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.

You’re either XX or XY

Are you, though?  I mean, are you really?

I’ve had two different people say this exact thing to me over the last week, using middle school biology to try to justify their transphobia.

So I, armed with the power of Google, decided to somewhat-condescendingly (condescendingly? Who, me?) explain why they’re wrong.

And I figured I’d explain it here, too.

M’kay, so in humans, you can be female because you have an X and Y chromosome, but are insensitive to androgens, so you have a male body.

You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome, but your Y chromosome is missing the SRY gene, so you have a female body.

You can be male because you have two X chromosomes, but one of them has an SRY gene, so you have a male body.

You can be male because you were born female, but have a 5-alphareductase deficiency so you grew a penis at puberty.

“Okay but that’s still XX or XY.”

Funny that you mention that.

You can be male because you have two X chromosomes and a Y.

You can be female because you only have one X chromosome at all.

So before we try to claim that there are only two genders, we should probably acknowledge that there are more than two physical and biological sexes.

And then we should acknowledge that the human brain is something we still only have a limited understanding of.  We are learning that the brain does not function in terms of absolutes, but that everything is perceived on a spectrum.

You’re not gay, straight, or bi.  Your brain doesn’t work by fitting into neat little boxes.  Your sexuality falls on a spectrum.  Maybe its position is fixed.  Maybe it slides around.

Your gender is on a spectrum, too.  You are not either masculine or feminine.  Literally no one is.

The most macho, masculine, in-your-face manly guy out there will at some point exhibit a behavior or mindset or form of expression deemed by current societal trends to be feminine.

It is literally impossible for a sane, functioning human brain to fit an entire identity into one box.  Because psychology, m’kay.

So that machismo guy who insists that he’s never done anything feminine is either lying to you, lying to himself, or literally brain-damaged.

You cannot be all masculine or all feminine.  It’s impossible.  The brain simply doesn’t work that way.

And what happens when you’re forced into a mode of expression that doesn’t fit with your identity?  What happens when a liberal is placed in a room full of conservatives, and must try to fit in?  What happens when you hang with a crowd 30 years younger or older than you are, and must try to fit in?

It makes you uncomfortable as fuck, that’s what happens.

And it’s the same with gender identity.  Because with all facets of one identity, the brain treats it as if it’s precious.  Our identity is the most important thing to our brains, and anything that challenges that identity causes extreme stress.

I mean, just try asking a devout conservative Christian (which is an oxymoron, by the way.  Conservatives are literally the single greatest threat to modern Christianity) how he feels about the fact that science has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that homosexuality is genetic.

Their “Christian” beliefs (although, funny enough, that particular belief is about as anti-Christian as you can get.  Don’t take my word for it.  That’s according to fucking Christ, Himself, m’kay) are such an integral part of their identity, anything that challenges it is met with immediate and irrational defensiveness.

Gender identity is the same way.  Our brains want to protect it.  And forcing it to fit into one of two boxes is just as painful as it is for a 45-year-old to have to fit in with a group of 15-year-olds.

Do you want to spend the next few years surrounded by 15-year-olds who you must cater and adapt to?  Do you want to spend the next few years being forced to submit to who they think you should be?  No?

Then why would you force that same discomfort on someone else, simply because it’s outside your current understanding of psychology and the human brain?

Education is literally a ten-second Google search away, y’all.

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.

A fun conversation

I do love when other people help me come up with ways to humiliate Sounder.

As it turns out, Kazander is pretty good at coming up with awesome ways to humiliate Sounder.

We were talking about him over the weekend, discussing things like how good he is at giving head and how cute he squirms when he’s being fucked.  I lamented the fact that no one other than me has seen just how cute Sounder squirms, and Kazander shrugged, saying, “Let’s change that.”

You know, that is just a capital idea.

But you know what would be more fun?  If Sounder is the one to ask Kazander to fuck him.

That would be so much more fun.

Except that’s not enough.

I want Sounder to be the one to initiate that conversation.  So I gave him Kazander’s number and told him that, in order for me to play with him again, he has to text Kazander and ask him to come with me, and put his cock inside Sounder.

