What are we like in real life?

I have a question.  What are Dominatrixes like in real life?  Are they bossy in their everyday life and like to give orders or are they nice people?

Yes.

I mean, I usually try to be a nice person.  I volunteer with veterans, I’m going through the process of getting my rescued, rehabilitated pit bull certified as an AKC therapy dog, I donate to Toys for Tots and send care packages to deployed soldiers every Christmas, basically I try to do what I can to create the kind of world I want my daughter to live in.

I can also work well in groups.  If I’m not the one in charge, I do my part to ensure efficiency.  I can put my ego away and do what I’m told to get the job done.

However, I generally prefer being the one in charge.  When I am, I have a plan and my goal is efficiency.  If I’m your boss, hell-fucking-yes I’m comfortable giving you orders and chewing you out if you don’t follow them.

I also have a bit of a confrontational side.  If you’re a dick, all bets are off.  I can out-asshole the biggest asshole.

That’s me, though.  I’m one Domme.

And I think what you’re forgetting is that Dommes are people.  There are good ones and bad ones, nice ones and mean ones, there are as many variations in personality as there are in literally any group of people.

Entitlement and liberation

First, thank you to everyone who has reached out to me in the last couple days.  I’m alright, we were at home when the shooting happened, all of my family and friends are alright.

I received this comment on my last post.

Thanks for this excellent reply.

I think many men -myself included- thought: “So women got the right to vote, the right to have a career, even the right to join the military. And what did we get?

I honestly feel jealous at women for being able to behave both feminine and masculine and being accepted both ways, while men aren’t.

And that’s the reason why many men have chosen toxic hypermasculinity. For women there was a clear idea or direction, what they should become i.e. pursuing the same career paths and hobbies as men did. Men on the other hand lacked a new direction and felt confused and insecure about their identity, so they chose the path of “masculinity at all costs” which gave them a clear cut direction or ideal, even though it had some pretty negative consequences.

Feminists have made a mistake, when they believed, they could just improve womens position completely isolated from men and then neglect mens issues within the patriarchy.

So this begs the question: “What’s the alternative for men?”

I thought maybe it’s time for some sort of “mens liberation” from the outdated ideas of what it means to be a men.

But as for the “How?”, I can only think of two things, where men and society as a whole could work on:

1. Working on mens ability to express and deal with their emotions.

This would be one of the most important points and ease a lot of mens issues, like suicide and violent crime.

2. Improving mens ability to be a father.

However currently the laws on paternity and divorce, as well as the working conditions in many parts of the western world aren’t exactly encouraging men to be a father and spend more time with their children.

What do you think?

Sincerely,

Ambidexter.

I can totally understand where you’re coming from, and agree with most of what you’ve said. But quick thing…

I think many men -myself included- thought: “So women got the right to vote, the right to have a career, even the right to join the military. And what did we get?”

Um, literally all of that?

Why do you think you’re entitled to something for finally treating other human beings as huiman beings?  You don’t deserve a cookie for allowing other humans to be equal to you.

You say we got those rights like we should be grateful.  Like it’s something special to be allowed to vote or serve our country.

… even the right to join the military.

Ho… ly… shit, dude.  That is so not the way to endear yourself to women.

No, we are not grateful for these rights that should have been ours from the dawn of time.  We’re resentful that men of past generations denied them to us for so long.  And we’re pissed that we’re still having to fight for it.

And here’s the thing about men being accepted for expressing themselves in both ways.  I get that you resent that women can do it.  I’d resent it too, if I was a guy.

I mentioned Bill Burr, how he resented women for it.

But ask yourself what’s stopping you from feminine or sensitive behaviors?  Think about that for a minute.  Honestly, what’s stopping you from having the same freedom women do?

Literally nothing but your fear of being made fun of.  That’s fucking it.

No I’m serious, I want you to take a minute and let that sink in.  The only thing stopping Bill Burr in his routine was he was worried about what his friends would think.  He was literally saying that his friends’ opinions were more important than his own mental and physical health.  That the reason men drop dead at 55 is because they’re that worried about what other people think of them.

I’m serious, take a minute and just let that sink in.

Women don’t and didn’t have that same fear.  When women were ridiculed and ostracized, by both men and other women, for things like wearing pants, getting a job, or divorcing an abusive husband, they didn’t care.  Their position of powerlessness conditioned them with the strength to stand up for themselves, despite what society thought of them.

Men as a whole have never had that same struggle.  They’ve never had to fight to be heard, they’ve never had to work to be seen as human.  So they’ve never developed that specific kind of courage.

And you’re right, feminists don’t focus on men’s issues often (although it’s interesting to see reactions on social media when stories of men or boys being raped by women break.  It’s primarily feminists who speak out in support of the victim, while the majority of male commenters say he should’ve enjoyed it. Also, when I posted about female on male abuse, it was exclusively men who argued with me, saying that female on male abuse is impossible, and I’m trivializing female abuse victims).

But here’s the thing: it’s feminism. You don’t get angry at the ASPCA for not doing enough to end world hunger.  You don’t blame the Salvation Army for not doing anything about global warming.

Feminism focuses on feminist issues.  Just like Black Lives Matter focuses on issues that black people face in this country.  And Pinktober, as fucking stupid as it is, focuses on breast cancer.

Does that mean that men have no problems?  Of course not, and I’ve detailed on this blog a number of problems men face that I could never imagine.  Toxic masculinity, lack of resources and support available to male abuse and sexual assault victims, and general attitudes toward men, and the steps they have to take to avoid being seen as a threat are specific examples I’ve spoken about in the last year or so.

That’s a significant problem with the masculinist and feminist crowds.  They’re locked in this battle of who has it worse, and resent each other to the point that trying to make any kind of forward progress on either side is almost impossible.

But they are not mutually exclusive.  I’m a feminist and a masculinist.  Lots of people are.  I think most sane people are.

But expecting feminists to work on men’s issues is unrealistic.  That means I need to bombard Men’s Movement and the National Coalition for Men with hate mail because they’ve done nothing to help women gain affordable access to birth control.

This entitlement that some people feel is genuinely harmful.  I would like to reiterate: women owe men nothing for the rights we have as human beings and as American citizens.  Literally nothing.

We should have always had them.  The fact that we had to fight for them at all really doesn’t paint the male gender in a fantastic light.

Men of the past were fucking idiots and small-minded assholes with tiny egos and were intimidated by women.  You don’t get an award for not being a dick.  It’s just kind of expected.

Just like white people didn’t deserve an award for freeing slaves.  And the fact that so many white people were so against freeing them, they started a war and  were willing to kill American citizens for it, really doesn’t paint us in a fantastic light.

The ones who owned slaves were straight up assholes.  No one gets a cookie for not being an asshole.  My mom’s family is from the south.  My ancestors owned slaves (and on my dad’s side, my grandmother’s first husband was a Nazi.  Fabulous family history).  Do I deserve a medal because I’m not a racist fucktard like my direct ancestors?

No.  It’s just kind of expected of me as a human being.

Also, why does improving women’s position within society (you know, to the point that they are seen as human) threaten men?  Why do we need to compensate men for having basic human rights?  I’m honestly asking, I want to know.  What is it, exactly, that you think we owe you?

As for your question about men’s liberation and encouraging positive relationships with their emotions, I 100% agree with you.  Luckily, things are slowly changing, but it’s still widely looked down on for a man to show any emotion outside of anger.  Men aren’t encouraged to experience and process their emotions.  They’re not encouraged to seek professional help when they need it.

