Kinky dating vanilla? Don’t waste your time.

frustrated young business man

A bird and a fish may fall in love, but where would they build a home?

If you are regular reader of this web site, then it’s highly likely you are kinky. And by kinky, I don’t mean that you like to spice things up with your partner once and a while with some silk scarves. I mean that BDSM is in your blood… your DNA even. And you likely spend a good amount of time playing with it, fantasizing about it, or living it.

You may have always known you were kinky – since before you even knew what sex was, you were drawn to situations and depictions involving power exchange and bondage. Or you may have had a particular moment when your kink was awakened – perhaps with a partner introducing you to BDSM – which was akin to letting the genie out of the bottle (there’s no getting it back in there).

My point is – people are either kinky or they are not. Vanilla people cannot be made kinky, just as kinky cannot be made vanilla.

And so when a kinky person and a vanilla person date (and maybe even fall in love), it can never end well. And yet this is this is a problem that comes up time and time again, played out by almost every kinky person I have met (and I know a lot of kinky people), sometimes over and over again.

Take me. I have had several long terms relationships (each more than 2 years) since my late teens. In each case, we met and felt a strong chemistry and a deep attraction. Each of my exes was beautiful in her own distinct way – and engaging, funny, likeable. Of course, we had ups and downs in the course of our relationships, as all couples do. But they were good women, and each time we laughed together, grew and experienced new things, and traveled to exotic and wonderful places.

And yet in each case, kink was a divide between us. And ultimately, the reason that the relationships could not last.

Don’t get me wrong – none of these women I dated were prudes. In fact, they were quite sexual and adventurous in their own way. They were up for trying new things, playing with some toys and trying out experiences. But with respect to BDSM, there was always a point after which the novelty wore off and they conceded that they just weren’t really that into it.

I, like you, am kinky. When it comes to BDSM, I love every letter of the acronym. And since joining the kinky community, I have met hundreds of kinky people in LA and all over the world. And each time I do, I feel that connection of speaking with someone who is like me, who gets me.

And from my conversations with all of these kinky people I have met, I have heard so many stories just like mine. Of years or even decades from teenage years through adulthood, when these kinksters were figuring out their own identity and sexuality. Trying to understand why they liked these things that were strange and deviant to regular folks, realizing they needed to keep certain desires to themselves. And then reigniting and fully realizing those desires upon the thrilling discovery of the kink community.

All of these people had similar stories of ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-husbands, ex-wives, who they had tried to introduce to kink. Trying to get their man to dominate them, or get their girlfriend to tie them up. So many relationships where ultimately they failed because the kinky person could not get their needs met. Because vanilla people cannot be made kinky.

And it is terrible. When you love someone and love being with them, but know deep down that there is an important part of yourself that your partner just doesn’t understand, and never will.

It had made me question my kinkiness at times. Made me wonder if I can push it aside, forget about it, grow out of it, bury it. Somehow “cure” myself of kink. And now of course I know that is ludicrous – in the same category as trying to “pray away the gay” – it’s just not possible. And of course the other thing I know now is that I wouldn’t want to de-kink myself, even if I could. Because without kink, I would not have met all of the amazing people I now know in the community, or felt the joy and the high of a scene with play partner, or the deep connection of D/s.

So I would say this: if you know you are kinky, don’t waste your time getting into a relationship with a vanilla person. The further into it you get, the more difficult and heart-wrenching it will become for both of you to leave later.

Now, that isn’t to say you can’t go on some dates with people who aren’t overtly kinky. After all, sometimes it takes a little while before someone opens up about things like this. It’s worth getting to know someone well enough to know for sure. But don’t beat around the bush, and don’t hide that it’s an important factor for you in dating.

One caveat is that it is possible that you might meet someone who is kinky but hasn’t discovered that side of themselves yet. They might need some encouragement to “awaken” their kink. I do think that is pretty rare in western culture now though – given the massive publicity and exposure that BDSM has received in recent times.

What to do if you are in a long term relationship already with a vanilla, and either have finally accepted the importance of kink to yourself, or realized that your partner just isn’t kinky? My advice is to end it. Be gentle about it, be compassionate about it, communicate with them, support them. But do it.

No doubt there are all kinds of “what if’s” that might be thrown at me in response to this. And there may be some pretty gnarly ones… not the least of which is marriage and children. And ultimately, no one but you knows the ins and outs of your situation and so I can’t tell you definitively what is right for you.
But what I can tell you is about all the people I have met in the community who finally did realize they needed to embrace their kinky selves. Some of whom waited until they were in their 30s, or 40s, or 50s, or 60s, or 70s, before biting the bullet and doing it and that once they did, they realized that they had finally found themselves, their community, their people. And almost all wished that they had the courage to do it much, much sooner.

There is one exception that I would add to all of this. Occasionally, a kinky person may be in a relationship with someone vanilla where the relationship is so open, trusting, positive and strong, that the kinky person can go out and explore the community and play with others, without it damaging or impacting on the bond of that relationship. I have seen this work long-term in a couple of cases. So if you are in this situation then you are very fortunate and you should make the most of your freedom to explore. But if you aren’t, and you try forcing your relationship into this mold, you may find it very difficult and ultimately unsuccessful.

