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QUESTION: Hi! I have just started dating a woman that is into this lifestyle. I have been very interested in bdsm for a long time but always scared/ashamed to pursue it. My g/f is in a bdsm community that has parties and whatnot. She has discussed with me that at these parties she normally gets naked and she has nude photos of herself on a bdsm website. I am a very monogamous person when it comes to relationships. I feel like I can trust her 100% but the nudity around other people makes me uncomfortable. I don't want to ask her stop the nudity even though she has expressed that she will to make me comfortable. But the nudity is part of what makes her happy and have fun and that's all I want! I feel if I can't learn to love her for who she is then we shouldn't be together. Am I correct to feel this way? Would it be out of line to make that part of our boundaries?? Is it OK in a community to "change" someone like that? The last thing I want to do is to be outcasted by the community she loves so much!! I would really like to know how to get past the jealousy aspect and let her have fun at these community functions (no other playmates but still have fun). Is this something I can overcome? If so how? Or is this something that just isn't for me?? I hope you understand what I was trying to say here. Thanks in advance for the advice!!

ANSWER: Michael -

First, take a step back and look at all of the positives: you found someone you care about; you're each concerned about the other's happiness; you're mindful of the importance of having needs met.

You also ask the right questions. If you look at your questions, you're trLly talking about negotiating boundaries with your girlfriend. The great news is that effective negotiation is one of the foundational pillars of BDSM. You can negotiate whatever you two agree upon. That's the only rule - not what "the community thinks". So if you both agree for her not to be naked - or only topless or whatever else you are both truly comfortable with - then that's your rule. But the only way to discover what works is to talk. What will make each of you happy? What is the thought process behind your interests/concerns (remember - feelings are legitimate even if irrational)?  

One last observation: can you attend these events with her and if so would that diminish your concerns about her nakedness?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes, I will be able to attend then parties with her! She wants me 100% involved with her lifestyle! That's normally what she does is topless. Unless its part of a scene (which now would be with me) normally her panties always stay on. I'm just concerned about the topless part. I'm used to being 100% vanilla. Where the only person who should see your naked body are partners or doctors. So with that being said. Is this a normal feeling? Is this something normally people can work past so she can enjoy the nudity aspect?

Answer
You may feel proprietary. You may feel self conscious. You may feel jealous. There is no normal. They are your feelings. A few thoughts to keep in mind that may help you alter your perspective and feeling:

1. She's there with you and wants to be with you
2. One of the appeals of BDSM can be sexual expression, exploration and comfort. She isn't hiding her body, she's enjoying it. Now you can too!
3. Be fair and patient with yourself - you're coming from a different place and transformation can take time
4. Don't force it. If after a few times it still really bothers you, figure out how to address it in a different way

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Ben Martin

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Questions related to power-based relationships in which decision-making authority is intentionally and consensually transferred -- and the resulting imbalance celebrated. I am able to assist those trying to understand where they fit in, and those seeking to structure and thrive in a power based relationships. Specific topics I am able to discuss include: setting and achieving personal and relationship goals, responsible Mastery, the use of protocols and rituals, communication techniques, and conflict resolution. In addition, I am knowledgable and experienced in polyamory, long-distance relationships, bisexuality and a variety of kinky activities ranging from mind games to sadistic play.

Experience

I have chosen to have a power-based structure in my relationships over the past 18 years. This has included a 16-year M/s relationship, several shorter term D/s relationships and various play partners. I am an active participant in various online forums and seek to provide support and advice to those interested in the Lifestyle.

Organizations
Black Rose

Publications
My writings, insights and discussion contributions are available on Alt.com and FetLife.com. On both websites, my user name is BenMartin

Education/Credentials
I do not hold any credentials specific to BDSM, relying instead on knowledge gained from life experiences, reading and conversing with others in the Lifestyle.

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