Which is why things like depression go undiagnosed and untreated, and result in men committing suicide three times more than women.

It’s tragic, but the more we talk about it, the more we pound it into people’s heads that men are human, with human brains and human emotions, and they need healthy emotional outlets, because that’s how human brains work, the more society will continue to shift to be more accepting of that.

And ugh, don’t get me started on how badly fathers are shafted when it comes to parental law.  We had our own little minor run-in with that when the spawn was born.

Kazander and I weren’t married.  In the state of Nevada, if the parents are not married, the father must waive his right to a paternity test in order to be acknowledged as the father on the birth certificate.

Naturally, when I found this out, I lost my shit.

Like, are you fucking serious?

So in order for a father to get his parental rights, he has to sign away one of his parental rights.

Kazander actually wasn’t as pissed about it as I was.  He signed the paper, he was put on her birth certificate as her father, and life went on.  And in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.  She’s his kid, beyond a shadow of a doubt.  It was just the principle of the thing, you know?  If I was a guy, and a father, I’d be furious.

That’s a much harder thing to fix than men’s acceptable range of gender expression.  All a guy has to do for gender expression is tell his friends to fuck off.  Fathers’ rights and the way they’re fucked by the legal system doesn’t have a simple answer like that.

Because the reason it got this way in the first place is because child-rearing was traditionally seen as a mother’s job, and men didn’t (and often still don’t) participate much in their kids’ lives.

To quote my daughter when she was… 4, I think, “Daddies don’t keep babies company.  Daddies go to work.  It’s the mommy’s job to keep the baby company.”

Naturally, after this, Kazander and I had a long conversation about how he needs to act once he gets home, and how he needs to play a bigger role in her life.  Because I’ll be damned if she’s going to grow up thinking that’s what a father is.

For the longest time, though, that was the norm.  Fathers just didn’t participate in kids’ lives.

So when the parents split, is the court going to give the kids to an absentee parent who supports them financially, or are they going to give the kids to the more present parent and demand that the father still support them financially?

The answer is an obvious one, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right one.  We need to continue changing the way men see fatherhood.  And it’s slowly happening.  Go on Facebook or YouTube and you see tons of adorable viral videos of fathers and their young children.  There’s some good momentum there, but we need to keep it going for a long time before we start seeing changes in the legal system.

Because as men’s rights groups and society as a whole continue to encourage men to take a more active role as fathers, I think it will begin to change the way courts see fathers, as well.

So I think that men are going to continue gaining more and more freedom as time goes on, but we can’t be afraid of talking about it.  And we can’t allow resentment or an “us versus them” mentality to take root.  Men and women are not enemies; feminists and masculinists are not enemies.  We’re simply attacking the same problem from different angles.  And the sooner we can stop competing with one another and start working together, the faster progress will be.

I think the best thing men can do right now, something they can implement in their lives today, that will help combat toxic masculinity, is to simply push themselves to show just a little sensitivity or vulnerability every day.  It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, just step a toe out of that comfort zone.

Just one thing a day.  Say the puppy on the street is adorable.  When your coworker gets flowers from her boyfriend, say they look nice.  Tell people that you loved that new sappy romantic movie that came out.  Acknowledge a cloud that looks like a bunny.  I don’t care, something.

And what’ll happen is that, over time, it’ll condition men to develop a better relationship with their own masculinity.  They won’t feel their masculinity threatened by femininity or vulnerability or emotion.

And as a side effect, things like sensitivity and vulnerability will stop being gender-specific traits (they never should have been gender-specific traits in the first place, because again, humans literally don’t work that way).  So men will begin to feel more comfortable and secure in their masculinity, and won’t constantly feel the need to prove how manly they are.

Which will make them happier and healthier all the way around.

Sexism and forced feminization

I received this comment on my Why Idiots are Idiots post:

Dear Jen,

I would really like to know your opinion regarding forced feminization.

You see, forced feminization means that a male submissive is being degraded and humiliated by training and transforming him into a more feminine role and body. Does this imply that the femininity is somehow inferior to masculinity? I’m honestly confused about this.

Also, I find it interesting that there is no counterpart “forced masculinization”, where a maledom for example cuts his subs hair short, binds her breasts back and makes her fix his car.

Alright, I’ll be honest, this isn’t the first time I’ve been asked this question, and of course I’ve seen all the articles and angry blog posts talking about how forced feminization is sexist because it reinforces the idea that feminizing a man makes him less, because femininity is less.  Usually, I just roll my eyes, shake my head, and ignore it.  For many reasons, and I’ll get into a couple here.  However, since you were polite in your comment, I’ll take the time to answer.

But before I get into all that, there’s one thing I want to point out, because this mindset pervades many different kinks and fetishes.

The BBW fetish demeans plus size women. Femdom porn demeans women because it’s unrealistic and puts women in overly sexual outfits.  Being into blondes or Asians or petite women is demeaning because it fetishizes their appearance.  With basically every fetish out there, you have people who say it’s demeaning.

Here’s the thing, though.

I don’t fucking care.

I don’t care whether my fetishes are politically correct or not.  I’m not watching porn or feminizing Jessie for social commentary.  I’m literally just trying to get off.

It’s what I do, in private, with consenting adults, that doesn’t affect anyone else outside of the people right there with me.  It affects literally no one else.

It’s just a fetish.  People have some pretty fucked up ones.  As long as mentally sound adults consent to the fetish and it doesn’t cause unreasonable damage (No, I’m not castrating a man in my living room because he has a castration fetish), who cares?  It’s literally just a fetish.

It’s not like a sexual fetish is going to determine one’s vote.

And sure, maybe the BBW fetish is demeaning.  Maybe the only reason some men have been into me was because they fetishized my body.

But quick, guess who still got off on those guys.  So why do I care?

So that’s the quick answer.  But as far as forced feminization goes, it’s not the right answer.

The seemingly popular idea that forced feminization is sexist or implies that femininity is inferior is just plain wrong.

Why?

The answer is laughably complicated, and yeah, some of it has origins in toxic masculinity, but mostly it has to do with one’s identity.  My last post touched on the subject of identity, and the brain’s habit of desperately clinging to that identity.

For most men today, masculinity has been put up on this pedestal and heralded as the end-all, be-all of manhood, to the point that anything feminine, any show of sensitivity or softness or vulnerability leaves a man open to ridicule.

It is a massive part of what it means to be a man.  It’s a huge part of manhood as an identity.

And it’s sad, it really is, because it cheapens manhood as a whole.  It makes manhood shallow, nothing more than a collection of behaviors and attitudes current society has deemed masculine.

Back in the day, the epitome of manhood was being considered a gentleman.  And culturally, what was a gentleman?  He was kind, polite, responsible, and protective of those around him, quick to sacrifice his own comfort for the comfort of others.  He took care of his responsibilities, he did what was best for those who depended on him, he had the balls to admit when he needed help, and vulnerability or sensitivity were part of his identity.

A gentleman was not an unfeeling dudebro who could outdrink his buddies.  His identity as a man was not wrapped up in how masculine he was.

Of course, society back then was very, very far from perfect, so don’t think I’m putting that type of man on a pedestal.  I’m simply pointing out that society had a better relationship with masculinity back then.

