Poly Married With Children and The Church of Monogamy


There is still great opposition about polyamory with children involved. Maybe a sitcom like Modern Family will soften the prejudice.

Originally posted on Loving Without Boundaries:

Cheers Sexy People,

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 3.39.18 PMI have had quite the busy work, personal and poly life lately, my dear friends. There is much upheaval, excitement, momentum and sweet moments. For a peek into my poly as well as extended life, here are some highlights:

  1. My live-in boyfriend and I threw my husband a birthday party at our house, which was a huge success. One sweet moment for me was spending the day with my beau running around collecting food and other items needed for the party together, then at one point, he went on his own and got more supplies including flowers to make the house look nice. Seeing him walk in with groceries and flowers for my husband’s party just melted my heart. Then watching my husband open up gifts from myself, my beau as well as his latest squeeze… more priceless moments. Then my husband’s girlfriend insisting that she man…

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Rules of engagement in kink?

Do bdsm relationships need an etiquette? Participants in bdsm negotiate before they engage in play. There are explicit and unspoken rules that are used in play parties. Many experienced in bdsm lifestyles maintain a thorough communication about aspects of the bdsm activity. Discussions about dealing with outsiders center around the hierarchy of the bdsm relationship (who is master/dom, who is slave to who, etc…)  and the type of role they expect with the new member. In my experience, there are only limited discussions about interpersonal relationships.  How are relationships with outsiders  communicated in bdsm ones?

Kitty Chambliss talks about communication styles in polyamory:

it can be beneficial to distinguish between 3 styles of communication:

a) Open Awareness
b) Open Approval
c) Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

In Open Awareness, if you have sex with a new partner, you are agreeing to make your other partners aware of it as soon as it is convenient…

For Open Approval, that means that you need to ask PERMISSION from your partners BEFORE any sex happens with new partners…

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is pretty obvious. The relationship is consensually “open” but neither party wants to hear the gory details of their partner’s sex-capades


Should one have a communication agreement with your partners before engaging in bdsm with outsiders?

Chambliss communicated to me privately:

two kink-friendly people who are in a relationship. Let’s say for example, they don’t even have physical sex with each other, but they like to enjoy bdsm type of activities, such as being tied up. If they choose to open their relationship to other people (versus be monogamous and only be emotionally  and physically intimate — in this case meaning tie each other up to get each other off — with only each other), they have a choice as to how to allow other people to enter their arrangement (thus they could then have a “polyamorous” arrangement by entertaining several kink relationships in tandem). Again, as an example, Open Awareness would mean, one person could get tied up by a new person, but doesn’t have to inform their original partner until soon after this occurs (versus getting prior approval BEFORE doing this, which would be Open Approval).

To many, bdsm relationships are treated similarly to polyamorous ones.

The critical thing is to ensure that all the parties know exactly what is expected of them. The roles have to be clearly defined and there must be complete honesty in everything that happens. Everyone must be able to share their feelings and thoughts as they happen and prevent any bad feelings from simmering and damaging the dynamic. A submissive in a relationship with a dominant and multiple other submissives should know that all of the submissives are important and that in the end it is a privilege to serve a dominant who provides for everyone. The moment jealousy and entitlement interferes, the groups tend to break up, even when all involved cared about each other. Submission in a polyamorous situation takes even more strength than submission to one does


If you are thinking about involving playmates or bringing on a permanent new equal as a 3rd, you have to have ground rules that all will agree to and follow. This is very important to make sure that everyone feels equal and included in all dynamics of the relationship. Open and Honest communication between all parties is a must. There can be no secrets. If you are feeling any type of negative feelings, you should tell your Dominant first and then the partner with whom you have the negative feelings as soon as possible. If you don’t, it will just fester and grow until a big blow up occurs…

Be careful in picking the potential playmate/new addition. Remember, there are people out there that are very deceptive and will pretend to be one way, until they get into the relationship, then slowly try to push you apart from your Dominant. Before inviting anyone to join you, make sure you and your Dominant have deep talks about the new person and lay all of your feelings, wants, needs, desires and expectations on the table. Make sure you are very sure and have given a lot of time into getting to know the new person before allowing them closer into your family.



Interpersonal relationships in bdsm are often based on roles.

