Sex Q&A: Does Your Partner Have a Fetish?

BDP from Fountain Valley, California asks:

My boyfriend has some fetishes that I’m not sure that I’m comfortable with. I have given them a try, because I try to look at it like, “Don’t knock it until you try it.” I just wasn’t that into it, and I wonder where this stuff comes from. I guess I’m more of a submissive, and have a hard time taking on a dominant role. I get the feeling some of this comes from issues from his childhood. Any thoughts?

Liam’s Response:

Greetings, B. As we proceed, I’d like to request that you attempt to receive the information I’m going to impart with as much openness and compassion as you can manage. It may prove difficult to palate my intuitive speculation on this matter. Even initially in reading your inquiry, I don’t feel any true personality in your words… It’s like I’m reading from a socially programmed script, not the sorrow-filled words of someone who truly cared about her partner and was willing to explore and expand with him. You never opened yourself to this experience at all. What attempt you did make was tainted with preconceived notions and judgment. You prepared yourself to dislike his fetish long before you tried it. That “Don’t knock it until you try it” attitude was really a way of saying, “I’ll do it once or twice to get him off my back and after that I’m done.”

You claim to be a submissive by nature. It seems to be the en vogue thing to be claiming as of late, and I welcome the opportunity to clarify some very pertinent points regarding the rampant misuse of this term. “Submissive” is a lifestyle expression pertaining to people involved in BDSM, master/slave and/or Gorean types of sexual relationships. It’s label given to males and females who adopt a submissive sexual role, and it has a very specific application. A submissive lives for their dominant’s pleasure. They are absolutely obedient, dedicated to a lifestyle of sensuality via servitude, even suffering. To call oneself submissive conjures many a steamy image indeed, and using the term is all the rage. Although we all have submissive and dominant aspects to our personalities, to really be a “submissive” implies a fairly precise situation. It means you live to please another, and you, my friend, don’t. When you say you are submissive, what you really mean is that it’s all about you. You want to be courted and wooed. You mean you hold the man responsible for lighting your fire and keeping it stoked. You mean you don’t like doing any of the work.

To continue with the disrespectful nature of your inquiry after claiming a title you don‘t really understand, you go on to say you don’t know where this “stuff” comes from. This “stuff” is part of your partner’s inner world, part of his fantasy life. It is his own secret and sacred self. This “stuff” is something he shared with you in trust. And you repay that trust by alluding to the probability that he was abused as a child as the reason he entertains this “stuff” you find so objectionable. Because in your mind, he is somehow abnormal.

From what I see in all this, you just want to go back to sex the way you like it. What you see as “normal sex.” And that’s fine. Just don’t do it with him. Sexual evolution and exploration is key to any successful partnership. One partner stagnating while the other is bursting with sensual energy is bad enough. But one partner beginning a quest for liberation believing their partner is with them… only to find out later that this trusted companion was simply humoring them and then sitting in judgment of their deepest and most tender longings… That’s just cruel. I understand my answer here is not politically correct, and you are free to decide what you will. You can seek within yourself and seriously walk this path of exploration with him, because you love him… because you value him. Or you can let your fear stop you. The choice is yours. But no matter what you do… Do it honestly.


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7 thoughts on “Sex Q&A: Does Your Partner Have a Fetish?

  1. D

    I happen to agree more with snapdragon. I was in a relationship, I did ‘try it’ because I thought I might be into it. I found out, I’m not. Then I discovered there was huge NEED behind his sexual preference it was not ‘sex play’ or a ‘role’ it was NEED. Even though he said he didn’t have to ‘have’ sex that way. I LEARNED that was NOT the case. And I learned, I’m not wired for that particular sex preference.

    Long story short, I adapted to some of his sex needs (hey, there’s a lot involved here) and more of his life needs (less of my own), becoming more submissive in life — and yes, I had no idea about BDSM lifestyle. (Read some ancient sex texts – some women are not ‘wired’ for it – contrary to current faddish internet articles written by men posing as women, who claim ALL people SHOULD be practicing it! Get real. And btw, there are energy system aspects and health aspects to this. And some past life thrown in.) And, I am not into BDSM/submissive – but through it, apparently, I’ve re-discovered my inner hidden dragon/ crouching tiger – LOL. And I do have a few other things to take a look at.

    In my case, my first clue should have been the amount of information he already knew about BDSM. He needed to ‘punish me’ via spanking. He needed sex his way. I struggled and fought him and we did the blame cycle for about five years. Then outside the bedroom, it was his events, his schedule (his life didn’t change) And my life was slipping away. I’m not a victim – sometimes I chose to make my life, my health, my finances, my own emotional needs less important. Sometimes it was simply, “ok, whatever.” Until, I was physically, emotionally, mentally, financially DONE. Sick, broke, weak -wow. I told him I had to re-claim my health, and take better care of myself and pulled away. I am reclaiming myself an inch at a time. And yes, I alternately blamed him, then blamed me… got defensive, etc., etc.

    Often, a man would rather deflect and blame rather than honor a woman’s psyche. (Yes, women do it to men too. We are losing the male, female vs. balancing the male, female. My opinion.) And I blamed him. He blamed me. I was in denial of his need, not preference and both of us suffered, until I completely shut down. Menopause, hormones, developed health conditions. You name it. And I was angry, hurt, resentful. I felt abandoned. I was coming to grips with how we are ‘wired’ differently. Coming to grips with – “I don’t know how to fix this. He didn’t know how to fix this.”

