Sunday, July 16, 2006

Recap: MBS Sunday Brunch for July 16

Our topic this week dealt with whether and how to convert a vanilla partner. Once again, your responses were diverse, interesting, and thought-provoking.

I would like to welcome the new participants this week. I'm glad you stopped by and I hope you'll join us again.

Doc: This is a particularly interesting question for me at the moment. I have a vanilla partner and a double chocolate spanking kink. We've been in a relationship for almost a year now and it was only last week that I finally “came out.” It hasn't really been addressed, but small things have happened since I admitted my needs.

My partner is now endeavoring to see what they are comfortable with, and I find myself positively quivering with the anticipation and possibilities.

I think what really helped was when they discovered my erotica and politely asked to borrow it. Seeing as it is my only “naughty book” and visibly well used, I think they understand that I am interested in its contents (The sleeping beauty series by Anne Rice). I think a conversation that doesn't put pressure on the vanilla partner is the way to go. If you and your partner are truly good for one another, they will see how well you respond. I know that mine is noticing.

Cuddlybum: Well, it depends on what you mean by “converting.” I hadn't been spanked before the beloved came along and he wasn't interested in spanking before I came along. But when I mentioned it and we started trying it, we both enjoyed it!

I didn't actually didn't bring it up - the beloved found some books that, ahem, naturally fall open to certain pages. He couldn't believe I had books and books of sex-filled scenes and they all opened on the spanking scenes! So we talked, and then we tried it, and things went on from there.

If it came to a choice between the spanking and the beloved, I'd pick the beloved every time. It’s only a facet of our relationship and not the entirety. He's so much more than spanking to me, and I never want to lose him.

Jean Marie: The previous two postings are lovely. I wish that I were writing something similar, but my experience is different.

I've tried to "convert" a vanilla partner before. The enticement of hot sex was enough to intrigue this guy into following my none-too-subtle suggestions to both initially try spanking me, and then doing it progressively harder (Excuse my cynicism, but most men are horn-dogs). Even though I was getting what I wanted, I felt indulged. It wasn't really shared. It was always at my suggestion. It wasn't spontaneous. Therefore, it wasn't enough. I ended the relationship, and vowed that I'd only get involved with people who are dyed-in-the-wool, hard-core, deep-down, all the way to the bone kinky from then on.

I still haven't found that true love, even though I'm in a monogamous (monotonous) relationship that features regular spankings. I don't think I could be unfaithful and get that vital aspect elsewhere. Maybe if I found absolute true love with someone who was vanilla, I would grow to feel differently, and seek spankings elsewhere. But that situation would seem even more desperate than the one I'm in. I could not give up the need for frequent and varietal spankings. I could more easily give up the need to breathe.

Mike: I think it depends on what you need in a spanking relationship. If a nice erotic spanking in foreplay is what you want, I think it's entirely possible to "convert" someone. As long as both people are interested in pleasing the other, I think once the spankee’s desires are known, things could work.

Like Jean Marie said, though, I don't think it would always be the perfect fantasy spanking. As for a DD relationship, I think it would be very difficult, but I'm sure it's happened.

Paul: I could possibly convert a vanilla partner to spanking by emphasising the foreplay aspects. But I don't see this as a long term solution. Seeking this sort of relationship outside of a long term partnership strikes me as rather dangerous.

For me, spanking is so tied in with intimacy that sharing would almost certainly lead to a breakup and a lot of pain for both partners.
Tread very carefully, "here be dragons."

Scarlett: I could talk on this subject for ages!

I am in a vanilla marriage to a man I adore. I have really tried to convert him over the years, by buying books (and leaving them next to the bed), toys (in the bed!), dropping hints, having heartfelt discussions, you name it. I have tried it all. My ongoing efforts are to simply act submissively around him to allow him the control. Still, he does not grasp that control I so want him to take.

Without going into too much detail, I have resigned myself sadly to the fact he is not interested and, if anything, he is submissive himself.

I had three options:
  1. Ignore my submissive nature/need to be spanked and focus on our marriage
  2. Seek a spanko relationship outside of the marriage either with or without his consent
  3. Leave the marriage
I tried the first option for a long time, but I could not contain my desire to get spanking experience. I am now working on option two (without his consent) and I am treading an emotional high-wire. To do it with his consent is perhaps the next stage. The final option is something I shudder to contemplate just now.

