Rosegirl seeks to open a discussion about kink.

Dear Charlton,
I think a lot of non-vanilla types have trouble talking about their preferences with a new dating partner. Usually it stems from a bad experience of scaring someone off early in a relationship. What is the best way to open up a discussion about things like bdsm or inviting a third person to join in?


Dear Rosegirl,

Opening a discussion about your kinks can definitely be scary to spring on a new partner. Especially if it has scared off someone in the past, as you described. But as harrowing as it can be, it should not hold you back from expressing your desires to your partner, whether that be a new partner, or someone you’ve been with for some time. The trick to it is knowing how, and when, to segue the conversation to the topic of your kink. Imagine it, if you will, as if you walk through a warm home, then open a door, and find an elaborate sex dungeon on the other side. Most people would be freaked out right away.

Dating is a process of discovering your new partner, and you have to allow them to discover your kinky lifestyle as well. That includes learning what your partner’s kinks are. I guarantee, your partner probably has a couple, at least! But if you’re worried about expressing them vocally, there are ways to open up about them in more subtle ways.

In the case of BDSM, my suggestion is to start things off with something light. For example: a blindfold, or some fuzzy handcuffs. These are vanilla enough that most new partners would use them without feeling intimidated. If your partner responds positively(perhaps when sex becomes a bit more vigorous), then you should take that as a sign. It may be safe to open dialogue without scaring them out the door.

As for inviting a third person, that is a much trickier topic to bring up(Believe me, I know). Any form of group sex requires a certain amount of trust between you and your partner, so it may be best to wait until you’re a bit further along in your relationship before bringing it up. But if you feel like it’s time to open a conversation about it, begin by establishing a safe space for both of you to discuss your sexual desires without judgement. This shows trust in one another, and places your partner’s mind in a state of ease and openness.

Be gentle with your words, and only reveal your desire to invite a third person, but not the details. Allow your partner a few moments to process it, and express their feelings about it. If they’re open to it, then you’re already past a major hurdle. If not, you may need to either give them more time to contemplate it, or reconsider your options. The only other obstacle is what form of threesome you want, whether it’s MFM or FMF. Most people prefer a threesome involving someone of their preferred sexual gender(i.e. I would prefer FMF, but my girlfriend might prefer MFM). At this point, you should discuss whether your partner would be open to the third person being the same sex they are. Work out your options, talk about if and when you’d like to try it, and go from there.

Hopefully, this helps you to open a dialogue with your future lover, and allows you to experience the sexual fulfillment you seek. Remember: you have the obligation to find someone who fulfills your desires. If someone gets scared at the prospect of a little bondage, or some hearty spanking, maybe it’s better that they ran away. I’d hate to see you suffer through a relationship where your partner was too vanilla to tie you up.

Never be afraid to be kinky.

If you have a question about sex, sexuality, or the erotica genre you’d like submitted to Dear Charlton, you can send it to me through my Contact page. I promise to get to it as quickly as I can.

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