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  • Writer's pictureDan Apus Monoceros

Open relationship and fetish - by Dan Apus Monoceros (Coach for Kinks and non-monogamouse relationships)


"My husband, his BoyToy, my puppy and I went to the gay-BDSM.club play night at the weekend and met my slave from last week, where we ended up having an orgy."

If you don't think this introduction is particularly creative, then welcome to my world ;)


There is a huge range of non-monogamous relationship forms and both in the gay as well as in the BDSM and fetish environment, these seem to be more normal than the exception. The open relationship in particular has established itself here. This seems to make perfect sense, especially in BDSM and fetish-based relationships, where you often encounter the typical relationship trap.


But why is that so? Does it make sense? is there another way? What exactly is the relationship trap? And how do you actually create a successful open relationship?


But let's start from the beginning.




What exactly is an open relationship?

A relationship takes place on different levels and integrates elements such as love, living together, sexuality, building a future together, trust, romance, mutual friends or interests, security and much more. Fetishes, kinks and similar elements can also be part of a relationship.


In an open relationship, both partners are allowed to express their sexual needs, kinks and similar preferences outside of the relationship. However, none of these sexual or play partners are on the same level as the main partner.


There are often special conditions how partners shape their open relationship in order to make it positive for both partners. This can then, for example, be a veto right for the main partner that certain practices should not be done outside of the main relationship, that certain places are taboo for purely sexual partners or that only safer sex can be done outside of the main relationship.


But there are not only rules and restrictions, there are also positive things that keep the main relationship active, such as having a couples evening once a week, talking to each other about different experiences, or at least establishing principles that if a partner feels somehow strange or jealous, that you talk openly about the feelings.



Be fair to everyone involved.

No matter how you shape the relationship, it is important that everyone involved gets their money's worth and that everyone involved feels comfortable with the design. So don't leave your partners in the dark and if you are such a partner, you can also build long-term exciting experiences with another kinkster and maybe even with two or more.



Create an open relationship

But it also requires active relationship work, agreements, understanding for the partner and time and nerves to work on it. Problems in an open relationship should not simply be ignored and you should not let yourself go too much either... After all, you have to convince your partner again and again. But if this active relationship works and taking care of your partner and yourself is missing, every other relationship will fall apart...



Benefits of an open relationship

Healthy competition with others makes you attractive and desirable. Being desired by multiple partners increases self-esteem. New experiences outside of the core relationship also bring new impulses into the core relationship and expand the knowledge of the partners. Being able to express yourself reduces pressure and you can develop and unfold even during a relationship, even if your partner isn't actually ready for it. In addition, an open relationship can take the pressure of expectations and offers many opportunities to develop and fully develop yourself.


A decisive advantage is that one partner does not have to satisfy all of his partner's needs. If fetishes or special preferences in the relationship are not sufficiently satisfied by one's own partner, there is also the possibility of resorting to other partners and thus keeping the core relationship secure and intact.


Not every fetish relationship has to be an open one, but these 3 would make sense...

There are many happy fetish couples who live with them monogamously or together with others. An open relationship can be a possibility, but there are many other models that offer opportunities here. Here we want to focus on 3 typical situations where it makes sense to open a fetish relationship:


  • Stracciatella relationship

  • Semi-match with/without relationship trap

  • Blocked headspace


Stracciatella or Vanilla - Kinky relationship

Depending on where love falls, it can happen that a vanilla meets a kinky person. Or one of the partners just realizes over time that he also has other needs than just the classic things.


The desire for fetish and kinks can break a relationship if it is not fulfilled in the relationship. However, if a partner cannot or does not want to provide this part, it would not be fair that they would be forced to do so. The other way around, the one who has this wish should also be able to develop.


In any case, it is very good if you talk openly about this. A partner is then often willing to try out certain fetishes together and may discover something new for themselves in the process.


Opening for fetish and kinks

With some fetishes and preferences, however, it feels wrong when your partner does it. For example, humiliation and humiliation games are things that often feel rather weird with one's partner. In this case it makes perfect sense if I look for an outside partner here.