Naturally, Sounder isn’t particularly thrilled about this fun little game of mine.  Being fucked by a man is going to be rough just on its own.  Having to be the one to ask for it to happen, to ask the man to fuck him, to take his virginity, is just icing on the cake.

It’ll be such a fun conversation.

Isn’t this an awesome game?

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.

Written in Stone, Part 7

“You’re mine,” Dryas growled, grabbing him by his hair and yanking him from the bed.  “Did you honestly think anyone else would want you?”

Kieran gasped, grimacing against the pain as he was thrown violently to the floor.  He looked up at the man, realizing he was back in the basement where he had lived for three years.

“I knew she’d get tired of you,” Dryas continued.  “It was only a matter of time.  She begged me to buy you back.”

Kieran moved as far back against the wall as he could.  He knew the mood his owner was in.  He knew what that meant for him.

Charis didn’t want him.  She’d sold him back to Dryas, to be beaten, starved, left tied up in that basement for the rest of his life.

“You thought your pretty face would make her like you?  You thought that would make you valuable enough for her to want to keep you?  What a fool you are.”

Kieran whimpered as his owner reached for him, roughly positioning him on all fours.

“You’re going to remember who owns you,” Dryas snarled in his ear.  “Whenever you think about that mothax bitch, you’re going to feel me inside you, and you’re going to remember that she didn’t want you.”

Tears pricked his eyes, and he tried to think about the feel of Charis’ fingers inside him, tried to think about the touch of her hand.

“Domina,” he murmured, sobbing.  No, she couldn’t have sold him.  She couldn’t have given him back to the man who had tortured him.  It couldn’t be true.

But the pain of his owner’s cock forcing its way inside him shattered every other thought in his mind.

He screamed, bolting upright, his chest tight and his breath coming in ragged gasps.  It took a long few moments for him to register the fact that he was in his bed, in his room, in Charis’ house.

But Charis wasn’t there.  She’d left after he’d fallen asleep.

He was alone.  Gods, she’d left him alone.

Dryas was right.  Kieran could still feel him.  He could still feel the things Dryas had done inside him.

He cringed and lied back down, curling up, pulling the blanket tight around him.  But no matter what he did, he could still feel Dryas invading him.

“Domina,” he murmured, shutting his eyes tight and crying into the pillow.  But when he closed his eyes, all he could see was Dryas’ face above him, grunting as he fucked him.

He sobbed, trying to push that image out of his mind.  But nothing worked.

“Domina,” he cried, clutching the blankets close, desperate to feel something other than Dryas’ hands on him and his cock inside him.

“Kieran?”

Charis’ voice surprised him, and he looked up to see her walking into his room, her brow furrowed with concern.  She hurried into the room and sat down on the bed beside him, reaching down to cup his face.

“Kieran, what’s the matter, love?”

Oh gods, had he woken her?

“I’m sorry, Domina,” he sobbed, moving closer to her.  She quickly pulled him into her lap, running her fingers through his hair and caressing his face.

“It’s alright, you have nothing to be sorry about.  What’s wrong?”

“I… I had a bad dream.”

“About what?”

Kieran hesitated, moving closer to her, clinging to her waist.

“It’s alright, love.  You’re safe, I’m here.  Tell me.”

He took a deep, shuddering breath.  “You sold me back to Lord Roubanis,” he whispered shakily.  “He threw me back into the basement.  He told me he’s the only one who would ever want me.  He… he…”

“Shh,” Charis murmured, kissing him gently.  “You’re mine.  Dryas will never, ever touch you again.  He’ll never be able to hurt you again.”

Kieran shook his head.  “I can still feel him,” he whispered.

“He’s gone.  He has no power over you anymore.”

He couldn’t stop the sobs.  “He’s still inside me.”

“No, he’s far away.  And you’re forever out of his reach.”

Kieran cringed, sobbing harder.  “He’ll always own me.  He’ll always be inside me.”

“Love, I’m here.  I’m going to protect you.”

