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Posts Tagged ‘polyamory’

  1. Dear Heather: Is This Relationship Possible?

    January 23, 2014 by Heather Cole

    Dear Heather: I’m a hetero poly male who is interested in dating a hetero poly female. She’s also in a D/s relationship with another guy. What the heck is up with D/s, and is it possible to make something work when I don’t want anything to do with that kind of thing? She’s awesome, but I don’t know if I should pursue her given her other involvements. What do you think?

    — A no D/s Dude


    Dear Dude:

    I think you’ve asked one of the many complex questions of the universe, and my short answer is this: It depends. There are a lot of factors to consider in this equation, and I sympathize with your dilemma because I’ve been there myself. On the opposite end of it, though.

    The first question is can you honor her Dominant/submissive dynamic even if you don’t understand it? D/s and M/s are polarizing concepts even within the kink community. People have hundreds of legit reasons for why it does or doesn’t work for them, and there are always heavily debated pros/cons online wherever kinksters hang out. In fact, I’ve talked about my reasons for choosing M/s a lot on this blog, and we have a list of resources if you want to educate yourself.

    In it’s simplest definition, Dominance/submission (the DS in the middle of BDSM) is “a set of behaviors, customs and rituals involving the giving by one individual to another individual of control over them in a BDSM erotic episode or lifestyle. Physical contact is not a necessity, and it can even be conducted anonymously over the telephone, email or other messaging systems. In other cases, it can be intensely physical, sometimes traversing into sadomasochism. In D/s, both parties take pleasure or erotic enjoyment from either dominating or being dominated.”

    D/s can take many forms and each construct of the relationship is different depending on the Dominant and submissive involved. The levels of commitment and intensity run a broad spectrum from occasional play to a 24/7 lifestyle. As the definition explained, some people experience D/s solely through electronic means. It can be anonymous and casual. The other end of the spectrum is intense both physically and mentally and can involve long term commitments.

    You might not feel the need to understand what D/s means for your potential love interest, but you should get a sense of her commitment. You need to talk about boundaries and time. Is she in a 24/7 type of dynamic where she’s D/s all the time? Or is it a weekend here and there or maybe a couple of hours every week? The one question all my ex-lovers had was “how does your D/s affect me?” You need to ask this question too because the truth is that although she may not think it will, if she’s in a 24/7 D/s relationship, it’s GOING TO affect you. If you’ve had any experience with poly (and it sounds like you have) then you understand that we don’t have relationships in a vacuum. There may be overlap between your more traditional relationship and her D/s in some areas, and you’re definitely going to feel something about her D/s. Like I said, it’s a kink that generates opinions in everyone. If her D/s is something casual that she does on occasion to get her rocks off, then the effects on her other relationships will be less in my opinion.

    You liking D/s or disliking it isn’t the heart of the issue, though. More importantly, can you have your opinions and still respect hers? Her kinks may not be yours, and you need to honor her choices for anything (even friendship) to work. Because this is the part that gets under my skin. I understand that you may not ever understand or even like the fact that I call myself a BDSM sex slave, but you damn well better respect my right to choose this. Live and let live, brother. Nothing will cause more stress and conflict for the two of you if you belittle her dynamic. Asking questions and talking about it is really good, but don’t be disdainful or ridicule it. And most importantly, don’t think less of her or respect her less because she chooses to submit.

    There may come a time where she tells you about something she did with her consent and within the bounds of her D/s arrangement that inspires you to say WTF?! Trust me, this happens. Even if you find the activity baffling and maybe repugnant, can you give her the space and respect to have that experience without your judgment and condemnation? Because your negative reaction will make her much less likely to open up to you again about D/s, and less communication in any relationship is the opposite direction of where you want to go.

    What I’m trying to say here is that no one in this scenario is right or wrong. You’re both trying to figure out if you’re a good fit which is key in any type of relationship. But in my opinion, pursuing someone in a lifestyle that you don’t approve of or understand might not be the most suitable match.

    Rock on, dude.


  2. Judge Heather

    May 15, 2013 by Heather Cole

    I tend not to write publicly about my breakups. Instead I retreat inside myself to analyze and ponder and nurse my wounds. Being a blogger means that pieces of my life experience are on display for complete strangers to examine, but I try to choose carefully what I reveal. As much as I want to hold your attention, my darlings, I want to protect the people who are intimately involved with me. I also want to shield my bruised heart.

