Alternative Lifestyle

My name is Benee and I’m a “Freak Mama”.

(Hi Benee!!!)

What do I mean by this?

Well a few posts back, Tanji wrote about sex after marriage and children and a few people chimed in with their responses about how often and such. I reread that and realized I stuck out a bit. I’m not embarassed, but it makes me chuckle.

No marriage or kid is going to get in the way of a Freak Mama!! LOL

Two interesting facts about me and my sexual identification: I’m bisexual and I’m into BDSM. Yes, I know, you didn’t want to know that much about me. But it is relevant to the issue at hand.

You read Cocoa Mamas, right? So you know I’m going through a divorce and that I’m currently single and dating. You also know that I’ve realized that on the other side of 30 and marriage, I’m far more selective about people I engage with on that level. This is a nice way of saying: Mama aint getting none!! (ok, not “none” but I’ve never been this scarce is my entire adult life!)

So as a single woman, co-parenting a son with the man I’m divorcing, I’m finding my needs are not being as met as I’d like them to be, so sex is almost always on my mind. What’s been on my mind moreso lately is how far I’m willing to go to raise my son to be as open and liberal as I am about sexuality. I’m one of those people who has extremely liberal beliefs about sexuality, orientation, identity, preference, etc. I’m a couch activist for LGBTQ awareness/issues. I’m involved in a BDSM/Kink community on and offline. I believe that these are parts of me that are quite important.

So how do I raise my son with an understanding and appreciation for my liberal ways? Does his being a boy, a Black boy at that, pose any limitations, as Black men are notorious for being conservative about alternative sexuality issues? Will my liberal upbringing have a negative impact or influence him in ways that might hurt him down the line? Is it OK to take him to a LGBTQ Pride Parade when he gets over his fear of crowds? Do I introduce him to women I would date as I would men (after whatever time period)?

What about my kink side? Is it ok for him to see me wearing a collar, for example, if I become collared by a Dominant? Is it ok to see me kneeled down next to a Dominant while that Dominant eats his dinner? Do kinky mothers have to set limits on their outward behaviors around their children? Would that be like hiding though?  He’s already discovered my “Special toy” and has even gone in my drawer and brought it to me, offering it and saying “Here Mommy, you need to relax…” o_O What if he discovers my whips, floggers, collars, plugs, clamps, canes, well, you get the picture. The “What’s that?” question is bound to come.

How far is too far? How much is too much?

As a mother, should I be expected to slow down with my “alternative” sexual activity? Am I setting a bad example? I know married folks have sex with their kids in other rooms, but what if I bring someone over and I’m engaging in some kinky BDSM scene and I’m screaming? I might scare my son!! He gonna think dude is trying to kill me!! LOL

What are your thoughts??

23 thoughts on “Alternative Lifestyle

  1. I’m actually speechless.
    Well, not speechless per se, but I really don’t know what to say. I guess you just have to be diligent in hiding stuff from him. I mean, there are definitely age limits upon which I’d be explaining anything sexual to a child, far less the kinky stuff.

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  2. moko makes a good point (imh-nochildhavin-o). mama j was always open about answering my questions. i walked in on my dad using the bathroom, i asked her what that was b/w his legs, she gave me a name, i was happy (i was also 3). i guess at that point, i’d already seen what it was for (at least one use), so i didn’t bother to ask that question. i think that was also about the time we had the “don’t let people touch you here” talk.

    when i was about 7, i asked some question that led to us having the kiddy sex talk (you know, grown ups do it but if anyone wants to go there w/ you that’s a problem). whenever i had questions, she answered them & revealed age-appropriate information, so all my learning was self-prompted.

    but i agree that there is some stuff you just don’t wanna reveal to kids until they’re old enough to at least understand that say, “it’s not exactly ideal to bust out mommy’s sex toy & tell her to relax.” i think g is a bit more inquisitive than i was and he talks a lot, so…

    that being said, i think the amount of information you share is based totally on your comfort level, the child’s maturity level, & his/her ability to be discreet about things. as for your last example, i’m thinking whatever person you have sex with in your home with your child there is someone you even trust to be around g in the first place. if it were me, i would not have him around for something that could potentially terrify him, given his lack of ability to truly grasp the idea that a) it’s okay, b) why it’s okay, c) that it may not be okay for a bunch of other folks, & d) finding out the difference is more involved than he should ever be concerned about for many years to come.

    and i’ma shut up now…

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    1. I agree with age appropriateness. I think that there will be more of the Mommy-Does-This-While-G-Is-Gone kinda thing than anything else.