In BDSM relationships and dynamics, each person has a specific set of roles, a clearly defined status, and each person knows what is expected of them and what to expect from each other. This leaves less room for assumptions and misunderstanding about an individual’s status and the hierarchy of relationships. In any relationship, vanilla or kinky, unspecified and unmet expectations can create a lot of hurt feelings…

Role Specific

This type of polyamorous arrangement works well for people that have several different partners. Each partner can be given a specific role that only they can fulfill. In example, “You are my one and only daddy.”


In this arrangement, a pre-established couple comes as a packaged deal. You can only play with one if you play with the other.

Service Only

This can be a significant partnership, but it is based around a sense of formality and service. Be it domestic service, high protocol for a specific event, or a formal sense of service. Oftentimes, people who are dedicated to D/s usually adopt this.

Queen Bee

In this arrangement, a dominant has multiple submissive partners who don’t have other Doms.

Alpha Slave

An alpha slave is a submissive/slave that is owned or dominated by one person. S/he is allowed to own or dominate submissives/slaves of their own, or is given the responsibility of doing so over the other dominant’s submissives/slaves.


One partner of the primary relationship is not interested in BDSM. The secondary partner is allowed to explore their needs and wants with one or multiple BDSM partners.


An example of how a couple in a bdsm relationship takes on a third:

 I do want to play with a third alongside my Owner, I know that we are going to need a specific type of girl to fulfill my needs …

I will need a third who will enjoy pain because…I plan to inflict some on her as I allow her to service my Owner… and service me

my Owner…requires me to be submissive/slave to ONLY Him… so I don’t ever need to be submissive or a slave to any other person. He agrees that a third would never be above me… so we aren’t following any hard rules about it, but rather, what we discuss and agree on. He is my Master/Owner and I His slave, but not because of any rules… I am His slave by choice. He would never make me be a slave to a ‘third’ that we bring into the bedroom…. He wants us both to enjoy the third


Negotiations are usually necessary with those you meet only at playparties.

what might be called “pickup” play at playparties typically involves the partners’ knowing details about each other than [what] many folks who have been married for a year don’t ask! Negotiations before playing with someone new at a BDSM event can be quite involved and personal; and they get even more involved and personal after years of the partners’ playing together


But there are exceptions. In private (and some public) parties one can come into contact with well-known  community members. On these occasions, one can have a “free” pass because your partners know what to expect. For example, one of my partners might go into a session with an expert on rope bondage at a party and it isn’t necessary that she inform the other members of the triad since we know what the outcome will be.

As an example of a private party, my partners will pickup a third woman for an evening at our apartment. It isn’t necessary for me to get acquainted to the third unless she plans to stay for more than one night. Of course, I don’t mind hanging out with her outside of the bedroom and we have often become friends. Similarly, my partners take the same position about friends I bring for the night. Relationships that have room for give-and-take are a lot less stressful.

Is it worth the effort to establish and maintain an etiquette about bringing outsiders into your relationship? Bdsm relationships with additional people are rare and difficult to cultivate and maintain.  So why bother? If you’ve done it, you’ll know how rewarding the experience can be. Here is an example from fiction in the story about “sage”,  a woman who joins a couple for a kinky threesome:

What we were going to do was to fuck — it was something much more primal and exciting than what normal people did when they went to bed. It was kinky. Kinky might be in, but most people never had the nerve to really push their boundaries

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who wants polyamory more – women or men?

Do women want monogamy more than men? Or, would they consider polyamory if the they weren’t held back by circumstances or societal norms?

Here’s one person’s opinion about going back to monogamy:

I am poly, and I will not give up my other loved ones, so if you think you want something with me then either accept that, content yourself with just being a friend, or quietly exit my life…

I think it is very difficult for any one person to fulfil the sexual and emotional needs of any other one person – the question is whether they can fulfil most of their partner’s sexual/emotional desires and needs and fantasies. If they can, then there is the basis for a successful monogamous relationship

For me, polyamory isn’t primarily about sex, but rather the ability to share intimacy with more than one person. The intimacy has to happen first before I have any interest in anything sexual – subrosanomore


women, routinely portrayed as the monogamous sex, are actually not very well-suited to monogamy…

we are attached to monogamy as a way to hold families together, and women have become the main defenders of this social contract…

in every conversation I’ve had with friends about sex, every woman I know has said, not proudly but quizzically, “I think I’m more like a man” or some variation of this. I don’t think any of them would buy for a second the idea that women need more emotional connection to have sex, or that women don’t objectify people’s bodies, or that women wouldn’t want a one-night stand

15 million women in the US are on mood-stabilising drugs, a common side effect of which is reduced sex drive

http://bit.ly/13bvQYp  ( a review of book about Female Desire by D. Bergner).