    I’ve been learning some hard lessons lately, one of them being about criticism and judgment. OK, that’s two things, but you can see how they’re related. I’d like to point a finger and write about how I’ve been judged by my nearest and dearest, but really, I’m guilty of this exact thing.

    Boy Scout and I parted ways amicably. We both knew it was coming, and ironically, we had one of our best conversations the night we decided to be just friends. For the first time in our short relationship, we communicated exactly what we felt. We shared our thoughts freely. It was liberating, and at the same time, sad that it took the end of our romance to really begin communicating well. I even tweeted that it was the best breakup ever, because I felt like we were starting a new chapter to be better friends. Boy Scout was looking for a new submissive and who better to give advice than his old submissive? No, don’t answer that.

    It wasn’t until a week or so later that I caught myself saying something critical about the new slave that Boy Scout was considering. He had shared a few things that they were doing, and I called Nikki to bitch about the girl. I was being catty, and I knew it. My belief about BDSM being a unique journey for everyone seemed to fly out the window as soon as Boy Scout started discussing one of his new partners. I observed my mouth and tongue forming the nasty words, but I didn’t stop judging.

    It wasn’t until LH asked me point blank if I was jealous that I actually took stock of my feelings. It wasn’t jealousy. The tasks that Boy Scout was giving her wouldn’t have satisfied me. I didn’t envy her sitting in a restaurant with her panties stuffed in her mouth. The mouthful of silk would have irritated me, not inspired my juices to flow. No, the problem was my damn ego.

    I’m better than her, a voice whispered in the back of my mind.

    The dark side of my competitive spirit was to use criticism and judgment to make someone else, the person who “took” my place, appear less. I was being petty and mean. I didn’t know Boy Scout’s slave at all, and it was none of my business how they conducted themselves. Everyone was consenting in their power exchange which was the most crucial element. As for the rest, I just needed to shut the fuck up about it. I was breaking all my personal rules about respecting others’ relationships even if I didn’t understand them, and I felt embarrassed. And yes, I was ashamed of my behavior.

    As it is with the synchronicity of the universe, it was soon my turn to be scrutinized, and the biggest criticisms were coming from some of the people I cared about the most. In a fringe community like BDSM, I’m always surprised that we can be so judgemental of one another. Just as I judged Boy Scout and his new slave, people were critiquing my new M/s dynamic with LH. The real punch-in-the-emotional-gut part was that there was some truth in their judgement, and that’s what I’ve been looking at in the darkness of my breakup cave. I had a mirror held in front of me, and I could see the parts where I truly failed. I got so caught up trying to defend myself against all the criticism flying around that I didn’t see the heart of the problem until it was too late. I was so busy trying to meet others’ expectations that I neglected to voice that my own needs were being trampled or disregarded. It was a colossal breakdown on all sides.

    I have learned the hard way that compassion defeats judgement. And when we’re trying something new, like a new relationship or a better way of communicating, there are going to be times where we stumble and fall flat on our faces. Boy Scout and his new slave have every right to figure out their new relationship and create it in ways that suit their unique needs. They’re going to have hiccups and challenges and fights, but it’s not my place to referee that or comment. I have a new found compassion for the beginning stages of consideration; I have a new perspective and empathy for those of us living the M/s dynamic in general. Because we’re not born experts. We try, we fuck up, and we get up and try again. Hopefully we do it better the next time.

  3. sometimes it hits you on the head

    March 26, 2013 by Heather Cole

    Finding a Dominant that fit my submissive needs was much the same as it was trying to find a good fit in traditional dating. I was trying to find another person with the right combination of desires and aspirations, someone who not only met my submissive needs but inspired me to be a better slave. I had people in my life who willingly helped satisfy my masochistic desires, but no one who wished to dominate me. Not in the way that I needed, and after a couple months of trying to top from the bottom (I suck at that, by the way.) I gave up searching all together.

    The first time I went to LH’s office, I was told to wear my buttplug. We had agreed to meet to begin exploring a D/s relationship, one that ran along the lines of my favorite BDSM movie, Secretary. I wore a black dress and heels, and was freshly shaved and moisturized. I was ready for paperwork and secretarial duties or whatever else the man decided to do with me. I hoped his intentions for me stretched beyond my administrative skills, but I kept those expectations low. I fought not to let my hopes inch too high in case they were dashed by another incompatible Dominant.