He sobbed frantically, cringing as he felt Dryas inside him.  “I… I can’t…”

“You’re mine, Kieran.  I will protect you from him.  I’ll protect you from anyone who wants to hurt you.”

But you weren’t here!” he cried.

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he knew they were a mistake.  Moaning through his tears, he pulled away from her and knelt at her feet in an attempt to apologize for his rude outburst.

He heard her sigh above him, then felt her hand on his head.  “I’m here now,” she said softly.  “Come back up here.  Lie down with me.”

Sniffling, he did as he was told, eagerly retreating into her arms as she lied down on the bed with him.

“You’re not alone,” she murmured.  “I’m right here.  I’ll stay here all night.  And I’ll be here, holding you, when you wake up.”

“Yes, Domina.”

“Are you alright?”

He nodded.  They were both quiet for a moment, then, his heart pounding, Kieran found the courage to speak.

“Domina?”

“Yes, love?”

“Why haven’t you punished me for misbehaving?”

“Because you haven’t misbehaved.”

“But… But just now… I raised my voice.”

Charis sighed, and kissed the top of his head.  “Sometimes the message is more important than the delivery,” she told him.  “You needed me, you needed to feel like you weren’t abandoned, and that was the only way you knew how to tell me.  I’ll teach you how to tell me what you need, but I’m not going to punish you for not knowing how.”

“But I’m a slave.  Why does it matter what I need?”

“Because you’re not just a slave,” she told him.  “You’re a person, a man.  And you have a beautiful spirit that I want to see come out.  Not all slave owners are cruel, Kieran.  You’re going to meet quite a few people who would never dream of abusing their slaves the way Dryas abused you.  Helots that are happy and fulfilled make better slaves.  Their lives improve because their owners love them.  And because their owners love them, they aren’t euthanized or sold to the State at 35.  That’s what I want for you, Kieran.  That’s the life I want you to have.  I want you to be loved.  Cherished.  Taken care of.”

Kieran sighed, nestling in close to her, savoring the feel of her arms around him.  He closed his eyes and imagined the kind of life she described, and fell asleep to the image of the future she painted for him.

When he woke up, sunlight streamed through the windows, and sure enough, Charis was there, still holding him.  Kieran looked up at her face, studying her the way he didn’t have the courage to when she was awake.

She really was beautiful.

His heart pounding, he moved closer to her and nuzzled her neck, kissing her the way he saw Rowyn kiss her, that she had seemed to enjoy.

She stirred, then became alert, a hand going to his throat, claiming his lips in a deep, passionate kiss.

Kieran gasped, surprised that she would kiss him.  But it wasn’t unpleasant, the way she boldly explored his mouth, gentle but brooking no argument and allowing no hesitation.

Suddenly, her eyes shot open and she pulled away, now fully awake.  For a split second, there was a look of confusion and surprise on her face, then she laughed.

“Kieran,” she said cheerfully.  “Sorry, I thought you were Rowyn.”

Kieran was surprised by her apology.  “I’m yours, Domina,” he told her, confused.  “My body is yours.  My mouth is yours.”

Charis was quiet for a moment, studying his face.  “Do you prefer men or women?” she asked suddenly.

The question took him by surprise, but it didn’t frighten him the way it did last time she’d asked.  “Women don’t scare me as much,” he admitted.  “They usually don’t beat me or hurt me the way men do.”

“That’s understandable, but it’s not the same thing,” Charis said.  “Try to put abusive men out of your mind, and think only of physical attraction.”

Kieran closed his eyes, trying to obey her.  He didn’t think about Dryas, or about anyone who used him before Charis bought him.  Instead, he thought of Charis’ body, her exquisite beauty, and he thought of Taber, and Rowyn.  He thought of how much he had loved watching Taber eagerly take a cock in both holes.  He thought of how Rowyn’s cock had felt and tasted in his mouth.

He imagined Rowyn gently bending him over, holding him down as he slowly but thoroughly claimed every inch of him.  He imagined being in Taber’s place, between Rowyn and Cullen.

