I don’t know if vanilla folk ask this question. I haven’t dated any in a long while. Kinky folk do, all the time, because it’s a legitimate question– not all kinky people are “open” to love happening in every relationship. Even polyamorous ones.
I owe a lot to kink.
Kink has not only helped me realize who I am… it forced me. Sometimes it’s influence is the barest hint of a breath. Sometimes it is a violent gale.
The more I learned about my kinky self and the kinky world, the more I love and accept myself. The more secure I feel in my own happiness. Kink isn’t a solution, at least I don’t see it that way. Kink, however, can be an incredibly powerful tool.
And I used it to learn.
I learned consent. Desire. Needs. The difference between the two. How to recognize others’ needs and wants. How to balance the needs and wants of various people (i.e. relationships.)
I didn’t have to do this. One can live a very nice, satisfying vanilla life, without questioning themselves. Without any self analysis. But I wanted to learn about love and life and relationships. And, whatever you might want to say, a kinky and poly lifestyle is a fantastic tool to educate yourself on those subjects.
One can live a very nice, satisfying kinky life, too, without thinking too much— but I wouldn’t recommend it.
I might be friends with vanilla folk who I can tell aren’t introspective. I won’t do more than a cursory smile and nod with kinksters who are the same. The blowups are too dramatic and too common, and come too quickly when you involve the sort of relationships I do (the evil ones that involve EMOTIONS with MORE THAN ONE HUMAN BEING! The horror, I tell ya.)
I can only ignore so much. All those things that bothered me slightly in vanilla relationships can do SO much more damage and HAVE done so much more damage in my kinky, poly relations.
Because it’s one thing in a vanilla relationship to ignore consent (still not good!). But failing to find a rope partner who understands consent and safe relationship practices can get you killed. Or at any rate damaged and broken (and broken and damaged people are still beautiful, but they don’t deserve to be that way in the first place!)
So, kinky or not, I would hope anyone might peek into the kink community. If only to learn.
It’s simply too easy to live a vanilla life and not learn and still be perfectly happy. If you follow the basic guidelines, it’s more or less set out for you— dating, engagement, married, home, kids, live till death do you part. That’s good enough for plenty of people.
Vanilla life DOES have the potential to break down in the most extraordinarily impressive ways (think of the worst divorce you ever came into contact with, with all parties viciously destroying each other). But not every incompatible couple suffers that fate.
So, please, do educate yourself on kink! Because nothing, I promise you, will open your mind like understanding this beautiful and strange world!
I found a pretty solid “how to do vanilla romance.” I modified it every so slightly– and it worked for polyamorous relationships, too! So this is also my Polyamorous Manifesto. This guideline includes no reference to anything kinky; no swinging, spanking, anal sex– “But none of that is kinky!” you interrupt. To which I politely respond, “Maybe, but I am just being extra cautious to not introduce even the tiniest sprinkling of kinkiness, just bear with me, please.”
Ahem. Without further ado,
The Kitty Presents:
My Vanilla Manifesto, or How To Not Be A Jerk
(modified from the original by @JessOnTheRocks, thanks for letting me use this!)
So what I do know is that good
poly, woke poly, relationships requires a few things.
- You have to be ethical
ly non monogamous. First and foremost. No “ask forgiveness instead of permission” people. If you’re [an]adult enough to have multiple partners, you’re adult enough to have the difficult conversations.
- And because of that, I prefer dating/seeing/playing with people who
already have other partners.[aren’t lone sociopaths/potential serial killers who have no other people in their lives of any significance.] Or who are currently single but on the same page.Those kind of people are better for me.
- If you already have [a best friend/siblings/children/insert other valid and important person in your life that maybe you aren’t dating but you make feel special and loved]
a partner, especially if you normally date more than one person,you know what commitment is.
- You know about life [because you’re a parent/the person that manages all your family events/the friend that arranges every bachelorette party] and how it can affect your relationships at a moment’s notice.
- You know what scheduling means, and conflicts [because you’re a parent/the person that manages all your family events/the friend that arranges every bachelorette party].
- [You] recognize you have a life too and respect your limitations.
- [You] aren’t relying on [me] to be [your] everything.
- [You] look at all the other relationships as additions, not competitions,
Metamours[People you care about] can become [my] friends and family.
- I don’t need all your time, I want some of it, and I recognize the importance of respecting
your other partners[that you might have something, or someone(s), in your life that is as important, or more important, than me].
- People who are committed to practicing
polyamory ethically[healthy relationships] don’t bother with lies and secrets. They are adults who have learned the value of communication.
