Nov 252009
 

Before you talk shit about the resonance of this image, know that a poly group on FaceBook uses this as their image ;-)This one is the total fault of @sexisfuncoochie. That’s what you get for asking an innocent question.

OK. Um, Mo here, talking about being (mostly) mono in a poly world. And by “poly world” I mean the BDSM community as I experience it.

I’ve been around a while, and I am not a shrinking violet when it comes to hopping around the country chilling with my Leather and Kinky and Sex Positive and Freaky Peeps. And due to this, many assume I play all the time, everywhere.

This is not the case.

I don’t have people banging down my door. This is just the fact. Why? Lots of reasons I suppose. But since I’m in a bit of a gutwrenching funk, I’ll focus on the one thing I can think about without it becoming a festival of self-deprecation.

I’m pretty monogamous. Not entirely. Certainly not by the standards of broader society and not even by the standards of some other kinky monogamous people. But at my core, I really have only room for one in my heart’s harbor. I can’t have an octopusesque emotional USB hub and have network multiple people, it overloads me and it is unlikely I’ll do that to myself again.  I get Very. Intense. In relationships and that paradigm does not work well for me.

But this makes me a bit of a unicorn in the BDSM community. Along about the time I became involved in the public BDSM community, back in 1996, there seemed a movement afoot that really embraced an open and polyamorous paradigm in kink. Most dominants had multiple submissive partners. Dominant women were NEVER short of willing supplicants, and het male tops usually had solar systems of partners…maybe a spouse, a lover, a sub, a slave…whatever suited their needs and made them comfortable.

For some, this works!

For some, it HAS to work.

I can say that, from personal experience and from speaking with many people over the years, this arrangement was often one they entered out of emotional necessity, or out of adoration and love for the dominant involved. If someone you love is poly, it is often the case you will “go there” to see if it can work.

I heartily advocate this approach. Why? Because sometimes you need to have the experience to know for certain.

I’ve done poly since the age of 16. I’ve done poly in my BDSM relationships and furthermore, none of the people I’ve served and none of my regular play partners have been monogamous types.

About a year ago, I evoked hearty gales of laughter when I stood at a local Munch…one I’ve attended for over 10 years…and introduced myself as being monogamous. This was not because this was a major departure for me…I have never stood and introduced myself as poly. Being in poly relationships does not a poly identification make.

Aside from that first poly triad I was in in High School, none of my relationships were non-monogamous because that was what I really wanted. They were because the people to whom I was attracted were themselves poly or non-monogamous, and I am not poly-averse. I believe it can be a good place.

No, the laughter was because, to many people, it is “funny” to hear someone proclaim monogamy.

I want to serve one person. I enjoy playing with others, and I enjoy watching someone I love play with someone who isn’t me. I talked about that in this blog post. But that isn’t what I need in order to feel the feelings and nurture the emotional landscape in which I wish to live.

This morning, on Twitter (which is often my source for thoughtful mental snacks) @sexisfuncoochie asked me to expand on “thoughts re: poly & single people prioritization.” And that was in response to my previous Tweet where I said “when everyone’s poly, single girls don’t get prioritized.”

Being a single monogamous female submissive is not. Fucking Easy.

Not for me, anyway.

See, here is the thing:

There are plenty of people…awesome people…awesome people  in relationships…who want to play with me. So, yes, in a way, I have access to lots of wonderful people I love, who are happy to fuck me up. And I appreciate them, and sometimes, on a good day, I’ll go there and have a spectacular scene.

But a scene is only an hour or two.

And I have to go home alone.  THAT is where the problem kicks in. I don’t have anyone with whom I can unpack the emotional aftermath, to cuddle days later if something comes up. When I play with someone already in relationship, I’m an adjunct, an afterthought, the cherry on top the icing on the cake, the gravy on the turkey. I’m not the essence, the meat, the focus. If they don’t play with me, no biggie. They have [x] other play partners, and their primary / secondary / partner(s) / whatever to whom they go Home.

I do occasionally get over myself enough to ask people to play. And I like to play with people I know. And yes, I’m selective. But when I ask, and then have to be slotted within the comfort levels of a primary, or shuttled between 3 other playdates, or blown off because they top is tired after 3 other scenes, I am sure as fuck not feeling like an awesome rock star. I feel expendable, and I really feel how much my position engenders vulnerability. For me that is taxing.  And often, it just isn’t worth the price.