    I was standing naked in between tall shelves full of books with the scent of sandalwood seducing my nose when I had the thought that maybe what I had been searching for all this time was standing directly in front of me. His hands were warm, and they moved my body where he needed as he deftly knotted a chest harness around me. It was only the third time I had ever been bound by rope, and when he produced a pair of nipple clamps, I realized that my new experiences weren’t going to end there.

    He then pulled out the toys he had brought with him that day, and I tried not to flinch when he showed me the canes. I had arrived late, and even though I assured him it wasn’t on purpose, it was still a test for him. If LH had ignored my slight twenty minute infraction, I would have known right then that he as wasn’t serious about playing with a slave as I’d hoped. I would have been disappointed but generally ok, because LH is handsome and funny and a skilled kisser. But I wasn’t disappointed, and I learned with every strike of that wicked cane that LH was seriously considering me. He showed me that I was worth the time and effort to correct, and that he was taking my submission to heart. He wanted to bend my submission to suit his will. He wanted to claim me.

    I met LH at a play party last summer, and our paths crossed again in the fall when he attended a munch with one of his polyamorous partners. My girlfriend, Liri, had pointed him out before this, and they enjoyed a flirtatious relationship. After watching them together I mentally placed him in the category of “wants in my gf’s pants.” I didn’t think he had any interest in me. When he sent me an email commenting on our brunch conversation about the two of them co-topping me, I didn’t think anything about it. I thought he was being polite.

    For two months we corresponded through email, and I found myself slowly and inextricably seduced by his words. He spoke candidly about his evolution with polyamory and in kink and how he was searching for his version of a Girl Friday. We traded favorite books and movies, and during the course of it, I had a revelation about what being a slave meant to me. I didn’t want the details of my life to be dictated to me in minutia, but I wanted the fantasy of Dominance and submission to stretch beyond the bedroom into reality. I poured out my slave soul in an email, and LH didn’t just respond, he affirmed my feelings. Rereading this still makes me cry:

    Thank you for sharing more about what it means to you to be a slave. It is a beautiful thing to see slavery through your eyes. I admire how sacred it is to you. You are a rare and precious treasure. For the right owner you will be an exceptional slave. Please don’t give it away again too easily. Consider your suitors hard. Make your future owner EARN the right to collar you. Be patient, and your birthright will present itself at YOUR feet.

    I stared at his words and told myself he couldn’t possibly be serious. He understood me, the slave me, and I had no clue what I should do about it.

    On the outside I was talking to my partners about LH. He became known as the “task guy,” because every week I chose three things to accomplish. These tasks were typically things that I had been procrastinating about, ranging from personal to professional. But I wasn’t talking about our conversations in detail or how I felt about them. Even though everyone involved was poly I knew that introducing another person, especially a significant one, was going to raise sensitivities. I was afraid to tell Liri how important to me the interactions between LH and I were becoming, that she’d smile and pat my hand in a way that told me I was, once again, wishing for a Dom who wasn’t really there. I probably talked more about LH and my love of tasks to Zen than anyone else, but I was only telling half the story. On the inside I was holding my breath, waiting for LH to say, “this was a fun game. Let’s play again sometime.” I was waiting for him to back out when he realized how serious I was about D/s, so I stayed quiet when I should have been relating my fears and exhilaration to my partners.

    Boy Scout openly encouraged me, reassuring me that he understood that LH was supplying something that I needed. Although I was grateful for his reassurance, I also knew that I was standing on the precipice of something deep and powerful. I knew that if our relationship was going to be as Master/slave as I expected, and desired, I knew that there would be waves made along our polyamorous connections. If I made this leap, things were going to change irrevocably. And true to my nature, I took a running leap into the arms of the unknown.

    LH didn’t just catch me, he welcomed me with his whole heart. It was like two pieces came together in a way that was seamless and effortless, and my dream finally manifested into this incredible dynamic that I had almost stopped hoping for. For the first time in a long, long time, I’m looking into the eyes of a man who truly sees the slave in me and knows exactly what to do with that knowledge.

