[Guest Post] How I Accidentally Brought Out the Kink in My Vanilla Partner by Erato Feistein

Today’s guest post is from a new-to-C&K writer, Erato Feistein (she/her.) I love this piece because I’ve always dated other already-kinky people, so a story about introducing kink to a previously-vanilla partner is quite a different story! What I love about this piece is that it didn’t require the relationship to get to crisis point before kink was introduced to “save” it, and no-one cheated or did anything shitty. It’s a lovely example of how communication, honesty, and vulnerability can take a relationship from great to amazing.

I’ll hand you over to Erato. And if you want to write for me, check out the pitch guidelines.

Amy x

How I Accidentally Brought Out the Kink in My Vanilla Partner by Erato Feistein

Whenever I begin exploring sex with a new person, I am always nervous to go all-out with my desires. I wonder if my partner will be able to accept my sexual desires. I be perceived as “freaky” or “sex-crazed”? How do I introduce my kinks to them and will they receive them with an open mind? 

Kink shaming is very real, especially in countries where sex education is not valued. As a child in Eastern Europe, my only conversation about sex included my aunt demonstrating how to properly put on a condom using a desk reading lamp. I had never heard girls or women openly talk about sexual pleasure until I was in my 20s. A friend of mine, left wanting more from her partner, asked me “Will he always be this vanilla? When does it get spicy?” 

It takes a level of trust to confide your sexy secrets to your new partner. Sometimes, your kinks don’t match up with theirs. It can be hard to find romantic partners who share our ideas of great sex. But chances are, your partner(s) are aching to please you. It’s just a matter of open communication. 

When I started dating my current boyfriend a year ago, we didn’t talk about our sex life. I had accepted our conventional coitus and didn’t bring up anything that could be considered a “deviation” from it. He seemed to be enjoying it, so I didn’t want to disappoint him by voicing that I needed more. I didn’t bring it up for a couple of months, until I decided to weave in some kink references into our conversations to see what kind of reaction I would get out of him. 

Almost as a joke, I suggested that we take the BDSM test as an informal reference point for our preferences. While my results were a colourful mix of masochist, rope bunny, experimentalist and switch, his results came out as mostly vanilla. 

As we are in a monogamous relationship, finding sexual pleasure elsewhere was out of the question. So we sat down to have the anticipated conversation about how we can both be sexually satisfied, without overstepping each other’s boundaries. This got us talking about our desires, fantasies, and favorites in sex. To my pleasant surprise, he was really interested in the things that turned me on, even if those included rope play, for example – something he had never tried before. We talked over the things we would never do (hard limits) and set up clear parameters for the things we were willing to try together. 

Honestly, I was not expecting this conversation to go so smoothly and for him to be so open to exploring new things for us to try. So far so good. But was he actually willing to do those things, or was he just fascinated by the variety of kinks and fetishes that exist? Well, let’s just say that the next time we had sex he tied up my wrists and ankles with my satin scarves and even choked me a little bit! The next time, he poured hot candle wax on me. I would say it was significantly less vanilla than our usual sex play. 

I recognized my partner’s efforts to adhere to my sexual desires and that in itself was a huge turn-on. Since he was actively trying to understand my wants and needs, I made sure to check in with him and ask him if it was something enjoyable for him, too. I worried if he was going too far out of his comfort zone to please me without finding pleasure for himself. Many of the things we were trying out were brand new to him. 

When I asked how he felt about the kinks we had incorporated, he told me he was actually surprised how much he liked it! 

In our daily lives, I am certainly the more dominant one – very outspoken and sometimes a bit controlling. As he tends to be more laid-back and reserved in his day-to-day, he said exploring dominance and kink in our sex life has been refreshing for him. It is a space where he can safely delve into another version of himself. Being dominated and degraded tends to have the same effect for me – I can release the need to control the situation and allow myself to be vulnerable under someone else’s authority. In a way, this power shift teaches both of us about the spectrum of our emotions and characters. 

So it turns out, my partner is not so vanilla after all. We just needed some open communication to build that level trust in our relationship to experiment sexually. Our conversations and ventures into kink have opened up a whole new world of ideas in our relationship. We have both found new things that turn us on and work for us. 

While I realize this is certainly not the case for every sexual partnership, educating each other and talking openly about our wants and needs in sex opened up my partner to the world of kink, which has definitely been a positive shift in both our sex life and our relationship. 