This hyper masculinity is a relatively recent thing.  I’ve read it speculated that it has to do with the rise of women’s rights and feminism being seen as threatening to men of that time, who in turn clung to their masculinity and created the toxic relationship with it that they then pounded into their sons and grandsons and so on until it became a societal norm, something expected from all men.

Whether that’s true or not isn’t the point.  The point is that we as a culture have developed an extremely unhealthy relationship with masculinity and masculine behaviors.

Obviously that’s the problem with toxic masculinity, and one of the many effects it has had on many men is that it influences their identity greatly.  Masculinity is a huge part of the average guy’s identity.  Whether or not that’s a good or bad thing is a different conversation, trust me, this will be long enough.  The result is still the same.  It’s a big part of who they are.

And what happens when you force someone to give up such a big part of their identity?

It’s uncomfortable, even painful, and, depending on the context, deeply humiliating.

Just as with pretty much anything else, there is a group of people who have fetishized that discomfort and pain, and when performed in a consensual relationship with clearly-defined boundaries and limitations, those people can enjoy the discomfort the same way physical masochists enjoy the pain of being hit.

And it’s true not just with masculinity and femininity, but with anything an individual holds as a major part of their identity.

For example, Kazander and I used to switch for his birthday.  My longtime readers are very much aware of how much I dreaded and disliked it, how unnatural and uncomfortable it was for me, how it took days to literally shut off portions of my personality, and even that wasn’t enough to make me a “good” sub.  And yes, it was often humiliating.  Unfortunately for him (and me), I don’t fetishize receiving that humiliation, and it annoyed me more than anything else.

It was humiliating because my Dominance is such an integral part of who I am, and switching runs so deeply counter to that, it was a constant struggle for me.

But does the fact that I found it humiliating mean that I see submission as inferior to Dominance?  No.

For example, you don’t have to be a longtime reader to know how much I respect and admire Jessie.  And as it happens, I asked him how he would feel about switching.

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Needless to say, he was not a fan of the idea.  It would be so deeply uncomfortable for him, he wouldn’t be able to enjoy it.  Because that is far outside the boundaries and limitations of what becomes fetishized in his brain.

Because that’s just not who he is.  That’s not how he relates to someone in a sexual capacity.  That’s not how he and I relate to each other.

Trying to force him to be my Dominant in a session would be far more uncomfortable than putting him in a dress, or even forcing him to take a man’s cock in his ass.  The fact that it would create so much nervousness and anxiety in him would absolutely manifest as humiliation.

Does that mean that Dominance is inferior to submission, because he would find it humiliating?  No.  It’s just counter to who he is.

Have you noticed how effeminate men, or men who don’t have masculinity as such a big part of their identity, don’t feel the same discomfort or humiliation at being feminized?  Forced feminization as a tool to humiliate and degrade only works if masculinity plays a central role in who a man is.

As it happens, it’s a societal norm for masculinity to play that big a role in a man’s identity, so it is humiliating and degrading for most men in today’s society.

And yes, toxic masculinity is responsible for the sheer number of men who hold their masculinity as such a big part of who they are.  But it’s not any more sexist to fetishize that than it is to fetishize a skin color or hair color or height or weight or literally anything else.

You don’t see forced masculinization because women don’t have that same problem.  We don’t hold our femininity as such a huge part of our identity.  We have more cultural freedom, so we’re all over the gender expression spectrum.  We aren’t particularly attached to one or the other the way men are.

So we don’t feel the humiliation, but we can still feel that discomfort.

Like me, for example.  I don’t like sliding too far to either side of that spectrum.  Sure, I can dress up and be uber ultra feminine, but I have to be able to move back to the masculine side.  You mention a Dom forcing a female sub to fix his car.  I can change my body language and speech patterns and be just as masculine as any guy, and talk cars with the best of them, but I have to be able to move back to the feminine side.

Too far in either direction doesn’t cause the same humiliation that it causes in most men, because gender is not as big a part of my identity, but it’s not pleasant, because it’s not who I am.

So I mean, this idea that forced feminization is sexist or implies that femininity is inferior to masculinity just doesn’t hold up under close scrutiny.  It doesn’t work.

Comparing intensity and intimacy

May I have some clarification , please? In your post you mention this, “All I can say is that it creates a very unique sort of intimacy that vanilla relationships just don’t have.” in relation to Sounder and you. Are you suggesting that vanilla couple’s are incapable of having this intense level of intimacy or are you suggesting that what you and Sounder share is just different, not necessarily better? Sometimes I believe that those of us in this lifestyle make a mistake when we suggest that only we are capable of such intense intimacy or vulnerability. Thank you for your time.
Wayne

 

Absolutely, I’m happy to clarify.

No, I do not intend to imply that vanilla relationships are incapable of the same level of intimacy or vulnerability, or that all D/s relationships automatically have it.

What I mean is that we have a strange attitude with talking to our significant other about sex.  Husbands and wives are often downright terrified to confess their darkest fantasies or deepest secrets.  There’s a degree of separation in most vanilla relationships because that level of emotional intimacy doesn’t come naturally to us.

I’m not saying that it is any easier for those in D/s relationships.  I’ve discussed quite often my own struggles with emotional vulnerability, and how it’s usually just more comfortable to keep it turned off.

But the very foundation of most D/s relationships is built on communicating those fantasies and secrets.  All of that is laid out from Day One.  It’s a big part of what makes potential partners compatible in a D/s relationship, so they hash it all out early.

And once you’ve confessed your darkest secrets and most fucked up kinks, everything else is easy by comparison.

“Well hell, she already knows that I like being peed on while singing Taylor Swift songs, so talking about this regular fear/concern/thing that irritates me/literally whatever is no big deal.”

And it’s ongoing.  D/s relationships are intense af.  Take Sounder and me, for example.  Take the way I fuck with his head.

He’s going to have to text Kazander.  You can imagine how that fucks with his head.  You can read how it fucked with his head the first time I made him suck Kazander’s cock in his guest post, and you can read about his reactions to what I do to him on his blog.

It’s a pretty intense emotional roller coaster that just doesn’t happen in healthy, stable vanilla relationships.

And it’s important to keep things healthy here, too.  Because the emotions and the fear and the dread he experiences are real.  When I succeed in fucking with him to the point that his heart rate gets elevated to 120+ beats per minute, that’s real.  It’s my job to keep it on the right side of the line between “fun” stress and “bad” stress, and it’s my job to immediately back off if I cross that line.

So it’s just intense, you know?  What he feels is intense.  That doesn’t happen in vanilla relationships.

It’s also intense because, to let go and just allow himself to experience what I do to him, he places a massive amount of trust in me.  He opens himself up and exposes everything to me, and trusts me to hurt him, but not harm him.  The kind of trust required to allow someone to have that kind of power over you doesn’t come naturally to people.

The difference between vanilla relationships and D/s ones is that D/s relationships, by their very nature, require that trust and intimacy, while vanilla ones don’t.

Does that mean that people in vanilla relationships are incapable of it?  Not at all.  It just means that it is not required as a foundation for vanilla relationships, and therefore never really explored by most.

And for the record, no, I find it hard to believe that the average person in the average vanilla relationship experiences the same sort of intimacy that Sounder and I do.

He is taking birth control pills, m’kay.  He’s allowing me to feminize every part of him, physically as well as mentally.

Do y’all understand what that means?  No, I’m serious, do you truly understand the significance of that?

He is literally allowing me to change who he is.