Have you found yourself in a relationship with a vanilla person that you wished was kinky? I would love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Writer, photographer, hedonist, Dom. After years of at-home BDSM, Dexx finally embraced the kink community and met many fantastic fellow kinksters in the scene. Along the way, it occurred to him that it would be just super if there was a magazine-style web site which catered to people interested in BDSM, and he recruited some of his friends to help create it.

Comments

  1. dalilah34 says:

    This is a really tough question. It is really hard when you fall in love with someone. i think poly is the way to go if you’re lucky enough to find someone open and trusting to it. Add a family dynamic in and it can be a mess.

    • I’m new to the life my would be girlfriend is like 5 years in. She enjoys spanking scenes. I’m still uncomfortable tho. Like feeling like the third wheel. I’m enjoy kink tho. How do I get to pass the betrayed feeling. She tells me it’s me , she’s all mine but then will lay up with other people.

  2. Poly can work for mixed couples, _if_ all parties are on board and willing to do the needed work.

    Don’t assume the mixed state is static, either. For us, a slow drift from a kinkier life to a more vanilla one suited us both for a long time, and then it didn’t. That drift was also from poly to mono, but we never lost the habit of talking with each other rather more fearlessly than most. I’m introspective, she’s not; her communication style is very Amiable, mine is radical Driver; she likes sweet Zin and I prefer dry Cab – but we have always been able to resolve competing choices without descending to compromise.

    That aversion to compromise saved us, I think. We’ve always seen compromise as a shortcut, a way to avoid ‘putting in the work’ to truly resolve an issue, and here that meant lots of tough work mapping a path forward that let us flourish, not just coexist. That work has continued across at least a decade, continues today, and will continue as long as the three of us remain on this side of the grass. What follows are simply some of the truths we’ve learned work for us, YMMV..

    Almost nobody not in a committed relationship will ‘get’ how pervasive that commitment is.
    Primary and secondary are realities, ignore these realities at your peril.
    Poly means putting a piece of yourself on the line every time, more often than not to be bloodily torn off later.
    Tolerance may be enough for an occasional secondary relationship, but living together requires open arms all the way around. Open to start, and staying open.

    Poly is a ton of work, D/s is another ton (at least), and all of that work done while still making a living. For us, the payoff has been a richer, more varied life shared deeply and joyfully.

    • Thank you! I enjoyed the article, but your comment brought it all together.
      “Poly means putting a piece of yourself on the line every time, more often than not to be bloodily torn off later.”
      That statement, that thought, it is what pulled me out of a developing depression I haven’t had for many years. To be poly (and I am new at it) I will have to do the into and beginning many times, with most of them probably failing – quickly or not-so.
      Knowing that people are still people and can get involved when they really shouldn’t have, perhaps will help me to deal better. That will be time-tested. However, I think the idea that I may find 2-3 women who fit the bill and who, each, contribute to me and me to them. Not needing that one person to fill all your needs. That’s the draw to poly, I think. I have been poly since I was fairly young; I just did not know it. Now that I do, it’s time to start living – but knowing it will involve some loss and pain and grief and, perhaps, more than one night of lost sleep. Thanks again.

  3. larry breiden says:

    It took me 40+ years to finally “bite the bullet” and just accept that the “vanilla-normal” lifestyle was never going to happen for me. Looking back over the years at all of the failed relationships, the wasted effort, and the pain, misery and guilt associated with all of that I have come to realize that I must live my life for me and who I am, and the rest of the world’s expectations of who I “should” be can all go to hell.

  4. Polyamory is a solution. I’ve known several couples where one partner is vanilla and the relationships have lasted a long time. Of course mixing poly & mono is as bad as kinky/vanilla. So if they are vanilla & monogamous you might as well give it up.

  5. skotshfem says:

    I have been married for three years and friends with him for almost 20. I have been in quite a few long term relationships that ended because i was wanting more…. I am Bisexual and realized I wanted that kink in my life over 15 years ago. My ex-wife said my kinkiness was disgustingly and when i married my friend/husband I was pleasantly surprised he was willing to try it for me. He definitely leans more toward vanilla. Its hard when he wont step more into the dominant role. I am wondering if my love of women can fill that roll for me? I will never submit to a woman…. I feel a strong pull to dominate a woman and to only submit to a man…. I have lost so much time being with men and women that cannot meet me even half way. Lol its so confusing and frustrating. Thanks for listening.

  6. Very well thought out and in my opinion after being in the BDSM life style my entire life. Completely accurate. Many times however I found the vanilla woman I would date were in fact secretly kinky and it was fairly easy to bring that side out. I would assume because I would unconsciously be drawn to a woman with kink in her soul even though she was unaware of it. Many I have mentored and all say they would not and could not go back to vanilla. I think anyone who is in our lifestyle should read your article. Well done!

  7. So very true. My vanilla wife and I were married for 25 years, most of that time with me suppressing my needs. We tried every possible means to make it work but ultimately the marriage failed. It was a hard breakup because we really do love each other. I wouldn’t wish that situation on anyone. Kinky and vanilla just don’t mix.

    • 25 years! Did you have children?

      How did you break it off? How did you handle the children (assuming you had children)?