    I’m still addressing the reverberations of my choice, and the fact that I didn’t fully disclose everything while it was happening. I’m talking specifics now with my partners, but things are far from settled. I’m addressing everyone’s concerns and making assurances and trying to find my footing again after the whirlwind of LH and me coming together. There are some hard conversations to come, and I’m feeling anxious about that. I don’t want anyone to feel displaced or hurt, and I’m afraid that there’s no way to avoid some of it. I love my people fiercely, and I hate knowing that I caused some major relationship stress. It’s an odd feeling to be ecstatically happy on one hand and worried in the other, but I’m working on that. All of it.


  4. New Endeavors in Poly Land

    January 14, 2013 by Heather Cole

    It was date night with Zen, and we were at my house watching a movie. He poured us a second glass of wine and asked, “why don’t you talk more about Boy Scout?”

    I blinked at him, took a swallow of wine and then gulped down another. I didn’t want to answer his question. I was comfortable discussing our different communication styles that occasionally brought up conflict between my Boy Scout and me. Boy Scout is the strong, silent type while I am the sit-still-and-I’ll-tell-you-everything kind. Sometimes the solution is Boy Scout bending me over and fucking me until I shut up. However, I balked at pinpointing the reason why I wasn’t talking about him to Zen. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that I was following an old pattern.

    When I was in a monogamous relationship, I never shared with my boyfriend that I was fucking other men. It wasn’t that I deliberately set out to cheat. The men in my life just seemed to overlap, and when I lived abroad, I had three boyfriends at the same time. They knew about each other, but we didn’t talk about it. It felt more comfortable to me (and socially acceptable) to remain silent and hope that no one got upset than to try to talk about what was going on.

    When I discovered poly, my first poly relationships operated along similar lines. There wasn’t a lot of cross-communication between my boyfriends, and I tried to keep everyone compartmentalized. It still blew up in my face because of many factors, but the non-communication in a sharing paradigm was exhausting. On the surface, we were all saying “yes we share one another” but the unspoken message underneath was the opposite. I was in an acknowledged and accepted relationship on one level but seen as a threat and ultimately destructive influence at the same time. After all was said and done, I worried that maybe I wasn’t poly at all, and it took me a long time to want to try again. Then I fell in love with Liri, and despite my fears, I was trying poly again before I recognized that was what I was doing.

    Poly with Liri was easy. I don’t mean “easy” as in less-significant. It’s not a battle to be with her, it’s a joy. That’s not to say that we haven’t had our bumps in the road. Like the time I met and fucked a new guy while she was out of town. I was all, “Hi, Sugar Bush! I miss you! Hey, I met the Prince of Moldavia and we had sex! It was ok! Come home soon!” It wasn’t the dude or the mediocre sex that was the issue. It was her feeling far away (she was on the West Coast) and disconnected combined with my poor impulse control that caused hurt feelings. We muddled through it, I began implementing the Six Date Rule (that’s six dates before fucking) and a couple months later I began dating Boy Scout and Zen.

    My people are amazing, and their partners are also wonderful. I adore Liri’s boyfriend, so much so that we’ve had a couple threesomes. I don’t hesitate to hug and kiss him, among other more explicit things, and I love watching the two of them together both with and without clothes. I’ve hung out with Zen’s wife twice now, both with Zen and without him, and we even had a double-date with me and Zen and his wife and her boyfriend. Boy Scout has co-topped me with Liri, and both he and Zen have invited me to invite the other to social functions. So with all this great communication and compersion going on, what the hell is tripping me up?

    Deep down inside at the core of me, I fear that Zen or Boy Scout or Liri will hate that I find joy in the other partner. I worry that I need to discount the other as “less than” to bolster the security of my relationship with each of them. I’m ashamed to admit that, because they’ve never asked for such a thing. Part of it is ghosts from monogamy past and part of it is an old scar from the last poly dynamic, a pattern so ingrained that it still catches me unawares. I need to let go of the idea that exclusivity equals happiness in a meaningful poly relationship. I have to trust that my people are with me because they’re happy to share me and be shared in return. Finally, I need to be ok with my choices even if they don’t all love each other. Like Zen said, “I don’t have to love the guy that my wife dates for him to be a good match for her.” Or something to that effect. (No doubt he’ll call me with the correct quote after he reads this.)

    Someone remarked to me recently that this all “seems complicated.” I’ve never viewed it that way although Nikki can’t keep track of who’s in my bed when she calls me in the morning. The four of us are working well, though, and every day I’m amazed by the amount of love that overflows these relationships. In fact, my life has never been better.