“Are you going to be okay if you see me playing with someone else?” he asks me.
“Of course,” I say. I reiterate to him that I spent several years on the scene before taking a break from public play parties. That I’ve seen partners play with others in the past.
“Okay,” he says. “I know it can be difficult. Especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with kink in a play space.”
“But I do,” I say. “I’ve done plenty of scenes in the past. And watched way more. Just before you showed up.”
He nods, but in the moment it seems more like active listening than actual acceptance or agreement. And this assessment turns out to be right.
“Wow, that was intense,” he says later that night, after watching my scene with another partner. He looks surprised.
“I told you we played hard,” I say.
His face doesn’t react. “I didn’t realize you meant that.”
I sigh, involuntarily.
“It was hot,” he says.
“Thanks,” I say. But as I’m walking away, a bolt of annoyance hits me. I’m tired of his not believing me when I tell him things. Not until he sees them with his own eyes.
And I’m tired of his padding his kinky resume when we’re negotiating limits.
And it’s in that moment that it dawns on me that these two qualities of his are likely related.
The Padded Resume
Like the time he tells me he has experience with hardcore abduction scenes. Only to have him confess later that the “abduction” was just lying in his girlfriend’s backseat with his hands tied while she drove around for a bit. No blindfold or anything.
He only tells me this after I half-break him with a scene that seems way more mild than what he says he’s done in the past. It would have been nice to know his inexperience before I pushed him so far.
As time goes on, I notice more and more that he has a way of talking himself up. Likes to brag about his other relationships and his exploits in a way that falls apart under closer scrutiny. Takes deep pride in a history that’s frequently embellished.
In some ways, I understand. It can be difficult to convince another person to be your “first.” Much like how there are a lot of “entry-level” jobs out there that require 1 to 2 years of experience. It’s tough to get someone to take a chance on you.
I just wish he’d let me have informed consent.
Why He Doesn’t Believe Me
And I wish he’d trust my reporting when I talk about kink. Because I’m rather frank when it comes to disclosures. So frank that a dear friend even goes so far as to describe me as “painfully earnest.”
But he doesn’t believe me. And it’s because not only does he seem to embellish things himself, he also assumes everyone else does it as well, particularly when it comes to kink history.
I can’t even begin to imagine what it feels like to communicate this way. To misrepresent myself and assume others reciprocate by misrepresenting themselves in kind. Communication is difficult enough when I put myself out there and give others the benefit of the doubt that they’re being genuine.
When I realize what’s happened, I want to be angry with him. But mostly I’m just sad.
Because I know neither of us is going to get our wish here: No informed consent for me, no happy fun times for him.
No happy ending for anyone.