Inconvenient sexual kinks and long-term relationships
September 16, 2016 6:55 PM   Subscribe

Gentle, compassionate man seeks intelligent, self-assured woman for a life of emotional intimacy, tenderness, and borderline violent and demeaning sex. :( How could this possibly work?

We don't choose our fetishes and I *definitely* would not choose mine. Since my adolescent sexual awakening, pre-internet, I have found gratification in dark, sadistic imagery usually involving anal sex. I have never and *would never* hurt someone. This has always been a highly compartmentalized part of my life, but it has been constant, and it's not realistic to believe it will go away.

All of my long-term partners have eventually become frustrated with my inability to fully enjoy traditional sex (a man can only fake it to a certain point) and that is usually a turning point in the relationship. And I get it. My sexuality is contemptible. But I am not contemptible.

I know that I will not find a partner who is sexually compatible with me over a long-term. There is no female BDSM-friendly puzzle piece that fits me, not sustainably. Rather, I'm looking for advice or online resources about ways to introduce and maintain a long-term relationship where sex is, I guess, limited, and there is an understanding.

There is so much simulated rape porn on the internet that I know my kink, though hateful and seemingly extreme, is far from uncommon. Help me and you help others.

Therapy: since this is AskMeFi, someone will suggest this. Please assume that therapy is happening.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (28 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Do you enjoy getting your partners off even if you're not going to get off with them? If so, that may open up your options. It's still a significant thing to get past, since most of us want to feel sexually desired by our partners, but it could potentially be worked through. If this is the case I'd be upfront about it early in the relationship (prior to having sex; don't fake anything!)

(I assume you've used FetLife to look for someone both sexually and emotionally compatible already, and that you've looked into ways to make your kink less of an overarching part of your sexuality.)
posted by metasarah at 7:26 PM on September 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Have you tried to become active at all in your local BDSM community? It can be very supportive to find out that their are other folks out there dealing with accepting their own sadistic or masochistic desires. (And god knows, it took me years to come to terms with mine.)

Why do you say that there can be no longterm kinky sexual match? There are a lot of other freaky folks out there.
posted by mkuhnell at 7:38 PM on September 16, 2016 [12 favorites]

I honestly don't know much about heterosexual sex, but I am surprised by the idea that this is something that you think rules out a sexually compatible relationship. It's not an everyday interest, sure, but it really doesn't seem like something that far outside the realm of the ordinary, to the point of ruling out a mutually satisfying sexual relationship. It's kinky, but it's not that kinky.
posted by mister pointy at 7:40 PM on September 16, 2016 [7 favorites]

I know couples where one partner is vanilla and the other isn't and the one that wasn't went to a professional dominatrix to have specifically done what you want. You can and should find someone who might be cool with that. You have to be picky about the professional you choose, but this is an option.

Shame this wasn't 10+ years ago. I woulda been so down with this! For real, I can not be the only person who you could have successfully dated.

Maybe post to dating websites where your sexual preference is a feature not a bug?
posted by jbenben at 7:42 PM on September 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

For how to have a relationship with less sex: be upfront from the beginning about how much sex you'll be able to offer. There are women out there with low sex drives/asexual who are perfectly content with occasional or never. You don't have to explain why, just say you have a low sex drive. If you're looking on okcupid you can answer a bunch of questions that put sex as a low priority for you.

Also consider if you're open to poly/open relationships. This is currently the relationship I'm in: I have low sex drive, he has a high sex drive, so we live together and have a very good non-sexual relationship and he has other girlfriends. You could also have occasional nights to indulge your fetish (you mention that the piece doesn't exist to match you sustainably, does that mean you can find casual play partners that fit that role?) Again, this requires being somewhat upfront from the beginning. The idea is to weed out people who are incompatible from the start before either of you waste too much time.