      Outside of actual sex acts though, how soon is too soon? He is 3. Should I get him a book called Kanesha’s Two Mommies or something? lol

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  3. First, I must admit that this post made me truly laugh out loud. Thank you for being so honest.

    In theory, I believe in being authentically who we are with our children. But our sex lives – no, not really, I don’t think they need to be shared with our kids. Personally, I don’t think I need to know if either of my parents are into kinky or non-kinky sex – that’s personal. We should be authentic with our kids, but that doesn’t mean we have to be completely open books. We are still people, with boundaries, entitled to have personal aspects of ourselves off-limits to others. And maybe he doesn’t want to know either.

    I have more to say, but it’s time to board my plane – more later.

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    1. What happens when the “kink” goes beyond sex though?
      Some aspects of this “life” have little to do with sex and more with a way of being. Do parents sacrifice their compulsion to live what other deem an “alternative” lifestyle because of their children? Or is it ok to raise children in that lifestyle?

      Lets take polyamory for example. Is it ok to raise children in polyamourous or polyganous situations? If there is one father and say he has three “wives” either all living in one home or living in separate homes, is that ok? Is that deterimental to children? Is it better for them? Who decides?

      Many people in BDSM live the D/s lifestyle in which one person is Dominant and one submissive. There are many manifestations of this, some which require children be exposed to it. For example, a Dominant may require that the submissive walk 10 paces behind Him/Her. If there are children involved, they may be exposed to that. Is that bad? Is it good? Should children be exposed to this? How is it any different from other, more “traditional” behavior?

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  4. This article actually gave me something to think about. I am a collared, submissive, black single mother who will be raising a black son who may in fact one day watch me serve the man who owns me. (as I ultimately picture myself living this way 24/7) He is 4 now, so I hadn’t even considered that one day he would be exposed to this. Certainly, if I am living with my Owner, then he would bear witness to this kind of activity. Being submissive is who I am and faaar more than kink (which is actually the icing on the cake) so it would not all be behind closed doors. I really don’t know how to talk to this with most of my friends because on the surface it seems like just an elaborate role play but it’s so much more than that.

    Anyway…I’m not really saying anything other than I don’t know how I will deal with this when he gets older. Hopefully I will figure it out before then. I’m not sure how much conversation I want to have about Mommy’s need for discipline, lol.

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    1. Kellie,

      Thank you for your contribution. There are MANY of us out there, we just exist on the fringe because society still condemns What It Is That We Do (WIITWD). People reject the unconventional and people fear what they don’t understand. That’s why its still “alternative”. We put a name to it, while so many live this way normally in their relationships. They just wont admit its this type of dynamic lol

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  5. i say follow his promptings. i think you’re fortunate with g: when he really wants to know, he’s GONNA ask. provide a simple answer & when you see that things are getting more complicated & you think he can handle it, sit him down w/ kanesha ‘nem. of course, if he’s going to pre-k, it might just come up in school, so you should continue to be equally as inquisitive. ask what the other kids talk about, who his school friends are, the stuff you talk to him about anyways. be timely, perhaps even a little proactive, but not overwhelming.

    as for the D/s lifestyle, my biggest question is about how he will learn the equality that you strive to teach him. i’m thinking it’s a matter of “do as i say, not as i do,” which could be confusing. how do you explain to a 3 year old that “everybody’s equal, except when they agree not to be”? i’m all about couples & parents mentoring each other, so perhaps this is a great opportunity for you to seek out those who’ve already been down this road?

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    1. The equality question is a GREAT one. It is something heavily debated in the leather world.