An open relationship is a wonderful thing, whereby you can define exactly how far both partners are allowed to live out. You can really only open this for the kink if this is the wish and e.g. do not allow classic sex with other partners. In practice, however, it makes perfect sense if at least some basic sexual practices are allowed, as these are often part of the bdsm game. In some role-playing games, however, this is not necessary, for example, you can tie completely asexually and focus more on devotion and intimacy, or asexual play is also used in puppy play or with the non-sexual slave.


One should also not underestimate that preferences change over time. It can be the case, for example, that someone just wants to try something and then decides for themselves that it was one of the excursions and they don’t want to have anything to do with it anymore. But it can also be that the vanilla partner then discovers something new for themselves and thus brings more kink into the relationship on their own.



Semi-match

The semi-match is a typical problem, especially in the BDSM world. The fact is that the partners are both into BDSM practices in principle, but they are different. For example, one partner can be into pain and another is more into losing control, both partners are primarily active and dominant or the opposite, or the match is not 100% for another reason, which is more the rule than the exception.


When you love someone, you make compromises. But that doesn't mean, that it's the right thing to you.


The relationship trap

And this is where the relationship trap comes in, in a way. A lot of BDSM practices are based on the idea that I take something from a partner and the sub is happy to give it. The lust arises from the perceived asymmetry in the hierarchy and distribution of power and the associated abuse of dominance for the pleasure of the cathedral. So you suffer for your partner or you accept a restriction for the cathedral or something similar. But if the dom then does this for the sub, then this stimulus is lost for the sub. If the dom also knows what the sub doesn't like, then he will no longer demand it, or if he demands it, he will remember that his partner actually doesn't like it at all and we can't enjoy it as much as we can with a play partner would do where he feels a less intense attachment. After all, everyone only wants the best for their partner, which in this case means that otherwise positive experiences are interpreted negatively.


How to overcome the relationship trap?

The trick to breaking this relationship trap is to only focus on what makes your partner horny and reinforce that. This means instead of thinking about what your partner doesn't like and concentrating on it, you do something that your partner likes in order to then enjoy your partner's horniness and the positive feedback it gives you. Of course, this applies to both sides and you have to convince yourself to a certain extent that it will work that way.


What are the peculiarities of fetishes and BDSM?

Many fetishes, BDSM practices, and role-playing games work with the concept of the mindset, or headspace. That is, certain attitudes are created for certain fetishes and role-playing games that fit the respective practices. The participants then fully or at least to a large extent become absorbed in this mental attitude and live it out here! In extreme cases, the participants are no longer able to talk, look at a specific person, have internalized certain protocols, are more resistant to pain, and sometimes no longer connected to the outside world as they usually are. A sub in a strong subspace can be very resistant to pain, but also no longer reacts to other stimuli that affect him from outside. This only works if it can fully immerse itself in its role and hide its surroundings.


Reach the headspace

But it doesn't always work to get into the appropriate headspace. Factors such as a lack of trust, insecurity or other issues that may be going through your head mean that you cannot let go. The participants do not reach the desired headspace and if this remains so for a long time, many sessions are then aborted again.


External factors can help or hinder reaching headspace. Enabling factors are things like certain outfits and gear, the use of certain behaviors, external partners, certain surroundings or the like. The more often you use them for support, the more these elements are linked to the corresponding headspaces. On the other hand, if you use many elements that are linked to other things, such as everyday clothing in your own home, it can be more difficult to reach the headspace here.


Fetish in the relationship

The partner can also be a supporting or inhibiting factor. Encouraging in the sense that one has trust here and can let go more easily, but also inhibiting in the sense that one also shares many other things with this person and often talks about at least similarly emotional things that are not sexual at all.


The following example sentence always illustrates this relatively well:


"Lick my boots, slave!"
"But only if you put them straight away in the closet and don't leave them lying around again."

Even if the slave would never say it like that, he might think so in the situation. This thought alone will prevent him from really letting himself go in the situation. The relationship and its conflicts and issues overlay the D/s situation. It will probably still work to develop a suitable situation here, but if more and more factors come together here, this will become more and more difficult.