So in answer to your questions:

Do I think it's possible / practical to "convert" a vanilla partner? If he hasn’t a dominant bone in his body, then he can not be converted. If anyone knows of any new technique that works I will reward them handsomely.

Would I consider ending the relationship? I would and I have, but it is not a viable option for me personally (for a variety of reasons that I can not go in to here)

Would I give up my kink altogether? I tried it and could not. I can not renounce my sexual being and I am a happier person, wife and parent since I have explored my kink outside of my marriage.

I do not want harsh judgments (I have had enough of that on my blog!), but this whole subject is an area in which I have a fair amount of experience and just wanted to share it.

Brian: I am a spanko, more of a dom, but with switch tendencies. My wife was/is strictly vanilla. I have given her birthday *spankings* for years, but she refused anything more. Her reasons are sound - She was punished as a child, spankings hurt, and there was no sexual aspect.

This changed several months ago. She has been getting therapy for depression for decades with little results. I suggested, half-jokingly, that she needed a session with Dr. Discipline. She agreed! Well, I dressed up, we met, we talked about safe words, she went over my knee, panties down, and Dr. D and my wife talked about problems in her life while he spanked her bare bottom, hard, for an hour.

After several sessions, she became more open, happier, and worked without nagging. She admitted she needed discipline in her life. Dr D. assigned her reading. She loved the Beauty series (the Prince was a wimp). Now she demands a spanking every morning before I go to work. She likes the tingle. Is she totally non-vanilla now? No. She refuses any implement, she's not a submissive, and spanking still doesn't do "it" for her. Still, we are both much happier now with spanking in our lives.

Anon: I think it’s very difficult to change a vanilla partner. I'm still trying and have had limited success. Most times, I just hide my need. It’s sad, but true. It’s just not in him. I love him and that's the most important thing to me.

I’ve tried seeking spankings elsewhere, but the sad reality was that I really wanted my partner. So, there wasn’t a whole lot of satisfaction there, even though my need was met. I got to experience it. However, the damage after all was said and done was just awful.

Now, I live vicariously through the blogs. Thank God for you all! And occasionally I get what I need, if I ask (it’s just hard to ask).

Curtis: I’m a switch who recently ended a 25-year marriage to a woman who played spanking games during courtship, while we lived together, and for one year after marriage. Then she announced she didn't like it and we had virtually no sex for twenty years. This was not the only reason for divorce, but we held together because of a child. Based upon this experience, I can say that you'll never be able to fully sublimate the desire for spanking activity and, if at all possible, one should find a partner who is into spanking, a partner who can be converted into spanking, or a partner who will explicitly and overtly allow you to pursue your spanking interest while married. Otherwise, you're going to be unhappy, as I was, until I broke out.

I have found that you can convert almost any woman to being spanked if her bottom is an erogenous zone and if you're not (at least at first and, for me, at any time) playing out dominant/submissive fantasies or painfully punitive approaches. If the bottom is an erogenous zone, spanking can lead to great sexual arousal. As foreplay, or in and of itself, playful spanking can be seen as fun. Getting a woman who is not so inclined to be a spanker tends to be more difficult. But I've found that if you approach it in the spirit of mutual play, or if she is emotionally involved with you and wants to please, you can usually persuade her that what's fun and arousing for her can be for you as well. Getting them to do it "right," or according to your needs and desires tends to be a work in progress.

John: I was born and hard-wired into the spanking world. I was married to a wonderful woman who recently passed away. She was pure vanilla and not available to entertain this subject at all. In the future, when I do make contact with women, I will be very up front about my spanko needs. I do not abuse women in any way, but do need a lady who is titillated by all of this. I find it hard to believe that one can convert a non-spanking friend into a great spanking partner. I believe that this underlying thread is and always was there. Sometimes, it may have just been sleeping for years.

Dyke Grrl: I guess I'm lucky. My wife wasn't precisely vanilla when we met, but she wasn't into spanking per se. In fact, she was uncomfortable with the idea. There are a lot of posts on my blog about the process of moving from the mostly pleasurable spankings I'd asked for and received early on in our relationship to the slightly more DD flavored relationship we've got now.

