Married Sexual Deviant Seeks Same
January 17, 2006 9:03 PM   Subscribe

How do I reconcile my crummy (married) sex life with my increasing sexual deviance?

I've been what many would describe as somewhat sexually deviant for as long as I can remember. Even when I was a little girl, my fantasies would revolve around being subjugated, used, humiliated and treated as an object. This waned somewhat when I was a teenager and young adult, probably because the doing, even if the acts were completely "vanilla," were temporarily more exciting than my twisted daydreams. I then married someone vanilla, and any shred of sexual connection we shared started to wane once I discovered (via the internet) photos and stories and message boards pertaining to the subject matter of my childhood fantasies. My first husband was relatively open-minded and willing to incorporate into our sex life very mild forms of what I sought. The marriage did eventually end for several reasons, one of which being I was hoping for a relationship that was more in tune with what I needed sexually.

Fast forward a few years, and due to a variety of circumstances, I'm now married to a man who is wonderful to me, unconditionally supportive in our day-to-day life, and truly my best friend in the world. I can't say enough good about him. Our sex life began the first time we got together, and was very highly charged, yet again, completely vanilla. Like in many relationships, it dwindled over time and now once or twice a month is frequent for us. To make matters worse, I'm not enjoying it at all. It's boring, over too quick, and I haven't come (with him) in years.

The problem is, most traditional sex advice doesn't apply. I don't much care for the kind of extended foreplay that's typically recommended. I don't like to be put on a pedestal, focused on, etc. And even if it lasted longer, it wouldn't interest me too much if it was just more of the same. What I want, to be frank, is extremely rough and way out of the realm of my husband's knowledge, interest, or conscience. He's said many times about various acts, "I would never do that to my wife" or "that's not how a woman should be treated." And that's even stuff I would consider mild. I've tried explaining to him the kind of dynamic I like (from a power exchange sort of perspective) and it's completely foreign to him.

I won't offend the masses here by specifying the acts I crave (they're mostly related to verbal humiliation/mindfucks/general roughness though, not extreme pain or anything really sickening). But suffice it to say I've been spending more time online living vicariously through people who actually experience this stuff, and I'm becoming more frustrated and less interested in my own sex life by the minute. I don't want to have no connection whatsoever with my husband. I don't want to be doomed to a life of unfulfilled fantasies and solo sex. I also don't want him going through the motions and feeling bad about himself for doing so, because I could see through that in a minute.

Has anyone experienced something similar and had a happy ending? Anyone managed to completely revamp their sex life to include a dynamic (and related acts) that started off completely repugnant to one partner? Anyone have tips for increasing the satisfaction with sex as it is?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (42 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

What people say is improper or out of the question in the abstract is often very much not out of the question at all when it's a real situation in front of someone. Clearly there's a lack of communication here - why do you think he's telling you his true feelings and not what he imagines you want to hear?
posted by mikel at 9:12 PM on January 17, 2006

It doesn't sound like you know whether your goal is to change your desire or your experience. If the former, however, I'd suggest seeking help with local churches. Regardless of whether you accept their dogma, they deal with issues like this more often than you might imagine and their various approaches to reconditioning impulses have worked for many people.

Whatever tack you choose, good luck. I sympathize with your frustration. Problems like this can be difficult because you know there are traits on the opposite side of the scale that matter far more in the grand scheme (like being married to your best friend)...but knowing that doesn't make it easier. Good luck.
posted by cribcage at 9:41 PM on January 17, 2006

Check out the back columns by Dan Savage. This topic has come up many, many times over.
posted by frogan at 9:50 PM on January 17, 2006

Well, if it helps any, I completely empathise - I have a very similar problem but I'm at the other end of the scale from you: I'm always reluctant to get involved in relationships because I know that with a vanilla lover I'm going to end up where you are now. And for what it's worth, I really hope nobody posts that you need to learn how to enjoy vanilla sex, because there's nothing more infuriating than a lack of understanding when your problem is a lack of understanding.
posted by forallmankind at 9:57 PM on January 17, 2006

It seems like you need to convince your husband to participate in roleplay — clearly he is very respectful of you in the "real world" and that's part of what attracted you to him in the first place. He is unable to seperate this "real" behavior from behavior that takes place in the bedroom.

Just because you want him to humiliate you in the bedroom doesn't mean you expect that sort of behavior all the time (nor would you tolerate it all the time, I'm guessing). He needs to understand that him calling you an effing ho or whatever you are into in the bedroom is really just an act — one that facilitates your own happiness.

I think if you could somehow convince him to give it a chance (maybe on a milder level) you may be able to convince him when he sees how much you enjoy it.

Please don't go seeking satisfaction from other sources just yet. I strongly believe that sex is one of the most important aspects of a relationship because unhapppiness in the bedroom can ruin a relationship faster than almost anything else. Please try to work it out with him first.

That said, more power to ya!
posted by Brittanie at 10:04 PM on January 17, 2006

It might be worth your while to find a copy of When Someone You Love Is Kinky.
posted by the_bone at 10:07 PM on January 17, 2006

Do you two talk about sex at all? That might be a good place to start. Also, the resource page of the soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm FAQ might be useful. The folks in that Usenet group deal with this regularly, I'm sure; a quick search found a thread called "Problems with vanilla male partner?" I'm sure there are other newsgroups where you can ask questions and get help as well.

