My husband and I have been married 10 years and have what I feel is a healthy sex life. We typically have sex once or twice a week and it's very satisfying to us both, but of course, over time, we've developed a routine that works, and that we rarely stray from. Now he says he wants to “spice things up.” Specifically, he wants to tie me up. I'm not sure about this. I was hoping "spice things up" would be a new position or taking a class in couple's erotic massage or something. The thought of being tied up doesn't turn me on. It scares me (and no, I haven't had any sexual trauma). What should I tell him? I don't want to seem uptight or totally shut down to his fantasies, but I just can't seem to relax around the idea.
He Said: Well, they say you can't knock it if you haven't tried it, to rely on the cliché. The fact is that getting tied up should fill you with a sense of dread--that's half the fun, the way a good horror flick is both impossible to watch and not watch at the same time. (Of course you should always be able to remove your own restraints and have a clear system in place for you to indicate when you have reached your limit and he needs to stop the fantasy.) You don't have to be Freud to know that if you are frightened it may mean that the notion secretly excites you. But even if it really does not turn you on, giving B&D the old school try is a very generous, but hardly mandatory, act of selflessness on your part for your husband. So even if the big event does not go as hoped, it may well be the gift that keeps on giving as far as his willingness to indulge your wildest fantasies. Need help relaxing? As long as you have no addiction issues, sharing a stiff drink and a few tokes should put you both in the right frame of mind.
She Said: On the one hand, this is a man you love and trust and you don’t want to put a kibosh on his fantasies. On the other, you are afraid. First, let’s see if it’s possible to lower your level of fear. I’m a huge fan of baby steps, not just in sex and relationships but in every area of life. I’m not sure what your notion of being tied up looks like, but I’m betting there’s a scary picture in your mind of ropes, knots, a feeling of powerlessness, and maybe even pain. Is it possible to construct a gentler picture, one that looks more like “a new position” or “erotic massage”? For instance, picture tying your wrists together in a soft, silky material, leaving your legs free. Can you imagine making love this way? If not, can you try just kissing him or doing a little foreplay, and then stopping? How about if you tie up your wrists and he gives you a massage? You get the gist. Go very, very slowly, feeling out the boundary between your mental fears and your actual limits. Use a “safe word”—something you’d never say in bed like “cat” or “blue.” The rule is, the moment you utter that safe word, he unties you. I think your willingness, coupled with the requirement that he go slowly and gently, may actually turn him on, for it demonstrates your trust and gives him a little bit more power and control. You don’t want to hand him the whole kit and kaboodle—whips, chains, rope, the works—all at once, anyway. Where would the fun in that be? See how you do with the gentlest of forays into bondage. Give him a chance to earn more trust and willingness from you. You may find that a few silk scarves are a small price to pay for the relational and sexual intimacy that can result from such an exchange. And if you absolutely hate it, then stop, and rest easy in the fact that you gave it a shot.
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