But it’s not a free-for-all. It can’t be. My wife has her own needs and desires, among them the need to be loved for herself and not because of what she is willing to do with balloons to satisfy me. It’s not easy to strike a balance between her needs and mine, and it’s not as simple as adding up the numbers, half the sex involving balloons and half of it not. My wife needs and deserves to know that making love to her is all about how she makes me feel, all by herself, without any help from my nearly-lifelong fetish. She needs to know that I am excited by the sight of her, and the way she touches me, and the way I feel when I touch her.
That’s why balloons are only involved in a small percentage of our sexual encounters. This is not a source of frustration for me; I love me wife and I love making love to her, and I don’t feel that anything is missing if there are no balloons in the bedroom. True that there are some things I wish she could do for me. And she tries, and even gets pretty far outside her comfort zone sometimes. And for that I love her even more. But I can only push so far, and I value my marriage too much to push any further.
You see, a fetish can be very powerful. Its seeds usually go back beyond our earliest memories, and so it has been part of our lives, including our sexual feelings, for much longer than we have known our partner. That can be threatening to a relationship. If too many sexual encounters involve the fetish, how does your partner know whether you’re excited by him or her, or only by the object of your fetish?
That’s why communication is so important. You have to give permission, in so many words if necessary, for your partner to say “enough,” that the fetish has been taking over and needs a break. And you have to be willing to honor that, to reconnect with the one you love, one-to-one, without your “other lover” in the room.
Would I give up my balloons if my wife asked me to? That’s a tough one. I don’t think I could ever feel differently about them. But if she wanted to ban them from the bedroom, I think I’d have to say yes, I would. Fortunately, I see no signs of that happening, and after over a quarter-century of marriage we’ve worked it out pretty well.
But it didn’t just happen; we made it turn out this way. Together.