November 7, 2012

Marked: Damaged Goods, Return to Sender

Recently, an old and dear friend of mine let me know that he is interested in dating me. And instead of being flattered and flirtatious or flattered but graciously decline (which are my normal responses to advances from someone so familiar and beloved to me), I just felt anxious and uncomfortable because I am still more emotionally damaged from a previous relationship than I care to admit.

Allow me to begin at the beginning. Though, bear with me since much of this is my first attempt to articulate this to anyone outside of my own head.

My issues from childhood with my then-teenaged mother are many and varied. In my young, formative years, I learned that my feelings were invalid and to be kept to myself. Sharing negative feelings directed at my mother or at anyone 'above me' or in a position of authority led to reprimand, ridicule and/or manipulation from my mother. Based on this very important mother/daughter relationship in my early life, I learned to be quiet and agreeable in order to minimize physical and emotional abuse. Later, I came to the conclusion that love could only be given to me with a healthy dose of scorn and that my trust WILL BE betrayed. As a very depressed teenager, I made a silent promise to never allow someone to have as much access or power over me as I gave to my mother. As a result, for most of my life I've had issues with being emotionally open and available with those close to me.(It is programming that I have consciously worked very hard to overcome as an adult. I'm not always successful.)

Fast forward about 10 years.

I started doing a lot of introspection, examining many of my philosophies. Reconsidering love and relationships was part of that, including allowing myself to be vulnerable. When I decided to try polyamory and a power exchange relationship for the first time with a couple I had known for a couple of years, we spent many months discussing fears, goals, and expectations. When asked what my main fear was in entering into this relationship, my response was something along the lines of, "I am afraid of being emotionally vulnerable for fear of being manipulated through them. I'm afraid of being taken advantage of through my submission and I'm afraid of having it all used against me." By the end of my 8-month relationship with The Husband, each of these fears came true. Once again, my trust had been betrayed.

While I'd learned a lot about myself during the course of that relationship with someone who described himself as "an extremely selfish and manipulative person," (verbatim, on multiple occasions) those hard-earned lessons not only reopened old wounds, they created a few new ones that are still tender today. I found myself newly repulsed by the men that I didn't know well and entirely disinterested in all others, particularly those whom identified as dominant (and even more particularly those dominant men with certain mannerisms, attitudes, and a few other specific physical and personality traits). For me, all of them were unsuitable relationship material because they felt unsafe, untrustworthy, and placed the happiness of others secondary to their own. I understood that these generalizations were based in my own fears as a reaction to a short-lived relationship, but I didn't care. Nearly three years later, I still cling to these fears along with my irrational generalizations.

Fast forward to today.

I can no longer find my bottom headspace that was so raw and cathartic before. I just cannot give of myself in that way anymore. Handing over that type of control, even temporarily, triggers the unpleasantness of fear and panic. Simply interacting on a social level with some self-identified dominant men makes me uncomfortable. I was once flirtatious and playful, indulging in the exchange. Now, I just feel awkward and unsure and I choose to withdraw by redirecting the conversation or excusing myself.

Which leads me to my discomfort and anxiety over my dear friend's interest. He is a self-identified dominant man and it scares me that my emotional reaction to him was so negative. It has forced me to realize that I am far more damaged than I wanted to believe and that even my relationships with close male friends is being jeopardized. I hate that my ex and our relationship still affects me this much in this way. And I feel so impotent because I don't know how to unfeel my repulsion or disinterest. I don't know how to get past these issues. They're a form of protection and self-preservation is a difficult instinct to override...


August 27, 2012

Am I My Boyfriend's Keeper?

Kare gets propositioned far more often than I do! I think it's pretty funny - in an ironic sort of way - considering that I am the one who identifies as poly and open to more relationships, while he identifies as monogamish and hasn't shown much interest in having other relationships, sexual or otherwise. The universe has a warped sense of humor, I tells ya lol.

At this time, Kare and I do not have a power exchange relationship outside of specific scenes. So, I find it strange when women come to me in casual, non-play settings to ask if they can play with him. I often respond with, "Kare's body is his own. If you'd like to play with him, you have to ask him if he's ok with that." I imagine these women are asking me out of respect or consideration for my relationship with Kare and I can appreciate the sentiment. But really, I mostly feel confused by their request. I expect Kare to make his own decisions when it comes to something that is inherently his, like his time and his body. I am not his handler or his pimp. Kare knows of what agreements our relationship consists and I expect him to uphold them. So if he needs to discuss or get permission for something (or someone) he's interested in, I expect him to ask me. (I was entirely offended once when someone asked Kare if they could engage in a certain sex act with me, instead of asking me when I was standing right there!)

Maybe it's just the phrasing of the question that I find so confusing. Perhaps when they ask, "Can I play with him?" what they mean is, "Would you mind if I ask him to play?" and I should respond to that question instead since it makes more sense to me. Or maybe I'm just weird and my expectations in these situations are outside of the norm. (It wouldn't be the first time that I was the weirdo in the room lol.)

Which brings me to a few questions. If you have been in a non-monogamous relationship or if you can imagine yourself in a non-monogamous relationship:

Do you expect people to ask you for permission to play/date/fuck/etc your partner(s)? Why or why not? Is this expectation/non-expectation situational?

Has someone asked you for permission to be with your partner(s)? How do you respond to the request and why?

