The Kinky Sex Life: An Exclusive Interview

What is BDSM really like in a healthy, 20-something, relationship? Reading books on it can only get us so far, and it can be awkward to ask your friends. And we all know that the Fifty Shades Of Grey series is NOT a valid depiction, as it is highly inaccurate, poorly written, and a horrible model for a healthy BDSM relationship. Luckily for Literally, Darling’s curious readers, I had the awesome opportunity to interview my kinkster friends, Swarley (@Prince_Swarles) and TKL (@TheKinkyLib), to find out what kink is like in their relationship, and more.
For reference: Swarley is the dominant and TKL is the submissive.


 

  • How do you define “kink”?

Swarley: For me, it’s a matter of sexual preference. Everyone has them, some are more widespread than others.

TKL: For me, kink is an umbrella term that describes sexual proclivities that fall outside the standard vanilla norms we see in pop culture and mainstream porn. This includes (but of course is not limited to) things like bondage, Dominant/submissive or Master/slave dynamics, and fetishes.

  • Whose idea was the first “out of the box” sex idea? Or did you go into the relationship knowing you were both adventurous?

Swarley: TKL and I met knowing quite well about each other’s preferences. Since we are long distance, there was a long period of explicit discussions around our desires before we got seriously involved.

TKL: We were both well aware of our mutual kinks before our romantic relationship really began, but I suppose I was the first to make it known—he followed me on Twitter first.

  • Did you always know you were into “alternative” sex? Did you have different views of kink before you began participating with a partner who was into it?

Swarley: Before meeting TKL, I had some limited practice with kink. Much like  anyone’s experience with sexuality, what you think something is turns out to be different when you’re living it.

TKL: It wasn’t until late college that I really began realizing that I might be into BDSM, but my boyfriend at the time was pretty vanilla, so we only dipped a toe into it. Once I was with someone who embraced it and was willing to explore with me, my limited views of BDSM were shattered and I really began to see what it could do for me.

  • How do you set boundaries?

Swarley: We’ve been talking about this quite a bit recently. Discussion, before engaging in play, around limits is essential. Before we even laid eyes on each other we knew certain things that were off limits. Now? Prior to introducing any new toy, we talk about how we could use it. Most importantly, we set up example ways to signal an emergency if we need to suddenly stop.

TKL: Communication is vital in any healthy sexual relationship, but in a situation like ours, it’s of the utmost importance. We were both straightforward and candid with each other from the beginning about limits, safe words, etc. What we do requires an extremely high level of trust, and that trust necessitates communicating and respecting boundaries.

  • Are you expanding upon your respective kinks or do you feel comfortable where you are?

Swarley: We’re comfortable with our respective roles, but we are expanding upon things like what we want to include. Our comfort levels grow with our familiarity.

TKL: There are several broad categories of kink that we’re content to stay in, but within those, there is ample room for experimentation and expansion.

  • Does the dominant/submissive dynamic ever seep into other parts of your relationship, or is it strictly for the bedroom?

Swarley: We describe ourselves as bedroom-only, but it’s a reflection of our personality types. We are always equal partners, and how we define that is fluid.

TKL: While there are couples who live the D/s lifestyle 24/7, we are bedroom-only. However, given our personality types—I am far more introverted—we sometimes mirror these roles, though to a significantly lesser extent.

  • Is vanilla sex still an option for you two?

Swarley: It hasn’t happened yet, but we’ve talked about the need for sobriety with kink. So a little tipsy time between the sheets can be its own new experience.

TKL: For safety reasons, BDSM and alcohol should never mix, so yes, vanilla-for-us sex is an option if we’ve had a few drinks with dinner.

  • How much “pain” do you allow each other, and how to you enforce that limit?

Swarley: This is a very sensitive topic for me. You absolutely have to trust your partner. For us, she puts a lot of trust in me and she knows I cherish that. I keep a close eye on her reactions, things like wincing in pain keep me mindful of how she’s feeling. If I get a sense that it’s too much, I’ll give the simple “good pain or bad pain?” to check in.