He knows what I want to do to him, and he opens up his body and mind for me.  He allows me to change not just his underwear or masturbation habits, but his bed, his entire house, the way he identifies, the way he sees himself, the way he sees his body, everything.

Do you have any idea the amount of trust something like that requires?  The degree of intimacy and vulnerability?

I mean, I’m good, I’m damn good, but I’m not perfect.  I rely on him to tell me if I push too hard or take him down a path he’s not comfortable with.  With everything else that I’m doing to him, can you imagine the kind of vulnerability required to let me know when the fear I’m creating in him is too much?

I’m not gentle with him, and there aren’t many out there who can handle me.  He can, and he can match my intensity with his own.

I have a hard time believing that the average vanilla relationship can hold a candle to that.  But all of my D/s relationships have similar levels of intensity and intimacy.  It’s the very foundation of the relationship.  The very few vanilla relationships I’ve been in were drab by comparison.

But is it because vanilla relationships and those in them are incapable of that kind of vulnerability?  No.  It’s because there is nothing pushing people to have those conversations and those experiences.  So they need another reason to push themselves to do it.

Again, it’s not something that comes easily to us.  People in D/s relationships are more or less forced to have those conversations, while people in vanilla relationships need to find something else to push them to open up like that.

They’re just as capable of it as we are.  They just need to find the motivation to do it.

From vanilla to D/s

Hello, I read your mistakes men make and allow me to say. Wow I am an idiot! Amazing writing and so spot on and very eye opening. Thank you!

My question is do you have a writing that kinda goes hand in hand for said vanilla wife? I looked but did not see it. Not an instruction manual but something to help her understand this idiot she has been married to for 21 years?

I actually haven’t written anything from the wife’s perspective in this situation.  It honestly just hasn’t occurred to me.  But now that I think about it, a post about this isn’t a bad idea.  Because what should a wife do when she finds herself in the kind of position described in the post?

This is actually kind of hard for me to relate to, so I’m going mostly off of conversations I’ve had with women who were in the position, and who successfully made the shift from vanilla to FemDomme.

The first thing to remember is that you cannot create something from nothing.  You can’t take a hardcore submissive and turn her into a happy Domme.  That’s just not who she is.  It’s not what she wants.  It’s unlikely that she will ever change.

That goes for vanilla women, too.  Some women simply want their husband to take the lead.  They’re just not interested in being a Dominant, and trying to shove them into a box they will never fit into is futile and selfish.

For a woman to become a Dominant, she must already have a tendency to be dominant.

But even for the most dominant vanilla woman, making the switch to a Dominant will be difficult.  And overwhelming.

Because let’s be honest, BDSM does not come naturally to 95% of humans.  For most people, loving and caring about someone makes them distinctly averse to hurting them, or humiliating them, or otherwise mistreating them.

I’ve been asked by many vanilla people how I can hurt someone I love.  And how I make sense of the thousands of apparent contradictions in the way I feel about my subs, and the way I interact with them.

My best friend is on the conservative side when it comes to relationships, and she’s had plenty of questions about my relationship with Sounder in particular, due to the heavy emphasis on consensual nonconsent (ie, making him do shit he doesn’t want to do).

And yeah, it’s confusing for someone not in the lifestyle.  I love Sounder, I adore him, I’d do anything for him, and yet I enjoy causing him pain.

I’m fiercely protective of him (despite the fact that he really doesn’t need anyone’s protection), and will readily jump to his defense against anyone who tries to fuck with him, and yet I actively look for people to help me humiliate and dehumanize and mistreat him.

He’s one of my favorite people on the planet, one of the very few people I genuinely trust, and yet I am often very rough and sadistic with him.

It doesn’t make sense to most people.  It’s confusing.

And honestly, my attempts to explain it have fallen short.  All I can really say is that it creates a very unique sort of intimacy that vanilla relationships just don’t have.  Sounder trusts me to hurt him, to break him, to bring him low and lay him out, and he shows me a side of him that no one else gets to see.

It’s strange for most people, and for a woman just stepping in to this kind of lifestyle, none of it makes sense.  It doesn’t come naturally to her.

But still, it intrigues her, there may be parts of it that genuinely appeal to her, and she is willing to try becoming a Domme.

That still leaves the question, “Where do I start?”

How does a woman go from vanilla to Dominant?  What is that first step?

For those women, my first suggestion is to look at some FemDom porn.  Not just videos (I’m actually not a fan of most FemDom porn videos out there.  The Dommes tend to be screech and shrill and annoying).  Look at erotica (preferably written by a woman, from the Domme’s perspective).  Read blogs and true accounts of sessions that actually happened in real life.

Don’t worry about trying to make yourself into the Dommes in those stories or videos.  Just look for something that turns you on. Find a specific area or activity that appeals to you.  You may enjoy watching men being pegged.  You may enjoy making men do chores for you while wearing humiliating clothes.  You may enjoy chastity and orgasm denial.  You may enjoy cuckolding or forced bi.

Anything.

Find some part of it that legitimately appeals to you, something that you think you’d enjoy doing in real life, in your relationship.

This will help you figure out the kind of Domme you want to be.  It’ll help you figure out your identity as a Dominant.

Next, read my Mistakes Men Make post, linked at the top of this article.  Be aware that your partner will very likely attempt the behaviors listed there, and be prepared to handle it.  Learn to recognize if he starts moving too quickly for your liking or becomes too focused on his needs.

Then, give yourself permission to be a bitch.  This is the single hardest thing you’ll have to overcome.  You’ll likely struggle with it, you’ll deal with guilt because it will seem overly selfish to you.

Yeah, that’s the point.

Granted, it’s grossly, hysterically oversimplified, but if you’re struggling with any particular situation, remind yourself that the whole point of a FemDom relationship is that you’re in charge.  It’s all about you.

Correcting your husband will be tough.  So start small.  Give him a chore or two that he has to do each day.  Something simple.  And should he forget or get distracted or whatever, punish him for it (make the punishment fit the crime.  Spanking him nonstop for 20 minutes because he forgot to take the trash out isn’t a reasonable thing to do).

Alternatively, give him a chore, supervise him, and become extremely controlling and micromanaging while he does the chore.

Doing the dishes is a good place to start.  Constantly give him instruction and correction.  Every detail.  Make shit up.  It doesn’t matter.

And make him listen and do what you tell him.

Will he find this exercise pleasant?  Probably not.  Who cares?  It’s not about him, anyway.

Now, that does come with a caveat.  He will likely be just as inexperienced at being a sub as you are at being a Domme.  Just making him do something like that, knowing he’s not going to like it, without telling him why or what you’re trying to do is not a good idea.

Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you don’t have to tell him anything.  He’ll simply trust you, trust in your leadership, and obey.

That takes time, and neither of you are there yet.  Before you have him do the chore, tell him what you’re going to be doing and why.  It’ll still be unpleasant for him, but he’ll understand what’s going on and he’ll be eager to help you become more comfortable with leading and correcting him.

Outside of that, make a goal of correcting him once a day.  For anything.  Something small.  Even something stupid.  Tell him he has to hold the remote in his left hand when he changes the channel.  It doesn’t matter.  Just once a day.

And again, tell him what you’re doing and why.  It’ll help you get in the habit of guiding and correcting unwanted behavior, and it’ll help him get in the habit of obeying you even if he’s not into it at that exact moment.  Because he doesn’t get to choose when he obeys you.