I go through cycles.

And often, the cycle means I’ll wind down and only play in situations where the expectations are crystal fucking clear for me. Like when traveling, at cons and events where I am already in the mode to not fully “Let go,”  because there isn’t the time or bandwidth.

As a single person, playing with poly people means I will never be as important to their core “need” set as they potentially could be to mine. That inequity can only float me so far.

Someone somewhere said “Never make someone a priority in your life when you are only an option in theirs.” or something along those lines.  And in my experience, I have yet to be in a relationship situation where I was the “option” and felt fully valued, appreciated, and important.

In fact, even in casual play situations, people who aren’t monogamous and have many options available to them are disinclined to prioritize me. What USUALLY happens is that everyone “leaves it open” and “doesn’t want to commit” for fear of letting someone down. SO one has to hope the magic Pervfaries make everything right and perfect. And when that doesn’t happen, as is often true, we all have to smile graciously and say “Well, they never PROMISED it would happen, so no harm, no foul.”

But it does harm, in tiny ways. Micrometeors hitting my emotional forcefield, leaving my worldview pitted and a little milky. If you have 4 people to choose from, and you hit 3 out of 4, you’re doing great! But if you are that last one…the #4… left untouched at the end of the night…it sucks. Sucks balls. I’m going to bed alone, unbruised, and not feeling very well taken care of. You’re going to bed tired from all the scenes you did…without. Me.

Is this anyone’s fault? Nope. Does it make poly people evil? Nope. It means that as a monogamous person in a predominately poly community, I’m on Polyfolks turf and I have to suck it up.

And hey, there’s gotta be other monogamists out there, right?

And if there are, I’m well positioned to meet them. I am about as “out there” as one can be, so no one could accuse me of “hiding my light under as bushel.”

But being that “out” has its own risks and pitfalls.

There is a uniquely horrid sensation to feeling trapped in a fabulous persona. I wish I could get past the feeling of being caught within a shiny glass ball, beating my hands bruised and bloody as I try to explain I’m shy, I’m lonely, I feel broken, damaged…the confidence, the certainty, the glow the warmth the whatteverthefuck you THINK you see is there because it is me but ALSO there is the me who stares wildly and screams inside because, after all of these years, she hasn’t met the person she loves who loves her back and who was satisfied to be with her. She isn’t ever enough. They always need someone else. All she wants is to have someone she loves and respects look to her and feel the certainty that there isn’t anyone who they’d want to be with right now except for her.

The human condition I suppose. This doesn’t make me unique…not by a longshot.

The flip side?  I wouldn’t change who I am for anything. It is unimaginable to me that I’d give up anything about my life now. And if the price I have to pay is the occasional howl  into the Screaming Dark Place, so be it. I’ll walk with my Bad Voice; I’ll sit with that self-doubt until it fades. I know it will: it has faded considerably since I decided to live, and not die, and March 14th, 2007 marks the demarcation of that window.

But sometimes…?  I really really wish what I wanted was what the majority of my kinky peers want. It sucks to be in a fringe community and be fringier. I hit so many minority points on my way to me, the shit is just hilarious. Really. I mean, come on. After the race play thing I thought I couldn’t be more shunted to the fringe…but wanting to belong to one person who wants only to own and be with me shoves me to Pluto status, wondering if my planetary designation is about to be downgraded.

I’ve gone on long enough.

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  52 Responses to “Less is More.”

  1. Very powerfully written, thank you. I’m commenting as an outsider to your community – so apologies if I plough in with ignorance. What strikes me is the similarity of your sentiments to those I have heard from individuals in the gay community. While poly isn’t a term often used there, monogamy is often a dirty word. And I think the solution is the same in both instances – sometimes you have to fish in a different pond – if the group/community you socialise in doesn’t offer the opportunity to form the kind of relationship you want, look elsewhere. Yes, I know you want to slap me for stating the obvious but seriously, there are kinks all over the place who don’t do the community thing precisely because they don’t want to do the poly sharing thing. You have taken the first step and put your intentions out there, and the Internet is the perfect way to connect with other ‘shy’ individuals. I am sorry that you feel on the fringes of your community but, at the same time, true acceptance is an individual to individual transaction. I believe you can have what you want if you ask for it. Take heart.

