"How Kinky Is Too Kinky?"

Gloria G. Brame,PhD,ACS



"How Kinky Is Too Kinky?"
by Gloria G. Brame
this article was first published in Cosmo in 1999

He's buff, he's tough, he's cool. So why is he handing you a pair of fuzzy bondage cuffs with a twinkle in his eye? Maybe you think he's losing his mind. Or, worse, you're afraid he's losing interest in you and needs weird stimulation to feel satisfied.

The truth is requests for kinky sex usually have nothing to do with boredom, much less with insanity. The most buttoned-up guys often have weird fantasies and bedroom quirks, even if they aren't admitting them to you. "There's a secret that sex-workers all know very well. Men who are nervous about admitting their fantasies to their wives or girlfriends will tell them to sex-workers instead," reveals Dr. Carole Queen, cultural sexologist and author of EXHIBITIONISM FOR THE SHY (Down There Press).

Don t think it's all over if your guy expresses a sexual need that you don't think you can fulfill, either. "It's really okay to have limits and times when you go 'eeuw, I don't want to do that,'" Queen says. "All couples have some places where they aren't compatible. That doesn't mean the relationship has to end."

While you should never feel obligated to try something that repulses you, if you keep an open mind, you might find you enjoy a little over-the-edge lovin as well. Here, Cosmo and the pros coach you on how to cope when kink is the topic of your pillow talk.

KINKY CRISIS #1 He Wants to Talk Dirty

For most men, "let's kiss under starlit skies, my flower of delight" really means "let's play hokey-pokey under mirrored ceilings, you sex-crazed slut of my dreams!" But only the few and the brave have the nerve to express their lustful thoughts. When they do it can meet with unpredictable results.

"My boyfriend is a nice, sweet guy," gripes Bernadette, 27, "He's always been a perfect gentleman, even in bed. That is until one night when he started grunting and moaning obscenities and strange fantasies. And then he wanted me to talk dirty too. All I could think was 'who IS this guy?' It was like he had turned into a werewolf between my legs. I care about him but the dirty talk is gross."

While Bernadette's boyfriend may lack subtlety, the urge to vocalize one's lust and to really "get down and get dirty" is actually common for both men and women. Sex, after all, is about all the senses. Some people feel that speaking and hearing dirty words is as erotic as touching and being touched.

If your man wants you to engage in wicked dialogue, keep your cool. Chances are he thinks he's paying you a compliment by letting his inner bad boy speak. He may not have a clue that your inner good girl is barfing. The key is to negotiate boundaries and set limits which make you feel safe to explore the possibilities with him.

"Negotiation is important in all areas of life," notes sexologist and sex therapist, Dr. Bernie Zilbergelt, author of THE NEW MALE SEXUALITY (Bantam Books, 1999). "If a couple can't trust each other, they shouldn't be together. If they can, then there should be room for new experiences."

Gain some control over the situation by asking about his favorite words and phrases. If your tastes don't coincide, work on a compromise. "A couple can always bargain--'I'll do this if you do that,'" suggests Queen. "The real problem is when a woman refuses to give up a judgment. She needs to develop the attitude of, 'this is not my thing, but I respect that you have this need.'"

For example, if you find four-letter words ugly, invent your own pet words for body parts or sex acts, and use those. Women who cringe at the vulgar terms for sex organs might be charmed by playful ones.

Don't be afraid to let him know what your own verbal hot-buttons are. Marla, 27, claims she can climb to the top of the big "O" when a lover whispers "my, what a naughty girl you are to wear those lacy panties!" "Something about 'naughty girl' and 'lacy panties' just makes my toes curl!" Marla declares, adding, "When he says those things, it's an instant turn on."

KINKY CRISIS #2 He Gets Off Going Public

"I had this fantasy of doing it on a beach," confesses Lilah, 22. "Stupidly, I told my boyfriend. I told him that some things are just best left as a fantasy, but he can't stop talking about it. I'm afraid he's going to insist we try it next time we go to the beach."

Lilah says her biggest fear is that people will find out and think she is a tramp. According to Dr. Bernie, such emotional conflicts are not unusual. "Some people draw a strict line between what's in their heads and what's in reality. They have no idea that this could become real. They think of it as their 'private stuff.' Others want to enact their fantasies but feel shame about it. They worry what their friends would think of them if they knew."

Still, whether the thrill comes from the risk of being caught, the outrageousness of breaking a taboo, or both, the dangerous thrill of outdoor sex gets an awful lot of people awfully turned on.

