Someone else’s story: open relationships and kink

Image by the awesome Stuart F Taylor

I have a huge amount of admiration (and, OK, a dash of envy) for people who can do open relationships well. I’ve tried, and failed, to come up with a long-term open solution that works for me, and have come to the conclusion that I’m perhaps not sensitive or competent enough to do openness well.

Which is why I love hearing from people who do – who have found a good balance of communication, enjoyment and honesty that allows them to balance the feelings of a few different parties. If anyone says it’s easy I struggle to comprehend, because for me it’s always been a mountain I couldn’t hope to climb. So above all I love hearing from people who’ve recognised the obstacles, worked through the difficult bits, and come up with something pretty damn special. This week’s guest blog is from Jenny, who’s got a story about open relationships and kink, as well as some great advice for those who might be struggling with similar worries.

Open relationships and kink

Communication in a relationship can be tricky at the best of times, and things only get more difficult when one of you is kinky. Asking for something in bed can be tough. Asking for something outside of your relationship feels impossible.

If you don’t ask for what you want, you might never get it.

I wanted to share my story because it’s a positive example of an open, kinky relationship which I am very proud of.

I’m happily coupled up with an incredible woman. We were friends before we started dating and are closing in on our first year together. On top of all the stresses of a new relationship, I had the added concern of telling her about the other important person in my life: my very close friend who happens to be my dominant.

He has a girlfriend too and they’ve been together for years. After much discussion about sex, BDSM and our respective love lives, we came to the conclusion that we’d like to explore our kinky bucket lists together. His girlfriend wasn’t into submission and I prefer being topped by men, even though I’m a lesbian. We get on and find each other attractive, but we’ve no romantic chemistry at all. We were confident it wasn’t going to get awkward or messy: we knew what we wanted from each other right from the start.

With this in mind we set about asking for our partners’ permission to get together every month or so and indulge ourselves in play.

It was a scary thing for both of us: his relationship is long established and he didn’t want to jeopardise their future together, while I‘d just started dating my girlfriend and didn’t want to scare her away. It was something we both wanted, however, and we didn’t want to impose our niches on partners who weren’t into it. Equally, we didn’t want to do without for the rest of our lives. So we asked them.

I wanted to be completely honest in starting our relationship. I told my girlfriend that I’d spent our first few dates secretly hoping she was kinky, which was a disservice to her. I wanted to appreciate her for who she was, and she is truly fantastic. I’m a firm believer that it’s very tough to get everything from one person. It’s too much pressure. So I wanted to have a romantic relationship with her and be kinky with someone who wanted it as much as I did. She was understanding and patient and after hearing all she needed to hear from me, gave me the permission I had asked for.

In return she is allowed to know as much or as little as she likes about our scenes, and to request certain acts are off limits. The same goes for my dominant’s girlfriend, who also gave her permission a few days before.

We got permission about nine months ago, but it wasn’t a case of getting an “ok” and then skipping off to the dungeon whenever we feel like. My girlfriend and I are in constant communication about our arrangement. Each time I schedule a scene I check in with my girlfriend, that she’s still ok for this to happen and each time I come home we spend time together as a couple and check in again. I remind her that I love her and if she wants me to stop, I will. She tells me she loves me and trusts me to remember her even when I’m with someone else.

Part of the agreement is that if either his partner or mine gets uncomfortable and asks for us to stop playing, we will without question. We enjoy playing and exploring our niches, but our commitment is to our girlfriends. We appreciate that what we’ve been given is something special, something that strengthens our relationship with our partners all the more.

Juggling both romantic and kinky relationships is tough – and not just practically. Scheduling a scene when we’re both off work, both our partners are busy or out of town and when one of our houses is free is almost impossible.

We have to keep talking about the arrangement all the time. Everyone has to be clear and what they do and do not want and how to communicate that. We are each responsible for our own thresholds and protecting them. We also have to trust that everyone else is aware of their own limits and will communicate them clearly.

None of us have been in an open relationship before so we’re working it out as we go. The two of us have never been in a Dominant/submissive relationship either. There’s a lot of chat involved every which way. It’s hard work but it is worth it.

The one thing I’ve found the hardest is asserting my needs when it comes to negotiating between romantic and kinky relationships. I have no intention of being prioritised over my dominant’s girlfriend, but during D/s scenes, the circumstances are altered slightly.