July 2, 2012

Why Friends Make The Best Lovers

Ever since I was a teenager, I've noticed that I tend to choose partners from among my group of friends. When I first realized this, I was a little weirded out and thought it bizarre... but I had also noticed that my partner selection was greatly improved.

1. My friends are people with whom I have many things in common, from interests and hobbies to ethics and values. They are fun and interesting people.

2. I really get to know what kind of person they are (how they handle conflict, their goals, etc) without an expectation for our friendship to be anything more. It's a very low-pressure way to get to know someone and allows for any relationship to develop organically.

3. While I can be physically attracted to someone without knowing them (I've enjoyed many one-night-stands), I do not become emotionally invested in someone unless I've spent a significant amount of time around them.

4. All of my romantic relationships must begin with friendship. I don't know how to build a relationship on any other foundation.

Not all of my friendships become romantic relationships (matter-of-fact, most of them do not), nor do I choose friends based on any romantic relationship potential. But I have noticed that I am more likely to be interested in a friend than a stranger. Given how emotional attachment works for me and my process for starting a romantic relationship, it has been the easiest and most effective method.

How do you meet potential partners?

June 5, 2012

The Light That Flows Through Everything

One of the main points of conflict that I have seen in mono/poly relationships is each partner trying to understand how the other experiences love. For example, a monogamous person explaining to their polyamorous partner that romantic love is exclusive and that "sharing" it with more than one person cheapens it. While the polyamorous person explains to their monogamous partner that love is multiplied when shared, not divided and that each connection is unique and special and, therefore, not "shared." This is a very dangerous difference in world views between partners and can possibly end a relationship.

My mono/poly relationship with Kare (roughly pronounced Kah-reh. It is Japanese for boyfriend. I thought it a fitting nickname for him in my journal since he is half Japanese) has never encountered this particular conflict. From the beginning, Kare has accepted that this is how I love. I'm not sure that he fully understands the way that I love, but he has never questioned it. He doesn't appear to need or care to understand poly to know that I love - him and anyone else - with all that I have. Perhaps it's because I had the advantage of explaining poly to him and showing poly to him from the very beginning of our relationship. (I had a serious partner when I met Kare, so it gave me the chance to demonstrate to him that I can maintain healthy, loving, concurrent romantic relationships.)

Based on how supportive, encouraging, and understanding he's been of my other relationships, I have always been bewildered by Kare's monogamous identity (or monogamish identity, to be more accurate). Personally, I think he is in a transitional period and is currently unsure of how to identify so he uses that label because it is the one with which he is most familiar and comfortable. (I have shared this theory with him.) For example, he has a very doting friendship with Ryder, a mutual friend of ours. He has let me and her know that he has the biggest crush on her and they are absolutely adorable and cuddly in each others' company. If she were open to a romantic relationship with him, I'm sure he'd be open to dating her in addition to me. But he doesn't recognize his openness to such an arrangement as being poly-minded. He seems to believe that poly is a state of circumstances (how many partners you currently have) rather than a state of mind (views on love and relationships). (With me for a girlfriend, I have no idea why he holds such a belief.)

On the other hand, he can have very mononormative views. For example, we both love to laugh, even at our own expenses so we often playfully rib each other. After a particularly good time (in which I had bested him), I started to tease him about how awesome I am. The banter went something like this:

Me: "You hit the jackpot when you met me and you will never have another girlfriend as cool or as funny."
Him: "Well, to test your theory, I'm going to break up with you and check out my options."
Me: "The joke is on you. You don't have to break up with me if you want to date other people. You're just stuck with cool and funny me. Sucker."
Him: "Oh yeah. You're poly like that. You're the worst girlfriend ever for ruining my joke."

Regardless of how he identifies or expresses his love, I am appreciative that he supports my identity and expression so surely and unwaveringly. However, there definitely appears to be some sort of cognitive dissonance between his conscious and unconscious thinking. Reconciling the two can be a long and arduous journey. I look forward to joining him on his path of discovery and supporting him in his choices as fully as he has supported me in mine.

May 26, 2012

Suck My Cockiness, Lick My Persuasion

Last year, Kare and I decided that we would begin negotiations to establish a power exchange relationship. However, due to his demands at work, we decided to shelf the idea until the summer.

Now that summer is practically here, Kare has brought up the idea again. The only problem is... I don't think I want to go through with it. Or, more accurately, I don't think I want to go through with it with him. As wonderful and accommodating and acquiescent of a boyfriend as Kare is, he would make a terrible submissive for me - and I have a year's worth of evidence to support this statement.


  • My first assignment was for each of us to define how we view the roles commonly found within bdsm. It was a fairly simple and practical assignment. He wasn't required to write anything down and the definitions didn't require any research. The information was to be taken from his own understanding and beliefs on the topic. As I thoroughly explained to him, this assignment was meant to be a way to understand what each of us was asking going into negotiations to ensure that we were speaking the same language. And he didn't do it.
  • Kare has a few bad habits that frequently frustrate him and effect him negatively to the point that he has asked me to help him make improvements. For example, he is a terrible procrastinator. He'll stay up until 2am (when he has to be to work at 7am) doing work that should only take him 2 hours (at most) because instead of being productive, he is dicking around on his computer. I have gone so far as to offer to split his work with him to cut down on actual work time for him significantly. All he has to do is work on it before I go to bed, which is generally between 10pm and 11pm. I will remind him several times throughout the evening of my offer to help (as well as his request for my help), the advancing hour, and my upcoming bed time. To this, I am usually met with one of three reactions from him: superficial excuses, visible annoyance, or I am brushed off entirely. (Mind you, he asked this of me.)


