Mismatched kinks and nine year itches

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

How do you navigate a relationship in which you have mismatched kinks? Someone on Patreon suggested this as a blog topic recently, and not only do my partner and I not match perfectly kink-wise, I also really love fulfilling requests. I toyed with the idea of churning out some advice about relationship negotiation or communicating your needs, because when people email me with questions like this that’s exactly what I do – send them links to past blog posts about introducing kink or instruct them to go buy this excellent book which is a great jumping-off point to explore your own desires. But as I was structuring that blog post in my head, a conversation happened which made me realise I could give a far more personal answer.

Me: We’re not having much sex lately, are we?

Him: No. Does that bother you?

Me: A bit, yeah. But we’re in the middle of some really Weird Times, so I guess it’s partly down to that.

Him: Definitely. Also, you know… we have been together nine years.

It felt like being kicked by a horse.

We’ve… what? We’ve been together nine years? God, we have, haven’t we? Nine years! It sounds like a long time when you say it out loud, and my first reaction was to lean into this as the obvious, sitcom-esque answer to his point:

I know we’ve been together nine years, but you’re not meant to say that out loud!

And you’re not, are you? You’re not really meant to say ‘of course I love you, but I can’t really fancy you any more because it’s been so long!’ You’re not meant to say that out loud. What’s more, I don’t think it’s really true for me.

I still fancy you

This might sound odd, if you find that familiarity breeds boredom or loss of lust, but I don’t think I fancy my partner any less than I did when we first met. I fancy him more than I fancy any other person on this planet. When I write blog posts fetishising the joy of watching him wank: I mean those. I really mean them. When I write about the way we fuck and watch porn together, I mean those too. When I talk about aching with lust for him during an evening with friends in the Before Times, I mean those too. When I tell you I fancy him, I mean it. I am not pretending.

I fancy him differently, sure, because our relationship has changed over time. I have entered a new epoch of fancying him, where the things I find sexy are new and exciting, because he has changed over time. When we first started going out he was all soft kisses and comfy PJs and teasing erections pressed into the crack of my arse. Nowadays he’s more about the casual bum smacks and sports shorts and grabbing his dick to show me he’s horny.

I’m not an unreasonable arsehole: I know that many people (most?) find it hard to maintain a rock-solid boner for the same person, day in and day out, for nearly a decade. I don’t expect that of him, and the fact that we still have great sex is something that brings me a lot of joy. But hearing him say ‘nine years‘ like that brought a lot of weird feelings to the surface. Fear, for instance: the casual, easy way he confirmed that I’m just not as sexy to him as I used to be. There’s a broken part of my brain that draws rings round ‘not sexy’ in bright highlighter, telling me that without ‘sexy’ I am nothing. What’s more, if everyone feels less horny after nine years, then perhaps there’s something wrong with me – desperation, weakness, codependency – because the intensity with which I fancy him has not waned over time, as it ‘should’ do.

That’s not to say my lust is eternal and unyielding. It would disappear if he did something awful, or gradually fade away if I stopped seeing or speaking to him. It ebbs and flows depending on my mental health and how nice he’s being and whether we’ve got any hot ideas. But time alone is not enough to dampen how I feel. My lust is not a rock that inevitably wears down to a pebble over decades, if anything it’s more like the beach. Time shapes and reshapes the sand into new patterns, depositing extra material sometimes or washing other parts away. And each time it’s reshaped I get to explore new parts of him, loving more – lusting more – as I enjoy the interplay of the guy I remember and the guy who exists right now. Time brings me a deeper understanding of what’s happening in his head, and therefore new hot things to obsess over. We may not match perfectly when it comes to kink, but over the years we’ve explored some incredible stuff together.

Mismatched kinks: is it too late?

Sometimes I lie on the floor of the living room while he’s playing video games. I prop my Kindle against a cushion so I can get stuck into a book, and he rests his feet on my bottom. He finds it relaxing. I find it hot.

I usually realise, maybe half an hour in, that my shoulders hurt from the tension of holding them. I’m excited and on edge. My cunt is so fucking wet. I’m waiting, you see, for him to do something. Order me to shift position to maximise his comfort, or yank down my jeans and knickers because it’s more fun to rest his feet on my bare arse than on top of my clothes. I’m waiting for him to order me to suck his dick while he plays Overwatch, or strip naked and fuck myself while he pretends to ignore me and play.