The domes in particular seem to have their problems here, as they often have less pronounced headspaces. Very often they are in similar moods in everyday life and during the game and often only have to change a little. However, this similarity often makes it difficult to make a clear distinction here, and they must also be strictly separated from one another. If you then have a strong emotional influence from everyday life with your partner, this can influence the game accordingly and you no longer think of "the bastard crawling on the floor", but "of the complaining"... but of course there is there are also similar effects the other way around, as described above.



Possible solutions

Many couples have found simple solutions for themselves and have learned to switch off explicitly. Some couples give each other signals before they enter the shared apartment about the mood they are in today. Keeping certain rooms free for this game is also a very good way, as well as appropriate outfits and similar items. Start words (similar to stop words) too. Changing the light and mood can also help and is quickly done with LEDs in your own home. A joint trip to a BDSM club is absolutely helpful, or even bringing other partners along will make it easier to get in the right mood. There are many other approaches as well, but ultimately you have to find out for yourself which ones have the best chance of success for you and also experiment a bit. But getting the right headset is also a question of training and can be promoted through mental training methods.



Tip:

If you want to be well prepared here, you can use various self-conditioning measures to get into the right headspace during the changing process. But there are also tricks and techniques how to do this very quickly without adding external elements such as clothing or the like.



Results: Fetish & open relationship a match?!

Everyone has to decide for themselves which relationships they can imagine for themselves and together with your partner you should find the right one for you.


In the long term, compromises and sacrifices in a relationship are definitely not a solution. If you notice that you are not getting your money's worth in the relationship, you should consider opening the relationship here. This does not necessarily have to be in every area and without framework conditions, but can and should take place after mutual consultation and agreements. If you are not happy and sexually fulfilled in the long term, you will find ways... and get attached to things that are not a problem in a well-functioning open relationship. This can be detrimental to the relationship and, in the worst case, end it.


But anyone who opens a relationship should always remember that if you give one side a little more freedom, then you also need trust on the other side. Talking is essential, also about feelings, fears, concerns, desires and limits. Therefore, compromises and agreements also make sense. But the good feeling with your partner is even more essential, because talking is supposed to produce exactly that. Therefore, always take enough time for your partner and keep the fetish within the scope that you and your relationship do not miss out.



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  • Writer's pictureDan Apus Monoceros

2022 was a very special year. The lockdown came to an end, social life slowly emerged again, but there were also new challenges and problems, such as the lockdown in Asia, the war in Europe or inflation and rising energy prices that we are struggling with and that influenced our last year. There are also a few trends that have progressed further or that have now also entered the kinky world.


I talked to a few colleagues who are themselves active in the gay and BDSM scene and do podcasts, blogs or events there. I asked what they saw as trends in 2022 and what they expect for 2023.


Here are a few results summarized!


Old, new spontaneity among the guests

private events?

puppies everywhere

The Gearheads are coming

The toy market is changing - private becomes professional

Kink in the media and society

Kink as art

Intellectual kink elite

Professionalization of sex and kink education

Back to the basics

Negative tendencies and regression


About the Author, Dan Apus Monoceros:

I coach non-monogamous relationships and kinks, work as a bondage trainer and rope artist, and do BDSM events. So I deal with the queer kink world on a daily and professional basis and therefore also observe what is developing here. But that doesn't mean I can do it as an outsider or have an objective opinion even if I try. I therefore try to compare myself with others and to underpin the trends presented here with concrete experiences, whereby I only observe a very subjective part here. This can cause some things to appear completely different or even feel wrong to you. Because you only have a part in mind. Nevertheless, I wish you a lot of fun with the observations that other kink creators and I have made in the last year and how we suspect how the industry and the scene will develop.


Old, new spontaneity among the guests

After the lockdowns were over last year, there was no stopping the guests. We were regularly sold out and the guests dutifully bought their tickets. Then came the moment when, despite many ticket sales, we had few physical guests on site. The guests suddenly had too many offers to choose from and a lot was made up for. Sales fell again, but guests still came (although this varied depending on the offer). Sometimes even so many that we had to stop admission. But that wasn't just the case for me, it was the same or something similar for many other organizers. And yes, we as organizers have to go back to our old way of thinking, where the guests don't announce themselves, but just drop by spontaneously.


The question now is, will the organizers manage to get the guests to commit to their event, or will the organizers and guests simply spontaneously see who is (still) coming in and who might be sent away again?


private events?