These behaviors show me that he is not ready or not interested in the type of power exchange relationship that I would like to pursue. Based on his actions, I am under the impression that he wants all of the fun/play and none of the work required. This saddens me because I would be thrilled to share a meaningful bdsm relationship with someone that I love so much. But his blatant disregard for me in this context triggers highly negative emotions in me including hurt, disrespect, disgust, and resentment.

So, I guess when we actually move to talk about this I will share my observations with him and, instead, suggest that we limit our bdsm interactions to within temporary and defined scenes (play), with minimum to no power exchange involved. This has been our set up in the past and, while it's not as encompassing and, in some ways, less fulfilling for me, it still meets some needs. It will still allow us to connect on this intimately kinky level, it provides both of us with a certain release and, for me, it will provide practice as a Top.

If he is interested in a power exchange relationship, I will encourage him to search for someone more compatible for him in this regard since I want to see him fulfilled and happy on his own kinky terms. It is an option I plan to keep open for myself as well.

(Note: If you want to view the FetLife threads that I started on the topic, you can find them here: Submissive men and the women who love them ; Ask a Dominant Questions ; Femdom Group. There have been some very interesting comments shared if you care to have a look.)

May 18, 2012

Risk and Reward

My world has included a whirlwind of emotional events over the last several months.

I am very good friends with one of the kink community leaders in my area. I finally told her about my experience with Husband that included non-consensual sexual contact on multiple occasions. In turn, she told me that several other women have complained about Husband to various leaders with instances ranging from the minor (such as aggressive disregard of personal space that made them uncomfortable) to the major (such as unsafe play practices and non-consensual sexual contact). She also informed me that none of the women were willing to come forward to validate the claims since he was considered a leader in our local community.

So I decided to speak out.

The community leaders launched an investigation. By the end, 8 separate and independent statements were made where women were either permanently scarred from unsafe play or sexually violated, all of which included a disregard for boundaries and/or consent.

Later, there was a leadership meeting held where the most active and prominent groups were represented and - by unanimous vote - asked Husband to step down as group leader for the better of the community due to the controversial claims. He did not step down and, as such, his group is no longer endorsed by the community.

A new group has been formed and sanctioned and I have accepted a position on the leadership board.

I am extremely lucky to have received such support and encouragement from leadership and the (majority of) members of my local community. I am forever grateful that my statements and those of other women were taken seriously given the prevalence of rape culture (which I did experience, albeit minimally) that is disturbingly prevalent in the kink community (of all places!).

The icing on the cake was when Wife called me and said she had finally left him and was leaving town. She thanked me and apologized for not hearing me earlier (which I told her was unnecessary) and promised that she'd be in touch once she felt ready. I told her that I was extremely happy for her and wished her nothing but happiness with someone more deserving of a beautiful and compassionate person like herself.

On top of that on-going-but-mostly-concluded saga, I have been asked to help coordinate a national kink event, my first ever! I am excited and flattered to be trusted with such a responsibility as well as a bit overwhelmed and nervous. I have also decided to volunteer to be a Dungeon Monitor for a new and growing local community-ran dungeon (which includes being on-site security and policing the safety of scenes during play, another first for me). Not to mention, I have been accepted by a major kink site to aid in customer service issues.

Yeah, I don't know how I'm going to juggle all of this either lol.

February 21, 2012

BFD

I am SO SICK of the argument about whether humans are naturally monogamous or naturally polyamorous when it comes to debating relationship structures. Outside of an anthropological discussion, I see no relevance this has on the relationships between cognitive adults. People that operate based solely on primal urges - consequences be damned! - are known as sociopaths.

I often find that the certification of "naturalness" in one's choice is meant to validate that option and show others that their choices are unnatural and invalid. Frankly speaking, I don't give a flying shit about how natural or unnatural my choices are in relation to the evolution of my species. I don't classify my sexuality and the expression thereof under "mating habits." I do not reference the Hominid Timeline when determining the structure and function of my relationships and how many I should have. Your argument - no matter how cogent and well cited - is wasted on me.

My response to you is, "Big fucking deal."

February 16, 2012

Your Opinion Doesn't Matter

I am always a bit surprised to see people in the kink, poly, and other sex-positive communities proclaim that someone else is “doing it wrong” or isn’t a “real” or “true” so-and-so simply because the other approach doesn’t corroborate their own.

I have seen the term ‘vanilla’ used as an insult and monogamy looked down on as being limiting or less enlightened. I have seen sex workers, like pro-doms and escorts, denigrated and treated as lepers because of their choice in profession. These experiences are invalid because you (the universal ‘you‘) assume your way is the proper way.

Isn’t that what most of us experience from the mainstream? We are often invalidated and ostracized for what happens between consenting adults.

So what makes it acceptable when you do it? Who are you to define the identity and experiences of others?

Does anyone else recognize the hypocrisy in this?