Gasping, his eyes shot open, and he looked to Charis, a look of frantic helplessness on his face.

Oh gods, he did have a preference.  And it wasn’t her.

That’s what he’d been afraid of.

“Domina,” he whispered, almost pleading, his heart pounding.

Gods, he’d let that part of himself be acknowledged, and found that he did have a preference.  And his owner wasn’t his preference.

What was he going to do?

“Hey, it’s alright,” she assured him.  “It’s alright to prefer one over the other.  I’m not angry at you for preferring men.  Hell, I’m married to a man who prefers men.  It’s alright.”

“I’m yours, Domina,” he said quickly, reaching for her.  “You’re beautiful, and kind, and I love being yours, and I love you, and I want to serve you.  I want to please you any way I can.  I want to make you happy.  I… I want to kiss you, Domina.  Please, let me service you.  Anything you want.  I’m yours.  You saved me.  I want to be perfect for you.  Everything you want.”

His voice and his begging became more and more desperate, until Charis finally silenced him with another deep kiss.

This time, he didn’t remain still.  He melted into her, yielding completely to her, silently begging her for more.

She laughed, pulling away from him.  “Come on,” she told him.  “You can bathe me, instead.”

Kieran couldn’t keep the disappointment from his face, and Charis laughed again when she saw it.  “Don’t worry, love.  I’ll use you again soon.”

“Yes, Domina,” he said, following her out of the bedroom and into the master bathroom.  Once there, he drew the bath the same way he’d seen her do it for him.  While the tub filled up, he went to the linen closet and pulled out some soft towels, setting them on the edge of the tub.

Next came the bottle of sweet-smelling bath oil.

“You’ve been paying attention,” she said approvingly.

Kieran blushed.  “Yes, Domina,” he answered, reaching to help her out of her nightgown.

Just as he did the first time he saw her undressed, he couldn’t take her eyes off her body.  It wasn’t so much sexual, but he certainly had a healthy appreciation for her beauty.

All Spartans were beautiful when naked, of course.  With physical fitness being such a big part of their culture, most had bodies that inspired awe.  Dryas had been toned and fit, as had all his friends.

His new owner was no different.  She looked incredible, and somehow, the dark scars lacing their way across her pale flesh made her even more beautiful.  Her long, blonde hair tumbled down her back in soft waves, almost reaching her waist.

She was all grace and strength as she stepped into the tub, sighing as she sank down into the water.  Kieran got in after her, sitting down beside her and tentatively pressing the washcloth to her back, letting the warm water trail down her skin.

They were quiet as he bathed her, aside from her gentle guidance and appreciative sighs.

Kieran enjoyed being close to her.  True, he was more sexually attracted to men, but there was no doubt in his mind that he loved her.  She’d saved him, she’d rescued him from Dryas, the man who had beaten him and degraded him.

She was gentle with him, and kind to him, and treated him like a human being.

A man.

Gods, it was still such a foreign idea, to think of himself as a man.  Would he ever get used to that?

Would he ever get used to the way she talked to him?  The way she smiled at him?

As if she cared about him?

She’d given so much to him already.  He would give everything to her.

She gave him dignity, and the ability to take pride in his service.  Everything he was, he would give to her.

He was telling the truth when he said he loved her.  He loved her, with everything he had.  And he always would.

So he would spend the rest of his life showing her how much he loved her.  And how grateful he was that she had saved him.

A sudden knock on the door startled him.

“Yes?” Charis called.

The door opened and Cullen stepped in.

“Good morning, Domina,” he greeted.

“Good morning, love,” Charis said.

“Elan’s on the phone,” he told her.

“Everything okay?”

“He said you’d asked him to call when the caterer got in.”

She raised a brow.  “They’re there already?”

“Yes, Domina.”

Charis rose to her feet and stepped out of the tub, into the soft blue robe that Cullen held out for her.  She looked back to Kieran as she tied the sash around her waist.

“Thank you, pet,” she told him.  “Go ahead and get yourself cleaned up.”

