You never let a relationship fade before because the guy didn't like to go down on you or always wanted you to wear knee socks?

What you're describing is not that out there. Some people do have fetishes so specific and essential that they have a hard time finding someone to be in a relationship with - people who need to have sex exactly the same way each time, down to specific words or items. Lots of the time they still find someone. You aren't in a tiny minority, I would predict the worst you're going to encounter from potential partners is an inability to make it real enough for you, concern for hurting you, or just a preference for doing other stuff - the stuff that makes him think he'll have to go to some weird website to find a partner.

something twisted and horrible with no love in it

If you're describing your imagined dating options, see above. If you're describing your sexuality, please talk about that with your therapist asap.
posted by crabintheocean at 7:52 AM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Put Secretary as one of your favorite movies on OKCupid. Only make public a handful of very specific answers ("Are you interested in trying sexual activities involving bondage?" or whatever). I am a rather particular person in a lot of ways and I found that whenever the site gave me a high match percentage with someone - regardless of what answers were public - they were on the same wavelength as me.

But really, here is what you need to do:

Shortly after becoming sexually active with a dude, you need to tell him (after a couple drinks has historically been a good moment for me, your mileage may vary) that you're kind of kinky and there are some things you like to do or want to try or whatever. Their reaction will tell you what to do next. Maybe say you like being held down. Read their response.

Find a middle ground between the catastrophe you're envisioning and the way you've been doing business already. The normal people who happened to be kinky - what did they have in common? Some people talk about a kinkdar, much like a gaydar. I think a lot of that is confirmation bias...but not all of it. There's definitely something to it. People have read me as kinky even though I've never so much as talked about sex with them.

Local scenes can be good for this; not so much for meeting people but definitely for learning new tricks, learning about new things you might want to try, and most importantly, acquiring the language to talk about what you want and the skills to negotiate to get it. But be on your guard, especially if you're a woman, and run for the hills from anyone who starts saying you're not a true x if you don't let them do y.

In relationships, kink is something you need to ease into. I am on board with some crazy stuff but if a person started laying out specific fantasies on the first date I'd probably head for the hills. Try a few different things with people you're dating and see how they react to it. I've had any number of relationships with people who identified as entirely vanilla at the outset and found they really loved what we were doing. It woke something up in them.

And you know what? Sometimes there's heartbreak. Sometimes you have to have a frank talk before things get too involved and the other person tells you that they're just not turned on by this sort of thing and you have to shake hands and walk away and that sucks and it's discouraging. It's also part of dating. It's part of anyone's dating experience - your dealbreakers are just a little different.

What they aren't, though, is rare. Go ahead and talk to that cute boy in the library. Chat someone up at a party. Every time you meet someone new, you're rolling the dice. This is true no matter what your needs are.

There'll be some disappointment, some false starts, et cetera. There always are. But the thing is, now you know what you want. Now you know what makes you truly satisfied. You know what direction to head in, and boundless happiness - like you can't possibly imagine - waits out there somewhere.

You say your life is over? Oh, no. Darling, your life is finally just beginning.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:53 AM on October 10, 2012 [29 favorites]

One statistic I read is that out of every three people introduced to BDSM, one will hate it and recoil from the idea, one will tentatively go along with it for their partner's happiness, and one will really enjoy it. In other words, 33% of the people out there are still potentially viable sex partners (66% if you're selfish).

Also, I think you might be pleasantly surprised at the range of people who are into this. Not everybody who is into kink enjoys the exhibitionist behavior found in the fetish scene - a lot of people like to keep this stuff on the down-low. You'd be amazed at some of the toys I've found when helping a theoretically "vanilla" friend clean their house.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:54 AM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

I'm glad you're seeing a therapist about this and I hope you continue to find it helpful. It sounds like this is really getting to you.

I just want to point out that liking it rough in the bedroom, whether it's being slapped in the face or tying your partner to the wall, doesn't make you a "freak". Look at how many people are on Fetlife or browsing the kinkier sections of OKC. Hell (and I hate to say it), but look at how many people are reading Fifty Shades of Grey! You are not a freak. This is your negative self-image talking. This is what you need to combat in therapy. Not the kinkiness itself (which is totally fine), but why you feel like it is ruining your life.

(While you do that, maybe you could take a look at this tumblr: Happy BDSM. Look at all those smiles, all those normal, happy, loving people who happen to enjoy the same stuff that you do. Do they look like freaks to you?)
posted by fight or flight at 7:55 AM on October 10, 2012 [7 favorites]

Whoa there darling. Date people for how awesome and fun they are to be around AND for how sexually compatible they are.

See? All you did was add: SEXUALLY COMPATIBLE to your dating criteria. Which is totally, completely normal.

You will be so surprised when you start having those third date lovey dovey talks about "stuff you're into" how many of your regular cute guy dates will have compatible confessions of their own.

I speak from experience. GOOD experience.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 8:00 AM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

My life partner had never been a Dom before me. He loves it, and is very very good at it. He wouldn't *dream* of putting himself on FetLife or anything like that. I told him what I was into, and I don't remember how it came about, but I was bubbling over with my needs back then, and he stepped up. That's it.

Edit: We've been together ten years.
posted by RedEmma at 8:01 AM on October 10, 2012 [6 favorites]

Bottom line, I don't WANT my sexuality to be the first thing people know about me. But now I have no choice.

A little tough love here: Boo. Hoo. You ought to get down on your knees and thank the great whatever that you've figured this out now, rather than wasting away in one unfulfilling relationship after another, leaving partners wondering why they can't make you happy.

Of course
you can still flirt with that cute barista or whoever - you can't tell from looking (usually, anyway) who's kinky and who's not; nor can you tell who wants to be kinky but they haven't yet might the right person to be kinky with - it could be you! I could have spent a great amount of time falling in love with endless numbers of straight women (I'm a dyke) and pining over what I could never have and despairing that I'd been punished with this horrible sexual orientation...Oh wait, I did! It sucked!

I came to terms with it. Embraced it. Figured out, with some trial and error, who it was most fun to flirt and explore with (and how to do that). Stopped hating myself and my sexuality and seeing it as a curse. You're not locked out of some magical realm; you just found the key to a different one. Open the fucking door and go explore in it.
posted by rtha at 8:02 AM on October 10, 2012 [11 favorites]

I think you've actually written a pretty insightful summary of what legitimately bothers some people about the kink community.

There is a set of people there who IMHO dominate the community who are pretty much kink first normal everyday life outside the bedroom people second. There is a real kinkier-than-you issue, not just with looking down on vanilla sex but also otherwise vanilla relationships with a serious issue of maybe the rest of the world, kinky or not, doesn't want the details and shouldn't have to justify -anything- or argue that they aren't being honest with themselves/open enough/enlightened enough/etc.

