Guest Columnist Rebecca Blanton advises a lifestyle submissive how to handle kink-shaming at the hands of a metamour!
"I'm a submissive woman in my forties who has been partnered with my male dominant for the past seven years. We're in a 24/7 D/S relationship with each other. We live together with our shared girlfriend who we both have a "vanilla" relationship with, and for the most part we're a happy, loving family. Recently my dominant met another woman who he has begun seeing casually. This woman - who has no prior knowledge of or experience in the BDSM community - has taken it upon herself to critique and belittle the way that my dominant and I relate to each other. She refers to our dynamic as "a sexual thing", will poke fun at our protocol when we're sharing public space together, and has remarked on more than one occasion that she's embarrassed by how "seriously" we take our agreements. I would have never expected my dominant to tolerate this kind of rhetoric, but amazingly he's allowed this all to go on unchallenged. What can I do here?"
Hello there! What a great question! Similar versions of this come up in the classes I teach all the time. When people are combining multiple dynamics like polyamorous relationships and power exchange the level of difficulty navigating relationships increase.
Disrespecting the dynamics of partners in any polyam relationship is problematic at best. Respect and kindness are at the core of any successful relationships. Mocking your partners because their dynamic makes you uncomfortable often puts the entire group on a rocky ground.
Working within the framework of your established power exchange relationship you have with your dominant, I would encourage you to bring up your concerns about this new partner. I understand that some power exchange relationships have a rule/protocol that the dominant partner has final say about who comes in and out of the polyam relationships and some submissives are uncomfortable voicing any objections. However, there are ways to bring up your concerns and still abide by the parameters of the relationship.
The new vanilla partner sounds like she is very uncomfortable with the D/s dynamic of you and your dominant partner. This is not uncommon for folks not initiated into the D/s world. You could talk to your dominant about what you observe. Mention that you see this new partner as disrespecting both your dynamic with him and his role as a dominant. Provide specific examples of problematic statements or behaviors. I would let him know that this type of disrespect and mocking, especially in public settings, is upsetting to you. I would emphasize that you respect him and his judgement and ask him to consider addressing her disrespectful behavior.
Your partner is the dominant here and the one who initiated the relationship with this new woman. As his partner and submissive, it is your role to watch out for his interests and protect him. Discussing your concerns fits well within most D/s relationship structures. Once you have discussed your concerns, he has the information he needs to work with (or without) you to address the behaviors of this new partner.
This new partner does not have to engage in D/s or other forms of kink to have a relationship with your partner or you. It sounds like you both have successfully made a relationship work with your other vanilla partner. However, the new partner needs to respect the relationships which are already established, even if she doesn’t fully understand the meaning and purpose of your power exchange. Your D/s relationship and the associated behaviors and protocols are important to you and your dominant. Asking him to address a partner’s behavior that is disrespectful and hurtful is important.
Additionally, in discussing your concerns you may find out why he is tolerating this behavior. He may not have noticed it. He may just see her as being “bratty.” There may be other motivations for allowing it to continue. A conversation about your concerns and framing it as “I feel this new partner is being disrespectful to both of us and our dynamic” may help your dominant grasp how important it is to you that he address these behaviors and comments.
Maintaining respect and trust in your dominant’s judgement is key to having a healthy and successful D/s relationship. Letting this issue fester without addressing it can cause problems down the road for your relationship as a submissive. While it can be difficult to question a dominant’s judgement and behaviors, it is better to bring it up now rather than let it fester and potentially harm your relationship with him.
Rebecca Blanton (aka Auntie Vice) is a blogger and podcaster. Her blog, Love Letters To A Unicorn, focuses on BDSM, nonmonogamy and gender. Her podcast, Fat Chicks On Top, covers issues of how our bodies mediate our relationship with the world with a special focus on sex workers, POC, disabled and nonbinary folks. @auntievice on Twitter, www.loveletterstoaunicorn.com.