Also, this may be something you've tried already, but are you involved in the kink/fetish/bdsm community? I would strongly suggest getting there if you haven't already. I know several women who like violent demeaning sex, particularly from people who are kind and considerate outside of that sex.
posted by rpbtm at 7:49 PM on September 16, 2016

Being highly interested in one aspect of alternative sexuality can and usually does make it harder to find a good match. I'm assuming your interests lie more on the 'dark and violent-ish' side more than 'murder and eat' side, and thus, that you can indeed find a willing partner/victim somewhere.

I'm more concerned about your phrasing... Rough anally focused sex doesn't even make me blink, much less strike me as "contemptible". Heck, its not the strangest thing I heard about today.

Masochists tend not to view rough consensual sex as hurting them.

I don't know how mandatory female is in your preferences, but I do know there are men, women, transgender, who are into rough sex.

Fetlife and collarspace have different uses and people on them... Fet has more social networking/lists of events, so I highly recommend starting to go meet other BDSM people, and getting to know that crowd, if you haven't already. Heck, even posting a profile on okcupid that is explicit about your interests can work.

I don't know your specific situation or what you've tried, but I feel it is more likely that you will be able to find a good partner if you embrace a healthy version of your fetish... one that simply is a part of you, not something dark and horrifying. You can't help the way your brain is wired, and no act of consensual sex is any weirder or worse than another.
posted by Jacen at 7:52 PM on September 16, 2016 [25 favorites]

Is your therapist someone who's experienced working with kinky clients and generally kink-positive? If not, it would really be worth seeking out someone with that kind of expertise.

Like everyone else, I'll admit I have a hard time believing that your kink is as contemptible as you say it is, or that it will be as impossible as you say it is to find a woman who shares it. Even if there's stuff about it that you're not telling us, and it's more extreme than just "I want to have rough anal sex with a woman who's into rape fantasies," there is going to be someone out there who shares it.

The thing is, I'm going to be blunt here, self-loathing is a huge turn-off. It is really, really unpleasant to be with someone who hates himself for enjoying the stuff we do in bed. If I meet someone who's into the same kinky stuff as me, but he thinks of that stuff as gross or shameful or contemptible, I'm absolutely not going to be interested in pursuing anything with him.

Even if you decide go the other route — give up on satisfying your kink IRL, and look for a relationship with minimal sex where you can watch a bunch of porn or hire a sex worker occasionally or whatever else it was you meant by "there is an understanding" — it will be much easier if you can get over some of the self-loathing you've got around this. Like, I'm assuming you want to meet a woman who's genuinely into that kind of arrangement, and not just settling for it because she doesn't think she deserves better or whatever. And I definitely know vanilla women who are confident and secure enough to be like "Yeah, sure, watch whatever kinky-ass porn you want, that's not my thing but it's awesome you like it." But women like that are going to want a partner who's similarly confident and secure in his own sexuality, even if the details of that sexuality are very different from theirs.

I'm not saying any of this to try to discourage you. I'm just saying, this will all go much better for you if you can learn to accept your kink as basically okay and not even that weird, instead of bashing it as "contemptible" and whatever else. And a therapist who's really experienced at working with kinky people will be much better than your average garden-variety therapist at helping you get to that place.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:18 PM on September 16, 2016 [12 favorites]

Just as a datapoint, I know at least two women (both in happy, healthy relationships) who love rough sex. You're not nearly as alone as you think.
posted by Tamanna at 8:18 PM on September 16, 2016 [6 favorites]

and that is usually a turning point in the relationship

You have to lead with this, not hope that it isn't a problem later. The second time you have coffee (after meeting at some kind of BDSM/kink event):

"Oh, by the way, so, sex: I can't really enjoy it or get into it or want it unless it's quite rough and degrading for you, and, four times out of seven, ideally seven out of seven, it needs to be anal. There's other stuff I can do, on some kind of regular frequency, but this is my main thing, and other things are a challenge but potentially doable, and I need it to experience romantic attachment. Does anything in that space maybe work for you? [...] Here, let's make sure we understand what each other actually means, and let's see if there's enough overlap with enough frequency..."

