From Vanilla to Kink

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By Drea Martin

Several of you have expressed a desire to encourage someone  who hasn’t yet explored the  BDSM playground to do so.  This is a perfectly natural desire and one that I have experienced myself at various times in my life. The primary reason for this, in my opinion, is that when we connect with something that is so much a part of who we are at the most basic levels, it excites us. The freedom we feel at being able to lose ourselves in carefully monitored dark spaces and to discover more about ourselves and our most secret longings brings us to such a high place of exhilaration that we wish to share it with everyone, particularly those with whom we share our beds.

Let me first urge caution when it comes to being someone’s introduction into the lifestyle. Remember that as much as you feel comfortable and at home in your new element, it isn’t for everyone. Some people don’t engage in BDSM activities because they’ve never been exposed to it, never been told that it’s okay to be dark and to have ‘taboo’ thirsts. However, there are those among us who genuinely don’t have a kinky bone in their vanilla bodies and that’s the reason we must be cautious.  We stand to cause much harm to the vanilla partner, to our own experiences and to the community at large if we don’t take this into consideration.

While the activities that make up each of our individual BDSM lives are natural, positive and spiritual for us, to a person who has no kink-interest it can come off just as it’s portrayed in mainstream media – as abuse, as mental illness, as self-abasement, as narcissism, as a continuing pattern of childhood traumas… you get the idea.  This is the very thing we don’t want to happen. We must, as a community, make our voices heard and set ourselves apart from the mad-persons who would cloak themselves with our banner.  We are not the same as the monsters who would use the sacrosanct lifestyle we have created as a means of excusing their desire to harm others. The goal isn’t harm… not ever.

 Now, enough with the heavy.

The best place to begin to introduce your vanilla partner to a more kink-centered play is with discussion. The best place to begin anything in BDSM is discussion. Talk, talk , talk, talk, talk and when you’ve finished talk again. You cannot communicate enough with your play partners, ever! Talking doesn’t mean online/over the phone scenes, though that too has its place. It means a frank discussion of who you are, who your partner is, the things you like and those you cannot abide… it is a discovering one of the other and it is crucial to safe, fulfilling BDSM play.

To begin with, tell your partner some of the softer things you like. For example, when I’ve been the one discussing BDSM with a vanilla partner, I first began with telling him how much it aroused me to be pinned down during sex. Seems innocent enough to most people and it’s a great place to start. If you go to your partner and proclaim that what you’d really like most in bed tonight is to be choked out while being brutally ass-fucked and then brought back to consciousness with your partner carving their initials into your back with a razorblade, you’re probably just going to make them think you’ve lost your mind and close off to any explanation of BDSM, ever, by anyone. You have to work up to the good stuff… patience, Grasshopper!

Pay close attention to your partner as you’re describing whatever soft activity you’ve chosen to gauge their reactions. If they don’t immediately shut you down, find out if they’d be willing to try ______ to see if they enjoy it as well. It’s like gentling a wild animal; you have to go slowly and make no sudden movements. Assure your partner that if they become uncomfortable with it at any point it ends there. Personally,  I like to point out at this point that the ‘stops immediately’ is a cornerstone rule of BDSM as a whole.  Whether your partner is kinky to begin with or vanilla to the core, activity ceases the moment any party involved becomes uncomfortable with it. No questions, no discussion, no exception.

Ideally, once you’ve found some barely kinky thing to explore together, you’ll be able to give it a trial run reasonably soon.  Once you do, you, and your partner, will have a more solid jumping off place to begin delving further into BDSM. I’ve found the aftermath of the ‘experiment’ is the best time to flesh out how your partner feels about the things you’ve done together and, assuming you have a positive reaction, to ask if they’d care to know other things that turn you on.

From here, maintaining a careful balance of conversation, honesty, trust and experimentation, the two of you may very well be poised at the outset of an amazing journey through the freeing realm of being true to yourself.  It’s of vital importance to remember that if your partner genuinely isn’t into BDSM, that you let them know it’s just as okay to be vanilla as it is to be kinky. I have been with partners who I was able to introduce to the lifestyle and they found a home there just as I did all those years ago. I have also been with those who are as vanilla as it gets and, despite our exploring had absolutely no interest in it.

On that note, if your partner isn’t into BDSM at all, let me urge you to consider  your own desires carefully and decide for yourself if a relationship without kink is something you want.  Just as we can’t force vanilla people to turn kinky for us, we can’t expect ourselves to live vanilla at the expense of our own souls. I speak from experience when I tell you that denying yourself ultimately only hurts yourself, it hurts your partner, and it hurts everyone close to you. Denying something so much a part of what makes you who you are causes a deep misery that brings only damage to ourselves.

BDSM is nothing if not freedom. Free to be heavy, thin, tall, short, hung, cuck, gay, lesbian, bi, trans, genderqueer, pansexual, kinky, and yes, even free to be vanilla.  So, go talk with your partner… and be free.

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