The kinky scenes, no matter which city, always have the strongest competition with private events and Corona has made private parties socially acceptable. There you often meet up with your own circle of friends, you can usually celebrate cheaper and do things in public that you shouldn't do publicly at public events if you don't want to get kicked out.


In fact, this development has only happened to a limited extent. At least in Berlin, people also want to attend public parties and get to know new people. Accordingly, I would say that this trend has been the opposite of the last few years. At least that's how I can tell for my parties.


puppies everywhere

You could say it like that. Everyone who is even a bit kinky is now a puppy. The cohesion of the past, this "we are the others" is gone and many packs, small groups and associations are falling apart or becoming rather loose connections. In Berlin alone I know of 5 different providers for Puppy Events in 2023. In 2019 I was still alone here. And by that I mean just play, dance and social parties. The regulars' tables and other leisure activities are not included here. Since the puppies no longer support each other, but often go their separate ways and also get into every other club, the question naturally arises as to how successful this will be...


The Gearheads are coming!

I personally fell in love with the Gearheads. "Back then, when I was young..." (now you can call me Daddy ;) it was still something special that we had cross-cycling gear sessions or were at parties. Today I would probably be less noticeable. But for that I just noticed the guys in their gears, which have meanwhile become a relevant size. So we now had a Gearhead photo shoot for Folsom and gear parties have long been established throughout Germany. For me, definitely the right time for my SMash! Party to revive: gearheads, puppies, and all the colorful kinks. After it was discontinued in 2020 because of Corona and the location was unfortunately no longer affordable afterwards, it will now be revived again in 2023: colorful, crazy, kinky. in sinberlin. Wish me lucky :)


Toy market changing? - Private becomes professional

New production methods, materials and products have found their way after little has happened in previous years. But it seems that before that, private providers initially worked a lot at home, be it with 3D printers, casting processes, sustainable materials, digital things and more. They were there at these trade fairs and not only can you buy chic, high-quality whips made in Germany or at least locally produced, but also a huge range of creative, colorful and unusual products. Amazon sex toy shopping is definitely around and cool goods are conquering the market.


Many toys now come from the 3D printer and have different colors and other modification options. Although they are still a long way from being made to measure, they have at least become more flexible. While virtual reality shows are still rare, they endure. They come here more from an art perspective and offer fetish dance performances that go far beyond the standard of a prono. Toys also became more artistic and creative. Not only dildos or other insertables are gaining in colour, pedals, whips, collars, restraints and much more are becoming more and more colorful and supplemented by new materials and processes, such as casting processes.


Club wear has also left its niche. Brands that offer sufficient quality in the middle price segment have now established themselves where you used to only be able to buy self-made products at a wickedly expensive price or really cheaply (also in terms of quality) abroad.



Kink in the media and society

For years, it has always been a personal concern of mine to see kink as normal. While we're not there yet, I've seen an increase in public interest in the topic over the last few years, especially on TV and online media. This is particularly important because the community guidelines of large social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and the like often tend in the opposite direction and try to push these topics to the fringes of society. In the past, Germany was always a relatively liberal and open country, which approached the topic very openly and positively. Only in the last few years has there been a sharper decline, which was probably fueled by the social ban on the big platforms. The established media industry in Germany now seems to see this as an opportunity. It takes up these topics and thus offers content that is censored and banned from other platforms.


In the last year I have taken part in several productions. Where in the past I was only asked about small documentaries, for example Pure Production, in 2022 more and more productions from larger (online) broadcasters reached me. A very nice result I found the contribution with me from “not excite” by Joyn about the Puppy Market that I organize. Some colleagues felt the same way, and issues such as bondage, BDSM, polyamory and Co. have attracted more attention from the media and thus also from their society. And for the current year I already have a number of larger inquiries going.


Kink as art

Kink is increasingly becoming content, and not only in the media. More and more theaters and vernissages are also offering productions and exhibitions that work with BDSM elements. However, these are not scene stages aimed at kinky people, but smaller or larger regular stages where these elements are used as design elements. This breaks down barriers and requires viewers to actively engage with it.