Find out fast, practice bringing it up in a chill, unapologetic, precise-but-ungraphic, gentle-open-to-conversation-and-clarification, uncreepy way, and move on to the next person if you get a sense that it's not going to work.
posted by zeek321 at 8:46 PM on September 16, 2016 [21 favorites]

You may have to move to a part of your country with a larger dating pool.
posted by zeek321 at 8:48 PM on September 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Can I ask an honest question? I can tell you're judging yourself for being interested in rough sex - are you judging your potential partners in this same harsh way? Because yeah, that would limit your dating pool of kinky and confident women. If your partners can sense the self-contempt/potential contempt for themselves that your question shows, I think that is probably more of a limiting factor than you liking rough sex.
posted by superlibby at 9:32 PM on September 16, 2016 [27 favorites]

Here, have a hug. And hopefully the answers so far have gone a ways towards reassuring you that in spite of your experiences so far in integrating your full sexuality into your romantic relationships, you and your sexual interests are far from contemptible. Or unusual. You have as much right as your former partners did to seek what fulfills you, provided you do it in an open and ethical manner.

Consider the women who participate in the (amateur version, anyway) type of porn that you enjoy. Consider the thousands more who watch the same porn and think "damn, if only."

The truth is that there are in fact many women out there to whom this, the whole package as you've described it (which I understand is an abridged version), would be appealing. Furthermore, in order to get this type of intimate relationship, they may have been willing to accept far less than a "gentle, compassionate" man, and would be delighted to meet one. Likewise they may have been dating guys for years who have never come close to being willing to work with their wishes as regards rough and/or anal sex and its frequency, or their lack of interest in traditional sex. It's not easy at all to find someone compatible with specific tastes, for any gender. I haven't sorted it out myself, not because I can't find someone who likes what I like, but because the ones who are willing to advertise what they like enough for me to notice tend to have other personality traits that turn me off. Meanwhile the ones who would never advertise it, out of shame or guilt or shyness or fear of messing up a promising beginning, are missing out unfairly.

I don't have anything to offer in terms of how to establish a relationship that rests on an understanding such as you describe, but if you would like nonjudgmental and honest feedback as to your specific interests, and how to bring them up in an early dating conversation or allude to them tastefully in a regular (OKC, Match etc) dating profile, feel free to email me anonymously at
posted by Gingersnap at 9:54 PM on September 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

[Couple deleted. Let's avoid name-calling.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 10:14 PM on September 16, 2016

self-loathing is a huge turn-off. It is really, really unpleasant to be with someone who hates himself for enjoying the stuff we do in bed.


If your partners can sense the self-contempt/potential contempt for themselves that your question shows, I think that is probably more of a limiting factor than you liking rough sex

I somewhat disagree with these sentiments. People have reasonable inner conflict over their kinks, and shaming someone for having that conflict is nonsensical. It's shaming someone for having shame: not helpful.

Personally, I find it more of a turn-off when someone is either sanctimonious about being free from shame, or totally blasé about dark or emotionally-heavy kinks. I'm much more reassured (and turned on) when someone knows their shame -- knows their sexuality is a problem for themselves -- and doesn't put on an artificial happy face about what turns them on.

I do agree the OP needs to cast a somewhat wider net, find partners who are compatible (they exist), and at least push past the inhibitory parts of shame. But I don't think it does much good to set the bar for participation at "have no shame".
posted by ead at 10:20 PM on September 16, 2016 [8 favorites]

Let me preface this with I know this is not answering your original question of helpful resources for this particular issue, but I want to provide you with an encouraging data point: although I would hesitate to say that this kink is common simply because adult film production companies prioritize making this type of content, a straight woman that I've known for a long time also prefers the kink that you're talking about, but in "real life" she is intelligent and self-assured, and is seeking a long-term relationship.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 10:39 PM on September 16, 2016

See a pro domme or sub.

