The signs for me that the pendulum has been hangin’ out on the vanilla end too long are fairly easy for me to read at this point. My stress level seems higher than should be expected in relation to the amount of stress I’m under, or the level that I’m normally able to handle better. I get more irritable, tearful, and emotional. When hormones aren’t to blame I know what is. Too much vanilla time. It’s almost as if my stress doesn’t have a place to go and so it builds and builds.
People may look at my life and wonder how I could ever feel this way. I mean I am in a D/s relationship, I work in the scene, I attend munches, host a play party, etc. How in the world could my life be “too vanilla”?? It’s not so much that my life gets vanilla – kink is always a part of my life since it makes up my livelihood as well as much of my social life. However, if I don’t have enough personal kink I get wound up tighter than a two dollar watch. What do I mean by “personal kink”? I mean play where I’m the bottom. It’s how I relieve my stress and get emotional crap out of my system.
On the other hand there are times when the pendulum swings in the opposite direction. Maybe it’s parties back to back in the same weekend. Maybe it’s multiple scenes in one night. Or perhaps it’s only one scene amongst several kink events within a short amount of time. Whatever the case, I do find myself occasionally needing more “vanilla time”. Not that the D/s dynamic goes away of course, nor my kinky mind. But perhaps it just sounds good to stay home and watch a movie or binge something on Netflix. Craving “down time” with no make-up, my hair piled on my head and a comfy pair of yoga pants. Hanging out with my high school (vanilla) friends or other friends who are outside the scene.
I believe most people swing on this pendulum. It’s nearly impossible to maintain a perfect balance all the time. But that’s really what it’s all about. Balance. Knowing that it’s ok to feel too heavy on one side or the other because you can shift and start to swing the other way. My biggest take away message would be to not let it frustrate you. I see people all the time start to feel irritated when they are missing kink or “life” takes them away from the scene for a while. I get it – I find myself getting flustered as well. Mainly because it manifests itself as the symptoms I listed at the start of this article. However, I try to remind myself that it’s all about priority, finding time, and creating balance. Even if things start to shift in the opposite way that’s alright. You can shift again. We are very lucky in Los Angeles that there are events happening almost every day. So it really is up to us to take control of our pendulum.
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.