The next issue that keeps coming up for me is something that will inevitably happen to all of us at one point or another: what happens when we become involved with someone we really like, but who just isn't that kinky? Downer Warning: being naturally dominant or submissive isn't all fun and games, and this will not be one of those articles that makes you want to go surf for porn.
I can't even count how many times I've come across a fellow kinkster who's in a relationship with a vanilla person they've been trying to convert to kinkiness. Like me, ever since their early childhood, they've had these vivid and intense fantasies about taking control or being controlled, disciplining or being disciplined, using or being used. Their partner is the one of the few people they've been able to find ordinary everyday chemistry with who doesn't run away, laugh, or refer them to a psychiatrist when they talk about their not-so-conventional needs. That partner is loving and kind enough to play along because he wants to make his vanilla partner happy, but he still isn't 'getting it,' or so I keep hearing. They gamely put on their Dom or sub hat and play along, but they never seem to take the ball and run with it. So what advice do I have for my fellow kinksters in vanilla relationships who are desperately trying to 'lure their partners to the dark side'? Here it is, are you ready? Stop! For the love of god, stop!
One of the more extreme cases involves a 29-year-old girl, let's call her Jillian, who's married to a guy she describes as her "best friend" and "the love of her life." Jillian is about as submissive as they come, but unfortunately, she didn't admit to herself she really needed this in her life until after she got married. Since then, she's tried everything to get her hubby – let's call him Todd – to be more dominant. Todd happily did everything Jillian asked with tireless effort and patience, but it never measured up to her experiences with Doms who were just born that way and had been fantasizing about BDSM since even before puberty. Eventually, realizing all she was doing was making him feel uncomfortable and inadequate, Jillian found an experienced Dom online and began cheating on Todd, telling herself it was the best thing for both of them. I have pretty strong feelings about cheating, but my advice to her was as non-judgmental as I could make it: be honest with yourself about the choices you're making. Either give up kink for your husband or cheat on him for yourself, but don't cheat on him and lie to yourself that you're doing it for his sake. Jillian never spoke to me again, and as far as I know, she's still submitting to and boning this other dude. Oh well.
Fact is, Jillian was partially right: in every instance of this dynamic I've come across, the vanilla partner ends up feeling like shit. And why shouldn't he? Todd loves this girl and there's nothing he wouldn't do to make her happy. Is it his fault that he never acquired a taste for chaining girls to the ceiling and hitting them with stuff until their asses are black and blue? Let's face it: to most people, that just makes him normal. Without a doubt, Jillian was in an incredibly tough position. It sucks to be married to a vanilla guy you're still in love with and know he'll never be able to give you what you need. So how do you choose between your emotional and physical needs?
One thing I know for sure is that we can't help what we need. I never chose to be kinky any more than I chose to be straight. And as I've learned the hard way, I'm physically incapable of being satisfied in a purely vanilla relationship just as my gay friends could never be happy with an opposite-sex partner. Sometimes love requires that we sacrifice what we want and accept our partner for who they are, but what happens when it demands that we give up what we can't live without? I'd like to believe the Hollywood cliché that love conquers all, but how can we make someone happy if we'll never feel truly fulfilled ourselves? I think we all know the answer to that one: we can't. In cases like this, sad as it is, I think love means moving on because we care too much about our partner's happiness. Told you this was going to be a downer.