So are women inclined to either monogamy or polyamory depending on their situation or needs at various times in their lives? Are women more at ease with one lifestyle than the other?

Desirous wrote:

I’m fine with monogamy when I have a partner who can satisfy my needs.

So would satisfaction of needs be a determinant of either lifestyle? tequilarose wrote:

being in a poly relationship [is] a great way to get all of my needs met.


Maybe men are stereotyped into the philandering role but they might not be the only ones playing around. When I serve women at the bar they often talk about cock and tease guys about their package. They become raunchy when they are away from their husbands. It seems women might also have a wanderlust if society were tolerant of it.


“I’m bored with him tonight. I wonder when that cute delivery guy will be here?”

If your monogamous relationship becomes a little humdrum or you are becoming bored talking the same things with your partner do you leave him/her or consider the polyamory option?

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Open relationship vs polyamory – is there a difference?

I believe there is a continuity between open and polyamorous relationships. You can start in an open relationship that eventually  becomes a polyamorous one. For some,  having “sex first” (see note [1] below)  is the opening for possible polyamorous relationships (except for those which have no sexual possibilities).

Is it easy to separate polyamorous from open relationships? Author Penelope Jones prefers poly to open and sees a distinction:

In an open relationship it is likely that all partners may never meet, and it’s also likely that love will never be involved in the majority of the relationships outside of the primary couple.  Open relationships on a normal level usually involve casual hook-ups and/or friendships that have sexual tendencies.  This is not what a Polyamorous life is.

Polyamory is described as Loving many or having the capability to love many people, in many different ways.  Polyamorous normally doesn’t mean casual hook-ups; it does mean love is involved.  Partners are normally introduced soon after dating commences. Everyone in the ‘family’ normally is involved with one another on some level of intimacy.  Remember— intimacy doesn’t have to mean sex!


Ms. Jones appears to drawing a line in the sand with open relationships on one side and polyamory on the other. I have yet to meet polyamorous people who did not have some open relationship(s) within their group. That is, within a poly group, one or more members may have open relationships with others outside the group from time to time.  When I was ‘upset’ (i.e. jealous) about my partners having affairs with other women in our apartment, they suggested I read Tristan Taormino’s “Opening Up“. Her advice,  I recall,  was that when you feel jealous, move on to an open relationship yourself. So when my partners tell me “we’re going to have xxx over for the night”,  they mean I’m free to play with one of my ‘friends’.

In mixed polyamorous and open relationships, those in the open relationship need to determine what to communicate to your other partners about your affairs. Here are two opinions:

 I like to be told when a partner has sex with someone else: in a scene, with someone they recently met, or with another partner. I’d just like to be told about it. Kind of up-front and forthcoming.

I like to be told about it because it helps to remove a sensation of anxiety that I have about the unknown.

…being told about their sexual encounters (or even coffee dates!) helps keep anxiety at bay and indirectly describes who is becoming more important in their lives

Simon Broussard (Russel) 

Annelle Wright commented to his post:

 I wouldn’t want my partner to routinely feel anxious if they didn’t know what happened. I’d be happier about sharing that level of detail for their sexual gratification, solely for their sexual gratification, with the consent of other partners. I’d seek consent from regular partners anyway

For steady ‘friends’, my partners say something as benign as “I’m going to be with xxx” . Usually we know “xxx” (because we have been introduced). If it’s a one-night stand or a trip to the back of the bar, we have a ‘get acquainted’ meeting.

Although we can make an intellectual distinction between polyamorous and open relationships, in practice those in polyamorous ones must keep their partners informed of the status of their open affairs. How much to inform depends on your partners needs. It helps to communicate early on to minimize their possible rejection of a prospective addition to their poly family, or to enable them to share intimacies with your ‘friend-with-benefits’.

For us it is counterproductive to reaching fulfillment in alternative lifestyles to think polyamory is superior/preferrable to open relationships . There are many who might consider an open relationship but are daunted by polyamory. Open relationships can and often do lead to polyamory.


