I used to have a very bad habit while dating. I would meet another spanko I clicked with, allow infatuation to hijack my brain, and dive right into magical relationship chatter. Everything they said or promised, I’d heartily consume. We’d be talking about rules for our dynamic and where in the house to keep our disciplinary implements within a month of meeting each other.
“Slow your roll, T. You hardly even knew those people!”
You are correct, dear reader. I wanted to think I knew those people because I’d watched too many movies and cemented all that soulmate fluff into my reality. “It was love at first text, cosmic and pure! The moment I met him, I just knew!” I’m sure that works out once in a while, but most of the time it takes experience with a person to get a sense of who they are and accurately assess compatibility. Can’t do that within a month, especially if your initial convos are happening online (which, in the fetish community, they often are).
Clearly, I’m not the only one who’s suffered from zero-to-100 syndrome. I see it all the time in the dating scene.
Why do we do this?
The yearning for instant gratification is par for the course these days. App-based hookup culture seeks to commodify us into sexy menu items that can be ordered like Happy Meals at Mickey D’s. It also runs on prescribed rules about intimacy that encourage impulsive behavior, like the idea you should fuck by the third date or risk losing the other person’s interest. I no longer view this phenomenon as healthy or realistic. Humans are not Happy Meals. You cannot always “have it your way” when it comes to other people, but porn and online dating platforms strive to convince us otherwise.
An even deeper issue among spankos searching for partners, in my opinion, is the influence of the fetish. So many of us spend our early years feeling isolated and lonely due to the fact that our wiring is rare. Though it’s less common to grow up worrying you’re the only spanko on earth these days, it was certainly a thing for those of us born before the internet. When we meet another of our kind and find them attractive, delusions of grandeur can ensue. A false sense of familiarity may rapidly manifest as we bond over the most private, vulnerable aspect of ourselves. It’s easy to get the sense that you have a ton in common and are undeniably made for each other when you speak the same love language.
Compatibility is about more than sexuality.
“I want a relationship with someone who has the fetish too.”
That right there, for many of us single spankos, is the holy grail, shimmery and alluring and filled with promises of harmony. We all know in our gut, however, that there’s more to a relationship than what goes on in the bedroom.
Is the person you’re vibing with patient and compassionate? Do they share any of your interests apart from spanking? Is there an age gap between the two of you and if so, how might that affect your lifestyle if you got together? How do they feel about politics? Are they over their past relationships and ready to be emotionally present with you? How do they respond to conflict or disagreement? Any anger management problems? Extreme ideologies? Debt? Addiction, self-esteem, or codependency issues? Do they want monogamy or non-monogamy in the future? Marriage? Kids? These factors can obviously become a big deal.
My point is not that we should wait it out for someone who meets all our preferences. We’ll be waiting forever with that strategy. (Again, people are not Happy Meals, even when they look fun and delicious.) I’m saying we should take our time to get the scoop on considerations like those mentioned above before letting ourselves get carried away, daydreaming about the long haul with stars in our eyes.
And even if you and your crush do align on the vanilla stuff and share the spanko gene,
Our fetishes are all a bit different.
Our desires won’t always mesh with those of others in the community. For instance, tons of spankos are into age play and infantilization, but I’m not. (No offense if that's your thing, it's just not my cup of tea.) I am, however, into the more romantic aspects of consensual discipline. Some spankos don’t want that at all.
There’s a lot of nuance to this thing we love and the details are important if we’re to fulfill our needs together. Some questions to ask while dating another person with the fetish might be:
What kinds of spanking are they into? Disciplinary? Sexual? Therapeutic? Just for fun? All of the above?
How hard do they typically prefer to play?
Are they seeking a D/s arrangement?
Do their fantasies revolve around specific types of roleplay?
How do they feel about safewords and aftercare?
Informed consent hinges on knowledge and communication. We can't know what we're getting into if we don't take our time while getting to know the other person. Some surprises can be delightful. Others can be dealbreakers.
Moving too fast puts pressure on new relationships.
You can really fuck up a good thing by diving into the deep end right off the bat. If you’re immediately viewing your new squeeze as The One, chances are you’re putting them on a pedestal. It can be scary to be the target of such feelings. “Oh shit, this person already thinks I’m their dream partner. They’re gonna be disappointed when they discover my flaws.” When we fantasize about the object of our affection, we marinate on a reflection of them that doesn’t exist, thereby skewing our perception of who they really are and creating expectations that can’t be satisfied. In truth, they won’t be ‘perfect’. None of us are.
Moving too fast is also a sign of impatience, but patience is precisely what sustainable relationships require. We don’t just meet, fall in love, spank butts, make a commitment, and live happily ever after. The “happily ever after” part is equally full of ups, downs, joys, sorrows, awkwardness, insecurities, and personal struggle as we navigate life together. Our work doesn’t end once we’ve gotten what we want. We must then keep the connection healthy by loving the other person in ways that make them feel comfortable and valued. Ever get into a relationship with someone who drops all effort to woo you once things are official? Fucking sucks, right?
“BDSM is about trust.”
People say this all the time, listing it as a point of what makes kink beautiful. In practice, however, this often manifests between folks who are new to each other as, “BDSM requires trust. We’re agreeing to do this kinky thing together, so that must mean we trust each other, right? How special!”
Is it, though? How can we trust someone we hardly know? Is there an actual foundation in those cases, or are we just taking a risky leap because we wish there were? What is our trust even worth if we hand it out so readily?
To truly enjoy the next-level intimacy kink claims to offer, our faith in our partners needs to be based on something real. Opening up to each other to that degree is a high-stakes gamble otherwise. The cart must not come before the horse.
SO, be the slow and steady tortoise, not the crackhead hare.
Most happy, committed spanko couples I encounter seem to agree that patience is the path to success in these matters.
“It took a long time to meet the right person, but the wait was totally worth it.”
May we all have luck in finding what we seek. Until then, cheers and enjoy the journey.