So last week I talked a little about my experience with the lifestyle and how I’ve always had Doms outside of my romantic relationships. I came at the question from the experience of someone who has no reason not to look outside my marriage when I want or need something, because I’m poly and have known it since I was a teenager.
But not everyone is in a relationship where things are more open. Some people go into a marriage or partnership planning to only have one person in their life, but when your needs don’t match that can be a problem.
It’s incredibly common for kinky people to marry or have long term relationships with vanilla people who can’t fill all of their needs. This happens for a lot of reasons but the main one, I think, is that what you want in a life partner is not necessarily what you want in someone who dominates you.
Maybe they meet all your other needs. They listen, they are patient and understanding. They cuddle you when you’re sad and are thoughtful about your birthday. You both have the same life goals.
When you think about who you want to spend your life with, you’re thinking about someone who matches you in your plans for the future. Should we have kids? Where do we want to be in ten years? Are we saving for a dream house? Do we want to be rich? Successful? Do we want an off-grid house in the middle of nowhere?
‘Can I kneel at his feet while he calls me his horny little slut?’ is probably not super high on that list. But there’s more to it than that. Many people settle into partnerships young, before they’ve truly explored themselves. They may have dismissed kinky fantasies as just that … fantasies.
People often don’t realize the difference between fantasies and needs until later in life. Then it becomes clear that kink is something they really want to explore. But their partner may not be on board with it. It’s pretty common.
I’ve always been an introspective person. I knew a lot about myself, from the time I was very young, that most people don’t. I knew I didn’t care what gender my partner was by the time I was ten. I knew that I didn’t want only one partner. (Thanks Heinlein!) And I knew that spanking, D/s, and other kinky things were more than just fantasies for me.
But many people don’t realize these things so early. Because of that, when they finally do figure it out, they may not be comfortable with it. That’s when these things get buried under a façade of a more societally correct image.
The world has changed. Kink has stepped out of the shadows to a certain extent, it’s gotten easier for people to accept this part of themselves. You now have some teens and early 20’s people who are actively aware that this is something they want—which is much better.
But even now they can be held back by the doctrines that have been ingrained in them through their childhood. Maybe they are from a conservative family, and they’ve been taught that anything, but the norm is wrong. Maybe they just feel weird about that part of themselves and haven’t come to terms with it yet.
There are lots of reasons and you still end up in the same place … in a relationship that’s not capable of filling all your needs.
When someone begins to realize that kink is not just a fantasy and that they actually need it in their life a lot of times they will try to get their partner to explore with them. I think this tends to work better if you’re submissive trying to get your partner to top, rather than the other way around.
After all you can’t make someone enjoy pain or humiliation, but you can explain that you need those things and maybe they will be willing to do the physical parts of spanking, etc.
Sometimes it turns out your partner really enjoys it, and they dive right in with enthusiasm. It’s great when that happens. The best possible outcome is discovering that your partner reflects the needs you’ve discovered.
It doesn’t always turn out so well. As I mentioned in part one, I had that with my first husband. He was willing to top me, but it fell flat. It lacked the inventive creativity of someone who really enjoys playing and as a result we abandoned it.
That’s not always the case. Sometimes vanilla partners can be converted to the kinky lifestyle. Or sometimes they care enough to do lots of research and learn to fill your needs even if it doesn’t excite them. It might even be worth their while to do it because topping you turns you on like crazy and they get to reap the sexual benefits.
But what if your partner reacts badly when you tell them you need kink?
What if your partner refuses or is even upset that you want that?
What if they tried but it wasn’t enough?
What do you do when it’s clear that the only way you’ll get to explore is outside?
Well, a lot of that is going depend on you. Personally, I would go for the open honest route and explain that they absolutely don’t have to do anything that makes them uncomfortable, but it’s something you need. So, if they aren’t willing then you’re going to have to look outside of the partnership.
This can be negotiated and handled in many ways. Maybe your partner is fine with you being Dommed outside as long as there is no sex. Many people are fine with a discipline only Dom anyway and that seems easier for a romantic partner to deal with sometimes.
Maybe they are okay with it as long as they can be present when scenes happen. There are multiple benefits to this. One is that it may actually spark some interest in them. I’ve seen it happen.
However… the situation I see most often is that the kinky person is afraid to tell their vanilla partner that this is a need they must have. Maybe they hinted at it and got a bad reaction or maybe they just know their partner well enough to know that the response isn’t going to be good.
I’m not going to judge you or any decision you make on where to go from there. I stand by what I said in part one. You deserve to be happy, and you deserve to be whole. If you don’t want to leave your marriage, or feel you can’t for whatever reason, then that doesn’t change.
I have never been in a place where I had to keep a relationship secret, so I don’t know what that’s like. I feel that regardless of whatever relationship ties you have, you still deserve to have those needs filled.
