DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’m 55 and I’m pretty kinky, so when the man I am dating (age 63) said he was up for some untraditional sex, I was excited. I was daydreaming about our upcoming butt play activities when he texted a picture of my large breasts he has nicknamed the twins and said, “these are fun for the whole family.” I jokingly quipped back,” I wonder if the Aadams family are available? I hear there all together ooky.” He said, “My twins and your twins.” I was like, “ummm, your daughters?” And he said, “yes. Let me send them a picture and see if they want to join us.” Then he asked if my daughters play with them. I was like, “no. They don’t even see me naked.” Omg—ewww. His twin children are 32, and obviously ok with this family dynamic-but I have been wrestling with this for over a week. How weird is too weird?
Squick Not Squee
DEAR SQUCK NOT SQUEE: Alright, it’s clearly time for my standard reminder about potentially fake letters: I’m ultimately not that fussed about whether or not a letter is 100% true or not if there’s something about it that could be useful to others.
That being said: I have a lot of questions here, because this guy casually suggesting “incest, more like WINcest” is f--kin’ weird at best.
But let’s take a second to talk about boundaries and a kink too far before we get to this, specifically.
I am generally of the opinion that “Your kink isn’t my kink and that’s OK” or not harshing someone’s squee is the better way to go about life. People will be into things or get off to things that you may not grok, you may find off-putting or just plain disgusting… and that’s fine. If everything is safe, sane and consensual (or risk-aware and consensual, depending on who you talk to), then it’s none of my concern.
Similarly, I’m of the opinion that being willing to try things that are outside of one’s comfort zone or usual experience for the sake of your partner is a good thing… within reason.
Studies have found that “sexual transformations” – that is, making changes to sex for the sake of one’s partner – are an important part of relationship health and satisfaction. Doing things that your partner loves or gets off on, even if it does little to nothing for you, helps your partner feel heard, supported and appreciated. Knowing that you’re doing it specifically because you like making them happy increases that feeling of being loved and cared for. And, sometimes you may well catch a groove yourself; you may not be into that particular kink, but you may well find that you get a rebound thrill from the thrills you’re giving your partner.
But that’s where “within reason” comes in. There’re kinks that’re relatively easy to indulge, that ultimately ask very little of the non-kinky partner… and there are ones that will leave them feeling squicked out, violated or worse. Some kinks are easy to categorize; foot worship may give someone a bit of an ick, but it’s usually fairly minor. Impact play might be a level above that. Cuckolding, mummification, puppy or pony play… these are pretty intense, varsity kinks that a lot of folks just aren’t going to be able to get to. Any form of edge play (that is, with knives or other sharp implements), blood play or breath play are both varsity level kink AND potentially dangerous to boot.
However, people are going to vary in what is or isn’t acceptable levels of kink and what’s too far for one person may not be the same for another. So if you’re someone for whom foot play is just too much and trying to go through with it is going to freak you out or leave you crying in the shower, that is entirely valid. You get to decide where and what your limits are, period, full stop.
Now, it can be helpful to have a “yes, maybe, no” list – or come up with one with your partner and see where you have overlap and where you have conflict. If something is a “yes” for them and a “maybe” for you, you can talk about how – and if �– there’s a way you two might be able to make that work. But if something’s a no or a hard no, then that’s it.
Now, back to your question SnS: I have a lot of questions about just the emotional and social intelligence of a guy who asks about whether your grown-ass children ever play with your breasts. Making jokes about sending nude (or even just lewd) pictures of you to his kids is going to raise an eyebrow from me. Making comments about inviting them to join you is where my eyebrows shoot clear off my face with enough force to bring down the International Space Station.
I think my first reaction in that situation – after “what – and I can’t stress this enough – the F--K?” would be “is that a joke” and “why in the name of Zeus would you think this was funny?”, because someone being serious in that moment would be a “hop on the NOPE train to F--k-This-S--t-ville” and I’d prefer to give them a chance to walk that s--t back.
(Especially where siblings and twins are involved. To quote one S. Winchester: “They know we’re BROTHERS, right?”)
Now that being said: you don’t need to give the dude a chance to walk it back if you don’t want. But you don’t need to excuse it either – “family being ok with this dynamic” doesn’t really make it better, even if it’s just jokey-jokes. Maybe he thinks he’s being clever. Well, to misquote Scalzi: the fail state of “clever” is “what the actual f--k is wrong with you?” That’s a lack of social and emotional intelligence that I think, jokey-jokes or not, is disqualifying and you’re free to say “you know what? I’m busy. For the rest of time. Lose my number.”
Assuming, of course, that any of this is real.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org