Coming out of the closet isn't easy. Especially if yours is filled with whips, chains and mascot costumes (see last week's "Thinkin' About Kinkin'"). Whether you're married or on the prowl, if you've got a fetish, you're eventually going to have to come out of the kinky closet.
To achieve sexual satisfaction all of us, kinksters to missionary-lovers, need to have frequent, honest conversations with our partners about our sexual tastes, whether it be what kind of lube we prefer or how hard we like to be flogged. With a new partner, these chats become even more important and more uncomfortable —throw in a request to have your balls stepped on with stilettos and you're really in trouble.
If you're the kinkster coming out, provide sincere, accurate information about your fetish at the right time, in the right place. Don't just bust out of the bathroom dressed as an adult baby on the first date. Baby steps—not baby role playing!
Talk about your kink early on in your relationship to prevent feelings of betrayal and incompetence for your partner and to reduce your risk of rejection, but do so in a nonsexual context first. Start an intentional conversation about sex over dinner instead of randomly demanding that he slap you and call you "Piggy" in the throes of passion.
Describe why you like your kink, how it can be performed safely and why your partner plays a crucial role in it. For example, if you like being tied up, explain to your partner how physical constraint allows for stronger orgasmic release. Talk about how hot you think it would be to have him/her dominate you and how safe and comfortable you feel with him/her. Engaging your partner in your kink helps him/her understand not only why you like it individually, but also how it can become a part of your sex life together.
If you're a non-kinky counterpart learning of a partner's fetish, listen to your partner's desires without judgment. It can be difficult to understand why your partner's into such things, as many people's kinks are the opposite of how they are in their daily, nonsexual lives; there's reason behind the stereotype that shy girls are professional Dominants and big, powerful business men are the ones paying them to slap them around. Fetishes help us express parts of ourselves that aren't expressed otherwise.
How important is this fetish to your partner? The more crucial the kink, the harder your relationship is going to be if you're not both into it. If you'd like to experiment with your partner's fetish, start small. Watch some tasteful fetish porns or try a smaller version of their kink. If he yearns for a 24-hour Dom/sub relationship, don't just throw on some leather and start swinging. Incorporate a smaller Dom/sub dynamic into your regular sex life first, like eye contact control: next time you have sex, don't allow him to look at you unless you give the okay. I said no looking!
Get academic about it with pertinent reading like When Someone You Love is Kinky by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt, or the newly released Ultimate Guide to Kink edited by Tristan Taormino, which covers everything from kinky terms 101 to fetishy personal stories.
Or head to a local "munch"—a casual, nonsexual public gathering of individuals from the kink community that specializes in welcoming newcomers. Here not only can you get your questions answered but you'll realize that kinksters also enjoy non-fat vanilla lattes...just like you! AsubmissivesJourney.com lists kinky play parties, munches and groups that are searchable by location or criterion, like women- or GLBTQ-friendly.
Be honest about your openness to your partner's fetish. If you're simply not into it, say so, as forcing it is non-consensual badness. Remember, your partner can't control what she is sexually attracted to, but she can control her behaviors. If a fetish is seriously interfering with your relationship, seek counseling. The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has a database of "kink-aware professionals" that will give you advice without raising an eyebrow at last night's handcuff marks.
Now come out, come out, wherever you are, little kinksters—we're ready for you!