In part 2 of my interview with Allen Turner, let’s talk about kink and BDSM. I know those can be scary words, even Allen admits to being put off by the terms at first, but when you get down to it, they really are quite freeing. If you’re ready to embrace something different in the bedroom, and find out why it’s ok, this is the episode for you. I know this one will spark a great discussion between you and your spouse!
Amanda: Maybe we should define kink and BDSM. I think that would probably be good for our audience.
Allen: Okay. Cool. So I, as you may hear, I generally like to use the word kink. I prefer it. BDSM generally is bondage, domination, sadism, masochism.
And when I first heard that it scared the tar out of me because I’m thought, I am not a sadist. I am not a masochist and I certainly don’t want bondage and I don’t want to dominate anybody. Right.
Amanda: But you do.
Allen: I do actually a lot now. So, I think that is a bit of a disservice because those are scary words. And you actually see the kink used more commonly, for example, kink talk has become a thing sort of TikTok. There’s a whole big community of resources out there now in places like that.
And it also encompasses the idea that there are what may be considered kinky things outside of the norm. There is someone who loves their toes sucked, whether it’s someone who likes latex, whether it’s someone, you know, I mean, take your pick.
You have to be nonjudgmental when you’re in different communities.
Amanda: Absolutely. Don’t yuck someone else’s yum.
Allen: That’s exactly right. There are definitely things that people talk about in groups that I’m like, Ooh, ah, shut up. You know, I’m just like, it’s not my thing. But I respect it’s your thing.
And there are also things that when the first time I might’ve read or discussed about it and I’m like, I don’t know if I’d like that, but a few months later, or a year later, I’m like, well, okay, I’ve learned a little more about it. I understand it. Let me try. Oh, that was way more fun than I thought, you know?
I mean, my wife says that all the time now she’d be like, I had no idea that I would like to be held down and my hair pulled. Like all the time.
You know, she’s like, why is it? I said, I don’t care. Just enjoy it.
Amanda: Well, I had a client who had been wanting to incorporate more language into their sexual relationship and her husband was not on board. And then he listened to my podcast and he was like, I think I’m ready to do this. And she was like, well, it’s about damn time.
Allen: And the funny thing is that it takes practice. Like I’ve said, I’ve actively practiced some things to even work on it IRL and I do some narration and voiceover work and it’s within the erotic space and I’ve had to actively work to get used to those words coming out of my mouth comfortably, to be quite honest.
I’ve talked about it, but we’re still not used to it.
Amanda: There are so many things that we entered into hesitantly at first, but with practice, it gets better. So I always tell people, at least try a few times before you say this isn’t something that I want to do unless you’re feeling really unsafe.
Allen: I would agree with that. And the thing is you can certainly try. One of the things that I have learned in talking with people in this space and I’ve tried to practice and I did want to make sure I got this in. So I guess the good reminder when talking about language. One of the things that I have learned in talking with women who write about erotica because I interfaced with a few of them now, is how much validation women get out of hearing regularly that they’re beautiful and attractive. And I make sure I practice this.
So every morning for me, one of the things I incorporate into my personal practice towards my wife is I’m very careful and conscientious about what I say first thing when I noticed she wakes up.
And I tell her every morning, you, well, there’s some words I can’t say. It depends on how dirty I’m feeling that morning. I tell her, You are so beautiful. And I try and do it very connectedly and …
Amanda: It’s the energy behind it.
Allen: That’s exactly right. And same thing. I try hard to make sure that no matter what’s going on, we’ve been married a long time, we don’t usually fight and have big disagreements or anything like that at this point. But even if I’m tired, I try to make sure I touch her and remind her, you are beautiful and I’m so glad to be married to you and I love you and those kinds of things, and I’m simply going to work or whatever.
So I would just say to any men listening, try that. That might seem simple to you, I won’t go through the whole backstory, but it’ll say to you some therapy money, if you will just be complimentary to your wife.
Amanda: When we talk about the energy behind it, you’re not saying these things to have more sex with her.
Allen: No, no, no, no, no.
Amanda: You’re saying these things because you believe them and they’re true and you want to connect with her and you want her to feel what you’re saying.