Going through fetlife or focusing your profile on this is going to attract/filter for people for whom this is their #1 criteria.

So, instead of arguing this a few observations:

1. Demographics are on your side. There are, in general, more kinky men than women

2. Most men are willing to push their boundaries on the dominance side

3. There are a lot of men who are into being degraded (but they are usually very polarized on this away from (2))

4. Most men would be willing to engage with someone who is flighty in the bedroom but worry about issues (seriously: if they have ever dated someone who is fighty in all things or npd - mental health, whether it indicates mental issues, whether it puts them in a position of extreme liability in the breakup, etc.)

So ... You should probably do two things: date who you want and meet through normal channels and carefully negotiate your way to nurturing their kinky side. You don't say that you've tried this and it's the first thing to do.
posted by rr at 8:07 AM on October 10, 2012 [6 favorites]

Dan Savage always says that there are two kinds of kinky people in the world, with about equal representation. There are people who knew they were kinky since age 11, and there are people who became kinky when they tried new things with people they liked. By all means, go on fetlife and all that, but there's no reason to decide that you can't date anyone who doesn't share your interests right from the start.

If you are going to date people who consider themselves vanilla but might be open to trying some stuff, I have two suggestions:
1. You'll probably be having some vanilla sex while you ease into the kinkier stuff, so it would be useful to learn to enjoy it a little bit. Can you do something in your head to make vanilla sex seem more like the kind of sex you'd like to be having?

2. This is stolen from Dan Savage as well (if you don't listen to his podcast I really suggest you start). When you tell someone about your kinks, they will receive the information the way you present it. If you present it the way you presented it here, like you're telling him you have cancer, then he's going to react like it's cancer. Instead, you should present it as a bunch of fun, interesting stuff that he gets to do, stuff thats going to make his sex life exciting. Because it is.

This last point is important. You keep calling yourself a freak as a way to beat up on yourself. But lots and lots of guys, in fact, probably the majority, would cast that word in a much more positive light when talking about a sexual partner.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:07 AM on October 10, 2012 [9 favorites]

You are a normal person.

There are plenty of people who participate in subcultures related to their various interests, and plenty of people who have those interests who do not participate in said subcultures. For example, I am listening to Sisters of Mercy right now, in an izod shirt and bunny slippers, on my couch. Not a black item of clothing in sight.

Compatibility in partners comes from a huge amount of variables, of which you don't need to match on even 50%. Those variables are what make up the entire human experience. That's the danger of our digital dating culture and sites like OKCupid. Don't let it convince you that the only people you should date are in the 90th percentile of "matchiness." That's how they make their money, by convincing you of that.

The entire universe of love and dating is open to you. I know it doesn't feel that way right now, and it's great that you're working on this with a therapist, but you are worthy of love and affection and relationships of all kinds, and no doors have been closed on you. Walk out of those doors and into the sunshine.
posted by juniperesque at 8:11 AM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Bottom line, I don't WANT my sexuality to be the first thing people know about me. But now I have no choice.

Guess what. You are straight. You never had a choice.

Your sexuality is the first thing guys know and make assumptions about when they view your profile. They know you want to have a relationship that probably includes sex with a man.

To crudely paraphrase Churchill, they know what kind of lady you are, from here it's just negotiation. Now, go negotiate yourself some super fun (safe! consensual!) kinky sex. Because once they begin to assume that you enjoy having a penis in your vagina, trust me, your sexuality is on the table.

Explore with your therapist what it is you get out of these experiences. Control? Loss of control? Surprise? The part at the end where he apologizes and feels embarrassed that he lost control? The part at the end where he is not apologizing? The rush of adrenaline? Something else? (Your kink is not what revs me up, so I can't ask better questions.)

Know and/or be open to discovering what your limits are. Be super open to knowing the limits of your partners. Learn to be subtle about what you're looking for. Like Tel3path said, just dropping the right word. Some guys won't even pick up on it. Some will. If you're using GGG, guys will think that's what you want to talk about right off the bat. Be tantalizing without being explicit.
posted by bilabial at 8:13 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh honey. You see how you're kinky but you have other interests and a whole normal life and friends and it's not what you want to define you? Same goes for most of the rest of us. You are totally, totally okay and things are going to be fine.
posted by corvine at 8:14 AM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

Is vanilla sex even a little bit satisfying to you? Do you think it might be with the right person?

I say this because I think you could convert a vanilla-ish person to play along with your kink, but only after you've been having vanilla sex a little while, like others have said. If you go this route both parties compromise; you probably get something that's less extreme than your fantasies (light bondage rather than full on whipping that leaves welts) and the vanilla person pushes their boundaries a little outside what they were previously comfortable with.
posted by slow graffiti at 8:16 AM on October 10, 2012

"But I feel like the entire universe of love and dating and romance and sex has been cruelly snatched away from me and replaced with something twisted and horrible with no love in it"

Whoa there, hold the phone.

Your sexuality is not a curse; you are not a newly-awakened freak who is now sworn in duty to attack the dating world with your terrible, terrifying kinks! You are not a monster, but a human who has just had the privilege of realizing what truly satisfies them sexually. It's not something that happens very often and, no, you won't have to turn in your normalcy card to venture on into the fields of your particular sexual bliss. It's okay. Seriously.

You won't have to broadcast your kinks to the world, either. I and a number of my kinky friends give no indication of our kinkiness in public - and many people prefer to keep their bedroom proclivities private. It seems like you believe that kinkiness involves exhibitionism; only a portion of us actually have that as a kink, and it's not mandatory. And you will not have to give up your circle of friends know that you are The Kinky Monster (not that you are a monster whatsoever, just want to reiterate). Whether or not you disclose to them is up to you, but you absolutely can go on and enjoy your friendships without chucking them to find Brand New Kinky Friends. The vanilla and kinky worlds intersect. You do not have to swear your allegiance to one or the other.

I promise that you will be able to find love, happiness and all of the fuzzy bubbly feelings without sacrificing what you want in a sexual partner.

P.S.: You better give that cute guy in the library your number, because he MIGHT be the cute KINKY guy in the library who is way too shy to go to those dungeons or go on FetLife. That attractive dude on OKCupid who reads as straightlaced may, after you get to know him, find nothing sexier than being pinned to a wall by you. Stranger things have happened.