      I think its one of those things like voting. People want the right to be able to vote, but does that mean they have to? Or same sex marriage… people want the right to be married to someone of the same sex, but does it mean they have to? Abortion… same thing. Not every pro-choice feels the need to have an abortion just because they have the right to.

      I don’t think its an issue of theoretical equality. I believe in the equality of men and women. I also believe that every relationship is give and take and that there is always one who leads, one who follows… one who tops, one who bottoms… one who dominates, one who submits. Granted, those roles may go back and forth or “switch” as we call it, but that dynamic exists in almost every working, successful relationship. What we do just takes a few steps further, based on compulsions, fetishes, etc.

      I don’t think he would get any negative ideas about female equality from seeing me interact with a Dominant man in such a way. There are the characteristics of the 90% of the rest of my personality he will see to even that out lol. Mommy is highly educated, the boss at work, the dominant parent (for all itnents and purposes). He will see his mother is strong-willed. But just as other kids might see Mommy doing all the cooking and cleaning while Daddy does the work, the dynamic I choose to engage in will reflect a similar structure.

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  6. First, I commend Benee for her openness and honesty. I think your situation poses unique challenges, but single parents in general have to deal with how to be sexually active and fit it in with their parenting routine. I was celibate for many years after my divorce and just didn’t deal with it. Now, my kids are old enough to ask embarrassing questions when Mommy goes out and stays out for most of the night. I think you should introduce your son to the women and men in your life whom you trust and are involved in a relationship. Casual encounters, not so much. As he gets older, you will probably have to explain the BDSM lifestyle in age-appropriate language. You will also have to undo stuff he hears from school friends about “normal” and “weird” lifestyles. Brava for a thoughtful post.

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    1. Thank you Carolyn.

      One of the things I love about living and working in NYC is the exposure to so many different and alternative ways of life. Raising my son here is a choice I made to help him grow up exposed to diversity of all sorts. I do think the key is age-appropriate explanations.

      I’m 31 and my father tried to talk to me about his sexual behavior and mine, and I almost hung up the phone LOL I guess, as stated early by another, he isnt going to want to hear the dirty details. But if he asks and has questions, I’ll answer in ways I feel he can best handle it.

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  7. I think all the advice so implies that living a BDSM lifestyle 24/7 when you have young children doesn’t seem feasible. As I write this, I’m questioning whether I sound something akin to homophobic about this lifestyle.

    At first, I thought it was just about sex, which I believed you should keep to yourself. But then the idea of this being a way of life, much like being gay is a way of life that is about more than who you sleep with, made the question more difficult. But I agree with Amanda- I Eventually come down on the side of keeping it away from the kids because I’m truly unsettled by the messages in the lifestyle.

    I have to admit that I’m distresed by the idea of any person owning another. And to a Childs mind, I’m not sure how they could process this information and make sense of it. Especially in light of messages that teach independence, leadership, original thought, etc. The concept of being owned by permission is an adult concept that I think children cannot comprehend.

    So, while my overall theory is for authenticity in our lives as mothers and people, this is a case where I feel the Childs needs are best served by keeping the lifestyle under wraps. I acknowledge, though that I’m walking a fine line of sounding akin to homophobic toward the BDSM crowd. Please check me if I am.

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    1. There are varying degrees of involvement. I, for one, would never identify as a slave or consider myself “owned” in the way many do. I may say He “owns my heart, my mind, my spirit” but many “traditional” women feel that way about their husbands too. I get into debates about this all of the time, but I’ve learned to simply respect WIITWD and SSC (Safe, sane, and consensual) and let people live as they wish. I take issue with the people who actually buy and sell each other, but we dont see too much of that in the Black BDSM scene.

      There are those who submit (subs), meaning they give various levels of control over to their partner, in terms of their relationship and lives. There are those who identify as slaves which means their “owners” or “masters” have total control over every aspect of their lives. There are even varying degrees in that, as some people have what we call hard limits (children, religious beliefs, etc). There is a broad spectrum in people’s engagement.

      I identify as a dominant woman who submits. I’m not submissive in personality, however, when I encounter a man I find worthy of my submission, I submit to him.

