Category Archives: polyamory

This Kinkster’s Views on Polyamory

A partner of mine who is new to the idea of polyamory asked me “What does being poly mean to you and how does it affect your life?” This is my answer.

To me, the idea of polyamory is synonymous with the idea of more. Perhaps I’m a bit of a hoarder, a bit of a collector or maybe I’m just plain old greedy. I’ve always had a problem with the idea of monogamy only because I found it extremely hard to believe that one person could be committed 100% to another for any term of time. Humans, by their inherent nature, are hunters and gathers. We constantly hunt for the best thing out there. It’s the whole idea of the conquest. We do it with food, things, jobs, etc. Why not do it with people? We have these thoughts anyways, but most of the time society tells us to lust after someone who is not our partner is a shameful thing. With shame attaches guilt. Why not remove the guilt in the first place?

I have always adhered to the idea that if people were to just love more it would solve a lot of the world’s problems. I never really put a title on my beliefs or really knew about poly until I was probably in my early twenties. White bread suburbia doesn’t typically have households with two mommies, a daddy and a couple boyfriends or girlfriends (for example.) When I was growing up, I didn’t know what my sexuality was for the longest time. I was a huge tomboy and liked how girls looked so I figured I was a lesbian (when I knew what such a thing was.) But I found myself attracted to men too and being around men. I didn’t know that you could like both men and women. I found myself looking at happy couples and wanting that too … but not either or – both. I wanted both of them. Poly kind of incorporates that ability for me. My parents were always very cold people to each other and I think that formed my need for love from multiple sources. The more love, the better in my mind.

This is really hard for me to exactly put down what poly means to me mostly because it’s just a feeling for me. It’s a feeling that that’s what’s right for me. I want a primary partner (or partners) but I also enjoy the idea that if I meet someone I have a connection with who isn’t one of my partners I could enjoy their company in whatever fashion we decide to if everybody is okay with it. I think that’s what separates poly from cheating. Everybody knows what’s going on and there’s an openness to everything we do. I’ve had to learn that the hard way. Having had relationships (even minor ones) crash because I couldn’t be honest with them. Seeing it in people around me also struggling with poly relationships.

Poly is not an easy thing, not by far. It’s very time consuming and delicate to balance time, personalities, egos and desires. When it works though, it works so well. It makes me happy to see my partners happy. It makes them happy to see me happy. I think this also stems from my “pleaser” personality. I want to make people happy in any way I can and if it takes letting a partner go off and romp with someone else knowing that what they do doesn’t detract from our relationship, I’m fine with that.

Admittedly I do have problems sharing. I’m not good with it. Growing up essentially an only child for all intents and purposes, I never had to share my toys. I struggle with knowing someone I’m involved with is off having fun with someone else, but I then have to remember it’s not fair for me to demand that I can do those fun things with other people but my partner can’t. That’s just not fair. It’s not just about balancing other egos, but also about balancing yours as well.

Love is not finite. There is no boundary on how much a person can love. Meeting someone and loving them doesn’t take away from me loving someone else. It just means I love more. It means I love fuller. That’s the affect it has on my life. I love more.

I do want to clarify something though – when I say “we constantly hunt” it doesn’t mean I’m always out there looking for more partners. I can be happy with what I have. I don’t always search for new people to fall in love with or be with. Sometimes those people just find me. They fall in my lap, so to speak. Sometimes there’s something that a partner of mine doesn’t want to do or isn’t interested in that causes me to go on the hunt for someone who will. Having the freedom to do that, all while still staying committed, is what prevents resentment from setting in. I’ve seen that with my parents. I think to a large extent my father resents my mother for just shutting down the whole sexual side of her after I was born. He’s not the kind of guy to go out and have an affair, so he shut that part of himself down too. I don’t want that kind of resentment in my relationships. This is where having that freedom to play becomes useful.

Poly affects me because I don’t feel weighed down by the boundaries of what might be a typical monogamous relationship. Monogamy works for some people, don’t get me wrong. There are perfectly happy couples out there who have a very fulfilled life. I wish them well and with them happiness. For me though, monogamy makes me feel boxed, closed in, isolated. I’m flirty by nature and as hard as I try, I can’t turn that off. It’s just another part of me, like having green eyes or being small. It’s just who I am.

It’s just who I am. Poly isn’t a choice for me. It’s simply who I am.

The Problem With Poly

I was sitting waiting for class last week when I got the text no person in a polyamorous relationship, even one as low level as a poly friendship with feelings, wants to get. The dreaded “my main relationship takes priority over you” message. I had been expecting it for a few days and while I wasn’t surprised, it still hurt.