It can be hard to talk about what you really want, but if your partner is "unconditionally supportive," what's the danger you're feeling? That he'll reject you once he finds out how "perverted" you are? If the alternative is settling for crappy sex for the rest of your life, you might want to rethink your hesitance to try the simple, honest approach.
posted by mediareport at 10:09 PM on January 17, 2006

I suspect this might or might not be an option depending on where you live, but what about seeing a kink-positive sex therapist with your husband? Maybe that can help create a kind of neutral, safe space where you both can talk openly about your sexual desires/fantasies and the anxieties/fears he seems to have about taking part in them.
posted by scody at 10:12 PM on January 17, 2006

What the...?

Fuck the church suggestion. Being guilted into 'accepting Jesus' isn't going to help you out very much.

I highly second mediareport and the Usenet idea. On this ol' internet, there's a lot of reading that can be done. Message boards like Three Way Action (not exactly what the name implies) can also be useful.

And I wouldn't consider it to be a 'deviant' thing at all.
posted by drstein at 10:36 PM on January 17, 2006

the kind of extended foreplay that's typically recommended. I don't like to be put on a pedestal, focused on, etc.

I'm not sure where this concept of "typical advice" comes from but that sounds like radom, lame advice to me and not something I'd ever offer anyone in your situation or remotely close to it.

Incidentally, I don't mean this as any kind of general endorsement, but Dan Savage's column last week seems to be about poeple in your exact situation.

His advice? Too bad you married the wrong person. Get out and into a more satisfying bed while the getting's good.

My advice? Toss our your concepts of "deviant" and "normal." I think they just complicate the whole question of what you want, sexually, and what he wants, sexually. There's no reason to apply either one of you to any kind of "norm." Any jackass can tell you that that's all private business that's just between the two of you, so forget about what's "normal" and what's "deviant." Either you are a match or not, giving and getting what you need or not. There's no right and wrong.
posted by scarabic at 11:09 PM on January 17, 2006

I have to second not going to a church.

If you actually believe your desire to be wrong or misguided or born of some pathology then I'd suggest Cognitive Behavior Therapy - not a church. However, I do not consider the behavior in any way wrong, so I'm not really even making that suggestion. Just the counter suggestion to church.

I also second the newsgroup suggestion.

And as a pervert in a very awesome perverted relationship I can only offer that I've been there. I was not able to salvage the relationship. The man is, to this day, one of my favorite people on earth. He's funny and smart and ohmygod generous and kind. But we cannot have mutually satisfactory sex. And that, that's a big deal.

I am in no way suggesting you do the same. If it can be worked through, I think work in an otherwise awesome relationship is worth it. And satisfying. My partner at the time, possibly quite different from yours, is actually just really genuinely not into kinky sex. He is in no discernable way repressed or cruel about it, it's just something divorced from his life and his desires completely. And that was an impenetrable divide for us as a romantic couple.

(It was all a lot more explicit and gory than that, of course. I was resentful, he was confused, I had tremendous "deviant" guilt and therefore not so much outloud acknowledgement about who I was.)
posted by birdie birdington at 11:10 PM on January 17, 2006 [1 favorite]

Dan Savage has addressed the issue more than once so go read his archives. And last week he addressed people who basically misrepresented their sex drives leaving a partner in a sexless marriage. It sounds to me like maybe you misrepresented your likes initially which was a pretty bad idea.

I think you need to have a frank discussion with your husband. Choose a non-confrontational manner and time (not in bed before sex) and explain to him what your desires are. If what you have done in the past is drop more subtle hints, he, like a lot of men, might not pick up that's what you want. You need to be explicit so he at least gets what you want. He may ultimately not want to provide that in which case the best thing would probably be to break up and to find more sexually compatible partners.

Also, don't play the victim or be accusatory as you should have had this discussion long ago.
posted by 6550 at 11:28 PM on January 17, 2006

I'm also a practitioner of what we these days call BDSM, which includes all of the things you list.

The problem you describe is fairly common among people of our persuasion. I know, personally, at least a dozen or so people who have or have had a vanilla spouse/boy-or-girl-friend/partner type of person while also having - or at least seeking - a dom/top/master or sub/slave/bottom. For some people, it is possible to maintain both relationships. But in my experience, there's a tendency to gravitate, eventually, towards one or other of the individuals.

I don't know, though. I have some qualms about making any generalizations in this matter. It can vary so much from individual to individual and relationship to relationship. It's never the same way twice. Sometimes the husband/wife relationship continues just fine without sex and one (or both) satisfy their sexual desires with other people, be they tops, masters, bottoms, girlfriends, or whatever.

Are there happy endings? Yes. There are some. Are there relationships that just end? Yes. There are plenty of those. I'm sorry. I wish I had something more optimistic to tell you.

