The Polyamory Kink Intersection


The Polyamory Kink IntersectionDo you remember, way back when, in the mists of last September, I was so very concerned about how on earth I was going to manage classes, and work, and podcasts, and columns, and relationships? Well! somehow I have survived the year, and right around the corner, almost a glowing reward, are four significantly less stressful months. No classes, over a month off work, sunshine, perhaps even a holiday! And with all this extra time you can imagine where my mind is being allowed to wander: no, not to beaches and books, but to excessively filthy, kinky imaginings. Spanking and training and control and rope and so many wonderful things I am practically bouncing in my seat. But even in such a perverted state of mind, I believe I can pull this back on topic, undermine your, perhaps, rather depraved train of thought, and spend a few hundred words considering the intersection between kink and polyamory.

I have been kinky much longer than I have been polyamorous, and being, as I am, almost exclusively attracted to dominant men, I don’t have any sexual partners who aren’t, at least in the moment, in charge. Currently I have one established kink dynamic – with my Daddy, who is always my Daddy, and to whom I always relate from my position as his little girl – and one partner with whom I do not have a defined dynamic, but I am always submissive. Or bratty. Either way, I am the one who leaves with bruises.

So far the different dynamics I enjoy with my different partners have developed very naturally, and they just happen not to have much overlap. But, in fact, this is something I would probably orchestrate anyway. Despite ‘exclusivity’ being somewhat contrary to the idea of polyamory, I actually have a rather exclusive approach to kink: my partners and I can have as many partners as we like, but I have one Daddy and he has one little girl; if I had one Sir, he would have one (for example) pup; if I had one Master, he would have one submissive; and so on and so forth. At one point I felt I needed to let go of this impulse, as it is so contrary to what polyamory is about and I feared I was just using it as a life-raft to battle any jealousy that might bubble up.

But actually as this feeling has developed, three things have occurred to me: first of all, it only applies in the cases of clearly defined dynamics: so, for example, with Michael, the exclusivity is less important because he and I do not have a defined dynamic. We just play in ways that work for us at the time.

Secondly, I think it’s okay to have a small safety net to help me handle jealousy; it’s a tough thing to face, and if I need some way of holding boundaries, I don’t see that it’s such a bad thing. Especially if I am making a conscious and informed decision.

Finally, and most poignantly, this is actually less about jealousy or possessiveness than it is about the way I enact and live intimacy. My intimacy stems from a private, shared understanding, that for me is based on the dynamic of a relationship. So what I, as a little girl, share with my Daddy is unique to our dynamic, which allows us a kind of emotional privacy; the same would be true if I was also exploring my inner pup with someone. The two relationships could happily co-exist, but the difference in kink dynamic allows me to draw a clear boundary for privacy and intimacy.

I consider this my own little way of intimating uniqueness in what can sometimes be a challenging relationship model. A unique kind of polyamory, shaded all the colours of the rainbow by the wonder and glory that is kink.

Of course, beyond the little nuances of my own relationships, the intersection of kink and polyamory has other complexities, the most obvious of which (to me) often comes down to that age old question: can a man serve two masters equally? (If you are a God-fearing person, forgive me for paraphrasing the bible; and if you are a devout atheist, forgive me for throwing theosophy for you. But, ironically, I serve one master: literature.) Being of a submissive disposition, this question is particularly poignant because if I have several dominant partners and their orders conflict, I will be the one in the awkward position, having to initiate potentially awkward conversations.

However, for me personally, there are a few ways in which I can deal with this. The first is, of course, communication! I can pre-empt these issues by speaking with all my partners about etiquette. For example, I can agree in advance that if one partner decides to deny me orgasms for a few days, but during those few days I have a date with another partner, the time I spend with the second partner can be time off from orgasm denial. Equally I can speak with the second partner and he may wish to help me support the first partner’s wishes and also deny me orgasms. (As I write this I am painfully aware that all my partners may read this and jointly decide never to let me come again. I beg you all, please, don’t do this!)

The other thing is that although I am submissive, and I do enjoy being told what to do, there is also something to be said for the fact that ultimately, I have autonomy over my body, and I can respectfully make my position clear to all of my partners and know that because they respect me, if my wishes are reasonable and sensible, they may be granted.

My final two points relate to the issue of having different roles with different partners. First of all, although certain specific acts – such as orgasm denial, or perhaps rules around pubic hair, or something similarly restrictive – could cause conflict, at the moment it is quite rare for my partners to lay down long-term rules (and in this case, by long-term I mean several days), so the likelihood of this conflict is significantly lessened, and secondly, the different roles I enjoy with my different partners all have a slightly different impetus and it is less likely that something my Daddy would ask for would directly conflict with something a Master might ask me; for example, if Daddy asks me to wear white cotton panties, and a Master asks me to send him photos of my bound breasts, I can do both!

But ultimately, I think communication is key; I think it is possible to have more than one Dominant partner – and even more than one clearly defined kink dynamic – but it does rely on everyone being able to communicate and everyone showing respect to one another. Likewise, I try to be very careful that whatever play Michael and I engage in does not conflict or compromise what Michael and Molly (his submissive) have, because I care about and respect their relationship. I’m sure they wouldn’t allow this to happen anyway, but it is good submissive-, poly-, and partner-behaviour for me to have that in mind as well.

In the end, and as always, communication is the answer. But it also has a lot to do with mindfulness, from everyone involved. We need to take care of each other and even if our metamours are not our responsibility, we owe it to our partners and their partners to be considerate.


Harper Eliot is a writer and podcaster whose work mainly centers around eroticism and social observation. You can find an archive of work, and links to all her other projects, on her website Harper Eliot. Harper lives in London, but rarely sees her own house, spending most of her time on public transport, listening to podcasts and tweeting too much. Her vices include cigarettes, lubricant, Earl Grey tea, opera, nail polish, and pinwheels.


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