Negotiating Rules in Poly Relationships



A friend of mine who is in a ploy marriage recently posted on a social networking site to tell people how he handles his relationship, because so many people had asked.

Meanwhile, I am currently working on negotiating a play relationship with another married person who is also poly, and they have very different rules than my husband and I do.

This made me think that a discussion of common rules in poly relationships was called for.


First, here are some common rules:

1. No spending the night with anyone but the emotional primary.

2. No interaction between the secondary partner and any children.

3. All information on relationships outside the primary should be shared upon request.

4. STD tests must be traded with any potential partners before any sexual activity.

5. Emotional primary must meet and approve secondary partners.

Now as I said, these are common rules. It just so happens that my husband and I don’t follow most of these, since we’re not terribly concerned about things like spending nights away from each other now and then.

We do strictly follow the STD testing rule, but that is because we are both STD-free and trying to keep it that way as long as we live.

We don’t have children together, and I know that for me personally, I am more comfortable not interacting with a secondary’s children. My play partner in Oregon had three children that I never met, because I requested not to. The person I am currently in negotiations with also has a child, and I have been uncomfortable when he has brought his child along to meet-ups. I have nothing against children, and I love my son (though he is grown up and on his own now.) However, it feels unfair (to me!) to interact with someone else’s children in case they get attached (as children often do.) My secondary relationships are contingent on where we live, and as my husband is military, we move a lot. I don’t want to form a bond with a child that I won’t know for very long.

However, I leave it up to my husband if he wants to interact with potential play-partner’s children or not. I feel it is a personal choice and I don’t have much of a right to tell him what to do.


For us, we have a strict rule that we come first to each other, and that is the only rule besides the STD testing that I feel matters to me. Some poly couples are upset by the idea of their emotional primary developing feelings of love for another person, but I have never found that to be a concern for me. Loving another person is fine. However, because trust is so important to us, and because we are a team and are supposed to have each other’s backs, I would be hurt if my husband put someone before me when I needed him.

Again, these rules are different for everyone. And for my husband and I, it has depended on if we were in the same place or not. I might ignore a message from him when we live apart if I am on a date, which would seem to the casual observer to be putting someone else before him. But to us, when we live apart, it’s important to be where you are. And so, I would chat with him after my date instead, telling him as many or as few details as he wanted.

If you are not sure what you are comfortable with and what you want in a relationship, there are a lot of books that can help. My favorite is Opening Up, because it has worksheets and detailed explanations of common emotions people experience in various situations.

I think the most important part is to be honest with yourself. Emotions are tricky things that can sneak up and bite you when you aren’t looking. Take some time to really get to know yourself, because it will help you decide in what ways you are comfortable interacting with another person.

Then, remember to be honest with your partner. If you want to change a point that you have already negotiated, let them know how and why you want to change it, and have a discussion about comfort zones.

Remember to always be respectful of your partner’s feelings and your own. If they want to spend the night with someone and you are not okay with that, don’t sit at home and stew about how angry you are! Be honest with them, and talk about why this limit is important to you.

(For me, I am fine with him spending the night places, but not with girls spending the night at our house unless the three of us intend to play together.)

Take each other’s feelings into account in each step of the dating process, and try to always make sure that your partner isn’t just saying that they are okay when they really aren’t.

Of course you will have situations where you get really angry. Your emotional primary will not always see things the same way as you. You might even get angry enough to yell! But this is normal, and sometimes it can’t be helped. There are not standardized rules for these types of relationships, and there is no traditional script. A normal monogamous relationship is full of reinforced cultural bias that seems to lurk in every sitcom, book, or story of any kind. And these cultural stereotypes create a model for a relationship, so that you are rarely stepping outside of a paradigm that feels safe.

In a poly relationship, you are often stepping out of your comfort zone and into all kinds of territory that is strange and uncharted. So take it one day at a time and figure out what works for you. Be patient with yourself and with your partner. As long as you can always do that, you should be fine.


Cheating is Everywhere



I bought a couch the other day off Craigslist. I went to see it, and I liked it. But I didn’t have a truck with me. So, I talked with the guy a while until I was sure I trusted him enough to leave him a down payment (so he wouldn’t sell it to someone else) while I went and got myself a way to move it.

When we talked, he told me about his wife and daughter of seven, and how his job as a pilot often took him away from them. As a military spouse, I empathized. He seemed to genuinely love his family.

A few hours later I came back to pick up the couch. I had my friend with me. She immediately recognized the guy, and then an awkward silence followed. She told me as soon as we were alone that she used to place Craigslist ads for kinky meetups, and had dated this guy for a while earlier in the year after he answered one of her ads.



So this guy spent 20 minutes earlier in the day talking about how much he missed his wife and daughter and how much he loved his family. But then I found out that he was lying to his wife and cheating on her with my friend.

I know that studies show cheating is rampant in “monogamous” relationships, but I just can’t believe how often it comes up in my life.

My husband is a sailor and most of his shipmates are married. Yet when they get to a port that isn’t their home port, most of them make a beeline for the brothels. And who knows? If I didn’t get tested every 6 months because we are in a poly relationship, maybe my husband would too. He knows he can’t- because the chance of getting an STD are so high from a prostitute, and since I get STD tests from all my partners I would know anything we got would be from him.

But if he was with a woman who was less conscious of sex and sexuality, maybe he would join his “happily married” co-workers at the brothels.

I know a lot of couples who claim to be monogamous, but there are only a few whom I would guess actually are. So many people lie about it, and so I had to think about why.

My guess is this: I think talking about sex is scary for people. I also think society forces the idea of monogamy as an ideal onto us, even though it is not our biological instinct. And I think the combination of those factors make people feel like they have to lie rather than simply admitting that one partner isn’t always enough.