Give yourself a hug because you're being really hard on yourself, okay?
posted by Ashen at 8:28 AM on October 10, 2012 [8 favorites]

How do you think people resolved this kind of thing before it was easy to advertise? I exited the dating scene long before there was an OKCupid, etc. And I admit I had occasion to hear timid, private confessions about special needs like this that were just full of hesitation, embarrassment, and shame. But it was seriously no big deal to me to hear it--it's just funny how some people are built, really, and it's nice to be able to help if you can.

What I'm saying is you don't need to *advertise* you're GGG, if I understand the term correctly. What you need is to *find* it. And I can't imagine it's really that uncommon among the pool of people who don't share your particular kink.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 8:30 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is less of a big deal than you feel like it is right now. Your thinking sounds akin to some of my gay friends as they were coming out - that by admitting their attractions, they were majorly limiting themselves. None of them feel that way today - they are all happy that they had the courage to ask for what they needed.

Most people have at least some fantasies that are out of the mainstream. The good news is, as far as 'kink' goes, the things you mention are very common. Even more conveniently for you, you mention liking both dominant and submissive activities, which means that you could have fun kinky sex with most kink-oriented partners.

Also, "twisted and horrible with no love in it" does not describe kink, or at least not the kind I have interacted with. It is a very loving thing to want to meet your partners needs. It is a very loving thing to give and receive the kind of sex that leaves you breathless, whatever that means for you. I think you'll understand this better once you've experienced the overwhelming relief of really being fulfilled in your sexual life for the first time.
posted by zug at 8:36 AM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Everyone has criteria for a romantic partner, which run the gamut from required to would-be-nice. You've just discovered a new criterion of yours, allowing you to more efficiently seek out and choose romantic partners you are compatible with. Congrats.
posted by The Dutchman at 8:36 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Of course you have a choice. The reason you think you have to put your kink out there, front and center, is because it seems like you think the rest of us don't have similar wants and needs- but we do, tucked away for the most part quietly with the rest of our sexual/relationship preferences. More guys of all varieties than you can even imagine fantasize about having something special with a girl like you. I have dated them, and happily passed them along to other girls with complementary interests, and they have marriages and babies and whips in the closet and great careers and lovely homes. Even more guys would be thrilled to meet a woman who simply likes being in charge some or all of the time in bed. I have a kinky streak of my own, and while I accept that it narrows the field to some extent, the field is still infinitely larger than I could ever need. Likewise, the vast majority of the "scene" turns me off extremely and I don't bother with it at all.

I help narrow things down on OKCupid by including a sentence or two in a noticeable place in my profile that subtly hints at what I like. Further down I make it clear that I'm only interested in long-term romantic relationships. Of course I still get stupid messages from guys who barely read the thing anyway, but it helps. Yours might be something like, "While I'm very much the type of person who (xyz positive traits that reflect your day-to-day personality such as being easy-going, enjoys healthy debate and reasonable compromise, or beloved of every guy's parents who meet you), I also have a (very!) strongly assertive side that displays itself most prominently in (non-sexual thing) and in (intimate moments/sexytimes/bed with the right guy). I'd love to find a guy who complements me in this regard as well as he does in everything else." Adjust as needed. Make it light and even fun, and you will intrigue the right kind of boy.
posted by notquitemaryann at 8:39 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Meh. If you were disabled, had a disfiguring skin condition, or even were 55 years old or gay, you'd have a small dating pool to choose from. Ask a young kinky hetero female, you'll find plenty of enthusiastic participants, and you can even look them up on okcupid by their answers without publicly answering any questions yourself. I think you should:

-be grateful
-put your actual chances in a correct perspective
-count your blessings
-stop saying/thinking things like:

I feel like the entire universe of love and dating and romance and sex has been cruelly snatched away and replaced with something twisted and horrible with no love in it

because those statements are statistically wrong, illogical, not constructive, and honestly kind of annoying to anyone you'd probably meet dating (not to mention your friends).
posted by kellybird at 8:48 AM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Your kink is not what defines you, your kink is just a part of who you are. It's similar to my bipolar. My having bipolar is not what defines me. I am not bipolar. I have bipolar disorder. You are not kinky, you have kinks (me too!). Once you internalize that, you won't feel the need to shout them from the rooftops. Instead you'll probably do as I do and bring them up in normal conversation while talking about sex with your date (presumably when you get to the point where you're talking about sex). "Yeah, I like to be tied and blindfolded every once in a while, you okay with that?" Yes, I've said that more than once and most guys don't run screaming from the room. Not everyone's up for it, no, but they don't all think I'm some kind of weird monster either.

My advice is to get to know people, and find out their kinks too (people with foot fetishes give the best foot massages, BTW) and you'll see that you're not really all that different from most people out there.
posted by patheral at 8:50 AM on October 10, 2012

You would not believe the number of totally vanilla people that are into some pretty kinky stuff. When I was dating, the girls who were really open and talked about being kinky all the time were usually about half as kinky as the "good little girl" types with really conservative jobs who seemed like the missionary-position lights-on types, not the "tie me up and slap me around types." A friend of mine when I was younger was a buttoned-down high-powered banker that seemed like the model citizen of Boringtown USA and she also happened to make most of her money tying up and beating the hell out of her clients while wearing outrageous leather outfits and pointy boots. You'd never have guessed unless she had way too much wine and it slipped out in confidence.

You don't have to become, to paraphrase the Seinfeld quote, "A Kinky Girl" with the dungeon in your basement and the leather daddy friends if you don't want to (though if you do, that's fine, too).
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:55 AM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm a fairly vanilla person, not particularly interested in kink, and reading your post was like reading someone finding out they are actually a redhead and turning that into this huge life destroying discovery.

A freak? You might not be the focus of mainstream culture, but you are not a freak. Oral sex used to be this taboo thing no one did, now it's considered strange if you refuse to do it. Dungeons and safe words are becoming common knowledge to even my parents generation.

If you were to gather the group of people I know together and tell them you were kinky and you like to get a little domination on during sex, you would get a resounding "...and?". We're not a kinky group of people, but this just isn't that big a deal.

I suppose this really depends on where you live. If you are currently residing in a small heavily conservative area then you may need to take the route many before you have and move to a larger more diverse city.
posted by Dynex at 9:01 AM on October 10, 2012

A lot of people enjoy kink without describing themselves as kinky - either because they don't know it's kinky, or because being capital-K Kinky feels like making their sexual proclivities into a lifestyle choice that should be pursued like sci-fi fandom, or because the word makes some think of piss-sex, non-consensual humiliation, or adult babies. When I go to the office, or sit on a train, I have no way of knowing whether some of the people there enjoy anal sex or being dominated or dressing in leather, but I bet there are many who do, just as there are many who enjoy the missionary position twice a week after Newsnight. (You've probably seen TV shows or films - Desperate Housewives is one - where the regular suburban wife or husband turns out to have a spanking fetish or is a swinger.) I have friends who have fetishes but it doesn't define them in the least, just what they do in the bedroom.

