Winter time is coming. The weather is slowly beginning to change and the desire to pair up is seeping into the minds of many. As we enter Autumn, the pull towards developing new relationships continues to grow but in the time of Covid, there is a major barrier to creating those winter time pairings. Further, for those in the kink world, finding not only a partner but a kinky partner can make things even more challenging.
Navigating dating as a kinky person can be quite difficult. Between the limited resources available to find quality kinky partners to the frequent fetishizing of kinky folks, it can be hard to find serious connections that can grow into long term relationships. In fact, it can even be a struggle to find something casual. It is important when pursuing new relationships, especially those that are kinky, to take your time, pay attention to red flags, and never lower your standards.
Do not lower your standards
I cannot stress enough how important it is to remain dedicated to the standards that you have set for yourself. When we are in a clear head space, it is much easier to reflect on the type of partner that we may want but often, in times when we are eager to partner up, we may pair with someone who may not be suitable for our needs. To remain diligently committed to the standards that have been set for ourselves can be a challenge, however it will likely increase the opportunity to find a partner who is a better match.
Do not rush
It is easy to approach this season with the feeling that a relationship must begin immediately. The desire to pair up is often influenced by loneliness which in turn creates feelings of discomfort and distress. It is important not to let those feelings inform the decisions that are being made when trying to pair up. Rushing into relationships often leads folks to miss red flags that may have otherwise come up if more time was taken. While finding an excellent partner may happen early in the dating process, it can be helpful to slow down and take your time as you go forth with getting to know that person and potentially committing yourself to them.
Do not ignore red flags
One of the riskiest things folks can do when beginning a new relationship is ignore red flags. This is even more dangerous when the relationships have a kink component. Red flags are meant to warn us from potential risk and it is easy to overlook those risks when the desire to be in a relationship is overwhelming. Looking at our past experiences can allow us to recognize where there have been errors in our judgement. Perhaps we saw a trait that we convinced ourselves we could get used to when in reality, it should have been a deal breaker. As people approach this cuffing season, it will be helpful to not attach to someone who exhibits traits that we deem toxic or unhealthy for our well being.
The dating process may seem daunting but it is possible, even in these unusual times, to find a partner or partners who can make this winter even more cozy. Overall, looking at relationships with an open mind and approaching slowly and cautiously may allow for stronger and more healthy connections to be made. So this fall, as you approach the season of connection, remember that cuffing, whether emotionally or physically, requires diligence, patience and hopefully a bit of fun.
Elyssa Rice is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in the Kink and Alternative Lifestyle community. She is a writer, lecturer and advocate for sexual empowerment and sexual freedom. She has a private practice in Los Angeles, CA and is dedicated to shifting the narrative about both the mental health and Kink community.