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?