This will help you tremendously when your husband makes the kind of mistakes most men in his position make.  You’ll be more sure of yourself, you’ll feel more comfortable reining him in and bringing him to heel when he gets too far ahead or loses focus, and it’ll help him learn faster that he needs to take his cues from you, not his fantasies.

Once you’re more comfortable with correcting him, and you have an idea of what kind of Domme you want to be, it’s time to sit down with him and the two of you figure out exactly where you want the relationship to go.

Because something you’ll both struggle with in the beginning is the level of communication required.  That’s another thing that doesn’t come naturally to most people.  But it’s so crucial to the long term success of a D/s relationship.

Both of you need to discuss what you want from the relationship, your expectations of each other, and what you need to make the relationship successful.  It’s so critical that you are and remain on the same page moving forward.

And as you move forward, just take it slow.  It’s going to go at your pace, not his.  If he tries to bound ahead, don’t be afraid to pull him back.  As time goes on, it’ll get easier and easier, and eventually, you won’t even have to think about it.

Benefits of polyamory

Domina Jen,

I’m dating a single polyamorous woman.  She was up front about being poly from the beginning and I was cool with it.  We’ve been dating for a few months and now she’s looking at this guy as a potential partner.

It feels weird. I’m not a jealous guy so on one hand I’m cool with it but on the other… I don’t know I guess it feels weird because I feel like I’m supposed to not be cool with it maybe?

And the idea of telling my friends and family about it really messes with me. They’ve all met her and think she’s cool. But I know she won’t be cool with keeping her other relationship a secret.

She knows something’s up and she keeps asking me about it. I just don’t really know how to answer. Because I’m mostly cool with it but then there’s like “what if she likes the other guy more than me” and “what if she spends more time with him than me” and “what if I don’t like the guy” and all these “what if” things that just bug me.

And then of course there’s “what if she leaves me for him” and “what if she gets a disease from him that she gives to me.”

But then again she’s also cool with me going out and getting another girlfriend if I want so do I really have the right to not be cool with her if I have the same opportunity?

How do I handle this?  And can you list some of the benefits of poly relationships that can outweigh the negatives?  It’s all just kind of overwhelming.

Thanks in advance.

Hi, and thanks for writing.  These are actually very good and valid questions that a lot of people experience when they first get into polyamory.

It’s a lot to take in, and it goes against everything we were taught a relationship was supposed to be.

You being a man makes it even harder, because of cultural expectations placed the way men are supposed to behave within a relationship.  So we’ll start at the top and go down your list of questions/concerns.

First, I’m going to go through the list of terms, because that will make things so much easier through the rest of the post.

Polyamory: multiple loves

Polygamy: multiple spouses

There are two separate kinds of polygamy.  There is polygyny, which is by far the most common, in which a husband has multiple wives.  But there is a second kind, less common throughout history, called polyandry, in which a wife has multiple husbands.

In the vast majority of the world, all polygamy is illegal and criminalized.  So the terms “polygyny” and “polyandry” refer not to marriages, but to certain dynamics within polyamorous relationships.

Of course these are not the only kinds of polyamorous relationships, but polyandrous relationships consisting of one woman and two men are actually the most common type of poly relationship throughout the US and Canada.  This dynamic just seems to work.

It certainly works in my experience.

And the idea of telling my friends and family about it really messes with me.  They’ve all met her and think she’s cool.  But I know she won’t be cool with keeping her other relationship a secret.

Alright, so first of all, I absolutely don’t agree with trying to force your partner to keep something like that a secret.  The only way to get rid of the harmful misinformation and stereotypes that go with poly relationships is for people to see what a healthy poly relationship looks like.

But while you may know that intellectually, putting it into practice is something else entirely, and I get that.  It would be easier if you had a second girlfriend, but her having a second boyfriend makes things tough.

First, you have to understand that there are those who can just never accept it.  No matter what you say, no matter what you do, they’ll just cling to their ignorance with everything they have.  They’ll attack her, they’ll insult you, they’ll call her a manipulative whore, they’ll say that she’s taking advantage of you, or that she’s brainwashing you, or that she’s forcing you into a life you don’t want.

She’s likely no stranger to this kind of thing.  I don’t know a single polyandrous woman who hasn’t experienced this.  Monogamous men tend to get really upset at the idea of polyandrous relationships.  They, more often than not, are downright hostile to the women in these relationships.  Like it’s a personal attack on their masculinity or something.  The only way they can accept it is to assume she’s evil and you’re weak.

So if she’s experienced with polyandrous relationships, she’s been dealing with this for awhile.  She’s used to it.  But it’s all completely new to you, and it’ll be tough.  You’re going to have to decide how much you’re going to let the opinions of others influence you.

Which sounds like an easy thing to do, but in practice, it’s really not.  Ask any submissive guy.  It’s pretty damn tough.

Add to that the cultural expectations of men in relationships, that they’re supposed to “possess their woman.”  There’s this idea that a man can’t be a “real man” if he doesn’t claim some sort of ownership of his partner.  Which is why so many monogamous men get outright hostile about it.

And while, in my experience, the vast majority of the hostility will be directed at her, not at you, you’ll still get your fair share of it.

You’ll have to do some real soul-searching and decide how secure you are in your masculinity, because it will be attacked.  You have to decide whether you’re going to let those attacks affect you.

You’ve got to be prepared for that.  But, while that will undoubtedly happen, it actually won’t be the majority.

As it turns out, most reasonable people will actually be pretty accepting of it, even if they don’t understand it.  Chances are your friends will be curious at first; they won’t understand it, they’ll have this idea of it, but they’ll actually talk and keep open minds about it.

And with friends, it’s easy.  Even if they don’t understand you “letting” her have a second boyfriend.  There’s just one thing you have to say:

That girl at the bar is hot.  I think I’m going to go talk to her.  Flirt with her a bit, maybe if she’s willing, go back to her place.  Oh, and you know what?  I’ve got to get some pictures of us doing it.  My girlfriend loves that.

I mean, there’s just nothing your friends can say about that.  There’s nothing they can say when random drunken blowjobs and one-night stands are legitimate possibilities.

Nah bro, your argument is invalid.

Family is harder.  And I stay out of family issues, unless it starts negatively affecting me.  For example, living so close to Kazander’s family, and him keeping everything a secret from them, has started to negatively affect me.  So as soon as we get his health issues figured out, we’re moving.

The way you deal with your family is up to you, I’m not going to tell you how to handle that.  But as always, I recommend honesty.  People tend to forget that being in your life is a privilege.  It is not a right that anyone is entitle to, regardless of whether you share DNA.

If you are honest, and any member of your family gives you problems, then do you really want that family member in your life?  Why put up with it when you don’t have to?  You don’t have to let toxic people remain in your life.

Now to go through the “what-if” questions:

What if she likes the other guy more than me?  What if she leaves me for him?

This is a very common and justifiable concern with those who are new to polyamory.  But there is one thing you’re forgetting:

What’s stopping that from happening in a monogamous relationship?

Imagine I’m in a monogamous relationship with Kazander.  What’s stopping me from finding a guy that I like better than him?  A single dad at the park, a cute guy at the bar, anyone, anywhere.  There’s absolutely nothing stopping that from happening.

The difference is in a poly relationship, the forbidden appeal is gone.  And having to make a choice is gone.

I don’t have to decide whether I like one person more than the other, because I don’t have to choose between them.  I don’t have to leave one person for the other, because I don’t have to choose.  That’s literally not a line of thinking present in poly relationships.

