Lifestyle

My partner has a dark fetish, should I be worried?


A certain celebrity made headlines over the weekend for an alleged unique fetish. Should you ever be worried about what your partner is into? We asked sex and relationships expert, Dr. Lurve. 

We read and hear about celebrity relationships all the time, but it’s not every day a certain, rather macabre, desire makes headlines. We’re not going to go into the details, just Google Armie Hammer if you don’t know what we’re talking about (and BTW he has STRONGLY refuted the rumours). But we did have some questions as to whether these sorts of kinks should ever be cause for concern. Are they just a fantasy or is there a fine line between fantasy and reality?

Leading sex and relationship expert Dr Lurve gave us some insight, explaining that power dynamics come into play in all relationships to a degree and that this could just be one example.

“There can be many power dynamics in a sexual relationship, so you do not need to worry if your partner is into being dominant,” she says, adding that their preferences in the bedroom aren’t usually a reflection of who they are IRL.

“Anyone who is dominant in the bedroom does not necessarily have to be dominant in regular life, so what happens in the bedroom doesn’t always reveal much about a person’s personality.”

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It’s when it begins to make you feel uncomfortable or threatened that you need to be very wary, giving some examples of red flags to keep an eye out for.

“In all circumstances, if you feel uneasy or scared, that is a sign you should either discuss some boundaries with your partner or reconsider your participation,” she says.

“While practices of rough sex and BDSM can be considered on the verge of violent play, if at any moment you feel threatened or as though things have gone too far, it is important to stop.”

Some red flags include:

∙If your instincts are making you feel uneasy.

∙If your partner threatens violence if you do not submit.

∙If you have ever felt as though the experience was more like rape or sexual assault.

∙If your partner makes you feel ugly or unwanted or treats you with disrespect.

∙If your basic needs are not being met, e.g., if they withhold things like medical treatment, water, food or clothing.

Communication

If you’re curious about BDSM, rough sex, or any other fetish that incorporates power play, communication is absolutely crucial, whether it’s with your partner in a committed relationship or something more casual. It also needs to be done preemptively, not in reaction to something.

“Don’t wait until things feel uncomfortable,” says Dr. Lurve.

“It’s also important to be aware that if you do lay out boundaries prior but then once you get into activity feel as though you may have misjudged things, then you are allowed to change your mind.”

It might not sound all that sexy to talk about boundaries, but in fact Dr. Lurve says it can be the exact opposite.

“Broaching the topic of boundaries with your partner doesn’t have to be awkward or uncomfortable, in fact, it can be sexy,” she says.

“You can go into explicit details around what you like and consider using the exercise as a way of foreplay.”

Consent is another non-negotiable, says Dr. Lurve, where you and your partner clearly affirm your desire to engage.

“With rough sex and BDSM, you are essentially playing with thresholds of pain and power dynamics, so it is imperative that this is approached with the utmost responsibility and care,” she says.

What if they’re into it and I’m not?

“It can be normal for couples interests to not completely match up, however it can get complicated when the different interests are of a bedroom nature,” says Dr. Lurve.

“The best advice I can give is to focus on the communication side of things. By being open and having a willingness to explore and communicate, you can both figure out a way to satisfy desires.”

Dr Lurve is a leading love and relationship expert who specialises in helping people navigate the science and metaphysics of relationships. Follow her on Instagram @dr.lurve.