Dear Dan —
I am a 28-year-old gay man living in a major East Coast city. I recently connected with a guy on a vanilla dating website, and we are quickly developing a real interest in each other. After talking online for a bit, we exchanged numbers. Our first conversation was through text messages for the better part of six hours. The next night, we talked over the phone for an hour or two. And the third consecutive night was our first date. In that first text conversation, he stated that he is into "everything from mild to wild." The comment came without solicitation from me, during a conversation that he initiated about sexual preferences (e.g., top or bottom, dom or sub). This was a major turn-on for me, increasing my interest in him. I've had limited experience with BDSM, but I am looking to try more, so I was thrilled to receive this message. I am very familiar with one kink: diapers. It's a huge part of my sexual identity, and I ideally want it to be part of a sex life with my partner. Normally I would wait until months into a new relationship to bring up the topic, but since he opened the door, should I talk about it now? Should I drop hints to see how he responds? Since this has the potential to be more than just a hookup, what's the best way to proceed?
—Nervously Anticipatin Padded Pants In Erotic Situations
I've long advised kinksters who are dating vanillas—or presumed vanillas (PVs), I should say, as it's not uncommon for a presumed-to-be-vanilla partner to reveal kinks of their own after a partner discloses their kinks—to wait until the PV has gotten to know them before disclosing. (Ironically, of course, every kinkster is a PV until the moment of disclosure.) Since so many true vanillas have a knee-jerk, negative reaction to kinks, it's only fair that kinksters have a chance to let a new partner get to know them before opening up. That way, a vanilla can weigh any prejudices they might have about kinky people (they're dangerous and depraved, not BF or GF material) against what they've come to know (and like) about the kinkster they've been dating. Sometimes it works out (the vanilla comes to enjoy the kink because it gives someone they care about pleasure, the vanilla grows to enjoy the kink themselves, the vanilla gives the kinkster a pass to enjoy their kink with others), and sometimes it doesn't work out (the kink is a deal-breaking libido-killer and the kinkster winds up dumped).
But your case is different, NAPPIES, as the gentleman you're courting has already disclosed his kinks. According to my treasured and frequently consulted copy of Emily Post's Etiquette, the proper response to a disclosure of kinks by a suitor is the prompt disclosure of one's own kinks.
Now, very few people who say they're into "everything" are actually into every single thing. A Google search for "toaster fetish" pulls up 260,000 results. They're not all pages created by sexual fetishists—some are pages created by kitchen-appliance aficionados—but some are sites created by actual toaster pervs. And just as your new boyfriend probably wasn't thinking "even toasters!" when he said "everything," NAPPIES, he probably wasn't thinking "even diapers!" Because while diapers are a huge turn-on for you and other diaper fetishists, they're not something that leaps to mind when even a kinky person says "from mild to wild."
And this presents you with a problem. As Emily Post put it: "A sexual fetish for an item of attire so strongly associated with childhood (indeed, with the nursery itself!) will give pause to even the most depraved of suitors." As such, NAPPIES, you may be within your rights to drop hints about your diaper fetish instead of flat-out disclosing it. Ask him if he really meant everything and see what he says. If he says, "Yes, everything," then spill—or leak—your kink.
But if he hedges his bets, NAPPIES, let him get to know you a bit better, and explore some of his kinks before disclosing your own.
On this week's Savage Lovecast: How to be a professional but friendly unicorn. Find it at savagelovecast.com.