I am very interested in the kinky aspects of sex, namely, dominance and submission. Without a BDSM dynamic, I’m not really that interested in sex at all. My question is this: how do I date LDS women and determine if they would be a good fit for my sexual desires? This is an uncomfortable and very personal topic and if you have any advice on how to find an LDS partner with whom I would be sexually compatible, I would be very grateful.
BDSM and kink refer to sexual tastes/preferences that are highly misunderstood and even commonly pathologized by the general public and even many professionals.
BDSM stands for: Bondage & Discipline, Domination & Submission and Sadism & Masochism. Kink refers to behaviors or fantasies that are deemed unconventional (somewhat subjective of course). This can include anything from light spankings or “love bites,” to using handcuffs, to role-playing submissive/dominant acts, to having certain fetishes, etc. Surveys have estimated that about anywhere from 1 to 45% of the population enjoys or relates to this type of sexual template (much of this discrepancy in numbers has to do with how terms are defined).
Some basic education I’d like to present: Kink is not pathological. Liking kink or having a fetish does not mean you are a “sex addict.” BDSM is not “rape” or violent behavior. BDSM is a form of consensual sex. BDSM can involve a certain level of roughness or pain along a threshold that is comfortable and agreed upon by the participating partners (pain and pleasure are sensations along a spectrum that are affected by level of arousal among other things). It can also include playing out themes that are often associated with sexuality in a way where one can claim ownership: shame, humiliation, guilt, control or lack of, etc. Having these types of interests does not automatically mean that one has a history of sexual trauma. BDSM encounters can be romantic, creative, intimate and just as spiritual as other forms of sexuality that edify the couple. Like any other human behavior, good judgment and caution for safety is important.
Because these topics are generally seen as taboo among our general culture – it is difficult to know how to talk about these fantasies, desires or thoughts with a potential partner; especially within the context of Mormonism where sexuality is often only broached in the framework of “sacredness” vs. “playfulness.” This is why many groups exist that cater to meeting people with similar sexual interests to begin with. However, most kink is happening amongst ordinary “next-door” couples that have learned to explore their sexuality within the journey of their committed relationship over time. Learning how to communicate about our desires, sexual tastes and fantasies is an integral part of any sexual journey. And can lead to increased intimacy when partners can tolerate their own anxiety or discomfort around topics they find foreign, or that do not match their own. A partner may not want to engage in behavior that you do – and that is perfectly legitimate. Just as legitimate as you having the desires to begin with. It’s making sure that we don’t shame each other in the process of exploration and shared vulnerability that’s paramount to relational success. As well as learning how to negotiate and navigate the task any couple will have – “how do we take your needs/desires, my needs/desires and come up with a workable, sustainable and flexible approach.”
I will also say that our brains are much more plastic than we’ve given them credit for. I hear you saying that you may only be able to experience sexual desire in the context of BDSM themes. Although there is nothing wrong with having these fantasies and sexual tastes, I believe you may also want to explore the possibility that you have potential to experience your sexuality in a variety of ways – not just limited to a BDSM framework.
I would suggest working with a qualified sex therapist in helping you address the issues of approaching dating strategies, communicating your sexual tastes, pre-marital counseling once you get to that point and also the exploration of widening your own sexual capacity and potential. AASECT.org and mormonmentalhealthassoc.org would be good places to find such professionals.
Natasha Helfer Parker can be contacted at natashaparker.org.