[1] sex-first: PV has this requirement in her new relationship checklist:

Want to have sex on the first night, and not judge me for wanting the same.
Sexual compatibility is crucial to me, and I’d like to find that out sooner rather than later. I also see nothing wrong with sex on the first night, so I go ahead and do it whenever the circumstances allow it. If me having sex with you on the first night disqualifies me to be your girlfriend/wife in your mind, your mind is obviously not open and evolved enough to warrant my interest.

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Do we compromise ideal bdsm relationship away?

PV wrote her views on what she respects in a relationship with respect to polyamory:

  1. Want an openly non-monogamous relationship.I’ve tried monogamy and it doesn’t work for me. It never will and I will never promise monogamy to anyone. My partner has to be on the same page – has to *know* he can’t and doesn’t want to be monogamous.

  2. Be OK with my level of non-monogamy.On the spectrum of completely monogamous to completely non-monogamous, I’m pushing the latter extreme. I have no rules (other than ‘use a condom’) for my partners: They can fuck whoever they want, whenever they want, and however (much) they want. I need the same level of freedom. Most people I would’ve considered dating based on their other qualities who claimed to be non-monogamous could not deal with my level of non-monogamy.


PV enumerates her checklist of what she expects of a prospective partner in a relationship. Should we all have a “checklist” like she has? Or, is there a ‘give and take’ in relationships?

Maybe her standards are too high…or are they?

Fern writes: “There is always compromise in relationships, but there is a world of difference between small ‘c’ compromise and capital ‘C’ Compromise”

by big ‘C’ she means: Big ‘C’ Compromise is about giving away things that are fundamental to your happiness

This kind of compromising away of happiness is not unique to D/s relationships, nor is it unique to either side of the slash.

But surprisingly, you know who I talk to about this the most? New female dominants….

Because they are told over and over to consider their submissive’s wants and needs, to not be ‘that bad uncaring dominant’

From a F/m perspective, this can often lead to a situation where a Domme realises that her submissive is *only* ever doing exactly what he wants because she has stopped insisting on anything that he simply didn’t feel like doing



Should you compromise in a D/s rel.? By definition, the “TPE” (total power exchange) doesn’t allow for “compromise” except where safety may be at risk. And yet many people in D/s relationships do compromise. Some relationships degenerate to “vanilla” and eventually break up.

Could this explain why many (not all) D/s relationships have a short life or become “normalized” with only occasional kink in the bedroom?

Dumb Domme describes a sort of diagnostic (from Fern’s masocast)  for would-be D/s couples in which they describe their idealized typical day (or week) :

Separately, in writing, each of you describe a what a perfect day or perfect week looks like in your ideal D/s relationship. When you’re done, share what you wrote and see how well your perfect day matches up with your potential partner’s perfect day. If they match up well, fantastic! If they don’t, then perhaps you aren’t well suited to a relationship together.


Many discussions about bdsm and polyamory often become too abstract. Many people prefer practical steps to theoretical discussions about relationships. This is where fiction can help.  I suggest to those interested in F/m relationships short pieces such as from Amy_B:

It took four (ish) girls before Sven found Mimi. Four or more tries at convincing them that he wasn’t a creep for what he wanted. Four girls who made him feel disgusting. And only one girl to make him cry, as she tells him she loves him all the more for it.


If you and your partner can relate to most of the stories, maybe there is a potential future.

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Kink and Poly – get involved with others to prevent jealousy

Much has been written about the association of bdsm lifestyles and polyamorous relationships. For neophytes, their first relationships in bdsm often involved declarations of ownership that they may think is ‘exclusivity’, a feeling (based on a need?) of belonging to someone:

[a submissive writes] she knows I would happily give her any part of me that she asked for. She is absolutely right. My desires, my fears, my sweetness, my sincerity, my insecurities, my love – I’ll give them all to her whenever she wants

[he continues about her switching and polyamory]: “Early on, when she went from cuddling with me after a scene to getting ready to bottom to someone, I had certain feelings of discomfort. Those feelings have dissipated over time, though, and as I’ve gotten to know some of her other partners, I’ve become a lot more comfortable with it

I’m still getting used to the idea that she wants me to play with and be romantic with other people, though. When she says I’m hers, it isn’t about exclusivity. She wants me to be involved with others as a preventative measure against jealousy and resentment over her other partners.


