Talking about BDSM

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When we’re looking to start a new relationships, we often feel vulnerable, so talking about BDSM can be a difficult thing to do.  When we’re seeking new relationships, many are afraid to say or do the wrong thing that can cause embarrassment or risk rejection, so we hide things about ourselves – things which we feel are big secrets, but usually aren’t. Broaching the subject of interest in kink or BDSM to a prospective partner can feel even more awkward and exposing.  So how do you manage that hesitation, and the fear of rejection?  That is the subject of this post.

 

Have a Little Faith

Generally speaking, those new to the lifestyle are often worried about being seen by others as too different, weird, perverted, etc.  In this case a little faith goes a long way in that, if you have thought about it, so have others.  There is very little originality out there, and chances are on your side in that if you are into something, so is someone else.  Similarly, what you feel are big secrets are often very similar to others secrets.  Meaning, they feel much bigger than they really are.  You never know what other quiet things others harbor, and the only way to find someone that is a good fit for you is to share openly and honestly.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Nothing spells disaster like starting a new relationship on a false premise.  What better way to doom a relationship than by starting with deceit?  This is especially true of those in the lifestyle where Honesty and Consent are core values. You need to choose to believe that the best way to find the right person for you (versus the person for you right now) is to be honest & upfront.  Don’t let the fear of rejection cause you to start with dishonesty or hiding truths about what you are looking for.  Why add to the complexity that deceit brings?  Sudden confessions, trying to change people, suppressing needs or strong desires – these only lead to further conflict, hurt, and resentment.  Save yourself the trouble and pain of the prospective partner by just being honest.

 

Know Thyself

The better you know yourself, the better you are able to communicate to another.  If you haven’t given thought to your own interests, or don’t have the words for them, then that can certain add to any complication when discussing sexual preferences and activities.  The best thing you can do is really sit down and think about what you enjoy and why, to better help you form the words to explain what you might be looking for in a relationship.

There is little point in hiding from yourself, you take the whole of You no matter where your journey goes.  Or as the saying goes “no matter where you go – there you are”.  So first you need to be really honest with yourself in terms of your likes, wants, desires, curiosities, and limits.

Desires

Under desires I put all the “needs, likes, wants, wishes, etc”.  These are things that you are looking for, feel you need, or are curious about and would like to explore.  It’s important to try to sort these out clearly, because a Need might not be available from another person, or because a Want and Need may conflict.

For example: I absolutely need air to breathe (you won’t last long without it), but I want to swim underwater with a group of manta rays.  Without scuba gear to satisfy the need, I’m kinda screwed out of my want.  Just try to drink a glass of water and breathe exactly at the same time (NOT recommended).

So what are your Needs (top priority), Wants (second priority), and Curiosities or Wishes (last priority)?

Limits

Bear in mind that, like our needs, we also have limits to what we’re willing to give or do in a relationship. Limits to have priorities, and often come in at least two flavors, what the lifestyle calls “hard” and “soft” limits.

Hard limits mean “No way, under no circumstances, period”.  This can be due to personal choice as much as it may be due to health reasons, living situation, profession/job, family, etc.  The essence is that Hard Limits are “non-negotiable” and need to be respected and adhered to.  These are deal breakers if another wants what is for you a hard-limit.

Soft limits mean “Not really sure but not ready yet to try; maybe as things develop later.”  This is a clear indicator that the sense of security, vulnerability, or trust needs to become clearer for interest to get a green light.  However, one should not Expect a soft limit to necessarily give way to permission.  While that may be a goal for some, it’s better you don’t set expectations so as not to mislead yourself or others.

 

 

Learn the Other

Learning about another person takes a lot of time.  It is the hope that through conversation you are examining not just the common likes, but also common dislikes.  In addition, you have to listen with an open mind to everything they share, and not just what you might want to hear.   Sure they may be attractive, or have this one area that’s a turn on for you, but do you share similar likes, dislikes, and beliefs?  Its no small matter to talk about differences in beliefs and values, but very often its that very thing that makes or breaks many relationships.  If you are too different in your values and beliefs, there’s a good chance things will get very rough down the road.

Dialog

Every lifestyle educator, presenter and coach I know or have seen says the same thing: Communication, Communication, Communication!!  We’re right too, because without opening and continuing dialog we can only guess what the other is experiencing, feeling, and thinking.  You need to keep that channel open and alive by discussing different experiences, working to build trust and respect, seeing how one can resolve issues, and what fun things to look forward to.

Open & Flexible Exploration

When you are new, everything seems either exciting or scary (or both!).  The truth often comes down to “You never know until you know”.  Meaning, things are vastly different in theory than they are in practice.  But you have to experience it, practice it, to really know – otherwise it’s just guesswork.  When new folks are exploring the lifestyle, you have to bear in mind that much of what others say they are looking for is guesswork. Ultimately there needs to be flexibility and adaptability because you are starting from a point where one never really knows until you try.  The key takeaway point is not to attach too much to expectations, and to be adaptable when their change as a result of new experiences being different than first imagined.

 

Call It as It Is

It is generally easier to talk about things we enjoy (unless we’re struggling with feelings of shame or guilt).  We also know that folks often like those who are like ourselves.  So it’s only natural to focus discussion on what we enjoy.  However, that’s only half the picture.  Honesty is the best policy, so when something doesn’t work for you that also needs to be admitted and shared.  The problem is that avoiding those kinds of emotional pain only gets more difficult as time goes progresses.  The more time passes, the more you feel invested, the more attached, the more routine, etc.  Its better to admit sooner rather than later what isn’t working for you if it’s something you are not willing to sacrifice.  Whether to avoid conflict, awkwardness or the risk of losing a relationship, the truth will eventually come through.

 

Closing

It is my hope the above has helped prepare you for talking about kink, BDSM, D/s, or other lifestyle oriented aspects with a new partner.  Simple things like knowing yourself well, listening to the other, being honest, open and truthful, and keeping that communication alive is all it really takes.  Of course, the unspoken thing is being BRAVE so that you can do so.  Being brave doesn’t mean not feeling insecure or anxious, it just means admitting that you feel such (and possibly admitting that to the other too), and forging ahead anyway.

No journey can begin, no story ever written, without that first step.

 

– Sir Vice
© Limits Unleashed 2017

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