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Sunday, 25 January 2015

How Female Led Relationships could go mainstream: #2 Asymmetrically Amorous - "Asym" for short.

(Part #1 here)
We'd know the "rules" for Female
 Led dating and courtship. 
It would be good if Female Led Relationships were mainstream.

Being able to be open would make it easier to be in one -- no need to hide it, and less complicated in dealing with others. It would also be easier to find one since you could just make it clear that's what you were looking for.

The openness would also help a shared FLR culture of etiquette and wisdom evolve.

We'd know the "rules" for Female Led dating and courtship. We'd know the different flavors of FLR. And best of all there'd be  a body of wisdom, including self help books by real psychologists, to help us.

How could we get there?

Well my generation won't. We have too much to lose. We're too embedded in our established social identities.

The younger people, though might drag FLR into the mainstream. They're already doing it with polyamory, which they call "poly".

Polyamory is consensual non-monogamy. Rather than hide affairs from each other, or pretend not to notice each other's adventures, poly couples happily form part of web of sexual relationships. There's a well developed set of terms to describe each, a supportive community,  there are serious organizations promoting it, and the media is starting to notice. It even got a positive article in the Scientific American.

Polyamory is a lot like FLR in that people have done it forever anyway. Only two things have really changed: poly people have banded together to establish ways of managing their relationships; and poly people are demanding across-the-board equality with monogamous people.

It's something that seems to come out of younger counter-cultural and intellectual circles who enjoy experimenting with relationship styles.  Since these sub cultures feed into the middle classes we're quickly moving to the point where it's not so shocking if somebody says, "Oh I'm poly."

How have they managed this? To take what looks a lot like "swinging" or open relationships" and turn them into something socially acceptable?

  • They've emphasized the relationship side of things and de-emphasized the sex. Poly isn't an opportunity to sleep with lots of people, it's an opportunity to have relationships with them. This is similar to the Gay Movement who presumably thought that mainstream society would be more supportive of love between same sex partners than they would of the mechanics of gay sex.
  • They're honest and unpretentious in their terminology. They use terms like "primary" and "secondary" and so far have resisted the urge to dress up their arrangements in, say, neo-paganism and  sound like bad Ren Fair performers. They've also called themselves something neutral and descriptive, unlike, say, "Naturists" which at once sounds like an evasion and  an attempt to impose values--if I call you a Naturist, then it sounds like I'm accepting that what you do is natural and hence good.
  • They've aligned themselves firmly with other social movements, especially LGBT Rights and Pride, and Feminism, incorporating their values and methods.
So if younger people started on the same experiment with FLR, how would it work?

The precondition is already there. Female Led Relationships have been around forever -- implicit FLR is nothing new. A lot of young people must be doing it and not realizing, and others are doing it but -- like those swingers of yesteryear who were really poly -- think they are doing it as BDSM.

So here's what needs to happen:
  • We need to be about the relationship, not the sexuality. FLR often implies Femdom, but it's not mandatory and there's no need to make ordinary people think about it.
  • We need terminology that's matter of fact (and also de-emphasizes the kink). Female Led Relationship is a great start, but we also need to not use Femdom terms like "Mistress" and "Slave", or infantalizing ones like "Mommy" and "Boy". Perhaps "husband" and "wife"/"boyfriend" and "girlfriend" is enough, since "I'll check with my wife" will one day be all you need to say to imply an FLR. (It would be nice, though, if we could use some mainstream term like "boss". Perhaps "lady" and "man"?)
  • We need to embrace the other social movements. FLR is what I -- and you, perhaps -- do. However that implies either a Lesbian or Heterosexual pairing. 
This suggests to me that FLR needs to be part of a broader movement, the more general the better since this will also distance the relationship concept from the underlying sexuality.

That movement, of course, would be "asymmetrical-amoury", or "asym" for short. It would embrace all relationships governed by a consensual power relationship, including complex polyamorous arrangements. And of course, since asym takes in all genders and orientations, saying, "Oh, we're asym" would not immediately conjure up specific pornographic images.

Will it happen? I think, as with poly, if somebody somewhere starts the ball rolling, it will snowball.

Perhaps one day our our friend will lean across the table and say, "You're asym like us, aren't you?"

Don't resign yourself to just getting off on other people's adventures! When we started out, my wife was vanilla. Use my manuals to help you walk the same Femdom path! There's one for him, and one for her

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