"One of the most exciting experiences of my life was the time my husband fondled me at a restaurant," confides Olivia, 31, "I was studying the menu when I felt Rich's fingers creeping up my thigh, under the tablecloth. I was about to push him away when the waiter came over. Good thing the tablecloth was long! With his hand still between my legs, Rich calmly placed our order. I almost died of embarrassment. But our love-making that night was awesome."

While tablecloth tango isn't for everyone, there are lovers games you can play which are safer and lower-key. For example, you don't have to dance in your birthday suit on a public beach to satisfy Nature Boy. Instead, pitch a tent in the woods where you can zip yourselves into a cocoon of love, surrounded by the sounds and smells of the wild. The only ones watching will be the raccoons.

KINKY CRISIS #3 He Wants You to Tie Him Up

"I think of myself as an adventurer," says Felicia, 29, "I've heard about bondage, and I'm curious. The man I'm dating told me that he's done it. He asked me if I'd like to tie him up. I would but there's a part of me which worries that it's too weird. Plus I don't know how!" She laughs, " I almost flunked Girl Scouts because I was so bad at tying knots."

Bondage may seem like a new trend, but it's been a recognized erotic art for thousands of years. The KAMA SUTRA endorses it to heighten foreplay and orgasms. So does the JOY OF SEX. According to Queen, "One of the attractions of bondage is the fantasy of having to lie there and take what your partner dishes out." Whoever is bound can safely experience erotic helplessness, while the partner teases with fingers, hands, tongue.

Still, bondage isn't for everyone. "It's good to stretch yourself and try new things. On the other hand, you can't violate yourself," says Dr. Bernie. Before you experiment, be sure you know what you're getting into. "When he says bondage, find out exactly what he wants to do," Dr. Bernie advises.. Some men would be satisfied if you simply held their wrists down, others are hoping for something much more elaborate."

And forget about metal handcuffs or rope for now. Opt for soft, fabric wrist-cuffs. "It's easy to do simple bondage with a set of cuffs," observes Queen. "You don't need need to wrap someone up like a mummy. Just tying their wrists can be enough to increase the eroticism."

KINKY CRISIS #4 He Wants to Watch

"A few months ago my lover suggested we vary our sex-life by trying mutual masturbation. I agreed, reluctantly, " Penny, 38, says worriedly. " Now he wants me to get myself off while he watches. What's next? A video camera? I'm not a prude, but this is too kinky to be good for us."

The desire to watch a lover pleasuring him or herself is common. If you don't share the desire, just say no. But, as Dr. Bernie points out, "One person's kink is another's normality. As long as no one is being hurt, as long as it furthers the couple's pleasure, it's good. If it hurts them then it's bad--that goes for anything, even intercourse."

Men, as a rule, crave visual stimulation. This explains their thirst for smutty magazines and adult videos. Watching a lover pleasure herself is the biggest voyeuristic thrill of all: it's a private sex-show in your own boudoir. Unfortunately, women tend to be squeamish about providing it.

But it's possible to meet him part-way. "It doesn't have to be all or nothing," says Dr. Bernie. "Most things can break down into half-steps. Instead of going all-out try taking a little step." For example, if you can't stand the thought of him staring at you, tell him to turn his back and listen to the sounds you make. This gives you a bigger comfort zone, while partly indulging him. Bolder types can ask their men to help out. Guide his hand, showing him what really gets you going. Also, turn-about is fair-play. Ask to watch him. You may discover that you enjoy it.

KINKY CRISIS #5 He Wants A New You...in Bed!

"My fiance's fantasies weird me out," exclaims Jessica, 24. He wants to pretend he's a famous male model and that Madonna falls in love with him. I'm supposed to dress up like Madonna and seduce him! Is this freaky or what? Now I'm wondering if he's bored with me, and wishes I really was her...or anyone else."

When a man brings his fantasies to you and asks you to act them out with him, it doesn't mean he's bored. Wanting more variety in your sex-life is a positive thing and being honest enough to admit it usually signals a commitment to keeping a long-term relationship exciting.

"One thing women might want to remember is that fantasies are keys to the lock of his eroticism," notes Dr. Queen. "It's very powerful to have that key. "

Once you know what really pushes your man's buttons, you will be even more sexually attractive to him because you will know better than anyone exactly how to make him sweat. If you know what your own hot-buttons are, and can share them equally with him, the chemistry between you will explode.

Meanwhile, if you're creative, role-playing as different people is an opportunity to liberate the sex kitten within. For a few hours, you get to be anyone you like--whether it's Madonna or perhaps a ballet prima donna. Experiment with wigs, make-up, and outfits (from classy to trashy) that let him know you are all the woman he could ever hope for.


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