Dear Richard: Gonna Dress You Up in My Love

By: Joe Thompson

Dear Richard,

I've been dating my boyfriend for six months and all is good. He's fun, he listens, he has opinions, and we enjoy spending time together. The sex is also good. Or so I thought.

Last week we were a little tipsy when he said he had something in his closet that he wanted me to wear. I assumed it was a harness or jockstrap so I got excited. Instead, he pulled out a Mexican wrestling outfit and mask. I was kind of confused and a little insulted, and he must have sensed something because he laughed it off and put back. He tried starting up again but it just wasn't happening and we went to bed.

The next morning I talked to him about it. Turns out, he's got this big fetish for guys in Lucha Libre costumes. He asked if that was a problem and I said I didn't know, because I honestly don't, but he said that he really enjoys wearing them or having his sex partner wear them. I asked how much. He said A LOT. He said that with guys in the past he's had to fantasize about it to get off, but not with me... yet.

Should I suggest he get help? Is the problem with me? I do like him, but I don't know if I can have sex with a guy while wearing a mask. I think it freaks me out.

Falling Apart at the Seams

Costume2 Dear Seams,

First off, congrats on actually talking to your man rather than ignoring the situation or running away. Secondly, this sounds like a costume or role playing fetish, which is really no big deal. We often associate those terms with men who wear women's panties or latex uniforms to get off, but a lot of us lightly step into this realm all the time. We wear briefs or swimsuits that make us feel sexy or, like you mentioned, try on a harness or jockstrap for a fun thrill. So to a certain extent we're all guilty of playing in this world.

Costume and role-playing fetishes have been around as long as sex itself, however the characterization of all such behaviors as “fetish” formally started when psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud described them as “a form of paraphilia where the object of affection is a specific inanimate object.” As popularly defined now by most psychologists, a fetish is “recurrent intense sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies involving specific objects.”

As long as those fantasies don't stop you from living a normal, healthy life then there's nothing wrong with them. Indeed, Dear Richard thinks we need to escape from a shame-based view of sex anyway, and the occasional dressing up or role playing is a good way to do it. Gay men's sex shame is often rooted in societal pressures to deny the same-sex attraction that we first experienced in our youth. Anything that doesn’t fit the hetero-normative mold—like men who enjoy humping while being dressed as a police officer— is considered taboo, dirty, and shameful. Many men carry this inside as a form of regret that we can’t function as our neighbors do, and thus we become caught in a shame spiral. However, if we can own this fetishistic behavior as simply another facet of our sexual being, we can work to escape the spiral.

The key, of course, is finding a willing sex partner, and it sounds like your boyfriends had come to a place where he felt he could share this secret fantasy with you. That's a huge deal, and you should respect him and your relationship for making him feel safe. So where do you go from here?

Let him know that you're not rejecting him, but you're trying to process all this new information and you'd like him to be patient with you. Then continue talking about his kink. Find out when it started and how it developed. Ask what specifically turns him on—the look, the feel of the tight fabric, the smell, etc.  Get to know him and his fantasies, but don't get caught up in the Lucha Libre look itself Costume3because that may just be what he's currently enjoying. It may develop into a fetish for spandex, Speedos, briefs, wrestling or any one of a hundred other variations.

You also need to examine your own feelings and how they relate to this. Does the idea of showing off your body in spandex turn you on or scare you, and if it's the latter, ask yourself why. If it's the mask you hate, that's actually a common feeling. Many guys who are into BDSM or a similar fetish feel a sense of claustrophobia or panic when they have a mask or blindfold on. But they adapt and find different ways to explore their sexuality without putting things over their eyes.

So explore everything: your man's feelings, the fetish itself, and your own emotional responses. Then communicate that with one another. Sure, you may discover you're not into it and this is a deal breaker. On the other hand, people and relationships evolve, so this might be a great opportunity to both learn about yourself and create a stronger relationship.

_Dear-Dick-jeaned2 Dear Richard is not a medical doctor, a licensed psychiatrist, a counselor, a reverend, or a rabbi. He has not been evaluated by the FDA, the CDC, or the BBC, and his words are not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. You try this stuff out, you do it of your own free will. He does, however, love Madonna songs. He's also happy to answer your questions. Leave a comment or send him an e-mail.

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