Casual or polyamorous domination and submission
October 29, 2014 4:55 PM   Subscribe

So, I'm having coffee with a polyamorous women who is potentially interested in submitting to me. Help me guess what she might mean, ahead of time, so I can be more fluent when we talk. (Trigger warning: graphic consensual violence.)

I am going to overthink this a bit. :)

So, this woman is polyamorous. It's unclear at this stage whether she's interested in something casual or potentially interested in developing a long-term, emotional connection.

She's described herself as only "slightly kinky," and that she's missing out on feeling submissive in her long-term relationship.

Linked off of my okcupid profile, I described intense sex acts (hitting, verbal abuse, etc.) as examples of "ideal" acts to gradually work up to over time, long-term.

But, my question is, I don't really have a good model for what she might be interested in, short-term, if there's a second date, fifth date, we eventually take some clothes off, etc.

In my last relationship, my girlfriend was actually pretty vanilla, too. So, we worked up to some stuff over years. Graphic: Through lots of laughter, and trial and error, we got to the point where I could, without asking, gauge her readiness and carefully slap her during sex, and it would increase her arousal and enjoyment.

And, non-sexually, we were eventually punching each other (relatively) hard, all the time, and laughing like crazy. She was half the size of me, so I'm just mentioning this in that I do have experience and comfort with controlled, mutual physicality involving another person.

So, I do have experience talking about this stuff and doing it a little bit, and I'm definitely up for more. But it's actually hard for me to visualize what a slow ramp-up could look like? Of course, I'll ask, but I'd like to be prepared with discussion points of my own.

I do have a bit of a fear of being caught flat-footed. I had a friendly, talkative, casual "kinky" encounter, recently. We discussed physical stuff, briefly. And, then, like every 20 seconds, I was asking, "Is this ok? Can I squeeze here? Can I hit you there? Was that too hard?" I mean we were kissing so intensely I almost chipped a tooth, but with the other physical stuff, I'm more hesitant because there was less cultural common ground. She actually got a little exasperated, which is her problem. But it made me think I don't quite have a grasp of the "culture," if there is one (or many).

I think what *I* would like, all things being equal, is for this new person to assume various positions and hold them for many minutes at a time. And I would dictate eye contact. And I would gently and carefully explore every inch of her body with eyes and fingers. I mean, intense in many senses, but also pretty low-key.

But I worry she'll get bored, or I won't notice if she gets bored, and I won't know how much and when to check in with her. Or maybe she'll find it arousing to disregarded and bored, etc.

Basically, yes, I want to do what I want. And I want her to feel like I'm doing what I want. But I also want her to feel safe, very aroused, and emotionally connected, afterwards.

So, she says she likes the "mental/emotional aspects" and "shutting up her inner control freak" and "enjoying the ride."

Very early in getting to know someone, what do you think she might (or might not) have in mind? What are some example scenarios, or baby-steps towards more intense scenarios, that she might be interested in, that you could guess at?
posted by zeek321 to Human Relations (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

This is why you're meeting for coffee, is it not? A coffee meeting isn't a kink scene, it's a time to discuss ideas and boundaries on an equal footing. Ask her what she has in mind. There isn't a model. Everyone's different. Tell her what you would like. Ask if she's into it. Carry on.
posted by corvine at 5:09 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is all a conversation you should be having with her, not us. None of us can even begin to guess. I mean, you know, meet her, see if you have chemistry, and then start negotiations around what you're each looking for. That is (in my experience) normal and healthy for non-monogamy and D/s anyway, so I don't really see how you're not going to go through that step anyway.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:34 PM on October 29, 2014

From a member that would prefer to be anonymous:
I would suggest that it is not a good plan to ask anyone else what she might want. Part of the process of doing this stuff safely and enjoyably is getting to know each other, finding out what each person is interested in, finding out what you both like and don't like. Once you both get to know each other well, sit down with one of the many great checklists out there and go through it. I did this with my other half and it really helped us figure what we liked, didn't like, had never heard of, was a deal-breaker, etc.

And maybe you know this person better that it sounds like but I'm going to strongly suggest you wait much longer than the fifth date to pursue this. This seems pretty high risk to participate in this kind of activity with someone you met off the internet.

I'm more hesitant because there was less cultural common ground. She actually got a little exasperated, which is her problem.

Sorry but I think this is actually a joint problem.

But I worry she'll get bored, or I won't notice if she gets bored, and I won't know how much and when to check in with her. Or maybe she'll find it arousing to disregarded and bored, etc.

With respect, you need to have this stuff sorted out before participating. Especially with someone you met online. You need to be able to communicate clearly (in whatever way the two of you decide beforehand) and easily. It will help you do this stuff safely and also help you both enjoy the activities.

Good luck. Have fun. Play safe!
And another member also chimed in anonymously:
The right answer here is one you might not like: you can't and probably shouldn't guess. Everyone's different, like corvine says, and it'll only be more anxiety-producing if she ends up not matching the expectations you've made up in your head ahead of time. It's cool to think about what you'd like. It would almost certainly be cool to tell her everything you wrote here. Guessing leads to assuming, and it won't get you the results you want.

