28 November 2008

Poly and D/s

Where are the lines drawn?
Where do the rules intersect?

The most basic rule in BDSM is that the Top gets their way. (Ok, so technically the bottom controls the scene and whatever else, but that's the idea of it anyway)
The most basic rule of poly is that no one moves forward without everyone's consent.

So how can you be both poly and D/s?
Especially as a Top?

Ok, this is kind of a trick question. I don't really see a problem with it. Jack and I had some issues in the beginning, because he grew up only knowing monogamy. He was completely squicked the first time I suggested he have sex with someone else without me being directly involved. Now, though? I've been trying to get him laid for months, and he's cooperating rather well for someone who's totally antisocial by nature :)

So here's where I throw my $.02 in.
Consent. Everything we do, both as kinksters and poly folks (those of us who are either, or both) is about consent.
I wouldn't dream of tying someone up and beating them without their consent. That's abuse.
I wouldn't dream of playing sexually with someone without my partner's consent. That's cheating.

Maybe this issue is more clear-cut for those in pure Dom/sub relationships. Or at least, in my fantasy of them- the Dom says, "We are poly," and then they are. The Dominant (in an M/s relationship, at least) has 'implied consent' on behalf of the submissive. Or at least, that's the theory. Most states don't accept that anymore, and nor do most subs.
See, so I know better. I was in a submissive relationship for a while, and it sure as hell didn't work that way. No Dom in their right mind, who actually cares about their sub, makes blanket decisions like that without taking the sub's desires into consideration and soliciting their input. To do so would be an engraved invitation for the end of the relationship, with much strife and drama in the meantime.

But for those of us like Jack and I, who are both mostly Toppy and very vanilla as partners, it's, um, even more complicated.
Because it means I didn't get to decide one day, "Hey, I miss being poly! Hey Jack, we're poly now so I'm going to go play with this person!"
I wish. Seriously.
It took months of negotiations, discussions, and boundary-setting. Hells, we're still not all the way there- Jack is still totally uncomfortable with me doing overtly sexual play with someone he doesn't feel a connection with himself. Don't ask me why, I don't gte it either. But it's his thing, so I respect it even when I don't understand it.
Because we're partners, and that's what that means to me.
He doesn't get my love of horses. But he respects it. We're partners.

I'll be honest- it was hell for both of us. I'm naturally poly, so I honestly don't understand his feelings of fear of rejection, his jealousy, his desire for monogamy. I have no way to relate to them, so when he brought them up, my instinct was to tell him that he was being silly, to 'get over it'. I'm not going to leave him for someone else- with poly I don't have to!- so what's he getting his knickers in a twist over, anyway?
Yeah. Not Bella's most mature response.
And poor Jack, raised with monogamy his entire life, who'd never even *heard* of poly before he met me, suddenly finds himself with this girlfriend who can't have sex with him, but wants the freedom to be sexual with other people. WTF?!
Poor guy. I'm a shitty girlfriend sometimes, seriously.

So we negotiated. And we still negotiate. Every new partner, every new step, we negotiate. On my end, he's got blanket permission provided that it's barriered. As far as I'm concerned, he can fuck who he wants (although I get veto power!), beat who he wants, and even just snuggle with who he wants, because I feel totally secure in the fact that he's still coming home to me.
On his end, we negotiate. He's come a really long way, but this is still uncharted territory for him. I have blanket permission with girls (what *is* it about straight men not finding other women to be a threat? To be somehow *safe*? Misogynistic bastards, all of them!), but with guys? Yeah... negotiations central. I swear, I could talk people out of hostage situations by this point, I think!
But it's worth it.
It's worth it because every day when I wake up next to him, he feels secure in our bed, in our relationship.
It's worth it because every time I come home high from beating the CRAP out of someone else, he smiles to see my excitement because he knows that I'm still coming home to him.
It's worth it because now that I'm strap-on shopping, even though he has no interest whatsoever in them, he looks with me and gives me his thoughts on them, and enjoys my excitement.

Sure, our negotiations about my taking Kat as mine caused some pretty serious fights. Sure, I got pissed and felt like he was choosing to be a pain in the ass about the whole thing. Sure, our negotiations about Terry and Lucivar took hours of one day, and the idea of all of them in my room at DomCon gave me anxiety attacks several times.

But it's worth it, because I know that everyone in my life has a security, a surety, of where they stand with me. They know that I love them. They know what my rules are, and they know why. We may not all like them all the time, but we know them. My lovers know that I won't abandon them, won't just walk away because Jack is upset about something. And Jack knows that no one will ever take him away from me.

Do I bemoan the constant balancing act sometimes? Do I think how much easier all of this would be if I were single sometimes?
Well, duh. I'm human.
But when I wake up in Jack's arms with wisps of the memory of someone else's scent on my skin, and I know that this is a safe place for all of us... well, then, there're no negotiations that aren't worth it.
Maybe I don't get to be MistressGoddessUberDominaFromHell and say, "This is my will, so mote it be!" but you know what? Most of them don't get to either... at least, not those in healthy relationships ;-)


  1. I'm glad to hear that the negotiations have been coming along. I look forward to seeing you both again.

  2. 'so mote it be' ??? uber domme or not, you would NEVER live that down, just so you know.

  3. @ Kat: Thanks, love, we look forward to seeing you again, too.

    @ Lucivar: That's kinda the point, darling.
    Of course, being pagan, that particular line is the *least* ridiculous of that whole statement :-p


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