Dating Kinky
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This writing is now available as a podcast episode!

I’m about to start Writing Week, February 2020. What’s that, you ask? It’s my week every month where I retreat from parts of the world and write a book.

Yes, you heard that right.

A book. A whole book. This week.

And this week, I’m writing “Understand Me—Now! (And That’s An Order.) Communication for relationships, including ethical non-monogamy, kink, and BDSM.

So, when I popped into my writing prompt for the day, and it was about communication, I justified my writing (and recording today) as adding to my overall word count, even before I begin.

So, here goes.

About six months ago, I wrote, Communication Is NOT The Most Important Part Of A Relationship—Kinky Or Otherwise, and I said that appreciation is.

Of course, there were people who agreed with me and people who didn’t. Some who agreed that communication was not the most important thing, but didn’t think that thing was appreciation.

And I love that. I love that people don’t agree, and that they take the time to explain their reasoning. I learn from this.

As you can see today, I’m going to present a different viewpoint.

In my previous writing, I said that without appreciation, there would be no point for a relationship to be at all. No point in communicating.

In this piece, I’ll talk about the relationship you already have—be it love or friendship, co-worker or service provider and client, and how communication affects every aspect of it in two ways, natural communication and conscientious communication.

Natural Communication

Throughout our lives, MOST of our communication is “natural” communication. The type of communicating we do when we’re not thinking about our communication. It’s a sort of ‘default’ setting to our communication—a base level to which we return easily at any time.

It is our nature.

Not nature in the sense that it never changes. It does—sometimes drastically—throughout our lives.

Nature in the sense that it represents who we are and how we communicate NOW.

I’d estimate this makes up 98-99 percent of our daily lives, unless we are in high-communication fields of study or careers, like sales, writing, psychology, etc. Even so, much of our study and work will become more natural as we go through life, even when it was once very much a conscious effort. Going from conscious incompetence to unconscious competence, to make room for new learning and ways to speak.

Conscientious Communication

Conscientious communication is what happens when we think about speaking. Not just what we want to say, but HOW we want to say it.

A couple of examples from my book Dating Kinky, about writing profiles:

Instead of: I like board games.
Try something like: I’m a rockstar at games, especially Monopoly, Werewolf and Exploding Kittens.

This puts more personality—more YOU—into the profile. Or, to look at something that might be considered a ‘negative’ by some:

Instead of: I hate running.
Try something like: I run like an asthmatic sloth. Don’t ask me to race with you, but hiking in nature is always fun, and I can go for hours!


I’m 38-28-43, definitely curvy. Some might call me fat, even. I rock this body, and love my physical strength and the way I look in tight skirts. My best partner will, too.

Of course, we also use this type of communication when we are trying to say something awkward or negative to a friend (hopefully!) or loved one.

Or when we’re writing a dicey email to the boss.

And it makes up a small percentage of most of our lives. Even those who communicate conscientiously as part of their work will still only add up to maybe 10 percent. Because again, even that kind of careful speech becomes ingrained habit, and we create toolboxes of shortcuts and this-worked-previously scenarios, so we can reduce mental workflow.

So, with these two types of communication, there are three things to remember:

  1. Choosing to conscientiously communicate changes the communication.

For good or ill, it changes what is being said and how, which will impact the communication and the results.

And, in some cases, what we are trying to say oh-so-carefully will conflict with our natural forms of communication.

  1. There are often times when one person is communicating naturally, and the other is choosing to communicate conscientiously. Or, they may be required to.

For example, a customer service representative my have to choose their words carefully while a “Karen” screams at them to get their manager, without necessarily thinking about what they are saying or the impact.

  1. If your natural communication styles are not compatible with another person, you will likely feel increasingly uncomfortable around them.

This discomfort may take many forms:

  • Slight depression
  • Feelings of awkwardness or unworthiness
  • Irritability
  • Disgust
  • Dis-ease
  • Fear

And so on. Which can be hard to pinpoint the reason for, and depending on whether you blame yourself or the other person (or simply recognize the issue as one that does not require blame, but just is), might make you work harder to earn their approval, make you act cruelly, or make you sad.

Many people whose natural communication fits well with your own are those who immediately make you feel at ease, and like you’ve known them forever. It’s not just WHAT they say—it’s how they say it, often down to the vocabulary, grammar and spelling markers, tone of voice, and if you are in-person, their body language.