I have shed a lot of guilt imposed upon me by social conditioning regarding the things that bring me happiness and pleasure as well as a lot of my own judgments towards others by making a conscious effort to recalibrate my thinking. Because of my “unconventional” desires in love, sex and relationships, over the years, I have learned to frame my choices as well as the choices of others in terms of 'consensual' and 'nonconsensual' rather than “right way” or “wrong way.” In the process, I have gained a whole new understanding and value in the experiences of others, even when those experiences involve terms to which I wouldn’t personally agree.

So consider this my public service announcement. When it comes to how others choose to enjoy sex, experience love and structure their relationships YOUR OPINION DOESN'T MATTER.

January 18, 2012

If You Build It, They Will Come

One of the most common questions asked by newcomers to the poly world is some variation of, "How do I find other polys?" The most common answer to this question is, "Attend local poly social events. Can't find a local social event? Create one!"

That's what I decided to do. In my corner of the world, the poly scene exists but it is overlooked and underdeveloped. For the last six months, I have been working to change that. I have created a poly group with the goal of making the community more visible and to help what is already here to grow. For the last two months, I have worked with fellow polys to help organize a meet and greet that has been very successful (the most attended poly event in the area, actually) with requests for more. If all goes well, it will become a monthly event.

I am also trying to organize a monthly poly discussion group. I'm hoping to create an interactive and diverse dialogue where polys can come and ask questions as well as share advice and other experiences. Hopefully, it will be very helpful to have real life examples of the many different ways others define and structure their poly and deal with personal or relationship issues. The community could be it's own resource. There seems to be a wide appeal and serious interest in this idea from my fellow polys. A few sex-positive venues have already offered their space for our events, too!

It's crazy. I've never so much as planned a party at my house before, now I'm creating and organizing community events.

How surreal.

January 11, 2012

This Communication Has Been Compromised

My discussion with Kare (regarding how some of my needs are currently not being met in the relationship) went very well!

Kare had no idea the affect this situation was having on me (as I suspected) and he was noticeably distressed to learn that I was feeling frustrated, resentful and distant. It turns out we have very different standards for what qualifies as time together. He considers us being in the same space - even if we're not interacting - as spending time together to an extent, which is obviously very different from how I define it because that setting doesn't even exist on my Together Time radar (hereforto known as Quality Time to emphasize the distinction). Now that he understands this difference in our needs, he has already begun to adjust some of his behaviors to accommodate me.

He wasn't very agreeable to the solution that I suggested since my idea significantly reduces the amount of time we spend in the same space, so we came up with a compromise that will (hopefully) work for both of us going forward:

  • I don't mind if he spends time on the computer at my place as long as he takes a break every few hours (4 is the limit) to spend some quality time with me. Also, I'm not interested in policing his computer time (I'm not his mother) so if I feel like he's consistently not holding to this agreement, I will revert to the solution that I originally suggested and we'll have to discuss our relationship from there.
  • We will have a weekly date night and a monthly (at the very least) social night. (He liked this idea.)

I am very thankful that I have a compassionate boyfriend that is willing to compromise so that each of us gets what we need from our relationship. As I playfully tell him all the time:  He's the best boyfriend ever!... except when he's the worst :p

January 3, 2012

All The Way Turned Up


For the last several months, Kare has been obsessed with an online game (that I foolishly introduced him to lol) - and that's putting it mildly. He spends 95% of his free time playing this game instead of taking care of other responsibilities such as preparing documents for work or spending time with me. Generally, I do not interrupt him while he's playing the game even though it is something he can do for 12 hours straight on his days off. To avoid feeling neglected by him, I've asked that he take 30 - 60mins to spend uninterrupted quality time with me at some point during the day.

While Kare has provided me with my quality time (as long as I request the time, because he never volunteers it), I have told him that I still feel ignored. However, the importance of this matter and the affect it is having on me does not seem to be registering with Kare because he hasn't changed any habits associated with playing this game.

The definition of insanity is doing the SAME thing and expecting a DIFFERENT result so I think it's time for a different approach. For the last few days, I have taken the time to identify which of my specific needs are not being met and what I can do to meet them. Since Kare has demonstrated that he is unwilling to change his behavior to help me meet these needs, it's up to me to change my behaviors and communicate a more structured boundary regarding "us" time that I need for a continued healthy and fulfilling relationship with him. This will include not tolerating computer use at my house or during "us" time, not accepting an offer for his company after 7pm on weekdays (because he'll be ready for bed at that time, not to hang out), a date night, and a social night.

These conditions may mean a significant reduction in the amount of time we currently spend together (he usually sleeps over every night) but it's the best compromise I can offer based on the circumstances. I've also determined that I don't mind minimum to no interaction when we are not together nor do I mind how much time we spend "not-together" as long as we have a weekly date night and a monthly social night.

To facilitate a more neutral and compassionate environment of giving and receiving, here is my issue framed using non-violent communication that I plan on presenting to Kare (so some of the language may reflect that):

When we go out (either alone or with friends), I've noticed that you are affectionate, attentive and actively engage in conversation with myself and others. When we are at home, I've noticed that the affection, attention and conversation are minimum to non-existent unless I specifically request your time [per the agreement I stated previously]. All activities: waking up, going to sleep, and everything in-between are done with little contact between us.

