D/s and Polyamoury: Incompatible or merely strange bedfellows?

I consider myself to be polyamorous. I’ve actually had open relationships for the most part since I started having sex. However, I’ve never successfully been in two concurrent love-type relationships. There have been a few times when I’ve dated two or three people simultaneously and cared a great deal about all of them, but I’ve only had a maximum of one person at a time to whom I say “I love you”. Being poly isn’t easy. I’m not one of these fortunate people who was born without a jealous bone in their body. I’ve always been quite confident about what I mean to my loves, but I still get a dull ache sometimes when I think of them with others, particularly others I don’t know well.

This causes some interesting quirks when working towards ownership. I enjoy a rather intense style of domination. I like the idea of having a 24/7 relationship. I would like, eventually, to own someone; I’d like to have a slave. This is antithetical to the polyamorous ideal that people are not possessions. It’s one thing to think of a submissive and I choosing a third partner together, but the idea of them independently finding and dating another that I don’t know or necessarily like poses a problem when everything is supposed to go my way (and their way through my consideration of our needs and wants). This is rather selfish, but when FT was in love with someone I’d never met before it made him feel less mine. I don’t know what to do with that.

You can always do the, “we only date people once our mate approves of them” or “my primary partner has veto power”. But that just seems unrealistic for several reasons: a) poly people often come with other lovers who they already care a great deal about; b) telling a person who treasures freedom, “no, you can’t have them” often causes them to fixate on said person; and c) limiting who my partner can and cannot date feels like a betrayal of my poly sensibilities.

So how do you give freedom and enslavement simultaneously? I think ultimately it comes down to different layers of the relationship. First you’re friends, then lovers, then partners, then Dom(me)/sub. All the other layers have to be functioning for the exterior layer to work. Poly is more on the partner level (or boyfriend/girlfriend, but I wanted something more gender neutral). The Dom(me) can’t force a relationship style on the submissive. That’s the kind of thing that has to be agreed upon and consented to, and can ruin a relationship if both parties are not honest about their wants and needs with regards to it.

The only problem with this is that it can tamper with the suspension of disbelief. Living a 24/7 relationship is allowing a fantasy to become, for the most part, a reality. However, the reality has to come before the fantasy in importance. This does not take away one’s love of the fantasy though, and reminders that ultimately both individuals are equal can be somewhat annoying. So what do you do? Well, the Dom(me) learning to feel compersion would certainly help, so that they would actually enjoy the sub’s being with others rather than merely tolerating it. Alternatively both parties could be limited to dating others as a couple. Or you can have an unequal arrangement that the sub is actually happy with: cuckold fetishists, for example, wouldn’t mind a totally unequal arrangement, but it’s not unequal in that they are still thoroughly enjoying it.

What kind of arrangements have you all come up with? Enjoyed? Hated? Do you experience compersion? Did it happen automatically or did it take some sort of practice?

Posted on September 11, 2011, in D/s Relationships and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I also struggle with this. In fact, I wrote a blog about it recently that you might identify with: “Maybe I’m just greedy” http://mistresslilyana.blogspot.com/2011/08/maybe-im-just-greedy.html.

    I don’t know that there is a correct answer but it seems like the 24/7 lifestylers I’ve spoken with understand and feel similarly while those who are into it for kinky sex feel like poly is poly regardless of whether you’re D/s or not.

    I’d like to say I’m open minded it but when I think about my sub submitting to someone else, I just think, “I’m not ok with it.” But as long as I’m secure in our relationship, I can deal with them dating and having sex with others.

    Strange bedfellows indeed.

  2. I find it interesting that you say: “poly transcends D/s for me” and also “My only poly rule is that they do not date someone who seeks to be their Dominant. This is due to obvious conflict of interests.”

    It’s THE deal breaker for me too, but I guess I assume that means that D/s transcends poly.

  3. I’ve never been in a real poly relationship, but for a few years now I’ve been interested in trying it (or at least in bending the usual monogamy rules a bit) and have been examining and analyzing my jealousy issues in preparation.

    The breakthrough, for me, came when I realized that what my partner does when I’m not around doesn’t impact me: for all intents and purposes, any outing my boy makes means “Boy leaves the house for a while, then returns home” whether he’s seeing a movie with someone, making out with someone, or just going for a walk by himself. As long as my partner a) continues to spend as much time with me as I need and b) continues to be loving, attentive, and make me feel like the absolute focus of attention when we’re together, it literally does not matter what he does when he’s with someone else.

    And I think the same attitude could (and perhaps should) be applied to D/s-while-poly: you own your boy when he’s present, and when he’s not, it doesn’t matter what he does.

    Obviously, this solution does require some suspension of disbelief, and a person who wants to feel like they truly own a slave won’t really go for it. But if D/s is a game played between two equals and not a real power dynamic, and if one is also poly, then I don’t see how else one could reasonably meld the two (unless you find a sub who likes the idea of committing to you while you remain a free agent; I’m sure these must exist).

  4. What if, just say, a person not only consented to be your slave but to allow you the freedom of polyamory with the goal/obligation/opportunity of participating in your relationships while relinquishing the same freedom? The advantage of shedding convention is the expanded dynamic range it provides. Is sexing a man the same as a women? And, is sexing Paula the same as sexing Sue? The potential slave must be informed of and give consent to this arrangement before entering slavehood. A bit of practice might well be in order.

    You would be denying the slave freedoms you enjoy. As long as this was understood by the potential slave as a condition of slavery, it would have consented. Go forth and enjoy!

    • I do like the idea of this. However, unless it is a kink of said slave it could cause resentment in the long run. Unless it turns said slave on that I’m with others and they are not, then eventually they might just feel like I am their number one priority, but they aren’t mine. I don’t want my slave to feel like I don’t value him.

      Sexing a man is not the same as sexing a woman. Some bisexual poly women get all huffy when their boyfriend are not as threatened by them dating a woman as another man. However, I understand it. I’m less threatened by a (switch) sub of mine dating a submissive than another dominant. I get that it’s easier to cope with your partner dating someone who fulfills different needs. But you’re right that dating/sexing Paula is not the same as dating/sexing Sue. Different individuals will inevitably fulfill different needs. But when the relationship is a long-distance one it is harder for a slave to see another person as the individual they are, and it’s harder to for them to feel like they are meeting day-to-day needs of their Dom/me.

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