Here's a picture of the Goddess, cause trust me, we're going to need her.
A little more background on what brought me to this place. Five years ago, I was trapped in a verbally abusive and sexually coercive relationship. I became pregnant by being heavily pressured into unprotected sex, and was similarly pressured into keeping the child. I was young and far away from home, and caved to the voices of my abusive partner and father (if you get pregnant you MUST marry and DO THE RIGHT THING), which culminated in a shot-gun wedding in the living room of our shitty little apartment when I was about 10 weeks pregnant. I could barely get through the ceremony for morning sickness, and I was deeply aware that what I was doing was wrong, but I was too tired to fight.
I became increasingly isolated, trapped, and dependent, and spun into a deep depression, which lingered for years even after I escaped the situation. My then-husband was "poly" (he hit me with it on our first date, and I was all, "hey, cool, I'm open minded and that sounds neat. Just not right now, kay?"), and I decided to take the poly plunge in the middle of my second trimester. I felt trapped and wanted to feel as though I could still make connections with people/couples I liked, and whether I was honest with myself or not at the time, it was a way to escape the prison that had become my life. And besides, I was pregnant, throwing up every 5 minutes, and miserable--I figured, hey, what could go wrong? HAHAHAHA.
But actually, being poly was awesome. I loved it. It was imperfect and messy at times, but I loved all the weirdoes we met a poly potlucks, the naked hot tub time, the long conversations late into the night about sex and relationships, the big, patchwork homes with lots of bedrooms and couches for kissing and cuddling. I loved the openness, and the way that attraction, connection, and sex weren't taboo. It was refreshing and exciting to be allowed to have a husband and be pregnant and still be allowed to be attracted to others and play with/or build relationships with others. I fucking LOVED it. I loved the opportunity to go on lunch and coffee dates and meet new people who were also practicing their own special version of this thing I was into. It was really, really great. So even though I entered into polyamory for what were completely and utterly the WRONG REASONS, I ended up being given a great gift.
The other thing I both love/d and hate/d about poly was the way in which it forces you to deal with your shit. Relationships in general do this, but when you are negotiating and discussing connections with others there is no escaping our wounds. For example, there could be plenty of issues in a relationship (it's not a big deal, we all have them after all our years walking around on this earth, loving, taking risks, getting hurt--just like I have scars and scrapes on my knees from childhood), but it is often easy enough to ignore them by setting them aside and ignoring them. It's easy to get complacent in relationships and ignore all the baggage that surrounds us. We all do it--cause it is HARD to deal with our shit. Who wants to do that?
But when you're poly, you're dealing with your own relationship and each of your lives, and then you're like, hey, I'm interested in this other person, how do you feel? And at some point along the journey, one or both of you WILL get triggered. It could be because of insecurities in your main relationship that need addressing--if one of you is feeling vulnerable/wounded/rejected/hurt, it's really going to be scary and pouring salt-on-the-wound stingy when the other partner seeks someone else out. Even if it isn't at all about them trying to ditch you or replace you in any way, you're most likely going to FEEL all "they hate me, I'm a loser, they're going to abandon me," and all sorts of doom and gloom end of the world scenarios. So what might be a simple conversation/request, might trigger a whole host of big scary emotions that have nothing to do with the new love/partner interest, but has everything to do with some unresolved fears and pain in the relationship or in the partner themselves. Whew. I know, exhausted already, right? BUT...Hard as it is, this shit needs to get addressed so that we can begin to heal our personal and relational wounds and journey on together.
So, here we are--me, recovering from the wounds of an abusive relationship--where I learned to associate marriage with abuse, coercion, and entrapment--and a childhood where I was raised by a Borderline mother, and him, a man who lost his partner of 15 years to illness and who had to make the fucking excruciating decision pull the plug. And only he knows what other deeper insecurities he might be carrying around from his past.
I know this sounds scary and overwhelming and probably too much to deal with--BUT, we ALL are like this. Whether or not we acknowledge our pain and our wounds doesn't change the fact that they are there. They enter into everything we do, and into all of our relationships--even those we box up into the little box of "casual" or "just friends" or "sex only." And I'm not saying that we have to spend the rest of our lives weeping and ululating over our personal mountains of shit. But we DO have to recognize our issues, name them, feel them, and find healthy ways to release them so that we can move more deeply into relationships with ourselves and others.
