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While writing my relationship guide Bedded Bliss: A Couple’s Guide to Lust Ever After, I wanted chapters for couples regardless of what stage of a long-term relationship they were in, from the newlyweds to the parents to the middle-and-golden years. I also knew I wanted to include a chapter on BDSM and kink, even though it’s not a specific “stage” of marriage. With the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey, I became aware of how many of my friends were curious about BDSM and but were unsure where to look for more information. I’ve been married for what seems like forever—twenty three years this month!—and with all of the erotica I read and write, I still find my curiosity piqued to try new things within my marriage. I knew I couldn’t be alone in my interests and so I created a chapter for my relationship guide that wasn’t meant to be exhaustive, but to simply open the door of fantasy and communication between couples.
Here is an excerpt from the chapter “Different Flavors of Lust”:
Poor vanilla sex, it gets such a bad rap. There’s nothing wrong with traditional sex positions in familiar surroundings with no electronics, no ropes and no additional partners. There is nothing wrong with liking that kind of sex or being happy with it for the entire duration of your marriage. People use the word “vanilla” interchangeably with “predictable,” “routine” and “boring.” But “vanilla” sex is the most popular kind of sex—just like vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor. And vanilla sex—like vanilla ice cream—is popular for a reason: it’s delicious! It’s what most of us have most of the time. And most of the time, we are happy with our sweet, sexy vanilla sex.
But what if you’re craving something…different?
You know what I’m going to say here. The kinkiest thing any couple can do together is communicate their needs to each other. You don’t expect your partner to know what you want for dinner every night—why would you expect him to know you want to try bondage tonight? In truth, I think most people realize they need to tell their significant others if they want to experiment outside their sexual comfort zone and that’s exactly why they don’t—it’s outside their comfort zone. There is something scary about voicing your secret desire for a spanking, even when it’s you’re beloved partner you’re telling. But as I mentioned in Chapter 2, if you’ve ever taken the plunge (with or without a little liquid courage) and shared a particularly non-comfort zone kind of fantasy, you know it’s not only scary, it’s kind of… well, it’s hot. Sometimes just talking about something naughty that you’ve been fantasizing about is enough to get the blood pumping and the juices flowing. Sharing a sexual fantasy is the most cerebral form of foreplay and can be done whether you’re with your partner or on another continent—as anyone who’s ever explore the joys of phone sex, Skype sex or Google+ chat sex can tell you! (And that’s a fantasy to consider exploring, too.)
One person’s idea of kinky is another person’s idea of an average Tuesday night (or yet another person’s idea of too freaky to be considered). Don’t assume you know your partner’s sexual limits unless you have discussed it—and discussed it recently. People’s feelings and attitudes toward sex can change dramatically over the course of a relationship and it’s important to discuss what you like, what you want and what your limits are throughout your marriage. What may have made you feel uncomfortable or awkward or seemed unappealing when you were twenty-five might change five, ten or fifteen years later. I was uncomfortable about pornography in my early twenties; I’d been taught it was degrading to women and it seemed to reinforce negative body image issues I’d had since adolescence. About a decade later, after gaining the kind of confidence that comes with age and exploring the variety of porn available on the internet, I not only made my peace with porn, I discovered that it could be even hotter when shared with my husband. We all change and grow in a variety of ways, including sexually, and that’s one reason open communication is so crucial throughout a marriage. To put it bluntly: you’ll never know what’s possible until you ask.
Whether it’s watching porn together, using ropes and blindfolds during sex, exploring male or female domination, making your own sex video, having the occasional threesome or even opening up your marriage to include other partners for one or both of you, the only way you’re going to know what’s okay with your spouse is to talk about it. And once you’ve agreed that a particular fantasy can and should become a reality, it’s time to take it from discussion to action. Talking about it may be hot—but if you’re both ready to try something new, you should take the plunge together.
While I do dedicate a chapter to exploring kink in a relationship, there are stories throughout Bedded Bliss that include BDSM or kink in a committed relationship setting. Restraints, male penetration, golden showers, spankings and power exchange are just some of the kinks to be found in this cross-genre book of advice, memoir and erotica. And I’m happy to provide a copy of Bedded Bliss to one lucky commenter!
Described by The Romance Reader as “a budding force to be reckoned with” and as one of the “legendary erotica heavy-hitters” by Violet Blue, Kristina Wright (kristinawright.com) is the editor of a dozen published and forthcoming Cleis Press anthologies, including the best-selling Fairy Tale Lust: Erotic Fantasies for Women. Other titles include: Dream Lover: Paranormal Tales of Erotic Romance; Steamlust: Steampunk Erotic Romance; Lustfully Ever After: Fairy Tale Erotic Romance; Duty and Desire: Military Erotic Romance; and the Best Erotic Romance series. She is also the author of the erotic romance Seduce Me Tonight for HarperColiins Mischief and her fiction has been published in over one hundred anthologies. Bedded Bliss: A Couple’s Guide to Lust Ever After is an October 2013 release from Cleis Press. In addition to being a cross-genre collection of advice, memoir, suggestions and erotica, it is a love letter to her husband of twenty-three years.