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Is Cheating in a BDSM Relationship Okay? With Della Dane

Who better to tackle your most pressing questions than former sex therapist and current adult star Della Dane?  With twice the adult industry knowledge to draw on, rest assured that you’ll receive topnotch advice.

This week, Della is tackling a troubling query from a reader whose fiancé has been keeping a big secret…

Dear Della and Slutty Girl Problems,

I recently read an SGP article on BDSM and what it’s supposed to be like. I was hoping that maybe I could ask you to help me understand if I’m overthinking something or not.

You see, I found out a few months ago that my fiancé does text BDSM roleplays with several other people who identify as females. He states he doesn’t do anything else with them and has never met them in person. That he’s only spoken to them through the internet and his phone. But one of the messages he had sent to a woman seemed outside of the roleplay. He teased her for having a real crush on him and had her tell him the things she missed about him. She started mentioning she missed being teased and kinky, but with him being fully aware that she has a crush on him, teasing her, and not mentioning dating someone it really bothered me. There was also another where he was telling a different girl how much he missed her ass and wanted to squeeze it. These messages occurred while we’ve been dating…

I confronted him and he said that he barely talks to them. I do see where there are gaps between him talking to them for months at a time, but I also noticed that he avoids mentioning that he’s engaged to someone the times he does talk to them. Instead of saying “my girlfriend/fiance and I went out to the movies” he’ll say “A friend and I went out to the movies”. He told me that he’s just friends with them. But if they’re friends, why hadn’t he told them about me? Wouldn’t they be happy for him since it’s only a roleplay? And why hadn’t he told me about them in the first place?

He said he’s going to tell them that he’s engaged now, but he also says this is a way of life for him and makes it sound like I’m trying to push his friends from him. I want him to be able to have friends and be happy, but I was never aware of this happening and the things said on there made me feel like I was being cheated on. Not to mention, we had agreed on a monogamous relationship in the first place when we started dating. He says that he’s told me about them in the past (I get forgetful sometimes). But I always remember things as important as this. If not, I would’ve forgotten it after seeing it on his phone months ago. When I told him this, he said I had never asked him, so he never told me. But how was I supposed to ask about something that I had no idea was going on in the first place? Am I getting in the way of his lifestyle? Is this considered cheating? Is it normal for someone in a serious relationship to talk like this to his slaves?

I’ve known about him being into BDSM since I first met him and I have told him I’m willing to try it. But I also warned him it may take time since I went through abuse as a child and I don’t know what may trigger me and what may not. Even so, I’ve been working with him to get used to doing the things he likes in bed as a sub. I thought our sex life was great. But if so, then why is he talking like this to these people who are friends and avoiding saying anything about me? Is it normal for a Dom to not mention they’re in a relationship with anyone? Is it possible that I’m just paranoid or can’t handle being in a relationship with a Dom?

I don’t know anyone else I can ask these questions to and, after reading the BDSM 101: Frequently Asked Questions, I felt that I would be most comfortable writing for advice. I do love him and we’ve been together for years, but I feel so hurt, confused, and scared that he may actually be cheating on me. I really want to know if I’m wrong and if this is how it’s supposed to work. If not, I would like to learn how this is done correctly and what it includes please.

I hope to hear from you soon and thank you for your time.

Thank you for this question! I’m going to do my best to answer it, and hopefully it will help you in navigating some of the hurt and confusion you are going through.

First, I want to recommend a few books that might clarify BDSM dynamics, as well as honesty in unconventional relationships. SM 101 by Jay Wiseman is a great place to dig into all the ins-and-outs of BDSM. Opening Up by Tristan Taormino is a great primer in nontraditional relationships and how to manage jealousy, et cetera.

That being said, I want to start with the issue that the two of you agreed on having a monogamous relationship. Your partner is not adhering to this agreement, and stepped outside of it the first time he began to communicate with other women in an erotic context. Yes, I know he will probably come back with, “But we weren’t having sex!”, but monogamy is more than just sexual interactions. It can include emotional connections, virtual relationships, even flirtation. Again, those are boundaries that you as a couple need to establish. But, given your distress at this situation, I would infer that your expectations for your relationship did not include his involvement with women even within a virtual context.

This issue is separate from the fact that he is interested/identifies with BDSM practices. This is solely a trust and honesty issue that I would, bluntly, say would be a deal breaker for many women. I know you say you love him and that you want to be with him, but I would gently remind you that once one aspect of trust is broken in a relationship, it is hard to mend unless both parties are invested in doing so. It appears that he is unwilling to take responsibility for his dishonesty, so it seems doubtful.

You asked “Am I getting in the way of his lifestyle? Is this considered cheating? Is it normal for someone in a serious relationship to talk like this to his slaves?” My answer? No….No….and NO. The foundation of BDSM (when practiced well) is consent, honesty, and communication. By hiding this from you and them, he’s not being a good practitioner, not to mention a dishonest partner.

You also asked “But if so, then why is he talking like this to these people who are friends and avoiding saying anything about me? Is it normal for a Dom to not mention they’re in a relationship with anyone? Is it possible that I’m just paranoid or can’t handle being in a relationship with a Dom?” He’s the only one who can explain his actions, but from an outsider’s perspective, it appears that he’s trying to hide his relationship with you in order to carry on these external relationships with other women, who may want to be informed (and vice versa, hiding them from you… in essence trying to have his cake and eat it too). If these women were just “friends”, I would imagine that he would not try to hide this from them. As I mentioned above, it is not “normal” for a Dom to hide his relationship status from potential subs. This is simply dishonesty, it just has the additional layer of the complications of a Dom/sub dynamic, so it appears to be more confusing. Bottom line, however, is that it is not honest.

You’re not being paranoid. You’re having common reactions to a partner’s dishonesty and gas lighting you as being “forgetful” and placing the weight of responsibility to ask HIM about what he’s doing.

There are so many red flags here, girl. I encourage you to seek support for yourself by way of a therapist (whether alone or together), connecting with others in the BDSM community, and/or reading more about healthy ways to engage in this lifestyle.

I hope my input is helpful, and I wish you peace and happiness!

Have something you need to ask? Submit your questions to [email protected]!

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