This is probably why I write about polyamory so much. I want people to know that it’s okay. Having sex with people other than your partner is totally possible in a consensual way. But you have to be honest with each other. You can’t lie about it. You have to talk about it and set limits and boundaries and find your comfort zones.

I guess I hope that if I just keep writing about it, more people will be exposed to the idea and eventually it won’t be so taboo. Because right now, people are sneaking around and this is helping STDs spread, and fostering a battle of the sexes and a lot of negativity and divorce. It’s out of hand.

I hope the pilot who sold me the couch tells his wife some day that he is cheating with women off Craigslist and they work it out. I hope all the military husbands stop sleeping with hookers when they are away some day. I hope people figure out how to have sex responsibly without putting their relationships in jeopardy some day.

But today does not seem to be that day.






Since the release of a certain novel that began as Twilight fan fiction, many people have started to become curious about BDSM. This has led to a lot of questions about where to get good BDSM porn.

Sadly, I have to tell you that I don’t know. Sure, there are books for that sort of thing like the Sleeping Beauty Series. And there are instructional books too.

However, when you start looking into porn for some fetishes (say a female domme who is not a bitch to her subs) you tend to come up empty-handed.

If you are a male, and you are into dominating females, then you can find all the things you want at

But if you are most other kinds of kinky, there isn’t much out there for you. And in pretty much all BDSM porn I have seen, the participants are mean to each other. I don’t happen to think that dynamic is always fun, because BDSM can also be very sensual and loving and it doesn’t get enough credit for that.

And what if you are a female that likes to objectify men in the same way that women are traditionally objectified in modern media? There isn’t really any porn for you. After all, that’s not something the people who make porn would ever think of (I mean, they are all men!)


So what do you do if you are looking for some BDSM porn that involves a loving couple with a healthy power-balance?

Well, there are sites like Literotica that offer a variety of kinky stories to read. Usually in there you will find the stuff you are probably looking for (more cute rope scenes and less clown porn with handcuffs.)

But if you’re looking for video it’s a good chance you are out of luck.

I like to hope that as BDSM becomes more main stream, we might see more porn that is actually representative of our relationships. But then, vanilla folks don’t really get that right now, and they are the defining element of the mainstream.

Hopefully you find something out there that is something like what you want. But I think for us kinky folks, the best porn is real life, because often we have more satisfying sex than anything you can find online. Go us.


What’s Wrong?


Recently a friend posted this article, and because it comes up so much in kink couples and vanilla couples, let’s talk about it. Why can’t your male partner get off?

The problem is, women often blame themselves, thinking that there is something wrong with them. They panic that they are bad in bed, or that their vagina is somehow deffective. I have heard this so often from so many women, and I feel terrible for them because they are trapped in a whole mess of insecurity over something that is 99% of the time not their fault at all.

As the article points out, the most common reasons that men can not get off is:

One: They grip too hard when they masturbate (and masturbate too often) which causes them to not be able to enjoy actual sex.

Two: They watch too much porn and are used to a level of things going on at once that no human could provide them.

First, let’s talk about masturbation. When a woman masturbates, it is not something that can prevent her from having an orgasm later. Since women can have multiple orgasms in a row if they want, a little fun in the morning isn’t going to stop them from getting off at night. As such, they often don’t understand why a male partner can’t get off when they have masturbated that day (or the male partner does not admit to having masturbated that day).

Add to that the fact that most guys grip way too tight when they are pleasuring themselves, and no vagina will ever be as tight as a hand grasping with all its might.

Second, when I say porn is a problem, I don’t mean watching a porn all the way through with build up and credits. I mean the 15 different porn clips that your male partner probably watches at once, all being just a short video of some outrageous thing that you can’t/shouldn’t do for them (be gang-banged, fuck a donkey, etc…)

So when they are used to watching all these different porn clips at once (and all of extreme things), one person becomes less than they need to have an orgasm.

These things are not your fault as a woman. Not at all. Your male partner can lay off the porn and the masturbation to help these problems go away. But don’t ever let him make you feel responsible. You are not responsible at all.

Sorry guys. I’ve just run into too many women who are being made to feel bad because of their male partner’s life choices and it’s simply not fair to them to keep blaming themselves.

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Sub Drop



I recently made a comment about Sub Drop, and was met with a blank look. I thought this was a term that everyone in the kink community knew, so I was surprised to find that it is not. Since it seems to be needed, here is a brief explanation.

Submitting to another person is usually a very emotional experience for anyone. This is sometimes part of an overall relationship, or sometimes part of a stand-alone scene. However, going into sub space and allowing oneself to be vulnerable is very intense even if there is not a deep emotional connection (or any connection at all) between partners.

Obviously this is different for every person, and so it is very hard to describe the feeling. However, a friend of mine once said; “It takes a great deal of courage to submit to and trust another person.” I believe that is true.


Because submission is such an emotional experience, it’s important not to finish a scene and then part ways immediately. Of course, every scene should end with after-care, where you hold the submissive and let them gradually come out of sub space.

Even when the after care is over, the submissive is usually still emotionally vulnerable, and so it is best not to leave them alone if possible. If the submissive must be left alone, they should be encouraged to have a friend come over and be with them, just in case.

In situations where the submissive is left alone, they often experience something called “Sub Drop,” where their already vulnerable emotional state overwhelms them and they become extremely depressed. This is something that a Dom or Domme must do their best to avoid, as this can make the submissive adverse to future scenes, and can be very hard on them.

Remember, if a person is brave enough to submit to you, it is your responsibility to respect that courage and to do your best to be good to your submissive. Without submissives (and switches who chose to submit), none of us would able to enjoy our kink, which is to have someone to dominate.