Polyamorous relationships come in an infinite number of configurations. For more about how different open relationships might look including an owner loaner relationship, you can find one of my articles hereand a seriesof podcastshere.

D/s relationships are ones in which dominance and submission are the primary feature.  D/s relationships are authority transfer based relationships because the submissive gives authority over part or all of their lives to the dominant.  Full time authority transfer based relationships are Master (Mistress)/slave or Owner/property or Daddy/boi/girl or Mommy/boi/girl.  

Some D/s relationships involve bondage and discipline or sadism and masochism but others do not.  The feature of the relationship which turns both parties on is the power exchange (authority transfer). One person is in charge and the other agrees to submit to their rule.  Submission can be part time, sexually only for example, or it can be full time (e.g. in all aspects of the relationship).  D/s relationships often have clear structures, with rituals, rules and expectations all spelled out.  Many people who engage in them gain pleasure from all of these aspects.  The submissives enjoy giving up control and being led by someone else.  The dominants enjoy the control over their partners, having someone do as they desire. This is a simplistic description of what both parties might get out of the relationship.  For more on these relationships, listen to this seriesof podcastsfrom Sex SpokenHereand D is for Dominant from the A to Z of Sex ®podcast.

owner loaner

D/s relationships can be very straightforward or very complex.  Some include significant role play as well as the exchange of power.  There are marriages that work on these principles as well as long term living together relationships.  However, it can be difficult to maintain these roles when living with someone full time especially if the person who is in the submissive role is dominant in the outside world (at work, within the household, the main bread winner).   As a result, in some relationships, the D/s aspects become watered down which often leads to dissatisfaction on the part of both parties.   

A solution to managing this dissatisfaction is to make sure that there is specific time set aside for D/s.  As long as this is a substantial enough amount of time and it is ringfenced so that the rest of life does not intrude, this will work for many relationships.

Owner Loaner

One solution to this situation is to consider opening up the relationship. A couple can agree to engage in D/s play with other partners and not each other or with other partners and still engage with each other.  Deciding who will do what with whom can require some intricate negotiation.  When done properly, this is a great solution that increases everybody’s enjoyment and fulfilment.  

One issue that arises is the need for a person to have agency and autonomy to create and manage multiple relationships.  When one is in a hierarchical relationship, the person who is in the dominant role is the one who is in charge.  If that person is giving authority over what relationships their partner can form, then the submissive does not have the agency to form additional relationships or continue them.   Non-monogamous relationships for people in hierarchical relationships can look different depending up on if their hierarchical relationship is full time or part time. Non-monogamy in part-time D/s relationships can run the gamut from simple dating through to relationship anarchy to polyamorous arrangements.  

Myra and Robin were involved in a D/s relationship for 10 years before they moved in together.  Both are high powered business women, running their own companies for over a decade each. They met at a Women in Business event and the connection was instant.   They quickly discovered that they lived in the same state.  Their first date highlighted their desires.  Myra quickly took control and Robin revelled in her submission.  They talk each day and meet each weekend to spend time together.  Their relationship grows and deepens and finally they decide to move in together.  

At first things work well.  Weekends are the time that they set aside for the D/s side of their relationship. During the week they look like any other couple living together.    Robin sometimes finds it difficult giving up control on the weekend, especially on weeks where she is travelling for work.   But things are still working and they are both still happy together. After 6 months living together, Myra decides to take a sabbatical.  She is working on a book and needs the time to write.  They agree that Robin will be the main bread winner for those 6 months.   This is when the D/s relationship truly begins to break down.

The women came to see me when Robin found it too difficult to submit to Myra. They were both upset by this change and were motivated to look at how they could make sure their relationship would survive and thrive.  After 4 coaching sessions, Robin raised the issue of opening the relationship.  She proposed that they both seek to create a D/s relationship with someone else.  At first Myra was resistant to this idea, concerned that they would lose one of the best facets of their relationship.  After some negotiation, they decided to choose partners for each other and were clear about the limitations.  They decided to restrict the relationship to D/s in the bedroom. After a few false starts, they found situations which suited both of them.   After a month of exploring new D/s relationships, they told me the spark had come back between them and they left coaching.  In this situation, they were each involved in negotiation and setting the limits of other relationships.