About the Author

Author pic for Erato Feistein

Erato Feistein is a freelance writer, photographer and digital marketer in the daytime. At night, she comes alive with the desire to share her erotic tales with the world. While she is new to the field of sex writing, she hopes to share her personal experiences with other open-minded people and, in turn, both teach and learn a thing or two about kink and sex. Outside of her daily digital life, she loves to climb cliffs (preferably with rope), experiment in the kitchen, and go on long, romantic walks on the beach with her dog, Ella.

[Game Review] “Bondage Seductions”

There are a number of things that are consistently more appealing in theory than in reality. One such concept? Sex games. Buckle in, folks – it’s #12DaysofLovehoney Day 5, and we’re looking at Bondage Seductions, a sex game by Kheper Games. (Check out the whole series here.)

Dear God, where to start?

Bondage Seductions is a sex game for couples. It retails for £19.99 at Lovehoney. The game arrives in a small square box, and inside you’ll find:

  • 36 game cards
  • A pair of silky “ties” (lengths of ribbon)
  • 2 dice
  • A red elasticated blindfold
  • A mini rubber flogger
Bondage Seductions sex game box

The quality of these items is… Not Great. The flogger looks shoddily made and the materials of the ties and blindfold look and feel cheap. The cards are contain the same copy in four languages (English, German, French, and Spanish.) I can’t speak for any of the other languages, but the English passages are poorly written and feature frequent typos and weird syntax.

Not a great first impression, but let’s keep going.

How it’s played

The rules are simple: roll the 2 dice, and choose the corresponding numbered card (they are numbered 1-1 through 6-6 – the red die indicate the first number, the black die the second number.)

Contents of Bondage Seductions couples sex game

Cards in red are “for her to read,” and cards in black are “for him to read” (more on that in a minute.) You read your chosen scenario and then act it out, using the included props as appropriate.

How is it problematic? Let me count the ways…

First, this game gets its terminology all wrong. Which might seem like a small thing, but is actually a big deal.

“Bondage” is not a synonym for “BDSM” or “kinky sex”. Bondage is one specific kink: restraining other people and/or being restrained. This game should be called “Kinky Seductions” or something, because most of it doesn’t involve bondage. Again: stop using “bondage” and “BDSM” interchangeably. They’re different things.

The game also continually uses the word “whip” to describe a flogger. Again, they’re completely different implements! The two words are not synonymous! This is a whip. This is a flogger. The item in this game is (an admittedly shit excuse for) a flogger. Terminology matters in kink, because we can only negotiate and talk about our desires and limits effectively if we use the right language. If someone says they like whips but they actually mean floggers… you see how that could lead to some really troublesome miscommunications? (It also, even more inexplicably, refers to the flogger as a “paddle”. This is a paddle.)

Secondly, this game is lax to the point of being irresponsible when it comes to safety. There are cards that explain what safewords are and how to use them, which I guess is something. There’s also a mention of consent and only going as far as you want to go in the instructions. But that’s it – and that’s not enough.

Several of the activities listed can be dangerous either physically (e.g. spanking) or psychologically (e.g. non-consent roleplay) if done incorrectly. While I appreciate that game creators can’t give an essay on safety for every activity, some context is essential.

I was horrified to see one card suggesting that you flog your lover’s back, without making any distinction between hitting the upper back and shoulders (generally fine) and hitting the lower back, kidney area, and spine (incredibly dangerous and absolutely NOT fine.)

We can’t just nudge total newbies into impact play or non-consent roleplay scenes without telling them how to do so and emerge unharmed. This is grossly irresponsible.

Unnecessary gendering like whoa

This game takes unnecessary and aggressive gendering to the next level. It begins from the premise of assuming the players are a heterosexual, cisgender couple. There was absolutely no reason to do that! The cards could easily have been split by Top/bottom rather than male/female, or even just included a bunch of scenarios and left it to the players to decide who would take which roles.

Bondage Seductions kink game cards

It’s also not just cisheteronormative, but incredibly sexist. Here are a few choice quotes (all genuine, all copied down verbatim):

“Doesn’t he know you’d have an orgasm on the spot if he’d lift a finger and do the dishes for once in his life?”

