In the kink community, there is this pressure to be polyamorous. I think this is because it’s really hard to find someone who can be everything you want when you have a lot of kinks.
For example, I am a switch. I know I mostly write from the perspective of a Domme, but I have switched in the past. I just can’t do it with the same person. If I dominate someone, I’m not going to then turn around and submit to them. It’s just not comfortable in my brain.
Don’t bother telling me that this speaks to some deep-seeded issue. We all have issues, and not all of them can (or even need to be) worked out. If your life works the way it is and you are happy, then don’t change a thing.
Now, in most of my relationships, I’m the Domme. But every now and then, I’ll find someone who clicks with me just right, and I’ll be willing to be a submissive. That submissive relationship won’t satisfy me completely because I’m still 99% Domme, so it can’t be my only relationship.
Polyamory exists in many varieties, and for many reasons.
In the case of my husband, he’s my Pet. I can’t see him as Dominant because he curls up in my lap and I stoke his hair and he’s my perfect little plaything. I don’t want to taint or compromise it in any way; it’s exactly what I want for us and it makes me so happy.
If you ask me, I think this speaks to why kinky people are so likely to create multiple meaningful attachments. After all, sometimes I do want to be submissive (or even just a different kind of dominant,) and I need an entire other person for that.
There’s also stuff that he’s just not into (like role play) that I really love. So, I need a whole other person for that as well.
Kink is varied and there’s a lot going on, and you probably won’t find one person that can be your everything all the time.
The problem is this: Some people are actually just monogamous. Being poly or monogamous is another orientation. You’re born that way, though maybe it takes you a long time to figure out. In the end, it’s who you are.
Let’s talk about an example:
I dated a guy many years ago who was fun and kinky and interesting. He looked a little weird (big forehead, odd lips) but he was funny, had an infectious energy, and was generally enjoyable to be around.
However, he was monogamous.
Now, he didn’t accept that about himself. He claimed to be poly and had no issue with me dating. And, since I didn’t know he was monogamous, I had no issue with him looking for another person to date as well. (Note: he was completely single when I met him- which is fairly inconceivable to a poly person. I don’t think I’ve been completely single since middle school.)
The moment he found another girl he liked, he vanished. Oh, he still sent a message here and there and tried, but he simply wasn’t able to split his attention. He was completely incapable of thinking about more than one person.
It was jarring for me, since I had put a fair amount of emotional investment into the relationship. It sucked to basically be ghosted (though he wasn’t consciously aware he was doing that.)
I did try tell him that his behavior wasn’t okay, and that I still deserved attention even if he began dating someone else. He lashed out in a way that was childish, cruel, and unexpected. He said I was being emotionally manipulative, and made all kinds of completely unfair accusations.
Obviously, I know that it probably did feel that way to him (like I was being unfair.) However, that’s only because he literally lacked the ability to pay attention to more than one sexual partner at once. My asking for attention felt like a manipulation since I said I didn’t mind if he dated someone else. He simply didn’t have the bandwidth to comprehend what he was doing. It was like he expected me to stay on hold while he let the other relationship run its course, and he didn’t understand that polyamory isn’t putting someone on hold so you can go obsess over new people.
In my opinion, the hardest part of being poly is stepping up. You have to pay the same amount of attention to the person you were already dating, and then make new energy for the new person. I understand that it’s hard for some people to split their attention or to handle more than one thing at once. I’m not criticizing them for this single-mindedness.
However, if you are monogamous, figure it the fuck out.
And remember: there is a difference between sexual monogamy and emotional monogamy. Some people are emotionally monogamous but just have sex with other people. They don’t develop relationships with the extraneous people. They don’t send them Christmas cards or try to keep them in their lives. They only want extra people for sex, but they are unable to expend the emotional effort to care for those people.
If you are emotionally monogamous, then everyone who comes in contact with you needs to know that. There is nothing at all wrong with sex that doesn’t involve emotion. Casual sex is awesome! But, the people who sleep with you need to know that you don’t have the capability to handle more than one emotional attachment at a time.
It all comes down to being conscious of who and what you are. I know monogamy is stigmatized in the kink community. However, if you are a monogamous person, just be open about it. It’s who you are, and you need to demand respect like the rest of us do.
And remember: Polyamory might be the standard in the kink community, but you’re still the one who gets to blend in with the vanillas and have relationships that don’t require a flow chart!
Finally, let’s circle back to the start and talk about compromise. Monogamous people are not emotionally capable of maintaining more than one attachment. However, they often can’t get everything that they want from the partner that they have. The compromise they make is all over culture: The poor man who wants some excitement in his life. The poor woman who has a nice guy but dreams of someone handsome (just for a night!) Etc… etc… etc…
The stories about the compromises of monogamy get told. We all know them.
Monogamous people often think that we don’t make any compromises since we can sleep with more than one person. This is absolutely not true!
My husband put up with my crabby boyfriend staying here for a week. That was a huge compromise on his part! He has to accept me writing letters and sending birthday cards to all the people I maintain relationships with. And, he feels sad sometimes when I am paying attention to people who aren’t him.
By the same token, I love to set up play dates for him so that he can experiment with different types of play and have some variety in his life. But, I do feel a little sad sometimes when I think of how there are pieces of him that I don’t get to share. Knowing those pieces exist is my compromise.
You’ll never be in a happy, healthy relationship that doesn’t involve some compromise. So embrace who you are, and make the best decisions based on what you can handle.
But please monogamous folks, know yourself. Don’t date poly people if you can’t be poly.