By Dan Savage
6:00 AM EST, November 6, 2013
I am a kinky, youthful 72-year-old guy. I grew up in the Pleistocene era, when there was virtually no way to meet a kinky woman. I've had two vanilla marriages, and three months ago I ended a four-year vanilla relationship with the best woman I've ever met. I just couldn't take not being a BDSM person anymore, and I broke up with this wonderful woman so I could do BDSM. I've had some fun, but no candidate for a possible LTR has come along. In the meantime, my most recent ex (I'll call her "Mel") and I have both been bereft over our split. It is like a death, and we grieve it every day. But I need the BDSM lifestyle, and I figured that sooner or later I would meet someone else and get over Mel.
Two days ago, Mel called me and said she wants me back. She says she's willing to do what I need if it will make it possible for us to be together. Since I am a switch, it would be perfectly acceptable to me to have her abuse and torture me. I am functioning as a Dom in the BDSM world at the moment, since there are so few female switches around and virtually all female subs turn green at the idea of being with a switch. Also, the competition for female dominants is fierce, and it's too much for me — especially at age 72. However, if I had to choose to be one or the other, I would choose to be a sub to a dominant woman. Can Mel be that woman? Is it possible for a vanilla person to adapt to BDSM? Also, she does have a few weirdo fantasies of her own, such as making it with a chimp. But she stresses these are not very intensely compelling, as mine are. If it is possible for her to make this change, are there any good books on this?
— Wants Helpful Insight, Please!
P.S. My son turned me on to your column recently!
"Good for you for being honest about the importance of kink in your life," says Joan Price, author of Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex. "At our age, we often realize that life is too short for bad sex. Sometimes it takes a series of unfulfilling relationships to make sexy, silver-haired folks like us say, 'If not now, when?'"
And if not Mel, who?
You're a new reader, WHIP, so you missed this insight the first ten thousand times it appeared in my column: You'll meet two kinds of people at leather/fetish/BDSM contests, play parties, and street festivals: people who were always kinky — men and women who've been jacking/jilling off about their kinks since they hit puberty — and formerly vanilla people who fell in love with someone who was kinky, gave their partners' kinks a try (sometimes to save the relationship), and grew to love their partners' kinks.
So Mel may be able to "adapt" to BDSM. Price agrees: "Yes, it's absolutely possible for your vanilla lady to shift into kinky sex, especially since she's in love with you. Whether she's doing it just to please you or she's open to kinks herself, give her a chance."
But you're going to need to take it slow, WHIP, and you'll need to use your words.
"Tell her what turns you on," says Price. "Whisper your fantasies into her ear, share erotica or porn featuring your favorite activities. Solicit her fantasies about dominating you, if she has them, or suggest some scenes to her and see what she responds to. Once she's ready and willing, start with small steps rather than full-blown scenes, so she can ease into this new world."
And if all goes well — if Mel isn't traumatized or disgusted by BDSM sex, if she enjoys dominating you or is GGG enough to go there for you on a regular basis — don't be a stupid, selfish kinkster, WHIP. By which I mean to say: Don't neglect Mel's desire for vanilla sex. If it helps to think of vanilla sex as a horrible ordeal that you have to submit to — vanilla is a service you provide to Mel, your Dom, because you're a good slave — then ask Mel to order you to have vanilla sex.
As for books, WHIP, both Price and I recommend The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge (Cleis Press, 2012), an informative collection of essays by a diverse group of writers that was edited by the indispensable Tristan Taormino. And if you're hoping Mel will join you at public fetish events — parties and contests and street festivals — get her a copy of Mollena Williams and Lee Harrington's Playing Well with Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring and Navigating the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities.
Joan Price blogs about sex and aging at NakedAtOurAge.com. Follow her on Twitter @JoanPrice.
I'm a bisexual or pansexual or omnisexual — or whatever the kids are calling us these days — woman in a monogamish marriage to a great, GGG straight man. Both of us are in our early 30s. Since getting married, we've traveled around the world and done whatever the hell we wanted. It was a crazy exciting life, but we decided it was time to stop living paycheck to paycheck, so we came back to the States.
We recently bought a house, and we were planning to have a kid next year. But now my husband says that he's not ready. He says there are things he wants to do that he will never ever get to do if we have kids now. I asked him for a time frame, and he said that he couldn't answer that. What he has said to me is: "We've always said we'd never be one of those couples that stop adventuring because we have a nest and kids and stuff." This might be a deal breaker for me. I want to be a mom. I'm ready. I don't want my husband to feel resentment that he never got to live the life he wanted — more travel? More crazy sexual adventures? — because I stuck him with a kid, but at the same time, he can't even give me a time frame. I love him dearly. He's my best friend, he's hot, he's a wonderful person and funny as hell. They don't make many men like him. What should I do?
— Childless H
First, get to a couples counselor.
Second, relay this message to your husband from me: Travel and adventure — sexual and otherwise — don't have to stop after you become parents. They do become more difficult, logistically speaking, and you won't be able to go adventuring on impulse anymore. But you can have adventures, dude, as a couple and as individuals. (It's good for married people, including parents, to spend time apart.) It's true, however, that most parents do stop adventuring — but that's usually because they were ready to stop adventuring or they weren't that adventurous in the first place. You can do it differently. Pro tip: It's easier to make time for adventuring if you have one kid. And traveling with a small child — even taking off to live in a foreign country for a year or two — is a lot easier than Parentlandia propaganda would have you believe. You're an adventurous person– — you and your wife are adventurous people — and adventurous people can choose to be adventurous parents.
DEAR READERS: You were probably expecting me to comment on that "making it with a chimp" detail in WHIP's letter. But I had nothing to say except "Really? Holy crap. Chimp fantasies? Damn."