The internet and technology have totally changed sex and relationships, we know you — you adults, anyway, this column is not for children! — have questions about the world of sex. In order to answer them, we've asked our friend Stoya — a professional sex-haver — to field any inquiries. You can write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may publish your letter.
Are you at least 18 years old?
I am from India. I am married. Recently I discovered chastity cages and role-play games where a woman is the dominating mistress and a man is her slave.
I desperately want to try this and want my wife to control me, order me around, treat me like her slave, and forcefully make me wear the chastity cage.
I am hesitating to introduce all this to her as I fear the following could happen:
1) She gets scared by the idea of dominating me, putting me in chastity cage, or punishing me.
2) She likes the idea very much — and then always wants to control me.
What is your advice? Should I introduce femdom and chastity to her?
Thanks in advance -R
Talking about sexual desire is hard, and sharing a new desire with someone you’re already in a relationship with can be scary. The stakes are higher because there’s a very real risk of damaging your relationship or losing it entirely.
But there are also some really good potential reactions. Your wife might be turned on by your desires. Or she might feel neutrally about them herself — but find something erotic or fulfilling in doing something that brings you sexual pleasure. You may also discover that your wife might also have desires she’s afraid to discuss with you, because she has the same concerns you have. And her desires might turn you on, or be things you enjoy participating in for the sake of her pleasure.
You have to decide if the risk is worth itYou have to decide whether the risk is worth it, but I can give you some advice on how to proceed gently and with caution.
Avoid surprising your wife or overwhelming her. You want to figure out where she’s coming from, and about how much new sex stuff she can process at one time. You’ve already got some information about your wife’s sexual experience, knowledge, and tastes. Even if all you have to work with is your sexual interactions with her, that’s still useful.
What positions do you usually have sex in? If you’re always in missionary with the lights off and don’t do much other than genital penetration, you probably want to start by talking about whether she might want to try a different position, one where she has more control. Don’t jump right to, say, asking her if she’s ever thought about giving a spanking to a man with a feather duster strapped to his buttcrack.
How vocal is your wife during sex? If she talks, something she’s said in the past might be a good starting place. Have you ever seen her read an erotic novel or watch a show with any overt sexual moments in it? If so, asking about her favorite part is another good way to start talking about sexuality as a general subject.
In fact, just asking her if she’s ever considered reading or watching something erotic can open up discussion of sex. And if she expresses interest but hasn’t explored sexual media, you have an opportunity to share that exploration by continuing to discuss it or doing some exploring together.
A less erotically-charged way to bring up sexuality is through family planningA less erotically-charged way to bring up sexuality is through family planning. If the two of you don’t want to have children or don’t intend to have them yet, starting or revisiting a discussion about birth control can help you gauge how squeamish your wife is about the subject.
If you are planning to have children or have them already, bringing up a news article about sexual education in schools can ease you into sharing how your own sexual educations happened with each other. Or you could bring up Indian sex columnist Mahinder Watsa — and I’d recommend you check out his section of the Mumbai Mirror for advice. I live in the US, after all. Watsa is much more knowledgeable about the cultural norms in India than I am, and that might help you with this conversation, too.
The next step is to practice talking about sex with each other. Set yourself up for success: avoid hurting your wife’s feelings. Also, pick a time where you’re relaxed and not likely to be interrupted. That way it's easier for you to hear what she is saying, and easier for her to hear what you are saying — without jumping to conclusions. It’s important to have a relaxing environment because even for people who talk about sex regularly, it is incredibly easy to feel inadequate. That sometimes turns into defensiveness. Or, sometimes, you may think you hear an ultimatum where there isn’t one.
Spend time on what you both already enjoy about your sex lives first. Build the skill of talking about sex over the course of a few conversations before you bring up things you’d like to explore or add. Use this time to get a solid picture of where your comfort zone and hers overlap —both sexually and conversationally. That will also help to work out any discomfort or embarrassment around the general subject of sex before you throw higher-risk subjects in there.
You don't have to dive straight into locking metal chastity devices, and you probably shouldn'tWhen you do start talking about new things, reiterate the "Here’s what I love about what we already do" part before you head into "and here’s something I’d like to talk with you about exploring or trying." The more you err on the side of caution here, the lower your risk is. You don’t have to dive straight in to locking metal chastity devices and — unless she tells you she has a kink.com membership or pulls some piece of expert level sex equipment out herself — you probably shouldn’t.
Solid communication skills are important for your second concern, too. Before you start acting any fantasy scenarios out, you should sit down and talk about what both of you are comfortable with. Be very clear about exactly what you’re agreeing to.
The submissive partner always has the right to end whatever is happening, without having to explain, justify, beg, or apologize afterward. I believe it is absolutely imperative for every partner to have a safe word — a word that all parties involved know means full, immediate stop. Safe words are a standard best practice in BDSM and Kink communities, and I find them to be useful in all kinds of sexual interactions.
Presumably you and your wife love each other. If you proceed with care, pay attention to each other, and keep that love in the front of your mind, you’re working with a great set of tools.
In case you’d like some reference materials: Cleis Press publishes a number of Ultimate Guides to things like kink and sexual fantasy, and Nina Hartley has a highly respected line of educational videos called Nina Hartley’s Guide to… and a book called Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex.
(This email was lightly edited for clarity.)