Poly relationships have problems just as monogamous relationships do, and poly relationships end just as monogamous ones do.  But poly relationships don’t end because someone likes one partner more than the other.  Because no one is worried about that, because it’s not something you have to think about.

And that also goes for the concern about getting a disease.  In my personal experience, poly people I know tend to be extremely careful about this.  More so than monogamous people.

Because I know that it’s not just my health on the line.  Anything that one partner has could potentially be passed to me, which I could then pass on to my other partners.  I’ve taken risks with my health before, but I won’t do that with other people’s health.

And again, there’s nothing stopping that from happening in a monogamous relationship.  Anyone can go out and cheat on their partner* and get a disease, which can then be passed to their partner.  Monogamous relationships don’t protect anyone from that.

What if she spends more time with him than me?

A completely understandable question, and something that must be discussed.  Time management is important in any relationship, but especially so in poly ones.

Because a partner can feel neglected for a number of reasons in both poly and mono relationships that have nothing to do with other partners.  Your partner may spend too much time out with friends.  Too much time working.  Too much time focusing on the kids or other responsibilities, and not effectively managing time.

Poly relationships are just as vulnerable to this as mono relationships are, because now you have the added strain of other partners who need your time, as well.

It’s something that simply requires practice, and mindful time management skills, which can be learned.  It also requires open and honest communication** so that your partner can be made aware of a problem before it becomes a significant problem.

What if I don’t like the guy?

This completely depends on the situation.  If you’re all living together, this can be a significant issue.  Usually it can be fixed, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of emotional maturity on the part of everyone involved.

If you’re not living together, it’s much easier.  For me personally, if I don’t have to live with the person, it doesn’t matter at all.

I didn’t like Kazander’s girlfriend in the slightest.  Not even remotely.

But I didn’t have to deal with her, so I didn’t care.  He’d go on dates with her and I wouldn’t have to see her.  She’d come over, I’d do the polite greeting thing, then they’d go into the bedroom while I watched TV.  I didn’t have to socialize with her, I didn’t have to spend time with her, I didn’t have to do anything.

Now, if I was in a situation where I had to spend time with her, that would be a problem, and quite honestly, I would not have allowed that relationship to begin in the first place.

Because in poly relationships, your current partner(s) must always take priority over potential ones.  Whenever I begin a new relationship, or am even considering beginning a new relationship, I ask my current partners what they think.  And their opinions and thoughts carry quite a bit of weight.

If you don’t get along with the guy, you need to say something ASAP, so the three of you can figure out what to do about it.  Again, a lot of times, it can be fixed.  But you have to be very open and honest about your feelings and what’s going through your head.  And you have to say something immediately.  Don’t wait until it’s a big problem.

How do I handle this?

Honesty.

It’s so important.  You have to tell your girlfriend what you’re feeling.  If you struggle with it, then you’ve just got to find a way to make it work.  A lot of guys struggle with this, because men culturally aren’t allowed to have feelings, much less talk about them, but you’ve got to do it anyway.

If you struggle with a conversation, try writing her a letter, instead.  I had an ex who really struggled with this, so what we ended up doing was going into separate rooms with our laptops, and literally IM each other.

Yeah, I felt stupid at first.  But you know what?  It worked.  It was a lot easier for him to talk about our problems when I wasn’t sitting there in front of him.  It was easier for him to tell me what was going through his head.  Writing it was easier, it helped him organize his thoughts, it helped him open up in a way that he just couldn’t when we were sitting in the same room, talking to each other face to face.

It’s not ideal, but it worked.  Whatever you need to do to talk to her, do it.  It’s the single most important thing, it’s the single most important responsibility you will have, and if you can’t do it, the relationship will fail.

And that’ll be on your shoulders.

And can you list some of the benefits of poly relationships that can outweigh the negatives?

With pleasure.

First, I’ll use Kazander’s ex as an example.

I’ve got a pretty high libido.  But even I have days when I’m just not feeling it.  I also have days where I just want to be left the fuck alone.  Not because I’m angry or in a bad mood or anything, it’s just one of my quirks.  I need to be left the fuck alone occasionally.

And sometimes, the times I want to be left the fuck alone coincide with the times Kazander wants to get all up on me.

Any other time, I’d be totally into it.  But more than a few times, when I’ve been in my leave-me-the-fuck-alone moods, it’s caused tension.

When he had his girlfriend, he could spend time with her.  It was a relief for me, actually, because I could get time to myself.  Or maybe I didn’t specifically want time to myself, but maybe I just wasn’t horny that day.  Maybe I wasn’t feeling well.  Maybe I was stressed or annoyed or whatever, and didn’t want sex.

Enter his girlfriend.  It took the pressure off of me, because I wasn’t the only source of sexual/intimate companionship he had available to him.

That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but all I can say is that you won’t understand how much of a relief it is until you live it.  It’s one of those little things people take for granted in mono relationships.  It’s one of those little annoyances you don’t even really register.

But the first time you’re not feeling it, and she is, and she can get it somewhere else, and leave you alone, you’ll feel it.  You’ll feel that relief, and you’ll be able to just sit back and watch TV or surf the web or play video games or read or whatever you want to do.  It’ll be a big relief, and it’ll be surprising, because you’ll realize just how much that has annoyed you in the past.

Other women I’ve spoken to, who were in polygynous relationships, expressed a similar sentiment.  For example, one of the girls in a polygynous D/s relationship, had been nervous when they’d first opened their relationship and her Master collared another girl.

But as it turns out, the original girl hated giving blowjobs.  She would do it, of course, because that’s what she was told to do, but she never liked it, and her Master knew that, so he didn’t make her do it all that often.

The new girl, however, enjoyed giving blowjobs.  So all of a sudden, the original girl didn’t have to anymore.  And she told me that she didn’t realize how much tension there was and how much pressure she felt because of it.  Her exact words were, “Nothing prepares you for the relief you feel.  It’s like a weight off your shoulders that you never knew you had.”

So I know it doesn’t seem like much now, but once it happens, you’ll be surprised at what a relief that is.

And there’s another thing.  I’ll use Kazander and Sounder as examples.

As I’ve said before, Kazander sucks at listening when I’m upset.  Venting to him ends up with me being even more annoyed or angry than I was in the beginning.  It’s not because he’s trying to be disrespectful, and his heart is in the right place, but it’s something he’s just never been good at, and he likely won’t change now.  It caused a lot of tension in the relationship.

Sounder, on the other hand, is eerily good at that.  He’s very good at being sympathetic and supportive, and he knows exactly what to say to calm me down.  Like, the first time or two it happened, I was actually taken aback at how effective it was, and how fast I went from full-on outraged psycho bitch to just moderate irritation at the situation I was venting about.

Okay, so awesome.  I don’t vent to Kazander anymore.  I don’t pressure him to be something he’s not, I don’t pressure him to act or speak in a way that doesn’t come naturally to him.  I don’t need to make him be what I need him to be, because I can get what I need from Sounder.  I can talk to Sounder, I can get what I need, whether it’s advice or just a supportive ear, and I don’t have to try to make Kazander be someone he’s not.

And in this specific situation, it also eases some tension in my relationship with Kazander, because I used to get even more annoyed after venting to him, and that doesn’t happen anymore.  Plenty of arguments have been avoided because I go to Sounder instead of Kazander.

