I have the privilege to coach people with all types of sexual preferences and have worked with folks who have a desire, kink or fetish that their partner doesn’t share.

It is my opinion that a lot of people crave something more than “vanilla” sex and want to spice it up in their relationship.  Some of my most well attended classes have been Bondassage: Kinky Erotic Massage for Lovers where I teach couples how to perform a hybrid sensual/kinky massage.  With kink getting tons of media attention (in part thanks to 50 Shades of Grey) even mainstream couples are adding a little bit of edgy play in the bedroom.

Part of the work that couples do with me is finding out what kinks and fetishes they have in common so that they can try those out together.  I have a fun worksheet with 300 (yes, you read that right) different kinks and fetishes and I have couples sit down together and mark the ones that they would absolutely not do, the ones they may want to try and the ones that they each like as individuals.  This is a fun exercise because it allows couples to see what they agree on and what they can chuck out and never have to talk about again.

And yet….some people find that they have a kink or fetish that the other doesn’t and they wonder what to do about it? Some people come to me specifically because they have a fetish that their partner doesn’t have and they are frustrated or simply don’t want to keep themselves in a box where they can’t express themselves sexually.

I recently worked with a couple where the husband had a particular fetish that he had had for years prior to their marriage and the wife just wasn’t interested. In fact, the very thought of the fetish gave her anxiety and so they put this topic on the back burner and tried to get on with their sex lives.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work because the husband just felt more and more frustrated and that he wasn’t getting his needs met.  They tried various avenues to work with his desire including: him going to see a professional dominatrix (this was with full consent by the wife), getting individual therapy to attempt to work on their own frustrations, seeing a couples counselor, fighting about it, trying it every now and then without much joy or success, and just plain stuffing it away and pretending it wasn’t there.

None of those things worked.  And so, they came to see me.

The first thing I did was to completely normalize the situation.  I have seen so many couples by now that to me, this was just another couple who needed to work out the best scenario for each one of them individually and for the continued health and success of their relationship. The fetish wasn’t actually the issue.  It was the question of, how can they create some relaxation, peace, harmony and joy within this gridlocked issue?

We spent about 2 months working together and by the time they “graduated” from seeing me they were really happy with the results.  They each felt that they had been heard by the other person, the wife no longer felt anxiety or stress about the fetish, the husband felt they were making good progress and ultimately, they were more sexually fulfilled.

So, what can you do if you have a fetish that your partner doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to take part in?

  1. Normalize their reaction.  Know that it’s perfectly fine that not everyone will agree to do the same activities.  It’s okay to be into something and your partner not be into the same thing.
  2. Come to a compromise. You don’t have to give up your sexual needs and desires and hide or be secretive about them and your partner doesn’t have to feel left out in the cold or that they aren’t desired because they don’t share that interest.
  3. Sit down and really talk about it.  Be patient with one another.  Remember, you are a team and you are here to have a happy successful relationship.
  4. Let the one who doesn’t enjoy the fetish have control over the scene.  I had the wife be the one in control of when the fetish would be brought into the dynamic and when it wouldn’t.  She got to choose from a list of scenarios he had written down involving the fetish, what she would be okay with trying on their date night and ones that she didn’t want to do.  She also made a list of her own needs and desires and felt good about knowing that they would take turns.
  5. Know that it takes awhile for someone to warm up to anything outside their comfort zone and make that okay.  Take it really slow.  Go in small increments.  Keep it light and fun and stop whenever it ceases to be.
  6. Take classes together.  If this is a kink or fetish that involves implements make sure you know what you are doing.  By taking classes together you will feel like it’s team work, you will learn something new and you will feel more in control.
  7. Remember, your partner may not EVER enjoy your fetish.  Have that be okay.  Relax into the knowledge that your partner loves you but doesn’t need to get turned on by everything that turns you on.
  8. Find success in the little things.  When your partner does take a class, or chooses something from a list you create, or even just sits down to have a conversation consider that a WIN and celebrate the WIN.  Do not dwell on the future.  Be grateful that your partner is with you now.
  9. Consent, consent, consent.  Never push any ideas on to anyone without their consent.  When your partner says No, Stop, This isn’t working then it’s time to stop.
  10. Consult a coach! It can be me or it can be another awesome coach but reach out for assistance in navigating this terrain so that you can remain peaceful and relaxed within your relationship.

I hope that some of these tips help.  And, if you’d like to book a free consultation to see if working together could help you towards your goals please reach out!


Dr. Anya

Categories: Sex Education

Dr. Anya

Dr. Anya is a sexuality expert with over 25 years experience working with individuals, couples, and groups. Dr. Anya has a Doctor of Human Sexuality degree and is a certified sex educator and certified sexologist. Dr. Anya has a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area working with individuals and couples and invites straight and LGBTQ people into her practice.


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