In my case, these last six months, it's been about recognizing that, despite all the love and heart and courage and connectedness it took me to propose to my love and best friend, and to commit to him at the altar, that we're still just imperfect individuals with issues that need to be addressed. I've also realized that due to my own broken experience of my parent's unhealthy marriage and divorce, and my own past experience with a past abusive marriage--no matter how fucking hard I tried to prevent it, marriage was a triggering event for me. Even though I was all, "I love you and commit to you and to an open marriage where we respect each other's desires and independence"--some deep, dark part of me was screaming, "oh god no! Don't lock me up! Don't hurt and abuse me!"--not because I was doing the wrong thing by marrying a man I deeply love, but because I learned to associate marriage and commitment with abuse and confinement. So, yeah, there's so work for me to do. Super!
Additionally, talk of getting pregnant and having another child was also a triggering event for me. Since my last pregnancy was the result of a rape, and the experience of being pregnant against my will was so traumatic, it was hard to get myself into a place where doing these things again felt okay. Even though I love my partner and VERY FUCKING MUCH want to have another child with him, no matter how hard I tried, my shit just kept coming to the surface. When I finally went off birth control, I flipped my shit and had a panic attack: "Oh God, oh God, I can't go back there! Please don't make me go back to that dark place where I can't breathe and I think I'm going to die! I've worked so hard to get here, with him, and happy and healthy and I can't---I won't go back!" So even though I logically realize that there is way to conceive and experience pregnancy and motherhood in a much healthier, balanced, and supportive way, my emotional and wounded self is still screaming a different story. So again, more work for me!
And of course, the fun thing about being in relationship, is that as you're going through your shit--and in this case, saying, "yes, let's do it, let's have a baby" and then a month later having a crisis and saying, "No, I can't, I took Plan B, I'm sorry, we have to use condoms for a while until I sort this shit out, God I'm sorry"--your poor, sweet husband is basically being thrown back and forth against the wall, and, of course, he's going to take it all very personally. So now, you have two painful things going on. 1) Your old shit coming back to say, hello, time to deal with me and 2) oh, and by the way, your shit is also going to activate your husband's shit, and by the way you just hurt him really badly. Awesome, right? But that's how it goes for all of us. Most folks just usually don't try, or want to enumerate it the way I just did. But that's how old wounds come back to tell us we're not done with them (or perhaps, they're not done with us?) and how, often, in the process, we can hurt others who can see our actions as rejecting them (when really, they're about the emergence of our own pain).
So, the point is that every relationship is requires deep, conscious awareness of past issues and how they come into play in present interaction, and in a certain sense, practicing polyamory is a funny way of guaranteeing that this happens on a very regular basis. In a way, what I am saying is that if you don't want to dig deep and deal with your shit, you probably shouldn't be poly. Yeah, there's lots of wonderful and fun things that come with being poly like multiple connections, sex, romance, flirting, etc., etc., but if you aren't willing to put in the extra work that is required to do all of those things in a healthy way, then stop. Stop right now. Furthermore, if you are thinking of dating or being with a poly partner, be aware that you too are going to have to be willing to engage (at times--not all the time. There's plenty of time for play and sex and laughing too!) on this level to some extent.
Just as I wouldn't engage in sex with someone who felt coerced, or dominate my partner in the midst of a fight, or bring up deep and raw issues in the middle of a play scene, so, too, I will not engage in play or relationships with others when there is obvious shit on the table in my relationship that needs to be dealt with. That's not cool. Cause all of a sudden, issues from my primary relationship are leaking out everywhere into my other connections, and things are tense and explosive at home. That's no way to conduct healthy polyamory. I'm not saying that we're going to withdraw from the world altogether while we do this work, not at all. That's not healthy, either, and it's just another way of avoiding the issues that we recently triggered by the present possibility of other romantic connections. We are poly. We want to practice poly together, so simply abandoning it to run away and deal with stuff is foolhardy. So, we keep moving forward. We'll keep talking, exploring, and being present in the world together as we work to strengthen our relationship and ourselves. And when the foundation feels a little firmer, and the ship stops rocking back and forth, perhaps we'll do some exploring with others. I certainly hope so.