Thus people entering into the bdsm lifestyle may have to prepare for a completely different paradigm of relationships: bdsm is at one very intimate and personal (some say a heightened state of romance) and, for many, simultaneously extending to many others with a similar intensity.

To make matters worse, some may enter a relationship where they are expected to be monogamous (the exclusive of their dominant partner) while their dom(me) may have relationships with many partners. 

There are harems where one dom(me) heads a household of several slaves. The slaves are usually in a hierarchy with distinct roles.

How can a person new to the scene tell if he is in a close relationship? And if the submissive has no hope of advancing his relationship with his dominant partner, will he be demoralized and eventually bail?

If all members in a bdsm relationship engage in polyamorous practices will their primary relationship be strengthened or diluted?


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D/s couples engage in play outside their primary relationships

There is no surprise from my experience those in bdsm are often polyamorous either for play or sexually or both. The variations are almost as many as the people involved. People either consider their bdsm partner(s) as a primary one or their most-frequent-have-sex-with partner(s) as their primaries. The common theme of primary-ness is the degree of emotional involvement.

Here are a selection of thoughts on the matter (my personal anecdotal stuff follows):

Are you willing to consider an open, or modified open relationship? While monogamy is considered the norm in vanilla society, a fairly high percentage D/s couples engage in play outside their primary relationships. This is not to say you should be doing this too, but rather that you will want to know where you stand on this before getting involved with someone. Part of the reason this is so common is because many of us are switches and/or bisexual, and want to explore all the possible roads. While we may well be in love with and want to stay with one person, we also want to be free to express our other orientations. The challenge here is jealousy, which is just as common in D/s as it is in the vanilla sector. For an open relationship to work, you need to be aware and communicative about your feelings about ownership and jealousy. My feeling is that generally open relationships don’t work if either partner has issues with this, although it may be possible to work around it through extended negotiation.

Just as there are levels of commitment in a monogamous relationship, there are levels of openness in an open relationship. The stereotype of the open relationship is that of swingers, who are free to sleep with anyone anytime. While there are people who do this successfully, most of the open relationships I have observed have very strict parameters.

Some people in open relationships are committed on the emotional end, and consider which bond is considered their primary emotional connection. They have an agreement that while they may occasionally have sexual interaction or D/s play with other people, their commitment is to their relationship. They usually develop an agreement about when and how other people can be accommodated. For example, some couples only include other people when they are both involved at the same time, in threesomes. Others allow play outside the partnership as long as both partners agree on the person in advance.

Still others have agreements about the type of contact which is acceptable. For example, some couples have what my friend Liz calls a “no pokey policy” which means they may engage in D/s play with other people, but no genital interaction. It’s common for people to feel that intercourse is a sacred act which should be shared only with one’s life partner. Others may choose no “intercourse” or no fluid exchange as the measurement.


I finally feel comfortable messing with poly is the fact that if there’s something I want to do sexually and my partner doesn’t, I can go do it with someone else -http://clarissethorn.com/2010/11/05/bdsm-vs-vanilla-part-1-why-i-pretend-i-dont-date-vanilla-but-questioning-men/#sthash.flBSuYtC.dpuf

Someone who can grow to become secure enough in our relationship that I can explore a D/s relationship with someone else without damaging our own relationship

I find the dynamic of you as a dominant female dating a dominant man very interesting. If you could find the right dom that is OK with you engaging in another relationship with a sub male that could work. What if you found a dom who also had another sub female as you had a sub male, and your relationship together was vanilla? could that work? Or perhaps your original idea of finding a vanilla guy who is ok with you engaging in a relationship with another sub male. All of these options could work, but you may just as well be better off finding the perfect sub to spend your life with.


My thoughts:

When I started a relationship with M, I thought it was just bdsm (i.e. I wanted more but she preferred to treat me as a play partner). She was already tight with two other women. But we did a lot of day-to-day stuff like shopping, cooking, laundry, visits to library, art events, etc. and developed a friendship which endured her breakup with one of the women.  She approached the other woman (S) and urged her to take me in as a third in what was to become a triad. Conditions were laid down: I accept them for their open-lifestyle and they accept me for mine.

In our case, both polyamory and bdsm are “open” depending upon the individuals we relate to.

We all hold the belief that bdsm practices and sexuality are inseparable.

Here is a picture of Jennifer Mills:


For me, there is some magic in selling a painting for $1

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