This came up elsewhere and I thought it might be worth posting here. The question is: What do you talk about with your partner(s) before attending a "play party"?
These aren’t necessarily MY required conversations but simply a list of some I’ve used or heard about.
-Is our relationship strong enough to handle this? If we aren’t sure, or this is our first play party, maybe we should go with the understanding we will only play with each other if we do play.
-Our definition of ‘play party’
-What do we think this ‘play party’ will actually be like?
-Our definition of ‘play’.
-What activities are allowed, what aren’t? (maybe oral is okay, intercourse isn’t)
-What are we okay seeing each other do, what are we not okay seeing each other do?
-Will we only play together, or can we play separately?
-What if one of us is playing with someone the other person wants to play with too? Is it okay if we play together?
-If we bring toys with us, are we allowed to share them with others? Are there restrictions on how they are shared?
-What is our intent with play? Are we looking for something new, just following any connections that might come up, or trying to spark relationships? To me, this one is important because if I’m trying to spark a relationship I may be disappointed if the other person isn’t. Conversely, if I’m only playing and want nothing more from the person and they do I could end up with something of a stalker the next day.
-Is play limited to this party? In other words, if I play with Martin at the party and Martin wants to go back to his place, or play the next day, is that okay? (This might be important so Martin and I can negotiate our ‘play’ appropriately).
-Are we attending the party together, and going home together? Is there anything that could change that? (Nobody wants to be scrambling for a ride home later).
-Are there restrictions for us after the party? Such as: we won’t play together until we have both showered, until a specific amount of time has expired?
-What time are we leaving if we are leaving together? Is that a hard limit, or are we flexible? What if I want to leave and you are in the middle of schtupping Gertrude?
-Who is coming to the party and is on our Do Not Touch list?
-Why are they on our Do Not Touch list? (STD’s, behavior), or simply our own feelings about them.
-Are there exceptions? Such as: I can have intercourse with Martin, but not with Oliver?
-When asked if we would like to play, how will we answer? Give hard limits up front? Wait until playing to express hard limits? How will we define our relationship if asked? Having these answers ready can make things easier.
-Is it required we communicate at the party ‘before’ we play with someone? (I discourage this one personally. I think it can ruin the mood for everyone and create drama. In my opinion, if you have to do this you probably shouldn’t be at a play party in the first place.)
-What if we do need to check in? For example: I can’t remember if we had limits around Martin. How do we let each other know we need to have a quick chat? What if I can’t find you, or you are in the middle of ‘playing’? Can I interrupt? Is there a safe space we can go to talk quickly? What is our agreed upon definition of ‘check in’? A wink, nudge, short conversation, extended conversation, text message?
-If one of us is having a problem with someone (a person not taking NO for an answer for example) how will we deal with it? Will we come find each other? Is interrupting activities okay?
-What worked well
-What didn’t work
-What did I see, hear, feel that I liked or didn’t like.
-What should we do differently in the future.
-What do I absolutely NOT want to hear about? What do I want to hear about?
-What is still with me from the party? Did I maybe connect with someone I would like to continue seeing? Did anything happen to put people on our Do Not Touch list, or take them off the list?
-Some people like to reconnect after their partner has had sex with someone else by having sex themselves. Should we expect that and maintain the needed energy reserves?
-A general conversation about trust and confidence. Do we trust each other to make good decisions. Do we realize there may be mistakes made? How will we recover from mistakes; time apart, talking, not having sex?
What things do YOU talk to your partner about before attending a play party? What pitfalls have you encountered and how did you work through them?
Monday, November 5, 2012
At times, seeing my partners date others can be a challenge for me. Feelings of insecurity can pop up but usually dissolve as the relationships take form and I get a chance to know my new metamour a bit. This has been something of a challenge for me with a long-term partner who hasn’t had any other partners since we have been together. Those feelings of insecurity have been floating around in my head for a while; what will happen when she does engage with someone? Will I be jealous? Will blinding NRE take her over and ruin us? How will she manage time or affection? Will I find she is actually a serial monogamist when she leaves me?
The flip side of that is that I’ve had several other relationships since we have been together. And she has had difficulty with those. I tend to verbalize my thoughts as I enter new relationships which to me, is something of an evaluation process. Do we fit socially? Emotionally? Physically? Can I fit into their life? Them into mine? And so anyone around me will hear different positions come and go as I think about those things. Some days I may be charging in full force, other days thinking it won’t work, and even other times moving with caution. That is confusing to say the least. And that confusion leads to frustration on the part of my long-term partner as she ends up not having a clue what I’m doing until I’m either engaged, or disengaged, with the new person.
The result is that we both have some frustration along with less than desirable emotions and feelings that pop up.
Those emotions, I think, are somewhat normal. They seem to come from a fear of the unknown and to a lesser extent possibly, the contemplation of change. The insecurity, in my mind, is born from not comprehending how our partners engage with new people. The rooted fear being that what they are doing is entertainment, distraction, or the search for someone *better* as opposed to engagement with another out of emotion, attraction, or love.
Back to my situation; my fear may be that my partner hasn’t engaged with others due to our relationship and that when she does it will be with the intent of replacing me. In fact, it is simply that she approaches relationships differently. She takes the time to find someone she really connects with deeply before becoming involved. She prefers to take time, get to know someone, and fully evaluate who they are and how a partnership might be formed.
On the other hand, I follow my heart easily. I prefer to explore connections without preconceptions. Maybe those connections flourish into a romantic relationship, maybe they don’t. During my exploration is where I learn if there is a lasting romantic relationship to be built, or if maybe we will just be friends, or maybe there really isn’t anything there at all.
This is where the epiphany struck.
Though both approaches sound different, the intended results are the same. We are both looking, with integrity and ethics, at potential relationships as long-term engagements. Neither of us is looking for a replacement or playing games. Neither approach is better or worse, just different. Realizing that we simply have different approaches, but are both in fact hoping connections will result in similar results, has done a lot to minimize those undesirable emotions. It has helped me to understand emotionally how my partner is feeling, both toward me and toward potential new partners. The epiphany for me; knowing that in the end my partner and I are more the same than I had realized. It has also allowed me to see that although we follow different paths toward similar goals, and I may not always understand what she is doing, I can possibly learn from her approach as hopefully she can from mine.
My advice to you is this; if you are having mixed feelings about your partners activities with others it may be because you lack confidence in what they are doing. How you find that confidence will be different for everyone so I won’t try to suggest how it be found, but try. I think when that confidence is realized you will find that many of the negative emotions dissolve easily with the knowledge your partner is acting with love in their heart and purpose of mind. It will make it much easier to trust your partner, their approach to new relationships, and allow you both to relax a bit.
As always, love well.