I feel distant when we spend all day in the same house and take only 30 - 60 mins to interact with each other. I feel frustrated that I am usually the one that initiates our interaction on these days. I am beginning to feel very resentful that the majority of your focus goes to non-work related computer time. Since a large portion of our time together is spent at home, I am experiencing these negative emotions for a significant portion of any given day.

My need for companionship, intimacy and bonding with my partner are not being met when we spend so much time in the same space and so little time engaged in each others company.

What I would like to happen is:
  • Spend time actively engaged with each other and/or sharing in activities when we are together.
  • When we spend time at my place, I'd like for computers to be off-limits.
  • I'd like at least one date per week that lasts a minimum of three hours, with at least one hour of that time dedicated for just you and me. If it's on a weekday, I'd prefer if "us" time begins no later than 7pm.
  • I'd like at least one social night per month where we are together and spend time with our friends.
  • If you need/want to use your computer for work or play, I would like for that to be handled during "not-us" time and at your own home.
These are not demands, but rather a statement of what I would like to see happen. If any of the above is not possible, I am happy to negotiate something that would work better for both of us.

I'm hoping that by turning up the communication (not the volume), he'll be better able to hear me.

December 6, 2011

99 Problems

The best thing about surrounding yourself with people who are super neat is that they often have friends who are super neat as well.

Kare's friend from college, Leib, and his girlfriend, Badu, came to visit over Thanksgiving weekend from California. We shared so many personality traits among the four of us that it was like looking into a mirror. They have an open relationship (though, I'm not entirely clear on the terms) and they propositioned me and Kare. While I am very interested in pursuing a FWB situation with them, neither Kare nor I accepted their offer... for now.

A couple of months ago, when I decided to start dating again, I sparked up a conversation on a dating site with Sam. While my relationship with her has been entirely platonic (though, very productive! We have been organizing a sorely needed poly meetup for our area), I think she's pretty awesome. She's witty, intellectual and nerdy (my trifecta!). She's a very opinionated, activist type and I find her absolutely fascinating. Her parents were true hippies and she describes her childhood as a cross of co-op living and utilitarian survival training. She can literally fashion a bow (for an arrow) out of a seat belt and start a fire with a car battery, come the Zombie Apocalypse. Yeah, she's super neat.

Then there's Spud. He's new to the local kink community and he and I clicked right away. He's kind of quiet and shy and socially awkward - an artistic type - and I dig all of these things about him. Ever since he found out that I am poly, he's been paying little compliments and chatting me up. It's too soon to tell if he's flirting or not but I am absolutely tickled by his attention.

I expected to wait months - maybe even years! - to meet others I'd be interested in dating and vice versa. I'm a bit stunned at my Luck.

She must be a Lady.

November 28, 2011

DTMFA



There's an interesting discussion in Poly & Kinky over on FetLife entitled Deal breakers? asking other polys what they would consider unacceptable in prospective and current partners, which has prompted me to share my thoughts on some of the deal breakers listed in the thread (in no particular order):

"I am looking for someone who completes me." I want to date a whole person, not a half of one - nor do I want to date someone looking for zir soul mate or THE one. I have come to find that I am incompatible for those who consider themselves incomplete without a partner.

Cheaters. Sometimes the cheater likes to dress it up with how zir current partner doesn't understand zir 'poly nature' - but cheating is cheating is cheating. Rather than trying to see if they can work towards opening the relationship together, zie decides that their partner's feelings are irrelevant. Yeah good luck with that, bitch, but I'm not the one.

"I have a high sex drive too, so I can understand why you want multiple partners" or "Open relationship? Oh sure, I'm cool with keeping things casual" or "Were poly, there's no such thing as cheating." Poly and commitment are not mutually exclusive. Anyone with this view of poly has a fundamentally different outlook on it than I do and shows that we would be incompatible in a relationship.

"We only date as a couple." I am thinking of making this an entry unto itself because I could rant a novel on the subject, but I'll keep it simple here. Since I believe a relationship is between TWO people no matter how many are romantically involved, I will not date a couple. I will date two people that happen to already be a couple, but I do not date those that structure their poly as 2+1. Not only is it a disservice to the third by not allowing the third to form zir own individual relationships, those that structure their poly this way tend to have unreasonable requirements for said third (in the poly community, they're known as Unicorn Hunters). For example, the couple often demand that this polyamorous third not date any one else or they expect the third to have ONE equal emotional response to the TWO of them. If one partner in the couple feels this agreement has been breached, the offended partner can end zir relationship with the third AND zir partner's relationship with the third (also known as 'veto power'). I don't see any benefit as the third in this type of relationship.

"You can date other women, but not other men." I would never agree to an OPP (One Penis/Pussy Policy) and am also thinking about making this a post on it's own. I have heard about this working in the poly relationships of others, but I have yet to hear a reason for implementing this rule that wasn't: a) selfish b) based on sexist ideology c) that wasn't about avoiding an insecurity rather than confronting it.

Anything that involves keeping secrets from anyone's partners. As expressed in my entry School of the Hard Knocks, this was an ugly one for me to learn and I still have all of the knocks to prove it. I didn't think I would have to ask a partner not to put me in a position that would compromise my relationship with the other partner. Now, I set this boundary upfront to avoid similar unpleasant surprises.

