Noble savage

Building on the Pleasure and pain post, here’s another SM question:

At what point does one trade a reluctance to inflict pain with a partner’s desire to be hurt?

What effect does that have on a relationship?

Ok, so it depends how reluctant. As with anything in life, if you truly don’t wanna do it, that’s gonna show. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try it to see, but if you keep doing something that leaves you cold I suspect it could have a fairly negative effect in the long term.

With reluctant SM specifically, your partner will likely respond badly to a complete lack of enthusiasm. At the same time you could start to resent him/her/it for asking you to do something that makes you uncomfortable, especially if they don’t even seem to enjoy it. Bad.

So let’s inch down the scale of reluctance to a more interesting spot. You’re kinda ok with giving it a go, but you feel nervous and self-conscious and not sure the whole thing’s for you.

You possibly have one or more of these concerns:
I’m gonna look like a dick
I’ll say or do something wrong and my partner will laugh at me
I’ll say or do something wrong and my partner will get turned off/be disappointed/not want to fuck me anymore
I don’t know where to start
I might hurt him/her/it

Right, first up – take some pressure off. The first time you play you aren’t gonna produce a mind-blowing, DVD-worthy scene, with you as inscrutable top and your partner as blissed out, quivering, pushed-to-her-limits bottom – so take that goal off the table. You can come back to it if you decide this sort of play is for you.

Rather, you need to practice. Everything you do outside your autonomic nervous system is a skill you learned at some point, and there is very little you can’t learn with time, patience and practice (you are a unique snowflake, also :-D).

One of the things paramount to practising is a bottom who’s not a dick, cos you’re also gonna need constructive feedback. A physically experienced bottom isn’t necessary but one who’s long been turned on by masochism is handy – she will have a rich seam of kinky fantasies for you to mine (yeh, she turned into a girl, better than pronoun vagueness). Start with a frank conversation about what turns her on. Then talk together about how that translates to something you’d be comfortable trying.

So if she wants to be spanked with a 4-foot broad sword, don’t run out to an armoury (what, there isn’t one on your high street?). Find a safe place to start – your hand is good bet.

Now remember this isn’t the Ultimate Scene, you are learning, practising. Smack your girl. Then stop. Ask her how it felt. Too hard? Too soft? Taking this into account, smack her again. Ask her how that was, what she’s thinking about, anything. Don’t worry if the pair of you collapse into giggles. Once you’re done wait a while then discuss how you both felt about the experience.

This all sounds pretty basic, I know, although the practising rather than performing approach holds true for anything new kinky people want to try. But where I’m really going is here: Don’t jump in at a point where you’re really reluctant. Start somewhere simpler and get comfortable at that level. You’ll often find the reluctance falls away, and suddenly the two of you are moving forward together rather than one of you being dragged along on the other’s ride.

How does this effect relationships? Approaching stuff you’re not sure about in a way that encourages masses of two way communication is never a bad thing. It builds up trust even if you don’t actually enjoy the experience you’re trying out.

Giving something a fair trial will be appreciated by your partner, and if you do enjoy it you are building a framework that allows you to learn together.

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