    • Hi Sarah!

      You know, your observation about looking outside of the Leather commmunity is spot on! My last long-term relationship was with just such a person. Someone who was bedroom kinky and naturally motionally dominant. Had a good run for a few years. I NEVER discount people because they don’t do love the way I do, and we have far more in common that that which separates us. The caveat is that non-kink identified people are often put off by those of us who are more forward in our perversions, and assume we are “too hardcore” for them. I find this to not be true, but I keep my hope alight, because, at heart, I DO believe in love.

      hank you, so much, for reading, and for writing back.

      Peace.

      ~Mollena
      .-= mollena´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Submission is delicious. With gravy. And stuffing… =-.

  2. Beautiful and heartfelt and I have to tell you that quite often the same person who played with the three others also ends up going to bed alone – or off to re-watching the Bourne Identity with whiskey and ice cream and chocolate. I have watched carefully the trajectory of many of those “solar systems” and frankly, they all could use a dose of the frank self-expression you show here. I’ve been witness to and party to the things you speak of here, and it just makes me want to cry and cheer for you and give you a big ol’ hug.

    I’ve heard that “priority/option” phrase a time or two. I have to simply say that while it may be true, it is also true that just because you are someone’s priority,don’t for a second believe that you are not also an option. Hard truth, but better to know ahead of time than find out the hard way.
    .-= Graydancer´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…RAZOR: Risk Aware Zombie Orgasmic Restraint =-.

    • Big love, man.

      I know you know this from several angles, and you ALSO know (now) there is no longer any excuse for EmoTop moves if you get jonsey when I’m around. Have your whiskey and ice cream with me…but we’re not watching the fucking Bourne Identity because I’m all about Discovery Channel.

      xoxo

      Mo
      .-= mollena´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Submission is delicious. With gravy. And stuffing… =-.

  3. Mollena,

    You are my new hero. This hits home for me too. I hope you find what you are looking for. Don’t compromise your heart. People around us keep finding what they want, soon it will be our turn.

    Pete

    PS Loved the interview on ropecast.

  4. RT @cunningminx: My ranty/cynical reaction to @mollena’s post: http://cunningminx.tumblr.com/post/25704… (my post being http://www.mollena.com/2009/11/less-is-m…)

    • @Mollena wow…I relate to your blog post so much it brings tears to my eyes. I really appreciate you, lady

  5. I’ve had a lot of the same feelings. I don’t know for sure that I am a monogamous type, but I do know for sure that a lot of the poly spaces I’ve been in have not met my needs, so I’m not doing them anymore. Which isn’t an indictment of the people I’ve been playing with: they can offer what they can offer, which is great. But it’s not what I want/need, so I’m not doing it.

    Which actually means that for a while, I’ve not been “doing it” AT ALL. Long stretches of celibacy as a radically sex-positive person in a radically sex-positive, poly-focused kink scene? Yeah, try admitting THAT in public and watch the reactions. “You? How can YOU be celibate? What do you MEAN you don’t get dates? How can YOU not be playing?” (for bonus irony points, being in the middle of a loooong stint of celibacy while writing an article about polyamory for a national publication!).

    And my response is: well, I get offers. I consider the offers. I think about what I feel like I need, and compare it to what is on offer, and I decline. Because at the moment being alone, and leaving the sex party or play party untouched (again), feels better than being #3 in a row in someone else’s overscheduled night and then coming home alone to come down, alone, and process, alone (with maybe a follow-up call and a cuddle some time later if I’m really lucky, and they actually follow through).

    Sometimes in my life highly compartmentalised play has been a wonderful thing- turn up, do a scene, go home, be happy. Or turn up, flirt, arrange a scene, somehow don’t manage to do the scene, and be fine anyway. But right now that feels like scattering my energy to the winds, and I’m just not interested.
    .-= glittertrash´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…These are the thoughts that occupy me, just now: =-.

    • Oh man, I get it.

      And obviously you get what I’m putting down.

      is kind of funny: I was CONVINCED that polyfolk would be prickly at my post but I am getting AS MUCH validation from poly people mirroring my feelings as monogamous people. I think that, maybe, we have less separating up than we like to think.

      THANK YOU for your feedback. And hang in there…hang in there.

      Peace.