Needs to have relationship maintenance talks nearly every day. I'm all about communication in a relationship but unless we're dealing with a crisis or some other major event, maintenance every. single. day. is overkill. Husband associated conflict with progress and would often create conflict to facilitate (what he perceived to be) progress. I let him know early on that I couldn't spend two hours rehashing fairly inconsequential shit EVERY DAY because I found it to be tedious and draining.

A history of unstable, volatile relationships or seeking other relationships when your relationship is unhealthy. You can get an idea of what kind of partner someone will be and how you will be treated by looking at how zie handle zir past/current relationships and partners.

Trying to talk me out of current relationships. A person that tries to breakup an existing relationship in the attempt to have the attached partner all to themselves is termed a cowboy/cowgirl. Anyone that tries to 'take me' from a partner has a different idea of poly than I do and shows that we are not compatible.

Someone being attached to a belief about how I feel despite being told otherwise. Husband also had a habit of doing this - though never towards me, only towards Wife. (I never understood why he took me at my word but not her, considering she was always more upfront about her feelings than me.) He acted based on what he believed she felt rather than what she expressed about how she felt. It was very strange and frustrating (and is partly how he justified many of his lies and manipulations of her).

Poly personal ads that read like job postings. I've never understood in the poly (or kink) community why people who are looking for someone to love include that this person must also be willing to help clean up around the house, pitch in with the kids they have from a previous relationship, and is expected to be available for kinky sex involving additional partners. When I was monogamous, I never saw an ad open with these things so I don't understand why people believe "I want a house cleaner, a nanny, and a sex slave" is an attractive offer to a poly partner.

November 16, 2011

My Poly

To help me identify what I need to get out of a relationship and what I'm willing to invest into a relationship, I have found the Polyamory Compatibility Questionnaire to be a useful tool in helping articulate my ideals. However, I am careful not to let my ideals dictate my decisions since ideals are generally unrealistic in that they are one-sided and exacting. So instead of trying to force my relationship to fit my ideals, I determine where my ideals fit into the relationship (through negotiation), including where I'm willing to compromise and where I am not. (And I highly recommend everyone check out the questionnaire! It can be a great tool for monogamous relationships, if you disregard the questions directly related to poly.)

I have two goals for detailing my style of poly here:

1. For my convenience. Since the PCQ is quite long and involved, having my answers summarized is handy. (Though, the summary is fairly long and involved as well. You've been warned. lol)
2. I realize that my relationship choices are unconventional and not necessarily common knowledge. Hopefully, this will give my f-list a better understanding of what I mean when I say I'm polyamorous.

What follows is more thoroughly explained in my PCQ answers. For brevity's sake, I can't include all of it here and so some of the context may not be clear. If there are any questions, I'm happy to answer them.

These are my preferences and not how every poly relationship works and blah blah blah.


November 9, 2011

Blerg.

It's been a while since I last posted and that is for two reasons:

1) I always get depressed during Fall/Winter because it is when I lost my father to a violent crime. I was nine years old and a witness to it (as were my three younger siblings). While I rarely think about it and have addressed it in therapy, it still manages to affect me every. single. year.

2) Wife contacted me and, although it went better than could be expected and has provided some closure, it has still been difficult on me emotionally and has no doubt been exacerbated by the time of year. To be brief, she told me that she felt betrayed by the two people she loved most and that she doesn't want any contact from me. She said that she hoped her feelings would change in the future, but that this is where she is right now. She hugged me, kissed me, and told me that she loved me. I expressed my remorse (again) and gave her my support. Then we parted ways... possibly forever, but I certainly hope not.

I have been fairly withdrawn for the last month and a half and have been forcing myself to (minimally) interact with the world around me so that I don't enter the death-spiral that is depression. I often liken my experience with depression as being stranded in the water. I can either swim to shore, tread water, or drown. I feel like I have been treading water and now it's time to start swimming.

I hope to see land soon.

October 19, 2011

MonoPoly

Kare was always supportive of the time Wife and I spent together. Once, I remember Wife unexpectedly showed up at an event. He made it a point to give us space and let us spend that entire time together, without me even asking. During the evening, I went to check on him to make sure he wasn't feeling neglected. After assuring me that he was fine and having a good time with our friends, he damn near pushed me back over to Wife, reminding me that she and I rarely get time together and insisting that I take advantage of such an opportunity. Best. Boyfriend. Ever.

Kare identifies as monogamous. I am his first polyamorous partner. He and I started dating during the last six months of my year and a half relationship with Wife. By that time, she and I were only seeing each other about once a month due to schedule conflicts and my issues with Husband (Forgive Me, Girlfriend, For I Have Sinned). During that time, since Kare and I live very close to each other, we had the luxury of spending every day together and sleeping over every night. Our relationship was less affected than usual by my other relationship, which means we both had it easy.

Recently, I mentioned to Kare that I would eventually like to start dating again and what his feelings are regarding that. I explained that since the tail-end of my last relationship looked much different than the beginning (which he didn't experience), I needed to know what he was comfortable with during this process. While he believes he will be ok with it, he pointed out that he's never been in this position before and is uncertain of how he will actually react. Fair enough.

