Lousy Self-Awareness Is Keeping You from Finding a Kinky Partner (And Here’s How to Fix It)

Published: September 28, 2016 • Updated: July 8, 2017 • by rigel

We made a worksheet to help you answer the questions you MUST know before looking for a kinky partner.

Get it Now

The second part of this series is now up! You can find it here.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get distracted by the wrong things? I’m not talking about checking Facebook when you need to meet a deadline at work. I’m talking about putting work and time into something that may be useful but it is wrong for where you’re at in life. Something that gives you the illusion of progress but gets you nowhere. I recently learned the phrase “achieving failure.” It’s used in business to describe successfully executing a plan that leads nowhere.1Ries, Eric. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. New York, NY: Crown Group, 2011. Print. For example: Imagine you build the world’s best gasoline-powered flashlight. The thing is beautifully designed. It works exactly as advertised, but when you put it on the market, no one buys it. Not because it isn’t a great gas-powered flashlight, but because you should have figured out if anyone wanted the damn thing in the first place. The same phenomenon happens with dating. Getting out of the house and meeting people is a critical step towards finding a partner. It gives you a feeling of progress, and rightly so. But, if you haven’t laid the necessary foundation, and if you don’t even know what you’re looking for, you’re wasting your time. A relationship is healthy when both people are getting their needs met. It’s nice to get some wants met too, but figuring out if you and a potential partner are compatible requires answering three critical questions. Sound intimidating? No worries. I’m going to show you the steps we use to help our coaching clients gain the self-awareness they need to find and attract a kinky partner.

The Three questions you MUST be able to answer before trying to find a kinky partner

There are three questions you must be able to answer before looking for a kinky partner. These questions are simple, but answering them is anything but. The three questions are:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What am I looking for?
  3. What do I have to offer?

Wait! It’s not all about kink?!

These questions are about compatibility. When answering them, it’s important to remember that there’s more to compatibility than kink. As Jay Wiseman says in his book SM101:

One of the most awful dating experiences… is meeting someone whose interest in SM is deeply compatible with yours, yet with whom you have little emotional rapport. If you are not “in tune” with each other… and all you have in common is a compatible interest in SM, you are in for a painful, frustrating, and probably short time together.

Even if you’re just looking for a play partner, you need a certain amount of “vanilla” compatibility. At a minimum, you need compatible morals. It doesn’t hurt to have some similar interests as well.

Who am I?

Before considering what you are looking for in a potential partner, you need to have a solid grasp on who you are. I’ve listed some questions to get you started. I’m a huge fan of thinking on paper, so I suggest writing down your answers on these worksheets. Not only will they prevent you from forgetting something important, but you can use them to help you communicate with a potential partner.

Less sexy questions

  • What are my ethics and morals?
  • What do I enjoy spending time doing?
  • What constitutes physical attractiveness for me?
  • Do I want children? If not, am I open to having children?
  • What are my views on child rearing?
  • What are my views on religion and politics? How important is it for a potential partner to have the same or similar views?
  • What types of relationships am I open to right now? Take into account both depth (casual vs long term) and structure (closed vs open).

Sexier questions

  • What types of sexual activities am I interested in?
  • What sexual activities are a no-go?
  • How much sex do I need to be happy? How much am I willing to have?
  • What about power exchange? Is it something I’m open to? Something I need? In the bedroom, or 24/7?
  • What are the types of kink activities I like? Which, if any, do I need? Which am I not open to at all?
  • Knowing what you want and need in terms of power exchange and kink can be tricky when first starting out. I recommend that those new to the BDSM world spend some time exploring before seeking a serious partner. Read some books. Meet some people. Go to a club, watch others play, and see what you like.

Neglecting this will leave you single

Once you have a basic understanding of who you are, you’re prepared to answer the next two questions. What you want, and what you’re offering in return. But before we get to that… You notice I said that you need to know not just what you want but what you’re offering in return. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. This is where fairness comes into play One of the things that’s so awesome about BDSM is that our agreements don’t have to be equal. Perhaps one partner wants to get blowjobs three times a day and give nothing in return. As long as the people in the relationship are happy and healthy, that’s awesome. But fairness is important. The more unfair the relationship you’re looking for is, the more difficult it will be to find a kinky partner. Blowjob dude? He’s probably going to have a difficult time finding a partner. If you haven’t already done so, you should read my post on fairness for more on this topic. I hope you’re paying attention, because we’re going to come back to this after the next exercise.