I know that in the UK at least there are dating sites for d/s people - I think one is called Informed Consent - and going somewhere like that rather than a mainstream dating site might mean that you can avoid having that conversation and just see if you click with someone.
posted by mippy at 9:03 AM on October 10, 2012

So I'm wondering about these kinky guys you've slept with in the past.

Because — okay, maybe I'm just projecting here, but here's a pretty common way for kinky people (women in particular) to find out about their kinks: You hook up or have a brief fling with a guy who is TOTALLY OPEN AND SHAMELESS and maybe even a little aggressive and pushy about getting you to participate in his kinks. You find you enjoy some of them too. And then you sort of feel like "Wait... crap. What does this say about me?"

And here's the tough thing. Men who will just sort of spring their kinks on you in bed like that? Are sometimes not very nice guys, or not very socially well-adjusted, or both.

You don't actually say what went on in those couple of kinky encounters you've had. But ... well, for instance, to use a really extreme example: I have a friend whose introduction to this stuff was a one-night stand with a guy who was just unilaterally like "I'm gonna tie you up and slap you around now." And she happened to find it really hot. But at the same time, what an unpleasant asshole that guy was! He didn't ask! Not "Would you enjoy this?" — not "Do I have your permission to do this?" — just "Here's what I'm gonna do." And so she spent a long time feeling like "Oh god, this is terrible, I'm only attracted to selfish assholes who just take whatever they want!"

Eventually she met a nice dominant guy who wasn't that sort of selfish creepy quasi-rapist, and she realized that she liked guys like that even better, and then it was okay. There's the happy ending to the story. But she spent a lot of time feeling desperate — and, like, doomed-to-date-awful-people — before she got to the happy ending.

I'm not saying the kinky dude(s) you've slept with were selfish creepy quasi-rapists. I'm not necessarily saying there was anything at all wrong with them. I have no idea what they were like. But it sounds, reading between the lines, like (a) it didn't work out between you for one reason or another, and (b) for all you enjoyed the sex, you found something about the experience pretty unpleasant — because I notice you're not just saying "Great! I'm just gonna go meet more guys like that."

So I dunno. Maybe he/they were incompatible with you personality-wise? Or deeply unplesantly socially awkward? Or were into the "semen-crusted basement" scene, and mocked you or put you down for not being into it? Or just weren't the sort of guy you could imagine having a future with for some important non-sex-related reason? And now you're telling yourself "Oh crap, I'm doomed to spend my life fucking guys like that"?

I dunno. It's possible I'm barking up the wrong tree entirely, or just projecting, but that's the first thing I thought of when I read your post. And it is, as I said, a common experience. For all we like to pretend that kinksters are all nice upstanding people — well, we've got our share of jerks and creeps and slobs and morons, and too often they end up being the public face of the community.

I don't know if I've got any specific advice here. I just wanted to offer this up as food for thought. I guess the advice goes like this: if any of this rang a bell or resonated with you in some way, talk to your therapist about that. It's really easy for shitty past experiences to make it feel like the future is all bleak and grim — and when that's the problem, going back and sorta reprocessing those past experiences is usually the best way forward.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:07 AM on October 10, 2012 [11 favorites]

Looks like you've bumped up against something that I, personally, have a lot of issues with - this idea that sex is performed either THIS way or THAT way, that having an interest in a certain way of performing sex means THIS TROPE or THAT CLICHE and then, therefore, defines you, overshadows all the rest of you. I feel for you right now, reading your question, because "I feel like the entire universe of love and dating and romance and sex has been cruelly snatched away from me and replaced with something twisted and horrible with no love in it" sounds such an awful thing to try to cope with. I feel for you that discovering an aspect to your sexuality, which should be something fun and satisfying - now you know more about what you want, what gets you off! - feels like that to you.

I think I understand why you feel this way. You don't sound entirely comfortable that this is something you enjoy to begin with - and I understand why, because mixing violence up with sex is hard for many people to get their heads around; it's considered "deviant", or as you are feeling, "twisted and horrible with no love in it". Societally it's presented as if you like this sort of "deviant" thing, then you are a certain type of person and you must adopt all those particular clichés, and "normal" people who do it "normally" are going to be simultaneously titillated and yet repulsed or unnerved by you.

I think as well that we know, as women, indicating any particular anything to do with our sexuality at all - acknowledging that yes, we are sexual beings too - does open us up to random sexual-object-treatment by random men projecting their own desires on us, which can be disconcerting and inappropriate. This is why the feeling that you have no choice but to put your sexual preferences out there if you want to find someone compatible with your desires also makes you a target of so many people who will then not see YOU, the person, instead of YOU, (projection of my fantasy idea) or YOU, (woman who is talking about something sexual and therefore indicating possible sexual availability!) and that this is unwanted and unwelcome to you - I understand that! That gets my hackles up, that it is this way, because it should not be. And some people deal with this by saying "well, if it's going to Be A Thing, I'll take control of it Being A Thing" and they are, you know, out-and-proud about it, and that is definitely one way to handle it; but if you aren't comfortable with that, THAT IS OKAY.

I feel like sexuality is so much more fluid than the boxes we've been taught to put our various desires in. If the "scene" doesn't do anything for you, then just because some of your desires fit with what the scene can provide, you still don't have to join it. Because I can assure you that many people do things that would be considered part of the "scene" if they wanted it to be, but since the scene doesn't speak to them, they keep it private, in the bedroom, between themselves and their partners, and that's all okay. And you don't know about that because they negotiated it between themselves instead of putting it out front, because it's a part of their sexuality, one part, and they're comfortable with their partner but not with making it public - and that's fine. What you like isn't so "deviant" that you will never find men who enjoy it too unless you go out searching for specific groups. There are many people who do not make these aspects of themselves public - and there are many people who might not ever think they'd enjoy that, or define it as part of themselves, and yet - discovered or negotiated with a certain partner - they enjoy it... with that partner.

What you're describing is sex with a certain, high level of intensity mixed up into it. You don't need tropes or constructs to have that kind of sex - people do because it works for them, but there are ways to introduce intensity without using those tropes or fantasy frameworks if you don't want to. You don't need to define yourself as a "freak" (please be kinder to yourself! you are okay! you deserve the kind of love and sex you want!) because you want something different than what's presented to us as "how loving sex should be". You say "something twisted and horrible with no love in it" but I would say it could be a profound act of love to be able to let yourself go like that with a partner - that is a huge measure of trust to make yourself that vulnerable, to be able to give in to a loss of control, or to control someone else sexually, to hurt them, to be hurt by them - to me this is not given lightly.

