Is is Normal for a Person Transitioning From Vanilla to Kink to…?

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This article is in response to a reader inquiry.  I will be doing my best to reply based on the information given but if I could I would ask a few questions first. To start off I will post the original question:

“My girlfriend is more experienced at BDSM and I still get jealous when her fans worship. She tells me she is mine and I need to be more confident – it’s rough because I am new. But I am definitely enjoying the scenes when they’re not her. Is this regular from a person transitioning from vanilla into kink? I’ve always been a little kinky but I’m just admitting it to myself and exploring.”

A few of my questions would be:

  1. What do you mean by “fans worship”? Is she a pro?
  2. If you enjoy the scenes when it’s not her – does this mean you watch her in scenes with other people?
  3. What is your dynamic?
  4. Are you both poly in any way?
  5. What conversations have you had about this? Have the two of you discussed any boundaries or compromises when it comes to what makes you feel uncomfortable?

I wanted to pose these questions here so that if anyone else out there is in a similar spot – they can start with asking these questions of themselves and their own relationship.

So – now I will do my best to speak to some of the issues I am inferring from what I know.

The partner’s response of “you need to be more confident” sounds a bit callous to me. Keep in mind I don’t have much to go on, nor have I heard her side.  However, the “suck it up” mentality rarely works in relationships.  As the new partner it is important to have a voice and feel heard.  As the experienced partner it is important to have patience and be willing to make some compromises.

If the girlfriend is a pro then I assume the boyfriend is not watching those sessions.  So, why then, is he watching her play with others? If you are establishing a new relationship it’s important to define what your relationship dynamic will be.  If they are (at least) poly play then it’s fine that she plays with others, however, if he isn’t comfortable watching then he should be free to not go, not watch, or make his own plans during that time.  If he isn’t comfortable being poly play at all then that is a bigger discussion to have.

I would recommend some serious sit down conversations to establish their relationship, their dynamic and their poly/mono status overall.  Once those things are established then they need to continue discussions regarding compromises, boundaries and self-care.  I would encourage communication from a place of empathy and compassion – especially since he is new to all of this.  If they find communication difficult I would recommend finding someone within the community – even just a mutual friend – who can help them in facilitating these discussions.

Is it “normal” to feel jealousy and/or confusion when entering the world of kink with an experienced partner who is playing with other, more experienced, people? It certainly can be!  Take it slow and don’t be afraid to voice your feelings.

Jennifer Masri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Alternative Lifestyles for individual and relationship issues. She also teaches the BDSM 101 class series at Sanctuary LAX in Los Angeles every Monday evening. Read more about Jennifer on her blog, A Kink Shrink.

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