"... a highly compartmentalized part of my life"

Data point: I'm a woman with dark sadistic desires. I guarantee they surpass yours in violence. Guess what? Isolating an extreme kink from the rest of your life sets you up for a mess of obsession and self-contempt. This sharp divide is limiting your development. Instead of hiding it, why don't you center it? Bring it into the light? You don't need a perfect match to have a good time. None of my partners are interested in all of my kinks, but we compromise by building in acts of "everyday sadism." It takes the edge off difficult desires, and builds a strong foundation of trust, consent and flirtation. You'd be surprised how far a willing sub will stretch for you! (Pun very much intended.)

Give some serious thought to seeing sex workers or opening up your relationships. PM me for stories and resources.
posted by fritillary at 2:09 AM on September 17, 2016 [7 favorites]

Any time we reveal our hidden depths to partners, or potential partners, there is risk of rejection. It's what makes real intimacy so difficult to achieve. Trust is paramount. To trust someone enough to reveal this particular depth is even harder. By the time you're confident enough to share that part of yourself, a lot has probably been invested in the relationship. So the conversation is likely to come heavily weighted already, and if things don't work out, you may feel the double whammy of rejection and guilt that it was your kink that "ruined things." You internalize that, and it crushes you.

Get burned like this too many times, and that trust hurdle gets sky-high; cue endless loop of self-fulfilling prophecy of "no one will ever love and accept me because what I desire makes me a horrible contemptible person."

I see the best outcome as this:
A) you'll find someone who is into what you are into, and everything else falls into place. Or,

B) you'll find someone who isn't into it (because she's never tried it or simply is unaware it exists to the degree you need it), and you two develop enough trust and intimacy that it can become part of your relationship. Both seem equally fulfilling. And I sincerely hope one or both can happen for you.

But how will you find person A or person B?

Person A is out there looking for YOU, and you're just not finding her. How can that be optimized? As a solution, it seems more likely to generate results that you can work with. A targeted approach inside of communities and online resources that have already helped refine your search pool to like-minded women may be the place to start.

Person B is out there and neither of you have the slightest awareness that the other exists. This is the one I can't seem to arrive at good advice for. It's a total shot in the dark, and the one that you've probably been re-living... the moment when you say to Potential Girlfriend, "Hey, can we talk?" and fear what comes next. It's you, putting yourself on the line, hoping you've struck gold.

If you frame that conversation in "plainer" terms, and think about other things you have had Hard Conversations about, the pain may be lessened as you learn not to internalize it, and not use words like 'contemptible' to describe yourself. You want what you want, be it rough sex, no onions, or the window seat. Ask for what you need, and if someone says No, just accept it as the proof that it was not meant to be.

Anything can be a dealbreaker. What needs to be repaired is your perception that what you want makes you a bad person. All it means is that the person who isn't on board, isn't on board. And if they actually make you feel dirty or bad or whatever, it's even MORE proof that they are not the one for you. Rather than be hurt by that, celebrate it as the giant heads-up that it is! "WHEW- no need to waste any more time on THAT one! NEXT!" and keep looking.

(speaking as one who doesn't share your specific kink, but one who has her own stuff that leads to similar situations. You can get demoralized pretty fast when you feel isolated in some way, thinking you will never find anyone who can play on your level, as it were.)
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:26 AM on September 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

Memail me.
posted by Violet Hour at 4:05 AM on September 17, 2016

I feel the need to chime in to say, too, that I know intelligent, happy and confident women who enjoy this kind of sex. It's important that it's only in the bedroom that she is treated like that. He needs to be otherwise lovely and nice, the sex cannot be an indication of how he really feels about her or women.
posted by stellathon at 5:38 AM on September 17, 2016 [9 favorites]

I know that I will not find a partner who is sexually compatible with me over a long-term. There is no female BDSM-friendly puzzle piece that fits me, not sustainably.