I would say keep meeting people as you've been meeting people. You don't have to share this until you start to develop that trust. You can share it by degrees, a bit at a time, until you're comfortable. If someone is put off by it - you know, then they're not the right fit for you. Sexual incompatibilities happen ALL THE TIME without anything outside the "norm" brought into it, so it's not something to worry about, really, it isn't.

I think sexual compatibility is very important in a long-term relationship but it still doesn't need to be your front-line filter. I think you will find if you meet someone who clicks with you on most levels - that you have things in common, that you are comfortable with them, and trust them, and they understand you and you understand them, that you find them attractive and they find you attractive - that negotiating satisfying sex in whatever forms that takes for both of you will not be as hard as you think it is; it just might take a while, or maybe you or he will have to get used to something new; and that's okay, that happens when negotiating any satisfying sexual relationship, IMO, and it changes and evolves and morphs over time and investment and trust. Hang in there, and I hope my thoughts can help you out in processing this; you're welcome to MeMail me if you would help to discuss it further.
posted by flex at 9:07 AM on October 10, 2012 [11 favorites]

You're making a few common but incorrect assumptions here:

- that your preferences are super-rare
- that the kinky people are all obvious/vocal/scene-y, and you have to restrict yourself to that crowd
- that you, your potential future partners, and your relationships will have kink as their defining/primary characteristic rather than one of many
- that there's a sharp dividing line between kinky and vanilla people and neither can understand the other, much less cross over

You are already normal. There are tons of people who are capable of loving, healthy, adult "normal"-looking relationships that include kinks of all stripes and degrees. They're Joe and Sue and their relationship, not Kinky Joe and Sadist Sue and their matching leather accessories and five-hundred page BDSM lifestyle contract. The obvious ones are just, well, more obvious.

Ultimately you're going to be feeling out compatibility and weeding out non-matches much like you would for politics or religion or desire for children or smoking habits or anything else you care about. And with any of these things, you run the small risk of someone judging you on something you hold dear: maybe the cute guy in the library is fine with your kink but horrified by your views on abortion or drinking. That's okay. All of these things are yours, and they'll be important to a long-term partner but not really anyone else's business.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:08 AM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

flex wins all of the awards today

Feel free to message me, as well. There is a lot of awesome advice here - maybe bring this thread to your therapist, the next time you see them?
posted by Ashen at 9:12 AM on October 10, 2012

Ok, step one: chill out!

I have never once been explicit in an online dating profile about being kinky (it's in my q&a, but that just creates the match percentage - it's not on the front page). Um, there are way way way more kinky guys out there than you are imagining, especially for the relatively normal kinks you're talking about. Like, I would say probably 90% of the dudes I've dated (met online or not) are at least a little kinky if not super kinky.

Also - just FYI, if you do make questions public on okcupid, the only people that can see your answers are other logged in users who have answered that same question publicly. So your sister, family etc. etc. are not going to see these answers - they would have to specifically have an account, go looking, etc., which would be super creepy on their part, not yours.

Finally - EVERYONE (well, every female someone) on okcupid gets creepy messages from 60 year old dudes. It's part of the deal. You can put something in your profile about not being interested in casual sex or sexual messages (if that is true) - I've found that helps somewhat - but honestly the deal with online dating is that you're going to need to wade through some creeps whether you are kinky or not.
posted by rainbowbrite at 9:25 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have not read all the responses, so forgive me if I am repeating anything.

I am so normal, I would make your head hurt. I work for a fortune 500, I majored in finance, I value my economic stability over fulfilling work, I am a room mother at school, practicing Catholic, and I need to lose the same fifteen pounds as everyone else. I am also kinky enough to curl your hair. I have dated nothing but so called normal men and then I married one. Without exception, they have developed an appreciation for my kinkyness, and indeed the joint exploration and discovery of likes and dislikes that we didn't even know existed has been an enormous bonding experience.

So flirt with whoever you want and when you are ready, ask for what you want. You'd be surprised how many guys (and women) are all too willing to try something new, especially if you are prepared to be equally as open minded about their desires to explore. Just be comfortable with who you are, make no apologies and understand your own needs. And be glad you figured it out early.

This is not a catastrophe, I promise.
posted by supercapitalist at 9:28 AM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

What will happen is that you will learn that peripheral to all the most-obvious forms of what you're looking for, there's a healthy layer of quiet people politely signaling their tastes to one another and filtering in otherwise-ignorable ways but caring very much about balancing this part of their life, particularly the privacy surrounding it, with other parts. Then you will learn that modest signaling vocabulary and get practiced at effecting that balance and add one more item to the list of things you filter and select partners based on, and everything will get back to pleasantville. You may also become reasonably adept at encouraging men to explore this part of themselves, which is latent for many times as many people as it is urgent.

In any case, relax, don't worry. The worst part is dealing with your self-perception. The rest of the world, for the most part, doesn't care, and doesn't require that you be a showpiece for your sexual preferences.
posted by ead at 9:40 AM on October 10, 2012

Everyone has already covered the "you can date lots of people" card, so I'm going to approach this from another angle.
I think you're freaking out just a little too much here. I'm not sure if this is simply a reaction to your kinks or the onset of a manic/depressive episode, but I would seriously consider the idea that your mental illness is making you fixate on this completely normal issue and blowing it out of proportion. I've also seen people, when they find out something new about themselves and their personality, feel the need to broadcast it to everyone within hearing. While these issues are certainly big and exciting to you, please don't go telling everyone you meet about them for the sake of getting attention. You know how it's a little awkward and disturbing when slight strangers go on about how much fun buttsex is and how they're gonna get some later? Yeah, no body cares.

As far as you describe them, your kinks are pretty normal. Bondage and beatings? Yep, pretty standard as far as the fet community is concerned. Had you professed a desire to dress up as a baby and play the erotic tuba, the advice might be a little different. But there are a LOT of people who are in the community who are into that, and even more "normal" people who think those things are pretty hot, too. I bet the next time you go to the grocery store there are at least two other people in line that have either done that themselves or fantasized about it in the past. And of the people you're inclined to date, they will fall into three categories: people who think it's hot, people who are willing to try it for the sake of getting a good lay or love, and people who will turn tail and run. But you'll also find those reactions in people when you tell them you don't want kids, you live with 7 cats or you travel to Africa every three months.