Conversely, Sounder is not a super cuddly person.  He’s very loyal and caring, he’s just not physically affectionate.  He shows his affection in other ways.

This works for me, because I’m often the same way.  But sometimes, I want more.

And Sounder is a very good, obedient sissy.  He cuddles with me on the couch because he knows I want it.  He hugs me because he knows I love hugging him.  He bends over backwards to give me everything I want, and of course that includes physical affection.  It’s just not something he necessarily wants, himself.

While Kazander is much more physically affectionate.  He actually says I could stand to be more physically affectionate, myself, that I don’t cuddle enough.  He enjoys lying in bed, just doing nothing but cuddling.  He enjoys lying on the couch, his head in my lap or leaning back against me, resting his head on my chest.

Okay, so awesome.  I can get the physical closeness from Kazander, and I don’t have to pressure Sounder to do something that doesn’t come naturally to him.  I don’t need to try and “change” him, because I can get what I need from Kazander.

Does that mean I don’t cuddle with Sounder?  Of course not.  He’s mine, I love being close to him, and I never pass up the opportunity to do it.  He also would not hesitate to cuddle with me if I told him to, and he hasn’t hesitated when I told him to.  But since I don’t have to rely on him exclusively for it, I don’t have to make him do something he doesn’t necessarily enjoy all the time.

And honestly, it frees me up to just enjoy both of them for who they are.  I can appreciate them for who they are as men and for who they are as my subs, because I don’t need to make either of them fit exactly what I need in any given relationship.  I feel like I appreciate them even more because I don’t have to try to change them.

It takes the pressure off of them, too.  Because they don’t have to be everything to me, every second of every day.

Because no one can ever be everything to someone else.  That’s not how human beings work.  And if I was in a monogamous relationship with Kazander, I’d just have to deal with my problems on my own, without support, or we’d get into arguments because he unintentionally belittles me when I’m already in a not-super-great mood.

If I was in a monogamous relationship with Sounder, he’d have to deal with more physical affection than he wants.  I have no doubt that he’d give it to me without hesitation, but he’s just not the type to enjoy lying in bed, cuddling, for an hour.  But he’d have to do it, whether he’s into it or not.

Poly relationships have their flaws, but this is a pretty glaring flaw in monogamous relationships.  Each partner has to be everything to the other.  They have to meet their partner’s needs all the time, 24/7.  Sometimes, it’s easy, sometimes, it takes a bit of work and compromise, and sometimes, it’s damn hard.

That pressure just doesn’t exist to the same level in poly relationships.

I want to live with Sounder and Kazander, and that has benefits, as well.  I’ve lived with more than one partner before, and both times I did were positive experiences.

First of all, another income coming into the house is never a bad thing.  The second time was when I lived in Alabama, when I was working 90 hours a week and netting less than $600 a paycheck.  I literally had weeks where I had to decide whether to put my last $3 in my gas tank so I could get to work for the next 4 days, or use it to buy ramen noodles so we could eat for the next 4 days.

My second sub moved in, and having another income was pretty damn awesome, and gave me some financial breathing room.

It also helps because now you have another pair of hands to help out around the house, run errands, etc.  If I was exhausted after a long shift and one partner was busy, I could ask the other to run and grab dinner, or fold a load of laundry, or pick up my dry-cleaning, or change the oil in my car, or whatever.

It helped me relax, because I didn’t have as many responsibilities around the house.

Some people worry about raising kids in an environment like that, and it’s absolute bullshit.  When is having yet another person to love and protect a child ever a bad thing?

I have a friend who has been married for 15 years, and has had a boyfriend for… 8, I think?  I don’t remember.  But they’ve all been living together the entire time.  She has an 11-year-old daughter, and she loves that her daughter has two strong, large, intimidating men who love her.

She laments the fact that her husband (the father of her daughter) and her boyfriend often conspire together to think up new ways to freak out the daughter’s future boyfriends.  I wanna think her husband is 6’2″ and her boyfriend is 6’4″ or something like that.  They’re both tall, broad, big guys.

She says her poor daughter won’t get a boyfriend until she’s 30.  Of course, neither her husband nor her boyfriend see a single problem with that.

The only possible negatives as far as the daughter goes is the way some people react when they find out that her parents are poly.  There have been issues with some teachers in different schools when the daughter was younger, but now that she’s getting older, with a thicker skin, those problems have more or less disappeared.  And they call the boyfriend her step-dad.  It’s the easiest way to describe his relationship to her, it doesn’t require a lot of involved explanations (even if her dad and stepdad are together), and people just generally don’t pry.

Step-parents are common enough that no one cares.  Even those who might raise a brow at her dad and step-dad out together with her don’t say anything.  They usually just assume the two men are gay.

As far as assets or whatever, that could get tricky.  Say, if you decide to buy a house, whose name will the house be in?  If the three of you decide to buy a new car, how will the payments be handled.  How will the money be handled in general?  How will bills be divided?

So if you move in together, those are things you need to think about and talk about before you make the move, that’s a mistake I think a lot of less-experienced poly people make, but you’re obviously not at that point, yet.

Another benefit is just the level of support you get.  For example, when Steel and I broke up, I had Kazander and Sounder who were there for me.  Anything bad that happens, I have two men who care about me and will be there for me.

And that goes for Sounder and Kazander, too.  They haven’t spent much time together yet, but they’re both compassionate men, and they share a connection through me.  I have no doubt they’d support each other if needed.

Also, due to the nature of our relationship, there aren’t a whole lot of people either of them can talk to if they need to vent about the relationship, or if they’re feeling anxious, or if one of them got in an argument with me, or whatever.

Their situations are unique, and not a lot of people can relate to anything they might be feeling or problems they may have that pertain to the relationship specifically.  But they can certainly relate to each other.

I mean, the benefits are many, and they’re significant.

*Most monogamous people I’ve spoken to have assumed that we’re cheating on each other, it’s just that we know about it.

Yeah, no.

Polyamory is not the same as cheating, and you’ll likely find that you have to answer this question a lot.  I define cheating as breaking the rules of the relationship.  In monogamous relationships, having sex with someone else (or maybe even just flirting with someone else) breaks the rules of the relationship.

Poly relationships have different rules, but there are rules, and you’ll have to hash out exactly what those rules and boundaries are.  Maybe you’re cool with your girlfriend having another boyfriend, but you’re not cool with her doing one-night stands.  Or maybe you’re cool with it, as long as she tells you beforehand, even if it’s just a quick text.  I mean, the rules are whatever you want them to be.

If either of you break those rules, you’re cheating.

In my relationships, dishonesty and deceit are breaking the rules.  Kazander, for example, has had a girlfriend, and still sees her once in awhile.  If he were to suddenly stop telling me about when he sees her, or if he suddenly started going behind my back to see her, or anyone, that would be cheating.

** Honest, open communication is the single most important thing in poly relationships, and they cannot succeed without it.

But something you’ll very soon realize is that this kind of openness and honesty is hard.

You’ll realize how often you let minor annoyances go in monogamous relationships.  You’ll realize how often something will bother you, but you don’t speak up because you don’t want to start a fight, or you don’t want to be a burden to your partner, or whatever.  You’ll realize how often you do without, how often your needs go unmet, because you don’t want to make a big deal about it, or maybe you just don’t think it’s that big of a deal.

