Oct 262010

Since Sylvanus and I have been developing an open marriage, we have encountered a lot of different people via the blog and twitter. We’ve encountered the haters who bash us and tell us our marriage is doomed for having sex with others. We’ve encountered people who are supportive and happy for us. We’ve had people tell us they wish they could have a marriage like ours. The variables are endless. There is one key point to everything, however, and it’s communication. Regardless of whether or not we have an open marriage, our marriage could fail if we are not communicating. For people who wish they could have an open marriage, communication is the first step to making that happen. Living a polyamorous lifestyle requires communication to be your number one priority. It would make sense for me to now venture into the videos focused on communication, wouldn’t it?

I watched two videos on communication through the Kink Academy website. The first was “Triangle of Communication” with Bo. In this video, Bo “discusses the variety of ways to communicate to uncover layers of needs and desires.” This video was directed more towards the BDSM world, but let’s face it, communication is important no matter what kind of relationship you are in. I was able to watch this video and still apply it to a polyamorous lifestyle. For the sake of this post, I am going to be talking about it as if you are someone who wants to open up your relationship and are exploring it with someone for the first time. At the top of the triangle is the area where you talk talk talk. Communication is key. The more you talk the more you learn. “Be relentless in your pursuit of information.” It’s important to know everything about your partner. What they do like. What they don’t like. What scares them. What excites them.

Sometimes that’s hard to talk about and this is where one of the bottom points of the triangle comes in. In the BDSM world is something called a “negotiation form”. Generally, this is a form with a lot of various kinks on it that a Dominant gives to his/her new submissive to find out what he/she is or isn’t into. I think the same thing can be done for people exploring an open relationship. This form can have everything on it from flirting with others, webcamming with others, exchanging pics with others, to kissing others, oral sex, sex with condoms, sex without condoms… etc, etc. etc. The list is never ending. The point is to work on a list together and fill it out for each other. For instance, I would fill out the sheet explaining how “into” it I would be on a scale of 0-5 if Sylvanus were doing these things with other people. 0 being, I am not ok at all with that and 5 being I am so ok I am actually turned on by that! This negotiating form helps communicate how you feel about something when maybe you were too shy to talk about it. Hopefully, it will open up a lot of communication with your partner. For Sylvanus and myself, it opens up the conversation of, “well you said you didn’t like this, but what if I did this?”

Finally, at the other end of the triangle is something called homework. In the BDSM world, homework usually involves a sub writing a journal expressing their feelings about sessions, or life in general to their Dominant. This gives the Dominant an idea, a secret glance into the emotions of their submissive. For us, our blog is our “homework.” When Sylvanus and I explore new things, either together or separately, we inevitably write about it there. Reading what the other writes often tells us a lot more than what they are saying. I can’t tell you how many things Sylvanus learned about me by reading my writing about certain experiences. Sometimes it is easier for me to express the truth through my writing than it is through my verbal words.

The second video I watched was, “Loving Communication” with Dr. Ruthie. In this video she “discusses – replete with concrete examples – negotiation, safe words, limits, sharing fantasies, sharing new information, and prioritizing pleasure.” This video has some BDSM undertones to it and focuses on trying to make your fantasies into realities. For many people out there, having an open marriage/relationship is a fantasy that maybe their current partner does not share at the moment. This video could help you make the steps towards getting there. When I encounter people who would like to open up their marriages and I’ll be truthful here, the majority of them are men wishing their wives would, it’s important to talk about things with great sensitivity. The goal is to “talk about your fantasies in a way that everyone will be comfortable and safe with it and feel that it has the potential of bringing the two of you closer.” It’s probably not going to work out too well if you approach your wife right off the bat and say, “I think we need an open marriage.” If anything, it will immediately send her into a depressive state, having her feel like she’s not good enough. Why is she not good enough? I would. How I would approach it is, “you know, I have this fantasy and it involves you with another man.” See how she responds then.

“When you are looking at living a fantasy and your partner does not share the same fantasy, the goal is to find a way for you to be on the happy side of neutral and your partner to be on the happy side of neutral.” Maybe a physically open relationship isn’t going to happen right now, what would make you happy and take you closer to that place? This is where negotiations come in. Maybe allow for online flirting, webcamming, picture exchanging. It was the first step that Sylvanus and I took for opening up our relationship. Course, we didn’t know this was going to be our path, but he always knew I had interest in sleeping with other people both men and women. I always thought it would just be a fantasy, but allowing me to flirt with people online really helped to a) keep me happy and b) make him process and be ok with me interacting more intimately with other people.

What you want to do is negotiate in a way that is going to progress things into a forward motion towards living your fantasy. Just like in BDSM, other relationships need to consider limits and not cross them. Just like there are safewords for physical interactions, there are safewords for your emotions as well.

One suggestion in the video is that you and your partner create an introduction and end to your session. OK so in BDSM terms, this means you create an atmosphere to begin your session and create a ritual to signify an end. I find that this holds true even in my open marriage. Sylvanus and I don’t have a beginning ritual when we are getting ready to leave each other and sleep with other people, but there is a ritual we do after we have slept with other people. This is something that has naturally fallen into place for us. When ever Sylvanus or myself, have slept with other people, once we come home, our ritual is to cuddle and lay with each other in bed. Usually, sex happens as well. Our ritual is to reconnect with each other. In a way, it helps both of us process what happened. It makes me feel less jealous and safe in his arms. Even though he went out and slept with another woman, I now have him back in my bed and this is where he wants to be. I think it is very important for a couple to reconnect after exploring with other people. It helps join them once more and helps settle the mind. Not to mention, this is the perfect opportunity to TALK about your emotions and process your feelings. The point for us is to help grow our relationship, not harm it.

The last thought is something called show and tell. Perhaps your partner isn’t into your fantasies. One way of getting him/her involved is by show and tell. Maybe show them what you would like to do. OK, again, limits have to be discussed here. Obviously, don’t run out and grab another person off the streets and fuck em in front of your partner and say, “See, this is what I want.” Cheeky bastard.

Instead, one step could be, “I get really excited about the idea of webcamming for another person, can I show you?” But instead of actually involving another person, go through the motions. Turn everything on like you are going to, but do it for your partner. Have your partner there in the same room and pretend they are watching you cam for another person. Touch yourself. Tell your partner how much you enjoy it and why. Chances are, they will be just as turned on by it too. Maybe, next time, they’ll ask you to do it for someone else while they sit and watch in the same room. Maybe your partner will even tell you how to touch yourself while someone else watches over the screen. Sorry… I’m getting carried away with my own fantasy now!

Bottom line is, no matter the fantasy, the desire, the type of relationship, what’s going to always be the most important part to maintaining and making things happen is, say it with me now, communication!

Thanks for reading!