One thing you might ask yourself is... if your husband wanted to remain married to you, remain close to you... but wanted to have a fuck buddy as an outlet for his sexual desires... would you be okay with that? Many BDSMers are polyamorous in this somewhat limited way. But for many people - possibly yourself included - such things would not be acceptable. But when this kind of relationship does exist, it's generally a two way street. If that doesn't sound like something you could handle, then my guess is that this solution would not be right for you.

As for re-training your partner (to put it somewhat crudely)... well, again, I think it's largely depends on you. I have a good friend - a male submissive - who did this with women for a long time. Now, he's in a steady, exclusive relationship with a woman who "graduated" from his "course." I constantly marvel at his ability to do this. Me, on the other hand... I don't think I could swing it if you put a gun to my head. To me, people are what they are and I don't try to change them.

So, in my experience, either you're the type of person who can re-train your partner or you're not. And, obviously, some people either can't or don't wish to be re-trained.

My aforementioned friend likes to point out that, if a guy ties a woman's hands and spanks her a little, she'll think he's being creative and erotic. If he says "What we just did was S&M," she'll freak out and never call him again. In other words... the less he sees it as kinky or deviant, the more he'll be willing to do it.

Another tip from this friend: Though he is, at heart, a bottom, he would often begin the initiation by topping the woman. Usually something light and fun, like the aforementioned spanking and light bondage. For whatever reason, it's easier to lead someone down this path if you are, in all senses of the term, leading. Or anyway, that's what he found to be true. Also, I've seen him top and, I gotta tell you, this guy is very good. I'm sure that helps a lot as well.

But yeah, after she'd gotten used to a certain level of kinkiness, he'd suggest that they switch, that she top him. And so forth and so on. As long as the process was gradual and enjoyable for both of them, he usually got pretty far with it. But there were certainly women who got to a certain point and said "nope, not me." and bailed.

Again; this tactic is either suited to you or not. Some people just can't top and don't want to and if they do it, it's just depressing because it reminds them of what they want that they're not getting.

Another suggestions: Get him to watch porn that's specific to your fetishes/kinks.

Watching porn together is a great way to open up discussions and initiate experiments in previously virgin territory. I recommend the stuff that used to be found at; it's well done, not fakey, and has some elements of your particular kinks. They've shut down now to re-open under another name, but I'm not sure what their new site is called. I can help you track down some of their video clips though, maybe even some you could put on DVD. My email is in my profile. And if insex isn't your cup of tea, there's lots of other stuff out there. You might try - a porn search engine - as a starting point. But getting DVD quality clips of the kind you seek may not be easy. And let's face it - ninety eight percent of this stuff sucks ass - even more so when you wander away from mainstream porn into fetish land. Still, it's a tried and true strategy.

Once, on the first night a young woman and I got together, I showed her a VHS compilation tape of weird porn clips from around the world. Though I already knew a lot about her kinks, it was a great way to get a sense of her reactions to various activities. Plus, it was a lot of fun.
Written porn and still pictures can, of course, be used to similar ends.

Another suggestion. This one might get rocks hurled my way. If you're at all bi-sexual, it's possible that your husband would be more accepting of you having a female top than a male top. (Assuming the top has to be someone other than him). It's a very common thing among semi-poly couples; the sub female isn't permitted to have other male partners, only female. Strikes me as insecure and chauvinistic, but, hey, we're talking about male tops here, so what do you expect? (Sorry. I kid the male tops. I kid.)

And finally, you ask whether there are ways to make your current sex life more satisfying. Well, I've had a couple sex partners with whom I wasn't compatible. One was vanilla, the other had kinks that didn't match mine. With the latter, I was able to adapt to some degree. By being imaginative and focusing on pleasing her, I was able to have a fair amount of fun. With the former, it was just miserable and that was all there was to it.

It's possible you could do some adapting. Most bottoms have a strong desire to please. There are dozens of ways for this urge to express itself in the bedroom. Or to put it another way,it might be possible to turn what would normally be acts of mutual pleasure into acts of submission. For example, suppose you gave him a full body massage... while wearing a piece of tape over your mouth? A very gentle, yet jarring way of saying that you're there just to make him feel good, and for no other purpose. For a lot of submissives, that would be a definite step in the right direction. Or suppose that, instead of talking to him about which acts he'd like you to engage in, you printed out a menu of such acts and let him circle the ones he wanted? If it worked, you'd go from being his wife and friend to something like a prostitute. For most women, this would be grounds for divorce. But for a lot of female bottoms I know, this would be a great way to spend Saturday night.

As I said before... all this stuff is incredibly taste specific. wether anything I've discussed is a viable option depends entirely on how you feel about it.

I wish you the best of luck here. I do believe that it's possible for you to have the best of both worlds. Please contact me at the email in my profile if there's anything else I can do to help.
posted by Clay201 at 11:32 PM on January 17, 2006

What Clay201 said, and how. Well said.

*marks Clay201's answer as best*
posted by loquacious at 12:24 AM on January 18, 2006

I think the suggestion to frame it as role play is the best way to go. "Let's pretend you're the cop who, once he has cuffed his female perp, likes to have his way" sort of thing. Since his main objection is "that's not how to treat a woman," putting it in the context of make-believe or "acting" might help him to do certain things without violating his morals. It's sort of like the suspension of disbelief when you're watching a play: the stage puts brackets around the action and creates the necessary distance to let the audience accept the drama as "real," at least temporarily.