If your conscientious communication is not a match, that will be less of an issue, well, at least if you have appreciation for your partner, and wish to bridge the gap. Over time, in romantic relationships, this can be built upon, and you may see it growing together, intertwining over time, and creating even closer natural communication styles, while making conscientious communication more effective as well.

Of course, it may not. You may never meet eye-to-eye that way. But you may not need to as much, if your natural communication styles work, you may rarely have the need for huge knock-down-drag-out (verbal) fights with each other, and your natural bonds may keep you together.

Without those natural communication similarities, though, you’ll probably pick at each other constantly, find small things to argue about, and rarely even know what you’re fighting about, just that you’re angry.

And that will destroy what you hope to build, one word at a time.

Image by Merio from Pixabay

This writing is now available as a podcast episode!

“perceptual information is shaped by natural selection to reflect utility, not to depict reality.” (source)

Donald H. Hoffman, professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine, suggests that not only do we all perceive reality differently, but that it’s natural and necessary that we do so.

A perspective of the world that keeps us alive is more important than one that is objectively accurate.

It’s been said that our minds build our worlds.

So, each of us has a world of our own making that we live in.

Our worlds are a story we tell ourselves every moment, based on our senses and our lived experiences.

How you see the world will likely be similar to how I see the world, and yet, different in some pretty critical ways.

I once turned a man down on OK Cupid, and he said, “But we have a 98% match. That means something.” I replied that humans share 98.8% of our DNA with chimpanzees, and that it’s the differences that matter.

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This writing is now available as a podcast episode!

Last week, a friend and I were talking about the frustration of someone saying in an argument, “I’m done talking about this,” and how it feels to be cut off without recourse.

Like there needs to be some sort of agreement in place when this happens, so it’s not quite so one-sided a “solution.”

I have a Conflict Resolution Protocol that I use often to good effect, and I’ve written about it.

But when I was talking with my friend last week, I realized that there’s another that is so natural to me that I forget it’s even a thing, sometimes.

My ex-husband and I got a LOT wrong. We did get a few things right. One thing was when one person “called” the argument (ended it for ANY reason), the other person got two minutes to speak their mind without any interruption.

The other was that the issue was always revisited within a 48-72 hour time frame, so that it didn’t fester.

It’s simple. And effective.

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Back in April, I wrote That ONE Thing You Didn’t Do, which sparked some good debate from both sides, in agreement and against.

After all, who hasn’t known the pain of giving something that was not at all appreciated, and who hasn’t also had people give them things they didn’t want, and say they were ungrateful?

I think we’ve all been in both pairs of shoes.

@UnicornHusbandry said something perfectly in a comment, that I’d like to share and expound upon.

It should be a lot more simple than it is. The issue seems almost childish. But it’s such a common problem in relationships, isn’t it?

What we give to another person, in time, affection or gifts, all indicates who we believe them to be. Do we see them as our property? Do we see them as our student or child who must be instructed? Do we see them as our parent who must offer us unlimited support and affection?

For example, big-scary-thing-in-life happens. How do you treat your partner?

  • Command them in what to do? (property)
  • Give them ideas and suggestions and teach them? (student or child)
  • Cower behind them and expect them to save us? (parent)
  • Offer support and say, “I know you’ve got this, and I’m here, always, if you need or want anything.” (capable adult)

How we engage with others communicates clearly how we view them.

Over time.

I wrote this in 2014: How Do I Say…?

It still guides my relationship with my Pet every moment.

It still guides me in my relationships throughout my life.

It’s a reminder that showing appreciation for those around me is not a once in a while thing, but an ongoing series of actions from now until the end of time.

Which written out like that, seems pretty heavy.

Like those ads that we see around Christmas about not getting a puppy as a present. A relationship may be a lifetime commitment—every moment of every day.

Of course, there are many relationships: friends, lovers, children, bosses, coworkers.

And we communicate with all of them with our actions.

And when we act unthinkingly with those around us, we communicate that we are not thinking of them.

When we treat people as we see them…

We may be communicating that we see them more clearly than anyone—or that we don’t see them at all.

Sure, there are days when I am distracted, and I don’t pay the people around me as much attention as they may want.

I’m human.

However, over time, my people know I’m here for them, in nearly anything, from needing an ear for a rant, to being the place they flee to when their latest relationship ends and they have no place to live that isn’t full of broken hearts.