In relationship anarchy, relationships are not bound by rules set by society or culture but are only bound by rules set by the people involved. In relationship anarchy, hierarchy between relationships is avoided.  This can cause issues when a relationship is hierarchical depending upon whether that relationship includes control over other relationships.     However, if this is not the case, then relationship anarchy starts with putting yourself first and then being very deliberate about your relationships – making conscious choices about them at all time.

In full time D/s relationships, the person in charge is also often in charge of whether there are other relationships as well.    Because of this, the person who is in the submissive role does not have the agency to begin, continue, or end relationships with others.  All relationships are had with the permission of the dominant.  One dominant woman I know talks of being an owner and therefore loaning out property rather than her slaves having separate autonomous relationships with others.    

In the ‘Owner Loaner’ Model, the owner sets the rules for the other relationships that their property might have.  The owner may do all of the negotiation, be an integral part of the negotiation or give the property the details about what is acceptable and allow them to do the negotiation.    No matter how the negotiation is organised, the owner is the one who is giving permission, not the property.    Morloki describes this as a ‘Time Share Model’ where the other interested parties can ‘request regular rental weeks during the year.  Chosen family rentals can be had with special terms’.  

If other relationships are not included in the hierarchal relationship, then the other relationships are negotiated directly and terms are agreed between the participants only.  Each relationship has rules about other relationships, whether it is hierarchical or not.  

For some this raises issues about consent.  In this type of relationship organisation, the owner gains the consent of the property to loan them to others and the parameters of any loan (and therefore any other relationship), are negotiated between owner and property.  The owner then restricts the terms of any loan to those the property has consented to as part of their relationship agreement (owner loaner model). Property can still withdraw consent at any time and this is made clear to any other playmate or partner during negotiations.  Property cannot agree to extend the terms of a loan relationship.  This is negotiated with the owner.

Jeff and Cindy are in a full time Owner/property relationship.  At the beginning of their relationship, they negotiated the possibility of other partners – intimate partners, emotionally intimate partners, play only partners – as part of their long term relationship.  A few years into their relationship, Cindy met Larissa.  Jeff negotiated with Larissa to loan Cindy to her for a full BDSM relationship including sexual contact.  Jeff prefers an owner loaner model and that relationship worked well for two years until Cindy felt that Larissa was no longer meeting her needs as agreed to at the beginning of the relationship. She spoke with Jeff about this in detail and Jeff ended the relationship as he felt that this was simply causing stress for Cindy (his property).  In this case, Cindy spoke with Larissa first and said that she wanted to end the relationship.  When Larissa didn’t take this well, Jeff stepped in to make sure it was ended properly and with as little rancour as possible.  Three years later, Cindy’s first love got in touch with her.  She asked Jeff if she could see Bob and also if she could see where a relationship with Bob might go.  Jeff agreed to the date and when it went well, he agreed to loan Cindy to Bob for an emotionally and sexually intimate relationship for an indefinite period of time.  Two years later, the relationship continues.  

In some M/s or O/p relationships, the dominant partner will introduce other people into the relationship on specific occasions.  When this is the case, it will have been agreed between the parties when they set out the terms of their relationship.  Josh likes to bring people home to have sex with Jeremy, his long term slave.  The people he brings home are really clear as to who is in charge and what the rule are.

Some people become polyamorous because they discover an interest in dominance and submission and want to enter authority transfer or D/s relationships but their partners have little interest in exploring with them.  They choose to open their relationships.  In my experience many of these relationships are poly monogamous relationships.  For more on poly monogamy see my article here.  These relationships can work well however couples need to communicate well and negotiate extremely well in order for them to do so.  Coaching helps couples learn the communication and negotiation skills needed to create exciting and well-functioning poly monogamous relationships.