  8. Master_Savage says:

    I’m 25 and lucky to have found myself. I know I don’t want a vanilla partner and have started making the changes to find that kinky-one. Vanilla or kinky, finding the one takes time. I hate waiting lol. I thank you Fetlife.com for being a place for kinks like me.

    • Is there anyone that could tie me up i like to be tied up to a chair or bed pole with rope tape whatever u got who wants to tie me up now

    • kinkweekly says:

      Hi Chris,

      While our site is not specifically meant for finding play partners, we highly recommend seeking out events and munches in your local area. Fetlife (though also not a dating site) is a great resource for finding events and connecting with likeminded individuals.

      -anniebear

  9. Bod Beag says:

    I recognized my kinky side when I was 13. I asked for handcuffs for my birthday and would lock an ankle or hand to the bed frame and fantasize. I married a Vanilla when I was 21 and was married (26 years) till she died in February. I agree with a lot of this article. It was difficult being in a monogamous relationship and not indulging my kink. Maybe it’s easer for a sub than someone with domly tendencies but if you make a commitment you need to stick to it. My marriage was not about me, it was about how I treated my wife. I decided that wether or not she wanted my kink side I would consider her my Mistress and treat her as she wanted to be treated. Although I couldn’t talk about or participate in bondage I made my joy serving my wife. My vowel was till death do us part not till my selfishness overcame my desire to be with her. Please remember that weather your partner is kinky or not when you marry you are not your own, you belong to another.

    • You are right. Im sorry for your loss. I am domly been together with wife 18yrs and I honestly think if I cannot express myself much longer I will kill myself because I love her as much as I hate my selfish desire.

    • It sounds like you don’t believe in divorce. If that’s what suits your values, that’s your call, but don’t force your beliefs on others. I personally believe that it cheapens the beauty of marriage to stay in a marriage that doesn’t work for you, for whatever reason.

  10. Lost At Sea says:

    I just got out of a 10 year relationship because of this exact thing. It worked for a while, but our differences finally reaching the breaking point. The trouble is, how do you go about dating in the life-style? Can someone recommend some legitimate sites that have REAL people who want to meet? I don’t mind a pay site if it works. Thank you.

  11. Christopher Buck says:

    A friend of mine that is very interested in the lifestyle wants his lady friend to participate as well. When he broaches the subject, his lady calls him a freak. Other lifestyle friends of mine, and his, have told him that this relationship with this woman will not work, not even if it is a vanilla one. Why? Because he has already broached the subject with her and it will always be part of her mindset. Of course, our friend is a glutton for mental punishment and he will most likely stay with this woman until she tells him to get lost. For me, vanilla and lifestyle do not mix well and should be avoided if possible.

  12. Christopher Buck says:

    @Lost At Sea. If you have not already become a member of FetLife, I would recommend you do. FetLife is how I met my wonderful sub almost a year ago and I do not regret it one bit. I have never had much luck finding a sub on any of the pay sites like Alt.com. Just my opinion.

    Sir Chris.

  13. Christopher Buck says:

    @Lost At Sea. I would also recommend that you become a member of any lifestyle groups in your area. I have belonged to several groups here in the southeast and have made many friends, some of them becoming my best friends. Again, just my opinion.

    Sir Chris.

    • When i was a little kid my friends tied me up to the chair rope tape and ever since then i like to be tied up so right now i am trying to find a parner who can tie me up

  14. Kelly Walters says:

    I was introduced over a year ago to the lifestyle. I have used it to learn more about myself, about others, and to push my boundaries and comfort zone. I have met some wonderful people and some predators. I guess that comes with the territory of being female. I learned to spot fakes and predators very quickly and not waste much time or heartache. Fetlife.com has been exactly what I have needed and I enjoy munches, events, play parties, and am creating my own.

    I always knew I was “different” and always sought out the kids in school growing up who were. I didn’t know about the lifestyle yet, but looking back vanilla was boring and predictable and not the challenge or stimulation I needed. I was brought up very conservatively and religious so being able to break free and find myself took a lot of mixed emotions but has been well worth it.

    I identify as Mistress, pansexual, and can only submit to one man after much trust.

    I wish you all well on your journeys.

  15. I read this article and realized now why all my past relationships have never worked. All the men and women I’ve been with have been too vanilla for me. I’m glad I got on fetlife again after some time off of it, because I met my boyfriend and girlfriend on there, and while they’re not nearly as kinky as I am, they let me explore it with others. I’ve met a few people so far on there who are amazing and really help me explore my inner submissive. It’s a very liberating and rewarding experience. If you don’t have a fetlife yet I highly recommend that you get one. For those of you who already have one feel free to add me @ Ry_James

  16. Mia Rose says:

    my first boyfriend introduced me to my Kicky side, when he was gone i fell in to a relationship that was slowly vanilla. one night however my 2nd got rough with me and i loved every moment of it. but that was it i tired to get him to do it again but he wouldn’t and so we fell apart.

    a happy ending though i met my husband at a local Dungeon here in Colorado and we couldn’t be happier in our relationship. yes we have minor ups and downs but i wouldn’t change it for anything. its funny though when we met neither of us were looking for life long. he wanted a one nighter and i wanted a play partner and fuck buddy nothing more. in the end i got so much more ~~MMR

  17. Gay, bi and straight are not choices. But people can become more kinky. We were not born Kinky. We learn. Just as we do not always start out as kinky as we become. We are exposed to new things in the lifestyle and we chose to like them or not. The reasons we chose are sometimes complicated.

