Every relationship is different; every relationship is negotiated.

This week I’m going to feature three posts from an anonymous guest poster; they were originally posted on FetLife.

There’s three big reasons why I’m posting them (with permission).

  1. They highlight and dissect some of the preconceptions around polyamory.
  2. They have a specific point of view and audience.

  3. They show that relationships – especially polyamorous relationships, but it’s true of all relationships – are individual things.

You see, the author of these posts shared a story with me. She attended a presentation by several polyamorous folks that I admire and look up to. The presenters are intelligent, caring, and thoughtful people.

And they completely forgot that they were addressing a room primarily full of people from the BDSM community.

In BDSM, things that would normally be red flags can be negotiated as part of the relationship. Here’s a simple example that probably applies to many “vanilla” people:

You should never hit your partner.

Simple rule, right? Something everyone can agree on?

Up until you consider that spanking is hitting.

Now, maybe you and your partner(s) don’t like spanking during your intimate times. That’s cool. But if you do, you’ve probably talked about it, at least a little. And you all agree what is cool between you.

The presenters started saying things that, in a “vanilla” relationship, would be absolutely true. But with this audience of people who routinely practiced negotiated, informed power exchange, the advice fell completely flat. An example:

Your partner should never tell you who you can and can’t see.

Again, absolutely true. When your partner is controlling which of your friends, family members, or people of the opposite gender that you can interact with, it’s a huge red flag.

Unless you’re in a power-exchange dynamic where you have, with full knowledge, ceded that power to your partner(s).

And that’s the point – there’s always exceptions. There’s always times where the “general rule” doesn’t apply at all. And it’s up to you to take the advice and various points of view that are out there, understand them, and apply them to your own relationships.

Every relationship is different. Every relationship is negotiated. And that is just fine.

Her posts, only lightly edited to fit this format, will post over the next few days.  I hope you enjoy them.

Featured Photo by Eva Blue on Unsplash