Polyamory is so appealing – especially to Dominant types — that I think it might be one of the major reasons so many people enter this lifestyle. With much of what we do now being offered, however inaccurately, to the general public – from Fifty Shades to Porn Conventions like AVN welcoming BDSM participants – Poly might be one of the last “secret” aspects of BDSM. Surely, there are few guidebooks on the best way to keep a poly D/s family working. There are lots of threesomes; but a threesome does not a Poly relationship make. I have covered some basics in two previous Kink Weekly articles. Now I will address specifically one of the chief reasons these arrangements often fail. Jealousy!
Since jealousy is such a destroyer of unions – from the most vanilla of vanilla to 24/7 Master/slave relationships – I will try to examine how jealousy intrudes into Polyamory and how best to handle it.
Whenever lifestylers discuss jealousy, there is invariably a person who says, “A slave who is jealous is just poorly trained. A good Master/Mistress should be able to eliminate most of it in a slave.” There might be some truth to the statement, but totally purging jealousy, even by an experienced Dominant, is unlikely. Jealousy seems to be an irrational human emotion programmed into all of us, to a greater or lesser degree. Even if a submissive is not a particularly jealous type, once another sub is brought into the picture, jealousy will almost invariably rear its ugly head.
If you have read my previous articles, you would know that I am not a fan of the typical “alpha slave/beta slave” arrangement. Unless both parties enthusiastically endorse their respective roles, this might not be the way to go. This is where understanding both slaves’ psyches is of utmost importance. Before the Dominant brings in a second slave, and calls her/him the “beta,” he/she should make sure that this is what both submissives want. Yes, there are those submissives who truly crave being either first or second in the pecking order. But many Dom/mes often assume, when adding a second slave, that this slave is the “beta” simply because she/he is the newer one. And that the so-called “alpha” is happy with a second slave. Dominance is not the antidote to jealousy! What often happens is that this slave, who might not be cut out to play second fiddle, is really just hoping to eventually become number one. And that the “alpha” is hoping the beta just disappears!
Jealousy can lead to a strategy that many Dominants are unaware of. By assuming the position that requires more sacrifice, the beta can create the appearance of being the more submissive of the two. This can get make the alpha extremely jealous – especially if the alpha perceives that this “ultra-submissiveness” is captivating the Master/Mistress. Then, if the jealous alpha gives the Dom an ultimatum, “It is her/him or me,” and is not careful in the way this request is phrased, it could easily backfire and lead to the dismissal of the alpha. Thus, a conniving beta sub can manipulate jealousy to completely ruin everything. I have seen this scenario happen far too often – once even to me! — to think it is just coincidence.
Although jealousy and competition between slaves is almost impossible to eliminate, an alpha/alpha system appears to minimize jealousy. Here, the Dominant can give attention to them in the proportion that each one needs. The Dominant (and it is the Dom/me who is setting up the rules) can thus adjust his/her attentions from day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month, as the situation demands and is not stuck treating one as “numero uno.”
Jealousy is difficult to eradicate in a one-sub relationship; imagine how much harder it is to eradicate it with two subs. By all accounts, Poly is the shortest lived of all BDSM unions. Keeping this in mind, I suggest understanding what roles the subs are most comfortable in and work it from there – rather than try to push them into a dynamic that they really despise. My personal opinion is that jealousy can best be managed when a Dominant is aware that it lurks around every corner of the relationship and works hard to keep both subs feeling secure. (And, of course, the subs should try to keep their jealousy in check!) Being aware that jealousy can never be eliminated – and staying vigilant in addressing jealousy and nipping it in the bud as quickly as you can – is the best way to control, but not eradicate, jealousy.
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.