More on Polyamory and Raven

15 Sep

Raven talked about the need for communication and emotional transparency in poly relationships.

There may be degrees of transparency, ranging from complete transparency in the case of his slave, Josh, to much more limited transparency between him and a woman who is submissive to him in very limited ways.

He says this transparency applies to the Master too.  That the Master may withhold information to train, to create trust, or for some other specific reasons, but that it’s not ok to hide anything about the poly relationships.

He talked about Masters who wanted to avoid conflict, who didn’t want to deal with their slave being mad at them.  He said, “If you’re in charge, you should never be afraid of your slave’s anger.”

If you’re the Master you don’t need to hide what you’re doing, whatever that may be.

His words fit nicely with the image of Master that i have ~ someone who knows where He stands and isn’t afraid to stand there.  Who’s not afraid of feelings, not afraid of taking responsibility for his own actions.  {Or hers, right?}

He and Josh went on to tell a story about their  relationship that deeply touched me.  In my words~

When they got together, Josh thought he was a masochist.  He loved heavy pain play ~ loved “getting beat down.’  And Raven enjoyed giving him pain.

Then he realized ~ Raven realized ~ that when they played that way, Josh was “going away.”  He was dissociating, and wasn’t really present for the experience.

That wasn’t ok with Raven.  He stopped that kind of play immediately. 

So Josh worked on some of his issues and learned to be present, only to discover that he’s NOT really a masochist, and that he didn’t really like heavy pain much at all.  

Raven has started introducing pain again very slowly, with basic spanking.  Josh says that’s kind of humiliating for him, since he once prided himself on being able to take so much. But it’s clearly a much healthier place to be.

For Raven, it was essential that his partner be present for the experience.  For Josh, it’s been an opportunity to grow

Of course, it left Raven without a pain play partner.  So together, he and Josh shopped for ~ and found ~ someone to fill that need.

And that takes me to the biggest point of all this.

How much does Josh have to love Raven to be able to help him find someone to give him what Josh is not capable of providing?

Immeasurable, right?


Raven says polyamory is about getting to the point that seeing your partner happy makes you happy.  Josh talks about the difficulty of letting go of the idea that he could give Raven everything he needs or wants.

And i recognize the truth of that.   i can feel the benefit of being able to let go of my own ego enough to let someone else provide what i can’t.

That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.

And Raven is, I  think, unusually good at doing this.  He talks about the need to make sure each  person in the relationship knows that they’re valued, knows what gifts they bring.  

He seems to have helpied Josh through the emotional growth he needed to do to truly accept it, not to accept it with “a mumbling heart,” but with a joyful heart.

Listening to them, i could see it clearly.  

i don’t think Sir X has any intention of us being poly, and i’m glad for that.  But i will try to be open also.  Some of the same principals apply to other relationships, right? 

Raven’s message goes beyond poly, and is really about wanting the people we love to have their needs met, whatever that means for them.

25 Responses to “More on Polyamory and Raven”

  1. LadyP September 15, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    Dear Aisha
    This is so true. Loving someone fully is to want everything thats best and most developing for that person. Trying your best to give that or open up for experiences that could be fullfilling for your loved one. Maybe you can’t give it all by yourself, maybe you aren’t capable of letting the person search for their inner needs elsewhere. But you can try – and he/she will love you for your striving. (Sorry for the fumbling words – I hope I’m making sense. This is a situation when I feel inhibited not being able to express myself in my native language).
    My Beloved and I have explored the erotic underworld these past years and have come up with exactly the same “rule”. The slowest one sets the pace, because he/she is the most vulnerable.

    • aisha September 15, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

      Dear Lady P,

      What you said did make sense, and I appreciate you sharing your insight and experience. I like the way you put it – that the slowest one sets the pace. That’s exactly how I see it.

      Thank you,


  2. sin September 15, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    Very interesting Aisha, thanks for sharing this.

    • aisha September 15, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

      Thanks, Sin, it is interesting, isn’t it? aisha

  3. vanillamom September 15, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    nodding, tearing up, nodding–i’m going to say this here, publicly…safe space and all…

    i’ve been feeling sad

    loss sucks.

    and for whatever reason, the loss of the Triad …just hurts right now.

    What you/Raven show here is the beauty of making it work.


    ps…i am *verry, verrrrry* happy with my Master…none of this is any kind of denigration of U/us….

    but when there is a significant loss…there are times when it “comes back” and makes you sad all over again…this is just one of those times.

    • aisha September 15, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

      Dear ‘Nilla,

      Thanks for saying so. Loss is hard, and it does come back and we go through it again and ~~

      just sending hugs and love.


  4. angel September 15, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    @Nilla…sending loving thoughts and warm hugs your way, sugar.

    You know, i never expected i would be someone’s “one and only” or be able to give a person everything that they needed in life.
    Nor did i expect one person would be able to fill all of my needs.

    In life, i think, the concept of loving a person enough to let them go makes sense. We think of it as an ending point and that *perhaps* they will return.
    i think of it as a starting point and feel secure they will return.

    (grins) Maybe i was born poly?
    There are times i feel a twinge of something but i wouldn’t trade the happy experiences of the people i love most in life. i genuinely am happy for it.
    i think of being instrumental in helping fill other roles and needs as an act of service that allows them to have a comfortable way to reach out to other experiences and other people.

    How good is it to just feel open? 🙂

    • aisha September 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm #


      Your perspective so often fascinates me. It’s as if we start from different corners of the universe, and still meet somewhere near the middle.

      I appreciate your perspective, always.