Map your answers to the big three

A list won’t work

The worksheets are a good place to list your morals, what you’re into, and what you’re looking for in life. But how do you break down what you’re looking for and what you’re offering in a relationship? And how do you do it in a way that’s easy to communicate to a potential partner? You may be tempted to draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper and write your wants on one side and what you’re offering on the other. But that won’t work because few of us are open to only one kind of relationship. You may looking for a long-term relationship but also to be open to friends and play partners. Long-term partners don’t start out long-term; they start out as casual dates. In each of these relationships, what you want and what you’re offering will be different.

Do this instead

I suggest writing down the different types of relationships you’re currently open to. Next, list what you want from, and what you’re willing to offer, each type of relationship. When making these lists, you should take things like time, sex, financial support, and power exchange into account. Read our bubbles post for more information on this topic. You can also see an example of what my lists look like.

Warning: Fairness check!

I told you we would come back to fairness. Look at your lists from the perspective of a potential partner. Are the wants vs offering columns severely out of whack? Would you be interested in the arrangement you’re offering if you were on the other end? Does the thought of explaining what you want vs what you’re offering to a kinky third party make you feel embarrassed? If so, it’s likely that the arrangement you’re looking for is unfair. Give some serious thought to whether you can make this fairer without compromising your needs before moving on.

Avoid this crucial mistake

It’s easy to write a huge list of specifications that a potential partner must meet before you consider dating them, but that’s a great way to become lonely, horny, and frustrated. In one of her posts on Kinkly, Cara of Cara Sutra talks about how having an interest in kink can cause enormous pressure to find someone you connect with in all areas of life. It’s important to realize that people aren’t items we can customize to our specifications. No partner will meet every one of your needs and desires. Waiting for the perfect partner leads to missed opportunities for happy, healthy relationships. You need to assess what’s important to you. Which qualities do you need in a partner? Which are nice to have? You should not compromise your needs or morals. However, if you want to find a partner, you’re going to have to compromise on some of you wants. The Rose City Discussion Club has a great quote on this:

Relationships work best when all parties get more out of being together than being apart, when they get their wants and needs met most of the time. In short, when the benefits outweigh the costs.

If you find a relationship that meets this benchmark, be prepared to go for it.

When do you stop thinking and start looking for a kinky partner?

You’ve gotten education. You’ve answered all the questions above. You’ve realized you’re not 100% certain about every answer. In this case, it’s easy to tell yourself that you need to learn more before you start meeting people. And that’s a trap. No one is ever 100% sure about the answers to those questions. I’ve been openly kinky for years. I’m married to an incredibly kinky woman. I have a girlfriend and additional play partners. But I continue to learn and change, and the answers to many of those questions change as I grow. I am certain of one thing: If you don’t get out of the house, you’ll never meet a partner. You’re also denying yourself the chance to learn. One small example: You may think the idea of submission is interesting, but is it something you need? Is it something you want? Would you prefer to be the one in control? Until you try, you won’t know. A couple of years ago, my wife and I dated a friend of ours. I’ll call her Y. Y had experience in the scene, but she didn’t have any experience with dating in poly group. She told us at the beginning of the relationship that she would like to try dating but she wasn’t sure if this type of relationship was for her. A few months later, Y decided that she was not suited to this type of relationship. We parted ways, but because we went into the relationship without any false expectations, we parted amicably and were able to remain friends. If you don’t have all the answers to the above questions, don’t worry. Answer the questions you can. Identify the questions you can’t answer. Then get out and start meeting people. But heed the example above and make sure you communicate the items you’re unsure of to your potential partners. This avoids any false expectations, which can lead to hurt feelings later. ASIBDSM says this in their post on finding a kinky partner:

Trying to put up a front about who you are (or who you think you want to be) will not go over well for anyone. That does not mean you can’t experiment or that you aren’t free to change your mind, but keep your expectations real.

Once you know who you are, what you’re looking for, and what you have to offer, it’s time to move on.

Conclusion

You’ve read the post. You’ve done the worksheets (you have, haven’t you?). You can answer the three critical questions. You’ve specified your answers to the questions for the different types of relationships you’re open to, and you know when it’s time to stop thinking and start dating. In short, you’re ready to move on. You’re ready to learn how to get out of the house and start finding kinky partners. That just so happens to be the topic of our next post. It’s incredibly thorough. It’s being edited now, and we’re ecstatic to put it into your hands. Check back in about a week to read the post, or signup for our mailing list to be notified when it’s live. Edit: The second post is now up! Read it here.

We made a worksheet to help you answer the questions you MUST know before looking for a kinky partner.

Get it Now

rigel

Co-founder at Touch of Flavor
Co-founder, educator and website / app developer for TTB. I like pondering and writing about kink, polyamory, and relationships in my (limited) spare time.

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