Woman shocked by cou­ple’s erotic tastes

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­vice.com DEAR EL­LIE

Q . My hus­band and I were out with friends who brought along a cou­ple new to us (all in our early 40s).

The wife was very at­trac­tive, smart, and sexy. In mid­con­ver­sa­tion, her hus­band sud­denly teased her, say­ing she also had “other fas­ci­nat­ing in­ter­ests.”

She im­me­di­ately shot back, “I should pun­ish you for that … but no, men like to be pun­ished too much.” They both laughed and changed the sub­ject.

I’m very cu­ri­ous about what they meant. My hus­band said he thinks they might be into sex prac­tices like bondage, which shocked me.

I can’t imag­ine such an in­de­pen­dent-minded woman want­ing to be tied up. I couldn’t even read “Fifty Shades of Grey!” Is that kind of sex more com­mon than I re­al­ize?

A. I’ll start with a com­mon def­i­ni­tion from Wikipedia so we’re on the same page: BDSM is a va­ri­ety of of­ten erotic prac­tices or role-play­ing in­volv­ing bondage and dis­ci­pline; dom­i­nant and sub­mis­sive; sadism and masochism; fe­male dom­i­nance; and more.

The Ur­ban Dic­tio­nary de­scribes BDSM thusly: A phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal, and usu­ally sex­ual power-role­play with con­sen­sual par­tic­i­pants.

Vari­a­tions on this theme in­clude spank­ing, whip­ping, be­ing tied to bed­posts, etc. One web­site that dis­cusses this, adds a warn­ing: “While a healthy BDSM re­la­tion­ship is con­sen­sual and not abu­sive, the prac­tices are of­ten mis­un­der­stood and if not care­ful, may re­sult in abuse in­stead.”

Past BDSM dis­cus­sions in this col­umn have stressed there’s usu­ally a “safe” word known to the part­ners. If one of them uses that word — which can be as sim­ple and di­rect as “no” — the par­tic­u­lar prac­tice must stop.

A Psy­chol­ogy To­day ar­ti­cle pub­lished in 1999, and re­viewed again in 2016, claimed that “one in 10 of us” have ex­per­i­mented with sado-masochism.

It’s most pop­u­lar among ed­u­cated, mid­dle- and up­per-mid­dle-class men and women, ac­cord­ing to psy­chol­o­gists and ethno­g­ra­phers who’ve stud­ied the phe­nom­e­non, the ar­ti­cle stated. That one-in-10 es­ti­mate may’ve changed by now.

Whether this is enough in­for­ma­tion to sat­isfy your cu­rios­ity likely de­pends on whether you’re also cu­ri­ous about what erotic plea­sures or dis­com­forts these ac­tiv­i­ties pro­vide the par­tic­i­pants. How­ever, since you’ve raised the topic in an ad­vice col­umn, here’s my fairly con­sis­tent take on sex­ual prac­tices:

What­ever you and a part­ner do by mu­tual con­sent that does not in­volve or ex­ploit chil­dren or un­will­ing par­tic­i­pants and is not dan­ger­ous to your health and emo­tional well-be­ing is your busi­ness.

Feed­back re­gard­ing the guy sug­gest­ing breast aug­men­ta­tion surgery to his girl­friend (May 6):

Reader: “Yes, he was in­con­sid­er­ate and dis­re­spect­ful of his part­ner. How­ever, do I feel sorry for her? No, be­cause women as eas­ily make fun of men’s penises.

“I’ve seen wives do it to their hus­bands in front of peo­ple. Girls dis­cuss it in front of guys and aren’t kind about it.

“When it hap­pens to a guy, peo­ple look at their re­ac­tion as a male-ego thing. But when it hap­pens to a lady, it’s re­buked as a self-es­teem or body-image is­sue.

“Same thing when you hear about women and weight is­sues and how they’re judged by men and so­ci­ety.

“Do women ever apol­o­gize for be­ing at­tracted to tall men or apol­o­gize for mak­ing fun of short men? I’m short and have been teased by women a lot for it with­out any apol­ogy.”

El­lie: We’re agreed against dis­re­spect, what­ever the body part.

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