If you could use role play to "put brackets around" the type of interaction you're looking for, it might help him to get past his discomfort. I also agree with the idea of sharing some mild porn to help him get into the mindset.

I'm writing this far too late at night, and hope it's not entirely incoherent. I wish you the best of luck in what is clearly a difficult situation.
posted by lisaj32 at 12:47 AM on January 18, 2006

On this ol' internet, there's a lot of reading that can be done. Message boards like Three Way Action (not exactly what the name implies) can also be useful.

posted by drstein

I run Three Way Action. We have both public and private forums to discuss stuff like this. If you think it might help, I'd be happy to give you an account. I won't rat you out.
posted by astruc at 1:10 AM on January 18, 2006

Clay201: insex is a bit intense for a first experience; he'll run a mile. The principle's good, but I think she should start with something a lot more "glossy". Fem/fem would probably help, too, knowing most men.
posted by Leon at 2:20 AM on January 18, 2006

What everyone else says and then, if there is a communication issue consider the possibility that while he doesn’t think a woman should be treated in such and such a way does not necessarily mean that he doesn’t want to treat a woman in such and such a way. The problem is that he might actually think he is simply horrible for having any such desires. His rather chivalrous attitude could suggest that he would have a hard time seeing the difference between calling you a ho and thinking you are a ho. The fact that you seem to think something is slightly wrong with you for liking these things means that you might be more within his perspective than you think. While the porn suggestions people are making might be right consider that a lot of porn is meant to blur fantasy and reality. Maybe screen some stuff yourself that clearly delineates the performance and role play aspects of the kind of stuff you like such that he can get his head clear on the difference. On the other hand – he might simply be vanilla.
posted by anglophiliated at 3:00 AM on January 18, 2006

I'm with scarabic and Dan Savage on this: leave. Twice you've married the wrong sort of person for you. That's interesting in and of itself. What could be more humiliating sexually for a woman with your desires than being in a committed relationship with a "vanilla" man? Is he the one being used here? Got get what you want.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:47 AM on January 18, 2006

Anonymous and many of the posters in this thread (and Dan Savage, for that matter) seem to assume that because the husband is "vanilla" that his sex drive is less complicated, less profound, and less confusing than the wife's. Isn't it possible that Anonymous knows nothing more about her husband's desires than he knows about hers? That even if he's not kinky, sex is just as important and mysterious to him?

I don't really see a solution to this problem unless it's approached with total openness by both sides to try to understand the other's experience of sex. Otherwise, it all seems to be about the wife's "needs" and the husband's failure to satisfy them -- which can't be the way out.
posted by footnote at 6:02 AM on January 18, 2006

I think it's important to make him understand that submissive/humiliation/bondage fantasies are incredibly common among women - does he know that? - and that playing in the sack has nothing to do with the real world in the sense of "I would never treat a woman that way."
That, in fact, his making an effort in this regard is a loving thing to do, not an insult in any way. Doesn't he want to get you off? I'm sure he does. Maybe if you framed it as a special treat he could give you?
Then again, sexual tastes are hard to change. I've been asked to do stuff that I just couldn't deal with, no matter how much I wanted to please the guy. I wish you luck though.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:28 AM on January 18, 2006

I totally agree. The first girl I fell in love with 're-educated' me on the ways of light top-ing. It was eye-opening. (you like it if I choke you?)

You gotta talk about it.
posted by anthill at 6:29 AM on January 18, 2006

It's clear from your post language and page title that you yourself are somewhat conflicted about your desires, as you use terms like "deviant" in describing yourself, and have entered into marriages with "safe" partners, knowing that they did not share your views, and wouldn't naturally be supportive of your needs. Yet it is also clear that your urges are powerful, and long term.

As a younger man, I married an even younger woman who I now know had many of the same desires you seem to have. I loved her very much, and wanted to treat her like a princess, while she most wanted to express her love for me in other ways. Unfortunately, I had a pretty hard time understanding this, and we never were able to create the situations she needed to achieve real satisfaction. Ultimately, she began to act out in some truly awful ways, including excessive drinking, and got into an abusive sexual relationship with her boss as a means of getting something like what she needed. This hurt me terribly, as it did her, and our marriage ended in divorce. Thereafter, her relationship with her boss degraded still more, as they added other drugs beside alcohol to the mix, and she eventually did a couple turns through the emergency rooms of area hospitals, and drug rehabs, before becoming pregnant with his child. Last I saw her, many years ago, she had moved back to her mother's home, cleaned up her act for the sake of her baby, and was doing her best to raise her daughter as a single mom.