For example, visitors to the new National Gallery in Berlin have the opportunity to rest in a chain sling or to be handcuffed for a certain period of time. Artists on stage explain concepts such as consensus and the freedom of being bound, of one's choice and the concept of being dominated or dominating others. And for me, too, there were personal highlights in 2022, where I was able to perform my rope art at a fine dining event, for example, and was booked again for next year.



Intellectual kink elite

The number of kinky offers that also have an intellectual claim is increasing. Even before Corona, we created a very successful format with the Teegesellschaft, where readings, shows, talks and the like were associated with fetish, kink and sex positivity. And this trend appears to be continuing and evolving. Offerings of readings, talk groups or (art and documentary) films are also growing, as are galleries that are aimed specifically at the kinky community. There were also more and more suppliers at the trade fairs who offered high-quality kinky art, from photography to sculptures to virtual and real art performances.


Kink thus leaves the personal framework and becomes more socially acceptable. Perhaps this is also a reason why there are more and more voices in the young kinky scene in particular that want fewer sexual events and are in a way afraid of themselves that they will be too easily tempted to do so if these options exist to do something too... This is based on individual statements, but at least some parties have now made exactly this their motto: fetish yes, sexuality no.


But whether this goes in the same direction, which might be the reason here (Kink is now seen more as an identity and less as a personal preference) and whether this is the case at all, I can't say unfortunately, but definitely If so, I'll keep watching!



Professionalization of sex and kink education

Not only some series from Netflix and Amazon (but certainly these too) have led to an increase in interest in well-founded courses. There are also more and more professionally organized providers who also pay their coaches fairly and thus ensure the quality of the teaching. There are still many laypeople who spread dangerous half-knowledge and sometimes have dubious motivations behind them, but the awareness of the participants for professional offers has increased and is valued. Correspondingly, framework offers have also developed, such as network meetings, academies, training the trainer concepts or the like. It remains to be seen whether this trend towards quality will remain in the long term. But one can assume that all those who work in a really well-founded manner and not only use this as a personal opportunity to make themselves important will continue to work successfully. At least for my offers so far I can only confirm this with yes. The market will certainly reorganize itself a bit here, too, and it remains exciting to see how this will develop in the long term.


Back to the basics

Before Corona, workshops were often very successful in very specific areas. But now the basics seem to be gaining in importance again. This is hardly surprising if one assumes that all those who have not attended any online workshops and have not really trained during Corona are now looking for suitable offers on the market. The question is how it will behave this year. Will those who have learned the basics want to stick with it and move on, or will we still have a generation or two of participants who need the basics first and foremost. It remains exciting.



Negative tendencies and regressions

But unfortunately there are also developments in the opposite direction. The visibility and acceptance seems to lead to the appropriate backlash from people who haven't been picked up. Since I don't know any real background here, one can of course speculate a lot where it comes from... poor integration, conservative to right-wing ideas, people left behind in society who are looking for an enemy image, extremists and faith fighters who organize themselves via social media and society against each other want to raise… A cyberwar by the Russians? Surely you can think of more approaches, but I don't know and that's all speculative so far. I am happy about links and refer to studies if you have any!


The reported assaults and crimes against the LGBT community in Berlin are increasing and reaching a new high since they were recorded. The actions in Qatar and the fact that only a few sponsors have turned their backs on football after this social misstep is unfortunately frightening. But will we continue to find Coca-Cola Company products in queer bars, and people will continue to go to McDonald's, despite the negative corporate publicity? How so? Because we're used to it, it's comfortable and cheap... but as a consequence such companies will continue to support anti-liberal behavior and continue to wire money to opponents of our beliefs... let's just make sure we get more money from them at the next Prides...


Unfortunately, you also have to include funny comments from the scene towards other members of our scene (see the article on fetishes at Pride). And how are we going to convince other people to fight for our rights and tolerance who are not even directly affected (like our national team) when we can't stand by ourselves and stand up together. Therefore, for 2023 we should aim to support each other, to coordinate and advance each other, to build something together and to stand united against hate and intolerance.



Have you had similar experiences? What are your expectations for 2023? Or do you have something else that interests you? Feel free to send me a question to info@gay-BDSM.club


I wish you a kinky 2023!