TKL: I derive so much pleasure from the right kind of pain, and I enjoy challenging myself and expanding my pain tolerance. It’s a mental game, and an extremely satisfying one. However, it’s also a delicate line to walk when in such a vulnerable headspace, and he is so good about monitoring me for signs that I’m reaching my limit. “Good pain or bad?” is our go-to check-in line.

  • What is your favorite kinky sex “tool”?

Swarley: If we’re going kink-specific? We have a set of over-the-door cuffs that are quite versatile.

TKL: The collar I usually wear when we’re engaging in kink play, which is not only utilitarian but also a physical representation of the nature of our sexual relationship and the emotional significance of it.

  • What do you want people to know about your respective roles? I feel like there are a lot of stereotypes surrounding the submissive and dominant personas.

Swarley: Being the submissive partner requires an unbelievable confidence. It is not a sign of giving up, it’s a sign of self-awareness. In a different vein, dominance requires a lot of empathy. You have to learn what your partner’s reaction means and act accordingly. The D/s relationship is for both of you.

TKL: I think there’s this idea out there that submissives are doormats and suffering some sort of Stockholm Syndrome, that Dominants are abusive, and that we all hold super traditional views about gender roles outside the bedroom. This is patently false. I am an outspoken feminist and sexual submissive; the two do not conflict in any way.

  • Do you have any hilarious kinky sex stories? Sometimes things go so wrong that you just can’t help bursting out laughing.

Swarley: It’s not kink-specific but TKL has a dog that sheds…all over. We’ve pulled hair out of interesting places.

TKL: While nothing too horribly awkward has happened yet, I have had a hard time trying to explain away some BDSM-induced marks and bruises. Thankfully, it’s easier to hide them in the winter!

  • The Fifty Shades of Grey movie is coming out, and I have a sneaking suspicion you might not be the biggest fan of the series. What aspect of the series do you find the most frustrating?

Swarley: For me, it’s a misrepresentation of the responsibility the dominant partner takes. Christian Grey is a profoundly self-centered individual—that makes him an abusive sadist, not a Dom.

TKL: The lack of consent and aftercare in the series is unconscionable. Christian Grey is a manipulative abuser, full stop. The series romanticizes abuse and is in no way representative of safe and consensual BDSM.

  • What do people get wrong about the lifestyle and what do you want other people to know?

Swarley: Kink play and after-care especially, can be deeply intimate. I was caught off-guard by the intense closeness we would feel for each other once the power trip was over. That timeline in between kink and your normal steady state is one of great vulnerability and emotional presence. With the right person? you will feel happy, safe, and loved.

TKL: It’s not all about that old cliché of “whips and chains.” Kink is not one size fits all! That’s the beauty of it; you get to make it what you want it to be.

  • What advice would you give to a couple, or person in a relationship, who is interested in exploring kinky sex but worried about judgements or not sure where to start?

Swarley: Start slow and talk about it first. Say you want hair pulling or spanking, etc. Ask how your partner feels. And know that excitement is compatible with romance.

TKL: First, do your research! Kink encompasses so many different things, so figure out which appeal to you most. Read, read, read—both BDSM 101by Rev Jen, and Fifty Shades of Kink, by Tristan Taormino, are excellent primers for beginners, and there are many online resources as well. Watch some kink porn, if that’s your thing.
Then, slowly introduce the ideas to your partner. Maybe show them a particularly inspiring porn scene, or watch a movie like “Secretary,” or ask them to spank you or pull your hair. If they respond positively, then open up a more in-depth dialogue and begin exploring together. And most importantly, have fun and enjoy the shared experience.


A special thanks to Swarley and TKL for letting LD pick their kinky brains! It was a delight to work with them.


What are your experiences with BDSM? What other questions or comments do you have? Comment below or tweet us @litdarling, @prince_swarles, and/or @thekinkylib!

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