      And yes, I think it does feel good to feel open…



  5. K September 15, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Ok, this post made me tear up… Incredibly touching. You are right aisha, D/s or not, wanting whom we love to be happy, to have everything they need and want, whether from us or someone else, there is something incredibly freeing and deeply fulfilling about it. maybe polyamory isn’t for most, but the theme of radical acceptance and giving from a selfless heart, that can be applied to any relationship.

    • aisha September 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm #



      It doesn’t have to be polyamory, but an open heart is worth a lot. I’m glad it touched you.


  6. greengirl September 15, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    There is a lot to learn in this world, and from unexpected places. Thank you for sharing this unexpected place.

    • aisha September 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

      Thanks, Gg,

      I’m glad it “spoke to you.”



  7. Sky September 15, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Thank you, Aisha for sharing this interesting article.

    Take care.


    • aisha September 15, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

      Thank you, Sky, I’m glad you thought it was interesting! aisha

  8. perfectlips September 15, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    Dear Aisha

    Very chewy post. Interesting story about how “yes” can sometimes mean “no”.

    Of course we all know that true love is not about helping someone find a “pain play partner”. What’s most interesting about that little story is Raven’s “need” to find a play partner. As in “I need to find a bridge partner”? I don’t measure my wife’s love for me by her willingness to help me find a different bridge partner.

    I think I’d be more sympathetic to your witch doctor friend if he didn’t have such a ridiculous stage name.


    • aisha September 15, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

      Dear PL,

      I had a chance to read your comment during a break at work today, so I’ve had a chance to ponder it. I really appreciated that you had a different perspective and that you shared it.

      I was thinking about the “bridge partner” analogy, and thought, you know, imagine you married someone and you both loved to play bridge, it was one of the things that brought you together, and it’s a real bond between you. Then you discover that playing bridge gives her terrible migraines. So it’s really painful (not in a good way) when she plays.

      So you all decide that she’s not going to play anymore.

      But you’ve been playing bridge all your life and you love to play.

      You could stop playing too, and there’s a beauty in that, I think, if that’s what you choose to do. Or you and your wife could decide to find you another partner.

      If playing bridge together had been an important part of your relationship, as well as something you love, that might be difficult and it would be a huge act of love for her to be ok with it. IMO.

      Thanks again for making me think.


      • perfectlips September 16, 2011 at 10:01 am #

        > You could stop playing too, and there’s a beauty in that,
        > I think, if that’s what you choose to do.

        Yes, I thought about following that line in my comment. The intimate response would be to work out what we get out of playing bridge together (n.b.: not what *I* get, what *we* get), and explore other ways of getting similar results. Finding someone else would be a missed opportunity and a weakening of our intimacy. Far from a huge act of love, all it requires from the wife is the usual small resignation at a relationship fading.

        I think your story is a good example of how a polyamorous relationship discourages intimacy: it’s always easier to find someone else.

        You always make me think Aisha 🙂


  9. vanillamom September 15, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    actually, PL, Raven’s name *is* Raven…has been for the 30 years i’ve known him…i believe his family is of native American descent..


  10. Andi September 15, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    I’ve thought a lot about poly relationships and mostly how much i don’t/shouldn’t be in one. Though I always try to first; understand second: apply to my life or not. I’m always amazed by people who are in and make poly work. Also glad you took the seminar.

    • aisha September 15, 2011 at 10:01 pm #


      Yes, I’m a little amazed by it too. It stretches my perspective…



      • Wordwytch September 18, 2011 at 3:30 am #

        Poly does stretch your mind/perspectives/life. I understand that I’ve always been of a poly mindset. My screwup in life was trying to be monogamous.

        To me, poly is easy to understand. People say that you can only love one person at a time. However, parents love more than one child at a time. No one makes them choose. You can love your parents or grandparents or friends and no one makes you choose. It isn’t about how many people you can or can’t love, but how you are able to share yourself and your ability to love. It’s about time management.

        There are three rules in Poly.
        1. Communicate
        2. Communicate
        3. Communicate.

        That may sound stupid, but it’s true. It’s about talking about everything. That includes feelings of jealousy, hurt or joy.

        To embrace poly, you have to let go of entitlement attitudes. You aren’t entitled to X’s love or Y’s fidelity. No, you have to earn it. Not once, not twice, but every day. It sounds difficult, but once you wrap your brain around that attitude it isn’t difficult and you wonder why in the hell people don’t get it.

        It also has to be understood that poly isn’t for everyone, just like D/s or spankings or anal sex isn’t for everyone. Some people have a poly mindset and others don’t.

        And yes, in the last 10 years, I’ve been in four different poly relationships. Each has evolved and when they’ve ended, it has been because we chose to go our separate ways, and not because things blew up or anything like that.

      • aisha September 18, 2011 at 4:53 am #


        Thank you so much for your comment ~ it’s interesting to hear from someone else who is “naturally poly.” I appreciate your point about loving more than one child, and so on. I think our attitudes toward monogamy have a lot to do with evolutionary-based ideas of men wanting to raise their own kids more than anything else, but it’s very ingrained for many of us.

        Raven said the same thing about the 3 rules being “communicate, communicate, communicate,” and that seems very cool to me.

        Thanks so much for reading, and for sharing your perspective.


  11. Wordwytch September 18, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    You’re welcome. I went through a lot of hell because of my poly mindset and actually came out the other side stronger than I expected to. If you ever want to talk, you know where I am.

    • aisha September 18, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

      Thank you very much, Wordwytch!! aisha


  1. the Middle…. | Vanillamom's Blog - September 18, 2011

    […] reading aisha’s post here, i thought a lot about subspace, and how it appears in Master and my play. For me, it is not an […]

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