Recently a BoFSeG reader (we shall call 'Charlie') downloaded my book (available on Kindle Amazon, iPad, Sony, Nook, Kobo or as an Android app) and got in touch over an FAQ of mine, seeking clarification. The question and answer go thus:
"Are you a swinger?
No, I'm a monogamous – heterosexual – kinkster, which I sometimes think works against me. But we soldier on."
Charlie spotted I wasn't being self-pitying or mournful. Indeed, recognised a similar journey for herself.
Have you been to these parties?
What goes on at these parties?
Give us an example.
Well... and then proceeded to tell them my version, which I suspect was not the Caligulan one they wanted to hear. I think they wanted to hear about some kind of sex circus. Which, still, is a good name for a band.
Sometimes swinging parties are a sex circus.
I wasn't saying it wasn't. Just for me, I go looking for what I like, which I believe has more to do with direct kink and pervery than explicit mass bonking. Party kink tends to be supposedly 'lite' and often non-negotiated, usually because everyone assumes they know each other, or a friend of a friend does. Personally I think this can be a problem as a lot of assumptions are made in highly-charged erotic atmospheres.
This is one of the reasons I believe in clear boundaries. Those that don't are a mix of experts who like it 'edgy', chancers looking for a free one, or naive newbies: They are seldom advertising themselves as monogamist or sexually straight, lest they appear inexperienced.
Is this true for fetish nights or play clubs? I think you'd have to ask individuals how they're negotiating a relationship with a more public play night. Most I meet tend to have an arrangement that seems to fit, whether none, one or both partners are involved. Perhaps it's the secretly-not singletons out on the town you have to guard against if you feel that your interaction with them will lead to bad karma.
As for me I have met many women who were influenced to give up – swayed by their own inexperience or too much 'bad' experience. What they wanted, and were originally looking for was a solid partnership to ground them while going through their own or their partner's wild fantasies. And, curiously, an inherent desire for a stable, loving relationship is often shared by the pro-dommes I've known (and still know), epitomised in Tanya's dream sequence in the classic British fetish film Preaching to the Perverted. But is a dominatrix wanting both marriage and client list of slaves less a case of wanting their cake and eating it, or more an insatiable pro-fantasy-realiser's appetite for wanting everything (in their control)?
I'm wondering if kink monogamy is just a case of meeting the one that get's you, kinky or not. Or at least the person is trying to. Like in the famous way Linda supportively-enticed Paul McCartney with the simple loving words: "It's allowed." No wonder Macca's a double thumbs-up kind of guy.
Over to Charlie:
"In my limited experience, the terms monogamous and kinkster seem to be almost paradoxical. I have had contact from a number of men who have pounced on the single word of 'kink' and somehow assume this means I'm happy to sleep around, swap partners or am open to some kind of open or poly-amorous relationship (even though I have specifically stated MONOGAMOUS!) I have no problem with those who choose to go down that path, (whatever floats your boat, right?!) but it's not one I'm interested in. It seems I can either have the chance at a potentially long-term monogamous relationship with VeryVanilla sex on a Tuesday night at 9 o clock, or a lot of good old fashioned screaming kink as long as I don't mind my partner bed hopping or moving on to the next woman in a very short space of time."
Charlie's dichotomy is a common one. I believe that a lot of people have actually tried to go down the path to profound pervery and are frequently put off by the actions of people over-accessing their inner chimp. It seems that oftentimes the word kink is used as an excuse for free-for-all fuck-flakery rather than a reason to grow.
But what if the growth comes from multiple-partner playing?
Putting aside those that are happy in open relationships, if the search elsewhere by one partner is not purely about hole or cock then a monogamous relationship may be untenable. But couples, perhaps in crisis over this, need to appreciate how non-sexual their wanderer is being. Some dom/mes needing a sub may only be doing everything but integrating copulation: ditto – vice versa – submissives 'trapped' with a partner who doesn't fancy playing hard.
So why not except one's kink fate, chill out and be fancy free and free for anything fancy?
I guess, as Charlie says, the key point is the connection:
"I have had a 'fuckbuddy', very briefly, who was very much into kink. As a natural submissive it was quite a lot of fun to find someone with a strong dominant side to explore with. We had nothing else in common at all – whilst the sex was pretty good, it was missing the certain connection that comes with really knowing someone. I have no regrets, but I wouldn't personally choose to go down that route again."
As Charlie further explains:
"There are many men who have tried to convince me that I have the situation all wrong. that a kinky relationship cannot be monogamous. That having an online/ Skype based system makes up for not being close enough to each other geographically. Again, I have no problem at all with people who choose to do this, but I'm quite clear that it is not what I'm after. I have been told that this doesn't exist – I sincerely hope these people are wrong and I'm willing to hold out until then. I'm happy enough on my own, there's no desperation, I'm in no hurry."
Let me tell you it does exist Charlie.
I've been in kink relationships and they were fine. But like all relationships you have to iron out the rough spots and work together. The problem with playing away is that although it might be non-sexual, it's almost always about two people 'bonding' over a common interest outside your love affair, and that's hard to take, because it seems like a mental betrayal. This is where the art of negotiation for all concerned is underused.
I think for if you can trade or 'try' kinks and fetishes that can be a massive help.
Also, not being to strict with your menu when one goes searching. Its one thing to be seeking, let's say for example, 'a medium-build, solvent, Gemini non-smoking vegetarian', without throwing, 'must be into dressing up as a pony' into the mix. The likelihood of meeting this exact combination like a set of beyond-menu pizza toppings is the rare part. Like the old feminist joke, it's a shame, but men don't turn into pizza to end and make the perfect date.
There are ways around your own rules. And instead of letting someone talk yourself into 'that stuff they want to do', think about focusing on the other's happiness for a consecutive session each. If, for example, you want to be dommed and they want to be dommed, one of you can be dominated to dominate or required to 'top from the bottom'. As long as proceedings are safe, sane and consensual, with your eye on your mindsets, communication and aftercare you can swap doing this and practice the mechanics of how this will get one or both of you excited. But by playing with each other, you are playing with each other. Somewhere in the positive and consensual melee of BDSM dynamics you will find a way, then another, then another.
Anyway, that's my blog best on this. I hope this helps. For now I must thank Charlie for her email and leave her the last paragraphs, explaining the reasons for her deep desires, maybe if you've read this far you can add your (vetted) comments or support underneath:
"Sex for me has always been somewhat addictive. I find having sporadic on/off sexual activity much more difficult to handle than none at all. I find myself in a place of subspace surprisingly easily which is awesome, but on the downside I get severe sub-drop. Experience has taught me that this is only remedied with a hell of a lot of TLC or more sex. The closest thing I can compare it to is the withdrawal of a Drug - depression, confusion, apathy, and some flu type symptoms. Hence it's better for me not to be sexually active if it's not going to happen on a Very regular basis! Put simply, I've never met a man who could keep up. Sex gives me energy - I become the Duracell bunny if I'm getting it regularly! I don't require much sleep. My house is clean, I bake like a dervish, can work 2 full time jobs, study, and volunteer. The more I have, the more I want.
"My kink experience is limited. I have been (for want of a better phrase) 'used and abused' a few times. I never knew pain could be so much fun. The rougher the better. I have never been restrained or tied up but would really like to try. I'm lucky... I'm one of those rare women who can orgasm just through thought – there's a lot of fun to be had there. It also means I've had to learn supreme self control as there are some things it's just not appropriate to do at a community group gathering or business meeting! I'm sure I have limits, I just haven't found them yet. I'm open to trying pretty much anything once, except showers! Apparently there are 3 kinds. I regret Googling that.