I think in the beginning, she didn't realize herself what she needed, and I surely didn't. When she began to "act out," I joined her in drinking, but couldn't keep up with her. The booze gave her an excuse to be awful, and it gave me reasons to be judgemental and controlling, and in a few situations, lowered our inhibitions enough for me to approach being as rough with her as she obviously wanted. But when I sobered up, I was afraid of this behavior, disgusted with myself, and determined not to repeat it. She kept going, a long way down an awful path, and nearly killed herself, more than once, trying to get what she needed. It's a story that I think describes some small percentage of addict behaviors, but that isn't directly addressed by any of the 12 step programs, and so, in my experience, such programs don't "take" for people with these issues. Had it not been for her pregnancy, I think she'd have kept going until her brain or liver gave out, or she met her end some other way.

I relate all this only to say that there are potentials for serious problems for women in your situation, if you don't find some resolution. Few people can live indefinitely in situations of frustration without doing harm to their relationships and ultimately to themselves, even if not to the extent I've described. But having been there, and spent years thereafter trying to understand and process the disaster this marriage became for 2 people who loved each other very much at the beginning, maybe I can offer a few ideas, as follows.

1) Like many complicated human behaviors, I think kink is a continuum. Understanding your kink, and where it fits in that continuum, may really help you figure out what you can do to get what you need, and what the risks of doing so might be for other areas of your life. As others have said, the Internet can be helpful in this, and if you live where you can find a therapist attuned to kink issues, and can afford the time and cost, you might find talking about it very beneficial. At the least, you might get some practical advice about pursuing matters from people with useful experience.

2) If you've felt this way for years, and your needs are specific and involve elements of degradation, I think it is going to be tough to get what you need from most non-kink partners. While we may come to understand your situation intellectually, we "normals" don't naturally have the empathy and instinctive connections you may need, and so try as we might, we can only "act" dominant, and even in doing so, we are hugely conflicted, and often frightened by our own behaviors in doing so.

3) From what I've come to understand of the bdsm world, some people with these kinks can compartmentalize their needs, and others can't. There are people who are entirely satisfied with being role-playing "weekend warriors" so to speak, whereas others need to extend the roles into other areas of life. In other words, some submissives need to find masters who will take responsibility for most of their lives together, whereas others only want to be in their roles in the bedroom. In the same way, some bdsm people are focused on specific acts or fetish behaviors, while others have broader emotional scripts that they seek to fulfill. Understanding your own kink is really pivotal finding an appropriate partner, and in living a sane and productive life. If you need to be broadly dominated, you are going to have to find a man who can do this in most areas of life, and is willing to do so, more or less 24/7. If you just need a specific itch scratched regularly and well, you are not going to be happy with someone who needs to be overarchingly dominant. Hence my earlier point about understanding your own kink well.

4) As foriegn as it may be to you, if your needs are as strong as you seem to make them in this post, I think you have to suck it up, and get them on the table with your husband. And together, you have to decide whether you can make a go of it. In some ways, your marriage is meeting your submissive needs for safety and stability, but if it isn't meeting your sexual needs, it probably isn't meeting his either. Unless he's a complete cretin, he knows you are unhappy, and if he could, would want to change things to remedy the problem. But he may not be able to do so, just as you may never find satisfaction in the "normal" realm of sexual activity. But if you don't, together, find some way of coming to grips with this issue directly, you are both doomed to a life that is pretty unfulfilling in an important area. Is this an acceptable price to pay, for either of you, just to continue the marriage for whatever other benefits and pleasures it offers? Would you lose forever his freindship and concern by trying to recognize these issues in a positive and frank way?

I know you are dealing with these questions, and a hundred like these, but speaking as one who didn't successfully get them out in the open before they became destructive, the cost of not doing so can be enormous, so this is why I urge you to do so.

5) From what I've come to understand, kink can develop over time. Often, young people with urges that they feel are not "normal" believe that if they don't act on them, they will "grow out" of these desires over time. But in some cases, the opposite is actually true. Sexual ideations can become compulsive, and compulsions are rarely good for our lives. If your sexual ideations are becoming more specific as you grow older, it's unlikely that they will ever "go away." So you can either choose to sublimate them (which you have been trying unsuccessfully to do), or act on them. But if you now choose to act on them unilaterally, outside your marriage, you will be fundementally changing the grounds of your marriage, and I think doing so without notice to your husband is morally reprehensible. For the sake of your husband, and yourself, don't do this. End the marriage if you must, but be open about it with him, accept the responsibility for the changes you've experienced as you've grown older, and move on with your lives on some basis of mutual respect.

6) One last point I took away from some conversations I had years ago with a woman who had some of the same desires you describe is that finding a "top" that could give her what she needed was no easy thing. She'd had a number of interesting relationships, but had come to realize that what she really wanted was a level of domination sexually that was pretty incompatible with a traditional marriage, and her career as a corporate attorney. The guy she was "with" was a very intelligent but much younger man, whose intelligence, empathy, and social skills were employed not only their relationship, but in running a bunch of scams by which he made his money. She observed that what made him her perfect "top" was also what made him a natural "con man" in life, and she warily kept him at some distance, except for sex. But she was a woman of unusual intelligence herself, and although she spoke of him with a strange combination of desire and revulsion, it was clear that she felt the compartmentalization of her life that his personality demanded was worth it. Although our last conversation was many years ago, I remember distinctly the expression on her face as she spoke of him, and the regret I felt then that, probably, no woman in my life would ever speak of me with that expression of lust in her eyes...
posted by paulsc at 7:09 AM on January 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

Surely I'm not the only one who thinks footnote has a good point. IMO a good sex life is never without a little compromise and it'd be fruitless and selfish to bounce from relationship to relationship in search for perfect sex (which many would say doesn't exist). Of course, a little training of one's spouse surely falls within compromise as long as he's not written off as the boring one or as having unimportant needs himself.
posted by artifarce at 7:25 AM on January 18, 2006

I would recommend exploring why exactly these fantasies strike you so intensely, rather than finding someone with whom you can exploit them -- in my experience of exploiting sensation, enough is never enough eventually.

