The second most common question I’m asked.
The first is “Where do I find __ (fill in the blank amazing kinky person)?”
So, the two most common questions I’ve been asked for years online amount to: “How do I get the kink I want?”
Which is a fair question. After all, we all want to feel fulfilled and content.
In a writing a few days back, I asked in a post about consent issues, “Do you think you may have ever pressured someone else? Either intentionally or not?”
And @silentexplorer (on FetLife) replied:
“I pressured my kids father to be kinky. I often say his vanilla is Bryers vanilla icecream, four ingredients. After weeks of asking he caved and spanked me, the most vanilla thing I wanted. He wont do it again. Seeing a bruise on my ass scared him. I begged for more, and harder. He hated it. I agreed to not ask him to participate in or tell him about my desires. To this day he is mad that I pushed him to it.”
Which is an incredibly brave, honest, and aware answer.
If we look at the ways we exert ourselves on others throughout our lives, I think most of us can find a time (in or out of kink) that we have put pressure on someone to please us in ways they were not prepared or fully willing to.
- Maybe it’s trying kink, like the example.
- Maybe it’s having sex, because you’re feeling horny, or need reassurance.
- Maybe it’s about them spending time with your friends.
- Maybe it’s about being “the good partner” for that business dinner.
- Maybe it’s about getting married, moving in, changing your relationship status so it’s “Facebook official.”
And before you say it, NO, I’m not comparing all of these to rape. They are not rape, unless they are. They are a range from possible sexual assault to simple pressure and manipulation common to most relationships.
And considering that “How do I get my _ to _ to me?” is as common as it is, it’s something that most people think is OK.
So, let me answer that question.
“How do I get my _ to _ to me?”
The answer to this is an excerpt from my book: Understand Me Now! (And That’s An Order.) Communication for relationships, including ethical non-monogamy, kink, and BDSM, in the “How do we communicate wants and needs without being pushy or entitled?” chapter.
Ah. A challenge.
After all, sometimes simply stating a want or a need is interpreted as a demand, especially when two different communication styles are involved (like ask versus guess or low and high context peoples).
There are ways, though, that you can stack the odds in your favor that it will be received as intended.
Plan for the worst.
We have to face it, sometimes whatever you want or need will hold zero interest for your partner.
And they may be nice about it, and they may be…well…very NOT nice.
It is a possibility.
Know that when you go ahead and speak, that you’ve decided that speaking your truth honestly and authentically is your priority, and that you’ve looked over the possible results, and you’re ready for whatever happens.
After all, if you need more than what you have, you will have to make some sort of change, even if it is not exactly what you are hoping for.
Knowing that the worst that could happen is something you can deal with will make a big difference in how you approach the issue and in your mindset while discussing the issue.
Don’t be pushy.
LOL! Seems obvious, huh? But here’s the thing: It’s what some people do. They try to convince their partner.
But, you see, that’s being pushy.
In So, What Is Kinky, Anyway?, I wrote a chapter about how to tell your partner that you’re kinky. Two of my recommendations were:
- Accept their “No.”
- Accept their “Maybe.”
I think it’s worth sharing those ideas here as well.
Accept their “No.”
Understand that no matter how awesomely you approach your thoughts and ideas, some people will just not have an interest.
And that’s OK.
They have a right to not want what you want, think what you think, or feel what you feel.
You have a right (well, an obligation at that point) to decide what you will do.
Can you live without your partner providing whatever it is for you?
Do you have ideas on how you can meet your needs without your partner?
Are you willing to continue with a partner who does not share your interest, or is even potentially disgusted by it?
Do not try to browbeat them into something they don’t want. That’s not fair to them. This is your thing, and it’s not cool to try to force them to enjoy it.
Accept their “Maybe.”
“Maybe” is sometimes harder to accept than no. Because it MIGHT turn into a yes, it’s easy to get excited and push too hard.
Let them choose their own pace.
Because while “maybe” does not mean “no”, it doesn’t mean “yes” either. They are undecided.