Allen: Yes. So let me get back to what we were talking about with language and terminology. The other side too, when you talk about kink and BDSM is you’ll also hear the term vanilla and that’s not a bad thing.
I love vanilla ice cream.
Amanda: I took a test and I’m vanilla, which I would not think I was vanilla, but apparently I’m vanilla.
Allen: Well, I’ll tell you what, when we get done, I’ll show you mine. I’ll send you my test. You’ll be like what the crud!
Amanda: Maybe it was the test! There were things that I was just really not into, but other things that I’m totally into that I guess are considered vanilla, but I wouldn’t have thought they were.
Allen: Well, and it changes over time. I will just tell what mine looks like now, especially after interfacing with people and becoming more comfortable talking about it. Mine looks way different now than it did a year ago, and that looks different than it did two years ago. So that’s what I’m saying.
The more comfortable you become talking about and practicing these things and frankly, testing it out and thinking, oh, this isn’t weird, I needed to learn about it. It becomes more comfortable
So generally speaking. I think our LDS background predisposes us to being not just generally vanilla, but kind of extremely vanilla.
Right? I mean, I don’t even have a word for it. I was trying to think of one to be clever. And all I had is LDS vanilla.
The best I have is from Dr. Melissa Green, she used to teach at the Blue Boutique many years ago, in her book, Good Loving. She actually described an experience, she doesn’t say what, but we know that it was a young women’s camp, discussion amongst the adults. It’s why she went into becoming a doctor of sexuality and she goes to San Francisco and her story is pretty interesting. Anyway, she used to lecture there and you know, this whole thing about the clitoris and stuff that’s more commonly available now, but she explains that in LDS terms that it’s lights off, missionary position, quick, get it done sex. And so that’s LDS Vanilla.
Amanda: And the woman in starfish position, just laying there.
Allen: Yes. Yeah. Don’t move too much, right. Don’t enjoy it too much.
Amanda: Oh, that’s what I hear all the time. It’s so sad.
Allen: Is this over yet? Am I done yet? Yeah, right? Yeah. So that’s the problem is I think we’re so in some ways we’re so predisposed to being disconnected.
And so in more general terms, it just means someone who practices more simple non-exotic sexuality. Right? And it doesn’t make it bad. What I will say I’ve seen now in the discussion groups, and I assume you have too, when there’s disconnects between one partner that wants to explore and wants particularly deeply needs. Cause you don’t really just find a kink and go, Oh, this is cool. I often say this, it discovers you. It’s part of you. So when you experienced something and it really appeals deep to your soul, for lack of a better word in the sexual realm, when it really appeals to you and you don’t have it. It’s a pretty deep driver.
We’ve got a lot of people in our group who that’s been the core of their divorce or whatever, because their partner just was not interested or thought it was weird. And it disconnects the love bond between somebody. Right? So, I mean, that’s sad that you can’t kind of learn and negotiate, but it’s just another factor of sexual and compatibility.
So yeah, if somebody is committed to the vanilla thing and not willing to learn or change, and they’re really committed to it and somebody, even if they’ve never really explored it, but they have these kink proclivities within them and they explore and go, Oh, I really liked that, I really want that, it can become kind of a real conflict, but I do think the most common ones are what’s called dominant submissive, or are referred to as power exchange, which is sometimes a flip of the two.
So the funny thing about that is the sub is the one who has the power, right? Because the submissive sets the boundaries. And the submissive controls the situation. So they’re the ones that control how far this goes or doesn’t, and when it stops and all that, but the dominant carries the responsibility. They set up the room, they set up the play, they buy the lingerie. Whatever it is, all of that, that is the dominant’s responsibility to ensure that she’s taken care of mentally, physically. That’s your responsibility to make sure all of that is ready and good to go. And what woman wouldn’t want that level of service and support, right?
It’s not to dominate and control and put your will. It’s literally the opposite. That’s why I say in my intro, you’re to serve and worship properly.
Amanda: But that’s not how that’s people not how people do it.
Allen: It’s not. I shouldn’t say that. That is more of what’s called a pleasure dominant, which is this kind of subcategory.
And there are some that are more, it’s not my thing, but some people do like a more mean dynamic. And to be degraded and stuff. Really not my thing. Like I said earlier, there are people who enjoy that and that’s fine. That’s not where I operate personally. It’s not me. I love women.