Dan


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  • Writer's pictureDan Apus Monoceros

Family of choice is where we feel comfortable

by Dan Apus Monoceros


Every year: the season of family celebrations is upon us. Some will probably drive across the country to see their relatives, eat with them, exchange gifts and have a good time. Some will certainly argue with them, because just because you share a few genes doesn't mean you have the same values and world views.


But not everyone has family or can and/or wants to visit them. Maybe some have broken with their relatives, maybe they are just too far away and some have never had any or met them. Especially in the LGBTQ world, this seems to happen a bit more often than in some other settings.


But there is not only the family we were born into, but also the family we look for and build ourselves over time. And it is with this family that I would like to share with you in this article.


In preparation for this article, I have started a small, non-representative survey, and the results will be included here. In this article I would also like to

  1. define and understand the (chosen) family

  2. shed light on different aspects of families of choice

  3. compare the family of choice with our genetic family

  4. question why the aspect of choice is so important

  5. Look at the other side of the coin

  6. And ask ourselves how to make a choice family successful


The survey

I myself have been living in a choice family for several years. However, as I do not want to draw conclusions or generalise from myself to others, I started a small, non-representative survey to which I received 28 responses.


I distributed the survey in the network and environment of the gay-BDSM.club. Accordingly, no conclusions can be drawn here for the population as a whole.


This was also confirmed in the survey, where 78.6% of the participants stated that they were male and only 14.3% female (7.2% had a different gender). In addition, only 7.1% said they were heterosexual. 67.9% said they were kinky. 42.9% of the participants described themselves as non-monogamous. 32.1% of the participants were up to 24 years old. An equal proportion were between 25 and 34 years old. And an again correspondingly equal proportion were over 35.


Of all participants, 46.4% said they were currently living or had lived in an chosen family in the past. 32.1% would like to be in one and the rest are undecided or think they would rather not live in one. Those who already have experience with an chosen family filled out a detailed questionnaire. The others came to a few general questions.


What is a chosen family?

Deviating from our genetic family, in the course of our lives there are always networks of people to whom we feel we belong, sometimes even more than those where we come from. By this I do not mean the partner:in, but an association of people who do not necessarily also have sexual contact, but who love each other in their own way.

Results from our survey:

We asked those who were currently or in the past in an chosen family how happy they were at this. All were "always'' or "most of the time'' "very happy''!

One possible definition

There are a variety of definitions, with quite a few focusing on the affiliation of parents and children, and only a few understanding families as an abstract model of unrelated people.

The following is my definition:

In more abstract terms, a chosen family can be said to consist of several people who feel a sense of belonging to each other, regularly interact with each other and support each other, regardless of situational sympathy.

What I am trying to express here is that there is a higher construct behind what is more than friendship, mutual benefit or sympathy. If you fall out with a friend, you can find a new one. Family, on the other hand, is not so easy to choose.

This is also true of a chosen family. You can choose it, but once you have joined a family, you are bound to it. You can leave it again, but it is usually difficult to do so. Individual members, on the other hand, cannot be chosen. It is a kind of obligation to which you submit, even if it doesn't suit you at the moment.

Commitment on several levels

Often they share resources, take on protective or supportive functions for each other and stand up for each other. They virtually commit themselves to the family and thus to all members of the family. The values merge into one another.

In principle, they pursue common values and ideas, but they do not have to agree in detail. Disagreements are part of it and can enrich the family and give the family new perspectives and values... or they can also divide the family. Thus, a family is not a fixed construct, but develops over time. The individual members can also interact with non-family members, whereby these external interactions are to be understood as less lasting than the bond within the family, unless an equally strong bond develops with the external, who then also becomes part of the family, kinship.

Because of the high level of commitment, people go through thick and thin together. You share the good things and the bad things with each other. So it's not always easy, but for the most part you are rewarded.

But this commitment is rewarded. In our survey, all respondents were "always" or "mostly very happy". Overwhelmingly nice result, which was often further confirmed to us later in the context of other surveys.


Naming, contents & commonalities

There are many names for this: this starts with typical family terms like "my (non-birth) brother/sister", "my sibling", "my [poly / rope / BDSM / kinky / leather / drag / FF / ...] family", "my pack", "House of [any name]", "my homies", etc. There are many, many names. To keep it consistent, we now call these social constructs families of choice.

