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Old 04-19-2011, 02:08 PM
TruckerPete TruckerPete is offline
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Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
I read a very interesting piece on poly and BDSM, which contrasted structured and more open attitudes to polyamory.
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Old 04-19-2011, 02:14 PM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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Default Sorry for the super-long post, everyone! TP made me do it!

Yet again the people who speak computer make fun of those who don't ! I couldn't for the life of me guess how to link this so here it is in full, courtesy of http://ds-arts.com/academy/index.html, used with permission.

Structural Dynamics
by Peggy aka O

Finding a partner to match your own

People walk into relationships with very definite expectations. Frequently these expectations are reflective of the expectations of society as well as derived from observation of our parents, siblings and others.

How a relationship actually functions is molded by these expectations. Their long term sustainability and viability is also molded by these expectations.

People tend to attach to either form or essence in terms of their relationships. If one can visualize a linear progression, one end of the spectrum could be viewed as "Structuralist" and the other end "Preservationist".


Our society is very much based on structuralist relationships for our romantic ideals. The most common "structuralist" construct is the monogamous two member heterosexual household. Society as a whole has a difficult time visualizing anything outside that model. When people do deviate from that model and it is generally done secretly and, if discovered terminates the relationship. Even when it is done openly, there is a high degree of judgment from peers as to the acceptability. When a non-traditional structure fails, it is invariably blamed on the lack of traditional structure whereas when a traditional structure fails other reasons are cited as the cause.

In the BDSM community an example of a structuralist might be a Master or Mistress who has a very heavy layer of protocol which deviates very little from slave to slave. Typically there is a requirement that the relationship be lived out in set ways and if either party is unable to maintain the structure the relationship terminates. One sees Dominants who terminate relationships because they have become overly fond of their submissive/slave and no longer feel capable of maintaining the structure. One may see a submissive or slave terminate a relationship because they cannot cope with the lack of flexibility in terms of things they feel unable to do. One also sees either party terminating the relationship when they feel that the other has not lived according to the expectations of the structure.

Asking someone about their expectations for a relationship will help place them on the spectrum of Structuralist versus

Preservationist. A Structuralist will tend to have very detailed sets of expectations for behaviors, goals and interaction both for themselves and their partner. In many cases ground rules will be pre-established. It is the responsibility of the partner to fit in the context of the expectations and pre-set rules, as opposed to expectations being relaxed on a case by case basis.

The advantage to Structuralist relationships is clear definition of expectations. There is also a high level of predictability in terms of the behaviors of both parties. It brings a high level of security because of the perception by both parties that there won't be any bad surprises.

The disadvantage is the fact that the relationship terminates if either party cannot conform to the pre-set expectations. If there is no compromise or flexibility then the relationship is doomed if one or the other becomes physically or emotionally unable to fulfill the key criteria of the structure.


Preservationists tend to be seen as the outsider or alternate lifestyle practioners by conventional society. They tend to maintain non-traditional pairings with one or more partners of both genders. They view each relationship as unique and work extremely hard to maintain the integrity of the relationship, even if the structure shifts dramatically. Frequently their relationships may be deemed as "over" by their more traditional peers when a dramatic shift has occurred, with the failure linked to the lack of appropriate structure.

In the BDSM community, Preservationists are frequently those with large and complex alternative family structures. THE "family trees" of some of these families can be overwhelming in their diversity, size and layering. Many times people will cycle through the families, occupying different functions at different times, but never actually leaving the structure of the family as a whole. One doesn't see relationships terminate as much as one sees them shift in their nature.

Again, asking someone of their expectations is a good way to place them on the spectrum. A Preservationist will tend to talk more about how they want the relationship to make them feel, as opposed to what they want it to look like. Their expectations tend to be expressed more on the basis of meeting each other's emotional needs as opposed to dealing with how the relationship is structured.

The advantage to Preservationist relationships is the inherent flexibility. There is a security in the fact that both parties are committed to maintaining the relationship and are willing to compromise to do it. The inherent expectation is that each will work equally to iron out the rough spots.

The disadvantage is the fact that both parties may not be equally committed to maintaining the relationship. One sees situations where one party is bending over backwards to be flexible and the other is not pulling their weight. It also can lead to a situation where one person can take advantage of the other's desire to maintain the relationship at all costs. This erodes trust within the relationship itself and, when the relationship finally breaks under the weight of one person carrying the load, reduces their ability to trust in future relationships. These relationships also tend to be emotionally more demanding because of the need to address the partner's changes in emotional outlook. There is also the fact that society tends to disapprove of relationships that do not fit conventional structure, which can add to the basic level of stress in a relationship.

