Tiny Tidings: Can a couple with different levels of kinky survive long term?

Message: Can a couple with different levels of kinky survive long term?

Oh man. You guys aren’t giving me much to start this segment with. The one sentence questions are so hard because I don’t have any details!

First, I am going to assume you, the sender, is in this relationship and I’m going to style my response accordingly. If you’re not and just asking about a hypothetical relationship, sorry.

Anyone remotely close to me will tell you that I love details in a story. Not only will I provide what most people believe to be too many details but I also ask a bunch of questions when a friend tells me a story about what’s going on in her life. I have to understand everything so I can come to the best judgment and give a helpful response.

I need the details because a big fear of mine is being misunderstood. I’ve been misunderstood my whole life, like any other living person. But In the last year I’ve realized how much I’ve been gaslighted to believe that I’m an angry, mean, bitchy, hurtful, alcoholic person. And I’ve definitely expressed those characteristics. I’ve definitely been those things at one point or another. But again, like any other person. It took me thirty years to realize I’m human. And I am not going back. But the fear of being misunderstood still remains heavy in my heart.

I know nothing about kink. I am pretty simple when it comes to sex, with a slight edge. I am perfectly happy with some light spanking, hair pulling, or dirty talk. While it might make some grab their pearls, I don’t think any of that constitutes as kink. Kink can mean a lot of things. But no matter the focus of the kink, or level, there is shame and vulnerability involved. In sharing it and asking for your partner to participate it in with you.

I think it’s important to point out that different people have different expectations for sex. For some, sex is very necessary for them to feel healthy and good in a relationship. Some people need things and if they can’t get it from their partner, or there’s not some other option agreed to, it’s probably not going to work. So what I’m saying is, if there’s a big difference in kink and sex life, you need to both ask yourself if that’s something you definitely need to survive or thrive.

But I would argue that most of the time, the thing we say we need is usually just one small thing a part of a bigger thing.

From what I understand, kink is a very broad spectrum. It includes everything from being tied up to being humiliated, from wearing furry costumes to watching your partner have sex with someone else. And a million other things I have yet to hear of. I think at the end of the day, one thing they all have in common is the desire to turn on your partner. To seem them lit up with excitement. To get them off. The intention is about pleasuring your partner.

But even though the intention has a lot to do with the partner, it comes with a lot shame and vulnerability. Kinks are most commonly believed to be as dirty, scary, living outside the bounds of ‘normal’ society. Of course, that’s a part of the appeal, but it’s also a stereotype that only weirdos or nymphomaniacs or murderers (thanks, Law & Order: SVU). In actuality, it’s a lot more normal than we’re taught to believe. Nevertheless, kink is seen as ‘other’. Being in the other always comes with shame and sharing that kink always comes with a lot of vulnerability.

While I don’t know much about kink at all, I do know how difficult it is to ask for what you want. Or to say no to things your partner wants, whether its explicitly or implicitly asked for.

I know how difficult it is because for a long time I lived in a world where I thought crying during sex was normal. Or okay enough that I had to learn to deal with it. I thought having flashbacks of being sexually assaulted during sex was something I should accept. And it wasn’t until I started speaking about my sexual assault that it started to go away. That wasn’t my goal when I shared my story, I didn’t have any hopes of long-term benefits, but I knew I was tired of carrying this load around inside me and I had to let it go, even for a moment.

The first time I spoke about my sexual assault I was 20 years-old and at a Take Back the night event. I had no plan to share but something called me to go up there. I cried the whole time. And a friend had to go up with me and hold my hand while I did it. I was the only person that night who had someone next to her. And I quickly realized that the violations against me paled in comparison to the other women’s stories.

After that night I noticed a shift, inside of myself. So, I kept doing it, and it kept helping me, which brings me to today. A little over a year after I posted my story about being sexually assaulted on this blog. Being labeled as a sexual survivor wasn’t necessary for my sex life. But being heard was. I needed to be seen so I could be comfortable with my body with another person.

Since then, I’ve faced a lot of fallout. Mostly substantial damage to the relationship I have with my parents. I’ve gone back and forth the last year between feeling no regrets about the post or the decisions I’ve made in the last year to believing that I am a huge fuck-up alcoholic failure selfish piece-of-shit. Bouncing back and forth between the two beliefs has been exhausting.

I was bouncing back and forth until last week, when I remembered what my life was like before I shared my story and realized I no longer freak out during sex. It’s been years since I’ve cried during or after sex. I don’t inexplicably yell at men at the bar. I’m not scared of men. Every sexual encounter I’ve had in the last year has been amazing. 100% consensual and extremely fun. Except one, which was mediocre. But I left that experience accepting the mediocracy and confident enough to know that’s not what I wanted.

I wouldn’t have been able to do that years ago before I started to work through my experiences of being sexually assaulted. And it’s only improved since I posted the story on this blog. And if my parents would rather I keep silent but live like I was - crying during sex, having flash backs at any moment, panic attacks, not being able to trust men, living in fear constantly – I will tell them no every single time.

I don’t think my parents are inherently evil. I love them both. And I don’t think they actually want me to live in constant trauma. For them, they don’t associate the two. They want me to okay AND quiet. Trying to explain to them that I cannot live both ways is impossible. We just don’t have the same beliefs when it comes to dealing with and healing from trauma. I have to accept that.

But oh god. What does this all have to do with kink?

Absolutely nothing. Because again, I know nothing about kink. And you gave me like nothing to work with. But here are my final thoughts, I don’t think kink is about much more than being seen. And that is my expertise – being heard and seen.

The kinkier partner wants to be seen and heard. They want you to validate them after sharing their most vulnerable thing, this thing that that a lot of people think is disgusting. I can only imagine how hard that is to share with a partner. That’s why so many people flock to kink websites; it must be much easier to open yourself up to people who you already know are willing to share their vulnerabilities.

To get back to your original question, can a relationship last with two partners with different levels of kink? Yes, of course. Anyone can last. There are relationships with one person who drinks a bottle of wine a night and the only drinks on holidays. There are couples who come from wildly different socioeconomic backgrounds or cultures. There are same-sex couples, one partner has been out and proud their whole life and has a supportive family, and the other recently came out and still struggles with shame due to their family abandoning them when they found out.

This stuff makes it more difficult, of course. Same goes for the disparity in kink levels you and your partner are having. There will be disagreements that arise because of these differences. But if you come from a place of empathy, those disagreements are going to get resolved a lot quicker.

Think about it this way – it’s you and your partner against the disagreement or problem. Not you and your partner against each other. Forget about winning an argument and seek to understand your partner. And ask the same from them.

After you are both heard and understood, you’ll find that you and your partner are way more connected; that’s the best place to make decisions from – connection. Once you’re connected,  you can start to decide on how you want to explore kink together.

 

Want to submit a sticky situation to Tiny Tidings? Send your message here.


Like this post? Share it on Pinterest!

 
pitnerest graphics for blog.png