I can say a few dirty words but I can’t insult a woman. I can’t.
Amanda: But there’s some people who like that. So we’re not going to yuck their yum but that’s not what we’re into.
Allen: And same thing. The converse says the sub needs to, as you pointed out, needs to be ready to receive. And they need to relax. They need to accept being serviced, but they also need to clearly communicate what they want. And that’s typically where you run into trouble.
And so as the dominant responsible party, you actually have a discussion before a placing, you have to draw out from that submissive person what it is they want and like.
Do you like to be touched this way? Do you like to be touched here? Oh no. You don’t want to be tickled. I mean, you literally go through those things and it’s interesting, but I would submit how many couples have had that discussion?
Amanda: Probably not a lot.
Allen: Married 10, 20 years.
Amanda: Most of the people that listen to me, no, they have not.
Allen: Like seriously, if you sat down and said, Do you, I won’t get too graphic, but you know, I was talking to someone recently and I was talking about cunnilingus in some detail with this person because it’s anonymous. And I was talking about touching a woman’s breasts while doing it. And some certain techniques.
And she says, You can touch breasts while doing it? And I said, well, yeah. You mean you’re not just down there? I said, no, you touched the body and you could touch the feet or the insides of the thighs and you can spread certain things open.
And she was like, Oh!
You know, but that’s my point. Have you had a discussion about that? Like, those are things you could discuss amongst adults, but we don’t. No, not in that kind of detail
Amanda: Unless you’re in my membership.
Allen: Good for you. Then buy a membership and buy it today.
Amanda: We talk about everything. Nothing is TMI. We talk about everything.
Allen: I think that’s so necessary in our culture. My wife knows I was coming on here and her question was Why is it that women can get together and talk in graphic detail about birthing within 30 minutes and we can’t talk about sex?
Amanda: Totally agree. Totally agree. So I just got home from my Retreat a little over a week ago and we have these conversations and this is, and we do it in my groups too in the membership on zoom, but like in these groups, we’re having very frank discussions about what happens in our bedroom and what we like and what we don’t like and how to make it better and how we like to be touched and what’s possible.
And everybody says, We have never had discussions like this and I’m like, I know. And that’s why I do what I do because we need to be having these conversations.
Allen: I think we do. It’s interesting because I’ve had discussions like this often with non LDS friends and sometimes I’ve had them with LDS friends and the joke is like, Yeah, can you imagine the Elder’s Quorum on a performing cunnilingus.
Amanda: Nope, not happening.
Allen: I know. Right? Like it’s a Monty Python sketch. I was just like, How well would this work out? So it’s not appropriate for church.
Amanda: No. And yet at the same time we need to be having these discussions. I’ve offered to do some Relief Society activities, and not so, you know, graphic, like we’re going to give you techniques on performing fellatio, but it’s like, I mean, having these discussions on how to build a better sexual relationship with your eternal companion and they’re like, No, we can’t do that. We can’t do that. But yet I know there are women in my ward that are very interested in that. So I’m like, Ok, I’m just going to open up my house and do it that way, because I know that these conversations need to be happening.
Allen: Oh, I one hundred percent agree. I mean, especially after some of the groups that we’re both in and participated in, I am pretty convinced that the main dysfunction or origin of dysfunction is some level of sexual and emotional dysfunction because those two are so inextricably related.
I mean, one begets the other. They’re interconnected. You don’t separate them. You know? I mean each manifests the other, so if one’s wrong, the other’s wrong.
And I just think from what maybe they were preselected, cause we’re in marriage discussion groups you and I, but you know, it just seems to me, but even as I talk to friends and neighbors, you know, a lot of people would say, oh, we have a good marriage.
And I wish the next question I could ask is, Well, are you having frequent and high quality sex? Cause people often substitute quantity for quality. And one of the things about the idea of kink and BDSM and consent and discussing it is it’s not about time. It’s not about quickness, right? Many times it’s about connection. It’s about trust. I mean, you would have to trust me to allow me to tie your arms up and blindfold you, and we would have to discuss what occurs next. Again, even if it’s not sexual.