“Perhaps he’d chatting with his mother when he should be asking about your day? Or worse yet… screaming at other drivers when he should be offering you compliments about your new hairdo!”

“Men are visual, and women are more sensitive to touch.”

“Don’t you wish sometimes that he would just shut up?”

This game was designed by people who don’t have a very good opinion of either men or women. It also seems to carry the assumption that people in heterosexual partnerships kinda hate each other. And honestly, I just find that sad.

ALSO. There are two cards titled “Safe Word For Her” and “Safe Word for Him.” Apart from the pronouns, these two cards are identical. There is literally zero point to this. Just have one safeword card or explain the concept in the rules! Seriously, this takes “gendering things that have no reason to be” to the next level.

The verdict

Bondage Seductions is just… really, really bad. It’s not just cheesy, cheap, and badly put-together. It encourages some really questionable – and even dangerous – practices and pushes overly rigid gender roles.

I can’t even say it’s good for people exploring BDSM for the first time, because it isn’t. It doesn’t help you to communicate your desires, explore things safely, or actually figure out what you like.

Seriously. Do not bother. This is awful.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me this product to review! Views are, as always, my own. Affiliate links appear in this and all my review posts. Want to support the blog? Signing up to my newsletter and buying me a coffee are great ways to do that!

Tools to Help with Your Sexy Negotiation

If there’s one thing you should have learned about me if you’ve followed me on social media or read my blog for any amount of time, it’s that I am a geek about all things sex, kink and relationships. Like, seriously, I am always looking for new tools and hacks to make this stuff better and easier.

I’m celebrating #KinkMonth by writing articles inspired by Kayla Lords’ brilliant 30 Days of D/s project. Today’s prompt was all about negotiation! Kayla and John have this to say on the subject:

People read the word “negotiation” and imagine some sort of back and forth thing around a table in a formal way. It can be that, sure, but mostly it’s just the conversation you have to figure out what kind of D/s relationship you want for yourself. Submissives have the right to, and should, ask why a rule/task/ritual is being put in place and both sides should have the freedom to disagree, suggest other things, and make sure their needs are being met.

Negotiation isn’t a one time thing. You’ll come back to this over and over again in your relationship. Will you have a contract? Do you need a checklist? What exactly does a negotiation sound like? 

So, in the spirit of this and my unending geekery, I thought I’d share with you my favourite tools for aiding with your kinky and sexy negotiation. You can adapt these for a new relationship, a changing relationship, or even exploring something new with the person you’ve been married to for twenty years. Tips and tools are there to serve you. Pick and choose the bits that work for you.

Tool #1: A really good Yes/No/Maybe checklist

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of these available for free on the internet. It’s essentially a huge list of different sexy and kinky activities. You go through and mark each activity as “YES I like that/want to do that,” “NO I don’t like that/want to do that,” or “MAYBE I would be open to trying that under specific circumstances”. You can either go through it together, or do them separately and then swap to compare. Either way it’s a brilliant tool to get discussion flowing, figure out what kinks you have in common, and maybe discover some brilliant new activities you didn’t know existed.

(Ask me how I learned what “figging” and “rimming” are.)

This one is ridiculously thorough and even includes a 0-5 scale for rating how into something you are.

Tool #2: Google Docs…

…Or any other browser-based shared editing system! This is a great way to share a checklist and compare answers easily. Maybe have a list with a column for each of your answers, side by side, to assist your scene negotation? You can even edit it as you explore and your limits evolve and change.

Tool #3: Pervocracy’s ‘Concise Kink Worksheet’

The Yes/No/Maybe list is wonderful, but it’s also LONG. When you’ve established you have some compatible kinks and are wanting to get down to playtime, this sheet suggests talking points and cuts straight to the core of the things you need to know in order to have a safe, sexy and satisfying play session.

Tool #4: Instant Messenger

Facebook, WhatsApp, Signal or even boring old text messaging. Is having those early negotiations face to face too hard? Do you find yourself getting tongue-tied trying to talk about the things you want to do? Don’t underestimate the power of getting the conversation moving in written form… even if you live together! You’ll have to move face to face eventually if you want to actually do the kinky fun. But there’s no shame at all in doing some of the preliminaries in writing. (It can actually be really useful to be able to refer back to what you both said later, too.)

Tool #5: The 30 Days of D/s project!