This is not the first time I’ve been told this in one way or another. Hell, I doubt it will be the last time I receive it either. In fact, I’ve noticed that the last four poly relationships I’ve been in or around in one way or another fail. I could very easily take it personally and feel like I’ve somehow contributed to that, but I’ve decided to take a different approach to how I perceive what’s going on. I may be wrong and way off base, but I feel like even if there’s a nugget of truth in what I say, I’m obligated to point it out.

I’ve noticed several common denominators to all these failed, failing or unstable poly (and even monogamous) relationships around me. I will point them out and discuss them in turn.


1. Communication. I think when it comes right down to it, there is a lack of communication in relationships. Startling revelation, right? I know, it’s probably something that every relationship guru in the last 25 years has preached, but I really feel it’s true, especially in the context of poly relationships. When you are involved with someone else, whether that’s one person or twenty people, there needs to be very open, honest and thorough lines of communication. Everybody needs to be on the same page, whether they agree or not. When more than two people are involved in a relationship, it seems very easy for one person to swallow their feelings or what is going on in their head and eventually it just leads to a blowup or blow out. Define the goals of the relationship, define life goals, define personal goals. Say what you want out of the relationship and what can be done to accomplish all that. In the modern age of constantly being connected, it’s easy to look surface level at a situation and say that we are communicating, but take a harder look and really assess if that is the case.

A corollary to this statement is that communication should not only be done in the bad times. When things are going well, it’s easy to sit back and become complacent with progress or good times, leaving the difficult talks to when things get rough. The problem is that doing that can sometimes ignore little problems that can be easily addressed and headed off when they are small. Not discussing things when they come up, even minor ones when things are good, often times leads to those problems festering. We push them to the back of the pile and then out of the blue, what was a small problem seems to be a big problem that just came up. Constant communication between and among all partners can and does lead to better, long lasting, and more fulfilling relationships.

2. Multiple partners does not save a failing relationship. I think this is the hardest issue I’ve struggled with and only recently come to accept. These relationships I become involve with fail for a reason and by the time I come into the picture, often times the relationship is already doomed. I just get to be around for the implosion. I’ve seen this in swingers, poly people and in the monogamous context of cheating. “Oh, I’ll just bring someone in and they can fix all our problems.” Oh boy, that statement is full of loaded implications and problems. The only people that can ultimately fix a relationship are the people in it. No outside person, no matter how skilled or knowledgeable can do that. It’s a matter of committing to change and making those changes necessary. There are any number of reasons people look outside of a relationship for friendship, physical or emotional comfort or support. The one I’ve seen most often is that they are not getting from the relationship (primary or otherwise) what they need and want out of it. That can often be through no fault of any of the parties. We want people to fulfill our every desire and need, but it doesn’t always happen. We can try as hard as we want to look for those solutions, but from what I have seen if you’re not getting them from within the relationship, you’re going to go elsewhere.

3. Lack of personal accountability. I’ll be honest here. I’m guilty of this one. Quite a bit actually. It’s the whole “it’s not my fault, it’s your fault” argument that couples get into. I’ve had the opportunity to sit through a number of break up talks, whether it’s as a participant or as an observer. Often times I hear more “you”s in the conversation than I do “I”s. It’s the “you didn’t do (fill in the blank)” instead of “I lack in this regard.” Naturally when things go bad, humans do this as a defense mechanism. We overlook what we have done or haven’t done and instead look outside ourselves to find and place blame. While it is a completely natural reaction to a stressor of a relationship breaking up, it also serves to place us on opposite sides from the person with whom we have the relationship. It sets up a adversarial fight instead of a “let’s work together to solve this” situation. I wish I could say there is some easy fix to this and that simply taking more personal responsibility for the relationship will do this, it is the most difficult thing I’ve found. While this kind of reaction is common to every relationship, I find it more prevalent in poly relationships because there are simply more people to blame. Inevitably there is that one easy target that ends up having the weight of the breakup on their shoulders for being the horrible, evil person when in reality it’s probably more like a combined set of factors spread across multiple people that have contributed to the downfall of the relationship.

4. Lack of time spent on individual relationships within the poly relationship. I find this a lot and it’s something I want to address. You don’t have to spend every waking and sleeping moment as a group. It’s simple not feasible. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you should not spend all your time with a “primary” partner for lack of a better word. I’ve always had issues with certain forms of poly relationships, mainly that of the V style. Whoever is the common denominator between the two relationships feels torn and spread too thin. Ultimately it will lead to tearing of the relationship and the common person spending more time with one partner than the other. I’ve always felt the optimal relationship shape should be more like a triangle, square or circle depending on the number of partners. Everybody should be involved with everybody. Having any inequalities will just end poorly. The point I’m trying to make here is that you do need to take time away from the group relationship though to tend to your relationships with a singular person. This is where the communication needs to come in. It needs to be made clear that you’re doing this for the good of the whole relationship, not to show favoritism for one partner or that you love one partner more than the other(s). Keeping the individual components strong will keep the whole strong. Like many other things, relationships are only as strong as the weakest link. Keeping those links strong and taking time to maintain those links will keep the whole of the relationship strong and on a strong and healthy path.

