Originally published October 20, 2005:
Any words of wisdom on spouses who claim to be GGG, but make it clear that they aren't "into it" even as they fulfill their lovers' fantasies?
My wife always prefaces fetish sex play with a statement that makes it clear that she is doing so only grudgingly: "I really don't feel very creative right now, but here goes..." "This isn't what I really like, but okay..." The result? Either aborted sex play or sex play that highlights the fact that only one of us is taking any pleasure in it. (As every fetishist knows, the other party taking open or tacit pleasure in indulging the fetish is an important element in fulfilling almost every conceivable fantasy). Is it passive-aggressive revenge? Hostility toward me generally? A self-conscious person needing to relieve some anxiety, clumsily but not hostilely expressed?
Whole-Hearted, Interested Participation Means Everything
My response after the jump...
I strive to be fair and balanced, WHIPME, but lately some Savage Love readers have accused me—me!—of gender discrimination. It's no coincidence that I tend to come down on the pro-fetish and fantasy-realization side in most disputes, my critics contend, because men are likelier to be fetishists. I'm just another voice out there telling women there's something wrong with them if they don't cater to a man's every whim.
This criticism is wholly without merit. In my defense I would point to the countless times I've advised straight men—ordered them!—to: eat pussy joyfully and frequently; happily incorporate their women's vibrators into the action; wear strap-ons if their dicks are small and their women occasionally long for that "filled up" feeling. Shit, I've all but offered to come over and hold down straight boys who were reluctant to submit to the aspiring peggers in their lives. Gender bias? As noted feminist Mary Poppins once said: Pish-fucking-posh, beyotch.
But to prove that my pro-fantasy-realization stance has nothing to do with my dick, I've asked Midori—famous sex educator, author, feminist, and full-fledged, lifelong female—to grab the Savage Love reins for a week.
"Does she use guilt-tripping and passive-aggressive statements at other times?" Midori asked after she read your letter, WHIPME. "The same statement can come from a person who feels they lack technical confidence or a person who harbors resentment. If it's passive-aggressive behavior, you have more issues around basic communication than you do around your fetishes. Perhaps a couples counselor?"
If she's not passive-aggressive—and you'll have to ask the wife to determine that—what does Midori recommend?
"The next time she says she's not feeling creative, smile and tell her how much you enjoy what she has done and you enjoy her gift to you. The next time she says 'this isn't really what I like, but okay...' ask her what she'd like and figure out how to combine both your needs. Maybe she's feeling that her needs are not met and hasn't been able to express that. I have seen many eager fetishists focus so much on their own fantasy fulfillment that they leave their partner feeling unheard. After a while, feeling unheard can lead to seething resentment."