In the meantime, we were able to figure out a few things:

  • I informed him of how I structure my poly relationships and how I function within them (which I will share, in detail, in future entries), giving each of us the opportunity to share our preferences and voice our concerns.
  • He is unsure of whether he would want to pursue other relationships in the future. I am ok whether he does or not.
  • We agree to make each other aware of potential new partners before anything more sexual than kissing occurs or before we become significantly emotionally involved beyond friendship, whichever comes first.
  • We had another discussion on safer sex practices and what we expected from each other. Since we are fluid-bonded (and tested regularly), it is very important to both of us that these boundaries are clear to us and all future sexual partners.
  • I reminded him that it is each of our responsibility to let the other know where we are emotionally - both in our relationship and the relationships we have with others - and that it's important that we update each other regularly. (We're both really good at doing these things, but it never hurts to restate it during a period of transition.)
  • We agree that nothing is set in stone and that we can discuss (and possibly change) our agreements if needed.

I had many more questions for him (ie: veto power on potential new partners; or sleepovers with other partners) but since he is unsure of his needs/concerns regarding them, we agreed to address them as they arise. (This makes me slightly uncomfortable. I am much more proactive in my approach to these things and like to address them before they become problems, if possible. However, he prefers to deal with problems as they arise, particularly if he is inexperienced with the situation at hand. We often frustrate each other in this regard. I find that a healthy compromise is periodic status updates and honest communication. That way I'm not caught off-guard when something does become a problem and he doesn't have to guess at his reactions to hypotheticals.)

Time to roll those dice.

October 16, 2011

Cunning Linguist




To aid in the transition of taking my relationship from a non-D/s to a D/s with my boyfriend, I composed a list of questions regarding bdsm to make sure we have similar expectations and goals for such a relationship.

I figured the first step in this endeavor is to ensure that we are using the same language since it is not unusual for a word's meaning to differ from one person to the next. My first assignment for both of us is to define general roles within bdsm relationships. (Something I haven't done since I first started exploring bdsm 5 years ago, so it was interesting for me to compare and contrast now with then.)  Next, we will discuss the terms more thoroughly to make sure we are on the same page and/or find any compromises needed to get us on the same page, which may or may not be possible depending on our opinions. If we find that we are not compatible in a D/s, we agree to leave our relationship as it is since it has worked very well for us so far.

My definitions are below. (This is how I plan on presenting them to Kare so some of the verbiage may reflect that):

[Note: I realize there is more than one way to define these terms. These are my definitions and how I relate to them. They apply to no person's relationship(s) except my own.]

How do you define the general roles within bdsm?

multiple definitions separated with semi-colon ( ; )

Top/bottom - applies to kinksters giving/receiving (respectively) within a scene that contains little to no non-physcial power exchange, generally permissions do not extend outside of the scene ; a kinkster that enjoys giving/receiving during a scene but not outside of play ; used as a basic or general label for players

D-types  (Master/Domina/Owner/Daddy/etc. all are different titles for a D-type) - applies to Tops who desire the power exchange dynamic involved in dominance and submission ; exercises the negotiated amount of control within a power exchange that usually extends beyond a scene, the amount of control exercised covers a broad spectrum from minimal to Total Power Exchange (TPE) ; used as a general term for those that desire to exercise control in a power exchange

s-types (submissive/slave/pet/property/etc.) - applies to bottoms who desire the power exchange dynamic involved in dominance and submission ; relinquishes the negotiated amount of control within a power exchange that usually extends beyond a scene, the amount of control relinquished covers a broad spectrum from minimal to TPE ; used as a general term for those that desire to relinquish control in a power exchange

Switch - a kinkster whose role is fluid and can be comfortable as the D-type, s-type, Top, or bottom (whichever applies to the person)

Sadist/Masochist - enjoys giving/receiving pain (respectively) and does not refer to any type of power exchange, meaning either can manifest in D-types, s-types, Tops, or bottoms

Notice that I've lumped all D-types together and all s-types together. That is how I view the roles. Titles such as Master, Domina, Owner, etc are variations of the same role. For me, Dom/sub or Master/slave are relationship dynamics and are determined by the amount of power exchange present in the relationship. (Relationship dynamics are what I would like us to define next, but for now let‘s focus on the roles.) If you believe that Dominant or Master or submissive or slave, etc are distinct and should be defined on their own, by all means do that. It will offer insight into your view of the roles and will give us a more honest starting point in our search for common ground. There are no right or wrong answers here. However, I expect you to be able to present your definitions to me in clear and definitive terms as I have done.

Of course, a person's views are rarely ever static and these definitions may change for us over time, in which case, we can revisit them together.

Today, this is how I view these roles. What are your views today?

October 11, 2011

Warrior Submissive

In an attempt to loosely define what I want my D/s to look like with Kare, I've taken the last few months to intellectually explore female Dominant/male submissive relationships. (Kare is roughly pronounced Kah-reh. It is Japanese for boyfriend. I thought it a fitting nickname for him in my journal since he is half Japanese.)

On FetLife, I came across a lovely entry by Ladyservant titled Warrior Submissive. It is a perspective on male submission that has left an impression on me and is certain to influence my future D/s relationship.

Here it is, reposted with permission:

I've given a lot of though lately to what submission means to me, I actually don't like the word at all because at least for me it carries implied meanings which don't fit. However I haven't been able to come up with another word that works for communicating my intentions accurately. I've fought my submissiveness all my life not wanting to give into it for fear of losing my power. The idea of being disempowered and weak disgusts me. I've been a warrior most of my life which has included spending time in the military as a soldier, practicing martial arts and living a warrior based spirituality. That has always seemed to be in conflict with my deep reverence and irresistible desire to worship, serve and surrender to Women.

