Q: Without going into too much detail I am into what some people, actually a lot of people would think was kinky. I have recently started dating someone new and I like them a lot, but I am not sure if they are into anything remotely close to what I am or if they would be open to trying. My past partners have been people I have met in situations where like-minded people (kink) are. So, I haven’t had to have a conversation about my kinks without knowing they were at least open to it. So, my question is how do I explain my fetish to this new person?
A: In every relationship, we have to have discussions about delicate or tricky subjects, I get asked about conversations like that often, so you are not alone there. If you have been in the kink scene for a while you are undoubtedly good at having conversations about kinks, boundaries, etc so that is a plus for you, you are probably better at that sort of tricky conversation than you realize.
Having the conversation is important and avoiding it will not do you or your prospective partner any favors. However, if you have a fetish or kink you are really into and want to share with this person, having the conversation about it with a partner can feel scary.
Unfortunately, many common kinks and fetishes are still heavily stigmatized. There can be a level of fear and uncertainty in the unknown. That can make even the most confident of us concerned about being judged made even harder by the fact that it is something intimate you are sharing about yourself. Having said that you also don’t want to make your partner uncomfortable.
Every situation is different but here are some tips that may help you with the conversation;
- Explain That You’re Sharing From a Place of Trust
Let your partner know that you trust them and that is why you want to share this with them. Don’t joke nervously about it, it is important to be sincere about what you are about to share that way they will take what you are about to share more seriously. You could try something like;
“I want you to know that I trust you, that is why I feel comfortable talking to you about sex and what I like. I am sure you will understand how hard this can be.”
- It is OK to be scared about being vulnerable and it is ok to tell them that.
Don’t be afraid to communicate any anxiety or fear you have to your partner. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable someone that cares about you such as a partner is likely to be more considerate and understanding during your discussion. Hopefully, it will mean they are more open to listening without quick judgment. An example could be;
“I have had this discussion before and it didn’t go so well, my partner shamed me and I felt horrible. That experience has made me more cautious and is why I am a bit nervous now. I hope you understand why I have been slow to share this with you.”
3. Share details and context will help demystify your kink or fetish.
It may feel embarrassing to share details and context, you may feel more vulnerable, but it helps break down many myths and misconceptions about your kink or fetish. You are unique and so is your kink or what turns you on, sharing like this helps your partner see it that way rather than falling back on any misconceptions they may have about the topic. If there’s an origin story or background of why you have it, go ahead and explain that, too.
Sharing like this is scary but it can also have big rewards because it can increase the level of intimacy in your relationship. An example of what you could say is;
“This is something that I have been into for X number of years, I know it may sound strange, but I am really into XYZ. It really turns me on.”
- Start Small and go easy.
You want to ease your partner into it, jumping straight into a specific request like “I love golden showers, would you do that for me sometime?” is when people react instinctively. Try something like sharing the turn on with them and then saying, “I know it is a lot to process and that this is new to you. I trust you and wanted to share it with you, we can talk more about it later.”
It would be better to introduce your kink/fetish to them in stages. Give them a chance to get used to the idea but understand what turns you on may not ever turn them on and that is OK. One idea is if your partner likes porn you could try showing them some porn that has your particular turn on in it, it could help take the mystery out of it and demonstrate what you are interested in.
If your partner is not into what you are into you can’t force it on them, and you do not have to suppress your desires. It is a relationship negotiation that you need to have, and it may mean you indulge in your kink solo or it may mean they are into it too.
- Don’t forget to ask theirs.
“I know we haven’t had this conversation before, which is why I’m glad we have a chance now. Do you have any fantasies of your own? Is there something you like, or maybe a sexual desire that you haven’t had a chance to explore? I’d love to make that happen if you want to.”
It goes both ways. It is important that you give your partner a chance to share their turn on’s and secret kinks. They may share or they may not be ready to share either way is OK and at the very least it demonstrates that you are a thoughtful partner.
- Nothing will change
Sharing this information doesn’t have to change your relationship, you are not sharing a deep dark secret – taking that angle only makes it seem like you are hiding something. Instead, you are only cautious about sharing with your partner because you didn’t want to scare them. What turns you on does not make you a terrible person, it doesn’t mean that you are not interested in your partner if they aren’t into what you are in to. Being turned on by X or Y is not a reflection on your character, and as your partner may not know this, take the time to explain it carefully.
An example of how you could approach this is;
“This is one thing that I happen to like sexually, I know it may seem strange to you. I am still the same person, I still like to you, I am still attracted to you, and it does not change our relationship.”
It is also a good idea to clarify that sharing this does not mean you don’t enjoy the sex you’ve been having. Hearing about something like this can lead to your partner worrying that your regular sex life is boring. Reassure them.
- Be grateful
“Thanks so much for giving me this space to tell you about my fetish/kink. It’s great that you’re open-minded, and I want you to know I’m always going to be the same way.”
When you are wrapping things up explain that this was a really important conversation because it is such an intimate part of your identity that you would only share with someone you trust and care about. Thank you for listening and whether they feel like joining you or they are taking time to process and learn more, there’ll be a weight lifted off your shoulders. Lifting that weight off your shoulders is good for you and your relationship in the long run. You could say something along the lines of;
“Thank you so much for being open to hearing what I had to share with you about my kink/fetish. I am grateful that you are open-minded, please know I am always going to be the same for you.”