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-   -   Bruises angering my vanilla husband (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23376)

detritus 04-29-2012 06:30 PM

Bruises angering my vanilla husband
I've read through this thread and looked around the forums a bit and can't seem to find anyone struggling with the issue I'm struggling with right now. My husband and I are still fairly new to poly, but doing much better than we were several months ago when I was posting a bit more. He's quite vanilla and I'm just beginning to discover my kinky side. I've had fantasies about kinky sex for years but had a lot of fear, repression, etc. holding me back from making those fantasies a reality.

Anyway, I've been dating my BF for about three months now and things are going quite well. He and my husband get along and my BF is very experienced in poly and BDSM so we've got the communication down. The problem is I occasionally come home with bruises and my husband finds them upsetting. He has a history of abuse in his family and I think they bring up feelings around that. He's also said it makes it seem like the sex is too "in his face" when there are marks to hint at specific things that happened. I think his feelings around this are completely understandable and valid. To his credit, he owns these feelings as "his issue to get over."

I've agreed to try my hardest not to end up with marks. But it's easier said than done. Unfortunately, I'm pale and my BF says I bruise easier than anyone else he's played with before. And in the moment, I can't feel the difference between pain that will leave a bruise and pain that won't. Appearance-wise, my skin turns red immediately with any impact but the bruises don't develop for about an hour. So even though I'm trying hard to respect my husband's feelings, I'm often coming home with marks and he feels like I don't care about them at all.

Any advice? Ways to help my husband come to terms with the bruises so they are less triggering? Vitamins to take to reduce my tendency to bruise? Forms of play that are less likely to leave marks? I'm new to all of this. I'm finding it very tough to process all the emotions BDSM is raising for me, especially when a date with my BF ends on a sour note after I notice the bruises and then I know that when I get home I'll feel rejected because my husband needs space away from me to process his anger.

AnnabelMore 04-30-2012 12:46 AM

Hmmmmm, play that doesn't leave bruises. I guess it all depends on what kind of activities you're into. You could do kinky stuff around humiliation, service, mind-games, etc. that could be hella kinky but not bruise-forming. But if you want to receive pain and/or he wants to give it, let's see, spanking usually doesn't bruise? Clothespins on nipples? Caning on the feet (bastinado)? E-stim?

It's good your husband realizes that this is his issue to get over. After all, vanilla sex that's vigorous can leave all sorts of marks too in the form of hickies, bites, and scratches, so by asking you to come home unmarked he's basically asking you two not to get too into it, which is pretty unfair.

AnnabelMore 04-30-2012 01:11 AM

Just a thought, I know you said your husband is very vanilla, but is it *possible* that part of what he finds upsetting is that you're exploring this new side of your sexuality with someone else and not him? Like, even if it doesn't come naturally to him, is there any chance that HE wants to figure out how to help you fulfill this urge and be the one leaving bruises on you but feels like you couldn't see him that way, or like this very experienced new guy would just outclass him to the point that you wouldn't be interested? Cuz if I were him and I did feel that way it would definitely be upsetting. Maybe he just doesn't know how to say it?

BlackUnicorn 04-30-2012 06:21 AM

Hullo there! We are going through a bit similar situation with my partner, so I thought to chime in. I leave the salve and vitamin tips to the more experienced among us. The only thing that would come to me on top of my head would be a good warmup and avoiding hard individual strikes, but if your bf is as experienced as you say he is, he should be realizing this too. And bruising is unpredictable, as you said - no sure way to guard completely against it.

My partner looks like a mess after this weekend's play party. She's seen a lot of things in the scene and her bruising right now beats (sorry for the pun :p) everything she's seen before. It makes me physically nauseous to see.

We've talked about her and new bf putting aside certain instruments for a while. She's a masochist so pain is her poison and it's very hard for her (from my POV) to draw boundaries around that. We've agreed for her to take a month off all pain-inducing activities and to really gauge her feelings and limits around the issue. While your bruising certainly doesn't sound like something that could leave permanent scars/marks, maybe taking a set-date break from certain bruising activities could work?

dingedheart 04-30-2012 03:16 PM

When you decided to open up your marriage was this kink exploration a big factor for you? Was your husband aware of this going in and ok with it?

Does he have other partners and has he come home with scratches or hickeys? If so was it a big deal?

I don't think second guessing why he's upset is a good idea. I'd ask directly if seeing the bruises triggers bad memories and old issues.

Assuming the bruising can be covered by clothing why not negotiate a break from activities upon return from these kinds of dates a day or 2. That way you wont feel rejected and he wont have to see fresh evidence of a beating and get upset.