    A kinky woman may introduce a vanilla man to new experiences. If their play leads to sex or other stimulation, due to the nature of human stimulus response, the man may experience a greater orgasm than he has had in some time. The man is more likely than not to try to experience this again. In drug rehabilitation terms they call it chasing the high. Not that the lifestyle is like drug use it is that drug use can activate the pleasure centers of the brain.

    • I love and lust kinky people places and things

    • Being kinky wasn’t a choice for me, any more than being asexual was. I strongly feel that I was actually born kinky, because I’ve been fantasizing about my kinks since I was at least four years old.

  18. I actually am not sure anymore– I find many of the kink situations I have been in, even long-term ones, to have been emotionally and intellectually lacking. I find vanilla relationships sexually dull after a while. I dislike the overall “community” because of its overall tendency to do things that make me generally roll my eyes. I think that a real connection is out there that fits on multiple levels. Truthfully– I want what I perceive to be the best of both worlds, and I don’t have a problem saying that.

  19. This article confirmed my suspicions about kink/vanilla relationships. I’ve had few relationships and only one with a fellow kinkster, but we were both doms and just couldn’t make it work. The other two were vanilla men and it fizzled, luckily before things got serious. Recently though, I realized a fledgling attraction to a friend who is vanilla and I started searching for anything about mixed relationships working and the consensus seems to be that it will end in heartache. I reconciled the sadistic dom in me only over the past couple of years and now that I don’t feel likea freak, a future serial killer or just generally dirty for the things I want and need, I can’t bury or ignore it for anyone, even if I think we could’ve had something good. Now I just to figure out how to pull back without losing a friend. I don’t know if explaining my needs and why it wouldn’t work would be a good idea or not. Any tips on how to go about this situation?

    • kinkweekly says:

      I always think honesty is the best policy. I’d tell them your true feelings and needs in a partner and gauge the reaction after that. You never know, maybe they want to try some things out. However, I’d definitely emphasize how important this aspect is to you and that is not their fault in any way. You’re just hardwired differently and into other things but it is a necessity in your relationships. Good luck to you! -anniebear

  20. Yeah I’m feeling this. Very much a sadistic type that is in a very good and long relationship with a rather vanilla girl. She tries hard for me I know, but will never be 100% compatible in the bedroom. She wants to get married too… It’s tough because on one hand I really do love her, but on the other, she just doesn’t understand that other side of me nor can handle it.

  21. I am looking for some advice or guidance. I have been in a relationship for 8 years and my significant other just revealed to me his craving. Which is to have a toy and pet. I guess I should begin by saying I have never tried or expermented a whole lot sexually only because I didn’t find myself introduced I guess. He first brought up the general idea of BDSM, so I did some reading. Some of it scared me, some turned me on but mostly I became curious about what I would or wouldn’t like. The aspect of losing myself especially. He had me take some online test and I guess decided I wouldn’t make the cut for him so he has asked permission to be with another person to fulfill his desires. He has put me in a position in which if I say no I will lose him but I feel if I say yes I will lose along with destroying myself as I do not have a desire in sharing the man I love. I very much want to explore this with him, I want him to raise me or create me if that makes any sense. I don’t know that I will fulfill all of his needs but wouldn’t a partner want to try? Why would I not be good enough? If in the end I did not meet his needs and we worked on our relationship I would be more open to someone else in some aspect. I am just confused and feel like this is more that he wants to leave and live a different life not what he is actually telling me. I am just looking to gain as much insight as I can if anyone can help.

    • That’s great that he asked before stepping outside the relationship but it is not okay to bully or coerce you into doing things that aren’t comfortable and aren’t just as much your choices. It appears that he has put a lot on you. Bravo for speaking up and discussing his actual needs but not cool to press you into doing something. Remember, you are not his servant put on this earth to serve his needs at the expense of your own. Don’t even begin to think about remaking yourself so he gets what he wants. You’ll just resent him later if not right now. You probably are in need of a knowledgable person to talk to so that you can sort out what YOU want.

      I recommend couples counseling. You should go together with a positive, healthy intention (as opposed to figuring out how you can give him what he wants). Your joint intention should be examining ALL needs and figuring out how to meet those needs. I don’t know your guy. Perhaps, he just didn’t frame talking about his needs in the best possible light. Maybe. Whether you stay together or not is NOT all on your shoulders.

      One more thing. I recommend that you, two, curl up in bed and read More Than Two together. It contains excellent relationship advice that will help you to know better where you are as a couple (and help you to think your way through having other partners or not).

    • Hi Curious

      Sorry to hear about your situation – it doesn’t sound like he handled it very nicely. After 8 years together, I would think that it would be fair that he give you a decent chance to digest and understand his kinks, and see if they are things you might find you like too.

