April 12, 2010

Poly Lifestyle in BDSM


As I travel around the 'net, I see many who are looking for someone to join their "poly" family. Usually, this scenario involves a couple seeking a bi female. What I started to wonder is how many of these people are actually offering a poly relationship versus those seeking a playmate.

Truly Poly

How many people are truly poly? That is a number that is impossible to calculate. However, there are some estimates that place the number of people involved in poly relationships at somewhere around 1 million in the United States. Of course, most poly advocates believe that the number would be substantially higher if not for the negative social conditioning that we have in this country.

Before going any further, it is important to define what we are saying when we mean "poly". From my understanding, there are basically two types of relationships that people are referring to when mentioning this word. The first, and probably most common, is polysexual. This is where a couple has an open relationship sexually. They will include other people in this capacity but the primary "love" relationship still remains in tact.

This differs from polyamorous which involves loving more than one person. Under this relationship, the emotional attachment is not just relegated to the primary relationship. The individuals are free to choose intimacy with other people. Here, sex is secondary. The emotional attachment is what these people are seeking.

One of the biggest differences between the two is that in polyamorous relationships, one of the parties needs to be poly. What that means is that he or she has the ability to love more than one person simultaneously. Compare that with polysexual where each person has the ability to screw another. However, that does not mean either party is polyamorous.

Poly In BDSM

What does the typical scenario look like in the BDSM world where poly is involved. As mentioned, I believe the most common situation is where a couple decides they want to invite another person (usually a woman) into their relationship. Here we have a woman who is bisexual thus they seek out another bi woman to complete their "family". Wrapped within the boundaries of BDSM, we find that our couple is seeking a submissive female to play with the dominant male and switch female.

It is at this time that we should distinguish what is transpiring here. While this is referred to as poly, it actually is a polysexual situation. Some will try to pass it off as polyamorous. However, the hierarchical makeup removes that argument. In this situation, even if the first woman is not a Domme (or switch), she is higher up on the chart because of her relationship with her man. This is magnified if they are a married couple since there is the commitment level to each other. The new person is being added as a "third wheel". She is not on equal footing. The primary relationship remains uneffected.

As mentioned earlier, the odds are that the male (in this situation) is not polyamorous. He emotional connection is to his wife/girlfriend while the other person is added as a playmate. While not stated, this is shown to be true whenever emotional connections arise outside of the primary relationship. The first woman will put an end to it if she sees another relationship forming that rival hers. It is important to remember that most are agreeing to polysexual only. They still believe the "love" is reserved for them.

V and Triad

A polyamorous relationship has a completely different makeup. Under this type of relationship, there is one person who is poly. If you picture a V in your mind, this person would occupy the intersection of the two lines. (Let us use a male for our example) The lines of the V symbolize the relationship with the two women who each occupy a spot at the end. Thus, a V is formed when it is drawn out.

A triad relationship is made by joining the two women together. This can occur if an intimate relationship develops between the two of them. Oftentimes, they are just friends but others, they are involved sexually and/or romantically. This is how a relationship moves from a V to a triad.

Notice that the idea here is that equality is maintained in the sense that there is no primary relationship. Each relationship is equal to the other in polyamorous situations. Naturally, hierarchies can be established when the domination/submission aspects of BDSM are mixed in. However, polyamorous means there is equality between both relationships.

But She Is My Wife

This is where most will stray off the reservation. When challenged with the proper definitions, a man will proclaim that nobody is going to be able to compete with his wife. She is the one he married and that is where his commitment is. For this reason, I feel that people are misleading when mentioning they are seeking a poly household. What they are after is a third sex partner. That is all. While they will be friendly with her, the fact remains that nothing is going to penetrate the initial relationship. Most who claim to be poly actually cannot the emotional attachment with two people. What they really want is open-ended group sex.

I bring this up to all who are considering joining another couple to be a part of the poly "family". What are you truly getting into? This is something that I see happening all the time yet most are surprised when things go awry. They felt they were entering into a situation where they were going to be involved with two people. Naturally, they are sexually; emotionally is a different story. Submitting to him actually means submitting to her also.

What About M/s?

M/s is an area where poly is less problematic. I believe the nature of a M/s relationship is the reason for this. Whenever one lives as a slave, he or she is committed to living for the other person. During the power exchange, it is agreed that the Master (Mistress) will do as he or she sees fit. Oftentimes, this involves bringing in other people. This could be sexually or emotionally. The choice is up to him or her.

In addition, the "primary" relationship contains a built-in hierarchy. Since it fundamentally is one of power exchange, the slave has no say in how other relationships are structured. This is not the case in the vanilla world or even in the D/s arrangements I have seen. If you want to see the elimination of the hierarchy, witness the behavior of a wife (even if submissive) when her husband gets swept up in the new relationship energy that is created. Her eyes will be filled with green.

While there is the chance of this in the M/s world, many slaves are trained to put their wants and desires secondary. They live a life to please the one they serve. If taking on another person is what he or she wants, then that is how it is. Most end up happy that Master is happy. For this reason, I believe there is a greater acceptance of another while placing that person on equal footing.

Most Are Just Play

The bottom line is that I believe most are not seeking a true poly situation. Instead, they are simply seeking a third to join them for sexual adventures. They will use the guise of poly in an effort to take things to another level. However, as was shown, there is no equality among the same sex parties. The truth is that the new relationship will always be deemed secondary.

Be careful of what you are entering into. I would suggest questioning the people you are getting involved with. Ask them if you are going to be expected to take a back seat to what they already have established. I would say that most times you will have to. If this is acceptable to you, then you are ready to move forward. However, if you are seeking something greater, then you might want to reconsider.

The truth is that most poly situations do not work out because people have misleading impressions of what will happen. Poly is a very difficult way to live. While it is rewarding, it requires a lot of effort on all parties involved. The poly one is responsible for monitoring how much time and interaction is given to each person. At the same time, jealousy is something that the other two will deal with on a regular basis. All these issues can be worked out but they require focus, attention, and a lot of communication. Playing is easy; having a happy poly household is not.

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3 comments:

Mistress A said...

I have been reading this blog for some time and I'm very pleased and intrigued in your take on poly in bdsm. For the most part, your simplified accounts are strikingly accurate but I thought I would share with you my arrangement, as I thought you may find it interesting and to give another viewpoint to your readership.

I met a couple at a bdsm party. The male owned the female. Yet there were fluctuating situations as the female, despite being extremely submissive, was dressed as a domme and the male had mild switch tendancies. I first joined them as a bi submissive even though I'm actually a domme. It took us over a year to finally straighten out our bdsm relationships that formed the basis of our poly household.
I'm in charge and head of the household. My male primary is collared to me although I'm working with being collared to him. My female primary is collared to him and to me. We have all been handfasted to each other.
We have a strong poly triad and bdsm framework that meets our needs although it isn't easy, we have found a way that bdsm enhances our polyamorous family, not detracts from it.

Dennis Najee on April 17, 2010 at 5:16 AM said...

Thank you for sharing your situation with all the readers here. That certainly is an interesting route to take.

The thing that comes to mind when reading it is how what was first perceived was not how the arrangement evolved. You joined as a submissive yet ended up as the head of household. I would mention that is something that is more common that people think. Many state they are one thing (i.e dominant or submissive) only to find out later they are something different.

Congratulations on your arrangement and please share any other insights that you might have about the lifestyle. I am sure the readers here would appreciate it.

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