Can Just Anyone Learn to Like BDSM?

 Posted by on May 7, 2013
May 072013
 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis article is the first of a two-part series about raising the question of BDSM with a potential romantic partner one has met without knowing whether there is a shared interest in BDSM. It was originally posted July 28, 2012

According to statistics on the website for The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, 12% of women and 22% of men reported an erotic response to a story that had SM overtones. That’s approximately 1 in 8 women and 1 in 5 men! But then why are there only 30 people at the local munch?

Only a fraction of those into BDSM actively seek it via the online or RT communities. Thus, there exists a pool of people with an interest in BDSM who are hidden amongst those who do not have the interest, which means there is some chance that a person who is approached with a question about BDSM has an interest in it.

Thus, bringing up the question of BDSM with someone outside the RT or online BDSM communities could open a door. Before reaching for that door handle, let’s discuss a couple of other points. Some of the examples are written from the perspective of a submissive seeking a dominant but the general ideas broadly apply.

There is a difference between one who has a dominant personality, and one who can erotize dominance. Indeed one who has a dominant personality might be attracted only to dominant personalities and be turned off by the idea of a partner who enjoys submission! Thus, assuming that a person who has a dominant personality will naturally want to be dominant can lead to a door slammed in the face.

If you are a submissive and are having trouble understanding why someone would not enjoy being catered to or waited upon hand and foot, simply look at yourself. Surely, you would find it convenient to have things done for you and for one to be at your beck and call! Yet you do not seek it—why so? The reason is not so much that you are submissive; the reason is more that you do not psychosexually enjoy dominance. People who are not into BDSM do not psychosexually enjoy dominance and may find as little appeal in the idea of having a submissive partner as you do.

So while it is possible that approaching a partner outside RT or online D/s communities could lead to a party, the statistics at the beginning of this writing suggest odds are greater that you will have a no show at your party.

Here is another point to consider: the interest in BDSM is not black or white but falls on a continuum. There are those who can take or leave BDSM based on how they feel or how attached they are to their partner. So it helps to develop an interpersonal connection. At the same time, if someone has no interest in BDSM, it is fair and better for each person to have this question addressed somewhat early. What the appropriate time is relies on judgment and varies across people. Some like to bring it up on the first date. Some go a few dates into it.

I don’t think it is necessary to be strongly attached; I think it is necessary to be attractive and to have progressed enough to be open to trying things for sake of the other. This sense of openness is more likely to occur if it is practiced by both persons. And this sense of openness is not limited to sexual activity. If you want your partner to be open to trying something for you, it helps to be open to trying something for your partner, whether it is going to opera, or going to a football game.

This path—engaging in BDSM with a person who is not so much into it but is trying it for sake a partner—carries the risk that the idea will become old and uninteresting. This point is relevant if one is   envisioning a long-term relationship.

If one does want to try to bring up the topic of BDSM with someone about whose interest one is unsure, what are some effective approaches? I answer this question in the second portion of this series.

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