Kinks don't define you as a person or exclude you from normal society, although there are people who use them as an excuse to do so. If you're going to use them as a way to meet people or to define your dating pool [which, it's been covered, isn't absolutely necessary] please use caution and common sense. Don't go home with someone before you've discussed in detail what is ok and what is not ok in the bedroom. It might not seem hot or spur of the moment, but a guy who is willing to listen to your needs and limitations and follows through when you say it's gone too far is a lot better than one who uses kinks as an excuse to actually rape you.
posted by shesaysgo at 9:55 AM on October 10, 2012

I'm not sure if this is simply a reaction to your kinks or the onset of a manic/depressive episode, but I would seriously consider the idea that your mental illness is making you fixate on this completely normal issue and blowing it out of proportion.

Where did this come from? I'd agree that the OP is being a little over-the-top hyperbolic but I don't think she sounds mentally ill...

(PS, OP: I agree with the person upthread who said you're catastrophising. It's something I tend to do too, when I'm upset, but it is very rarely helpful.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:00 AM on October 10, 2012

My mistake; I misread the line about your therapist. In that case, please disregard my statement about mental illness if it doesn't apply to you.
posted by shesaysgo at 10:03 AM on October 10, 2012

Another thing to remember: everyone worries about how they're going to find someone compatible who will love them even when they know the scary things about them. Everyone. Your non-kinky peers are wondering this. A short trip through relationshipfilter askmes (especially the online dating ones and the "how can I tell if s/he really likes me?" ones) will tell you this. Everyone has that dark, secret thing about themselves that they're convinced will make them unloveable if it gets discovered (well, except sociopaths I suppose).

So in this? You're totally normal. Please talk to your therapist specifically about catastrophizing. To a certain extent, it's normal to do that a little bit about stuff that's freaking you out, but in the long term it's not helpful or useful in any way.

I hope I didn't come off as too mean in my earlier comment. I'm not angry with you, and I don't think you're dumb for feeling like you do. It's a hard place to be in. But it's not permanent (unless you make it that way), and you will move through it and you can have the awesome and fulfilling relationships that lots of my friends (kinky and not) do.
posted by rtha at 10:17 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

You are not a freak. I know everyone else has said this, but really you are not a freak.

Kinky dating can be a freak show, though. By which I mean, you'll run into a lot of guys who are into things you've never heard of and that freak you the fuck out. BUT.

1. You should still feel free to date in a regular context. You don't have to stop vanilla dating, because in addition to slapping and being slapped, you also like respect and getting to know a person and having common non-sexy interests. If you're comfortable with it, have sex early and often, so you can determine straight-up whether there is ever going to be a chance of kink.

2. If you've tried The Creepiest Dating Site in the World, and you're getting too many awful messages, make your profile there very specific, prohibitively so. Determine that you will only respond to people who fit your demographic, who are interested in the things you're interested in. Say you want to date people in a certain age range, a certain geographic range. List your hard limits. Demand respect, and dismiss any dudes who don't show it up front. Say up front that you are looking to date, not just play. Delete one-line messages without regrets. What's awesome about all of this is that YOU get to make up your own damn rules. It's a game you write for yourself. So you can reject people immediately just for failing to spell out words. Say what you want. Do what you want.

It reduces the number of messages you get, and the number of dates, but it also improves the pool substantially. And when the inevitable happens and a guy sends you four photos of four separate people, you can smile upon it as a story you can tell your new kinky friends. (Remember also that you can pare a story down and re-use it in a civilian context. "So I've been trying online dating, and the craziest things happen. A guy sent me four photos of different people, claiming they were all photos of him!")

3. On sites like OK Cupid, I wonder if you could make two separate profiles, one that is kink-specific and one that is vanilla-ish with just the hint of kink? Regardless, you're going to get messages from creepsters always. It's like when you're in a bar and some doofus keeps trying to buy you drinks even though you've told him repeatedly that you're not interested. Those guys exist on the internet, too, but you can mostly avoid them by creating good filters and otherwise simply deleting messages that offend, and blocking users who repeatedly offend. It's like being a MeFi mod, only for your own mailbox.

4. From your question, it really honestly seriously does not look like you're a freak. Let me tell you about some freaky shit: on Creepiest Site, I regularly get messages from guys who want me to wear a diaper or who mention they have "trained dogs" or who would like me to pretend to be a farm animal. I don't judge them for having more extreme fetishes (except sort of maybe possibly the dog guy) ... but it has reminded me that having a rape fantasy is pretty tame, much more on the dom/sub end than the 24/7 TPE end. A girl with a rape fantasy can totally date vanilla. A guy with a diaper fetish is going to have more trouble. You are the former.

5. The best reason to have a few kinky friends, or queer friends in general, is because yeah, it's true you can't bring up at a regular dinner party that last week when you were tied up the funniest thing happened. But you wouldn't have mentioned that anyway, even before your Epiphany. So it's not actually a loss. Though if you want to make friends with a few other kinksters, just so you can have brunch once a month and share your INSANE stories, or so you have someone to go corset shopping with, that's a great idea, and you should definitely get in touch if you're in New York.

Go easy on yourself. Did I mention yet that you are not a freak?
posted by KinkySockPuppet at 10:40 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Would it help to hear a story from an actual not-kinky person who went out on a couple dates with a kinky person? Especially if that story had a really good ending (although different from the one we both hoped we'd get)?

I met a guy a couple months ago on OkCupid. We had a great first date; we talked really easily and he was a really sweet, fun, creative guy. Had a great second date - we talked a little bit about sex and whether we wanted to get into that, and we both did, so yay. But then he revealed that he was into a dom/sub kind of relationship, with me as the dom. I honestly didn't think I'd really be into it, and told him so - but then we talked a little bit about what he specifically was looking for, and what my specific concerns were, and I actually started thinking I was comfortable enough with the idea to at least try once. And so then we went on to a third date where we did indeed try.

Mind you, in our case it quickly became VERY apparent that I pretty much suck at being dominant in a sexual context, and after about ten minutes we just sort of looked at each other and cracked up, and then got dressed again and had a conversation where we decided that you know, maybe we were only supposed to be friends anyway, and so now we are. And the being-friends part has not felt in any way weird at all - I don't for a second think he's a freak, I think of him as a really sweet and nice guy who I just happen to not have mutual sexual chemistry with. Just like a ton of other guys I know. (In fact, the whole sex issue got dropped like two hours after that one attempt and we've been talking photography ever since - he's a photographer trying to expand his skill set and I've been helping him brainstorm for how to break into the headshot market.)