Annabel had a good point ....going off to be dominated.... getting a need fulfilled you can't get at home .... coming back with marks and bruises ...it maybe getting into that cuckold area. It's worth asking or talking about.

detritus 04-30-2012 03:29 PM

Thanks for the responses. I enjoy pain, but the whole humiliation/service side of things isn't really my cup of tea. E-stim has been raised as a possibility--might have to explore that I guess. My husband has been very clear that BDSM just doesn't appeal to him at all. It took a fair amount of coaxing just to get a little hair-pulling and spanking into our repertoire, and he just doesn't feel comfortable going much beyond that. He does feel a bit intimidated in the sense that he's said a couple times that he fears sex with my BF is somehow more fulfilling than with him. I'm trying to reassure him that nothing could be farther from the truth. Apples and oranges, apples and oranges. Both of them delicious in their own right. :-)

I think taking a break from bruising activities is probably a good way to go. My husband is behaving much better than I did when confronted with a fear-triggering issue around poly, so I want to give him whatever time or space he needs to work on it.

detritus 04-30-2012 03:39 PM


When we first started opening up our relationship I hadn't realized I was quite as interested in kink as apparently I am. I did raise it with him before I started dating my BF, though, so he did get to "sign off" on it before I started this relationship. He's currently not dating anyone else, but in the past has come home with hickeys. I'm quite amused by them, so no it wasn't a big deal.

As far as just staying covered up after getting bruised, he's asked to be "warned" so as not to be surprised by seeing them. They generally last for at least a week or so and we both normally sleep in the nude so, unfortunately, there's no good way for them to go unnoticed until they disappear.

He's often hesitant to open up about his past abuse, so as much as I agree second-guessing isn't generally a good strategy, I don't want him to feel brow-beaten by me pushing for more information. I think it's enough for me to know they make him uncomfortable and I should try to respect that feeling.

nycindie 04-30-2012 04:09 PM

Hey Detritus,
Arnica gel is supposed to be good for bruises. You can usually find it in health food and vitamin stores. Good for soreness too - lots of runners use it. If possible, look for the kind that has the extract as an ingredient, and not a homeopathic formulation/brand. Homeopathic arnica is said not to be as effective. Weleda makes both; the non-homeopathic is the massage oil. I've used it - Weleda's great, but expensive. Fortunately, you only need a little bit. You just gently massage it into the area. Maybe your bf could do that as a little after-care. There are probably other good brands that cost less.

Vitamin C is also recommended. Dr. Weill has a little page about taking care of bruises here: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02931/Bruises.html

WhitePheonix 04-30-2012 08:24 PM

"The problem is I occasionally come home with bruises and my husband finds them upsetting." detritus

My husband felt very similar to yours, in that he hated/got angry when he saw the bruises. Here's how I fixed it. I got in touch with a member of the kink community that was willing to SHOW hubby, first hand, how and why the bruising occurred. Hubby even participated in the making of said bruises. Once he saw how much I actually enjoyed the process he didn't pitch a fit when he saw them.

falone 05-01-2012 12:44 AM

Hi, I am the Boy Friend who is into BDSM
I want to say first how amazing Detritus and her husband are.
The first meet of Detritus's husband, after we were involved, was really nice. I came to a house warming party, and even stayed after to chat. I think he is a stand up a guy and I am lucky to have him as a paramore.

I wanted to come on here and give a bit of the story from my point of view; in the hopes of helping us all get through this. Feel free to ask me questions, and would gladly take any advice on how I can contribute positively to this situation.

First a bit about me, I am a second generation poly and BDSM practitioner. I have grown up going to socials participating in discussions, and generally being involved in the community. I did not start practicing either of these until about 3 years ago. I have had several successful relationships, and no few play partners. I am not a master at BDSm but certainly know enough to be safe and well informed on what I should not attempt.

Me and Detritus have been dating for 3 months, during that time we have experimented with some BDSM play. She had gone home once or twice with some bruising and we had a sit down where she explained how her husband was not comfortable with it. With this in mind we kept playing, for the most part I have been really good about bruising and marks. The scene before this one we had used a flogger and she did not mark at all.

At the evening in question I over did the scene, I used the same floggers but was not as watchful as I should have been. I left some significant swelling and bruising by the time I was done. I have been struggling with feelings of guilt and apprehension for the situation I have caused. I was warned about how he felt and stepped over that line. My biggest fear is that he not see it as an intentional disrespect of his boundaries. I respect him and the relationship that he is in.

I am feeling frustrated that my play with Detritus might be limited. I want to understand more about where her husband is coming from and anything I might be able to do to make things easier. Ultimately it is the boundaries and rules between them that will be worked on. I always feel uncomfortable when other people are making decisions that has an affect on my relationship with someone else. I do however understand the need to feel secure in a relationship, and not have another relationship shoved in your face overly much. I would like us to all walk away from this stronger, and perhaps even more connected than we are right now.

Thanks all for reading a bit from where I stand. Again I am here to answer any questions, or listen to any suggestions people might have.


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