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dating coach for smart, strong, successful women Evan Marc Katz
I am 22 years old and in a relationship of 10 months with an absolutely amazing guy. He is 26, so thoughtful, open-minded, kindhearted, and gives me so much respect. We have an interesting sex life (very much into kink and playing with dominant vs. submissive roles). We both love it. I know he has a kind of fetish that’s fairly innocent and involves tickling. We sadly discovered that I am not ticklish at all. He said that was fine and we have continued on with our relationship enjoying each other. However, recently we began talking about his fetish and I asked him if he feels deprived that I’m not able to fulfill him in this area. After prying and trying to get him to talk, he admitted that it is something that he sometimes feels he is lacking, but that it is okay and he has learned to control and deal with it.

I still, however, feel that something has to be done. I feel it would be selfish of me to not allow him to fulfill his fetish desires with someone else because I am not ticklish. I don’t like knowing that he is not being totally sexually pleased but I am not sure how I feel about him actually physically being involved with someone else. I am not a jealous person and I’m okay with him having many female friends, including his exes. I do worry that not letting him fulfill his fetish will ruin what we have and I also worry that if I give the okay for him to do so, it may ruin what we have and create distance. How do I know if I would be okay having an open kind of relationship? I go back and forth on this. I wonder, also, if it is simply too early to make a major decision like this and if I should wait it out. Any advice would be helpful, hope to hear soon!

Thank you.
Lana

Lana,

One of the virtues of being a dating coach who dated online for 10 years, met over 300 women, and ultimately made a great decision on my spouse is that I am well-equipped to understand almost every facet of dating. I’ve walked a mile in just about everybody’s shoes, made my share of mistakes, and have been fortunate to help others for the past 11 years.

But every so often, I get a question that I’m ill-equipped to answer, because I have absolutely no life experience in that arena. Sexual fetishism is one of them.

I was like vanilla ice cream with vanilla sauce on top with a side of vanilla.

Like any other guy without great perspective on the world, there was a time that I thought I was a little bit kinky. Then I went to the Sex Museum in New York with my girlfriend and saw an exhibit on the wide range of kinks out there. I was astounded.

I was like vanilla ice cream with vanilla sauce on top with a side of vanilla.

The things that I liked that seemed somewhat kinky were at the very bottom of the kink chart — as compared to pony play, plushies, various kinds of BDSM, toys and torture devices, pissing/excrement, diapers, cannibal play and so on. Indeed, there are so many kinks that, instead of making me feel ashamed for being so boring, I actually left feeling lucky. It must be hard to go through life not feeling sexually satisfied unless your partner plays dead for you.

Which brings us to you and your boyfriend, Lana.

To your credit, you seem to be what Dan Savage calls GGG — good, giving and game. You’re up for anything that would please your partner and really want to be a great girlfriend. Except you’re at an impasse. He loves tickling. You’re not ticklish. A cruel fickle twist from the love gods, to be sure.

So while I’m no expert in fetishes — much less an amateur — I would like to think that fetishes are strong sexual preferences. And, like any other preference, people can insist on indulging them or be willing to compromise on them. Now, I suspect that a sexual fetishist is going to write to me and tell me how wrong I am, how fetishists have no choice but to live their fantasies, and that anything less will lead them to a life of misery. It is not my place to tell you otherwise. All I will do is point out to you that finding another partner who is aligned with your fetish may be as hard as finding a 6’2” Jewish guy with an MBA who is home from work at 3 to pick up the kids at school. As always, you’re never wrong for having a strong preference, but you may have an extremely hard time finding a life partner if you refuse to compromise on said preference.

Finding another partner who is aligned with your fetish may be as hard as finding a 6’2” Jewish guy with an MBA who is home from work at 3 to pick up the kids at school.

As for you, Lana, I appreciate the spirit of being a pleaser, being sexually open, not wanting to deprive your boyfriend of his ultimate sexual fantasies. And if you’re fine with him tickling/sleeping with other women, that’s your prerogative. I just think that’s unnecessarily complicated and taxing for a young couple.

The easier solution is to throw this back at your boyfriend. If he will never feel satisfied without tickling, he can go find a ticklish woman to marry. If he’s going to be with you, he’s going to have to accept the fact that there is one area that he doesn’t get his needs met.

You have no decisions to make. It’s up to him.

His answer will tell you everything you need to know.