I have always thought that polyamory had the ability to challenge and strengthen the muscles of communication in a relationship. Nothing challenges a poly relationship more than a play event.
This past weekend V and I attended Dark Odyssey: Winter Fire (DOWF), a hotel event with sex ed workshops, parties and open play spaces. V and I have been to other Dark Odyssey events – such as Summer Camp and Leather Retreat – but this was our first event where we really felt solid in our poly relationship. Each event, V and I grow as a couple and are forced to deal with our relationship issues, whether we are aware of them or not. And we are not alone. We’ve watched couple after couple be confronted by the unattended issues in their relationships, such as meeting their lover’s partners, creating boundaries and sticking to each other’s promises. My issues with trust and agreements are amplified by a weekend play event, which is virtually a cesspool of beautiful, sexually open people and everyone is tempting. But at Winter Fire, V and I were armed with the tools and the experience to deal with the ups and downs of the event.
Scheduling Play Dates: One of the challenges V and I face at play events is arranging play dates. When we first started attending DO events, we realized that people planned out who and when they will play with. V and I are more accustom to play happening organically and without planning (mostly because my lady is the queen of naked girl parties, hosted in our bedroom!!). But at an event with over 300 people, timing is always an issue. It has taken me a combination of several play parties and two large play events to get that planning out play dates allows V and I to make sure we have the appropriate amount of time for each other. I only feel comfortable being set loose in a play event after I’ve had personal time with V and in the past not having that time has ended in heated arguments. So at Winter Fire, we made a point to plan out our personal time and schedule our play dates. And I had my first successful solo play date, since V and I tend to engage in group sex. Planning this date and taking the time I needed with V before my date made us feel like we truly doing poly right.
Dropping at a Play Event: At DO: Summer Camp, V experienced a serious drop after not receiving proper after care from one of her play dates. This happened on a Sunday night, the night before the event ended. Instead of being with V’s upset, I got annoyed that she started dropping while we still at the event because I had this idea that drop happens after camp, not during. I was not able to fully be there for my partner and my attitude about the situation caused further upset in my partner that took her several days to recover. Based on this experience, I took on allowing my partner to have full access to my love, comfort and attention at Winter Fire and promised her that if she started to drop or get emotional, I would stop what I was doing and be there for her. So at Winter Fire, when V became emotional on Saturday night, we found a quiet spot to talk and I listened to V’s concerns. I was able to be close to my partner and give her the affection she needed to overcome an emotional upset. The result was that V felt fully supported and she did not have an emotional upset for the rest of the weekend. I felt like a badass partner willing to be there for my lady under any circumstance and V was able to recover quickly from her unanticipated drop.
Going Back to the Real World: I have to admit V and I didn’t take off our DO wrist bands until just a few days ago. When I got bored at my desk at work, I’d sit with my head in my hands and daydreaming about sex with R, trying not to get all hot and bothered in my cubicle. When I got home, V and I would lay in bed all sad and moopy missing DO. Instead of succumbing to the drop, we decided to take about our favorite moments and deal with how we were going to come back to real world. We decided the best way for us to lift our spirits was to surround ourselves with friends and brag about our fabulous weekend!! So we took our roommate out to dinner, invited some friends over and blabbed about our play event. Out vanilla friends asked lots of questions and marveled at how we have been able to make our open relationship run so smoothly. As a couple, we got to be acknowledged for all our hard work and glow at our ability to have sex empower and expand our relationship. We also got to the bottom of why we are so intimidating – our roommate says it’s because we have the perfect relationship and are fully sexually expressed with others in a way that works for us. And that makes me smile!
So I recommend that if you are in a long term, open relationship, ready to expand at a play event, do it! Use the event as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship, communicate openly and have hella fun with your partner as well as others.