    As for him, I think he has different channels and some of them are wonderful. Some are scary (I don’t use that word lightly) to me and not my cup of tea. And sometimes, even though we love each other, we are just not the best fit. Once a month, he would get so angry at me, that he couldn’t speak to me – for days, or two weeks at a time. This was a ‘punishment’ cycle.

    For me it was ‘abandonment cycle.’ During that time I would berate myself, then apologize to him for ‘whatever infraction,’ then we were back together. Why did I do this crazy cycle? I don’t fully know. But I am researching that. We are no longer together. I laugh when I hear ‘opposites attract’. In every sense of the phrase, that was true for us.

    For now, I am sending divine light and love and healing to him and to me. And focusing on reclaiming good health and financial stability for me.

    I don’t have all the answers, just wanted to chime in on this, because…. well, I have a different point of view and some experience to offer.

    Blessings to each of us.

  2. eagleeye

    Liam, what I like about you is that you know how to serve up……diplomatically.
    We live is a country where the number one industry is pornography. Americans like to look but are in denial and sit in
    judgement when it comes to discussion. Shutter to hear. Love to send in those sometimes raw or provocative cams to the sites, teenagers and adults alike. But will lock the door, turn out the lights, and pull out the flashlight to view themselves and neighbors. There are 25 million sites! That’s a lot of cataloging!!!
    The earth is still rotating. Why do Americans find it so difficult to please another but demand to be pleased, gratified and satisfied? And yet, sit in JUDGEMENT. Is that part of our upbringing…Puritanical. We should always be working…. At what Judgement and Guilt?
    In the 70’s, many peed from the same quill when they heard the word “Fetish”. Many could not stand to hear the word because it brought out judgmental connotations.

  3. snapdragon

    Oh what a male point of view!!

    Although beautifully and sensitively stated, and I agree Liam, you are correct in summing up what the sharing of fantasy life is about, and it’s power to bond a couple or the reverse, your view ignores certain real issues. Fantasies are play, sexual froth and feathers, and harmless, and can be great fun BDP, while deepening the bond between you.

    However, some fetishes are not just fantasy but a much deeper, libido bound drive that can overwhelm the other partner. Cross dressing, serious S&M drives, and swinging drives are powerful for the partner who has them. His drive can overtake and smother his partner as they can become his preferred life style. In that case, you’re messing with Pandora’s box. Men know themselves sexually far more deeply than women, as they think about it constantly, and devote great energy to that part of their life typically more than women. Remember always, women want love and men want sex, the more intense the better.

    So his honesty is required. He needs to tell you. Is this Play, or Need?

    BDP’s concern is real and should be honored. Her sexuality can become a slave to the partner with the fetish, who can drive that part of the relationship. My advice to her would be, treat this as a test. Games and play are great fun when approached openly. However, your partner needs to be forthcoming about how far this goes into his psyche, and believe me, he knows, he knows!! If it is a game he wants to play occasionally, join in, you may discover some of yourself as well, and it can be fun and powerful for you to know you hold the key to his sexual needs. And to bond a man to you, wow, that’s what women really do want! And, from what you infer, he likes to be dominated sexually, and that it is so very, very common. And harmless unless he needs pain or he requires domination constantly. And if he needs domination, then he could be trying to fool both of you, this will not go away, and he needs to choose a partner who is a dominatrix and enjoys herself that way. And, yes that can be a permanent lifestyle.

    So which is it sir?

    But, BDP, you own your sexuality as fully as he does. Do your mutual drives match up? If they don’t, you do have to confront that reality. He knows himself sexually unless he’s 16, or sexually bored, and men do want to try everything in sex before they die, trust me on that one.

    A man knows what floats his boat and how intense that drive is. He needs to ‘fess up. Is this something he wants to try? Or is this something he NEEDS, continuously. BDP, you are right to be concerned as to the depth of the drive in him. Honesty is mandatory on both sides, play and grow if you can, but he has to tell you how far this goes. If he is too much for you to handle, then he is, walk now.

    You should never feel used, or like a tool to fulfill his desires unwillingly. That’s violation of one’s self, and that my dear will not last. Sexual incompatibility is very real, and grounds for a split. Be open minded, but honor yourself!

  4. Tracy Cseh

    Liam, you are absolutely correct. In a relationship both people are responsible for caring and sharing each other’s joys, sorrows, successes, failures, learning from all of it as individuals and as a couple-this can only be done with honesty with each other and themselves. I hope the woman in this situation takes a good long look at her own motivations and asks herself what scares her about her partner wanting to explore the things he has shared with her, rather than continuing to appear to hold herself apart and above him. She is lucky that her partner feels safe enough with her to trust her with his secret desires and want to explore them with her. Keep up your brilliant and enlightening work..I learn new things from you every time.. 😉

  5. Christianne DeHart

    Wow. I concur. So far, I have never had the same issue that the original LW has offered–but each time I read one I still feel a major shift by reading the answer. An alignment. Thanks Liam! 😉

  6. ivyx5198

    Liam:) BIG HUG and thank you. Sweetie, I dont ever remember reading such an on point, compassionate article. I’ m a little loss for words. Honesty and self love must exist in order to achieve enlightenment. I dont mean the sex. I mean the honesty that you so beatifully wrote about. Honesty. Crazy honesty. Radical acceptance or not at all. Thank you again:)
    Namaste Ivy oxox


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