January 27th, 2011
One of the things on my mind when I was doing the Thirty Days of Kink meme was openness. There were two questions I linked to the same post about being open with my friends, but not with my family. Then the post about misconceptions – BDSM is not abuse. And my brain wandered off – wondering, is this why I don’t tell my family? Is this what I’m afraid to explain to them, afraid they just won’t understand? Afraid they’ll think I’m broken or, worse yet, that they did something wrong in raising me?
I make excuses – it’s my sex life, why would I talk to my family about the kind of sex I have? We don’t talk about such things. It’s where all my ideas about what’s “proper” or “appropriate” come from. Those words that The Ethical Slut talks about as social programming that limits us and makes us ashamed of ourselves. But what about poly? That’s my love life, that’s people who mean a lot to me. And it still falls into “inappropriate” and “improper” behavior. But people I care about is a topic of family discussion.
I think I’m wandering here. Reel it back in.
BDSM is not abuse. I posted that simply and without comment on the misconceptions day. There are so many ways that discussion can go. From how BDSM is about love and respect, to how to recognize abuse, to how to prevent abuse, to how some people just don’t understand other people’s needs and desires. To how some people’s kink is just not other people’s kink, to how some people’s kink is too extreme for other people. And on and on.
But the point in my head, when I started this post, was, is that what I’m afraid of? Is that what I don’t think I can explain to my god-fearing, bible-carrying family? You betcha. My dad once commented that a girl in college wanted him to spank her and he thought it was very odd of her and he sent her packing. I don’t know why he told me (and Hubby) that story, other than for something to say while we were traveling cross country on a family vacation, but I worried even then that I could never tell him the truth about myself.
I’ve seen a friend’s parents react very badly to the idea of their daughter being kinky. The dad did read a book on rope bondage and come to accept it as a sexual expression. But what about pain, how do you get vanilla folk to understand, or at least accept, that pain is a healthy expression of sexuality? There are kinky people who don’t fully understand the levels of pain I enjoy, but at least they’re accepting. Usually along the lines of, well, if it makes you happy.
Isn’t that what our parents want for us? That we be happy? Yes. But generally the want us to be happy within social norms, or whatever Their social norms are. Would my parents really deny me because my expressions of pleasure are different from theirs? Would they stop speaking to me because controlled pain in a life when uncontrolled pain in typical makes me feel better? Would they try and have me committed because I like a bit of electricity running through my body even when I’m not at a chiropractor? Probably not. But I still shrink from those conversations, afraid of disappointing them, or confusing them. Or that I am wrong about their capacity for acceptance.
Honestly, it’s my brother who I think would try to understand the least. And it’s poly that I think that my parents would be most upset with. I promised to my father and before my mother to be monogamous until death. I think extramarital relations would be the harder sell. I love my Hubby, and he loves me, but to forsake all others would not be true to ourselves. Love grows when it is shared.
June 24th, 2010
In college, there were times when I was in love with not-yet-Husband, and dating other men. He first proposed to me while engaged to someone else. I did not say no, not until I met her, anyway. When he proposed the second time, and I said yes, it was on the condition of monogamy. I accepted that he was flirtatious, and loving towards others, but we made an agreement that there would be no other relationships when we got married.
Two and a half years in, and we were both finding ourselves interested in other people on a level more than just flirtation. We talked about swinging, playing outside our marriage. I played with one friend, trying to keep emotions out of it, but when he decided he could not continue, I was hurt. Friends invited us to a swingers party where I was fairly wide-eyed and quiet the whole night. Then we moved.
We looked around online for potential play partners. We played with one couple, and we met another, but neither turned out well. Then we found the local kink community. I agreed that Husband could be true to his poly nature, and I would continue with the label of swinging. I was afraid of getting hurt again, swinging felt safer, it was not about love, or relationships. It was about experiences and having fun.
Then I met Lover, and Him. We started playing, in various forms, and it quickly became apparent that emotions would always be involved, that there was always risk, that the trust required for the way I wanted to play was not something to be given casually.
Husband has formed various relationships, girlfriends and play partners, looking for what he wants to add to his life. Together we explore our rules and agreements. We deal with jealousy and time management. We grow together and we follow our own paths. I love him, I am in love with him, I will love him forever and always.
I had a hard time with labels and defining relationships outside my marriage. Lover started as a play partner. Love grew between us, but in different ways. There are many kinds of love, and my love for him does not feel like the romantic, forever love of a Husband or a Boyfriend. It feels like the love of a cherished and trusted friend, a confidant. I chose the word Lover for him because I do love him, and we do play and make love, but it is a different kind of commitment that I feel for him.
Him, Rigger, Mentor, Dominant, Boyfriend. He and I have gone through many stages of our relationship. Growing closer over the last two years, taking things one step at a time. We began trying to define things around the turn of the year, or rather we tried to move forward without truly defining things, and found that it would not work anymore. After some stumbling, we defined what we had and what we wanted, and what boundaries that created for us, to keep us and our relationships safe. I love him, but more than that, I am In love with him. In the life-sharing, forever kind of way, and I am incredibly grateful that his wife is accepting of my love for him.
Compersion is an important concept in how I do poly. I love my Husband, my Lover and my Boyfriend, and because I love them, I want to see them happy. Their other partners bring love and happiness to their lives, so I am happy for them, and those relationships. I do not always want the details about how their other partners are making them happy, but sometimes it is fun to share the excitement and experiences, and it is definitely fun to share the energy created by those experiences. Jealousy still crops up, and relationships are not always happy, but over all, I know that love is not divided between us, it grows and expands to include everyone in our lives.
Polyamory has been a quite a journey, and I am still exploring the path.
August 27th, 2009
Timely questions and a weekend with family, especially my family, can bring up all sorts of interesting thoughts and personal dilemmas. God and Kink, where do they meet inside a person? I’ve always followed a philosophy of love and that meshes well for me. Kink, in my life, is about love and trust. But then come in those lessons from childhood: monogamy and following God’s plan, going where He leads. (As a heterosexual female submissive, I’m okay with the patriarchal He, though I find the debate amusing.) I find it difficult to reconcile the dogma of the church with my life. I find it hard to believe this is where he led me and that I’m living His purpose. Should I be living His purpose anyway? Shouldn’t I be living My purpose?
I generally frame my purpose around writing, around creating and communicating through the written word. (It’s my fear that adds that last bit, insisting on written and not spoken.) Then I look at the things I write about – rogues, thieves, assassins, sex, kink, even rape. How could He possibly have led me here? There is a darkness in my writing that comes out of me, comes from my center. I enjoy that darkness, thrive there. So, when people ask about my faith, I cannot bear to think he is there, watching my every move because it brings to mind a disapproving fatherly frown. Surely he’s made this world and just watches it spin without examining every little bit of it in judgment. But isn’t that what we are taught? Just like Santa – He knows if you’ve been bad or good – (though why Santa watches when you’re asleep I never did figure out).
Back to the beginning. God is Love. That is where this all meets for me. I love my husband, I love my mentor, and I love my boyfriend. I love my family and my friends. I play with love. I learn and teach with love. I write, create and communicate with love. In the end, that is what matters to me.