This article was posted March 28, 2012 by Ted_subby.  Check out my web page at and feel free to contact me at or via FetLife or Twitter @Ted_subby.



“What do I do if my significant other is vanilla?”


This is part 2 and deals with a situation in which your vanilla partner is not receptive to what has been discussed in part 1 which is at this link:


As mentioned in part 1, if after the first conversation in which you have expressed a mild version of your BDSM desires your partner does not show any interest, then go ahead and have a second conversation which is mostly a repeat of the first and ask how your partner feels on a scale of 0-10. Ideally, your partner will express some interest and then you can discuss how you may participate together, that is a topic for future part 3 of this article.


What do you do if your partner isn’t particularly interested?


There are two types of this situation: A) your partner is not interested but seems willing to participate in some way though only as a way to give you some of what you need and B) your partner is not interested in participating.


Situation A: If your partner is not interested but willing to participate in order to make you happy, then even if that is not your desire it is probably a good idea to discuss and plan for participation and see how it goes. For my own personal preference, I would not want a partner who did not enjoy participating – I envision a dominant chewing gum and holding a book in one hand while using the other hand to whack me with a ping pong paddle without even looking at me, not my idea of fun! – but by allowing my partner to participate initially we could see how it goes and maybe my partner would learn to actually enjoy it. This is not ideal but over time, possibly weeks, my partner might enjoy it and then we would both get what we want in the long-term which is mutual enjoyment through BDSM. On the other hand, if the participation just isn’t fun the first couple of times then you may decide not to continue it. It is up to you for how many times or how often you would like to continue with your partner’s participation. In any case, keep open the lines of communication with your partner.


For example, if ideally you would like to have a half hour scene of torture with your partner tying you down, whipping you, and enjoying it, then your partner could do a very mild version of this by tying you down and whipping you up to his or her comfort level. See how it goes. You would need to let your partner decide the comfort level and keep in mind this situation is for when the partner is fully willing to participate and offers to help. Don’t try to convince your partner to participate in this situation, if your partner is just not interested in participating then having to convince him or her would probably not lead to a good long-term ending and instead see situation B below.


If your partner is participating only to please you, then offer a thank you regardless of how well the scene went. Even if you did not particularly enjoy it, your partner has gone out of his or her way to try to help you achieve what you desire and that in itself deserves gratitude. At some point after each scene discuss with your partner your feelings – focusing on the positive without discussing the negative unless you have a serious issue to discuss such as significantly improper safety during a scene – and ask for a 0-10 idea on what your partner is feeling. As time goes on you will need to decide whether or not your partner’s feelings and enthusiasm is sufficient for what you are looking for. If the participation is sufficient for you at least initially, then that is great and be patient with your partner while continuing to set aside time to discuss both of your feelings when not in a scene.


Situation A is difficult because it may not be easy to determine whether or not your partner is participating just to please you. Your partner may seem to just be going through the motions and not doing a good job during a scene but then tell you that the interest level is a 6 out of 10 which is a decent early interest level. In this case your partner may just need some tips so discuss with your partner how you can help with advice or links to articles, if they would want that.


In my case I asked my previously vanilla wife if it would be helpful for me to write a script and she said yes that would be very helpful so that is what I did, writing out a list of specific activities in order and with approximate timeframes – 5 minutes with a bullwhip followed by 2 minutes with a crop, and so on – and that was a big help for her to understand the types of activities and durations I would enjoy going forward without my writing any more scripts.  The next time she tortured me for a long scene it was without a script and it was amazing. Your vanilla partner may not have any idea on how to top or dominate during a scene so any help you can provide ahead of time would likely be appreciated.


In discussions, rely on the 0-10 rating your partner gives you and reinforce with your partner that you are looking for an honest opinion. If the interest level of your partner never rises to a decent level then you need to decide whether or not to keep going as is with your partner participating only to please you. Maybe that would be sufficient for you, it is up to you to decide.


What if your partner gives it a try but it just isn’t working out and you decide to end your partner’s participation? I do not have a good answer for this. If this occurs then I recommend looking at the last two paragraphs of this article before the summary.


Situation B: If your partner is not interested and not offering to participate, then that is not the end of the story. If BDSM is important to you, then bring up the topic again a few weeks later with essentially a repeat of the first two conversations. The tone should not be anything like “C’mon, give it a try!” it should be something like “I just wanted to talk about this again because this is so important to me.” Give your partner time, possibly days, to digest this information which seems to be a repeat but is actually letting your partner know how important it is to you.


Bringing it up this third time weeks later really lets your partner know the importance. You are not just asking for what to have for dinner or a popular song you would like to share with your partner, BDSM is an important part of your life. I am not suggesting badgering your partner. It is not badgering to calmly and rationally in a non-distracted setting express your desires. You are not specifically asking for anything. You are simply stating your desires and then allowing your partner to offer an honest reaction.


This third conversation, weeks after the other two, may get a reaction in which your partner is willing to participate and in that case see Situation A above. If not, then don’t hesitate to have a follow-up fourth conversation about it a day or two later after your partner has had time to think about it, and ask your partner’s feelings 0-10 if your partner is not otherwise clear with his or her feelings.


If your partner puts you on the spot by asking if you would end the relationship if BDSM were not included, answer either no or that you don’t know for certain, whichever seems most comfortable to you. I recommend against answering yes unless you are truly ready for the relationship to potentially end right then and there, which is a huge step and not to be answered with just one word.


If your partner simply isn’t interested and there does not seem to be an avenue for further discussion, such as another follow-up discussion a week or two later, then I do not have any advice for that situation. I am not any sort of expert or professional about this. If that occurred to me then I would seek help from a relationship counselor because BDSM is important enough to me not to simply close the door. However, I would not do anything to remotely cheat on my wife including going to a professional or any other dominant without discussing it with my wife because that would have a big chance of doing great harm to the relationship and to my own well-being.


Above all, remain positive. It is not productive to drive a wedge between yourself and your partner by criticizing or complaining to him or her, as tempting as it might be. Even when a situation seems hopeless, there is usually a way forward even if that way does not seem apparent at the moment. Unless you are in the last few years of your life there is time for things to turn around and you never know what can change over time.


As a summary:


1. If your partner is not particularly receptive to your BDSM desires, then one of two situations likely applies:

 A. Your partner is willing to participate to some degree but without much enthusiasm – in this case participate and help provide as much advice as your partner would accept, see how it goes

 B. Your partner is not willing to participate – in this case wait a few weeks and bring up the issue again so that your partner understands how truly important BDSM is to you, allow your partner time to think about it

 2. Keep open the lines of communication and take the time to have discussions with your partner

 3. Remain positive, the most reliable way to shut doors is to be negative and by remaining positive you keep the possibility that there is a resolution to the situation