Finding a Kinky Partner - Part I

by Tamar Kay
Copyright © Tamar Kay.

This article begins a discussion of how you might go about finding a kinky partner, now that you've decided you want one. Since this discussion will take longer than a single article will allow, this article starts a short series.

Please understand that this article, like all my articles, is a reflection of my experience and discussions with other people, and may or may not be useful to you. I suggest that you read this article--and all material about relationships--with a critical eye. Only you can decide what works for you.

Finding a kinky partner can be quite a challenge, since you may have already eliminated most people you're likely to run across as potentials. But it can be done.

The first thing to do is to become as clear as you can about who you are, and what you want. This is especially important when you're looking to match interests with a potential partner.

There are a number of ways that people describe their kinky interests. I'm going to offer a few of the standard ones and then one of my own. Like any set of attributes, these are simplifications and generalizations that at best only sketch your areas of interest, but this can be a good place to begin.

If you're just starting in the scene, you may not be able to come to clear conclusions all at once-- that's all right. Give yourself time to learn who you are in this arena.

Charting your interests

For the following three categories, I suggest you try rating yourself from 0-10, where 0 means "not at all interested," 10 means "yes, definitely, and a lot," and 5 means that you can take it or leave it, or that you're not sure. Feel free to give yourself a range of numbers.

Dominance and Submission, or "D/S": Power exchange, that is, having power over someone, or giving someone else power over you, usually in an erotic context.

Sadomasochism or "SM": Giving or receiving pain for some form of pleasure.

Sex: How often do you want it? Does your kinky activity need to include sex? Are you straight, gay, bi, or unsure? You may find your definitions vary depending on the activity and your partner. (Some people, for example, describe themselves as "SM-bi" even if they normally consider themselves straight or gay.)

Relationships: Do you want an exclusive relationship, or an open one? One partner or many? (The two previous questions are not the same. There are those who have fidelities relationships with more than one partner.)

Tamar's "Need and Desire" Scale

Your level of kinky "need and desire" can affect what you do and look for in a partner. I developed this scale to help people rate their interest level with regard to D/S and SM. I find it very useful when discussing partner matching issues and possibilities.

I divide intensity of "need and desire" into four categories. This is how I apply those categories to an interest in D/S and SM: Category 0: No interest or enjoyment of D/S or SM. Also described as "vanilla."

Category 1: Enjoys D/S and/or SM activities as an addition to other sexual activities, as part of a repertoire. Could make do without such activities without feeling loss.

Category 2: Enjoys D/S and/or SM activities as a major component of sex and would be unhappy to be without these activities.

Category 3: Requires D/S and/or SM activities in order to be sexually fulfilled, such activities and/or perspectives being defining factors in their lives. These are often (but not always) those who will say they are at the "lifestyle" end of the spectrum.

You might ask yourself which category you best fit into. If you meet someone you're interested in, you may also want to ask them. Mismatched interest levels can lead to problems. For example, a category three is unlikely to feel fulfilled in a monogamous relationship with a category one.

Think about what's important to you, what you need and want, and what you can compromise on. The better you know yourself, the better luck you'll have finding someone to share your interests. Next month: now that I've got you thinking about you, let's talk about the person you're looking for.

Copyright © Tamar Kay.

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