I think some of "conversion" is a matter of compromise: how much is each partner willing to do for the other partner's benefit. I think it's not just about the spanko partner getting their needs met, but also about the non-spanko partner feeling like there is give and take in the relationship.

The main technique I suggest? Talking ("processing," as my lesbian-feminist crowd refers to it). Talking, and compromise. And being willing to take your time with it. But be direct: I think a non-spanko just isn't inclined to pick up on those subtle hints. And even if they do, I suspect many people are reluctant to do something seemingly abusive (say, spank you for bratting because they're annoyed by it).

Actually, as I read other people's blogs, I think that communication and compromise are vital, whether or not one of the partners was originally vanilla.

I've got only sympathy for those people who love someone who is staunchly, steadfastly vanilla, or who reacts with disgust when they bring it up. As it stands, I will stay with my wife, and continue this process of communication and compromise.

Oh, and one more tip for those not currently in a relationship: at the beginning, when you have less to lose, take a chance and bring it up. It lays a foundation for later change. And I do mean bring it up directly: it's incredibly hard, but, well, it leaves the least room for misunderstanding.

Damnation's Cellar: I think it's possible to convert a partner, but I have the impression that this is successful less often than not. I've tried giving up the kink and have found in no uncertain terms that it's not a viable option for me. So that leaves the second choice, seeking kink elsewhere.

I am lucky enough to have a partner who is open-minded and tries to really hear me and understand my feelings. It took quite a while to get here, but we're polyamorous now and it seems to be working well for us. Being able to pursue other relationships without secrecy has made all the difference. And it's one of those things that never would have happened if one of us hadn't had the courage to bring it up. So talk and compromise are major components in our relationship.

I know polyamory isn't for everyone. I feel extremely fortunate that it's working well for us.

Mary: I would say that it may be hard to totally convert a vanilla, but that a spouse that seeks your pleasure will be willing to play. It may be easier if you tried role play to start, perhaps relieving the spanker of any guilt that spanking his true love would bring. You could play someone he actually would relish spanking. As with all things, communication is the key. Good luck.

Rose: That’s a question asked often by my present roommate in her quest to understand my alternative sexual desires. I'm lucky to be in a place that allows me the freedom to choose my partners based on, among other things, their involvement in BDSM.

If I had a partner who was vanilla, I would start by encouraging some reading to help them understand the feelings, the kink. There's a book I ran across with a great section on how to convert a vanilla partner. I would also strive for a great deal of conversation on the subject, taking in both points of view and strive for some sort of way to at least try the kink.

If these things didn't work, I would probably broach the subject of possible play outside the relationship, for spankings.

Giving up a relationship for spankings or other aspects of BDSM would seem a little harsh. However, knowing how deep those feelings run, it would eventually, I believe, hurt the relationship anyway. I've met too many frustrated men who have vanilla wives and are looking elsewhere behind her back. That’s never a good thing. I've also met women who are just as frustrated and looking outside the marriage.

Giving up the kink would seem smart in one way. However, if it's such an ingrained part of a person's desires, is that fair? It’s a complicated question that I think would need to be worked out between the two people involved. I'm not sure there's an easy or sure fire way to solve this one. But at the beginnings, explaining the kink, opening a dialogue, and reading are all good places to start.

Tigger Too: My advice is to be honest with your partner about your love of spanking. Technically, we all star out vanilla, even us spankos, so it's likely that your partner, no matter how "vanilla" you think they are, is just as into spanking as your are, or is at least willing to give it a try. And even if your partner's not totally into spanking, he or she might still be willing to try it, just as he or she would be willing to give anything sexual a try.

If your partner is not into spanking at all, and won't even give it a try, then you really need to evaluate how important spanking is to you. I wouldn't suggest looking outside your relationship, especially if the spanking is of a sexual nature, unless your partner is completely 100% in agreement, and even then, you really need to give it a lot of thought.

Frank Spanko: I believe that it is possible to convince a "vanilla" partner to become one who spanks. I do not think it is likely that you could convince them to be spanked.