      I will say that if you are doing kinky things just to keep him happy, and they aren’t things that you really enjoy deep down (or even worse, things that make you feel icky or shameful), then that probably won’t be a good long term arrangement – it could lead to building up of resentment. Ultimately, if both people aren’t into kink it won’t be enjoyable or satisfying for either of you and will become a source of tension instead of joy. Happily, kink covers a massive range of different activities and sub-genres. That’s why – as Mistress Sky suggested – talking openly is really a great first step. Figure out what each of you really is into or curious about trying, see where the overlap is, and go from there.

  22. Thank you so much, you helped restore some faith in me and the how I feel is important. I just have so many question. I am trying to learn and understand. I am just not sure where to turn.

  23. Savannah Thompson says:

    I left my husband two years ago, we have a 6 year old together. We were two completely different people, sexually. I have known I was kinky from a young age but I was with my ex from the time I was 17 and I always thought it would still be okay. Well needless to say, when you get into a fight weekly because our sexual frequencies are so different, you end it. I learned recently that no matter how hard I try, being with someone vanilla will never satisfy me the way I need to be satisfied. Now I’m bummed because I met someone that I was thinking could actually be my soul mate until I realized he was judging me for my choices.

  24. I dated my husband on and off for 10 years before we decided to get married. At that point I had told him some of the stuff I was into and tried to hint at other things. I tried to get him to want to participate in some bdsm activities with me but he resisted. We have been married 7 years and I finally told him he needed to start to help me satisfy my needs or we may need to separate. I thought I could do without, and just get him to try it, but he kept refusing. My needs only became more important. He gave it a good 2 weeks of great sex. Tried a bunch of stuff said it was great. Now it’s back to mostly vanilla. He says I want too much, too often. But I feel like the vanilla sex only makes me want the good sex not that crap, and he is just being lazy. I’m tired of asking for attention. I should not have to beg. He treats me like I ask him to do so much.

    • Oh my goodness, this sounds soo familiar!
      I left my, over 10 year, marriage for similar reasons.
      Now I’m dating and completely upfront about it. Deal breaker for sure.

    • Oh my God. Just like my story plus we have a kid. I cannot tell you how hard this relationship is for me. I don’t know how much more of this pressure I can take. He told me I’m A submissive that I’m a freak that I have no self respect. And that my needs, they’re just not normal. I’m trying so hard,so hard because I don’t want my child to suffer because of me. I shift my submission nto my work. I tried to set aside my submission. But I always be that and no matter what he said to me I’m proud of myself I know what I’m doing

  25. After getting out of a ten year relationship I hooked up with a kinky man in my early 30s and it was like coming home to me. Everything I’d always thought about from way, way back and wanted was finally realised. We didn’t last but since then I’ve always been upfront and honest with people I’m dating – on the third date, it’s my system. I wasted so much repressing this part of me I refused to do it again.

    However I have got caught out yet again with my present partner. Very sweet, inexperienced woman who said she was willing to keep an open mind when I broke it to her. I was taking it slowly introducing her to things. This week she drops the bombshell that while she is happy to ‘compromise’ with bondage, she feels she won’t be able to hurt me and can maybe just ‘learn to like’ certain things. To me there is no learning, it’s latent inside you in some way or another, the compromise is once more repressing certain aspects of myself and won’t last in the long term. I understand where she is coming from and would never ask her to do anything she’s not comfortable with at the same time I don’t want to feel resentful and stifled a year down the line when the newness wears off and she won’t want any kink at all.

    I’m gutted as it will break her heart to break up and I don’t want to myself but I’m failing to see another option unless I take a play partner also and I would only do that with her blessing, which I can’t see her wanting me to do. Tomorrow is the ‘big chat’, make or break.

    • Hi Jessica

      Sounds like a familiar situation! I hope you are able to work things out one way or another. Life’s too short to ignore your kinky needs.

      Dexx

  26. Children. I have two princesses whom I love to pieces. I love my wife (their mother). We have great lives… Except for my own kink. My wife won’t let me go down on her because “it’s just strange.” Anything besides traditional missionary is out. Does anybody, anybody out there in the internet universe have some real, helpful advice, more specific than “communicate” and more realistic than “just get out”?

    We are serious people with serious lives and everything non-sexual is a dream family situation. My wife is an intelligent, fun, and half-independent woman who takes amazing care of our children and makes sure I do, too. She is truly the woman of the house and my “domme” in a completely asexual sense without knowing it or intending it.

    10 years of sexual repression, though. 10 y-e-a-r-s… And what is the one thing – the ONE THING – a husband cannot seek from a non-wife? Sex! I can be friendly with friends, have family relationships with other family, have intellectual conversations, fun activities, Conrad Erie and even companionship with others… But sex? No. Marriage is like intellectual property – it is the right to exclude another from something, in this case from having sexual relations with another.

    Divorce would sever our family – sharing children separately and such – and sounds so extreme, anyway. I would never even mention an open marriage to my wife, purely out of fear – she is quite traditional. I love them all, and don’t want to hurt them! My wife is already hurt because she knows I have sexual leanings she isn’t comfortable with.

    Yes, I have talked to her. I communicated. Yes, outside the bedroom and not during sex. I didn’t express resentment or expectations – merely mentioned an interest in being held down or being allowed to service her… She was so repulsed by my initial “light” ideas, I didn’t even dare jump to “medium,” let alone “heavy.”