It is currently trendy to avoid hierarchy when it comes to relationships, particularly in the non-monogamous community.  Hierarchical relationships can be extremely exciting and satisfying whether they are part time (D/s) or full time (M/s, O/p).  For people who have multiple relationships that include one or more hierarchical relationships, the relationships can look like ordinary polyamorous relationships where all relationships are separately agreed and negotiated and maybe even equal when it comes to time and attention or they can be owner loaner relationships where the Master/Owner/Dominant is loaning out the slave/property/submissive to the people with whom they have other relationships. Consent and negotiating boundaries is more complex when D/s and non-monogamy are mixed and more time may be needed to get relationships off the ground, but these relationships can be very exciting and fulfilling in the short and long term.

Want to learn more about the DS in BDSM, non-monogamy and combining the two? Sign up for a discovery session with me hereor email loribeth@drloribethbisbey.com

The time between New Year’s Day and just before Valentine’s Day is known as breaking up season.

Couples who have been struggling for during the autumn and through the holiday season often use the ‘new year, new you’ energy as an impetus to end the relationship so that they can look towards Valentine’s day as a time to start another romantic adventure.  This is breaking up season.

In mid-December, I toured WeWork Aldwych House in London.   If you haven’t been in co-working office space like WeWork, you might not know how much creativity happens in casual conversations in the hot desking common areas.  Co-work offices provide hot desks which are tables or desks that you can either reserve or just claim when you arrive in the space.  Most spaces have great Wi-Fi, free beverages and a variety of comfy seating arrangements.  You sit down and work and during the time you are there, often enter into a conversation or two with the people working around you.  People can be from any field, business or discipline.  In any event, I ended up in a conversation with one of the local team.  We were talking about what I do for a living and he said that there really should be a good guide to breaking up since there didn’t seem to be any guides to help people refrain from emotionally shredding each other when they leave a relationship.  That is how I came to be writing this guide.  This blog is an introduction and outline that identifies the problems and gives some good hints and tips to avoid the worst of the pitfalls.  If you want the full guide, you can purchase it here.  I have laid it out as an eBook/eworkbook.

I have been working with individuals, couples, families, and relationship groups for the past 30 years.  Most of the time when people come in with relationship problems, they will say they are coming in to therapy in order to save the relationship.    In reality, in at least 60% of the cases, one of the people has come in with the desire to end the relationship and wants help so that the end is not absolutely horrible and destructive.  Most people know that acting on the intense emotions that are frequently present at break up time can be destructive to themselves in addition to their soon to be ex-partners.  But they still cannot help but lash out.     Even people who are usually excellent at negotiation and have great emotional and social skills can behave like out of control bullies when involved in a break up.breaking up

Why do people behave so badly when breaking up?  Here are the most common reasons:

  1. They have been betrayed by their soon to be x.

Breaches of trust cut incredibly deeply.  There is nothing worse than discovering that the person you have trusted with all of you has betrayed you.  The most common betrayal is an affair but there are other betrayals.  All betrayals involve lying and/or withholding truth (pretending).  The ones that have gone on the longest are the most emotionally damaging.

  1. They are betraying the person they want to break up with.

In this case, the person projects their own bad motives and behaviour onto their partner.  They become angry and horrible because they cannot admit their own bad behaviour.  They feel guilty about breaking up and it makes them angry.

  1. They find it too hard to be honest, vulnerable and make a clean break.

Being angry and belligerent pushes the other person away.

    4.  They don’t want to stay friends and don’t know how to end the relationship with compassion without their partner wanting to stay connected.

  1. They have no empathy.

There are people who have little or no empathy and cannot place other people’s needs before their own needs.  Sometimes they are just thoughtless.

  1. They know that breaking up is the best thing for both parties but don’t feel they can stay separate if there isn’t animosity.

  2. They feel helpless in the face of their partner’s sadness and upset and this causes an angry reaction.  Anger is easier than powerless feelings.

  3. They cannot stand their own feelings of sadness and grief and find anger much easier to bear.

What are some of the pitfalls to an amicable or friendly breakup?

  1. It can be hard to stay away from the person you are breaking up with.

You are in the habit of spending time, sharing things.   If things are friendly, those habits are too easy to continue.  You may not have a new routine for emotional support or sharing the little things about your day so this too will make staying separate hard.