If you are open and honest with your partner, I believe that they could become comfortable spanking you. You would have to start slowly and respond with sexual excitement so that your partner knows that you are enjoying the experience. You would also have to be willing to go the extra step to satisfy them sexually, including indulging their fantasies.

I, personally, would not leave a woman if I otherwise loved her in every way. Were Angela to not be a spanko, I'd still be married to and totally in love with her. I'm not sure how I would try to satisfy my desire for spanking. Perhaps I would attempt to discreetly paddle myself. However, if we had an otherwise satisfying sex life, I would suspect that I would not find the spanking urge overwhelming.

Bratscorcher: You are generally facing a LOW probability of success with any conversion efforts. And "giving up the kink" is equal parts undesirable and impossible.

If one is early in a relationship and it looks like you are with a vanilla, I recommend moving on. Don't bother to psychoanalyze or assign blame, just wish them well and move on.

If you are married and not in a position to be able to "move on," I think Mary's suggestion above regarding role-playing is excellent. If you are, for example, a naughty schoolgirl and your husband learns that giving you a good scolding and a spanking is going to lead to ravenously delicious experiences afterwards, then your showing up in the bedroom with your plaid pleated schoolgirl skirt, looking coy and presenting the paddle (or cane!) is probably going to have him panting like Pavlov's dog in no time (Hmm, maybe conversion is possible). In any case, I wish all those struggling in such a situation the best.

Tigger: I can speak from experience, but I'd rather let Dante speak for himself. He was vanilla when we got together and he picked it up quickly in some respects, but less so in others. Oh, he liked the spanking (because of my reaction) from the beginning, but he had difficulty with causing me pain to bring me pleasure and still has some issues about the whole punishment spanking thing.

I think he will be of more help on this then me, so I'll defer to him...

Dante: My advice is to not throw away the relationship or get it elsewhere (the same thing), and don't assume that your vanilla may not like a little flavoring.

Veronica: When my partner and I first started seeing each other, I had never been spanked and he had never spanked anyone. He was pretty vanilla at first, but now he's very willing to try anything I suggest (as long as I'm the one on the receiving end!). We don't have a DD relationship, ours is purely erotic. Sex will always follow a good spanking.

At first, he had a difficult time with some things. He was afraid he was going to hurt me and the thought of inflicting pain on me really messed with his head a little bit. Once he learned that spanking was such a big turn on for me, he started to come around. Anything that turns me on turns him on (like Jean Marie said, most men are horn-dogs LOL). Since the spanking aspect of our relationship has blossomed, he's told me that he never thought he could be so turned on by it or have so much fun with it.

Like any other part of a loving relationship, spanking should be discussed and both parties needs and concerns need to be addressed. Openness and honesty are very important. I wouldn't end my relationship if he was suddenly became disinterested in spanking. I'd just want to know why. I'm very much in love and every other aspect of our sex life is great.

Elis: I kept my love of spanking a complete secret from my husband for 19 years. We tried a bit, but then aging parents and other distractions caused us to let it die out. I have recently brought it up again and, as before, my wonderful vanilla husband has embraced the idea with relish.

I don't think that he knows how much I desire it. And he may not realize that I might at some point want to explore a DD relationship (after the kids leave home). But he seems to be willing to read the blogs I suggest and explore, so what more could I ask? Yes, conversion seems possible. But if it wasn't, I would still be with him for as long as he will have me.

Grace: This is such a complex question. There is no yes or no answer. It depends on the person you’re trying to convert. If that person is open to something like this, you’re going to have a much easier time converting. If this person doesn't like this type of thing, getting them to change probably won't happen. It sounds simple, but it's not really.

You can only convert a person if they want to be converted. If you keep trying and it doesn't work, it will only hurt your relationship. If there is no compromise to be made between the two of you, then you need to decide how important it truly is to you.

I converted Bossman with a lot of talking, talking, talking. I wrote him a lot of letters, I wrote him stories, and I shared stories that I read with him. There was a lot of trial and error. There still is. This is something we work on daily. We also had to learn to compromise. What I wanted may not be exactly the way it turns out, and that is OK. Sometimes things look much better on paper than they do when you try to do it.