That can’t happen in poly relationships, and it will be tough to do.  It’s not something that comes naturally to us.  It’s not something we’re accustomed to doing.  It will be uncomfortable.  It will be unsettling and unnerving.  But you have to do it.  There’s just no alternative.  The relationship will fail if you don’t.

Do whatever it takes, but you’ve got to be open and honest with your partner, about everything.

It’s a challenging, fulfilling relationship.  It’s not for everybody, but it seems like most of your fears and concerns have more to do with societal norms and what you’ve been told you’re supposed to feel.

My advice is to trust your gut and trust your partner.  Be honest with her, expect her to be honest with you, and forget about what society says you should want.

A common mistake

So I received this email yesterday, and with Omega writing my last post, I thought it fitting that I post this today.

Miss Jen,

I was wondering if you could help me.  I married a wonderful vanilla woman who was open to D/s.  Over the past couple of years we’ve gradually been moving closer and closer to a TPE.  But lately it’s come to a complete standstill.

She got a new job and it’s really been stressful for her.  She comes home stressed and tense but it seems like whenever I try to help her, it just makes it worse.  Whenever she starts venting and I try to help her it just makes her more annoyed.  I’m at a point where I really just don’t know what to do.  I almost wish she’d just quit her job.

Thank you for anything you might be able to provide.

Sigh

Alright, so I know that you’re trying to help, and your heart is in the right place, and all your intentions are pure.

But you’re making a huge mistake here.

Don’t feel bad, pretty much all men make this mistake.  And since I’m in a good mood, I figured I’d take this opportunity to tell all the men who make this mistake why they need to stop doing what they’re doing.

The thing is, all you men want to swoop in like knights in shining armor and solve all our problems.  And cool, that’s admirable.

But you’re going about it in completely the wrong way.

There’s this show I watched when I was a kid, and one particular scene stuck with me.  A girl was locked in the bathroom, the door was jammed, so she called for help.  Her parents came and said, “Have you tried the knob, honey?”

She said, “Of course I’ve tried the knob!  I’m not an idiot.”

So then the repairman-superhero came and asked what was the matter.  The parents explained that the door was jammed, their daughter locked inside.  So the repairman walked up to the door and said, “Have you tried the knob, honey?”

I didn’t know why it stuck with me, but now as an adult, I get it.  It’s funny, but what most men don’t realize is that it’s funny because it’s true.

Picture this for me:

A young maiden is out in a field, picking flowers and putting them in her basket.  Suddenly, a group of cruel men run up to her, hold a knife to her throat, and tell her to give them her purse, with all her gold, or they’ll rape and murder her.  She’s terrified, she drops her basket.

But then, the valiant young knight comes riding into view, galloping on a magnificent steed to save the day.  He quickly dismounts and picks up her basket, then sets to picking flowers, filling it up the rest of the way.

The men take the maiden’s gold and run off.  And then, the knight hands her the basket, filled with flowers.  “Here, milady,” he says cheerfully.  “I’ve filled it for you.”

“Have you lost your mind?” she shouts.  “How was that supposed to be helpful?”

The knight is offended.  “See if I ever help you again.”

Now picture something else:

Stephen Hawking has agreed to teach a math class to a group of young students.  After his first class, he is annoyed at how little they know, and he vents to his friend.

“I have to start all the way from the beginning,” he says.  “They don’t even know the prime numbers through 100.”

His friend tries to be helpful.  “Oh, well I could help you find the prime numbers if you want.  It can’t be that hard.”

“What?  Are you insane?  Do you not know who I am?  I’m Stephen-fucking-Hawking.  I know the prime numbers up to a thousand.”

“Geez, I was just trying to help.”

And one more:

A young woman is driving through Amish country and gets a flat tire.  A young Amish man, completely unfamiliar with cars, comes to her aid.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s a flat tire.  So annoying.”

“Well, have you tried turning the car on?”

“What?  How would that help?”

“Don’t they pump up the tires automatically?”

“No.”

“Oh.  Well what about using a straw to blow air into it?  That would work, right?”

“No.”

“I see.  Well what about replacing it with a wooden wagon wheel?”

Now the woman is irritated.  “Look, stop pretending you know more about this than I do.  I’ve already called a tow truck.  I’m annoyed because I have to wait so long, but I’ve already solved the problem.  I don’t need your help.”

Yeah these scenarios are exaggerated, but that’s literally how ridiculous you all sound when you try to help us solve our problems.

Because the thing is, we don’t need your help.

To the gentleman who wrote this email, I’d say your specific situation is the third one.  Do you know the ins and outs of your wife’s job?  Do you know everything about it?  Do you know it better than she does?

I’m going to assume you don’t.  So you “trying to help” isn’t helping.

It’s demeaning.  Fuck yeah, it makes the situation worse.

We’re not idiots and we’re not children.  We know how to solve our own problems.  We don’t need your help.

Whenever I’ve had this same identical conversation with any man, it’s always been the same.  He, trying to be helpful, suggests obvious things that even a child would’ve tried.  Or completely irrelevant things.  Or he tries to pretend he knows the situation better than I do.

Kazander is very good at very many things, but he is particularly bad with this, no matter how many times I correct him.  It’s a habit 38 years in the making.  It doesn’t break easily.

Most recently, I couldn’t find the TV remote in the bedroom, the spawn has the habit of moving it to random places.  So when Kazander texted me to ask how my day was going, I told him I was annoyed because I couldn’t find it.

He replied with, “Have you looked under the bed?  Or with the spawn’s toys?”

Oh wow, you know I never thought of that.  I would’ve just stood there in the middle of the room like an idiot if he hadn’t suggested those things.

Yeah dude, that’s demeaning as fuck.

Of course that’s not the way he intends it.  The last thing he wants to do is disrespect me.  He genuinely thinks he’s being helpful.  He’s trying to help me.

I get it.  And yeah, it’s sweet that he tries to help me.  Still, he’s going about it in entirely the wrong way.

Stop it.  All of you.  Just stop it.

Want to know how to handle it when your wife vents to you after a hard day?  Easy.  Remove all the suggestions and replace them with, “Damn, that sucks.”

You want to help her?  You want to be the knight in shining armor?

Say it with me: “Damn, that sucks.”

When your wife/girlfriend/literally any woman vents to you, that is your mantra.  And build on it if you need to.  I mean, make it your own.

“Damn, that sucks.  I’m sorry you have to deal with that.  It’s got to be rough.”

That’s how you do it.  Don’t belittle her by trying to solve her problems for her.  That’s not what she wants.

She wants support.  She wants empathy, or at the very least, sympathy.  She wants to know that you’re there for her.

If she wants your help, she’ll ask for it.  Until then, don’t offer it.  Just offer support.  Do that, and you’ll be shocked at how quickly her anger will fade.

So do that for a week.  And I’m serious, don’t make any suggestions.  Don’t “try to help” her.  Don’t try to solve her problems for her.

Hell, I’m a living example of how well that works.  Sounder is very good at the “Damn, that sucks” thing.  And it’s almost eerie how quickly he can calm me down when I’m annoyed or irritated, or flat-out enraged.

When I need his help or his advice, I ask for it and he readily gives it.  Other than that, he generally sticks to the “Damn, that sucks” thing, and even I’m continually surprised at how effective it is.

Stop “trying to help” your wife and actually help her by giving her what she wants.  Do that for a week, and then let me know how it works.  Tell me it doesn’t make a huge difference in your marriage, in her ability to cope with the stress of her new job.