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I Didn’t Think Monogamy Was For Me. Then My Boyfriend And I Tried BDSM.

I used to worry that queer monogamy was the kiss of death. But my boyfriend’s new chastity cage showed us a world of sexual possibility — for just the two of us.

Posted on July 6, 2020, at 1:41 p.m. ET

Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed News; Getty Images

I found a man one sweltering November afternoon four years ago. For once, I was saved the trouble of having to harvest Grindr or any of its equally monotonous substitutes. No, obviously we did not meet in real life; name one millennial who — quarantine or not — leaves the house. We met on Instagram. Luscious, rosé-tinted Instagram. His profile (sluttymissmuffet) was a summery cluster, all sand and shirtlessness. The little rainbow flag in his bio was the flaming signal I was looking for.

While sliding into his DMs, I considered two options in my opening message: fiery sexiness or blistering cringe. I opted for both: “You’re more than welcome to sit on my tuffet, muffet boy.” Sent. Received. No response. Two minutes post-seen. My dick recommended sending one of its selfies. Not this time, dæmon! Five minutes. I briefly considered the pleasant vacuum of death. Eleven excruciatingly erect minutes later: Tingnngg! Oh. Nudes. There goes No Nut November.

BB and I met the weekend after our Insta debut, when we spent four frictionless hours not telling each other everything about our lives. And then, in the days and weeks afterward, everything started getting weird. For the first time ever, I stopped craving my weekly slither of fresh bodies. I mean, I still did, but my usual crop never wrinkled their noses super adorably when I hooked my index finger inside them. I, whose body count numbered in the high hundreds, was falling for one man.

A month later, I nervously mentioned to BB that I hadn’t hooked up with anyone since we began dating. “I haven’t, either,” he said. “Do you think we should make it official?”

Oh no. The M-word. “Are you saying we should be monogamous?” I asked.

“Yes, I want to. Do you?”

Let me emphasize something here. Monogamy can be wonderful. My parents have been together, in license and in health, for eleventy-six sappy years. Most heterosexual couples I know follow the same pattern: hit puberty, score a boy/girlfriend, get married, dribble out babies, grow old, die. Many queer people, myself included, prefer different kinds of intimacy, build different kinds of families.

There’s the open relationship: romantic restriction, physical diversity. Then there are throuples: a cohabitation of X, Y, and Z. Obviously there’s polyamory: one person sharing infinite love and desire for as many as their heart can hold. (A former sex pal told me he indulges in romantic orgies, whatever the hell that means.)

And then there is queer monogamy. In today’s world — where I have the freedom to openly express my desires, choose from a limitless range of partners, and, most importantly, ghost aforementioned partners once their novelty is inevitably extinguished — I worried that monogamy = blandness. But my usual common sense made for a brittle barrier against the oxytocin river that BB had unleashed within my body. So to BB’s proposal of exclusivity, and to my surprise, I answered, “Yes! Fuck yes!”

We performed the three salient rites of cis-gay cohabitation: getting a joint Netflix account, moving in together, and deleting Grindr — in that order. Our days were spent in a flurry of nook breakfasts, hurried prework kisses, and long periods spent waiting to be home again. Our nights constituted television binges, skin-corroding sex, and the inevitable descent into cuddly slumber. We alternated park picnics with lake brunches on the weekend. Our inner circles gradually intersected, weeding out several who didn’t adapt to the new system and leaving behind a core set who came over for dinner and Pictionary every second Thursday. We even squished our gym gear into a single locker because it was the cute couple thing to do.

Everything felt fantastic. But that’s just it, isn’t it? For those in the serene mists of early monogamy, there is no lighthouse beacon that warns of rocky shores. One day you’re on a technicolor blimp, soaring past cotton-candy clouds; the next you’re mired in a pool of dishwater, squabbling about chore allotments. Our arguments were the typical domestic squabbles: TV shows, floor laundry, quilt coverage. Less than a year in, we were bringing home work tensions and launching them at each other. Family suggested patience and toil; friends told us to take a break from each other (oh yeah, we fought about that too).

One particularly nasty clash — in public, on date night, over a Mangalorean fish dish — became a referendum on every single thing we hated about each other. The ride home was icy with unfamiliar discomfort, and although BB’s stony quiet was indistinguishable from his natural reticence, I found my inability to come up with either excuse or apology concerning. I was either too angry or too apathetic to say anything, and both possibilities terrified me.

I, whose body count numbered in the high hundreds, was falling for one man.