I would never give up my relationship with Bossman for spanking. But that's just me. Bossman means more to me than spanking ever will. For me, spanking is a fantasy. I am just lucky enough to live out my fantasy. Not everyone can say that.

CeeCi: MoJo knew from the first moment he spoke with me that I was what he was looking for in a life partner. He knew and sensed things within me I'd never revealed to anyone let alone myself.

Slowly and patiently, he introduced this seemingly vanilla woman to the beauty of her submissive nature. Gently, he guided me and introduced me to the wealth of information to be found online. I learned, I embraced, I grew and I crave much of what I've encountered.

I don't have any clue as to how to convert a vanilla lover except to lead with love. It's important that we share our sexual desires with our intimate partners. Denying them the knowledge of what we need really denies it for both people in the relationship. If our partner is unable to accept or participate in our form of play, then it is time to honestly look at the relationship. We cannot change another person. We can only change ourselves and if the partnership is unsatisfying then the questions will fall into place and the answers will present themselves.

Further, I agree with Paul, seeking to have any sexual need gratified outside of a committed relationship is dangerous and I would add, foolish. Very, very few people have the ability to view any sexual contact as "casual" or "scratching an itch." From my own experiences, too many people get hurt when one partner steps outside the relationship for any reason.

I hope I didn't sound too preachy with my words. As Paul said, "tread carefully, here be dragons."

Mistress Sky: Being a Domme, I don't feel qualified to comment, because I love both spanking a subbie and being spanked by the Raven. I wonder if when you broach the subject to a vanilla partner, they'd just think you were downright kinky and blow you out (I suspect this would be so in many cases in the UK, as we're discouraged from being liberal/liberated). If it's that important a need, it must surely be addressed. Maybe the submissive wife should try a little role reversal in the bedroom? This is probably not very helpful. Sorry, Scarlett got me thinking too much.

Kittygirl: I think it is easier to be a spanko or convert a vanilla now than at any other time in history, because of wonderful blogs like this. If it weren't for all the words and ponderings from bloggers all over, I may not have come to terms with my kinky desires. Spanking is becoming more mainstream. As spanking becomes more accepted, non-spankos will feel more comfortable with exploring spanking. What has worked for me is getting the guts to tell my partner my needs, and then combining spanking with lots of blow jobs.

Scarlett: I have to agree with Kittygirl that blogs such as this, and the Internet in general, have opened up a whole new perspective enabling people to accept their kinks as normal and healthy.

Mistress Sky's idea about role reversal is an option I had not considered. I think I know deep down that I can only release the submissive I have within me with the one that I love (my husband) and with anyone else it is a pale carbon copy of the real me, because the foundation stones of love and trust implicit in a D/s relationship can only be given unreservedly to that one person.

Thank you to everyone who has posted here today for their thoughts and big thanks to you Bonnie for a really interesting topic.

kk: I’ve been there and tried that. You cannot make good wine with bad grapes. I asked my vanilla hubby to spank me once and I thought he was going to call the guys in the white coats to come pick me up. He thought I was sick and needed help. Well, I found help, but not the kind he was thinking of.

J: My wife and I were high school sweeties and got married post-college. Neither of us has ever seriously dated anyone else. I did not know that I was kinky or that she was vanilla (a mixed marriage?). Our evolution into whatever we are now happened extremely gradually.

I consider myself very lucky to have a wife who is willing to indulge almost every one of fantasies, even when they are not her own. The only problem that it ever causes is that the more we 'play' the more I want to, and for her, it is about the opposite.

We had been married about 15 years the first time I spanked her (on her 39th birthday). Her response was, "after 15 years of tying me up I was wondering if you would ever get around to that!"

Sex in general, and kink specifically, are only a part of what we have together. If she told me she never wanted to play again, I would throw my toys away. Thankfully, I get to have the love of my life, and a willing bottom to occasionally smack as well!

Bonnie: This was a question asked of me by a reader. I didn't know the answer, but I knew all of you would.