"Where you fit"

In looking for a potential partner, one should attempt to assess where one fits in on the Structuralist/Preservationist scale. Key factors might be viewed as follows:

Desire for structure

Desire for predictability

Comfort with change


Level of details surrounding expectations for a relationship

Comfort with difficult emotional issues

Those who prefer structure and predictability are better suited to others who prefer that type of relationship. Sometimes a happy medium can be worked out. One couple re-negotiated their relationship to be a secondary relationship for them both when it was obvious that one party was miserable in the carefully defined structure that the other needed to be happy. They have reached a compromise where the best aspects are able to continue, but where they both know this is not a relationship that will bring about a traditional, permanent pairing.

It would seem more logical, however to seek out those whose expectations for relationships are closer to our own. In viewing where they fall on the Structuralist/Preservationist scale, each party may do better in the initial stages of partner selection, as opposed to having to work through potentially devastating issues later.
Me: bi female in my twenties
Dating: Moonlightrunner
Metamour: Windflower
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Old 04-19-2011, 02:39 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Originally Posted by LadyRaven View Post

My boyfriend and I have been together nearly three years, living together for just over two. In the past year, he's rekindled an interest in S&M that he had before we met. He wants to be whipped and spanked. It's not something I've done before, but I'm willing to learn.

The problem is, he doesn't seem to want me to be the one whipping him. A few months ago, he told me he wants to try polyamory. I'd be his Primary, he assures me, but he wants a Secondary girlfriend (one who already knows her way around a flogger), and maybe to play around at S&M parties.

I have no problem with the concept of polyamory in general - many of our friends live that lifestyle and seem perfectly happy...
That's cool! Most people that come here are usually at sea about the idea of polyamory, so you're already a few steps ahead.

but it's not something I have any interest in bringing into my own relationship. I don't want him canoodling with someone else...
Jealousy? try and break down why you are jealous. Usually it's because of a fear of being compared and found lacking, and fear of losing your primary as a result.

I don't want to be sitting home alone while he's out on a date (nor am I really interested in engaging in another relationship of my own...
If you read here some, you will find that there are many more options to filling time when your partner is out on a date. Most people spend that time with platonic friends, or doing an activity your primary isn't interested in, or doing personal growth work, working out, reading, spiritual practices, etc etc.

...and I simply don't want a time-share boyfriend. I want to be the one sexually satisfying him.
Again and again here, people come to realize no one person can totally satisfy every need for their partner. My sister, my gf, my other lover, my kids, my colleagues, even the babies I sit for, they all bring me special unique things... no way one person could do all that.

So, intimacy and friendship with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, that's good. Somehow putting a penis in a vagina (or some combination of genitals and orifices) throws a monkey wrench into the works.

I'm willing to engage in the S&M that he wants, but he keeps holding me at arm's length from it.

... he confessed that he'd had a specific girl in mind for his Secondary all along. For me, it then turned from "I want to experience different people" to "I want to get it on with this girl and still keep my girlfriend". So on top of dealing with his new desires, I have to get past having been misled and essentially lied to.
I'm sure he was trying to protect your feelings. It's so hard for most of us polys to first admit we have feelings for another, to our primary. We carry internalized fears around the taboo, just like monos do.

Originally Posted by LadyRaven View Post
... He's even sometimes laughed at me when I've tried to dominate him.
Ach, that must have hurt, when you were trying so hard to engage him that way to meet his needs for impact play.

It's almost as if he wants me to remain the "good and pure" girlfriend while he goes to someone else for the "naughty" things he wants.
As others have said, it might be your Domme side is underdeveloped and he didn't get into the right kind of "sub space" with you.

My gf and I are into BDSM. She's been a lifestyle slave in the past, and when we first met there was a hope I could be her Domme/Mommy. After a while we figured out that kind of unequal exchange really didnt work for me for various reasons. I can definitely Top her sexually, but didn't want to be a fulltime Mistress. It wasn't easy working this dynamic out. It took at least a year. Now she's got a Master/bf that she sees once a week for an overnight. But I am still definitely her Primary. I feel quite comfortable and safe with this, most of the time (I do have my weak moments...)

When you did flog your bf, how did YOU feel? Was it thrilling? Did it feel somehow comfortable and right, even though it was your first time? If it did feel *right,* even though your flogging techniques might need practice, I'd say to keep trying. Personally, I am a switch, but just love the energy that flows through me and us, when I spank or flog my gf. And a good flogging, with or without bondage, is very grounding for her. Brings her into the NOW and forces her to be fully present and let go of her many anxieties around her life issues, at least for a couple hours.
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

Mags (poly, F, 63)
Pixi (poly, F, 41) my nesting partner since January 2009
Master, (mono, M, 37), Pixi's bf since April 2013
BigGuy (poly, M, married, 43, dating me since June 2018)
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