“I could help him, if you want,” Cullen said, a mischievous smile spreading across his face.  He winked at Kieran.

Charis paused, then looked back to Kieran.  She saw the blush in his cheeks, the shy, embarrassed smile, and grinned.  “You’re insatiable,” she muttered.

“That’s not a no, Domina,” Cullen pointed out.

“No, it’s not.”

“So I can play with the toy?”

Kieran’s face flamed even hotter, and he lowered his eyes, unable to meet Cullen’s hungry, lustful, playful gaze.  His heart pounded, waiting to hear Charis’ answer.  The strange thing, though, was that he couldn’t decide whether he hoped she’d say yes, or no.

“Go ahead,” she said after a moment.  “Gently.”

Cullen’s smile widened.  “I’ll be gentle.”

“Only his mouth,” she told him.  “Don’t touch his ass.”

He nodded.  “Yes, Domina.”

Kieran’s heart pounded as she left the room, leaving the two of them alone.  Cullen looked to him and grinned jovially.

“Let’s take a shower,” he said.

Wordlessly, Kieran followed him into the shower, watching as he removed his tunic and turned the water on.  But he hesitated when he looked back and saw the expression on Kieran’s face.

“Are you nervous?” he asked.

Unable to hold his gaze, Kieran’s eyes dropped.  “A little,” he whispered.

“Hey, you don’t have to be nervous,” Cullen assured him.  “It’s alright.  Come on, I’ll suck your dick first, how about that?”

Kieran stayed quiet, unsure of how to react to that.  No one had ever put their mouth on his cock before.  He was nervous and scared, but also curious.  He had given enough blowjobs, he wondered what receiving one would feel like.

“Come on, get in.”

Cullen took his hand and pulled him under the water, claiming his mouth with a deep, authoritative kiss as the water spilled over them.  His hands roamed across Kieran’s body, exploring every inch of him as his tongue explored his mouth.

“Gods, you’re so fucking hot,” Cullen said breathlessly, pulling away.  “I can’t wait to taste your ass, as well as your mouth.”

Kieran blushed, his cock surging at the idea.  “Y-you can,” he whispered.

Cullen kissed him again, then, grabbing a handful of his hair, pulled his head back, exposing his neck.  “No,” he answered.  “Domina said not to touch your ass.  But the rest of your body… That’s all free range.”

Kieran gasped as Cullen lowered his head to kiss his neck, pinning him against the shower wall as his lips and hands roamed across his body.

He whimpered when Cullen’s hand went to his cock.

Cullen smiled.  “What, you like this?” he asked, gently teasing him.

“Yes,” Kieran murmured, moaning as Cullen kept him pinned with one hand around his throat, the other hand slowly stroking him.

“You want more of this?”

“Yes.”

The hand on his cock disappeared, and Kieran couldn’t stop the soft whine from escaping him.  Then, he felt Cullen’s lips at his ear.

“Beg for it,” he whispered.

Kieran gasped as the command sent an unexpected chill down his spine.  “Please,” he begged.  “Please, Cullen.  Please, touch me.”

Cullen chuckled softly, waiting just a moment before gripping Kieran’s cock again.  The moan that escaped the boy fueled his own desire.

“You are not to move,” he ordered, taking his earlobe in his teeth.  “Do you understand me?”

“Yes,” Kieran gasped.

Cullen smiled, then began kissing his way down Kieran’s body.  The moans and adorable little gasps turned him on even more, and he almost laughed at Kieran’s reaction when he took a nipple into his mouth.

This would be too easy.

“Don’t move,” he ordered, reminding Kieran before moving further down the boy’s body.

The poor thing was trembling by the time Cullen got to his hips.  But his cock was rock hard, throbbing, and dripping.

Cullen put his finger against the tip of Kieran’s cock, gathering the bead of precum that hung from it, then reached up, pushing his finger into the wet, eager mouth above him.

Then, after Kieran had obediently sucked his finger clean, Cullen turned his attention to the boy’s cock.

And noticed just how much he was trembling.  He hesitated for a moment.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“Y-yes,” Kieran stammered.

