Poly, Kink & Control

May 23rd, 2013

Had a good thoughtful post all outlined last night, to fill in the blanks today, but then I got accepted to grad school for the fall, and my brain is all a tizzy with excitement. Fortunately, I also wrote a different blog post type thing last night at 3am because I couldn’t sleep with camping excitement, so we’ll just go with that for now, there might be the original post later.


You hear it all the time – “You must be in control of yourself before you can give/take control to/from another.” We bottoms seek out tops who are “in control,” and tops (one assumes) seek out bottoms who are, as well. But what does that really mean?

I thought I knew. But often power is mistaken for control. Leadership positions are mistaken for control. Confidence, physical prowess, and popularity are mistaken for control. But these are all surface things, and can have very little to do with self-control. When you dig deeper, you might just shatter the illusion.

Sometimes you do find someone who is “in control” and some of these times, you feel you are “in control,” too. Then you feel like you’ve done it right and you’re ready to jump in. But life is messy and so many things are outside our control. So many things are chomping at the bit, just waiting for the unguarded moment, to slip out of control. Often in poly and kink, you are trying new thing after new thing, that you haven’t yet learned to keep in control. And it slips, and all off a sudden you are out of control.

We are human, imperfect, flawed, and weak. Control is something we strive to maintain. It is not a place in which we can live, not if we intend to interact with the world, our partners, and sexual and kinky exploration. Some spiritual traditions may disagree, from one end of the spectrum to the other. But, for me, being “in control” is a practice of constant mindfulness and acceptance that I will slip from time to time, and tumble out of control until I get righted again.

This is most often accomplished with the help of my friends and loved ones. When we are lucky, only one of us falls out of control at a time. Other times, it feels like an acrobatic skydiving team; tumbling off one another as we fall faster and faster. But we come together in the end, and chutes are pulled and control is regained.

So, look for people who are “in control,” but also, notice what they do when things spiral out of control. Anyone can control a rowboat moored at a dock on a quiet day. How do they react in a storm?


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