My point is - I didn't run screaming when I heard what he was into, and I didn't think of him as a freak. Instead, I tried it, and when it didn't work I just said "oh well, we'll just do other different things instead and that's also cool." And there is no reason on earth to believe that the same can't happen to you. There are indeed some people who may be freaked out, but that's much more a reflection on them than on you, believe me.

This is possible. Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:05 AM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

Do you have any idea how popular you'll be? I swear, more men are into this than you'd think. LOTS more. Most don't vocalize it because they like getting laid regularly and don't want to scare away the woman they're dating.

Do the scene if you're into the scene. Don't if you're not. You still date like you've always dated.

I mean, when you do have sex with the guys you've been having sex with, you just don't click or connect anyway. That happens with the kinky stuff too. It's all a continuum. Some folks like one thing, some another.

You can't just order up your perfect, sexual match. No matter what your preferences are. It's all negotiated.

So date who you like and broach the subject when you're ready.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:09 AM on October 10, 2012

I didn't read all the responses, but here are my two cents, as a fellow straight mid-20s kinky woman.

1.) Location, location, location. I'm in Seattle. It's hard for me to meet guys who are NOT kinky (unless they're virgins, but even then...). Also, the "vanilla" guys you're dating might only be vanilla because they don't want to scare you off.

2.) "semen-crusted basement dungeon"? Really? They would probably lose their insurance if that were how it were. I don't like the dungeon atmosphere (too drab and dark), but it's actually quite clean. Not saying that it's a great place to go for every kinky person, but I'm a bit offended that you think kinky people are unsafe, unsanitary, and just plain low standards.

3.) You don't have to public post that you "have rape fantasies." You can say things like "you get into the moment" or "get rough/aggressive when you are passionate" and other euphemisms. If the guy is looking for someone like you, he'll understand. And if there are ambiguities, you can talk about it.

4.) Is sex really the primary concern now? I mean, surely the guy being honest, respectful, and interesting are also non-negotiable attributes. Sure, your dating pool might be smaller now, but no, you don't need to make "fucking" your first criteria.

Catastrophizing much?
posted by ethidda at 11:22 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

You know, I think it's a mistake to assume that choosing a life partner is not primarily based on sex, because that's the one thing you do with a spouse/whatever that you don't do with anyone else.

Huh? Oh, okay, so that's just me as well, then.

Obviously there are other compatibility factors to be considered as well. If he's a serial killer the relationship might not last, for example. But I hope you see my point.
posted by tel3path at 12:02 PM on October 10, 2012

Something that doesn’t often get mentioned in discussions about sexual preferences: for some people, certain kinks are prerequisites for a relationship, for others, they’re nice to have but not dealbreakers. Some people’s preferences are set in stone forever; others’ are fluid and evolve over time. There’s a commonly-implied opinion that two people have be exactly 100% on the same page and check all the same boxes in order to have a healthy and fulfilling sexual relationship, otherwise they are utterly doomed and one partner will inevitably leave to go get their “needs” fulfilled. In some cases the difference is too great to be overcome, but as a generalization it seems like a cynical view of people’s capacity for love, connection, and sexual fulfillment.

Never go into a relationship assuming or hoping that someone incompatible will change, or that you’ll eventually learn to tolerate a thing (or lack thereof) that you currently don’t. And I don’t mean to dismiss any particular kinks as a phase, a desire you can turn off, or an option you can blithely put aside. I just think it’s sometimes short-sighted to let that be the primary requirement of a relationship. You can miss out on amazing people who are otherwise perfect matches, and you can find yourself with partners with whom you click perfectly in the bedroom (or dungeon) without realizing that you’re not really right for each other in any other context. Kink is one part of the sexual puzzle, which in turn is part of an even more complex compatibility puzzle. How big each piece is for you will take some time, and some trial and error, to figure out.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:19 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Finally - EVERYONE (well, every female someone) on okcupid gets creepy messages from 60 year old dudes.

QFT. I was on OKC for about five minutes years ago and a 60 year old dude from Australia messaged me to let me know that he had googled a particular phrase from my profile and then found my blog 'and I just thought I would tell you that'.

I've remembered the analogy I was searching for in my previous answer - I don't want kids, never have, and didn't think this was particularly remarkable other than the odd irritating 'you'll change your mind one day' comments. Then years later online I came across the Childfree movement, where people made a huge deal out of not wanting kids, that felt society expected them to reproduce or be seen as impossibly weird or deviant, almost as though it was a political/moral stance that set them apart from the 'breeders'. It seemed really strange to me as it always seemed something which was actually just a personal preference, not something which needs to shape one's identity.

You are a person with kinks, and that doesn't mean you have to join a kink movement of some kind to declare your allegiance against the 'vanilla'.
posted by mippy at 12:22 PM on October 10, 2012

my husband and i are in a 24/7 dom/sub relationship where i stay locked in cuffs when life allows it. we met through mutual friends in an indie rock circle where we spent many years as just friends going to shows and coffee shops and bars. it didn't actually take that long to figure out that we were the two kinkiest in most rooms we were in. previous to getting together, we had found other people in the same extended circle who also preferred a rougher pairing.

it's absolutely possible to have what appears to be a mostly normal pairing on the outside to be full of every dirty desire you've ever had on the inside. it's also possible for this pairing to happen organically.

a piece of practical advice, when flirting gets to the physical stage - hand brushes and lingering hugs and the like - add something like a tiny hair tug or a little pinch of their arm or squeeze their knee slightly too hard. many people will sort of wince and laugh it off, going back to gentler flirting. some will get an automatic fire in their eyes. you want that second set.
posted by nadawi at 12:31 PM on October 10, 2012 [6 favorites]

Man, you have a lot to read here so I'm going to try to keep this brief. For reference, I'm a dominant female who's been in a relationship with a submissive male for 8 years (married to him for 4).

1. There are BDSM groups specifically for younger (under 30) people that seem to be a lot less lifestyle-y than what you're thinking of. And every dungeon I've been to is very clean.

2. Unless you're in bible college, none of your current friends care about your sexual fantasies and you're not obligated to "come out" to them or whatever. I've never kept it a big secret, but I don't chit chat about it either, and no one has ever given a shit. Probably at least 50% of your friends have tried this stuff.

3. I sympathize with you, but calling my marriage "something twisted and horrible with no love in it" is really insulting. I know this has been addressed in the previous 50 comments, but BDSM is absolutely, definitely compatible with romance and love.

4. Don't think of this as "narrowing the pool of prospective partners" but of "opening yourself up to fulfillment." You have PLENTY of time. I met my husband when I was 29, and I had a few handfuls of fun, kinky partners before that. I am no supermodel and I can be an introverted ball of anxiety, so if I can do it, so can you.

