What is a serious relationship for Primal folk?
Like the rest of the BDSM community, what constitutes a serious relationship is highly personal. The difference is the overlap into conventional “vanilla” relationships. Sometimes a Primal relationship will seem conventional due to lack of props and the usual D/s structure. Sometimes it seems conventional because the people involved are from a pro masculinity culture, and their tribe or coupling is led by a patriarch “alpha” male or Daddy of any sex. The culture may be very pro femininity, and the tribe or coupling led by an “alpha” female. What makes it different beneath the surface is that the level of livable violence or intensity is still going to be comfortably and preferably higher than what has normally been considered ideal since the industrial revolution.
So in contrast to the conventional “vanilla” standard for “serious” which stresses the formal recognition of a couple to the utmost importance, where the essence of the relationship is irrelevant aside of a romanticized Disney ideal; in BDSM/Primal relationships, the essence is important and formal recognition is near irrelevant. The relationship is deemed serious by the people involved in it considering each other more important than general human relations, and acting on that by whatever means available or appropriate to them, not based on the state or church authorities.
Some BDSM/Primal relationships are even secret. Some are even non penetrative or NBFE (no body fluid exchange), but quite serious. So you are bound to see among us differing definitions of “in a serious relationship” and even different meanings for “had sex”, but things like “mating” will still generally involve some penetration, at least oral sex, or genital to genital contact.
A serious relationship will still be considered long term, whether or not it leads to formal marriage. Many Primal relationships lead to marriage partly because there is usually actual mating and all the responsibility that comes with that. Just as many don’t lead to marriage because Primal people tend to walk a different path than the norm, and are politically opposed to the idea of the state controlling relationships between consenting adults.
Some serious Primal relationships are monogamous, but in my observation this is unusual. Quite often, people form tribes, and also common are polygamous men or women towards whom their partners are monogamous while they are not. Of those in either tribes or polygamous groupings, some may be open, but usually not all. Most allow people to be free to determine their own level of openness or sexual generosity.
One thing that is fairly standard though, is protectiveness of partners. Whether Primal people are polyamorous or monogamous, most are fiercely protective and involved in their partners’ wellbeing. It is not about jealousy, but about concern both for their partner as an individual and for the family/tribe as a unit.
One reason Primal relationships often end up as they are is that many, if not most Primal people are demisexual to some degree. They are attracted to people they trust, and not attracted to people they don’t or who they don’t know well enough. Once someone is in their circle, they are considered safe and therefore attractive. In a polyamorous tribe, being in a stable, trusting situation with one person in the tribe opens them to others. Someone unsafe becomes repellent, not only to the person or people they personally hurt, but to everyone in the tribe. Whether or not others in one’s tribe find them attractive may have some bearing on whether or not the relationship continues because lack of attraction indicates lack of trust.
We are keenly aware that some conventional people don’t understand us and may lure our partners into either monogamy or a more “healthy” relationship with gentler sex. Because many of us are against state marriage or just not that interested in it, and walking an alternative path can be difficult for some, the lure of the paperwork gets some. Then there is the problem of abusive relationships. One of the things an abuser or exploiter does is to isolate their prospective victim.
Though most of the BDSM community has a cooler attitude about this, Primal folks are more likely to react more intensely to threats to their partners. If someone actually wants to leave us, we may grieve and be heartbroken, but we’re not usually going to react with violence towards the partner. If you ask, many if not most (but seriously, every one I have ever spoken to) can’t hurt their partner(s). They can hurt them physically during sex or some of the sports and “horseplay”, but they can’t assault them nonconsensually or harm them on purpose.
It is quite common though, for us to take the law into our own hands to some degree. This is especially true of us in the Pagan community, as we are not usually the “new age” sort who don’t believe in harming people who mess with our loved ones. So Primal people are not the right address to look for someone to mess with. We tend to be the type who will fight an enemy with our fists or our furies.
On the other hand, we are generally very comfortable with not-serious if there is no reciprocation. One of the key features of most Primal people is that we compartmentalize very well. Serious isn’t a word Primal people will generally use to label a relationship they are not willing to bleed in battle for. If you make a point of being not-serious with a Primal, they will probably not let you die in the street, but they will calmly watch you suffer in some ways in order to show you respect for your space. Generally for us, the violation of space is considered very disrespectful. We have usually had many “demons” to struggle with, and understand a need for people to just back off. The consequences of people not backing off when we really needed them to, have sometimes been verbally or physically violent outbursts that one can’t take back once one has let out. So if someone says they need it, we give them space the same as we would want if we needed space. We will not hold it against them at all, so long as there has been adequate communication. We usually won’t see simple absence as neglect as long as it is honest. The line where we do start to feel neglected is very clear. If, on the other hand, you ghost without explanation, do not expect your spot to be there when you return.
(Click below to continue figuring out where you stand with a Primal partner.)