Dear Bearded Confidant,

I am a middle aged man in my early 50s.  I have been in a relationship for twenty plus years.  My problem is that I have a real desire for experiencing S & M and B & D activities.  My partner is completely adverse to such activities.  Should I continue to satisfy myself in private as I have been or discuss this with my partner?  Should I possibly seek these activities outside with others discreetly?  Thank you for any help you can provide.

Dear Fit to be Tied,

All sexual activities involve some amount of role playing, dominance, and submission. When one man is on top of another, he is dominating him to a degree. When one man lifts his legs for another, he is being submissive to a degree. If a man getting butt-fucked asks his lover to hold down his arms, both are playing a game that borders on forced sex. Your partner may also not realize that B&D and S&M can provide fun, gentle, loving ways to demonstrate trust. Before you seek these experiences outside of your relationship, you should discuss the topic with your partner. He may have a wrong impression about the subject, or a misunderstanding of it. He needs to know exactly what YOU mean by B&D and S&M. Ask him to allow you to describe what excites you about it and what exactly you are interested in trying. Suggest some typical scenarios, from start to finish, so that he has a complete picture of what you're talking about. Before you discuss these things, you should be VERY knowledgeable about the subject so that you can answer any and all questions that your lover might have. And before you encourage any B&D or S&M activities, you might encourage your lover to read a book about the subject, such as Consensual Sadomasochism : How to Talk About It and How to Do It Safely, and The Masters Manual : A Handbook of Erotic Dominance.