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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: Even Less Kinky Than Plain Vanilla

Posted by Tristan Taormino on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Tristan Taormino is an award-winning writer, sex educator, speaker, feminist pornographer, and radio host. She is the editor of 25 anthologies and author of seven books, including The Ultimate Guide to Kink and Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships. She lectures at top colleges and universities throughout the world. She is the host of Sex Out Loud, a weekly radio show on the VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network. Her NSFW website is PuckerUp.com and you can follow her on Twitter @TristanTaormino.

Dear Dan,

I’ve never written in before, but I’m kind of at a loss. My boyfriend now, well, I’ve never felt the way I do about him about anyone else. I’m 27 and we’ve been together for a year and a half. I know you’ll say I’m young, but I’ve never really been in a serious relationship before or liked anyone this much. I hardly ever find anyone attractive (really, almost never. And to be attracted to someone physically and mentally—this might be the first). Anyway, even when I did find someone attractive, I never felt like committing to anyone, and relationships never lasted long. But I can’t imagine life without this guy.

As you can guess, there’s a problem coming up. The guy is totally vanilla. Or, I don’t know, what’s less than vanilla… unflavored gelatin maybe? I’m not even that kinky, but It seems almost every time I’ve brought up something even the slightest bit kinky, he’s acted aversely, scoffed, or said no to the idea. He’s not very open about sex, has claimed he doesn’t know what his turn ons are (and also seems incredulous that I don’t believe it), is quiet as a mouse during sex even though I’ve asked him to be more vocal, and is not open to role-playing. Power play and rape scenes are a total NO for him. We had a talk in which he finally came around to being a little more aggressive (no rough sex, mind you) during sex, though saying he doesn’t want to because I don’t like being touched. (To be fair, I can be kind of picky about how I’m touched.) Sometimes he’s good. He won’t go into sex stores, but is open to vibrators and the more vanilla toys. He’s done some spanking.


The rest of the question, and my response, after the jump...

He also somehow acts like sex is my problem and that he’s totally open. He used an example in which he had sex outside with a girlfriend right outside her parents’ bedroom window and claimed it was something he could never do with me because I don’t like being outside and wouldn’t want to have sex with the risk of being caught. When I asked him if it was something he wanted to do, he said no, and couldn’t come up with anything he actually wanted to do!

He claims he used to read your column (over 10 years ago). Although I’ve asked him to, he doesn’t want to start reading it again. I want him to so that he thinks more about turn ons and kinks and just has a generally more open mind frame about sex, talking about sex, and being GGG. (He claims to know what GGG means, but I don’t think he gets the “game” part… at least not in spirit.) He’s open to books though, which is my first question. Do you have any recommended reading for this sort of thing?

My second question is more serious. I know you say sexual incompatibility is break-up territory, but I’m not willing to go there. I’m not that kinky, and I’m willing to settle for kinky sex only once in a while… as long as it actually happens. I really love this guy, but is there hope? Do you have any suggestions to bringing him around a little more? Short and direct not being an option… he never reacts well to that. But maybe a way to gradually introduce him to things or to get him to be more open to ideas?

Please help!

Wants a More Interesting Sex Life

Dear Wants a More Interesting Sex Life:

It seems to me that your boyfriend is very good at deflecting his own discomfort about sex onto you rather than dealing with the issues you raise directly. He also likes to avoid your direct questions by shaming you: you don’t like being touched (by the way, most people are picky about how they like to be touched), you won’t have sex outside, you’re kinky. Like you, I have trouble believing that someone doesn’t know what his sexual fantasies are, but some people are so disconnected from their sexuality that they really cannot access their wants, desires, and needs. He sounds pretty shut down around sex. Another option is that he does know, but is so ashamed of his desires that he can’t talk about them. Either way, short of a non-consensual interrogation scene, you can’t make him talk. You’re doing a lot of emotional work and seem ready to compromise, but I’d like to see him to do both, too. It’s difficult for people to change, and impossible if they don’t want to, and your boyfriend doesn’t seem to want to change. I’m not sure there are any books that can help this problem, although reading some good erotic fiction like Sweet Confessions: Erotic Fantasies for Couples edited by Violet Blue or watching porn movies together may help your boyfriend get in touch with his sexuality and help him articulate what he wants. Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies by Michael Bader is a good resource for letting go of shame and getting in touch with fantasies. I think that some couples’ therapy could really help open up a dialogue—if your guy is willing to dig into the process, figure out what’s behind his issues, and meet you at least halfway. Otherwise, I think you will continue to be unsatisfied with your sex life.

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