Should I do BDSM with my partner?

coach church misc recovery tools & advice Apr 08, 2022


In this video coaching newsletter I read a letter from a rebooter who is wondering whether he should be exploring the kinks he developed during his porn use in his real-life relationship. Are these desires innate to his sexuality, or is he just mimicking what pornography trained him to enjoy? Does it matter?

The full text of Anon’s post is below in italics. My comments are in bold.

First off, thanks for all the amazing work you’ve been doing with PIED, it means a lot.

I had 2 questions I was wondering if you could shed some thoughts on.

I’m 4 months into my reboot with mixed results and frequent flatlines. It seems whenever I have sex with my partner I go into a 2 week flatline each time, should I abstain from sex completely for longer than two weeks even though I can get hard or will this just eventually stop?

Long refractory periods like that are common during a reboot. Once fully recovered, however, you most likely will not experience flatlines like that after orgasm. For now, though, your libido can be sensitive and inconsistent. In cases like this, I do recommend having fewer orgasms than you are able to, at least for the time being. This does not, however, mean that you have to have less sex. In fact, you should be able to have more sex more consistently since you won’t have the post-orgasm hangover and flatline to contend with.

Electronic flatline
“Flatlines” are common during recovery from pornography addiction and porn-induced sexual dysfunctions. They are characterized primarily by very low libido, but can also present with shrunken and/or numb genitals, depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc.

I know, sex without orgasm sounds weird and difficult. But once you get used to it, the experience can be wonderful, energizing, and satisfying in its own way. There are a variety of ways to have sex without orgasm. If you are able to have sex as normal without losing control, then that is one option. Otherwise (or in tandem) you can explore karezza-style sex. 

My second question is about kinks. My porn kinks were BDSM related and I’m avoiding this so that I’m doing nofap correctly, however my partner is really into BDSM and after a reboot I’d like to explore this (while contiuining to abstain from porn). My question is, do you think after a reboot I can explore the same sexual kinks my brain was wired up to from porn but with a real partner if I stay away from porn or should I ban myself from BDSM altogether and permanently?

This is an excellent question. Often over years of porn consumption, a user will escalate to more extreme or specific content in order to continue stimulating their overused and deadened sexual response systems. In this way we can condition ourselves to be aroused by acts and kinks that perhaps repulsed us when we first encountered them–or that we never would have developed an interest in without porn.

Often after being pornfree for long enough and experiencing a full recovery, many of these porn-induced interests can disappear entirely. Imagine a former smoker who now cannot stand the smell of tobacco.

However, this is not always the case. Often those interests will remain. They may fade in strength and prominence, but they will still be arousing. This raises the question: Would I have developed an interest in this without the influence of porn in my life?

There is–to my knowledge–no reliable way to answer that question. I have wondered the same thing about myself, but we can never know who we might have been or how our sexual tastes would have been different if we had never been exposed to pornography, even after years pornfree. So we ask ourselves: Does it matter? And: Should I avoid acting out fantasies that I think come from my years of pornography use?

Personally, I choose to allow sexual exploration–especially if you are with a partner who also enjoys and fantasizes about the same kinks or sex acts. I strongly advise never to pressure a reluctant partner into acting out your kinks, but if she/he gives enthusiastic consent or is even pushing to try it, then exploring your fantasies can be a positive bonding experience for the both of you.

However, if you find that any kink is beginning to take over your sex life completely or that you or your partner need that kink in order to become aroused, then that’s a red flag. BDSM or any other kink should complement an otherwise healthy, intimate, loving sex life. It should not take center stage.

Handcuffs on bed
BDSM stands for bondage, domination, and sado-masochism. BDSM is a broad category of interaction between people, which is commonly sexual in nature but not always. People who practice BDSM may derive pleasure from playing with power, restriction of movement, and pain with consensual partner(s).

As for when to begin exploring this aspect of your relationship, it’s up to you. BDSM does not even have to involve sex or genital stimulation, so it’s not something that needs to wait until after a full sexual recovery. You can begin playing with domination, submission, bondage, etc. whenever you feel ready–and even incorporate it into your current sexual activity. Just mind what I said and don’t come to completley rely on it in order to get aroused.

Of course, this is all my opinion. I do believe that kinks like BDSM can be explored healthfully inside a loving relationship, but many others may disagree. We each must make our own choices and find our own answers.

Lastly, I’m not going to write you a guide for the safe practice of BDSM, but such guides exist. Ensure that you and your partner educate yourselves on safe BDSM and establish clear boundaries before getting into the heat of the moment.

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