Kayla’s 30 days of prompts are brilliant for beginners to kink and D/s, to be sure. But they’re also useful for the more experienced among us to delve more deeply into our thoughts and feelings on all things kinky. I’ve been doing this stuff for *cough* years and I’m getting tonnes out of this project. You can use it as blog prompts, journal ideas, conversation points to bounce around with your partner during negotiation, or even just things to quietly think about and maybe come back to later. It’s FREE too (unless you want all 30 days in one easy workbook, in which case it’s a stunningly good value $4.99.)

Bonus Tool #6 AND kinky item of the day: The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book (not affiliate links) are still among the best and most informative guides out there for people new to kink and looking to get started… or even as a refresher for those with a bit more experience!

If you enjoyed this post and would like to support me, please consider buying me a virtual coffee, or shopping with my affiliates in the right hand sidebar.

How to Get Started in BDSM

It’s New Years Eve, the time of new beginnings and new adventures. This is the very first post on this blog. So how better to get started than with some handy hints and tricks on… getting started? That is, of course, dipping your toe into this thing we call kink, BDSM or ‘The Lifestyle.’

First: Get a Fetlife Account

If you have not yet stumbled across it, Fetlife is absolutely the place to be for all things kinky. It’s not “technically” a dating site, though people do use it that way (for better or worse) – it’s a social networking site for kinksters. The “Facebook of Kink,” if you like.

It’s free to join Fetlife and you can give as much or as little information as you like. Paid accounts are available but the main benefit to a paid account is getting access to videos. All the most useful features are free.

  1. Please don’t use your real name or give out any details more personal than which city you live in. (You can even lie about that if you’re really cautious, though I don’t recommend it because finding local people and events is a big part of the purpose of Fetlife).

  2. Put up a profile picture. It doesn’t have to be a face pic, but should be something that speaks to you or represents you  (don’t steal other people’s work, though – that’s not cool). Your genitals are NOT a good profile picture, however proud of them you are.

  3. Join some groups related to your interests. Read lots. Listen. Learn. Don’t believe everything you read – the only One True Rule of Kink is that there are no True Rules of Kink (beyond “informed consenting adults,” of course).

  4. Reach out by message to some people local to you, particularly if they run events or seem very active and respected in the community. Remember: the goal is to make friends and find community at this stage, not hook up.

Okay, you’ve got a Fetlife account. Good. Next step: READ READ READ.

Read posts on Fetlife. Read as many articles, essays and blogs as you can find (on kink in general or on your particular areas of interest.) Read books, watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts – however you prefer to get your information. Check out The Bookshelf and my favourite resources list for some trustworthy material to get you started.

This isn’t a “one shot and done” homework assignment. I hope you will keep reading, listening and learning for as long as you’re involved in the lifestyle.

If you’ve already got a partner/partners

If you’re single, you can skip this section as this is written for folks already in a relationship (or several – we’re poly-friendly here!)

Firstly, if you haven’t already, you NEED to talk to your partner about your interests.

I know how tempting it is, if these desires have been burning inside of you for months or years, to go out and explore them on the sly. We have a word for this, however, and that word is cheating. Most folks in the BDSM community take a dim view of people lying to and cheating on their partners, because this goes against the central ethos of informed consent.

It doesn’t need to be a big sit-down, drama-filled conversation. How about just, “hey, honey? I was thinking it would be really hot if you could be a little dominant in bed sometimes/if you let me spank you/if we explored tying each other up/-insert your interest here.- How do you feel about that?

Hopefully, if your partner is communicative and sex-positive, they’ll be happy to have a conversation about it. That doesn’t mean the answer will be “yes,” necessarily, but you’ve opened up a dialogue and that’s a huge step.

If they seem curious and excited to know more, talk to them about some of your fantasies and encourage them to have input with things they fantasise about. Explore this through sexting/cyber-sexing if it’s too scary or embarrassing to do it face-to-face at first. Read some erotica or watch some porn together that ticks your kinky boxes. Show them Fetlife, blogs, books and any other material you’ve found helpful. Go to a munch, talk or workshop together.

Explore a few light things first – always with a safeword, of course – and see how you go. Moving slowly, with lots of check-ins, negotiation, love and care is the way to have some really positive kinky experiences. Everything you want to try will still be there weeks, months or years down the line. You don’t have to do everything now!