Occasionally, we’ll have conversations in which I’ll tell him gently: ‘you know, if you ever fancy it, you’re allowed to just pull down my knickers and fuck me whenever you like.’ Or ‘I’ve always wondered how it might be if we picked one or two household things and agreed you could dom me on them. Like, if I don’t change the bedsheets on Sunday maybe you beat me.’ Or ‘how would it be if we found a man who would visit our house just to punish me while you watch?’

And he says ‘I know’ or ‘that’s hot’ and he hugs me, and later he might fuck me good and hard – enough that it feels like a punishment. And I feel mean and ungrateful if I ever wish for more dominance, because the fun we’re having is plenty. And besides, we’ve plenty of time! There is absolutely no rush whatsoever.

“We have been together nine years.”

When he told me that, I bit back my kneejerk sitcom answer, and instead tried to formulate what I actually wanted to say:

You say that like we’re nearing the end, but we haven’t really started yet, have we? I’ve been waiting for you to get comfortable enough that you’re happy to be more dom. I’ve been holding out for the right moment to ask you to role-play like you’re really pissed off with me. To hold me down with one hand and use the other to whip off your belt, lashing me for imagined infractions while I squirm like an obstinate brat.

It’s ludicrous, I know, but it wasn’t till he mentioned nine years that I realised this was no longer the prologue to our relationship, we were smack in the middle of the plot.

When we first got together, he was horny and keen to try kinky stuff.

Me: Could you be a bit more aggressive?

Him: You mean you want me to fuck you like the women in the porn I like?

Me: [removing pants] YES.

Introducing him to some of my kinks was fun, and he introduced me to some shiny new filth in turn. It wasn’t quite the hyper-submissive role I longed for, but I figured more intense BDSM could wait: the fantasies I had about lying at his feet while he whipped me, or getting whacked with a belt to order ‘harder, faster’ while I sucked him off? There was plenty of time for those later. I didn’t want to pressure him to perform as someone he wasn’t.

Then we got closer, and did more. I mean, really. We did a lot more. We might have mismatched kinks, but we find plenty of overlaps in our favourite activities and we have some incredible sex. On good days we rip into each other’s bodies and fantasies with the eagerness of a kid tearing cereal packets to win a plastic toy.

But that conversation made me realise that I still see a lot of it as prologue. Getting spanked is the intro, but soon we’ll turn a page and get cracking on the proper story – one which ends with me getting beaten for being cheeky or told to stand facing the wall with my knickers round my ankles while he builds Lego and ignores me. In later chapters he’ll hear me berating myself, and order me to stand in front of him, palms outstretched, so he can give me six whacks with a leather strap and a five-minute lecture about being kind to myself. Given enough space and time to get comfortable with it, one day he’ll be comfortable demanding daily (or thrice-daily) blow jobs, like a horny emperor, or order me to strip in the middle of the kitchen so he can inspect my cunt with rough hands and then fuck me bent over the counter.

Craving more kink

So to the point: how do you navigate a relationship in which one of you is kinky and the other one is not (or less so)? There are a few boring-but-important rules, and one realisation that just struck me. Boring-but-important:

  • Communicate your desires, and remember that communication is a two-way street – you should be listening as much as you talk, and keeping an ear out for the fantasies and desires that overlap with your own and feed into them. The shoots of excitement that you can nurture together as you work out your rhythm as a couple.
  • Check in, constantly. For your own sake as well as theirs – not only do you want to make sure they’re having fun, you want to reassure yourself that this fun – this lust – is mutual.
  • Take things slowly, and don’t pressure someone into being someone they’re not, or doing things they don’t want to do. They might be intrigued by the idea of dominating you, but not ready for the responsibility of leading or improvising a scene. They may be up for giving you a flogging but only for a short while, before you both take a break and remind each other that this is play, not reality.

There are other useful tips in the book I mentioned above, which is a great place to start if you want to explore this further. It doesn’t assume you are one thing or another. It will give you solid foundations on which to build a picture of your own desires, and interesting questions to dissect with your lover over long evenings and nice bottles of wine. What it won’t do is persuade your partner to be kinkier than they are, or tell you to have obligation sex, or become a different person.

It’s helpful to remember this. It’s helpful for me to remind myself of this.

