I participated yesterday in the comments section of an article on The Age about infidelity and again whether or not monogamy is the answer to everything (it is, but not for everyone).
The comments, on the whole, were quite positive, very little slut shaming going on and some people opening up about how infidelity has hurt them. Quite a few members of Australia’s poly community (myself included) spoke about being ethically non-monogamous, how expecting that one person can fill all your needs is unrealistic and that with trust and honesty, insecurity and jealousy can be reduced.
One commenter agreed that one person could not meet all your needs, but that was what friends and family were for and asked why it always had to be about sex. I suggested, in response, that because sometimes it was. I gave two examples, of which they responded to only one. The first (the one that wasn’t responded to) was about non-monogamous bisexuals who wanted/needed the sexual contact of the gender of partner they weren’t seeing right now or felt more balanced when they had partners with different genders.
The second, which was responded to, was about BDSM and what did you do if your partner wasn’t into BDSM and you wanted that outlet. I was told by the commenter that they were a BDSM practitioner and BDSM is all about freedom and not sex. And that’s where I stopped playing and went and did something else. Because, you see, it can be all about sex.
Prescriptive responses like that tend to annoy me. It leaves no room for someone who wants their sex rough, if we stick with the example above, and for whom BDSM does not cease on penetration (as I’ve read it is “supposed to” in some books). Clearly there are multiple groups in the BDSM community who practice their flavour of BDSM in different ways. There is, apart from safe, sane and consensual, no right way to practice BDSM. There are things that work for some people and things that work for others. Telling me what BDSM is, as if it applies to EVERYONE else on the planet who is interested, dismisses my beliefs and experience with BDSM as not being correct or right or pure… basically that I did something else that wasn’t BDSM even if I call it that.
There is no one way for most things that people do. There is no one way to be gay, there is no one way to orgasm, there is no one way to be trans*, there is no one way to be disabled, there is no one way to be white, there is no one way to be a person of colour, etc. Each of these things are customised by me, my thoughts, experiences and feelings. The people I tend to associate with get this, thankfully, so I do not have to constantly fight to identify certain ways or to use language that fits me best. I am privileged in that way and grateful for it.