I feel like in order to get real and helpful advice for this question, you're going to have to explain why you're so sure that you will never find a partner who shares your kinks. I know many women who fit the profile of your desired partner who are themselves longing for serious relationships with non-abusive sexually sadistic and/or dominant men, and I'm not really sure why you've written masochist women off completely as a demographic. The most sincere advice I think I could give you would be to date within BDSM circles or to flag on dating sites that you are kink friendly, and I think that's probably the immediate reaction of most MeFites upon reading this question. I mean, you may think your kink is contemptible, but there's a MeFi group on Fetlife, you know? You're among your people here. So if you want us to agree with you in condemning your sexuality I don't think you're going to find many takers here. I'm sorry you feel like you're a bad person or that your sexuality is the source of so much shame-- I don't think these things are true, and hope you can do some personal work to find a solution for yourself. If you could elaborate on why exactly you're so solidly convinced that you're never going to be able to find a partner who is both personally and sexually compatible, I think you'd be getting a lot more useful responses. .
posted by moonlight on vermont at 9:57 AM on September 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

This has always been a highly compartmentalized part of my life, but it has been constant, and it's not realistic to believe it will go away.

I agree with fritillary that compartmentalizing it is part of the problem. (The biography of Dolores French, a sex worker and political activist, might be a useful read for you. The title is "Working: My life as a prostitute.") It sounds like you have no one you can discuss this with and that you try to hide it from your partners. There have been good suggestions above about accessing communities where you can discuss this, leading with this info, bringing down the walls, etc.

Since you indicate you really do not want this fetish:

I will suggest that if you have any medical issues, you work on that in some way. I was frigid in my youth and spent a lot of years having difficulty reaching orgasm. I didn't have a fetish, but did have fairly narrow constraints and basically a formula for what worked. Getting a proper diagnosis for my medical condition and effective treatment made it substantially easier to reach orgasm and that significantly broadened my sexual options. I had thought my difficulties were entirely due to being molested as a kid and having hang ups. It was very eye opening and a huge psychological relief to realize there was a physical component.

I will also suggest that you seek out the services of a sexual surrogate of some kind, whether you do that through official therapy channels or (as people above have suggested) with hiring a sex worker. I spent a lot of time in therapy and read a lot about human sexuality. That was time well spent, but the big changes in my sexuality were fostered by a series of intimate relationships with people who just liked sex and were not particularly bothered by my baggage. Either they felt certain things were a feature, not a bug, or they just wanted sex and were down with doing whatever it took to make that happen and did not see the need to accommodate my hang ups as a tremendous obstacle or problem.
posted by Michele in California at 10:28 AM on September 17, 2016

If you are a good person, looking for a tender and meaningful relationship while also having offbeat sexual proclivities, what makes you think you won't find a woman who feels the same? Don't give up on finding a satisfying sexual relationship with a suitable long-term partner.
posted by chestnut-haired-sunfish at 12:43 PM on September 17, 2016

I am surprised that you would think it's impossible to find a partner who can be compatible with your sexual interests; as a submissive myself I've always been under the impression that there are a good number of sexually submissive women who are looking to find just what you've described in yourself. Particularly the combination of rough dark sex with gentleness and care. As someone on the receiving end of that kind of sex (in the context of an adoring intimate long-term relationship), I find it incredibly erotic and fulfilling. And what makes that possible is knowing that my partner sees women as human and equals and friends the entire time we're sexual together. Lots of sub women looking for doms have to worry about finding someone they can trust to be rough with them; if you're genuinely tender and respectful, I think you'd be a hot ticket in the BDSM world.

(I do notice that you never actual use the terms dominant and submissive, and I know there's not an exact 1 to 1 correspondence between rough sex and D/s, but your description read as dominant to me. No offense intended if not.)