And pushing too hard can make them decide it’s just not worth it, or that you’re not really respecting their decision making process.
Whatever you’re communicating might be 100% new to them, even if you’ve been harboring a desire for years.
Ask them how you can support their decision-making process.
- Could you do some research for them?
- Find some books or blogs?
- Answer more questions?
- Get some equipment you might need?
- Negotiate some dipping-a-toe-in type experiences?
But be cool. A maybe is better than a no. But it’s NOT a yes.
Don’t make comparisons.
For example, maybe your bestie’s partner JoJo does XYZ, and you want that, too. All you have to do is point that out to your partner, and suggest they be like JoJo, and everything will be fine, right?
I can’t think of a single instance when pointing out that another person does something best turned out to be a positive negotiation tool in couplehood.
What is at stake is YOUR relationship needs and wants, not anyone else’s.
Speak calmly about your wants and needs.
What do you want and need to be happy/satisfied? Discuss both ideals and minimums.
Talk about alternative options and what those might look like.
For example, a common conversation might be about sexual frequency in your relationship. I discuss negotiating sex in the Relationship Styles section of this book.
So, let’s look at what a discussion about sex might include.
**Questions to ask yourself: **
- Is it entirely sex, or is it the intimacy or feelings that come with sex?
- Are there other ways to be satisfied without the actual sex?
- Is it the pleasure you give or the pleasure you take?
For example, sex to me is three things:
- Sex is an affirmation of love and affection. I can also get this with hugging and petting and sweet words and quality time and small gifts.
- Sex is how I relax and relieve stress and sleep soundly. I can also do this with a hot bath, massage, cuddling, a good talk, etc. However, a powerful sexual release hits a “reset button” in my head that is not flipped in other ways, and masturbation doesn’t really do much for me.
As an aside, after writing 30,000 or so words in this book in 4 days, my brain rebelled and went blank for three days. On the third day, I requested a reset and got it. I’m writing again. LOL!
- Sex is how I please my partner. I can also do this by telling him how amazing he is, sending funny pictures, petting him, and cooking delicious foods.
All of these things can augment the sex I get. Still, ideally, I’ll get sex every day, at various times per day. Minimum, once every three days on a set schedule with some of the alternatives thrown in.
Knowing these types of things about yourself before going into a discussion is important. It’s easier to communicate when you know what you want and need.
Say “No pressure.”
(And mean it!)
When you don’t want to pressure someone, say so! Sometimes that’s what it takes to make it clear, whether it’s about kink or sex or day-to-day stuff:
“Would you like to go to the Raging Piglets concert with me? If not, no pressure. Just let me know by 5:00PM, so I can make plans.”
“Hey, I’d love if you’d come with me to my parents’ for the holiday. If you’re not up for it, that’s OK.”
“Would you be willing to try this new position in bed with me? If not, I understand. I found it reading through blogs, and it’s supposed to heighten pleasure for both of us.”
“I’d really love to be blindfolded and tied up and paddled like the naughty wanker I am, if you’re up for it.”
And so on.
Of course, there are times when there is some pressure. A time deadline (as noted in the concert example above), or when a want or a need may have been put off for too long, and is now really making itself known.
At some point, there is a ‘fish or cut bait” decision to make.
So both of you can figure out your next steps.
Remember that you are speaking with another human being with feelings and insecurities.
What are your thoughts?
First, do you think I’m stretching the consent idea too thin, here? I’ve been accused of it before. I personally prefer to make as much as possible in life collaborative and consensual. Just yesterday, I said to my partner:
“Hey, [mutual friend] invited us over to dinner Sunday evening. I accepted. However, if you end up doing something else, I’m perfectly happy making excuses for you.”
Because I think it’s rude to just assume that we will do things together just because we are partners.
But, I know some people EXPECT that. Maybe you are one of those. Or perhaps you engage in covert contracts.
Have you pressured someone in a kinky or non-kinky way before, and ended up regretting it? Have you had it done to you?
Is this sort of pressure something you are willing to cut back on? Or stop altogether?