      Now, that doesnt sound a whole lot different from what a lot of “traditional” folks do, especially those with strong religious beliefs. The difference is often in how we manifest it. That’s where the kink may come in. And that’s where I think discretion is important.

      Prime Example: Discipline

      There are those in the community who believe discipline is a significant part of the dynamic. These people might be sadists/masochists or they might simply believe in the physically corrective aspects of being dominant or submissive. So you have a Male Dominant and a female submissive. He may derive a Code of Conduct, a rule book by which the female is expected to live. It may include rules about how she dresses, how she speaks to him, what her household duties are, how she is to conduct herself in public, etc. There may also include a section on discipline and punishment should she not adhere to those rules. So like if the rules say that when she greets him, her head should be bowed and she is to call him “Sir” or whatever name he chooses, and she doesn’t, there may be discipline attached to that, which could be anything from writing 100 times “I will refer to my One as Sir at all times” to 5-10 lashes with a flogger. Most subs and slaves would admit that the harshest punishment is not being able to serve for any period of time.

      Now… here’s the rub. People have to agree to this. Most people will look at that and be like WTF are these people doing??!! That’s abusive!! That’s domestic violence!! She is brainwashed!! Why does he have that kind of hold on her?! It’s hard for “average” folks to reconcile that 1)He enjoys it 2) She enjoys it 3) They mutually agreed to this and came up with this stuff together. Also, people think somehow its acceptable to treat children this way, when they have completely NO say, but when adults CHOOSE to engage in this, it’s somehow bad. Do parents not discipline their children when they are errant in behavior? Without the children’s permission to do so?

      There is a compulsion there. There is something buried deep inside of both parties where they feel compelled to live this way. Bowing her head, cooking his food, cleaning the house, catering to His every want and need may be the most thrilling, exciting thing in her life! Her panties may get wet from having to ask Him permission to do XYZ. It’s a compulsion that can’t easily be explained to those who do not feel it. I know some women who get so turned on when their Husband/Dominant/Master/Owner/Top calls them u on the phone like “Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you doing it with? B–ch, answer me now!” *chuckle*

      Being collared, for most, is like being married. The symbolism is the same. You are bound to someone in a relationship based on love, trust, honor, etc. Why should wearing a leather collar around one’s neck be seen as any more oppressive than wearing a ring on one’s finger? Feel me?

      No, I’d never let my son be exposed to the darker, kinkier side of things because I know it would be very difficult to explain or rationalize it. Some things just don’t add up for some people. And from discussions with various parents in the life, children who are exposed to it tend to grow up more accepting of it, but also more likely to replicate it. So I’d want to make sure he was not exposed to the elements that are strictly about compulsion and kink, because he may not have that in him nor may the people he tries to date have that in them.

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  8. My practice of BDSM is very much like what Michelle descibed. I do use a lot of D/s language and say words like “owned” and that I am his “property” but the terms in my relationship are used loosely and because both of us enjoy the terminology. There are sooooo many diffent ways this sort of thing plays out for each couple that I don’t even know how one could put it all together in this venue.

    I am also not submissive in personality. I always joke with my guy because I say he is the only man who has ever been able to “tame” me. I have no problem saying how I feel and I am very strong willed in my day to day life. I am confident and don’t feel the need to people-please. I am educated and have held management positions in the workplace. This is actually very common in the D/s community. Many women who are strong in all aspects of their lives but CHOOSE to “serve” a man.

    And yes, a collar is very much like a wedding or engagement ring. In my case, more like the latter as we have gone through many ups and downs in the past two years. I am sure that for us the wedding ring would be a locking collar. (a girl can dream) But I apprecaite your explanation, Benee. I just think it’s something that is so foreign and difficult to explain because hoenstly before I realized that this was what was missing from my life and what I “needed” I thought that the people who were into it were crazy. Now that I’m in it, it’s all really basic. Same concepts like love, trust, companionship, etc should be there like in any vanilla relationship. The difference is the kink and the intensity level. (which is mind blowing for me as I learn about myself adn the connection I am forming)

    But anyway, as I read and consider this idea more, I think my son would see me as any child who grew up in a traditional 1950s home might see his mother. I would handle my job obligations and be very attentive to home life and things like cooking, cleaning, and serving my man. The other stuff would be locked away in the toy box…and I’d assume that maybe the only difference he’d see in the daily life would be how I addressed my Dominant. I think the kneeling and more ritual behavior would probably be left behind closed doors because to be quite honest, I don’t want to have to explain it. I hate having to explain it to friends for that matter, lol!

