Thursday, December 13, 2012

Going by the Numbers (Why Open/Polyamory?)

Recently somebody posted this comment on Tebow’s blog:

“You know, having a kinky long term, romantic relationship is not an easy thing. It is a challenge to find. I got extremely lucky with my partner, but I'd gather it's one of the reasons many couples in the kink world are open... because of the difficulty in fulfilling both requirements at once.” 

I found this to be a very interesting observation… and not a way I had really looked at it before.  I’ve always just thought that the reason why so many of us kinksters are open or poly is b/c we are, by our nature, “sexual rebels” and monogamy just seemed like one more convention to ignore.  There’s probably some truth to that – once you open that door by questioning why human sexual/intimate relations has to fit into one, small, vanilla box then everything (safe, sane, and consensual) becomes a possibility.

(Note: I am NOT one of those irritating “kink evangelists” who thinks that everyone is really kinky but most of them are just too repressed to know/accept it.  I find that very condescending.  If you don’t want vanilla folks thinking of you as sick then don’t insult them by thinking of them as repressed.)

I find this suggestion about the difficulty for kinksters to find one relationship that fulfills both romantic/partnership needs and sexual/fetish needs interesting.  It makes sense in terms of pure numbers.  If kinky people are a sexual minority, then that narrows your range of potential partners you can hook-up with.  An Australian phone survey of 19,000 anonymous participants found kinky sex interests – BDSM, fetish, and sexual role-play – common to only 2%.  An American study found that only 2-3% engage in BDSM… while 20% admit feeling arousal at some BDSM imagery.  (Okay, so some people are repressed.)  When dealing w/ a community that is such a small minority of the population then it naturally will be very tricky to find someone you are sexually/intimately compatible with (someone from that 2-3%) who is also romantically compatible and works as a life-partner.

And even if you find another kinky person you “click” with, odds are still good that your kinks won’t be 100% compatible.  Kink/BDSM covers such a wide range from S/m, to gear fetishists, to bondage, to role-play, to D/s dynamics…

I’m very fortunate that my wonderful Owner and I are like largely compatible.  She’s a heavy S, and I’m a heavy m.  We both like a very primal style of play (tooth and claw).  She likes to be in charge w/o having to micro-manage; I like her being in charge but don’t want to be micro-managed.  But there’s still an area where we have different needs.  For Ma’am’s part: (1) She’s very bi and enjoys sex w/ women, (2) she’s also a switch-masochist, and (3) she likes to “bottom” sexually (i.e. put in bondage, aggressively fucked, etc.)  Those are three things I obviously can’t help her with.  For my part, I’m more of a fetishist (blindfolds, gags, hoods, masks, gear, bondage…leashes! I love to be on-leash!) than she is… and I have greater needs for “pup time” and puppy interactions.  (She enjoys watching these interactions but insists that she doesn’t “get it.”)  So we satisfy that area of incompatibility by being w/ others.  At present, Ma’am has a boyfriend and a girlfriend (in addition to me)… and I’m building a good relationship w/ my Alpha Pup and my “little brother.”

So these considerations (based on the size of our little 2-3% slice of humanity) would kind of incline a lot of us in the community to tend toward open or poly relationships – getting different needs met w/ different individuals.  That makes sense… especially when you combine it w/ my original point about the fact that we are sexual rebels and explorers already… so for us monogamy is just one more culturally-imposed norm to break.

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