My core relationship is with someone who, like me, is still navigating the ins and outs of non-monogamy. Neither of us are seasoned in this, and although we’d both played around with it in the past, and I had been openly non-monogamous for several months before I met him, we are still finding plenty of things to negotiate, discuss and ponder. And one of those things is – yes, I’m going to talk about it again – jealousy. I have written about jealousy here a couple of times before, about how I personally handle it, but of course, my way is not everyone’s way. And it is not his way.
Due to the nature of our relationship – he is the top, I am the bottom – we have found a way for him to deal with his jealousy through play. That’s not to say we just pretend it away, or purely sexualise it – we do discuss it as well, and check in with one another – but we have found that our dynamic is conducive to some interesting navigation. Our sex life spans quite an array of kinks, but the one thing that remains constant is that he is my Daddy and I am his daughter. Although I am not collared, or marked, or even ‘owned’ in a BDSM sense, the paternal role he plays automatically implies (for us) some sense of possession. I am his daughter, not a daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I am fiercely independent and given the darkness and depth of our kinks in my day-to-day life he actually has very little control, and that is how we like it. But still, I would be lying if I said our bond didn’t make jealousy something of a hot topic.
But to the point at hand! We have found that often when I go and see my other partners, it helps him “alchemise his jealousy” (his phrase) if he sends me to them. Daddy sending his little girl out to be used by, or to please others. From his point of view, this perfectly offsets jealousy and means he is able to enjoy the time I spend with others whilst looking forward to my return.
However, despite the way it sets his mind at rest – which is important to me – it does raise a few ethical questions. There are moments when I wonder if I might actually be using my secondary partners to keep my core partner happy; a thought which does leave a slightly unsavoury taste in my mouth. After all, none of my relationships are for the amusement of anyone outside those individual relationships, and there does need to be some respect for the boundaries of those intimacies.
Having said that, it’s not like I go back to Daddy and tell him all the details and private moments I’ve shared with others; far from it. I share about as much as I would be willing to share on twitter; that seems to be my barometer: “Would I share it on twitter?” If the answer is yes, then I will share it with him. If the answer is no, then I know it’s something that belongs exclusively to my other partners and me. Besides which, my partners all know that while I may not be all that voluntarily forthcoming about my sex life, I am hardly a prude, and I do have bouts of lustful over-sharing, especially when questioned. I am also careful about how I discuss things; I speak very much from the “I” and actively avoid talking about my partners. If I share a story, I share my experience, not our experience. It can be complicated, but the way I use language helps a lot here. I might playfully mention a fantasy that flashed through my head in the heat of the moment, but I am not going to discuss the connection I shared with someone else, or even the heat itself.
Similarly, when I am with my other partners, I don’t consider myself to be there to please Daddy. I am there because these are people I adore and enjoy spending time with. I am there for me and for us, not for him. And I try to make that clear in the way I treat everyone.
But, even with my boundaries and my filtering, and the way I distinguish ‘me’ from ‘us’, and a liberal dose of moral judgement, I still don’t feel entirely comfortable with this set-up. I feel that I am doing everything I can to strike a balance, but perhaps no matter what I do here, this dynamic just isn’t as ethical as I’d like to pretend it is.
So what do we do? Is there a way to make this kind of sharing and openness more moral and ethical? Or is it something that should be avoided? And if it really doesn’t sit right, where exactly do we draw the line between being open enough and being too open?