I posted a somewhat unrelated question appx Halloween, and through my progress of self-discovery of what point in my life that I'd flawed up the mix was when I put myself back in the position I was then and made a different choice knowing the consequences of the future, and a la Back To The Future 2 an alternate 1985 was created and the repercussions of that decision changed on a deep level how I now react to similar stimulus. A major turning point occured when I had a dream of an otherwise extremely tempting scenario to the former mindset, that instead of reacting as I would have in the old way, I made a reflexive decision of the new mindset and later realized after thinking about that dream again that the old one had indeed passed and the actual change of my memory of my decision long ago made a tremendous difference.

Summary: explore the actual reasoning and feelings of why you think you had gotten into that way of thinking those years ago in the first place, change your decision in your mind as yourself those years ago, and consider how the rest of your life would have played out with that casting-off of self-blame from the start, and begin living anew.
posted by vanoakenfold at 7:37 AM on January 18, 2006

I think some people is getting confused by the use of the word "vanilla" in this context when referring to the husband - it does not mean he is boring, that his sexual drive is simpler or shallower. It just means he has what your priest would call "normal" desires and inclinations when it comes to sex. It is not even a word one used as an insult or to belittle the other, it is just a way to separate the commonly accepted sexual behavior from deviation from the norm. Also, a small advise to people talking about a "compromise" without ever having been there: it is extremely easy to shock people out of their entire life paradigm and have then running away very fast when it comes to sex. Specially if we are not talking about (and I believe we're not) a slap in the butt here and there. People who never tried anything of the sort seem to think the top role is easier. I think tops are usually far more fragile than bottoms. Turning someone unprepared into a top may easily be impossible or damaging to that person.
posted by nkyad at 7:46 AM on January 18, 2006

He needs to understand that him calling you an effing ho or whatever you are into in the bedroom is really just an act — one that facilitates your own happiness.

but the point is, he's supposed to enjoy sex too, no? Knowing rationally that she wants this will not necessarily translate into its being enjoyable or even tolerable from his end. For a lot of people, sex life is not segregated from the rest of life, and to make sex constantly into a 'game' that 'doesn't really reflect' what we honestly feel about each other, could be very unfulfilling for someone who thinks of sex as an intimate connection and communication of love. Just because the kinkier traits are a minority doesn't mean the majority 'orientation' is any easier to change.

I'd say, talk it out, in case he's willing to give it a shot - maybe he's not as vanilla as you think, if it's never really been addressed - but be prepared to recognize your mistake and deal with divorce. Marrying someone sexually incompatible with you is a bad decision unless you're willing to consider polyamory (if you are both ok with no/limited sex then you are sexually compatible).
posted by mdn at 8:29 AM on January 18, 2006

I've been in a similar situation. He was very uncomfortable with the idea of treating me "that way." I gave him the book The Loving Dominant by John Warren to read and that helped him understand that I didn't want him to be a *jerk* -- it helped him understand what it really was I was looking for.

Our relationship didn't last, but not because of this issue. And there were definitely improvements made in this area.

I'm also pretty sure that the book When Someone You Love Is Kinky is a good one to pass on to him, too, but I read it a long time ago and don't remember specifically what's in it.

No matter what, though, you're going to have to eventually have a very frank discussion with him. But hopefully some of these suggestions will allow you to ease into that.
posted by INTPLibrarian at 8:36 AM on January 18, 2006

Guess on my part but I suspect that a guy or a woman told of "needs" might, if truly loving, try to cooperate but not liking it will give signals that the acts are being faked etc and thus spoil what one had hoped would be fixed through talking it out. Not to be a spoil-sport, but it is possible you might have to (1) end marriage (2) seek fulfillment outside of marriage, (3) give up trying to get what you want. I know this sounds drastic in an age of therapy and talking things out. And I do hope I am dead wrong. But....
posted by Postroad at 10:04 AM on January 18, 2006

Yes, definatly have frank and open conversations about what you truly want. He might have some things to say that suprise you too.

Also, sometime when he's really working at making you get off, say in your breathiest, sexiest voice "put your hand around my squeeze". Then after it's all done, if he's weirded out, say that you read somewhere that cutting off air intensifies the orgasm and you just wanted to try it.