It gets tricky, I think, when it comes down to people who don’t give their partner a chance to fill them. They don’t explain, they don’t ask, they just go off to find someone without telling their partner. People call that cheating— and it is.
Having a relationship without telling your partner is cheating. But … is this the worst thing? If you feel that you can’t be open and honest with your partner than you already have some major problems.
And here’s the thing… I think very few people make a decision to keep a secret like that without a good reason. It’s not my place to tell someone whether their reason is good enough. You know your partner and only you have the right to decide what is best for you.
Just to be clear… I don’t advocate cheating on your partner. I don’t think hiding a major part of yourself is healthy. But I’ve been in the scene for a long time and things were different when I started exploring.
When I came into the scene, I was the youngest person everywhere I went. At parties and clubs, looking around, most people were at least ten years older than me. Like I said, it used to take people longer to figure out that this was something they could explore.
Many of my early scene play friends were twenty years older me, or more. The world was different before kink went mainstream after Fifty Shades—which hasn’t been all that long ago. I would say a good 70% of the people I knew in the scene were hiding this side from their vanilla spouses.
They were afraid of divorce, and of losing their kids because they were ‘freaks’. If it got out, they might lose their career too. They had no faith that a vanilla person could understand this need at all. It wasn’t embarrassment to share a secret but sheer terror of their life being torn apart.
The world is slowly changing. We’re starting to get there. but younger people in the scene may not be able to understand being in a marriage where you felt you had to hide all of this. It’s not a problem for them the way it was even just ten-to-fifteen years ago.
Even now I am fully aware of people who are in physical danger from partners. They definitely don’t want to open the door to a BDSM relationship with someone they already fear. I also know people who rely on their partners financially and believe those partners would leave them if they found out about the kinky side.
If you’re staying in a relationship because you have no choice, then you already know that’s unhealthy. I’m sure you’ve already considered your options so I’m not going to press you to leave. I get it, sometimes you have no way out.
So no, I’m not going to judge you. But, I’m also not going to tell you to tell you to okay to keep secrets from your partner if there isn’t a really dire reason like I mentioned above.
My advice, which comes from being outside of all of this, is to at least attempt to talk to your partner about your needs before looking outside. There is an obligation to be honest with someone you’re committed to unless you feel doing so would put you in some kind of danger.
Being embarrassed to trust your partner with this is not a great reason to keep them in the dark—in my opinion. And if that’s why you’ve held back, then to me it signifies some deeper trust issues in the relationship. Which makes it less of a kink problem and more of a whole relationship problem.
Okay? Good, now…
Go into this new D/s relationship with your Dom being fully aware that you have a partner and all of the details that pertain to that. Whether or not you can be open with your own vanilla partner is one thing, but you must be open with your Dom.
You can’t have a D/s relationship if you don’t trust the Dom. You can’t have one if you don’t let them know the full situation. That’s just how it is.
Understand that if the D/s relationship must be kept a secret, the Dom might not be comfortable with that. While you have your reasons, and I’m sure they are good ones, for keeping a secret … a Dom might not be okay with being hidden in the shadows and there’s nothing you can do about that.
Being open about your situation means that you if you are keeping it a secret you need to explain why you’ve made this decision. I won’t judge you, but someone who wants to enter a relationship with you may, so be prepared.
You also need to be aware that if your romantic partner/ spouse finds out you have a Dom they will consider it cheating. Regardless of whether or not sex is involved, there is still an intimacy to these relationships.
So again, think carefully about whether you want to pursue this without discussing things with your partner first. In the end it’s something only you can decide.
But let’s move past all of that.
Assume you’ve made your decision. Either you have permission to look outside the marriage, or you have reason to keep it secret and do so anyway. At this point you’re going to need to have clear boundaries.
Set limits. Your Dom controls you but they don’t control your spouse. If you have a bedtime of 10pm and your spouse insists you watch tv with them until 11 then you’re going to run into problems. Your partner will probably not be fine with being told ‘My Dom says I can’t watch tv with you.’
Those kinds of things start a tug of war issue that you want to avoid. So, work these details out in advance and learn to be diplomatic about how you phrase things. No one wants to feel like their desires are less important than someone else and that will be true for both your partner and your Dom.
You might not be officially poly, for various reasons, but it would be a good idea to read some articles about balancing multiple partners and poly sites will be good for that. They will have advice for making these things work.
I’m going to wrap this up here. I think we’ve covered all the important stuff. As I said this was a complicated issue, but I hope we’ve cleared up the question. Just to recap it all:
- Yes, you can have a Dom outside of a vanilla relationship.
- It will work out better if your vanilla partner is okay with it.
- Set boundaries and limits to avoid conflict between your partner and Dom.
If you have any questions drop a comment or email me!