If you’re not British, you might not be familiar with Marmite. It is either:
- a delicious brown substance created during the brewing process, which you spread on toast with butter before having a mouthgasm OR
- diarrhoea brewed in the anus of Beelzebub.
For me it’s the former, for others it’s the latter. I pick Marmite because not only is it a great example of something that has divided a nation (their literal slogan is ‘you either love it or you hate it’) but also because there is no moral value in either liking or disliking Marmite: you’re not a better person if you choose to try it. However, you are a bit of a dick if you try to sneak it into someone’s breakfast without them noticing.
Pretty much all sex acts are like Marmite. Oral sex? Some love it, some don’t. Probably a larger group of the former than the latter, but whatever. Likewise hand jobs, using sex toys, doing anal, bondage: any act that two or more people can take part in.
Here’s where sex acts diverge from Marmite: sometimes you really want your partner to try something. No one really cares if I like Marmite or not. It won’t break my heart if Jon Hamm announces, on our wedding day, that he won’t be eating any of the brown stuff. Sex, on the other hand, is something you can enjoy with your partner, and so if you have a particular kink and your partner’s not keen, that can be pretty gutting. If Jon Hamm tell me that he really hates spanking, I’ll be very upset (as well as surprised, tbh, given how much he loves spanking in all those dreams of mine he’s shown up in).
Anyway, given the Marmite nature of various sex acts, I can see why people often ask me the following question:
How do I get my partner to like bondage/anal/fisting/etc?
It’s an understandable question, if you’re into something niche and you want to enjoy it with your partner. Perhaps you need someone else’s participation in order to fulfil a particular fantasy (spitroasts don’t work alone, and bondage without a spotter can be a little dangerous), or maybe you just want to share the joy that you feel when you indulge in it. That’s cool.
BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT.
Usually when people ask this question, it comes in this form:
“I’ve asked my partner if they’ll do X, and they say they don’t want to. How can I get them to do it?“
And that makes me really sad. Like I say, I get why you want to share these things, and because of that I’ve written a few tips below that should help answer the question for those who ask it. But you shouldn’t even start trying to share your kinks with your partner until you understand – fully and completely, in a totally zen and calm way – why you shouldn’t be trying to ‘get’ someone to do something they don’t like. Until you fully comprehend the difference between the question above and this one:
How do I tempt my partner to try bondage/anal/fisting/etc?
Now we’re cooking with gas. While the question above makes me uncomfortable, the following one makes me happy:
“I’m really into buttsex/sploshing/threesomes/etc. How do I explain it to my partner in a way that might tempt them to join me in my fun?”
The difference is that the first question is phrased quite selfishly – you want X and you need to get your partner to do something. The second one is phrased in a way that brings in your partners needs and desires, and places them on equal footing to your own.
So how do you tempt them? I’m not an expert in either psychology, sex, or what your partner thinks about stuff. But I want to give you a better answer to the question than just ‘figure it out’, so here’s what I do in that situation:
Ideally not in the middle of sex, where you go ‘hey I want to try fisting, let’s have a go ready one two three.’ I usually try to raise this stuff before sex, when we’re both pretty chilled, or after a good shag, where I can go ‘wow that was awesome, you know what else I’d love to do?’
If I have some hot porn of the thing in question, or a sexy story about it, I’ll ask him if he’s up for reading/watching something that gets me off. Alternatively, as in the picture above, you can demonstrate with whatever you have to hand. if you have a tiny teddy-bear strap-on to hand please let me know where you bought it because now I really want one.
Personally, I think reciprocal fantasy-sharing is one of the funnest things you can do as a couple, and holy shit I have learned some fucking weird and cool things from boys I have had this chat with. If I had never told any of them that I’d quite like to be fucked while they ate a bacon sandwich, then I would never have learned, for instance, that they’d be quite keen to lick jizz out of my arse. Or whatever it may be.
That’s basically it. I know, it sounds really boring. Most genuine sex advice does. The reason clickbaity bullshit gets most of the clicks is because it promises a magic bullet – this ‘one weird trick’ that will make your other half love anal, or wear latex, or whatever it is you want. In real life, though, the answer is intensely simple and boring: you talk, you ask, you listen. If they seem curious, you give them more detail. If they’re interested in dipping their toe in the water, you give them an intro – making sure not to crank the damn thing up to 11 shortly afterwards because you got overexcited and didn’t check in. If they say ‘I’d never thought about it’ then you back off and give them time to think about it, perhaps offering to provide some examples or stimulation if they’d like to see/hear more.
But ultimately there is no way to ‘get’ your partner to enjoy anything sexual. Sex advice columnist Dan Savage coined the term ‘GGG’, which stands for ‘Good, giving and game.’ The ‘game’ part means that an ideal partner should be willing to at least try and entertain your fantasies and kinks, or let you seek fulfilment for those fantasies somewhere else. I’m down with the latter although not necessarily the former, because I think it’s often misinterpreted by horny people to mean ‘Dan Savage has given me carte blanche to nag you into trying for a threesome.’ He hasn’t, because while the ‘game’ part on their side is an encouragement to people to consider things they may otherwise not have thought of, it doesn’t lock anyone in to a contract to do a particular thing.
I’d always try to be ‘game’ where someone has a unique fetish, but I suspect that’s partly because I am turned on by unique fetishes, and I’d be drooling at the thought of getting to test one out. There are some suggestions people have made to me to which my ‘game’ response has been to weave their fantasy into a dirty story while I jerk them off: I don’t want to actually do the thing in question (usually for practical reasons), but I’m game for talking about the idea and bringing it in somewhere.
To come back to Marmite: you might really want to spend an evening rolling around in it with your other half. They might decide that they don’t want that, but they’re happy to watch you rolling, or happy to smear a little on their tits so you can lick it off. They might not want to touch the stuff and compromise by smearing chocolate spread and pretending.
Ultimately, though, while your partner may be ‘game’ in some areas, there will be others that are fully no-go zones. No, I don’t want to eat/fuck a jar of Marmite. No, I’m not comfortable with this. No, your kink is not my kink.
So how do you ‘get’ your partner to do something you like? You don’t. You communicate with them, and you can do your best to ‘tempt’ them. But something can only be really tempting if you remove all semblance of obligation from it- if you make it clear that your fetish is fun, hot, exciting, but never ever compulsory.