Whip Your Sex Life Into Shape: Sex Secrets From A Former Dominatrix
For two years after university, I led a double life. By day I was Jenny, the glorified office secretary – but by night I became Mistress Scarlett, a dominatrix at a sex dungeon, where I learned a lot about secrets. Of course, I’d already had lots of personal experience keeping my own.
When I started having sex, I felt overwhelming pressure to please my partner and to be pleased by the same motions that got him off. If I couldn’t achieve climax, then there must be something wrong with me, right? For years, I faked it with my partners, too insecure to tell them what I needed. Sex was about pleasing them; masturbating was about pleasing myself.
In my final year, I snapped: I decided to explore what I really wanted from sex. When I stumbled across a job ad for a dungeon, I didn’t hesitate. I kept it from my boyfriend for months, afraid he would reject me, until one day I discovered he had a secret too.
He’d been cheating on me with his ex. Not only that, but he was also into some of the kinkiest stuff I’d ever heard of. After the initial shock – and some awkward, difficult conversations – we allowed each other to explore our desires together with trust and openness.
That relationship ended, but it opened my eyes to how naive we can be in thinking we’re the only ones hiding something.
In the dungeon, I learned just how afraid people are to speak up in bed. And their partners have no idea. I would meet with clients before each session in an interview room, a sacred space that was part confessional, part therapist’s couch.
Related: How To Have More Adventurous Sex
There, clients would give voice, sometimes for the first time ever, to their darkest desires and deepest shame. They knew I wouldn’t judge them, and that was liberating for them. Such a feeling of safety is what we so desperately need from our partners but rarely get. I would argue that in most cases we don’t get it because we don’t ask. Being vulnerable can be terrifying, but I promise it’s worth it. My experience taught me that – plus a few other things.
1. Your secret is never as dramatic as you’ve made it in your mind.
Countless times I wanted to laugh at the harmless things people hide from their partners. Some men simply wanted to worship their wives’ feet. I can guarantee those women weren’t going to turn down regular foot rubs, but it was a deep source of shame for those men. It’s scary to be different, but I can tell you that almost no-one is totally fulfilled by the stereotypical images of sex we see in TV and film.
2. At the heart of all sexual secrets is a fear of rejection.
Consider the risk/reward. A client desperately wanted his wife to use him as a chair. He worked up the courage to tell her – and she laughed. Then she apologised, they talked it through, and she was more than happy to let him explore his fantasy. Don’t get too upset by your partner’s initial reaction. You’re catching them off guard, and negativity may indicate insecurity rather than judgment.
3. We like to think we’re open-minded, until we’re tested.
When a group of married female friends met to discuss my book, I asked if they’d want to know if their husband was secretly into one of the kinky things I’d described. At first they all said yes, but as they examined how it could affect their relationship, many changed their minds. That’s the crux: would you want him to stay repressed and unsatisfied, or be totally honest but you could never look at him the same way? I want to see as much of my partner as he’s willing to share – good, bad, and ugly. It’s worth a little discomfort to experience true intimacy.
4. Pretending in the early stages of a relationship is incredibly common
Because trust hasn’t been built yet, and finding the right time to open up can be difficult. There’s no right time. Just go for it.
5. This fear of revealing desires leads to lots of couples who are sexually incompatible.
Say a woman who fantasizes about being with an alpha male discovers her partner also wants to be submissive. So when one of them is having a fulfilling experience, the other won’t necessarily be into it. That’s okay. In a healthy relationship, when you put your partner’s needs first, they will be excited to reciprocate and you can both achieve deeper satisfaction. But sometimes that incompatibility can’t be bridged. I’ve found that there is always a healthy way to explore your desires if both partners are willing to be creative.
6. Even if you don’t hold a single secret, consciously create a space where your partner would be comfortable revealing theirs.
I guarantee that almost all the wives (or husbands) of my clients didn’t know that their partners were hiding what they really wanted. Many had gently tested the waters and been crushed when their partners responded negatively. Keep in mind, your partner may tell a story about someone else who was into something, and watch your reaction. It’s less scary that way.