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LoveFAQ is a weekly advice column for geeks, by geeks about love, life and maxing out your romance meter. Got questions for LoveFAQs? Send them to advice@escapistmag.com.

Dear LoveFAQ,

The long short of it: I’m a 21 year old guy, and I have a serious S&M fetish. My tastes lie somewhere between “vanilla” sex and full-fledged S&M. I like my bondage soft, with maybe only a little bit of pain mixed in, but it generally doesn’t really go any farther than that.

Whenever I try and introduce it, though, I get the usual stuff: I’m a sadist; I hate women; I had a controlling woman in my life (I didn’t); I have deep psychological issues (I don’t); etc. I just can’t seem to find anyone else who is into bondage, too. Maybe I live in the wrong city or something, or maybe it’s in my execution, like I’m introducing it too early. I don’t know. I just don’t want to go into a relationship only to find out they like it vanilla (no offense to those who do). Any advice for what to do?

Sincerely,
Looking for his Damsel in Distress

Dear Distress,

So first off, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not a sadist, you don’t hate women, and you aren’t fundamentally broken just because you crave a little rope-play in the bedroom. Kink is kink, and everybody has theirs, whether they’re willing to admit it or not. So don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

But here’s the thing about BDSM: Despite appearances, it’s not about the bondage. It’s about trust, commitment and communication. Subs allow themselves to be tied up; they choose to relinquish control. You can’t rush someone into feeling comfortable doing that. So if you’re so paranoid about finding a BDSM-friendly partner that you break out the ball gags on the first night, then, yes, you are probably introducing it too early.

So just relax. Your tastes aren’t that unique, and most people are willing to experiment, as long as it doesn’t feel like a high-pressure sales pitch.

Start off small. Try holding her hands above her head in bed, or placing your hands on her head while she’s going down on you, that sort of thing. Afterward, ask her if she liked it. (You do talk with your partners about what you like in bed, right? If not, start. Neither of you are mind-readers.) If she responds favorably, suggest light bondage – ribbons, handcuffs, that sort of thing. Proceed from there.

If you keep it fun and low-pressure, your efforts will eventually pay off. It may even bring you two closer together.

Also, be patient: It might take her some time to ease into it-and maybe she’ll find that she doesn’t particularly care for BDSM. That’s okay too. With enough communication, you two will find a happy compromise, because remember: you have as much right to feel satisfied in bed as she does.

Finally, remember what I said earlier, that everyone has a kink? When discussing your fantasies, it might help stimulate her experimental side should you offer to fulfill one of hers in exchange.

Dear Love FAQ,

I recently managed to break a 24 year long cycle of not going on dates ever, via a combination of tremendous luck and the use of a dating site. I was contacted by a very interested woman and went on two dates with her, both of which seemed to go very well.

However, I could never manage to get a third date and she was very not interested in speaking to me online in the months following, outside of the average Facebook pleasantries. Needless to say, she obviously no longer wants to date me.

I’m not going to ask a layperson who wasn’t there what I did or did not do wrong. However, I would really like to ask her. As I said, I’ve never dated before, and I feel like I screwed up in some way. Is there any way I can inquire without sounding like a psychopath, or by being greeted with steely cold silence like the rest of my Facebook messages I’ve sent to her?

Thanks,
Out of Luck

Dear Luck,

If she’s not answering your messages, take the hint. She doesn’t want to talk to you. Ever.

It sucks, yes, but there’s no shortage of women out there looking for love, so do yourself a solid and stop obsessing over what you did wrong with this one. You’ll just drive yourself crazy – especially since her rejection may have had nothing to do with you at all.

Sadly we don’t always get satisfying answers or clean endings, and people may leave our lives without ever telling us why. Part of love-and life-is learning to accept that there are questions you will never know the answers to, and moving on anyway.

Dear Love FAQ,

I have a bit of a problem. I have this guy panting after me like a lost puppy, and it’s gone beyond annoying to a little creepy.

He’s a nice-ish guy, and we have been friends for a year. He has already asked me out once, and I turned him down! But still he insists on walking me to all of my classes, opening doors for me, and making sure to wear the same color I wear to a dance, etc. He texts me constantly, and he is always putting his arm around my shoulder.

People have started to ask me if we are going out, and when I say no, no one believes me. The worst thing is, I have someone I really like, and this guy is getting in the way of it. I don’t want to hurt him, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to. What should I do?

Sincerely,
Not Looking for a Nintendog

Dear Nintendog,

Stop trying to be friends with someone who has already expressed he’s not interested in such. You’re only encouraging his behavior. Instead, minimize your contact with him, and when you can’t avoid him, stay cool and aloof.

This means you don’t walk through doors he opens for you; you open your own. When he tries to escort you to class, tell him, flat-out, you want to walk alone. Don’t answer his text messages, don’t sit next to him, and for chrissakes, if he asks what you’re wearing to a dance, tell him it’s none of his business.

Stop worrying about hurting his feelings, because he certainly isn’t giving you the same consideration. You have every right to feel secure and safe in your own school, and only assertiveness will get this Creeper McCreeperson off your back.

Disclaimer: LoveFAQ is written by Lara Crigger, who is by no means a trained psychiatrist or therapist or even a middle school guidance counselor – just a smart gal who wants to help out her fellow geek. LoveFAQ is meant for entertainment purposes only, so don’t take it as a substitute for professional advice. If you have real problems, consult your physician.

Got a burning question (or a question about burning) for LoveFAQ? Send your emails to advice@escapistmag.com. All submissions are confidential and anonymous.

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