 

  1. Making the decision to end a relationship that is not meeting your needs is often a huge relief.

Once you have made the decision, sometimes a lot of the negativity will lift and you will find being together more comfortable and even more fun.  Sometimes people remember what it was like at the beginning of the relationship when they were really into each other and things were going really well.  Suddenly the relationship may feel like it is salvageable.  This is the time when people forget the reasons that they decided to end the relationship.

  1. Going back out into the world can be harder if you are still close to your ex-partner.

Many people find it uncomfortable if a person they are dating is close with an ex.  Also when you are emotionally close with someone, you may compare new people to the person and this may put you off developing closeness with someone new.

breaking up

Some tips and tricks to avoid behaving badly:

  1. If you have been betrayed, do some personal work (counselling, therapy, coaching, talking with a trusted friend – whatever works for you) to resolve some of the intensely negative feelings you are experiencing.
  2. If you were the one who was having the affair, own up to it (at least to yourself) and make a clear effort not to project your stuff onto your soon to be x partner. You might benefit from some personal work (counselling, therapy, coaching, talking to a good friend – whatever works for you).
  3. Use journaling to help you get what is in your head out onto paper. If journaling doesn’t appeal, try some type of art work.
  4. Create a separation plan. This is particularly useful if you have been living together or leaving lots of stuff at each other’s places.  It’s also useful to help manage the emotional and social aspects of separation.  If you attend a regular social event with common friends, this is where you can address who will be attending in the future and who will not or how you will both manage to attend.    This can be a detailed plan that allows you to address all the ways your lives are entangled or it can be simple and just have some basic rules.
  5. If you are attending the same events, it can help to go with another friend to avoid awkwardness.
  6. Build in time for your favourite stress reduction activities and plan these around when you have to deal with the breakup.
  7. Remember that breaking up involves loss and so there is a grieving process that most people experience. If grieving isn’t something you are good at, get some help to learn how to grieve (which usually means to learn to allow yourself to feel the loss until you are finished feeling it instead of trying to suppress the feelings or push them aside).

Working towards ending relationships without lots of destruction is one of the best things you can do as you will need these skills in multiple places over your lifetime.

Sometimes we end business relationships, friendships and even familial relationships and all of these can be as traumatic as ending romantic relationships. 

If you found this introduction intriguing and useful, look for my Modern Guide to Breaking Up eBook/eWorkbook on https://the-intimacy-coach.com on the products page to be released on 25 January 2018 or simply set up a discovery session with me by going to my website https://the-intimacy-coach.com and then my contact page and clicking where it says ‘click here’.

breaking up

How Erotic Love Making Can Bring the Heat Back to Your Relationship

Rough sex has become more and more trendy over the past five to ten years.  There’s been lots of emphasis on spicing things up in a relationship by become rougher, trying things like spanking and flogging, and engaging in power exchange.  Rough sex can be really hot and can certainly spice up your relationship but it is not the only way to do so.     Erotic love making is another approach.

The hottest, most exciting and most enduring sexual relationships include a good variety of approaches to sex.

Erotic love making is one that isn’t often talked about.  Perhaps this is because people feel that being erotic is easy and that other approaches are more foreign and so more difficult.  But being truly erotic takes significant skill.  At its heart, erotic lovemaking requires patience, flexibility, connection, focus and the ability to be fully present (mindful) during love making.

Let’s start with a definition of love making.

The distinction between love making and sex is important.  Love making involves mutuality.  The idea is that both of you are fully involved and gaining pleasure from the physicality.  Sex isn’t driven by mutuality.  There may be some but the driving force is more selfishly focused.  In love making, the divide between the self and the other dissolves, if only temporarily.  Two become one.  In sex, this divide continues to exist.  Erotic love making looks at uniting where sex does not necessarily.  Sex can look more at objectifying or possessing.

Erotic Love Making

I am not denigrating the value, importance and sheer pleasure of sex.

I am making a distinction between love making and sex and suggesting that it is wonderful to be able to enjoy both.  In love making you surrender yourself to the other and get lost in each other. It is reciprocal.  In sex, you might surrender or you might take control.

Erotic is defined as sensual, seeking to arouse sexual desire and pleasure.