    Does anybody have any real advice for a husband who loves his family but is 10-year pressure-cooked!? Oozing volcano situation here, and I can’t turn to real-life support unless I get back in touch with pre-marriage girlfriends! My kink has always been under wraps.

    • Hi jack

      Sorry to hear about your situation. I suppose the whole point of this article is that people are either kinky or they aren’t. So if she isn’t, it’s unlikely that she can be persuaded to “get it”. Having said that, I think the best place to start would be therapy sessions with a kink-aware therapist (it’s important to Google this specially as many therapist also don’t get it). Talk it out, help her realize how important this is to you, and how valid it is for you to have these desires. There is a myriad of outcomes from this, so it’s difficult to give further advice without knowing how this pans out.

      Dexx

    • I suppose I could mention therapy, but that might sound extreme. As far as I can tell, she doesn’t see a problem – it’s all a very minor part of life to her. I also agree that other things, like lifelong taking on the world together and raising our family well and adhering to all our other values are probably more important than my personal sexual interests, so I feel selfish and tangential even writing any of this. Also, I already know she thinks marriage therapy is mostly a joke – reserved for rich Hollywood stars who can’t live in reality. I suppose I could mention it, anyway – she has surprised me in the past.

      I did mention this all to a friend of mine who is a part-time pro domme, and her response was basically, “She’s your domme. You have to do what she wants.” That mental attitude actually helped me quite a lot – I would even feel that tinge we subs love when she would do or say simple, mundane things, like, “The sink is full of dishes, and you never even vacuumed.” It only lasts so long, though, because I know she doesn’t any sensuality behind it, and it is mundane – nothing in the bedroom.

    • Only you can really know how important this part of yourself is to you. In my experience, truly kinky people (which I suspect you are) will never be completely fulfilled without regular kink in their lives. Those that do eventually embrace it wonder why they didn’t do it sooner.

      There is something of a catch-22 in that you are submissive-inclined, so your desire to please your wife conflicts with your ability to recognize the validity of your desires and feel justified in understanding and exploring them. You should not feel selfish for thinking or talking about your needs, and I would hope that your wife would not think that also.

      With regard to your last paragraph… I think you answered your own question – while that might provide you with a hint or a spark of the type of interaction you crave, it will never progress beyond that if you stay on your current trajectory. Your pro-domme friend does not seem to appreciate the reality of the situation – if one person unilaterally declares a relationship a power exchange, it’s never going to give that person what they are seeking.

      Sorry my friend, but if you want to break your cycle of frustration and also have a shot at preserving the aspects of your relationship you cherish (including your kids), then you have to communicate with her about it properly. This must start by taking yourself and your own needs seriously instead of trivializing them. A kink-aware therapist can be a great help in this process, as a neutral professional who can help provide independent validation for both her and yourself. If you happen to be in Los Angeles, I can recommend some excellent kink-aware therapists. Otherwise, you can check the web site of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, which has a directory of kink-aware therapists (https://ncsfreedom.org/resources/kink-aware-professionals-directory/kap-directory-homepage.html).

    • Hi Jack,

      I’m essentially you, but in female form- I lived the same situation. Married for ten years, together in total, for sixteen.

      There are no easy answers. I stayed faithful the entire time in my relationship without being fulfilled. It was like living in quicksand, or sometimes a pressure cooker. I was literally starved for physical affection. I ended up in a deep clinical depression, on and off for years. I completely understand the unfairness of being denied the ONLY thing you are unable to receive outside of marriage, which is a satisfying sexual connection. You are being asked to give up and deny a basic biological urge; like eating, drinking or breathing. It’s possible to do it- but only for a limited time until it has severe consequences on your life and welfare.

      The one “gift” (if you could call it that, gallows humour) after my marriage ended was that it made me far less judgemental about marriages, and what people do to keep them alive & working. There are no black and white answers in a grey world. Sometimes making the heavily-considered choice to step outside your marriage with another mature, respectful, kink-minded person will be the one thing that allows you to remain married, so you can give 100% of yourself otherwise to your spouse. Looking back at my life, I wish I would have done this. It would have saved me years of deep, unspeakable unhappiness. Those are years I will never get back. Neither will you. If you cannot leave- because of children, or a family situation, or an illness/caretaker situation or something equally as serious… and you have explored all other options and talked about it, and nothing works or changes… I think you need to give yourself some compassionate permission to find a lover who shares your need & desires. And keep it private.

      Again, no easy solution. But sometimes doing the “wrong” thing for the “right” reason will allow something otherwise intolerable to be made peaceful.

      As for my own story? My marriage ended with a whimper rather than a bang. The next 2 years that followed were very difficult. I doubted my decision many times, the guilt was consuming. But the light at the end of the tunnel finally came, and today I am with the most loving man, who also lived through the same situation. We are matched as friends, lovers and kinky people. Because we are talking kink here specifically, I will say our physical connection is out-of-this-world. Blinding, speechless, places I never thought possible. We fulfill each other so profoundly.

      Happiness is out there. Everything is possible, but not easy. I wish you a life of joy, happiness and understanding.

  27. * “Conrad Erie” in my other post should read “camaraderie.”

  28. Isn’t there a way to compromise between full-on kink and vanilla, in the spirit of matrimony and family? Maybe I could tone myself down instead of trying to tone her up?