This list is by no means a complete and exhaustive list of the things I often find wrong in polyamorous relationships. As I live more and experience more poly relationships myself, I’m sure that I’ll find more things that need to specifically addressed when in a poly relationship. But for right now, I really wanted to get this out there to help people who do find themselves in a failing poly relationship and hope that I’ve offered a little insight into what is wrong and what can be done to fix it. You only get out of a relationship what you put in it. There’s no easy answers when it comes to relationships and nothing easy about them in general. They are work, like anything else in life. It’s committing to that work and committing to making that relationship better that will ultimately lead to being in more fulfilling and more pleasing relationships.

Poly-dom-orous?

So I have something that’s been on my mind for awhile. I’ve long defined myself as polyamorous, meaning I can love more than one person at a time and be involved with more than one person at a time. It’s just something very natural for me. Why not love more than one person? The more love, the better in my mind. Ideally those people also love each other, making it a more equal relationship, but it’s not always necessary.

That being said, I’ve noticed this very strong sentiment that a submissive can have no more than one dominant at a time. There’s that old saying from the Bible:

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” – Luke 16:13

Much like I question most every other part of the Bible, I question this as well. I guess what really started me thinking about this was MinxGrrl’s post about having more than one Daddy because each plays a different role for her. I found myself relating to that post because everything I had been conditioned up until that point told me that when you have a Daddy, you have one Daddy.

Why do we have such strict rules about that? People, regardless of their role in my life, fulfill different purposes. Each brings and contributes something different to my life. So far I have found no single person to provide everything I need for me. That may be because I’m young and I’m still searching for my “soulmate,” if you believe in that term. I believe though that it’s because there is no one person who can provide me everything I need emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. Hell, I am a complex person and finding someone do to each as well as I need them to is beyond difficult.

I’ve talked with a lot of dominants in my time, male or female. I’ve experienced different ways of being dominant and I’ve dabbled in being dominant myself. I can definitely see both sides here. There is an inherent territoriality that comes along with natural dominance. You want what is yours. I don’t share well myself in fact. I also understand though that we all need different things, some of which I can’t or am not able to provide for someone. I have strengths, weaknesses, dislikes and likes, just like everybody else. Finding someone to match them perfectly is difficult, if not impossible.

In my time searching for a dominant, I will admit to juggling a few at a time. It seems like there are more people who call themselves “dominant” than there are actual dominants out there. Fakers and players abound. Of the population of dominants leftover after you take away all the ones who can’t actually provide what they say they can, there aren’t that many good ones leftover. The ones that are left are either taken or don’t quite fit with me, but usually I find one or two aspects of their style or what they offer to be appealing.

Each person in my life is there for a specific reason. Dominants are no different. Why is the long held rule that a submissive can have only one dominant there? My only guess is people do not want to share. I completely understand it, but at the same time I feel we may be doing a disservice to submissives by having that general rule. If someone can provide to you what your primary dominant doesn’t, why shouldn’t you consider experiencing the opportunity with that person? Limiting yourself will only limit your experiences in life. I am a person who wants to experience as much as I can in this life. If that involves having more than one dominant at a given time, then so be it.

To me, it seems there are ways to work around scheduling, tasks, goals, physical things, etc. Sure, having two dominants controlling a submissive in a given scene will probably not work. I’ve never experienced co-topping in person, but to me it seems like two natural dominants will only end up butting heads more than working together smoothly. One of the dominant personalities will ultimately have to take second fiddle and while that can flip flop during the scene, it seems to me that would make the dominants more switches than pure dominants. There’s nothing wrong with that by any means. I consider myself a switch and can see myself co-topping as long as there is that natural ebb and flow of power between the tops.

My challenge is this now – finding people who understand and agree with this. From the conversations I’ve had with dominants, this seems to be one of their least favorite things to talk about. They want to talk about them, about me, about the news, about the weather, but they don’t want to talk about the possibility that I may not get everything I need and want out of them. That I may need to search for what is lacking in other people.

It’s a hard road I’m on, being polyamorous, polyfuckerous (a term a friend of mine coined) and polydomerous. It’s one that is fraught with heartache and accusations. But it’s one I can’t see myself not being on. I am what I am and while it may grow and evolve, I don’t see this certain aspect of my personality fading for now or a long time afterward.