Anon: I am new to this blog, but I found your question very interesting. I am in the process of trying to find a non-vanilla partner. I have been separated for four years and that started because of not just spanking, but sex in general. I wanted to talk openly and honestly about spanking among other things. All that I got was that I was a pervert and she was being forced to be a performer. She thought I was weird for even wanting to think about anything other than a vanilla relationship. Well, sorry, but that is not me. So now I find myself trying to find a non-vanilla play partner. But living in Minnesota makes it seem impossible.

Jade: My vanilla beau spanks me because he knows it turns me on--and he likes doing that. I introduced him to it early in our relationship by sharing stories from the web that I found arousing. Now, he has become an expert spanker. Almost, too good sometimes... ;-)

Fanny Annie: I must agree with Scarlett on this one. My husband did spank for awhile, I believe to indulge my fantasy. I would be willing to accept it, but there are many other issues in our marriage, so spanking was the first thing to go several months ago.

In an effort to hurt my feelings, he said, "I think it's sick and disgusting of you to want to be spanked." Yes, that is a quote, sad to say. He did give me a birthday spanking a couple months ago after I'd been hinting around all day that I wanted one.

I have recently been meeting with someone, who satisfies my desire for spanking without the pressure of a sexual relationship. His wife is usually in the next room listening. She may even decide to spank me one of these days. Unfortunately, although I am more comfortable in my skin than ever, I have had to do this without my husband's consent and knowledge. I wish it were different, but I, too, have my reasons for staying married, which I'd rather not discuss here.

I just love the breadth of experience and perspectives. Thank you all!

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Anonymous said...

Great reading!!!


Scarlett said...

I said it in my second post yesterday, this was a really good Brunch discussion and generated a wide range of views.
Thanks very much Bonnie.

Fanny Annie said...

I must agree with Scarlett on this one. My husband did spank for awhile, I believe to indulge my fantasy. I would be willing to accept it, but there are many other issues in our marriage, so spanking was the first thing to go several months ago.

In an effort to hurt my feelings, he said, "I think it's sick and disgusting of you to want to be spanked." Yes, that is a quote, sad to say. He did give me a birthday spanking a couple months ago after I'd been hinting around all day that I wanted one.

I have recently been meeting with someone, who satisfies my desire for spanking without the pressure of a sexual relationship. His wife is usually in the next room listening. She may even decide to spank me one of these days. Unfortunately, although I am more comfortable in my skin than ever, I have had to do this without my husband's consent and knowledge. I wish it were different, but I, too, have my reasons for staying married, which I'd rather not discuss here.

Thank you, as always, for a thought-provoking discussion, Bonnie.

Anonymous said...

The only thing about spanko's staying married to vanillas - they remain unavailable for a relationship with another spanko.
Do you ever feel like you may be missing out on having the complete package? (Marriage to a spanko) And perhaps causing some other spanko to remain single and unspanked - or without a spankee - or spanked but without a marriage? Just wondering. I totally understand that you can't change what you want and you can't change someone else and other things might be worth staying for - but just asking.

Anonymous said...

As many others on here I believe that converting a vanilla is hard, and that it totally depends on the individual person. My husband was accepting me for wanting it even at first, but it has taken 7 years for him to start giving me the spankings I really want. The main thing for me has always been openness (though I have always found it hard to talk about - fortunately he's getting better at asking) and accept for his feelings in the matter. Trying to find some humorous aproches, and always letting him know how much I love him for trying to meet my fantasies. He still doesn't take as much initiative as I'd like, and spankings doesn't happen as often as I would like. But I'm a patient woman. I just feel lucky that he has come this far, and I can wait longer. If I had to choose between him and spanking he'd win always ( though I'd probably miss it) To me it's important that he is always comfortable. Cause if he's not comfortable I find it hard to enjoy. Many things can influince that. Part of our spanking relationship not taking off sooner was probably due to the fact that we lived in an apartment with thin walls. When you know that you can easily hear the neighbours TV going, and phone ringing, you are a bit hessitant to start spanking. To be honest I couldn't quite enjoy it myself out of fear of what the neighbours would think. Two years ago we moved into a house, and though our 2nd kid as come along since, we have more chances and more privacy to engage in spanking play. Love openness and patience are the key words, and a whole lot of luck. Still I feel fortunate, that I am the spankee, couse if it had been the other way around, it would never have happened for sure.

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