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.
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“