Get out into the community and make friends and build a kinky support network. More on that coming up shortly…

If your partner isn’t open to exploring things with you, don’t push or pressure them. Give them time and space to process, ask open-ended questions and express yourself honestly. If they’re not interested, is there any other way you can get your needs met? Perhaps with other partners, if you’re non-monogamous, or through opening up your relationship in some limited way if you’ve been monogamous until now? Perhaps with a professional?

If they are insistent there is no way your kinky needs can be met while in this relationship, I’m afraid you may have a very difficult decision to make – one which no-one else can make for you.

If You’re Single

If you already have a partner or partners, you can skip this bit as this is written for the single curious kinksters out there.

If you’re single, it can be really tempting, when you discover this kinky thing, to dive right into trying to find a partner to explore it all with. However, if you do that, you’re missing out some really important steps.

Hopefully you’ve started off your explorations with joining Fetlife and doing plenty of reading and learning. Perhaps you’ve even reached out to some local people. If not, go and do those things now.

Remember: your goal right now is to make friends and build a community. Partners and opportunities to play will follow. A bit of patience right now will set you up well in the long run, I promise.

Go to a munch, class, talk or workshop (more on this coming up in a minute!) Ask a trusted friend to go along with you if you’re scared.

Get Off the Damn Internet – Getting Out There In Real Life

Yep. After extolling the virtues of Fetlife and all the great material you can find on the internet, I’m now telling you to get off the web and out into the world.

Find an event near you – a munch is ideal. A munch is an event held in a vanilla location like a pub, in acceptable-in-public dress, where kinksters meet up to socialise, hang out and make friends. Most major cities have at least one, and many small towns have them too. Search Fetlife with the name of your city or town to find out what’s going on. If you’re nervous, message the organiser – their Fet name should be listed – and ask if they’d mind introducing you to a few folks. Munch organisers typically do what they do because they love the community and want to give back to it, and most will be delighted to help you find your feet.

Other good events to go to are talks, workshops and classes on your area of interest, or even a kinky conference such as Kinkfest in the UK or ShibariCon in the US. These are often a greater time and financial investment than a simple munch, though, so you might want to wait a while before making this leap.

Going to your first event is scary. The golden rules, though, are simple. Follow these and you’ll be fine.

  1. Dress and act appropriately. Basically, if it’s okay for a generic pub it’s okay at a munch. Leave the whips and the leather corsets at home. A t-shirt and jeans will be fine in most places, as will a nice shirt and slacks, a cute dress or skirt, or whatever you’d usually wear to meet friends for a drink/ Don’t try to play at a munch unless it’s specifically advertised as one where that’s okay. If in doubt, most events will have a dress code and possibly a code of conduct available online, or you can ask the organiser.

  2. Don’t be a creep. Don’t latch on to that one cute young just-barely-turned-18 girl. Don’t only talk to people of the age, gender and body type you’re attracted to. Don’t ask people to play immediately or ask overly intrusive questions. People will notice and I promise, it’ll piss them off.

  3. Be yourself! Talk about your hobbies, your work, your family, how you came to kink… take your cues from others and just make friends the way you would in any other setting. If you’re shy, a good conversation starter is “I’m new, have you been coming to this event long?”

  4. Don’t get too drunk.

  5. Don’t touch anyone without permission. Kinksters are often a touchy and huggy bunch, but remember there may be relational contexts you’re not familiar with. Always ask before hugging or otherwise touching anyone.

  6. Don’t be a dick. This covers so many bases. Be friendly, open and welcoming to everyone and don’t be afraid to admit you’re new, nervous and not sure what the protocol is.

Most of all, remember to have fun. If you can, gather the Fetlife names of people you talk to and ask their permission to friend them. (You can always follow up with a PM – “Hey, we met at the ABC Munch. I really enjoyed our conversation about XYZ. Would you like to be friends on here?”

Et voila! You’ve got the beginnings of a kinky community and circle of friends. Now – rinse and repeat. You’ll soon learn who your people are, who you really click with and who you don’t much care for. You don’t need to like everyone but you do need to be polite and civil to everyone (unless, of course, something serious like a consent violation occurs, but that’s beyond the scope of this particular post.)

And there you have it – you’ve made your first steps into Kinkland! Doesn’t it feel great? Now go forth and be kinky, my friends.

Happy New Year.