Sunday, July 4, 2010

Nonmonogamous Relationships

I'm working on a theme here over the last few posts. "Involuntary Friendships" started that theme, which then led into the second entry "NRE." Lizzie was prescient enough to share the book "Opening Up" (link to Amazon in NME post), a book about all kinds of nontraditional relationship structures, what most people consider swinging or polyamorous relationships.

I was a bit started to read that some of these relationships could be deep and complex (in a good way) and not involve sex. "Oh," I thought, "Friendships." But, no. Well, yes and no. It's complicated. There's all sorts of things that come into play, particularly in BDSM (see also: spanko) relationships--at least the non-fleeting party-based throw-yourself-across-a-lap kind of things--where deeper feelings come into play. Perhaps love. But I'd like to say, simply, "intimate emotions." I've read for years and heard from friends about "emotional cheating." Really? Is that like where it says in the Bible that thinking a sin is just as bad as doing it? Well, fuck me! I was set to go to hell a long, long time ago, I guess.

All my life I've connected better with women than men. Some of my best friends over the years have been women. I have deep emotional attachments to those people. Is that emotional cheating? Or does that only occur when one has lustful thoughts or thoughts you're only supposed to have for your spouse? I can't keep track. And on top of that, it doesn't make sense to my worldview.

Since playing publicly I've made some rather intense personal connections with a few choice women, people I care deeply about and whom I would drop everything to help if the need arose. Best friends? Or is that a "relationship"? And what if it is a relationship? According to "Opening Up" a form of nonmonogamous relationship is one in which you can have deeply personal, incredibly intense emotional relationships with people that don't necessarily involve sex (whatever your personal definition of "sex" might be). I found that fascinating.

In my last blog I asked for some thoughts on the subject I was writing about and was a bit frustrated it didn't elicit a more open discussion. (Perhaps I should be cross-posting these topics on FetLife where they'll get more traffic.) So I'll ask: what do you think? Do you believe these relationships are nonmonogamous?


  1. Is it cheating? I don't think so, but I have a nonmonogamous or open relationship with my husband, so my view might be different from that of others.

    I do think of them as "relationships" - these intense, emotional friendships. I like Erica's term, spanko-crush, though that implies that the relationship is short-term or fanciful or the like. No doubt some party interactions fit that description, but I like to think I am developing something more meaningful than a crush with some of these...I haven't found the perfect word - "boyfriend" implies a dating relationship which would threaten most marriages/existing partnerships; "spanking friend" suggests the relationship is based on spanking only; "scene friend" has the same problem; "best friend" is limiting because how many "best" friends can you have before the word loses meaning?

  2. One of the things I've found fascinating about the spanking scene is watching all the different relationships that form and how they interconnect. It seems that many couples have realized that they don't have to find the “one” person who can meet all of their needs, freeing both partners to find opportunities for fulfillment and personal growth outside the relationship. They take the stance that when each individual person comes back to the relationship more fulfilled, then the relationship itself is stronger as a whole.

    I know it would be almost impossible for one man to meet all of my needs: emotional, physical, and spiritual. Poor fellow would have to be Atticus Finch, John Wayne, Han Solo, and Viggo Mortenson all rolled into one. As I've let go of the idea of finding that fictitious paragon and instead have sought ways to meet my spanking needs, I've made the surprising discovery that I've also been meeting some of my needs for companionship with many different people: male, female, married, and single.

    I have no idea how to label most of these relationships, and I'm not sure I really want to, as I think that might limit them somehow. They are almost inevitable though, given the activities we all engage in. The very nature of my spanking needs requires that I have some sort of emotional connection to my spanker. I have found that while I can certainly enjoy the lap-surfing sort of party play available at a party, I get so much more out of it if I know the person enough to trust that they care about me on some level. As both Lizzie and Erica have said, sometimes those connections are fleeting and sometimes they go much deeper, surprisingly deep. I consider myself pretty unorthodox in my worldview, but the paradigm shift over the last year to include these new friendships has led to a lot of growth. I find that the benefits I've gotten from these relationships have been worth every bit of effort I've put into them, whatever they are called.