Even if it’s just for some other form or whatever you might be doing, like the trust that’s required for those kinds of things is deep. So there’s no doubt in my own experience and talking with other people that practicing even some forms of this requires not only communication, but you have to develop a lot of trust.
And a deep sort of connection with that person. If that makes any sense.
Amanda: It totally does. It totally does. That is imperative. So I think we talk about, you know, kink and BDSM, and I know that there are people out there going, is that allowed? I didn’t think we were allowed to do that kind of thing. And what I’ve seen in the group that we’re in – Latter-day Kink that you run – there’s a huge spectrum of what people are okay with. Some following the law of chastity, some not. So in your opinion, what’s allowed?
Allen: Well, that is interesting because there’s also people internationally and I will say there’s quite a wide viewpoint.
So if you look at the statements from the Brethern, and, in fact, I think Oaks made one what, 10 years ago or so, which is the brother and don’t come in any way, any statement between you and your spouse. Right? So if it’s consensual and non-coercive, that’s the official policy statement from the LDS church.
All right. And, and I’ve looked there’s nothing in any of the handbooks or anything else. So as I understand it, from the top down there is absolutely no limits on what you can do between couples. Now LOC or law chastity is a separate and different issue.
I would never consider it nuanced growing up, but having watched people’s discussions, as you pointed out, Boy, there are some opinions about that one. I really don’t want to get into that because I don’t want to misrepresent somebody else’s opinion.
To be fair, I was surprised because to me, I look at it this way, I’ve spent time serving in the temple. I take what I do there very seriously. And to me, it’s always had a very plain meaning of not bringing a third person into the marriage, but I’ve also seen in some of the other marriage and discussion groups, people believe, Oh, if you look at pornography and that’s against the LOC and I’m like, well, wait a minute. I don’t know. For me, that’s a tough one because I look at the temple covenant itself because that is the covenant, not a broader, mixed definition because your stake president once said this or your Relief Society president’s friend said X or, you know, so that is my understanding of it, but boy, some people sure want to get close to the line and that was interesting.
Amanda: So I will just say what I always say is it is between you and your spouse and the Lord, and we’ll just leave it at that.
Allen: Yeah. Like I said, there are some interesting opinions about that, but yeah, I agree with you.
I mean, that’s kind of my position, you know, is I know what the temple covenant is but at the same time, what’s consensual between you two. And I do think the issue of consent is so important though, because again, just because you’re married, doesn’t give you automatic access. Either way. I mean, we often tthink of that as the male thing, but that’s either way.
And that’s why I think talking through what your expectations and proclivities are and learning and growing and developing together, that’s the opportunity, but it also isn’t a license to shut off and stop and damn yourself from development either.
Amanda: Very true. Very true.
So one of the things that I have the women in my program do is to go through and do sexual agreements with their spouse. And it’s because a lot of times we have these implied sexual agreements and we’re not making them explicit. And I think we need to make them explicit and they need to be revisited. So my advice is to revisit them at least every year on your anniversary. So that you just have time where you can go, Okay, this has changed for me. How do you feel? Where are we at these days? They do that with the yes-no-maybe list because that changes all the time, too, right? There’s things that I do now that I would have never thought I would do. You know?
So I think as we are constantly maturing and progressing, and exploring these different parts of ourselves and us as a couple, that those things change. And we need to be open to that as well as open to how our partner is changing because they might be changing in a different way than we are. And, we don’t want to shame other people’s sexuality and whatever comes up for them. So I think that’s a big part of it that I think we see the dynamic of, you know, a lot of times I see that the “men are the sexual ones” Right. And yet they’re shamed for being sexual a lot of times by their wives when it’s just the woman not developing her own sexuality.
Allen: I do feel bad for women in our framing from a cultural, not a doctrinal stance, well, not exactly doctrinal standpoint, but from a cultural standpoint is we’ve made women the morality police. And a lot of that comes from the Strength of Youth stuff. And I don’t think that’s right, because suddenly we’re asking them to not show too much, like all of this narrative that comes from your teenage years.
You should just dump all that, but that’s not easy.
Amanda: Well, if we talked to our teenagers differently but that’s a whole other discussion.
Allen: In regards to what you were saying about what’s allowed by the church, that’s the current statement, but there are historical, cultural beliefs that I don’t know how far you want to dive into this.
