Faking it

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andrea@altsexcolumn.com

Dear Andrea:

I recently discovered that my husband of 15 years has secretly been participating in S-M activities. He has paid for the services of a dominatrix and has been meeting some dominant females on the Internet for whipping sessions. I am coping with the feelings of betrayal and have been getting counseling. I also have been reading up on the subject. The author Gloria Brame, who is into BDSM herself, gives insight into the varied range of S-M activities. I have been open to being a Mistress to my husband. Do you think there is hope for the relationship if one party is not really into it? I realize this BDSM stuff develops in the psyche early in life.

Love,

Whiplashed

Dear Whip:

Oh, it can be acquired. The real question here is, can it be faked?

On the face of it, the answer is a resounding yes, since although "real lifestyle" dominants boast their credentials and certainly garner a lot more respect within the community, any kitten with a whip can hang out a shingle and get customers. Not all customers care what their service provider is really feeling or what she does on her night off, as long as the job gets done. Of course, you are not a gun for hire, you are the wife. I'm going to guess that will feel a little different to him. Nobody wants a pity fuck (OK, that's not true, but in general nobody over about age 18 wants a pity fuck), and I'd imagine a pity caning is, if anything, worse. Topping is a lot of work! There's the research, the attitude, the physical exertion, the coming up with good routines, the skills-building, the outfits? Have you talked to him about all this? Is it even what he wants? If so, is it even what you want?

Wanting to save your marriage is admirable, but I'd be careful about going to heroic measures without first determining that it can be saved and that enthusiastic applications of corporal punishment are likely to work. You need to determine if you can forgive him, whether he wants to be forgiven, and whether or not he even responds to you in the dominant role (often it's easier to grovel at the feet of a stranger than at those of the person with whom one shares a bathroom, a dentist, and a checking account). More important to me than whether he thinks you're hot with a flogger in hand, though, is whether you even want to do this. Yes, a taste for S-M can be acquired, and failing that, can be faked. But I'm just not sure the latter is going to be good for either of you in the long run.

You are being an excellent sport about this, and I'm glad you're getting counseling. I'm a little concerned, though. We must not gloss over the fact that he not only suddenly (to you) unveiled a whole huge new and likely dismaying (at first) side to his character, about which you had no inkling, but he has also cheated on you. I am capable of compartmentalizing visits to a pro, but "some dominant females on the Internet"? Has he owned up to the cheating and apologized? Have you forgiven him? Will he be doing it again? These seem rather more important questions, or at least questions that must be asked and answered before you consider moving on to whether you will be his Mistress, his Domme, or his Goddess, and whether you will do pain, humiliation, sensory play, or domination. I ask again, do you even want to do this? And since you're being so game and open-minded about all of it, have you considered off-shoreing the tedious parts at all? Yours would not be the first marriage that made space for the husband (so very rarely the wife!) consulting with a specialist within certain pre-set parameters. It's an idea, that's all I'm saying.

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