Good luck!
posted by desjardins at 3:37 PM on October 10, 2012 [8 favorites]

Seconding pretty much everything everyone else has said, which is a lot, but also for what it's worth:

The friends I have made since joining the kink scene earlier this year are some of the best and nicest people I have ever known. I have so much more in common with them than a preference for "weird" sex - we get brunch together, borrow each other's books, go to absinthe bars, listen to music, watch old batman cartoons; and, yeah, also we can talk about all the crazy things we do with our partners and it's nice to be able to be that open.

I also have a "vanilla" friend whom I've known for years who asks me about this part of my life, and although she's not at all into it and probably still thinks it's a little weird, she's totally supportive and I'm sure she's delighted that I've found something that makes me so happy.

Lastly: I met my boyfriend on OkCupid; neither of us had had much kink experience in the past and we didn't get together because of it. I think he first brought it up by pulling a rope out of his drawer and saying "hey so I have this rope" and I responded with an emphatic "YES." But, we started into the scene together and oh my god are having such a good time exploring it. It's improved our communication by leaps and bounds, as well as our previously somewhat mediocre vanilla sex life.

Regarding the actual process of including this part of you in an OKC profile: I just filled out the kinky sex questions honestly, rated them as mattering a lot, and answered about ten thousand other questions so the sexy ones weren't all anyone could see. I'd estimate something like 75% of the messages I got were from people who I would guess were sexually compatible in that way, and those are the ones I'd respond to. Only a very few were that overt in mentioning it, and most didn't at all.

To sum up: chin up, lady friend, it's going to be great! This is just like realizing any other dealbreaker type thing in a relationship: you don't drink, you don't want kids, you don't want to get married, you want someone to spend X amount of time with you - no different, really, except there's probably a bit more wiggle room here rather than being black and white like a lot of other dealbreakers. Be glad you found it now instead of 10 years down the line with a decade of frustration at your back.
posted by krakenattack at 9:55 AM on October 11, 2012

Forgive me for putting this out of order, but I wanted to put the TL;DR up top.

But I feel like the entire universe of love and dating and romance and sex has been cruelly snatched away from me and replaced with something twisted and horrible with no love in it, and I'm scared and I don't know what to do.

There is so much love to look forward to in your life, it would blind you to look directly at it. Kinky romance is just as stupid and gooshy and goofy and cute and awwwwww and “did he write, did he write?!” and blushes and giggles and warmth and commitment and mutual support (emotional, financial, interpersonal) and birthday cakes and anniversary dinners and weddings with all your friends and family and housebuying and kid-having and all of it as vanilla romance. By figuring this all out NOW, you are GAINING all these things, not losing them. You are gaining them because you now have the opportunity to pursue them with someone you are sexually compatible with. You are gaining them because you now have the opportunity to divest yourself of your unnecessary shame and fear, and build relationships based on integrity, mutual vulnerability, deep love, good communication, and hot, hot, hot sex.

(and now in sequence. . .)

No, I guess in real life I enjoy hurting men and holding them down and teasing and mocking them, or being wrestled down to the bed and slapped hard in the face. Because those are really the only times I've truly had fun in bed- when I was with guys I met under normal circumstances who just so happened to be really, really kinky.

Honestly, and I mean this kindly, this is pretty mild stuff. There are lots of men out there who like what you like, not just in a “there are 7 billion people” sort of way, but proportionally. It is, in fact, entirely possible – even likely – that some of those very men you were having unsatisfying sex with are pleasingly kinky, but were having many of the same feelings you have about it (not really realizing how much they wanted it, not feeling comfortable bringing it up with an ostensibly vanilla partner.)

But, so now I can never again in my life walk up to a cute guy in a library and give him my number.

Yes, you can. You’re as likely to be sexually compatible with some cute guy at the library as anyone else is.

Now I can never meet a guy through a friend of a friend at a cosy little party and flirt with him.

Yes, you can. Kinky people go to cosy little parties, too. Kinky people bake cupcakes. Kinky people knit. Good god, do kinky people knit. It’s like a thing.

Because I'm a fucking freak.

You’re really pretty normal. You probably have as many potential sex partners as, say, a gay man, maybe more.

Now, I have to either write down every detail about how I like to fuck and post it on the internet so that guys who just want to get laid can find me,

You really don’t. tel3path’s point is spot on. Also, you can seek partners out without revealing everything about yourself. I know it’s kind of cheating, but you can create a dummy profile so that you can see other people’s sex answers without revealing your own in your “real” profile.

or I have to go to some semen-crusted basement dungeon and try to flirt there.

The basement dungeons I’ve been in have been more like hobbit-holes with grab bars. I mean, not that you have to seek out basement dungeons anyway, but when you’re visualizing these things, think more “finished basement with accoutrements” than “porn prison set”.

But now I have to get an entirely new circle of friends in addition, that I can't tell my other friends about, and that will primarily know me as 'person who has sex in X way' and try to make me have some stupid scene name and call me 'Miss' or whatever the fuck.

Any kinky friends you make will be just as discreet about their sex lives as your “normal” friends, probably more so. In fact, some of your normal friends probably are kinky friends, and you just don’t know about it. Meaning, there will be people who let it all hang out, and there will be people who you wouldn’t even know had a sex life. The reason people use “scene names” is actually much more for discretion than for any erotic purpose. Anyone who calls you a name you don’t want to be called is a jerk, just like they would be in a vanilla context. There’s this other thing too – when everyone’s kinky, no-one is. Your kinky friends might know more about your sex life than your vanilla friends, but that information won’t be as charged for them.

You don’t have to have any new kinky friends at all, other than your partner(s), but it would be a way for you to attend to all this self-othering and fear and catastrophizing and shame you’re feeling.

Kinky friends you make will be people you like, for their various awesome qualities, just like any other friends you make. They'd be people whom you'd be pleased to introduce to your vanilla friends.

Like in the vanilla scene, there are jerks in kinkdom. Like in the vanilla scene, there are some dangerous people. Like in the vanilla scene, there are local subcultures which are dominated by unpleasant assholes and unpleasant dynamics and One True Wayism. There are people who are sure that the way it is in their particular subsubculture is the way it is everywhere.

There are also lots of people in kinkdom who are awesome. Smart and loving and thoughtful and good at communication and emotionally present. There are lots of people in kinkdom who are JUST LIKE YOU. There are scenes and subcultures which will feel like home. There are potential lovers who will make you feel like joy is pouring through your body.

Really. It’s going to be great.

come to the dark side -- we have cookies
posted by endless_forms at 1:32 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

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