Try to get little things introduced before you go for the whole enchilada.

also: Clay201 really does have the best answer.
posted by nadawi at 10:26 AM on January 18, 2006

My only addition to this very interesting thread is to say: if you value your relationship with your husband at all, you must try to teach him what you need. The worst that can happen is you break up, so why not at least try before you bail out? He may surprise you. Remember the old adage about public princesses, private whores? Guys like dirty girls as long as the girl is devoted to the relationship (i.e. not cheating on them), and doesn't dress like a hooker (although I personally don't have a problem with it).

After watching my friends have bad relationships for years, I've come to believe that sexual compatibility is the one most important component of a relationship. Without it, you will not ever be happy.
posted by tcobretti at 11:54 AM on January 18, 2006

He's said many times about various acts, "I would never do that to my wife" or "that's not how a woman should be treated."

on reflection, it kind of looks like his problem with the acts could be more a moral thing than a personal preference, so it could be possible that it would work for him if you fully understood that you want it.

public princesses, private whores...

exactly, I think that's why those quotes struck me on second take - if a guy is likely to put you on a pedestal to start with, I think you have a better chance he'll be open to degrading you as well. The one you'd have trouble converting would be someone who didn't really relate to playing any sort of roles to begin with. (I only get the vibe he might like traditional roles from the specification that one "ought" not "treat a woman" that way, rather than saying something along the lines of, "I just don't get how someone would get pleasure from doing that to the person they love")
posted by mdn at 12:37 PM on January 18, 2006

I'd second the suggestion upthread to try (spontaneously?) topping him first, especially because his objections are coming in an explicitly gendered form ("not how a woman should be treated"). His discomfort may be less about trying something he finds categorically distasteful than about finding himself in an abusive husband role. You need to really show him that it's all right (and that it's sexy), and you'd simultaneously be presenting him with a set of guideposts by which he can start figuring out what he can and can't deal with.

(I guess the danger would be him taking your topping itself as an expression of your frustration with him, in which case it might make sense to start more physically than verbally.)
posted by nobody at 3:04 PM on January 18, 2006

I don't think leaving is necessarily the best idea, especially if the rest of the relationship works well. Give honesty and *LOTS* of discussion a chance first.

I've lived with my wife for about 15 years now. Our relationship started as a traditional vanilla one, but lots happened along the way. Bisexuality, group sex, BDSM, etc. We basically had to be honest with each other about what we wanted, and started searching for ways to both get our desires met.

I still live with my wife and love our time together, but we have also been living with my other partner for the last two years. My wife, in turn, occasionally dates other women and is working on a relationship.

We set the ground rules of what works for us, and make a commitment to time together, go out on regular dates, try to make sure we have time for snuggling and intimacy. It's a lot of work, but it works out. Admittedly, my situation is an extreme one, but That said, we couldn't have handled such a radical change over night, or even over months. It took years to get to where we are, but it works well for both of us.

You obviously have a complex sexuality, but obviously there is more to life than sex. Under such circumstances, it is perhaps wishful thinking that you will find one person who ideally fulfills all of your needs. There are certain needs in your life that nobody else will ever be better at dealing with than your current husband.

It can't hurt too much to get him familiarized with a book on the subject. Talking about it is a good idea too. It might be a good idea to search around for a BDSM-friendly counselor for the two of you to talk to. There are many out there that are known to be friendly within the BDSM, poly, bi, GLBT, etc. communities. I would be willing to help you find one -- take a look at my profile and email me if you are interested.

I would warn you about one thing though. I know a woman who became gradually more obsessed with being submissive, to the point where she really wanted to be a fulltime, live-in submissive. She had a good -- but vanilla -- partner and a successful career, but she lost both, dealt with a lot of creepy guys, was brutally raped, was essentially kidnapped, forced not to contact her friends and family, etc.

None of this was fun. It certainly didn't safely fullfill her fetish, and, unfortunately, it was very hard for her psychologically to break away from. She's still a victim to her desires, but at least she has a relationship that mostly works for her now.

Another friend of mine in a BDSM relationship had an obsessive boyfriend. When she left her, he hunted her down and stabbed her repeatedly. She lived, though it took her years to recover. That said, she'll never be the same.

Sadly, there are a lot of really messed up dominants out there. Not all, certainly, but many. What you need to find are people who are healthy, mature, respectful, and consentual. That's a lot harder to do than it seems. In the last case I mentioned, the woman's boyfriend in question was very well established in the local BDSM community, so maintaining her safety and privacy from the continued stalking attempts of her former partner meant avoiding the scene entirely.

That's why no matter what happens, you need someone you can trust who can help protect you from this. Try finding such a person first before you start meeting all-too-willing strangers.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:53 PM on January 18, 2006

"you need someone you can trust who can help protect you from this"

i.e. Ideally a mentor who lives locally, and doesn't have overpowering ulterior motives. Another local female who is involved in the local BDSM community and who knows the ropes and how to protect themselves would be a good choice. There is safety in numbers.

