The Poly and Kinky guide to surviving the holidays

The holidays present some special challenges for people who are kinky or polyamorous. Do customs and traditions that were once familiar seem at odds with your current values? Are you unsure about introducing your partners to your bio family, while cringing at the thought of how they’ll react? Is the thought of the office holiday party unbearable when you’d rather be whipping your sub? Thinking about your responsibilities and obligations can make the season of light feel like the season of stress. Yes, there are challenges, but the holidays don’t have to be dreadful. Here’s what you need to know about surviving the holidays when you’re poly and/or kinky.

Acknowledge your sex positive relationships

There is a joke about poly people needing a google calendar to keep track of their relationships, but this is actually a good idea. Relationships require thoughtfulness, so laying out priorities is actually a good thing. The holidays tend to be a busy time, with travel, parties, shopping, preparations and obligations. It’s as though the vanilla parts of our lives begin to compete with the sex positive parts.

Make a conscious effort to give time to your relationships. Remember, every relationship is different. A secondary poly partner may want to spend time with you during the holidays,
while a casual partner may be fine with not seeing you for a full month and have no interest in meeting your family. In poly, communication is your best tool. Be honest with your relationship partners about their needs and expectations. Acknowledge that commitments are sometimes unequal, and that it’s ok as long as it’s not a sign of neglect. Instead, focus on honoring each unique relationship dynamic you have and enjoying how it complements your life. When you realize the richness of what you have, it makes celebrating that much easier.

Blend kink and holiday demands

Kinky encounters require a bit of planning, be cognizant of how the holidays will affect your play. Check with play partners to see if holiday obligations will factor into their scene or aftercare needs. It may be necessary to postpone that heavy cbt scene if your boy needs to be pain free for the office party the next day. Don’t schedule a day of aftercare when you’re home is going to be full of visiting relatives. Don’t get offended when your sub is less interested in hitting subspace and more interested in grabbing Fallout 4. I know a couple that used to store their toys bags away from home because they knew curious children would be at their place during Christmas. Kinky people don’t live in a vacuum, so sometimes getting that scene in takes a bit of compromise.

Plan your kink in a way that works with everyone’s schedule. Set aside time and space to satisfy your kink life. Plan a kinky date night or attend a sex positive kink event. People are usually in a celebratory mood during the holidays, the kink scene is no different. If travel schedules align, get a scene in with a partner that may only visit once a year. If you’re in a D/s relationship, think of subtle, appropriate ways to express your dynamic. A tender touch or embrace can convey as much about dominance and submission as a caning. Plan to surprise your partner with a thoughtful kink centric gift or indulge a lingering fantasy. If the holidays are about giving, share something that’s flirty, kinky or raunchy with your partners. Some of my earliest bondage porn movies were a gift to myself at Christmas. One of my coolest Christmas memories was buying bondage magazines in a vanilla card shop fully decked in decoration. Yes, I bought bondage magazines from older ladies in sweaters that also sold ornaments, crafts and china. Maryland is funny like that.

Honor your old traditions in new ways, if it feels right

A sex positive life sometimes seems to be at odds with the conventions and traditions we grew up with. Someone who once felt at home in the church tumblr_ngped7N4781qauja8o5_1280may chafe attending a service where their same sex partner isn’t openly welcome, a poly partner may feel the pain of knowing their relationship isn’t recognized in an official capacity. It’s stressful to feel as though you have to choose between what was once important to you vs what is currently important. There is a solution, honor the spirit of your old traditions in new ways.

Tradition, by definition is a custom or belief that is handed down. Regarding holidays, traditions are based around religious beliefs, celebration, family, togetherness and love. However, the cool thing about traditions are that they were never intended to be immutable. If the spiritual parts of Christmas and Hanukkah are important to you, honor that in a manner that edifies your spirit and celebrates the love and grace that surrounds you. The fact that many Christmas traditions were derived from Pagan solstice rituals is evidence of how fluid and adaptable tradition can be. Perhaps your sex positive life has changed your perspective on the importance of spirituality. If so, embrace a humanistic approach and create non secular traditions. If you’re a person of color, Kwanzaa allows you to contemplate life principles that will certainly influence how you carry yourself as a sex positive person.

In a perfect world, all of this would be easy. But the reality is, religions aren’t always welcoming, families aren’t always accepting. No one can assume what will work. But, the cool thing is that being sex positive gives us an advantage in creating new traditions. Polyamorous people know that families come in many forms, but it’s essentially the people that love and support us. Kinky people know that celebration should be free of shame and judgement and there is room for everyone. Being sex positive is about connection and love, what better precept to base a holiday celebration on?

What if you try and you still find it difficult to include a sex positive perspective into your holidays? That brings us to our next point.

Let go of what isn’t working

It isn’t by accident that the holiday season of celebration is also one of reflection. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we can’t pull everything together. That’s the time hard choices have to be made. Do you really want to expose your queer boyfriend to rants from your hate filled uncle during Thanksgiving dinner? Coming from an alternative sexual lifestyle or having different relationships doesn’t mean you have to endure abuse. That may mean staying away from family or turning away from traditions that have become toxic. Yes, this can be painful and alienating. But remember, a sex positive lifestyle should be positive. Do what is best for you and your loved ones, even when you have to let go of other things.

Many people prescribe to the idea of chosen family. When making choices about holiday plans, choose the people that make you feel accepted, safe and loved. Let go of what isn’t working so that something better can fill that space, even if that means letting go of your notion of what the holidays should be.

Practice Self Care

This is probably the simplest concept covered in this post, yet the hardest to implement. For a lot of us, We’re used to working on our kinky and poly relationships, and the holiday rush increases that urgency. But in the process, we lose ourselves.

When talking to partners, be sure to articulate your personal needs for the holidays. Discuss your anxieties and don’t pressure yourself if things aren’t perfect. The people in your life that truly accept you know that it’s impossible to be the perfect partner all the time, or that you can do everything that kinks calls for. By removing the pressure of expectations you can practice gratitude and appreciate your relationships, instead of looking at what you aren’t doing. It’s a long held myth that suicides spike during the holidays. The truth is that suicides decline, one thought being that the support people receive this time of year is a help. Take an opportunity during the holiday season to decompress and to reach out for help if you find yourself needing it. This is especially true if you find yourself alone during this time of year.

Holidays are imperfect, family can be a headache and there never seems to be enough money. But in those special moments, we make it come together and work, somehow. Whatever your perspective, celebrate love, not just in December but always. (Now to plan suspending mistletoe over a certain someone…..)

Happy holidays family, always keep it kinky.

 

Picture Credits
Bear Santa D. Chooi Doodles
Kinky Santa Yanin Ponce

Footnote:

Dale Archer M.D.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201412/suicide-and-the-holidays

MrBLK

Author: MrBLK

MrBLK is a blogger, writer, bondage rigger, dominant and certified geek. I've been an event promoter, dungeon monitor and founded the B'more Munch, one of the longest running meetups in the Baltimore area. I draw on disparate experiences as a caregiver, martial artist and fitness trainer to craft scenes that are innovative and fun. When not crafting diabolical plans, I relax by reading comics or swinging kettlebells.

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