6/8/10
Your Call: He’s Kinky, She’s Vanilla, Is the Relationship Doomed?

Share your advice for this reader in the comments section below…

Dear Em & Lo,

I recently started dating a wonderful man. He’s smart, and interesting, and handsome and the sex has been delightful.

But not outstanding. But we’ve been working a fairly brisk learning curve and we can’t seem to get enough of each other anyway, and I’m stupidly happy in his arms so everything should be coming up roses, right?

Except for the GIANT black-leather-studded elephant in the room, which is his propensity towards BDSM. He hasn’t really trotted it out to me in a big way, but I know that I am decidedly NOT into whatever he’s into, eg: humiliation, manipulation, extreme bondage, violent spankings, etc. He’s brought it up a few times as something that he engages in as a significant part of his sexuality.

I’m definitely not that girl. I can’t imaging enjoying anything about it. I’m the type to be playful in bed, or silly, or just rut like an animal. But always as an equal to my partner. I don’t want to dominate OR be submissive as a defined and absolute role. Humiliation and manipulation, feeling powerless or at someone’s mercy…well, the thought of it frankly terrifies the hell out of me. And being scared does NOT turn me on. I might be the only woman in the world who doesn’t have  a rape fantasy.

I suppose it bears mention that I have a history of manipulation and abuse in my childhood. So having gone through many years and many thousands of dollars of therapy, I’m loathe to have someone assert control over me all over again.

So…is this doomed? The more I think about how this is an integral part of his sexuality, the more upset I get and want to run away. We’ve been having pretty much vanilla sex, and it’s good. But it’s not great. Not for either of us. For me, I think, it’s because I’m perpetually wondering if he’s going to do something that makes me ill at ease, or put me in a position where I will feel scared or somehow terrorized. And I know that’s what he wants, and that by my unwillingness to engage in BDSM, I’m robbing him of his desires. I mean, hell, it’s the only porn he has.

Should I break up with him? I’m definitely not the girl who will satisfy this for him.

— Vanilla Girl

What should Vanilla Girl do? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.

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94 Comments on "Your Call: He’s Kinky, She’s Vanilla, Is the Relationship Doomed?"

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Alison Carter
Alison Carter
2 months 2 days ago

Gross. Dump the bastard. Accommodating a sexuality that isn’t part of you is being seduced to a degrading act that you can’t take back. If you never fantasized about it, don’t accommodate it because of love. If he can’t switch off his desires for bdsm in order to deserve you and make the commitment to be turned on only by normal things, then he doesn’t love you. And he’s a man, so you know he won’t, so dump him. His logic may be that you should change yourself to accommodate him instead, then we’re back to square 1.

Femenism Is Not Equality
Femenism Is Not Equality
23 days 28 minutes ago

You are incredibly sexist.

john blaid
john blaid
4 months 15 days ago

Do him and yourself a favor and break it off now. I’m that guy and I made a mistake and now I’m committed and unhappy

bklynbug
bklynbug
5 months 11 days ago
One word: dialog. You say he’s mentioned it a few times, but it doesn’t sound like the two of you have really sat down and talked. Seriously. Clothes on, at the kitchen table, cards all laid out. Kink and vanilla are terms with fluid meaning. I think I’m fairly vanilla; my friends think I’m the kinkiest fucker on two legs (on my back is too easy). Tell him what your fears are. And your desires. And listen, really listen, to his. There may be some common ground that will make both of you happy (maybe not handcuffs, a silk tie… Read more »
Brown
Brown
5 months 11 days ago
I’ll say what I think the biggest challenge is and you can tell me if I have it right. Whether you’ve just met or been with each other for years, let’s assume that you are ‘in love’, but have fundamentally different ‘triggers’ when it comes to sexual response. The real problem is that when you’re in this kind of warm, loving relationship – both of you will be interested in making the other happy. His ‘trigger’ comes from ‘darker’ impulses/acts – which she might agree to… But at the end of the day, unless those ‘darker’ impulses/acts turn her on… Read more »
Vocal
Vocal
8 months 1 day ago
This should settle the matter. Answer the questions, and you will know your true decision. Are you reckless? As in, would you want to risk having your anus ripped or intestinal damage? Do you like knowing that you are an object? Being slapped around while women get raped because of watching pornography like this. This being said. I am sadly not against bdsm. I wish I were. It is so degrading. People can say what they want defending bdsm, but I personally wish that it was not something that I enjoyed. Gagging women with hand, appendages, or any other item… Read more »
Johnny
Johnny
8 months 20 hours ago

Whoa. You’re doing it wrong. Violent play should be SIMULATED. Torn anuses and intestinal damage are way over the line.

Your cognitive dissonance on the subject of S&M is its whole own subject, but first things first: you should not be walking away from sex with a perforated colon.

Em Taylor
8 months 19 hours ago

Seriously, that’s some Game of Thrones shit right there!

LB
LB
10 months 21 days ago

You most definitely should or you will end up like me shedding tears on my pillow for years. If i had know his bdsm kink is serious, if i had educated myself more on the subject i wouldn’t have married him, have children just to suffer emotionally without the closeness of having normal sex. It’s not fair for either of us. Good luck.

Em Taylor
10 months 20 days ago

I understand your bitterness at ending up with someone who is so sexually mismatched, but it seems unfair to refer to what you do in bed as “normal sex.” Who gets to decide what “normal” is? Some people think that simply using birth control makes sex dirty, because it separates the act from procreation. Even if you don’t want to get your kink on, there’s no need to call someone else abnormal. There’s no such thing in bed as “normal” — there’s simply what you like, and what somebody else likes.

Cherryl
Cherryl
9 months 13 days ago
I define normal sex as that which doesn’t require special equipment or a safe word. To me, having normal sex does indeed imply closeness and a connection with your partner, while kink implies a separation. Look at the entire bdsm role play and scripting of scenarios activity. The planning and ritual that goes into that seems anal and a bit obsessive-compulsive. With the focus on the script and the scenario how can you not lose sight of any natural feelings and desires as they arise? I’d find that very distracting. Em, you illustrate it best when you describe it as… Read more »
Sacrilicious
Sacrilicious
9 months 12 days ago

You really should refrain from speaking in an authoritative tone about that which you clearly know nothing about. The practice of BDSM *absolutely* requires trust, respect and connection with your partner. My sexual experiences on the kinkier side have been some of the most emotional, erotic and DEEPLY satisfying I’ve ever had.
It’s fine that you don’t think kinky sex is for you, but quit speaking about it as if you have any idea how it’s enjoyed by those who do. Carry on with your missionary.

Lolo
Lolo
9 months 4 days ago

Please be respectful.(: there’s no need to be defensive.

Matt
Matt
9 months 13 days ago
Others might beg to differ. I’m not a kink or BDSM kinda guy in the slightest, but just have to point out that the egocentrism in your thinking. You find it to be too much planning. You find it distracting. You feel it focuses too much on the script and scenario, and loses site of “natural” (to you!) feelings and desires as they arise (within you). I feel pretty much exactly as you when it comes to my own needs… but I wouldn’t in a million years think that my own, personal needs and desires should be applied to the… Read more »
Jessexyum
Jessexyum
1 year 6 months ago

Why do you stay. You deserve too be with someone confident and comfortable with.

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