We all have fetishes in some form.
Though you may not like to admit it, those chips you dip into your ice cream every Friday night could fall into that category.
They are the quirks and idiosyncrasies which form part of daily existence for many people. Most we turn a blind eye to and forget in a breath, but some can seem atypical, especially in the bedroom.
Kinks, as they are otherwise known, are a normal part of sexual desire. From BDSM to roleplay, exploring these fantasies can be healthy and allow you to define what you crave and don’t.
However, they are extremely personal and intimate. Subjective to the person, not every individual will fancy the same. Others simply don’t like kinks and would rather avoid them.
Each opinion is valid in the sexual realm but what happens when two opposing views come together?
If your partner has a fetish and you don’t, how do you navigate the bedroom?
Trust and and communication are central to a conflict-free solution.
‘It is ok for you to say this is something you are uncomfortable with and I would suggest you put some specific time aside to mention it if it is that significant to them and your sex life,’ relationship coach John Kenny tells Metro.co.uk
‘Tell them that although you appreciate this is something they are into and enjoy, it isn’t something you wish to participate in and hopefully they will respect you enough to accept that.’
Should one feel bad or strange about not liking kinks?
‘No, it isn’t bad,’ John says. ‘We all have our own reasons for enjoying the sexual activities we do.
‘Sometimes kinks come from a traumatic space, unhealthy attachment or a negative relationship with sex. Some are just ways of creating extra sexual excitement and a bigger hormonal or emotional rush.
‘Some people just enjoy conventional sex and it is enough to satisfy them.’
If you worry your aversion will damage the relationship, John says to question this. Relationships aren’t built on sex alone and mutual respect is more important.
‘A sexual kink isn’t something that should be able to cause a significant issue,’ he explains. ‘If it does – especially for it to be a relationship-ending thing – then the person who puts this importance on it has an unresolved issue. Be mindful of manipulating techniques here in order to get you to conform.’
In contrast, Dr Laura Vowels, principal researcher and therapist at sex therapy app Blueheart, believes that kinks are important – and if yours don’t match up with a partner, it’s okay to decide that this is a dealbreaker.
She says: ‘It is possible that two people’s sexual preferences are so different that they won’t be able to meet each other’s sexual needs and there are times when people prefer to split up and be with different people who are a closer match to their desire.’
However, she notes discussing sexual desire as a whole is extremely beneficial to a relationship.
‘How you negotiate your interests is what matters,’ Laura explains. ‘Most of the time couples can find a way to meet somewhere in the middle as they explore what it is about a specific preference that’s really important to each person.
‘Sexual desire and preferences aren’t static but change and evolve over time. Therefore, you may find that your preferences aligned more initially but become more different as the relationship progresses, or vice versa.’
Dr Vowels adds that exploring kinks can be a liberating experience and if you feel it could be a possibility, take baby steps.
‘You can explore each other’s sexual preferences and boundaries in a safe and loving relationship,’ she says. ‘As a society, we’re not terribly good at talking about sex and there is still a lot of stigmas associated with anything other than a missionary position.
‘However, there’s a world of sexuality out there to explore and open yourself up to. Sometimes people find therapy really helpful and sometimes a patient, loving and respectful partner can help you feel safe enough to open up.’
Yet, she advises to stay within your boundaries and what feels comfortable. Going too fast may hinder you.
‘Experimenting doesn’t mean you will be open to trying everything or that you should try all things,’ she explains. ‘But slowly testing your boundaries to discover new experiences that you may find pleasurable can be really good for you both.
‘Make sure there’s trust, consent and mutual respect and go from there.’
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