Erotic love making in this context is love making that is ignited slowly from the sensual, seeking to arouse further desire and pleasure until full desire blossoms.    With erotic love making, physical and emotional intimacy combine until you no longer feel separate.  Energy moves back and forth between you until you no longer know where you end and your lover begins.  For some, this experience becomes a spiritual one.  Others focus on the emotional aspects and talk about how close this type of love making causes them to feel with their partner and still others focus on the raw physicality, the amazing sexual pleasure.

Robert lay next to Annie waiting for his breath to return to normal.  After a few minutes, he fell asleep.  Annie sighed, got out of bed and headed for the loo.   When she got back to bed, she took out her favourite clitoral stimulator, fired it up until she was alight with pleasure.  She was so engrossed in her orgasm she didn’t notice Robert had woken up.  In the morning, Robert brought her coffee in bed and said, ‘I woke up when you were playing with yourself last night.  I know I get off quickly, but I didn’t realise that I left you hanging.’  Annie started to tell him it was no big deal and then stopped.  ‘You did.  I enjoy sex with you but you don’t often last long enough for me to come.’  She looked away quickly, expecting Robert to be angry.  When he didn’t shout, she looked back and noticed how sad he looked.  ‘I’m sorry Annie.  I’ll see if there is anything I can do to slow down.’  Robert telephoned for coaching the following day.

There are as many ways to engage in erotic love making as there are people.

Approaches and styles differ but the end results are the same: intensely delicious love making.     The best erotic love making includes some common elements.  Mastering these elements will create all-consuming, distance dissolving intimacy.

  • Know Yourself.

  • I say this a lot when talking about creating great sex.    The better you know yourself, the easier it is to connect sexual with your lover and make sure that both of you are fully, deliciously satisfied.    If you have sexual problems or issues, attend to these.  Learn what really turns you on, what kind of touch you like, where your limits are.  Robert did some research and decided to study Mantak Chia’s methods of orgasm control.  He found these methods worked well for him and he was able to use these methods along with sex & intimacy coaching to resolve the issues that caused his pre-mature ejaculation and to create new skills that allowed him to fully connect with Annie.
  • Create protected time and space.

  • Erotic love making requires plenty of time and a safe comfortable appealing space.   This is not a time to multi-task.  Turn off the phone, the email, unhook and unplug.   Put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door.  Make sure the kids are looked after by family, friends or a baby sitter.  Lock the door.  Do what you need to do so that you won’t be interrupted.  If being at home is too tempting, check into a hotel or a b&b or head to the woods with your tent or to an RV/motorhome/caravan site.   Lots of people find it hard to unplug completely when they are at home.  You can change this but it is a hard habit to break so it is worth starting away from home.   Once you have created some positive habits, it will be easier to squash the negative ones at home.    Making the space appealing can be as simple as tidying up the bedroom and as complex as using special sheets (silk perhaps), scented candles, your favourite grooves.
  • Erotic Love Making
  • Start with seduction.

  • There is nothing like a slow seduction.  Take your time, appeal to all of your lover’s senses, start with light touch and move to firmer touch.  Try an old fashioned strip tease.  (No seriously – here is an old fashioned one.) Pay attention to how the heat is building between you both.Erotic Love Making
  • Observe closely until you can no longer do so.

  • The more you observe, the more you will notice the things you do that work the best, the things that impact your lover the most.  Do this until you can no longer concentrate because you are so immersed in your feelings and sensations.
  • Approach and retreat from orgasm in order to build the intensity.

  • As you move towards orgasm, back off a bit and then build again.  Do this until you can no longer stand it and have to surrender to the orgasm.

Erotic love making will rekindle even the most banked flames between you.  It is a wonderful way to renew your sexual connection and develop and deepen intimacy.  Interest in learning more?  Email me or book a free 30 minute discovery session with me.

We experience shame when we cannot own something we have thought, felt, or done or some part of ourselves. Guilt can be appropriate when we have done something we know is wrong and harmed ourselves and/or others. It serves the purpose of getting us to look at the wrong and highlighting the wrong so that we can make amends, change our behaviour.