I spend a lot of my time on the internet in forums where people are asking questions about their sex life. How to improve it, how to spice it up, concerns about sexual health or sexual performance. One of the most common responses to almost any question asked ever, is, ‘Communicate/Just talk/Just ask’ and many other variations on that theme. While I absolutely agree that communication is key and that we should all be having open and frank conversations with our partners about what we enjoy sexually, I wonder if some people realise just how hard that can sometimes be.
Since I became involved in the BDSM lifestyle my ability to communicate effectively has become better and better. However, in my non-kink relationships, I found it excruciating to discuss sex. I found saying ‘the words’ difficult, I found the pressure to have and talk about fantasies made me feel incredibly anxious and more inclined to withdraw from sexual activity rather than engage in it. Which reminds me of another forum conversation that is quite common;
Q: I want my partner to talk about their fantasies but they say they have none, what do I do. A: Just keep communicating, everyone has some kind of fantasy.
It drives me nuts when I see a word like ‘everyone’ in these kinds of contexts. In the world of sex, be it kinky or not, I do not think there is a one rule fits all for any aspect of it. Yet even enlightened and open-minded people seem to fall into this trap more often than seems helpful. When I was in a non-kink relationship and had not yet discovered I was interested in kinky things, I really had no fantasies to voice. I just wanted my partner of the time to take charge and make the sexy things happen. I realise now this was probably a fantasy in and of itself, but at the time it was seen as laziness and selfishness, where it was more like my sexual submissiveness showing its face.
Even now that I am well aware that I am kinky, as a submissive I really struggle to come up with ideas for scenes I’d like to do. As a Top, it becomes a lot easier. Luckily for me, Bakji is amazing at knowing what he enjoys as a sub, he is a one-man sexy idea machine and it’s brilliant because it gives me so much information. Information that enables me to plan lots of fun and sexy scenes. However, even though we are constantly wittering on about something, usually the ’90s, the podcast, or new things to look up on Wikipedia, neither of us are huge fans of sitting down and verbalising more delicate things. So we found out own way of communicating very efficiently what kind of things we’d like to add into our kinky repertoire.
We use an app called Trello, a project management app. It allows the user to create various boards, and within those boards create lists, with various cards upon each list. Cards and/or lists can be moved around, edited and archived at any time and boards can be shared with other users. We have a ‘Kinky, Sexy Fun’ board where we share all our ideas about the kinky things we’d like to do together.
Not only has it allowed us to communicate in an effective way, but it’s also opened up the door for us to talk about things that we may be a little more shy about. Even with a kinky partner, it can sometimes be a bit daunting to bring up a more unusual kink, or one that you are not entirely sure the other person will be into. It is a whole lot easier to do that sometimes without the other person looking at you. Maybe in an ideal world, no one would worry and we could all just be incredibly open no matter what. But in light of that not being the case, why not embrace ways that help you communicate in a way that suits you.
It often seems that anything other than verbal communication is viewed as slightly less valid, and not entirely ‘proper’ for a grown up. While I completely agree that some conversations absolutely need to be done face to face, I think there are lots of times where there is no need to put yourself through that if you will find it tricky, when another option is available. Especially as once you start communicating in any way, it tends to make all manner of communication a lot easier.
I have found that since Bakji and I started our Trello board, we have tried lots more kinky things together. Which has grown the intimacy we share and brought us closer together. Because of that, I feel more confident in communicating other things too.
I have some issues surrounding the more emotional side of my being, and it is definitely taking time to feel comfortable communicate those things. I am noticing though that this is something I am improving on. Things that might be troubling me tend to be dealt with the day it occurs, or at least within a day or two. Previously I was spending weeks and weeks worrying about something before mentioning it because I had no idea how to even begin communicating what I needed to.
Even some of the feelings that most people perceive to be good can be a struggle for me to open up about. The closeness that has come from exploring and evolving alongside Bakji does, however, make it a little less daunting to admit I am in fact a big old softy.
The point I am trying to make, in a somewhat roundabout way, is don’t force verbal communication if someone finds it causes them to shut off rather than open up. Be open to finding a way that will aid conversations but won’t leave one partner feeling anxious or under pressure. Yes, it might take time, and may not be an immediate fix, but who knows what results it could yield if given a good chance.
Also if someone does communicate something, don’t dismiss it because it’s not what ‘everyone’ else would say or because it’s not what you want to hear. We are all unique, in both what we think and feel, and in how we communicate those thoughts and feelings. Some of us perhaps more unique than others, and what seems like an easy conversation for others can be tough for some people.
So if you’re reading this and there’s a topic you’re struggling to approach with your partner or something you’d like to encourage them to talk about, take a minute to consider new approaches to communication. Maybe it won’t work, but who knows, maybe it will.
If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy Episode 40 of ProudToBeKinky where Bakji and I discuss Kinky Communication.