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  9. Thank you both for the further explanations. I think you have answered the question for the most part about what things to keep from a child and what to allow a child to see. Earlier, Benee, you asked about polyamorous relationships. I’m also thinking about open marriages. In the case of multiple spouses, if there are half-siblings involved, it seems only fair that a child should know those people. If a father is partly absent because he is splitting his time between households, a child might be better off knowing why rather than feeling abandoned. I think this is a lifestyle that can be explained. Open marriages, if the open part is only about sex, then that can be kept from the child.

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    1. My grandfather maintained two families. His first family wasnt aware of the second though. The kids from the second didnt know about the first for a very long time. This kind of thing has happened rather often, esp in the Black community. Today with the so-called shortage of Black men, there are a number of Black women who choose to live this polyamorous life, willing to have a “good man” half time, than a loser full time or no man, no time.

      Its something to think about, esp as the family dynamic begins to shift, esp in Black communities. We have to think abt whats best for the children. Sometimes, it can work. Sometimes it wont. But then, even traditional marriages fail and children go thru drama, so…

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  10. Hi ladies, this is my first time visiting your site. It is very nice to come across a post by ladies of color talking about BDSM issues! I came across your post after receiving a Google alert. (I run a People of Color BDSM munch group in Oakland, Ca. called Mahogany. It is also a Yahoo and Fetlife group.)

    I think that the safest thing for Benee to do is keep her sexlife 100% separate from her kid. The reasons for this is there have been situations in the past where kinky folks have lost custody (also their jobs etc.) over being in the lifestyle. A sleazy lawyer fighting a bitter divorce can use it as ammunition and usually win. I’m not saying stop being kinky, but wait until he is older to understand.

    The Pride parade is ok as long as you don’t take him to Leather Alley. Kids just look at it like any other parade. There’s a lot of things that you can do within the lifestyle that will not stick out to kids. Such as serving your sir or even sitting on the floor beside him when he is watching tv etc. It will take some creativity. I wish you much luck in this.

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    1. Thank you for responding Mr Worf 🙂

      My only concern with the Pride Parade are the people not officially a part of it, who join in and walk around naked and such or with other oversexed costumes. It would be difficult to shield him from things I deem inappropriate, but at the same time, the gay parents contingent has their kids in strollers and walking with balloons and such. Thats a good thing to see.

      I agree that keeping one’s sexlife away from kids is key. For me, however, my sexuality isnt just about the physical aspects of sex. Some people might think that a bisexual parent, for example, shouldnt expose their children to people they are involved with of the same sex.

      A lawyer friend of mine called me after reading this post, saying what you said about divorce and such. I responded, tongue-in-cheek, “Who do you think gave me my first collar?” lol I understood what he was saying though. I don’t engage in any of the more kinky or darker sides of the life, but I can certainly see how and why someone might use that against another if they feel it is a threat to the children.

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  11. see, I just love Cocoa Mamas! This was ABSOLUTELY fascinating!!! Thank you Benee- I have MUCH love and respect for folk who are so candid and open! YAYYY for honesty!

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  12. Depending on the city nudity at Pride is usually frowned on unless it is in the adult only Leather Alley area. I’m from San Francisco and they show the parade on tv here every year uncut.

    I think that being bi you have to handle things slightly differently. I would suggest not introducing someone to your kid until you are in a relationship for a while with them.

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  13. I have to tell you it was really interesting and rewarding growing up in the 70s in a very liberal household in Northern California. I really learned a lot from it and it greatly influenced who I am today in extremely very positive ways. I would say, as long as your son looks up to you, sees you as a role model and you have a very close relationships with him, I think introducing him to many different life styles, experiences and people when he is young is an extremely positive thing.

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