Maybe take a look at this book and this one for inspiration and some insight into the cultures (yes, there are many).
posted by mathowie at 5:46 PM on October 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

I do have a bit of a fear of being caught flat-footed. I had a friendly, talkative, casual "kinky" encounter, recently. We discussed physical stuff, briefly. And, then, like every 20 seconds, I was asking, "Is this ok? Can I squeeze here? Can I hit you there?

Right. But: this is precisely the kind of nuisance that the coffee talk is designed to circumvent, by taking care of it ahead of time. You don't need to be all masterful and in-the-moment. The coffee talk isn't a dance or a dress rehearsal: it's more like meeting to plan how you're going to stage a play. It's fine to lean back, and think for a bit, and say: "Huh. What if we tried it like ...", or just ask questions.
posted by feral_goldfish at 5:47 PM on October 29, 2014

Note also that the coffee talk can (and probably should) be the first of several coffee talks. So you can relax, knowing you'll have a chance to reflect on what you've learned about her interests, and to generate more ideas that play off that, long before you're actually taking those baby steps.
posted by feral_goldfish at 6:00 PM on October 29, 2014

A coffee meeting isn't a kink scene
The coffee talk isn't a dance or a dress rehearsal

(Yes, yes, I know. Thank you for the replies so far.)
posted by zeek321 at 6:06 PM on October 29, 2014

So first, it sounds like you've mainly been into a little bit of sadism, or mutual sadism, the 'SM' in BDSM, and she's into Dominance & Submission, the 'DS'? And now you're wanting to learn a bit about Dominance or how to scene, in order to get those needs met?

Which means you're still quite new to dominance (is she?), and asking how to do it, with a new partner. This is obviously not unique to you! This is exactly the sort of problem that has existed for many people in the kink community, and exactly the sort of thing there are resources for, but that means I'm suggesting - back to the drawing board.
You need to learn this like a skill.

Have you read some of the intro books on Topping? "Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns" or "The New Topping Book"? I haven't even read them, they're just THAT well known!

Have you signed up for Fetlife? Join the local communities, dominance/sadism discussion groups. Add some fellow *Tops* from your community. Learn, chat.

You're in New York? There must be SO many munches, beat & greets, scenes! You are spoilt for choice. Go, learn.
Two possible goals to choose from: 1. Socialising with other tops, or experienced subs, so you have people to discuss your perspective with.
2. Witnessing how scenes work, and hear a bit about people negotiate for them.

Here's the thing - you can even get into sadism WITHOUT having to be much of a dominant.
You may have to consider whether you'd also enjoy spanking, flogging or wrestling, because they're more popular generally than punching, or hitting on the face, but if you would - there are plenty of people who would just like you to do that to them. You can set yourself up at a play party. There are more bottoms than tops in the scene. Someone who is a bottom, without being a sub, could come tell you exactly what they want, and then you could do that to them! Would you prefer that?

If you do want to Dom, stuff you'll want to learn, is ways to keep the scene exactly under the *Subs* control, while making it feel to them like you are in control. It is a fantasy, the game is illusion of loss of power, not actual loss of power.
So stuff like, "Alright, how many slaps do you deserve?" Tada! You're making them choose, and consent to the activity, without breaking the illusion!
If you're presenting a new activity, give choices between that an an established 'safe' activity, and the new one, so they can back out. "Paddle or gag?"

Teach someone to tap out (like in many martial arts), I think it's important to have a physical 'safe word'. And it's quicker, if there's an actual problem.

Many people spent aaages talking online first, and fantasizing (many people are also sick of doing this with people who never show up in Real Life, keep that in mind). You want a really good idea of what turns their crank. All good. Then you talk about what stuff you just want to keep as a fantasy, and what they actually want to do. Then you keep in mind that they may not be into it when pedal hits metal. Be graceful, revert to an enjoyed activity.

I got too detailed actually, because basically, this is too broad and introductory a topic for AskMefi.
posted by Elysum at 6:21 PM on October 29, 2014 [5 favorites]

FWIW: During my divorce, I talked for a bit with a guy into the BDSM scene. When I tried to ask what he was into, he didn't give me a label. He said something along the lines of "You will understand eventually."

It is only a sample of one, and I never got to know him well enough to know what he was really into. We talked a bit online and spent one night together and it was totally vanilla that night. But it gave me the impression that the desire outsiders have to get some sort of convenient label is not really the way things work. Like with any other relationship, predilections are very much a personal thing and there is no one-size-fits-all answer for any of it.

As others have said, you probably need to work this out with her privately. I don't think there is any kind of standard script. Since she is poly, she may be fairly experienced at such negotiations. She may be perfectly comfortable hashing this out. People I got to know who had some kind of alternative lifestyle or were poly or were just substantially experienced were generally pretty well versed in the fact that there was a process of getting to know someone new and that things would take a bit of time to unfold and they were very comfortable with the steps involved -- much more so than I was, having gotten married at age 19 to the second guy I slept with and stayed married for more than 2 decades.
posted by Michele in California at 5:24 PM on October 30, 2014

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