Q&A: Not Comfortable Opening Up a Kinky Relationship

Navigating a power exchange relationship is exciting and amazing, but it’s also fraught with what-ifs and a lot to learn. It doesn’t surprise me that kinksters question things in a D/s relationship that they’d never have questioned in a vanilla one. This question feels like one of those:

My partner and I share a few compatible kinks, but not all. We’ve talked about playing with other people so they can explore, but it really bothers me. But if I don’t say yes, my partner can’t experience everything they want to. Is it wrong of me to deny my partner what they want?

Let me add the PS that the person asking the question said their partner isn’t pressuring them into opening the relationship, only that the conversation came up. And that definitely makes a difference in all of this.

Talk to Your Partner

The first answer we always give — and we feel like broken records because of it — is to talk to your partner. Always, always, always. If they’re not pressuring you (and it seems they’re not), then you need to share your feelings about this with them. The worries we have in our head start to feel bigger the longer we go without voicing them. It’s possible your partner will rush to reassure you and offer to table this conversation until sometime in the future.

But even if you were feeling pressured, the conversation still has to happen. At that point, it may be about reaffirming your boundaries and consent, but when you feel conflicted about a path in your relationship, the first step is to talk about it with your partner.

Not All Kinky Relationships Have to Be Open

Sooooo, let’s make something very clear here. There’s no requirement that kinky relationships have to be open. We know plenty of kinky monogamous people who can’t imagine having other partners.

While it’s an option if it feels right for both partners, it’s never a requirement. If you’re looking around at a kinky community that seems full of open relationships, that’s only one side of a very broad spectrum. Try not to let what other people do in their relationship (or seem to do) affect the decisions you make about your own D/s relationship.

If monogamy is what you need, that’s okay.

Kinks Don’t Have to Perfectly Align in Every D/s Relationship

People want things all the time that they can’t or will never have…and they’re okay. If the relationship is a good one, and your partner is happy being monogamous, you’re not denying them anything.

Yes, kinksters sometimes have desires they don’t get to pursue right away — for a variety of reasons, only one of which might be a partner who’s not into it. And they survive. They find other kinks to try. There’s a better than good chance that your partner is perfectly happy with you and what y’all do together. Happiness and longevity in a relationship does not require that you each meet every kinky need the other has.

Not All Relationships Can Survive This Incompatibility

In the name of real talk, I don’t want to act like your partners’ needs don’t matter. They may have kinks, fetishes, and desires they desperately want to pursue. That may mean that the relationship can’t continue unless it can be an open one.

You are not required to go along with non-monogamy to save a relationship. It’s such a big thing to do in a relationship, that it should only happen when both partners are willing and able. If you can’t, you can’t. And you shouldn’t be pressured, coerced, manipulated, or guilted into it.

Sometimes the two can’t be reconciled. They want to pursue kinks you don’t have, and you aren’t okay opening your relationship. Both of those things can be true at the same time. And sometimes it means a D/s relationship ends.

You Can Always Revisit This Later

If your partner wants to move forward with your relationship, you can always revisit the question of opening up your relationship later. You may feel more comfortable about the idea in the future. It’s possible some of those kinks you don’t have now could become more interesting to you once you’ve been in the BDSM lifestyle longer — rendering the question moot. And it’s completely possible and valid that you may never change your mind, and your partner won’t miss what they can’t experience.

But please, I beg of you, don’t deny your own limits, boundaries, and needs because you’re afraid your partner will miss out on kinky fuckery. It never ends well when you do. Stay true to yourself because you deserve happiness just as much as your partner does.

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