That night, like so many in the preceding weeks, I tucked myself into the space between the bed and the wall — god forbid accidental contact — and hoped to fall asleep without conversation. But BB chose that point to have had enough. “We really need to sort us out, darling,” he whispered.

I turned toward him, predicting a deep eyeroll. But there were only sparkling eyelashes. “Baby, please don’t cry,” I said, “I’ll do anything you want. I love you so much.”

He looked doubtful. “There is something I’ve been thinking about for some time now,” he said warily, “but I don’t think you’ll be into it.”

His assumption stung my sense of gallantry. “Try me.”

Chastity cage (noun): a hollow device used to prevent erections and, consequently, needling the wearer along the edges of pleasure without offering release. Chastity cages are commonly used in BDSM, which we’d both dabbled in beforehand, but only to the extent of light spanking and negligible quantities of verbal abuse. Now, BB wanted me to lock his dick up so he couldn’t touch it anymore.

What an infernal concept! I thought. The penis is not designed to languish: Its utility derives from its hardness (both magnitude and mileage). Hampering this process sounded agonizing, and I mumbled as much.

But he pulled out his puppy eyes (for the second time in one night!). “Please, darling,” he said, “Can we just see how it goes?” He remained adamant about “spicing up our sex life” — as if prostate orgasms were the solution to all our problems.

My resistance was futile. “Fine,” I sighed, “but we’re only going to try it once.”

Many days of research and hundreds of vetoes later, we decided on an industry standard with a queasy brand name: “The Holy Trainer.” Order placed. Four to six six weeks later (after the inexplicable eon required to ship wholesale Chinese goods to India, where we live), BB received the package, strapped himself in, and waited for me to get back from work. I know, right? No fillers, no fluff. He didn’t even crack a hint through dinner. I was exhausted, but my desire for a good night’s sleep was parried by the spectacle next to the dresser: my BB, on his knees, cock sheathed in polycarbonate armor, the soft glint of a key between his teeth, and—

I don’t think I can comfortably relay every intimate detail, but suffice it to say: The sight of BB’s willing vulnerability transformed my usually tender dominance into carnivorous aggression. I spent the next few days guiltily daubing antiseptic on the maroon teeth imprints lacing BB’s thighs and butt cheeks. I worried what I’d done was abusive, but BB made clear that his consent was both uninterrupted and enthusiastic. “So you went a little overboard! Shit happens. We can take it slow next time.”

BB took a few days to recoup his motivations for the exercise before we commenced with Round 2. This time, however, I let my yearning for control take a backseat. This time, he stroked the strings and I was his eager puppet. He asked me to spank him. I obeyed. He demanded more. I could not dream of doing otherwise. He held my hands behind my head and sprawled his delectable ass over my thighs.

The fact that BB was unable to stimulate his cock did not dampen his pleasure — it amplified it. In a normal session, before the arrival of the Holy Trainer, BB would have jerked himself to completion after I finished inside him (15 minutes from clothes off to gentle snoring). But that night, it took him two hours to finish; his fussy prostate required an intricate set of thrust patterns at the exact angles before it could splutter into orgasm. The chastity cage ceased its clinking, his eyes rolled back, porn-style, and he collapsed on my chest — his viscous pearls blotting between our bellies.

“I’m not letting you come until we do it again,” he said, smirking. So we did it twice more — long, excruciatingly divine moments — before I was finally allowed release. The choice he’d made to deny himself physical pleasure obligated me to deny my own. I was not permitted, nor did I even want to, achieve the respite of completion unless he wanted me to.

The feeling was mutual. “I like this,” he purred, palming me the key to his chastity. “I like feeling utterly beholden to you. Knowing that only you, my only love, has the power to unlock me.” It seemed that we had endowed the other with equal authority. While he may have been ostensibly under my dominion, BB’s submission was not meant to be a concession of power, but an exchange. It is consent, subverted: I exert control over his anatomy and his masculinity; he expects me to do everything in my power to protect them.

My privilege is not a prerogative, but a statement of allegiance. I am bound — by duty, by love — to my beautiful beautiful man, lying here by my side as I write this, his legs akimbo, clearly mapping out the most vulgar of fates—

Wait, where was I? Oh yes, three years of exquisite monogamy have passed since we spliced that sacred sliver of trust into our relationship. We have no option now but to take responsibility, to care for each other as we do ourselves. There is still the occasional quarrel, but our devotion is singular. To remain true to another — especially after they marinate in the slimiest depths of your being — is not merely to survive, as the Maya Angelou proverb goes, but to thrive. And we do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. ●


Spot illustrations by Zachary Ares / BuzzFeed News


This story is part of a weeklong series about how we have sex now.


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