Chances are you can find one easily enough through Craigslist, LiveJournal or local LJ communities,, local Yahoo BDSM groups, local BDSM maillists, etc.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:31 AM on January 19, 2006

Finding local BDSM groups is, as insomnia_lj says, pretty easy. Almost all of them have a "Yahoo Group" or similar name brand e-mail list through which they announce meeting info and so forth. However, a search of these groups from the Yahoo Groups search engine won't turn them up. Why not? Well, a while back, yahoo began hiding "adult" groups from their own search engine (and, as far as I know, from Google as well). So you have to find the links through less direct means; either by finding an individual group's website (just google NameOfYourTown BDSM) or by consulting a list maintained by a third party. In my experience, the most complete and most up to date list of this type on the internet is this one . Just click on the link for your state or province and presto.
posted by Clay201 at 3:52 AM on January 19, 2006

Another plea to give your husband a chance. If you never tell him what you want, he will never have the chance to make you happy. And a really loving husband will do a great deal to keep his partner happy.

I suggest giving him a script. For his birthday, my own partner gave me a script which spelled out what I was to wear, what I was to say, and what I was to do. It sounds artificial, but it turned out very well-- we had a very exciting encounter.

Prep him by suggesting that each Sunday afternoon you take turns fulfilling the other person's fantasy. Write out exactly what you would like him to do and with each passing week, up the ante. This Sunday you play nurse (or whatever he has in mind) and next Sunday he plays pirate (or whatever you have in mind.)

With humor, common sense, empathy, and love any number of obstacles can be over come.

Good luck!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:38 AM on January 19, 2006

Oh honey, I sympathize. I've been on both ends of this and it's difficult either way. My current beloved understands that I like a little kink in the bedroom, but for him its difficult to deal with. Mainly because he comes from a family that encouraged him to completely suppress all violent tendancies and he has difficulty with allowing himself to let go. A lot of men have been trained for so long that you "don't treat a woman like that" and it's very difficult for them to switch gears. My sweetie has said that it's kinda of scary for him, because he's not sure if he opens that door in himself that he could shut it again. But he's willing to try and I'm willing to work with on finding a middle ground that mutually satisfiying.

I agree with everyone else, frank, honest communication is your only way to deal with it.

I'm sure I'll get yelled at here, but one thing that helps me is to not obsess so very much on that one thing he doesn't do(whatever that may be) and just take pleasure in his body and what he does do.

Then again I work on that in every facet of our relationship. I'd adore it if he'd shave off his beard, but that's not something he wants to do, so I just deal and love him for all his fuzziness.
posted by teleri025 at 10:35 AM on January 19, 2006

>>>"I'd suggest seeking help with local churches...">>>
not to be rude, but I'm ROTFLMAO
posted by gt at 11:25 PM on January 22, 2006

Now that the atheist bigots have had their laugh, I'll repeat my suggestion that church groups may be able to help. For those too dumb to understand my suggestion (which would seem to be most of you): Whether or not you believe in God, and whether or not you believe in "reconditioning" — call it "brainwashing" if you like — the fact is that most churches have extensive experience helping people to change their impulses toward drinking, drugs, pornography, theft, etc. If you want to learn to control yourself in this regard, they're in the trenches every day and they can probably help. (After which, you can leave them to their silly religion.)

I'll add that anonymous asked how to reconcile a divide between her and her husband, and nearly every response (except mine) took the position, "He should come to you. Here's how to convince him." That's selfish, incredibly immature, and no way to conduct a marriage — although it is entirely unsurprising from this crowd. There are two people in this relationship; and while I realize you're all eager to "validate" anonymous's deviance to demonstrate your own open-mindedness, there's absolutely no reason why she shouldn't try bringing herself toward him.
posted by cribcage at 5:24 AM on January 26, 2006

You don't have to be an "atheist bigot" or "dumb" to disagree with the suggestion that the church is a viable option for helping anonymous. The church's whole behavior modification program is built on fear and guilt, and one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to perhaps think twice about inviting that kind of dynamic into a situation that is already charged with both of those emotions. The only thing the church will want to do is change anonymous to conform to their ideal of an acceptable marital and sexual life; anonymous has already been repressing her true self in trying to "bring herself toward" her husband, and has met with little success. Her husband, on the other hand, appears to have done little to nothing to try and bring himself towards her.

I'm all in favor of compromise in all relationships, which is why I think turning to the church is a terrible suggestion. They have one desired outcome and one only. I don't see any compromise in that, in fact, it seems, oh, selfish, incredibly immature, and no way to conduct a relationship.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 8:46 AM on January 27, 2006

I'll add that anonymous asked how to reconcile a divide between her and her husband, and nearly every response (except mine) took the position, "He should come to you. Here's how to convince him."

You misread badly. Lots of excellent comments about compromise.

I'd say most of the responses lean toward staying together and working it out, as will mine. Gradual change is possible. If you love your partner enough, it's worth it. It's like anything else (job, art, finance). You have to want it bad enough, and you have to work at it. Don't take your husband for granted.

Also I be giving of the props to Clay201. Great comments all around.

I'd just add (to anonymous) that you need to remember that you're dealing with a total different world view in terms of how sex works and "what it's for," etc. Like our relationship with food, our sexual desires have been evolving since birth. Everyone can change. We just rarely do. Good luck.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:00 AM on January 27, 2006

« Older What should I do with the next few years of my...   |   l.a. photolabs? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.