“Have you ever had your dick sucked before?”

Kieran’s face flamed hot.  “No.”

Ah, so that would explain the trembling.

Cullen smiled, changing his strategy a bit.  “You’re still not allowed to move,” he said.

He went slow, kissing Kieran’s thighs, his abdomen, his hips.  Then, he turned his attention to the throbbing cock.  But he didn’t go fast, like he’d originally planned.  No, this was Kieran’s first time.  Cullen wanted it to be memorable.

Instead, he licked it slowly, from base to tip, savoring the shuddering moans and soft whimpers that set his own cock on fire.  Then, he licked it again around the head.

“Cullen,” Kieran moaned, worried that his knees were going to buckle.

Suddenly, he felt soft lips, a wet tongue, and a warm mouth around his cock, and he very nearly screamed.  He would’ve collapsed, had Cullen not been holding him up.

Easily, the larger man caught him, lowering him down to the floor of the shower.  Once he was lying on his back, Cullen went back to his cock.

“Cullen!” Kieran exclaimed, crying out as Cullen took his cock back in his mouth.

Cullen took his time, using long, slow movements.  He wanted this to last, and Kieran’s body was easy enough to read to control when he would cum.  He had to be careful, though.  It wasn’t going to take much to bring the boy to that edge.

But no, not yet.  This was his first time, his first blowjob, and he was delightfully expressive, his little gasps and moans so damn hot.  Cullen’s own cock hung heavy between his legs, wet and throbbing, waiting to claim the boy’s mouth, to feel every inch of it.

Kieran’s body writhed and squirmed on its own, completely independent of conscious thought.  He moaned as his pleasure mounted, as Cullen expertly brought him to the edge and held him there.

“Cullen,” he gasped on a ragged sob of need.  “Please.”

Cullen smiled inwardly, keeping Kieran on that razor edge for just a moment longer before letting him fall from it.  The boy arched his back and screamed, every muscle tensed, as he came harder than he ever had before.

His head swam, and he was barely aware of Cullen moving up his body, until he was on all fours above him.  He claimed his mouth again, and Kieran was surprised when Cullen pushed the cum into his mouth.  “Swallow it all,” he commanded softly.  “That’s a good boy.”

Kieran obeyed, seeing double, barely able to comprehend what Cullen was saying.

Cullen rewarded him by kissing him again, hard and deep, then moving to kneel above him.  He put one hand on the back of Kieran’s head, holding him tenderly, and used the other hand to push the tip of his cock against Kieran’s lips.

“Open,” he said softly.  His eyes still glazed, he obeyed, and Cullen pushed his cock deep into the warm, waiting mouth.

“Yeah, that’s it,” he whispered, thrusting smoothly into the boy’s mouth.  “Gods, you feel amazing.  That’s good, suck it deep.  Take all of it.  All the way.”

Kieran moaned, his head still swimming, his tongue sliding across the cock as it moved in and out, fucking his mouth thoroughly and deeply.

“Fuck,” Cullen moaned, grunting as his thrusts became a bit harder, pounding the back of Kieran’s throat.  “You’re going to make me cum.”

Kieran tightened his lips even more around Cullen’s cock, wanting to intensify the orgasm.  His eyes watered from the deepthroating, but he found he actually liked it.  Cullen was authoritative and firm, and didn’t give Kieran room to hesitate, but he wasn’t overly rough.  He wasn’t trying to hurt Kieran.

“Gods,” Cullen murmured.  “I’m going to cum.”

Seconds later, Cullen shoved his cock as far into Kieran’s mouth as it would go, gagging the boy as he pumped him full of cum.  He moaned as he held Kieran in place against his body, the whole of his cock in the boy’s mouth.

When the waves of his orgasm ebbed, he pulled out of Kieran’s mouth and looked down at him.  “How are you feeling?” he asked.

“Good,” Kieran replied, panting, still dazed from his own orgasm.

Cullen grinned.  “Can you stand?”

“I think so.”

“Well come on, get up.  We’ve still got to actually take a shower.”

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.