And that’s what I want to communicate to them. So, I make sure I AM there for them, because that’s the best way to make that clear.

Seems simple, right?

Then why do we so often get it wrong?

He’s fucking sexy, this new guy. Reminds me of Warrick Brown from the original CSI (RAWR!), except instead of greenish grey eyes, his are bluish grey, and delightfully wicked.

We were having tea on Saturday. A spontaneous thing. I had some time, and I asked him (on Tinder) would he like to meet.

A bit more than two hours of conversation ensued.

And during that conversation, I asked him what he was looking for on Tinder (always a moment of truth), and I looked him in the eyes.

He looked away, looked back, laughed a bit (not nervously, more self-deprecatingly, as I interpreted it), and said:

“Well, I like to fuck.”

If my panties didn’t fall to the ground in that instant, it’s only because my jeans were in the way.

Not because of the fucking. After at least 90 minutes of discussing sex and kink and whatever came to mind, I “knew” him as a sexual being.

It was that he told his truth. Simply. Clearly. Without shame.

He said what he wanted, and he owned it.

Which makes it so much easier to respond to, negotiate, and fulfill. Or not.

I’ve written about Nice Guys/Girls (NGs) before, and covert contracts.

NGs’ real crime is not that they have needs, but that they are so afraid of their needs that they are super sneaky about them—even to themselves.

NGs try to force everyone to guess what they want in return for “being nice,” for listening, for that steak dinner—as if these things are commodities for trade, which is another thing they make us guess at—and thereby make themselves impossible to please, because no one is a mind reader.

And sure, I’m guessing saying that you’re on Tinder to fuck will get more than a few “Nos,” but the “Yeses” you get will be 100% authentic, because there is no guessing what’s up.

It’s right there, clear as day, and up for negotiation.

Which is sexy AF.

Anyone disagree?

What is kinky, anyway?

What questions do you have about kink?

OR what questions have you had about kink in the past when you were a brand-spanking new kinkster?

OR what questions would you want a newbie to kink to ask you or an expert that you trust?

(No need to say which is which, necessarily. grins)

If you have answers to the questions you pose, please share them as well. If you have answers to what other people ask, or opinions, please feel free to answer.

I’m looking to find out what you want to know, and to help you find out what you want to know.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m going to be writing a book about “What is kinky?” and I’ll probably take inspiration from your questions, and possibly use (with permission and attribution) quotes of your answers.

And this is coming from someone who teaches communication classes.

So, what’s the most important thing in a relationship?

Appreciating your partner. Truly. Deeply. Wonderfully.

Appreciate who they are as people.

Appreciate what they do for you.

Appreciate their character and drive.

Appreciate their quirks and foibles.

Because without that appreciation, you will run into communication killers—those things that will make your conversations into arguments and your collaborations into battles.

You’ll lose the benefit of the doubt to get you through stressful times, hurtful times.

You’ll try to make them over or run their lives or create rules like you might for a child, and well, that rarely goes over well.

And it shouldn’t.

And it’s not just appreciation for your partner.

You must have appreciation for you. Because unless you feel strength and contribution and the ability to make good choices, you will have a hard time truly appreciating your partner.

Because you won’t be sure you picked the right one. And doubts will eat at you and erode what you’d built.

And you won’t trust.

And communication (which IS critically important) won’t happen.

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

No, don’t “Just trust your feelings,” that’s a most excellent way to fuck everything up.

But it’s a catchy tune, for sure.

On yesterday’s writing, @Rima asked:

My question is…how does one know if the shared goal is to strengthen the relationship? Simply by asking?

Well, asking is one step, sure.

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I’ve noted before that ideas seem to gather around me in fascinating ways.

A few days ago, I wrote about emotional vocabulary, and had several discussions on the topic over the week before, this past weekend, and a few new words and topics related to it caught my eye.

And today, I find this image on Facebook:

A clipped post: "Shout out to everyone that's actually intelligent but have difficulty articulating what they know especially when they're being questioned.
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This past weekend, I taught a communications class at the Submissive Safe Haven Symposium, and thanks to starting the class with a Q&A, we ventured into some territory and ideas that I’ve not really verbalized or taught before.

And one was pretty straightforward:

Communicating is simple. But because we’re human, we get in our own way.

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