- They do not seek to destroy that which exists, they hope to add to your life.
The latter is added by yours truly!
- I want relationships that respect my autonomy. Allow me the freedom to explore, and don’t make me feel bad for wanting to.
P.S. I am assuming the woman would have included the last, if she had thought of it, but I wanted to add that for myself. Still, I don’t think it conflicts with any of the above standards.
P.PS. Am I absolutely crazy for thinking this way?
Are some of us superbeings?
Stronger, faster, able to leap tall buildings? More capable of empathy, love, devotion, honesty? Are some of us more perfectly suited to succeed and be happy? Some would say that those of us that fall into a terrible place did so because it couldn’t be helped. They pity these people, or despise them. At worst, the racists and elitists think they are better than the idiot poor folk who are no good for anything.
Sometimes I would agree. Sometimes the circumstances are beyond anyone’s strength. Other times, I’m not so sure (certainly I don’t believe that some races or cultures are superior to others, unless your culture involves treating people like dirt).
Sometimes I’ve done better in life, comparatively speaking. Sometimes I have done worse. I didn’t know if it was me, if I just wasn’t good enough at something, or I was particularly good at something. I just hoped I was doing the best I could.
I may sound corny, but I sincerely believe all humans are created equally.
I was not predestined to succeed, while others destinies were to fail. It is what happens afterwards that changes us, and some of us overcome and some of us become broken. I hold no anger or judgment or superiority toward anyone, unless the person truly deserves it.
Because you see, I happen to have a doppleganger of sorts. Someone whose life very closely mirrors mine. Only we both made slightly different choices. And, now, ten years later, we are in very, very different positions in life. In every single respect.
I swam, where she- and others- sank, for three reasons. A bit of luck. The choices I made. And the support I chose to keep around me.
Do you think you’d be happier if you stuck your hand in a fire, or kept it out of harm’s way?
Why would our emotional choices be any different?
Why would we think we could be happy, while making destructive choices? We may think we’re superhumans, and some days, we are, indeed. But mostly, I’ve observed, we’re just human. We can only do so much to overcome our own self sabotage.
I’ll readily admit some of us, myself included, have superficial advantages— and they aren’t meaningless, either. Some of us are born wealthier. Some of us are “prettier,” in the sense of being blessed (or cursed?) with Hollywood beauty. (I suppose, with males, one would say “handsomer.” I’ll call anyone pretty, though.) Some of us are “smarter,” again, in the sense of being, perhaps, genetically inclined to be good at math and science and all the “traditional smarts.”
But it isn’t the smartest, richest, or prettiest among us that are always the happiest.
And none of us are born more inherently able to be happy.
Perhaps some of us are stronger or even “better” than others. I have no interest in making a judgment call one way or the other. It doesn’t matter. One person isn’t capable of changing and shedding our worst selves, while another is just “not able to handle it.”
I’ve changed. I could have resisted, hell, at times I have resisted! But I gave in, because it was move forward– or stop dead in my tracks. Letting everyone else pass me by. I’ve seen other people change, too, as they overcame personal challenges. Even so-called impossible challenges.
If SOME of us are “good” enough or “strong” enough to do it, we ALL are good enough. Whatever that means. Some of us might not have the support system or resources to be able to do so confidently or safely. But we’re all capable, with a bit of help.
Oh, and for what it’s worth, yes, some of us have done worse things than others or feel more negative qualities. It’s okay. Our toxic qualities don’t define us. I still haven’t gotten rid of all of mine, but I’m working on the pieces of myself I love least. Social toxicity is something toxic that society teaches us is healthy but hurts ourselves and others. All of us have to work our way through that, at some point.
None of that matters. Because we are still in charge of what happens next.
I don’t believe that any of us cannot choose our own paths.
We are all given the same chance to make ourselves whatever we want— although some of our paths may be harder to walk along than others. We all have our own curious mix of what we like, love, and hate. If you are not on the path you want, and you are doing all you can, maybe you need some help. Everyone needs help, but–
I have learned, whether it is true or not, that we are our choices, not our destinies.
I hope that is a comforting thought.
Me (reads prompt): Hmmm, Master, do you want aftercare? (springs on top of master)
I’ll repeat; I resent the prevailing negativity within online “lifestyle” communities. Makes it seem like that’s the standard. The default. Yes, people have problems in polyamorous relationships. It’s called having relationships.
I once shared a day in the life of a kitten. My friend asked me to share another day.