Negotiating Rules

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So you have realized you are kinky. Great! Now what?

In a typical vanilla relationship, you have a set of rules. You don’t have to follow those rules, and in fact, you can act in the opposite way all the time if you want. However, the rules are there.

This is sort of a holdover from a time when there were clearly defined gender roles. Women stayed home. They cooked and cleaned and had babies. Men went to work. And if they were gentlemen, perhaps they opened some doors or helped with things around the house.

Many people no longer follow those rules, but they still persist in TV, Music, Movies, and popular culture in general. As this is a US election year, I’ll just go ahead and point out that they still exist in politics too, which is really tragic.

(Maybe that’s just my opinion, but I think traditional gender roles are damaging to everyone.)

 

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However, us kinky folks don’t have rules that have been established over time. A Master/Mistress/Slave/Submissive does not always act in any particular way.

This can be very freeing, because obviously the oppressive gender roles of the mainstream are a bummer. And yet, it can also be scary. If there are no established rules, how do you know what to do?

I would only point out that it’s entirely up to you to decide how comfortable you are with things, and what you want.

Take the example of my husband and myself. We are both switches, but not in our primary relationship with each other. In our personal relationship, he is my Pet, and I am his Mistress. We do not do this 24/7, but we do observe this at home. This can get really confusing sometimes. Last year for my birthday he got me a cake that said “Happy Birthday Mistress.” I didn’t even think about it because I am so used to be called Mistress, and I posted a picture of the cake on my Facebook feed.

Big mistake.

I forget that his friends and co-workers can see things that he is tagged in, and that he’s not “out” in his public life. Not to mention he was talking to a few girls at the time who thought of him as a Master and I think he might have been friends with them on Facebook.

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We didn’t make a big deal about it or anything. It’s not like it caused a fight. But it was one of those awkward moments where we had to think about boundaries. It’s always hard to know where boundaries are, and they may not be in the same place for both parties in a relationship.

That’s just one example, but there are so many more.

As another example, think of how relationship dynamics change over time with a vanilla couple. That can be a huge cause of stress on a relationship, and they don’t even have kink roles added in. They can just have a situation where one party used to make more money, and now the other does, and that can ruin a marriage.

But we have the added complication of evolving kink roles over time. Sometimes the person who is dominant wants to do a submissive thing. This can cause the person who is usually submissive to suddenly see their Master in a whole other light and can ruin their psychological ability to feel properly submissive later (since kink is mostly about the space in your head and not the toys or bonds, this is a very real concern.)

So what do we do?

Well, that’s the part I hate to tell people: I don’t know. No one does. We just negotiate and re-negotiate and try to figure it out.

Yes, that sucks. I wish there were easy answers. But the truth is, in kink, you just have to feel things out and hope that you can find places where you agree on things. I actually think so many of us are poly because it’s very hard to find someone who you can have as a partner and also have compatible kinks with. Hence, play relationships outside the primary tend to crop up a lot of the time.

As I always say, there is no solution outside of good communication. If you can do that, you should be okay.

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End of Year Thoughts and Wishes.

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First, even though I write about my husband and our poly relationship all the time, it seems like I still get people being surprised/upset when they find out that I am married. So just to clear that one up, I am still married, and social conventions are still dicks.

Though I haven’t been able to date much since I got stuck on Guam, I still think slut-shaming is wrong (and that’s one of my best posts in all my years blogging.)

I update my lists of people you should check out and books you should read all the time, so make sure to check those out if you are looking for resources. I even have a whole subcategory of just book reviews.

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I have been meeting a lot of folks on Guam, and this has definitely led to some posts about how women are people and you need to talk to them like people, but also a lot of posts about helping people learn about kink.

All in all, it’s been a good year. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I started this blog just to amuse a friend who pestered me to share what I knew. He’s off in South America somewhere now with his wife, and for some reason, I am still writing.

Well, I guess I do it for those of you who read, since wordpress gets all the ad revenue and I don’t get a dime. No matter. Thanks for reading! Cheers to your 2016!

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Negotiating Rules in Poly Relationships

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Poly Couples

 

I often meet people who are skeptical about poly-amorous relationships. They tell me no relationship is really happy if the people in it sleep with other people. They are deeply rooted in a cultural stereotype that monogamy is the  only path to a happy relationship.  Videos like the one above (Carrie Underwood- Before He Cheats) sell an idea that sleeping with more than one person is grounds to destroy property and act irrationally. TV shows and movies all sell the same cultural stereotype, and I have yet to see a portrayal of a poly couple that was actually happy.

