There is a most unusual phenomenon I have noticed in kinky relationships that have gone on for a little while, especially in sadist/masochists relationships. There is an almost inextricable decline in the intensity of play. While there is an almost inevitable waning of what is often referred to as “new relationship energy” in all relationships as they go on it seems far more pronounced in relationships which are so very driven by the energy of those involved.
Where scenes once might have gone on for hours, with the sadist going through multiple tools and the bottom exploring ever greater heights of sensation, now they last half an hour and consist of the one flogger that the bottom likes and the sadist is comfortable using. Rather than 5 course, exotic meals that we have both dressed up for and booked months in advance we are now having takeout in our pyjamas. There is a place for both of these types of meals in a relationship, but not always the same one with never any variation.
These quick scenes, with some tears, some pain, some fear, some of everything we need, they do work. They keep us ticking over, but I feel that we are missing the thrill that used to be there, the thrill of trying something more, something new, with someone we trust. However chasing that thrill should be tempered with a touch of fear, but, as with all fear, it needs to be understood, managed and used productively.
The fear that keeps us careful can also paralyse us, it can leave us sticking to what we know and feel comfortable with. It is the fear of messing up (I won’t say it is the fear of hurting our partner, after all that is exactly what we want to be doing), the fear of doing it wrong. I am not scared of hitting her with a cane, I am scared of hitting her in the wrong place with a cane. If we become too scared of making a mistake then of course we shall restrict ourselves to those things that we know work and we can do most safely.
There is a danger of falling into patterns, playing it too safe, when a big part of the thrill is taking risk. The important thing is not to stop taking risks, just to keep doing it carefully and as partners.
Risk Aware Consensual Kink (RACK) is not about never making a mistake, it is not about getting every scene perfect, it is not about landing each cane strike in just the right place, it is about two grown adults agreeing to take a journey together. That journey will have highs and lows, but what is important is that the two of you are making the choice to keep taking risks together. Even in relationships where there is a disparity of power the steps of this journey need to be taken together, regardless of if one is crawling on their knees.
We have to believe our partners when they say they want to take risks with us. They can support us by reassuring and comforting us when things do go wrong, and tell us when things go well. While we tops bare the greater responsibility of care, especially directly after something goes wrong, we still need feedback, we need affirmation, and in a relationship we should not be afraid to ask for these things, especially if it makes us better at what we both want. Our relationships might be intentionally one sided, but if we let the underlying needs of either party go wanting then we need to re-examine what we are prioritising.
We can overcome the fear of making a mistake, the social conditioning shouting at us not to do what we both enjoy, all for the love of our partner. We have to show the same trust in them as they have in us. They trust us to lead them, and we have to trust that they want to go to the destination with us. As a partnership we can overcome anything and both be evermore the people we want to be.
Mimsy Borogoves says
I think there’s sometimes another reason for the decline in intensity of play that’s more insidious than what you explore here: namely a version of Madonna/whore complex. I’ve seen this play out specifically with male tops and female bottoms, where everything is hot and heavy at the beginning of the dynamic, but as feelings grow more intense, the top suddenly pulls back because he no longer feels comfortable “hurting” the woman he’s grown to love. I’ve even encountered this myself as a female sub who, in the past, was on the receiving end of BDSM activities in a casual relationship that the top would not have felt comfortable carrying out with a legitimate girlfriend. I’ve always found this attitude to be deeply troubling and one that points to deep-seated sexism.
Will Hunt says
A great point! I have often seen men try and stamp out in their partners the exact thing that attracted them in the first place. As if they are now scared others will see what attracted them to her now that they “have” her. It is almost paradoxical, as if the desire to have something burdens the owner with the fear of losing it, rather than elates them with the joy of having it in their lives.
raw and genuine too