Amanda: I’ve talked about it. You know, like oral is a moral in the 1980s, the 1981 memo. Yes. We talked about that.
Allen: You know, so the problem that I think presents itself is I have had as recent as less than a decade ago bishop still promoting that idea locally..
And the problem with it is it was way overboard in my opinion. And you know, it’s got nothing to do with what’s current between that couple. And that’s why people talk about it and yeah, it’s interesting for historical discussion. The problem is that a lot of parents and grandparents adhere to that belief, that certain things aren’t allowed.
You know, what is always interesting to me about that memo is why they didn’t include anal or anything that would be considered more exotic. It’s just so funny.
Amanda: I had someone tell me recently that when they went in for their premarital exam, their doctor told them not to do oral because it would give her cervical cancer. So they have never done it. I’m like, what in the, where did that come from? So just crazy things that people hear, whether it’s in the LDS faith, sometimes even from doctors. We need to tune into our own integrity and look between us as a couple and what’s consensual and really expand ourselves a little bit more.
Allen: Yeah, it does take some time to sort of test and I agree with you, yes-no-maybe lists are helpful and I completely agree with you that kind of testing and trying things, but that’s the thing, everything I gave in my example is, is literally dom right.
You grabbing the hair, that’s actually a form of bondage, right? It’s a form of manipulating the body. And yet if you do it correctly, it’s what you want. Manipulating the head slightly, right? Controlling your clothes. Those are all dominating dom things to do. But when done correctly and with love and with the right energy, it really is what many, many women want is that confident man who knows how to touch them. And the reason I do that is it’s not that hard for men to learn, and it is what women want. Someone who just knows how to take care of me properly.
And yes, they’ve got to be in the right mood and right gear. That’s a valid point. It’s called situational sexuality. You have to prepare the situation correctly. But I think a lot of people think that kink or BDSM play is about control and pain and all those. And it’s not about any of them.
Amanda: It can be, but it doesn’t have to be.
Allen: The vast majority of it is being much more present with your partner and being intimately aware of what he or she wants and needs at the time, particularly in what’s called the power exchange dynamic.
Now you can get into more technical things like flogging, whip, lacks play, there’s a whole bunch of other techniques you can play with, but at their core, it’s about talking, understanding, and then practicing those things.
It does take some tools. I have custom rope and some custom floggers and you know, there’s a lot of cheap tools out there and it is not, to do it correctly, you typically have to get the nicer things. So it’s not, it’s not for everybody. But there are simple things you can do about again, the whole even power exchange dynamic that don’t require money, even techniques for basic sex. Like you can hold down the arms or the legs, instead of the bed.
You can, depending on your size, I developed my upper body strength so I can actually put my hands, for example, just outside the elbows and pole. So now it’s simple and you can’t do it the whole time you’re making love but at certain times for a little while I can stretch or pull or manipulate.
So there are very, very simple things you can do to incorporate some of those feelings of being restrained or controlled. And one of the things, as you talk to people who are typically submissive, particularly those that like ropes are actually being more bound is they say it forces their brain to calm down and accept pleasure.
It’s really interesting to me, the psychology behind it.
Amanda: Well, this has been a fascinating discussion. I love this so, so much. I’m sure people are going to want to know more. Do you have some, we can link some stuff in the show notes, but is there anything that you want to talk to people about before we end today?
Allen: Not really. To be honest, if they have questions, you’ll have to call me.
Amanda: Maybe we’ll do a Q and A episode so that your question and we’ll do it over.
Allen: Yeah. I would actually prefer that. I think it’s better if somebody actually has that. It makes more, more sense because yeah, they’re welcome to check out the Facebook group, but it’s like 90% memes because our people are just total jokers.
Like, I don’t control them. I’m just like, Hey, it’s a free country. Like if you want to post up dirty memes all day…
Amanda: Okay. So let’s have people submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and submit any questions that you have. And then we’ll have Allen back to answer more questions on a later episode.
Thanks so much Allen.
All right. My friends. I hope you found that interview from last week and this week so fascinating and full of good information. So make sure you submit your questions so that we can bring Allen back and answer all of those. And we’ll see you next week.