In one of our earlier scenes my dominant received a phone call from his girlfriend, which he took. The feeling of abandonment was compounded by my already vulnerable state in the scene and I was incredibly hurt. I did not feel empowered in the scene to ask that he not take the call. After thinking about it, and even discussing it with my girlfriend and getting her opinion, I asked for us to turn our phones off when playing. Now, when our partners call on a day we’re playing, if they get answer machines they know why they can’t get through and that we’ll contact them as soon as we turn our phones back on. This rule makes me feel more secure when I’m being submissive.

Having rules like this does not mean we love our girlfriends any less, but it is part of the responsibility we have to each other as play partners. Both relationships are significant and require communication and effort. Neither can be taken for granted.

As previously mentioned, I often involve my girlfriend in my D/s relationship. If something is playing on my mind it shows and she is gracious enough to ask if I want to talk about it. This shows a great deal of trust and patience, which is a beautiful quality in the woman I want to spend my life with.

By some miracle, the four of us now socialise as well. We don’t discuss the arrangement, but it isn’t ignored. The fact that we can share a meal together and enjoy each other’s company as two couples is something that’s very precious to me. There’s no tension or jealousy; we all know where we belong.

It is scary to ask for something you really want, but if you’re ready to have an honest conversation about it, and keep having those conversations, there is always a chance that it can work out.

Sometimes, better than you’d hoped.


  • Reassured says:

    I just wanted to say that this was lovely.

    I’m one of those people who has tried poly/ open relationships and never really got anywhere with them. When stuff just ‘happened’, without the exhaustive discussion beforehand, it all got a bit awkward and wrong. When I set out what I actively searched for kinkily minded, poly people, I found there was a lot of hostility towards a very established, very close couple who were just entering the scene (which isn’t exactly huge where we are). Basically, inexperience and insecurity did for it. It’s nice to know that it works out for some people, and that there are relationships out there where everything is friendly and above board.

    As it is, I’m mostly happy where I am – but it’s good to see that there are other was of doing things and that sometimes they work out.

  • SusanM says:

    Thanks for posting, really interesting to read. It’s certainly not easy and there are times I struggle, but the benefits for me make it worth it. As is highlighted, communication is absolutely vital in kink anyway, but particularly in this kind of situation. I’ve also come to the conclusion that whilst getting everything from the one person would be great, in reality I imagine it would be quite rare.

  • Jord says:

    Great story. Definitely true we don’t get what we want if we don’t ask for it and love hearing how others have approached it thoughtfully.

    Never tried a D/S relationship but know how being open can really help people address wants and love that everyone seems to appreciate their part is important in your life.

    Overwhelmed by a frubbly feeling at the thought of you sharing lunch and just goes to show all involved feel secure in their own relations.

  • KitKat says:

    Hubby & I have an an open relationship for the past 7-8 years…yes its wonderful but it can also be hard, communication & trust are so important! We’ve also recently worked out that we’re both polyamorous; looking back at past playmates I wish I’d known earlier that loving another man wasn’t bad or wrong. My best advice to anyone looking to get into the scene is join a site with a chatroom, it gives you the opportunity to talk to people who are in the same situation & gives you an idea of the many different ways people work their relationships.

  • Wonderful post . . . and wonderfully expressed throughout. Yes, communicating everything about your desires and enjoyments and experiences is the key. Hubby and I have enjoyed the lifestyle for over 20 years and both believe that it has in fact made us closer, love each other even more . . . and made us both better people!!!
    It’s not for everyone . . . but the love and fulfilment that openness and honesty AND the SHARING can bring . . . has been wonderful for us. I hope your own partnership continues to thrive and grow.
    Xxx – K

  • biglen says:

    After seven years of marriage my wife and I decided to try swinging. We discussed it for quite awhile. Things had become somewhat boring. We thought that being with other partners would make our sex lives better. We answered ads, met couples, turned most of them down. On occasion though we did meet the right couple. We knew we were doing it for a change of pace, and we also made a rule that if either one of us didn’t want to be with one of the other couple we would not do anything on our own.

    When we did meet the right couples. we both left our house together, met the other people, had a drink or even dinner and then we just changed partners. We decided to meet by 2 AM at a diner. With or without the other person. Most of the time what happened was we all met up. We normally grabbed a bite to eat and then said goodbye to the other couple. Then even the ride home was hot. As we discussed what we did. At times we didn’t even make it home before I was either getting a blow job. or I was fingering my wife who loved to ride at night topless and often bottomless. Our sex life became so much more passionate…It was great fucking another woman and my wife loved fucking another guy. We both knew we weren’t looking for love. but just pure sex…But the main thing is to set some rules and be completely honest with each other. Still married after forty years. so it works if you have confidence in your partner

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