      ~Mo

  6. This is a moving post. Your honesty is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. My heart is hoping you will find the one you seek.

  7. All I can say is how much I love you and wish everything you want I could hand to you on a silver platter. Takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and you always inspire me to stand up for me no matter how much it hurts in the end. I hope you find what it is you are looking for.

  8. Thank you so much for posting this. You’re not the only one who’s felt like this around kinky folks, I PROMISE.
    .-= Teresa´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Dispatch From The Commune #12 – Dude, Where’s My Itinerant Artists? =-.

  9. I am glad to see you continuing to seek what you need as well as speaking it. I totally agree that less can be more. I used to play with more than one in a night but I don’t do that unless I’m at a conference now.

    Thanks for your beautiful writing.

  10. I’m poly, but this really resonated with me. I have been, for one reason or another and with several different people, a secondary partner for the past ten years. I haven’t gotten to be or have a primary partner since my high school sweetheart. And that’s what I really want: a primary partnership built into the structure of my life. In the meantime, I struggle with not being prioritized, coming last for people who talk about being hot for me but only schedule playdates with me if they have anything left over, crushing on people who aren’t available enough to give me what I really want or don’t want or need as much from me as I do from them, not having anyone to come home to when the dust sttles, etc. It’s exhausting and painful. I sympathize.

    • Hi v! :-)

      I’m so fascinated how much this post, fearful as I was that it would alienate my poly peers, actually had some resonance for a great many people who are themselves poly.

      Thank you for your share, and thank you for “getting it.”

      Peace.

      ~Mo
      .-= mollena´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Why Submission ≠ Gift. =-.

  11. […] people when we first met recently wrote a blog post on FetLife. It kind of is the zenith to my recent post’s nadir-gazing miasma, and I’ve obtained her permission to repost it […]

  12. Wow, thanks for writing this. I have to say that I’m glad my poly and kink community isn’t like this at all and I hope never to experience that. The poly people I know don’t view *anyone* as expendable, even “casual” or play partners. We don’t prioritize like that and we don’t make empty promises.

    There are some people who are willing to play without the emotional connection afterwards, but that’s part of the deal, something you arrange for, not something that happens whether you like it or not. Mostly, the people in my network only play with those they can have that immediately-after or days-after emotional connection, even if that person is “just a friend” or “just a play partner” and not, say, a live-in sub. For those who are unavailable for that kind of connection, they don’t tend to offer their play services either, since that’s such an important aspect to our version of kink.

    So, there are those of us out there who will not make you feel expendable, poly or no. I hope you have better luck in the future.

    • Greetings, Joreth :-)

      It is heartening to know that there are folks who are emotionally ethical and do care for their partners. I have seen a few people, here and there, who try to keep their partners close and dialogue open, but I have found this to be a pleasant exception to the dreary rule. Be well, and thank you so much for reading!

      Peace

      ~Mollena
      .-= mollena´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Why Submission ≠ Gift. =-.

  13. Hi, Mollena

    I really felt this post, as many others seem to have, as well. I got involved in this community in the early 20’s, and every single person I played with had another. Everyone was poly, in one way or another. Some people were non monogamous, had a primary but fucked other people. Some people were polyamorous in the way I understand it: Had more than one lover, more than one relationship that was more than sex. There were people who identify as monogamous but played with other people. I always argued that that was not monogamy, but now, at the ripe age of 35 I think I get it. When I initally got involved with my now partner, she was married and owned and dating a few people. Things changed, as they often do. She is still owned, and it is strictly a service relationship. Neither of us is dating anyone else. I guess we have an open relationship because of her being owned, but really, we are monogamous. Its all confusing and at times, gut wrenching. But somehow, I feel like I found my way of exsiting. My heart is monogamous. My sex is. It is open to the extent that if I want to form some sort of service relationship, my partner is open to that being brought to the table, with strict guidelines of course. Her WHOLE life she has been what I consider REALLY poly. SHe is 52, and says she just wants things to be simple and shes tired of th balancing act. I know there are people that can manage poly well, even if they are not organically poly. But if you are one who cannot, it simply SUCKS. I am just rambling…but I hear you, girl! I am confident that your company feels good, and it will be shared with someone on the same page as you, when it is time. xxoo,
    Sophia

  14. Amazing as always :)

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