The realisation that I’ve been subconsciously waiting for my partner to slip deeper into kink is a really odd one to confront. Rationally I know a lot about sex and relationships, but emotionally I’m stuck with some truly unhelpful beliefs. After all, as the book says:

There are strong Western cultural ideas that romantic relationships should fulfil all of our needs and that we should be completely compatible with partners, so it can be frightening to open up any kind of conversation that might reveal discrepancies between us.

Enjoy Sex, How When and If You Want To (Meg-John Barker and Justin Hancock)

So what if my partner won’t be more dominant than he actually is? We can happily fuck right here in our mutual comfort zone. I’ve been holding kink in my heart as something special and unique – different to other personality traits or desires – when in fact our ‘mismatches’ span all manner of things. He’d love me to get better at video games so we could play his favourites together, or embrace the films he loves, or learn to code. I’d like him to get into reading so we could chat about our favourite books, or come to the pub more often so I can show him off to my friends. But we make different choices, because we’re different people, and having a good relationship isn’t about ticking things off a list until you’ve ‘matched’ a full set. Apart from anything else, if we matched on everything our lives would be creepy and probably incredibly dull.

Relationships are about exploring each other’s needs and passions and desires, and playing together in the areas where they overlap. What makes our relationship fun isn’t that we both have the same ideas for the plot of the story, but that we write a story that combines ideas from both of us, creating something cooler than we could ever have written alone.

No one can ever be everything

How do you navigate a relationship where one of you is kinkier than the other? My answer is that it takes time, and communication, and active listening, and consent. You have to listen to what the other person wants, and talk a lot about where your desires overlap. You have to leap on opportunities where they arise, and nurture the parts of your sexuality that match up. You have to keep an open mind about their kinks, so you can enjoy their pleasures even if you aren’t a perfectly compatible match. And you need to respect their boundaries when they say ‘no’, accepting that the inside of their head will never be quite the same as yours.

That’s the easy answer, though – that’s what I already do. If you’re a kinky person, it’s probably what you do too. The more difficult question is what happens when there’s still a gap? What if you do all this and find there’s still a part of you that’s waiting for a kinkier chapter? The answer here will depend on who you are. Some people will consider a more open relationship, where they can get certain needs met elsewhere. Others might choose wanking, if they’re happy fulfilling their kinkier desires alone. Some will decide that the gap is too wide, and they’ll never be able to bridge it. For me, the answer is the same one my partner would give if you asked how he feels about my lack of video game skill: it’s frustrating sometimes, but not a dealbreaker. Before we had that conversation, and before I wrote this post, I used to think that it was a dealbreaker. That we had to be working towards more intense kink because without that  level of dominance I’d be unhappy.

But we don’t do it now, and I’m happy. And we have been together nine years, after all – we are no longer writing the prologue.


  • Purple Rain says:

    Really lovely. This post made my heart happy!

  • Mrs Fever says:

    Seventeen years, here.

    What you said about fancying him, and the bit about the beach sand… Yes, it’s like that.


    My enjoyment of him has not changed, but the *ways* I enjoy him morph and flow and alter with time, just as our relationship does, just as we – as individuals, together – do.

  • Beth Jackson says:

    Girl on the net, you seem to have a wonderful relationship with your man. We have been married for 33 years I am still attracted to him he’s very attracted to me . We have just started exploring more of our sexuality and kinkiness in The Last 5 Years. You will have ups and downs obviously but if you really are in love and in lust with each other hopefully you’ll stay together till you today you die

  • OldManJack says:

    First of all, congratulations for the nine years! And a really great post.

    I have one more thing to add: being in a relationship for nine years means not only that your relationship is nine years old, but you’re also nine years older than when you started the relationship. My experience with getting older is that I just don’t have that much energy as I used to have 8 years ago (when I met my wife). It happens lot more often nowadays that at least one of us just falls into the bed dead tired and fully clothed in the evening – that won’t lead to steamy hot sex. I could blame the weird times (and its consequence that 3 children under 7 are constantly at home requiring entertainment) but honestly we were tired even in the winter before, also being ill lot more often than when our relationship started. We still fancy each other as much as when we used to on the first few dates, but nowadays getting some more sleep or just lying in the bed feels often better than having sex with the associated physical toils…

  • Red says:

    This is a really beautiful blog post and the sentiment of “I still fancy you after nine years” broke an icy chunk from around my heart. Just beautiful.

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