And finally, I did promise you a little bit of kink in relationship to these soul issues I've been discussing. Last night, my partner said something that surprised me at first, but which, upon reflection made perfect sense. As we were discussing all of the above he said,
"It's hard when you top me one night, and then in the morning, or the next day, bring up your interest in someone else."
My response was,
"Hmmm, you know, I guess you're right. I do have a tendency to bring those things up within 24-48 hours of me domming you. I wonder why? I think it's because when I top you I feel so intimate and close with you--so deeply connected and empowered and full of love--that I feel strong and safe enough to bring up my feelings toward others. It's only when I feel that we are deeply connected and have a strong bond that I feel able to bring up the possibility of other relationships. Does that make sense? So, for me, the fact that I'm talking to you about a crush I have, is a sign that I'm feeling good in the relationship and safe and confident enough in us to talk about someone else. But...for you, it sounds like you're feeling, maybe, almost coerced...like I'm asking, or maybe even just telling you that I'm going to be with someone else, and we're still in that dominant space where you feel helpless."
"Yes, it's some of that, but also, think about how you feel when you are in sub space. How do you feel during the scene and maybe even for a day or so after [we do that kind of emotional/soul work]?"
"Hmm. I feel vulnerable, raw, and ripped open. Not in a bad way, just vulnerable, and for a time after, unable to cover myself back up with the things that I use to protect myself; exposed."
Me: "I see. That makes sense. I suppose I hadn't really thought about the after-effects of topping you beyond immediate aftercare. I can see that there's more going on, and I have certainly experienced that myself. This is really interesting. Clearly we need to have a conversation around just this issue so we can see what's really going on here and how to navigate it."
So, what this reveals to me is something that I already, instinctually knew. Kink is not just about swatting people with whips and chaining them up and cocks getting hard and cunts getting wet. That's a part of it--a very fun and enjoyable part--but it isn't really why I do it. I participate in kink because I believe it to be, and have experienced it to be a very powerful and soul-working experience. It isn't always this way, and thank goodness, because as Lee Harrington says, we all need some deep-fried-oreo "junk food sex." We can't always engage on the astral plane, and sometimes need to get off from rolling around in the muck. But for me, topping another person is all about soul-connecting with them and pushing them past their own perceived limits.
So often people underestimate themselves, devalue themselves, and feel inadequate, vulnerable, and insecure. But when a sub, with my support, guidance, and love, pushes past boundaries of fear, pain, and emotion, that's fucking huge. In that moment, they learn that they are more powerful than they ever realized and that carries over into everyday life. Additionally, as a submissive, it is very possible, and I think, done right, can be very cathartic to experience humiliation, or to revert to being a child being disciplined by Daddy/Mommy/Teacher/Coach as a way to re-experience painful childhood moments and release them. Being able to enter into a controlled and created space where you can fucking cry like a baby as Daddy spanks you for being a bad girl is not just about the way it gets your pussy wet. Haven't you noticed that after a scene like that, despite feeling a bit raw and vulnerable, you feel free? Less burdened by feelings of having to do what others tell you? Less worried about pleasing others (or in other words, pleasing Daddy?) You endured Daddy's wrath and his attempts to shame and abuse you and came out on the other side. And maybe you even got pleasure or an orgasm out of it, or felt love, and all those things are powerful talismans that transform old feelings of shame, hurt, and fear.
This is why I am attracted to kink. I've often toyed around with being a therapist, and even thought about being a sex therapist. But I don't want to be limited by the boundaries of traditional therapy. I want to put on my stockings and corset and red lipstick and grab my crop and flogger and enter into the role of the Goddess to help others heal and transform and to bring them pleasure, at the most basic level. I also want to be bent over and spanked until I cry, cause yes, I have pain and issues, and sometimes I just want to fucking cry like a baby. So, go forth all of you, and try to pay attention to your emotions and reactions. What's going on with you? Is it really about the spilled cup of coffee, or the new person your partner likes or how attracted you are to the person you met at the bar (maybe, a little) or is it about something deeper and more powerful that is trying to get your attention? Don't worry about having it all figured out. Just take the first step.
I even challenge you to bring awareness to your kink. WHY do you like what you like? What does it evoke for you? What do you want and need, and why? Just beginning to think about these things will make your play (work!) in the bedroom and playroom more powerful as you begin to see it for the soul tool that it can be.
Have a great day everyone, and stay present, even when it hurts!
Many Blessings in Love,