I hope that if nothing else, this thread can show you that there are women out there who would find your "difficult" desires to be just what they've been looking for.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 1:14 PM on September 17, 2016 [7 favorites]

My sexuality is contemptible.

Your sexuality is well within the range of normal. Within some BDSM circles, it is positively mundane. The shame and self-loathing is misplaced and really unnecessary.

I have never and *would never* hurt someone.

Bummer. Because IMHO, that single factor more than anything else you've written is what will limit your kinky dating.

I know that I will not find a partner who is sexually compatible with me over a long-term. There is no female BDSM-friendly puzzle piece that fits me, not sustainably.

This seems so far removed from the reality of so many people's happy, filthy sex lives that I'm actually a bit baffled here. If your entire conceptualization of this kink comes from porn, please find a local munch, do the canon reading, and climb out of this self-imposed sexual exile.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:55 PM on September 17, 2016 [11 favorites]

What? Did you somehow miss the whole 50 Shades of Gray phenomenon making BSDM mainstream?

There are definitely women out there who are into this, and who would very much enjoy a relationship that consisted of sadistic simulated anal rape etc in the bedroom and affection, tenderness, and respect outside of the bedroom. Like, a *lot* of them.

You just need to stop trying to do traditional dating and instead post exactly what you're looking for on one of the BSDM online dating sites. Screen for kink compatibility first and then do the normal getting-to-know-you dating stuff with whomever you meet that way to find one that you're compatible with in other ways too.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:31 PM on September 17, 2016 [8 favorites]

Hi! I am a woman whose kinks would probably align with yours. I know this because I had a very satisfying two year relationship with a man whose proclivities matched the ones you describe very closely (the relationship didn't end because of the fetish aspect--we turned out to be incompatible in different, entirely mundane ways). That guy is now in what is, to all appearances, a happy marriage, by the way. I promise, you really don't have to settle for a sexless, unfulfilling relationship.

Seconding the hope that your therapist is kink-friendly, and can guide you toward being a little kinder to yourself.
posted by merriment at 9:25 PM on September 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

I also think that your assumptions that

1. Your kinks are contemptible (or even uncommon)
2. You will have to settle for a relationship without satisfactory sex

are wrong.

As a woman who has a somewhat unusual kink, I have been able to find someone kind, compassionate, capable, attractive, monogamous, close to me in age, etc etc to spend my life with who also shares my kink.

As mentioned above, the "trick" is to put everything on the table in the beginning, before attachments occur. I met husband online, and at our first date, I laid out my deal breakers. Later on, we worked out if we have compatible personalities, problem solving styles, etc. But honestly, if you're dating kinky people, whether or not your kinks are compatible is one of the easiest things to weed out early. And if your goal is truly a compatible long term partner, that's what you should do.

And yeah, you may have to hurt someone (consensually) in this perfect relationship.
posted by ethidda at 7:59 AM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Many people often underestimate how much control they have over their fetishes. The truth is that sex is mostly mental so it's definitely possible to train the mind to enjoy certain things sexually that it did not enjoy before. This is why fetishes often become stronger and more intricate over time the more you fantasize using them.

Unfortunately it takes will power to not use certain fantasies and replace them with fantasies that basically don't do it for you for quite some until mind and body begin to merge... Not something most people are willing to commit to since when people fantasize they're generally trying to excite themselves. For example, there are people who have very unhealthy fetishes and "types" they're into (not saying this is you) due to abuses they grew up with and these people when willing ARE over time able to change what turns them on so that they can have healthy relationships instead.

Now I'm NOT saying you should necessarily WANT to change your attachment to your fetishes... I'm just pointing out that it's not really true that you have no choice and are a slave to them. The mind is a powerful thing, but it's also adaptable to change if one is willing and determined. Rather than telling yourself you have no choice but to be with a woman who shares your proclivities, realize that you are choosing to be with someone who shares in them and that there's nothing wrong with that if that's what you choose.
posted by manderin at 8:48 PM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

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