  3. Excellent thoughts, Lizzie. And I agree, "girlfriend" just wouldn't work. What does "Opening Up" list as suggested terms? (I left my Kindle at home this Fourth of July weekend!)

    I think the key in any of this is to ensure that whatever emotions or physical acts are involved with others they don't threaten the Primary Relationship.

    I concur as well that "crush" sounds fleeting and these relationships are something more--or at least those worth having are something more than a fleeting, ephemeral experience.


  4. First of all, Jada, uh--wow! I hope this doesn't sound insulting or condescending--because that's far from why I'm saying it--but that is about the best written, most though-provoking, most lucid thing I've ever heard from you. Very, very impressive...and expressive.

    Thank you for sharing. Needless to say, I concur.


  5. Perhaps one of the reasons the blog before this one was left mostly untouched was because this subject spooks a lot of people. It's one thing to have thoughts that veer off the tried-and-true path of what society dictates to be a proper relationship. But it's another to express those thoughts publicly. And sadly, there is a whole lot of judgment out there, which I touched upon in my blog last week. Oh, and a whole lot of careless hurling around of the "c" word (cheating, that is).

    Everyone who knows John and me knows we adore each other, and at the same time, we do not fulfill each other's kink needs, so we play with others. And yes, I have forged some deep bonds with special spankers with whom I've connected on levels that transcend the play. Is that non-monogamous? Well, I don't really believe in monogamy, not completely, so I'm the wrong one to ask. I agree with Jada -- I don't buy into the fairy tale of "the one." That "one" would have to be superhuman.

    Here's the part I don't understand. We're allowed to love more than one friend; in fact, it's encouraged. If we are parents with multiple children, we are certainly expected to love more than one child. So why is it, for men and women, it's considered somehow inappropriate to love more than one woman or man? As a very wise friend of mine once said, love is infinite. Giving some of my love, caring, whatever to one doesn't take any of it away from another. What I have with my male friends in the scene takes NOTHING away from John. And thank goodness he gets that. Because jealousy and possessiveness are two of relationships' biggest destroyers.

  6. Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated, Erica. I think it's pretty great you took the time to share. And even more great that three of my very special friends in the lifestyle are the ones to have written first and most thoughtfully.


  7. Well my excuse for not commenting earlier.. is because I never know WHEN you DO blog. LOL - The best I can do is subscribe by email after I comment, to at least find out when new or follow up comments are posted.

    I certainly enjoy insightful, entertaining, thought provoking articulate blogs.. finding them is usually worse than 'The Hunt for Red October' though (LOL). I'm so glad that my world of spanko friends are a group of informative, and passionate people. :-)

    OKAY! Onward and upward. (grins). Interestingly enough.. all my life, I've connected with men in a far greater way than with women. I think I attribute that to my alpha-ness.. and the fact I could never have children, I don't like shopping (lol), and I do have a bit of an aggressive 'need to know' attitude. I'm insatiable when it comes to learning. (not that many female friends of mine are not the same way.. we just approach life differently, due to biological issues - IMHO for me).

    Discovering what it is that makes me the way I am has been an amazing little journey. I've learned much along that 'path less traveled'.

    For almost 99 per cent of existence, we humans have lived as hunter-gatherers. Relationship partners of mine.. are forewarned, that I have these close attachments/friendships more so with men, than with women. It's a difficult thing to explain to a partner, how a woman finds more 'kinship' with a male counterpart, verses another woman. This makes me no less feminine.. I just connect well with 'hunters', over my gatherer female friends because I AM a hunter.

    Being quite new to the 'public scene' of spanking play.. (having engaged privately for over 25 yrs in D/s), I feel like I have finally found my niche with spanking and the spanko world of people in general. For me, it's a way to connect with my male counterpart on a much deeper level, and to know there is not going to be a fear of retribution for connecting with more than one individual of the same like mind.

    I have.. in a sense, expanded the dimensions of my realized niche by managing the intensity of my interactions with other people.

    (whewh! what fun huh?!)


  8. Again, as always, thanks for your insightful and thoughtful comments, Zelle. (And for the shout-out on FL!)

  9. what?? no comment about how verbose I am?


  10. Damn Craig.. since when is "once" ever enough? ROFL