But the name is not so insignificant. It often contains the central element of the family that this group of people is about. So the Leather Family probably has something to do with leather, the Rope Family with Shibari and the Pack probably with Puppies.

But there are also names that are more about a specific person, like the House of Spot, where Spot is the head of the family and this represents a kind of decision-making structure and the design framework of just Spot.

Even if there is a central theme, like in a Leather family, this does not always have to be equally strong in all members. It can also lose its importance completely over the years. The cohesion between people is what actually makes it special.

In our surveys, we asked what the fundamental commonalities of chosen families are. The most frequently mentioned elements were polyamory (8) and various kinks (7), with "being a puppy" being mentioned several times.

We also wanted to know other commonalities. Here, the elements already mentioned were repeated and expanded. Interestingly, a higher level of education in connection with sexual experimentation was mentioned several times. But there were also clusters of topics such as cuddling, cultural events, good food, nature or other leisure activities that took place outside the sexual framework. Common values were also mentioned, such as tolerance, openness, honesty, trust or understanding.

The result is not surprising, but it shows that we are on the right track and that people who like each other more than anything else can also find common ground and common themes. But it also shows that later on it's not just about one topic, but about the cohesion in this group, just like in a biological family.

A family for eternity

A family is actually defined for eternity. But an eternity is a long time. A family can develop and change. You can like it more or less and feel more or less comfortable in it. But normally they don't die out. That is, you are in the family for life, so to speak, even if you part ways later on. So I wanted to know how long the participants have been in the chosen family.

A share of 23.1% have been in a chosen family for more than 5 years. Exactly the same number, however, have been in a chosen family for less than 1 year. The majority of 53.9% have been part of a family between 1 and 3 years.

That's not an eternity and I'm really curious whether this long-term commitment will really last or whether it will soon be gone again... But when I think about how long my first gay relationships lasted, 3 years is almost an eternity ;)

A substitute for the genetic family?

Sometimes families of choice are a substitute for the genetic family, e.g. if you have left your home country or don't have a good relationship with it. So it's not surprising that in the Kink and LGBTQ world, too, families of choice are an issue. Many people experience incomprehension or even negative reactions to their coming out here at home, they are discriminated against in the village they live in or they don't feel they can develop where they were born and then move to another city, sometimes a big city.

The chosen family can help and then offers a suitable environment in which - similar to a genetic family - one can develop and evolve. But since the members are the results of a free choice, you can identify with them more, share common interests, you can be open and inspire each other and thus develop further.

In our survey, we asked you how you feel about your genetic family. In this part we only asked participants who live in a chosen family and 8 answered. When asked if they were happy with their genetic family, only two answered "yes very much". All the others were rather neutral to unhappy with their biological family. And the direct comparison between the chosen family and the genetic family was also rather sobering. For one, the comparison was not possible. All the others agreed: the chosen family is the only true one for them, or at least they would prefer it to their genetic family when in doubt.

Of course, the result is not representative. But at least for those, the decision seems clear.

The aspect of choice and other advantages

Even though the commonalities seem fundamental, there is a very important aspect to the chosen family: the family members are not randomly thrown together, they choose each other.

In most cases, a single member cannot choose all the other members. In special cases this may be so (for example, a Master can do so if he chooses his slaves and switchers among them), but mostly there are formal or informal processes for how the others are integrated. After all, the existing members are already family and only the best is wanted for the family.

In any case, the new member can always decide for himself whether he wants to become a member of the chosen family or not.

Why do people want to become members of a chosen family?

Surely everyone has their own reasons for being in a chosen family. I therefore asked you and separately contrasted those with a chosen family with those without a chosen family. Are the expectations of those who want to be in a chosen family realistic?

First, we freely asked what the most important aspects of a chosen family are. I grouped these into categories and primarily aspects of the following 3 areas were mentioned:

The aspect of having a choice! (with: 23.1% / without: 44.4%):

Acceptance and belonging as one is (with: 23.1% / without: 33.3%).