    I understand that this forum is largely saying, “Once vanilla, always vanilla,” but what about “once kinky?” I mean, maybe on a 1-10 kinkiness scale I could drop from an 8 or 9 to a 3 or 4? It can’t all be black or white – there must be shades of grey, heh. Anybody have any anecdotes or advice about “downgrading” successfully? Digesting it down without repressing, somehow?

    • I can’t help with any anecdotes of people being succesful this on a long term basis. I can tell you I have met and spoken with many kinky people who had had a similar thought at some stage, and found that they might suppress it for a while, but never truly make themselves “un-kinky”. “If you could take a pill to make you not kinky, would you do it?” has been a topic of conversation a few munches over the years. Obviously such a think does not exist, but in any case the consensus was that kink brought kinky people so much joy, that of course they wouldn’t. Having said that – the fact that those people were at munches and other community events suggests they had already at least begun to embrace it, so they were typically past some of the more difficult earlier vanilla relationship quandaries such as yours.

  29. Thanks for writing this, truly.
    So many of these responses read like I could have written them myself. Sadly, I’m not sure if I find more sadness or comfort in that. I’m 31, and have been with my husband for about 7 years. Before this relationship I was primarily in bdsm relationships with experienced doms who I meshed well with sexually but beyond that it was difficult to connect. When I met my husband I thought that he had at least a small interest in it and that I could make do without the the strong D/s connection. As our marriage has gone on he has become even less interested and open (apparently that’s possible) and now openly tells me I shouldn’t want those things. He doesn’t even know the half of what I actually want, and now whenever it gets brought up at all in any context he makes it very clear how “pathetic” he thinks it and the people who want such things are. It’s gotten to the point where I avoid all sexual contact with him as much as possible because I know I will only be unfulfilled and depressed as a result. I love my husband but I feel like he doesn’t even know me. It’s awful and life sucking and I wish that no one else should ever have to endure it.

    • Hi Anne

      Really sorry to hear that. I can relate very much with your situation, having been there myself. Please know that your desires are not at all pathetic, and there is a whole community of millions of other kinky people that fully appreciate the types of things you are into. I hope that you are able to get to a happier place one way or another. Would love to hear from you in the future about how things pan out – and I’m sure our readers would too.

      Dexx

    • There is *nothing* lonelier than being completely alone, but married.

  30. I’m with a Dom I wasn’t roped into nicely he tried stuff I don’t like I will never like it i don’t know how this is going to work cause his type of sex is all he knows so now we have no sex which sucks I’m so sad cause for the must part we get along I tried to go along with what he liked I think I’m more of a Dom them a sub cause I can’t stand to be tied down and called names I get angry I was also abused as a teen raped so this could be the problem flash backs triggers I just want him to be like me but I’m sure it won’t be long before he’s out looking for what he likes

  31. You know, I’ve not had an issue with vanilla relationships interfering with the lifestyle. It may help that I’m also poly, but current vanilla bf knows all about Mr. Dutchie, and seems pretty okay with it. He does worry at times that I may try to spank him, or pull out the paddle on him, but he’s getting more and more comfortable with the fact that I’m an ethical sadist. As in, I will never do anything without specific consent. I have plenty of boys willing to submit to me, so Mr. Vanilla doesn’t need to. Communication is key.

  32. I am on the other end…I am the vanilla. My partner of almost 5 years and I have just split. It has been catastrophic to us both and there is soo much love and connection. I originally thought he was just into open relationships…something I struggled with but I had my own curiosities. We never got far enough to explore that as in the beginning we had day to day struggles outside of our relationship..and then he stopped loving me right…I lost trust and faith..well not completely. I had planned to talk about what was going and before I could he hit a breaking point…I was and still am saddened and hurt as I feel he wasn’t totally honest with me about his desires for bdsm. Of course I try to convince myself we can make it work…but lately I realize it’s not possible. After we broke up, which has been 2 months now. He hopped into a D/s relationship. I have been aware and we are still friends..this hurt soo bad however I have tried to understand. I realize he has longed for something outside of what I could give him…but this quick process was undeniably painful..still is. Neither of us want to let go..and I know he loves me and wants to be with me…but he has said out loud that “he’s is not for everyone ” without knowing the depth of his needs I have no thoughts. I am not like most women…I know I am special..and the support and love it gives him is something he feels undeserving of. ..even as his friend. I don’t want to loose him for he does me bring me joy but can we possibly be friends…I wanted to explore my kinky side with him…if we were to get back together it would take so much time to trust him….
    Any books for the vanilla and coping with the ones they love in this world.
    Heart broken and confused.

  33. Hi Rose,
    I take a bit of a different stance, in that I believe it is possible for a kinky and a vanilla person to find a relationship that works. Here is an article with some examples: https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/how-to-make-sex-and-relationships-work-when-only-one-of-you-is-kinky
    However, from what I can tell from your comment, difference in kink level may not have been the primary issue. It seems that honesty and trust was at the core of the problem. (even if it was honesty and trust *about* kink)
    With transparent communication there may have been an opportunity for growth and exploration, however, it doesn’t seem like that’s what happened. If things are over you may need to start exploring your own self which may or may not involve kink. Work on you. And I am sorry you’re hurting.