I began to resolve this conflict in the last few years cultivating a personal relationship with the Goddess or the Divine Feminine and seeing what I worship in Women is also something within me. However Women embody it in a way that I cannot (at least not in this life) and so serving and worshiping them is something that is beyond kinky play or pleasure (which is good ;), its true worship for me. The other thing I realized in this process is that I do not have to be weak or disempowered to be a submissive. Submissive is just a word, it doesn't have one single meaning for everyone.

For me the act of submitting to a Woman is as I said an act of worship. The prerequisite for submission in my life is that I live my life fearlessly, with courage and strength and even a fierceness. Its easy to get carried away with this attitude and have it be nothing but ego which wrecks ones life, just look at our society. The amazing thing is that when I come into contact with Women that are living as empowered dominant Goddesses, I am humbled. Their power and beauty and wisdom naturally make me fall to my knees in worship. Then serving them is a total act of joy. There is a particular power that Women carry which after everything I've seen and experienced in my life is the greatest power I can imagine. So submission is an act of empowerment and courage for me because when one is at their greatest strength the most fearless act just might be to surrender to a greater power. Women carry the power of life itself, the formless cradle of creation which has been called the Goddess among other things.

For me their is no greater act of a warrior than to serve the Goddess.


While I don't believe in Female Supremacy (or any type of supremacy based on gender, ethnicity, nationality, etc) as this article somewhat suggests, what I do like about it is the insight  into male submission. Many people - both outside and inside the kink community - tend to view male submissives as less than masculine. They are often portrayed as weak and insecure at best or incapable and pathetic at worst. It disgusts me that a man who would choose to submit is often assumed to be less of a man than his "alpha" counterparts.

This article dislodges those stigmas. This male submissive is a gentleman, a soldier, a protector and a provider. He is proud and functioning and capable. He is empowered through his submission and not ashamed to express the awe and respect he has for the deserving women around him.

I dig it.

October 5, 2011

Trading Places

I have been part of my local bdsm community for nearly 6 years and HAD identified as submissive that entire time. After leaving a D/s relationship that was wrong for me, I started dating a guy (we've been together 7 months) who has turned my kinky little world upside down! It is through him that I have discovered my joy for Topping.

I have always been more of the leader in our relationship and recently he confessed that he would like to enter into a more formal D/s relationship together (with me as the D-type), an idea that I am thrilled about! These roles are new to both of us (he's never been in a D/s relationship before) so we plan on tentatively taking steps to move the relationship in that direction.

I'm still transitioning and trying to redefine my role for myself and those around me. However, I am confused and unsure of myself in either role now and the whole damn thing can be frustrating.

I plan on carefully structuring the dynamic as we go along, which intially felt uncouth to me. However, after seeking advice from more experienced D-types, the general consensus seems to be that trial and error and communication are good ways to find out what works in the relationship... so my instincts have me headed in the right direction! Knowing this, I am slowly gaining more confidence in my approach. (Also, I now realize that when I was the s in the D/s, it didn't seem like such a blind (or scary) endeavor because I was following the D. I find this to be an interesting bit of insight.)

My reality is not quite your fantasy...

(Note: If you want to view the FetLife threads that I started on the topic, you can find them here: Education and Guidance of a Submissive ; Femdom Group ; ClubFem - Females Enslaving Males ; Training of a Dominant ; Ask a Dominant Questions ; BDSM mentors. There have been some very interesting comments shared if you care to have a look.)

September 25, 2011

Confess, That Ye May Be Healed

I wrote a letter.

On the very useful and insightful advice of several members on FetLife (see the discussions here and here ), I wrote a letter to Wife explaining that my withdrawal from our relationship over the past few months was not in response to anything she had done and that I had not been entirely truthful about my break-up with Husband. I expressed my remorse in lying to her and the reasons why I chose not to tell her. I stated my very strong, negative emotions towards him and that past interactions between him and I are the cause of it. I shared my decision to withhold the details unless she explicitly requested to hear them, which I would provide to her, alone and without Husband.

I told her my truth.

She has always wanted to hear the truth (and she always told the truth), even when it hurt. I informed her of the transgressions and how I believe his behavior is ongoing. I proclaimed my love for her but that my attitude towards her husband is so incredibly toxic that I can no longer be with her, both to give me time to heal and to avoid putting her in a more awkward position.

I disclosed until I had nothing left.

Very quietly, she listened. When she finally did speak, her voice sounded solemn and wearied, as though it endured a long and difficult journey from within her. She didn’t ask questions. She didn’t tell me she loved me. She said she suspected as much and thanked me for telling her.

I feel lost.

I was expecting more of a reaction. I wanted more of a reaction. I wanted her to tell me how I hurt her or that I was courageous or to yell or cry or something, anything. But none of that happened.I gave her a lot to process and I feel terrible having to be the one to have done it, yet I don’t regret my decision.

I miss her.

She sent me a friend request from her new FetLife account. She has joined a group for divorcees. That’s the extent of our contact since the end of our relationship. I want to check on her to see if she’s ok and to offer my support but I’m not sure if it’ll do either of us any good.

I hurt for myself and I hurt for her.