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.