  34. justagirl says:

    I completely agree with the article. The belief that you can gently convert a vanilla partner or friend to kink is widely spread yet totally delusional. At most, like you say, you can get your partner to occasionally try out some kinky games for your own sake, and I fail to understand how any kinky person could find such an arrangement fulfilling. It almost feels like forcing the other person into something they have no desire for.
    Enjoying D/s or s/m is a personal taste that you can’t acquire, and you are right that today’s exposure to bdsm makes it pretty impossible for anyone to not be aware of their own leanings.
    So yes, finding kinky matches is the only way. Too bad that’s unbelievably hard though, which is why many end up trying to “use” the vanilla people they have at hand.

    • It may not be so hard. I suggest looking in kink-oriented places – munches, play parties, classes, and on bdsm web sites like Fetlife. It can be tougher (but not impossible) to look on vanilla dating web sites for kinky people.

    • I suppose it is like with anything. In my early teens, I used to collect models from Games Workshop and the only person I really felt comfortable talking (I was very shy) to was not into it- I liked the overall aesthetics of the models and the stories behind the characters but could not get this unshakeable feeling that I wasted my money.

      On this topic, is there an article on how to meet people/ get confidence?

  35. I’m currently finding that difficulty now. My partner, though semi-vanilla (he has his mini kinks but nothing that would be really called kinky in the bdsm sense), seems to be open about listening to what I have to say, however, I do not know how to broach this topic with him. How does one tell a partner that being naturally submissive, you need the Dominance in your life to feel complete?

  36. Vanilla Dom says:

    I suppose I feel the need to stand up for successful vanilla/kink partnerships. I am the vanilla half of one such relationship, and we have been together 9 years and married for five as of last week. We had a deep friendship long before we got together or before I heard about his kinks, and I was attracted to him for a long time before we were available enough to be together. When my husband and I got together, I quickly learned my then-boyfriend was interested in hypnosis, and I was happy to play with him and be GGG, even though his kink was not my own. I love him and I take pleasure from giving him pleasure, and in addition to his kinks, he takes pleasure from pleasing me. I indulge his kinks to make him happy (and because it’s fun), and he’s enthusiastic about meeting my mostly-vanilla needs (because he thinks that’s fun too). But it was not until we were married for a couple of years before he got really into the online hypnosis scene and started attending events and parties with other hypno-kinksters. Now that community is a major part of his life, and is something we’ve had to negotiate together. Something we had shared privately in our relationship is now a common ground he shares with a multi-national group of friends and confidantes. Now that he’s in the scene, a whole new world is open to him. That takes some negotiation.

    As the author concedes, having a degree of openness in our relationship and being willing to let him have play experiences outside our relationship helps relieve some of the pressure: the expectation that I should be the sole outlet or provider for his erotic/spiritual/self-expression is off the table, and we both are entitled to our own erotic private lives. It takes constant open communication and love to bridge the divide that sometimes separates us when it comes to the differences between the things we need to get ourselves off. Also, as time has gone on, I’ve had to become more comfortable with being the top more and more frequently, as he has gotten more in touch with his subbiness. There’s a lot of give and take there, because one of the things I insist on is that outside of the bedroom or play situations, we are in a partnership of equals. I give, by overcoming some of my natural inclinations to be submissive myself in order to be the Mistress he longs to serve, and he gives back to me by giving equal time and attention to my needs and talking things over with me, a lot. And, I daresay, discovering the dominant woman within myself has been a thrilling development that never would have happened if I hadn’t married into kink.

    So, in short, it’s not impossible to make this work, but it helps to have an abiding friendship, trust and love already in place before you start doing anything sexual together. Of course, your individual results may vary.

    Also, fyi: I was bummed that this gloomy article was the top result Google returned for “vanilla-kink relationship”. I hope our positive experience is helpful to other readers and balances the scales a little. 🙂

  37. The more I read the comments and replies the more heart broken I am… I am ‘vanilla’ and my Boyfriend is a Dom. Marriage is on the table. He tells me he has a mental block with me and can’t bring to punish me or verbally abuse me and all he wants to do is pamper me instead. I know how it’s so important to him and I like to please him so I’ve been asking for it but he can’t do it to me.. and said he will want to try vanilla with me… I’ve done many things before with my exes such as breathplay choking restraints and I enjoy those so much.. even then he couldn’t do it to me… because he said I am not a sub and just maybe kinky and he doesn’t want to change me… what should I do? I am heart broken every time I think about why he just can’t do it to me and I really love him.. I don’t want this relationship to be doomed…

    • It sounds to me like you aren’t actually vanilla, but rather a sub, but for whatever reason your boyfriend doesn’t believe you. I feel that refusing to believe your partner on something that only they can truly know is a sign of a serious lack of trust and respect for your opinions. He doesn’t get to say if you’re vanilla or kinky, only you can say that.

  38. A couple of months ago I posted my experience with my husband who is vanilla. About how hard this relationship is. So right now I just want to say that we decided to split.
    The differences between us was the main reason why we broke up. Not just sex thing. And the thing that I am submissive. And now I am free but I am afraid of being on my own. But I know that my decision to leave him was the best thing I ever done in my life. And I just wish that life will give me someone who is just like me.

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