Classic family values, such as sharing information and resources, division of labour, security and support (with: 30.7% / without: 11.1%)


It is interesting to see that both groups basically agree that the points "choice" and "belonging" are among the top3 aspects. However, the most important item for those with a chosen family is "classic family values". However, this item appears only once for those who do not have a chosen family and thus seems relatively insignificant.

Perhaps this is because these people currently only know classic family values from their biological family. Perhaps their experiences there tend not to be so good and perhaps the importance has therefore rather declined. Perhaps this will change when they are in a chosen family and realise that classical family values suddenly gain in importance with the people they have chosen. But maybe such values are not (yet) so important for these people in general. Unfortunately, our survey does not give an answer to this.

When asked "how important are the following benefits of a chosen family", both groups agreed that the aspect of "being there for you when you need them!" was important or very important. For those without a chosen family, 100% were at "very important". Although this aspect is a little less important among those with experience (92.8% see this as important or very important), an overwhelming majority of 92.3% confirmed that this is "completely true" and the rest at least that this is somewhat true.

There was a very comparable result when asked if it gives one a "sense of belonging". This was characterised as important or very important by 100% of those without experience (84.6% of those with experience) and confirmed by 100% of those with experience.

Likewise, 100% of those without experience and 92.3% of those with experience stated "help with personal development" as at least "important". 86.7% of those with experience confirmed that this was also true.

The question of how important "tips and information" are was answered rather split by the group with experience and some found this "very important", others rather "so-so". Is this perhaps because some families of choice are simply very good sources of information and others perhaps less so? Be that as it may, among those without a family of choice, on the other hand, a clear majority said "important" (66.7%). Perhaps their opinion will then shift in one direction or the other, depending on which electoral family they come from.

The other side of the coin?

Where there is light, there is also shadow. We therefore asked you about the other side of the coin. Even though most (33.3%) could not name or saw any clear disadvantages, the following 4 points were named by 16.7% each:

  • There is no foundation, or you have to build one first (2x).

  • There are also conflicts and quarrels (2 x).

  • You have to talk a lot and exchange ideas, which takes time and energy (2x)

  • Acceptance problems in the rest of society and with the genetic family (2x)

But I have to say that the first three points also apply to genetic families, at least mine is not inferior to my chosen family in terms of conflicts, the need to talk and different values. Yes, we carry the same genes, but this doesn't really seem to weld us together or give us a common foundation....

But the last point, social acceptance, is definitely a problem that we have had to face too many times already and that may even have brought us into the choice family in the first place. But even if the family of choice is socially contested and not accepted, at least you can say that together in the family you have and endure the problem and don't have to stand your ground within the family and fight against it. That's why I was also interested in...


How do you manage to maintain the connection within the family of choice?

You have named what you do to feel connected!

Not very surprisingly, communication is in first place (46.2%)! Not just talking, but all the ways that go with it, such as listening, addressing problems, non-verbal communication, talking about feelings or group discussions.

Also in first place, and no less important from my point of view as a coach, is spending time together. It doesn't matter whether you do sports, business or fisting together. Physical contact and activity are also important to you, although sexual activity was mentioned far less often than one might think.

It's also great that you mentioned other important aspects. Although they were mentioned much less frequently, they are still very important, such as "trust", "forgiving others", "overlooking mistakes" or "self-reflection".

In couples coaching, such aspects are also called benevolence, i.e. the willingness to put one's own doubts and needs aside, not to put everything on a gold scale and to interpret things positively or to turn them into the positive. If you cultivate a high level of goodwill towards your partner or your family, the relationship will continue to flourish in the long term. Conversely, hostility, the opposite of goodwill, is a statistically relevant indicator that a relationship is in crisis. If you feel it, you should talk about it. If you feel goodwill, spend more time together to strengthen your connection.

A conclusion

Certainly, everyone may have their own opinion about what family is for them and what kind of people they want to surround themselves with. For me, a family should always accept one for who we are and support us in becoming who we really are. They shouldn't deform and bend us, they shouldn't close us off or set barriers, but should give us the strength and energy we need to develop to our full potential. But they should also be there when we need them and hold us and catch us when we fall. Those who have found this social network of people should work on it constantly with goodwill, address problems and invest time and energy on their part. Only in this way can we create the same or even better opportunities for others to develop as we would like for ourselves.




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