Now, on this blog I have defended monogamy in the past. I see nothing wrong with it, and I know that it is right for some people. I respect monogamous relationships, and I don’t sleep with people who are in monogamous relationships.

However, I now feel compelled to defend open relationships. This is a post I have been driven to, by a great many people who tell me that I am not really happy. They stand outside my life, and the judge things they cannot possibly understand. And they tell me that I am not really happy with my choices. Because of this, I have finally been forced into a post I never wanted to write, about why I choose not to be monogamous.

First, let me start by saying that I have tried and succeeded at having a monogamous relationship. It lasted for several years. I never cheated once, though I wanted to and often tried to convince him to have threesomes with me and other girls (which he always refused.) So, it’s not like I am just a whore who can’t walk 10 feet without tripping and landing on a penis. I am an evolved human who can control my baser instincts if I must.

Second, I am bisexual. So for me, being monogamous means giving up either girls, or boys. This is hard for me, as I really enjoy both. I am passionate about women in a way I can’t be with men. I fall for them. I am the kind of person who buys flowers and writes poems and tells them that they are beautiful every single day. I love women. But women are complicated. They have several emotions at once, which often keeps them from just wanting to have simple, uncomplicated sex. I like men for their ability to ignore emotions and just have a good time. I also like them for their loyalty. I do not like to have to choose one or the other, when I adore both so much!

And third, I like variety. Yes, you can do many different things with the same person. You can role play and switch around your BDSM roles. You can wear costumes and play parts and you can choose to look them in the eye or not. I do get that. And I am not discounting the ability to make the same person continue to be interesting after a lot of years of sex with them. That is a real thing. However, it’s not just about sex for me. It’s a psychological thing. I like the way different people react to me. I am so in love with the feeling of people falling in love with me. I am seduced by the act of seduction. I love new experiences through the eyes of new people.

So these are my reasons for being unwilling to enter into a monogamous relationship any longer. I used to allow people to make me feel guilty about these things. I used to let them push me into feeling like I was somehow wrong inside, and that my way of thinking wasn’t okay. But I don’t let people push me around anymore.

I am currently in several relationships. Some are just sexual. Three involve real feelings, and are real relationships complete with love and trust. Each relationship I am in is very important to me. I value each of the people who let me share a part of their lives, and I make sure to show them in every way I can that they mean a great deal to me.

The relationship that means the most to me is with my collared Pet. That is because I love to create cool experiences for people, and I love how adventurous Pet is. He will try anything to impress me, and he usually has fun. I really love open-minded people. And Pet is more than open-minded. He’s excited to be put in situations, even if he may not like them, because he wants to try things before deciding he doesn’t like them. And he’s great to share girls with because he doesn’t get jealous or make things complicated.

Now, I have been told that if we can so casually sleep with other people, it means we don’t love each other. I have tried to be understanding of why people say this, but really it’s just getting frustrating at this point. I love Pet passionately. I love the way he thinks, I love the way he acts, I love his sense of humor, and I love his body. There isn’t anything about him that doesn’t make me swoon. And Pet loves me, too. Our other relationships don’t diminish this in any way, and they never have. (We have always been Poly.)

I didn’t want to write this post. I just got tired of being told by people who don’t understand my relationship that it isn’t a valid life choice. My life choices are my own, and I will never judge you. Please afford me the same courtesy.

In defence of monogamy

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I’d like to write a piece in defence of monogamy. Those of you who know me will know it’s hardly on my behalf that I write this. I’ve never really pulled off monogamy for very long, and I don’t like it much. However, I’d like to take a step back and talk about how important it is to some people.

In the community, I think sometimes we fall into a certain mindset: “If you don’t like what I like, you just haven’t done it properly.”

I have heard people say this about all manner of things, from breath play to anal sex. They fall in love with something, and then they just assume everyone who doesn’t also love it is doing it wrong.

In the case of poly relationships, I am guilty of this. I tend to think that if playing with one person is fun, then playing with two will obviously be twice as fun for anyone. And yes, I am also a fan of threesomes and orgies. (Only with good friends!) I tend to have trouble sometimes understanding why people insist on sexual fidelity.

When I step back though, I realize that I really need to be more accepting.

No matter how much I love something, that doesn’t mean anyone else has to even like it. I think sometimes we all get a little forgetful about that, and we probably shouldn’t.

The moral of the story is: Let’s all remember that the things we like are the things we like. Let’s remember to be accepting of the limits that others have, and try not to ever push someone outside of their comfort zone.