Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the real relationship contract with polyamorous relationship rules written by the San Diego Polyamory Pod family. This is a living document that has evolved with KamalaDevi and Michael’s open marriage over the last 15 years, it has now expanded to include about a dozen polyamorous lovers. If you want the cliff notes on how we do polyamory and create relationship agreements, there are five basic bottom lines:
1) Do no harm,
2) Practice Self Love,
3) Total transparency,
3) Safe sex
5) Reduce drama.
This relationship contract contains details about these bottom lines as well as best practices in all 5 areas.
San Diego Polyamory Relationship Agreement Contract
- To establish emotional and physical safety for our sex positive Poly community.
- To increase connection and harmony while reducing misunderstandings and unnecessary jealousy or suffering.
- To support each other in our highest expression of polyamory and sacred sexuality.
All partners are equals and enter into these polyamorous relationship rules in full awareness with informed consent. Each individual is responsible for making their own decisions and considers the effects of their decisions on everyone they love.
We understand that these relationship rules are not all-encompassing, and we may make verbal agreements in addition to these bottom lines. Dyadic relationships may negotiate additional agreements and/or specific short-term (temporary) agreements above and beyond what is listed here.
If you cannot keep a relationship contract, be sure to discuss it with your partner(s) responsibly BEFORE breaking it. Due to unforeseen circumstances, forgetting, misunderstanding, if an agreement is broken, we will agree to a clearing conversation as soon as possible. The intention of the clearing conversation is to practice empathy and forgiveness and to get back into relationship integrity. If you are unsure about your boundaries or bottom lines, err on the safe side and communicate, communicate, communicate.
1) DO NO HARM.
- The prime directive is to experience love and connection.
- Seek to leave all relationships better than you found them.
- Do everything in your power not to be seduced into the story of separation.
- If someone is hurting because of how you love, do everything in your power to clean it up and heal/shift/move back into a neutral or positive state.
- Seek win-win solutions that are sustainable for the greatest good of all.
- As a last resort, if a partner or a potential lover is causing harm or breaking any of the following agreements, the primary has the right to veto any new relationships in order to work on love, trust, and connection.
***Best Practices for VETO POWER:
The Vetoing partner must hear and respect the unmet needs of the person they are vetoing. Veto is appropriate when someone is too stretched and can remove vetoes once they have come back into balance.
Sometimes a veto-ing partner may say yes even though we are uncomfortable because it is a growth opportunity.
Don’t veto it until you have worked through all your partner’s objections and the partner is in acceptance of your decision. (Acceptance is NOT the same as toleration.)
Remember: emotional maturity is a measure of making decisions that are in the highest good in the long run, NOT just what may feel good in the moment.
2) BE TRUE TO YOURSELF.
- You are responsible for your own actions, feelings and needs. Do not blame anyone outside yourself for causing your upset or not meeting your needs. Hold others as responsible for themselves as well.
- Find your center, and stay in it, even when your partners are triggered or jealous.
- Ask for what you want and communicate your boundaries. Strive to be as congruent as possible when you say Yes and No.
- When processing it’s best to get clarity within yourself first (self-empathy) before seeking to understand your partners, and then to be understood. In highly charged situations, it’s best to give empathy first to the person in the greatest need.
- Remember, We can only love others to the degree we love ourselves…if we want to love a lot of other people we must love ourselves A LOT!
3) TOTAL TRANSPARENCY.
- When something arises that you feel would matter to your partners, let them know that you would like to talk to them about it and at the first opportunity that you can mutually agree on. Don’t withhold your triggers. Especially if you are afraid speak about something in the area of sex, power and money!
- Let any/all prospective new lovers know that you are polyamorous and tell them about your primaries. (Select exceptions may be made at play parties or sex clubs .)
- For group sex events (snuggle parties, play parties, sensual research dates, pod dates, three way connections, sex workshops, BDSM dates, etc.) check in first, during, and after.
- True intimacy is a function of your willingness to both speak your truth and show up and listen to another’s truth.
- When sharing, remember the Buddha’s advice and be true, kind, and useful.
**Best Practices around Total Transparency:
Let your partner(s) know if:
A condom slips
Someone you are seeing is pregnant
Has an STD
You are interested in starting a new relationship.
You are sexting with someone new
Someone’s safe sex policies have changed.
Someone is in Career transition.
Or relationship transition.
If you are feeling jealous.
If you have feelings of rejection/hurt/loss.
If drugs are being used (what kind and how often?)
Any and all new experiences with Kink and/or BDSM
Share attractions, curiosities, interests, and fantasies when they arise.
No sleeping with someone who is married, unless their partners are in full consent.
4) SAFER SEX STANDARDS.
- All sex is to be safe, sane and consensual.
- Condoms and lubrication are to be used impeccably for all penetrative sex.
- Get tested every 3-6 months for HIV, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and Chlamydia, Trich and ask for throat and anal swabs. Get visual tests for MCV and HPV. Share your results.
- Women get Paps once a year to test for HPV and to detect pre-cancerous cell growth which can be better treated if caught early.
- If you discover you’ve been exposed to STD, tell your primary partners immediately.
- There is discussion with full disclosure about safe sex practices before engaging in sex with any first time partners or if it has been a while since you have slept with that partner.
- Do not have sex with someone for the FIRST time if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Do not have sex during an active STD.
- If you want to fluid bond with someone, talk it over with all pre-existing partner(s) and both partners must first and get a Full panel STD screening.
**Best practices around SAFER SEX:
Visual inspection before having sex with any new partners.
Washing hands, genitals and mouth before and after sex.
When possible Shower before and after sex with new partners.
No cross pollination in group sex with multiple partners.
Cover the penis before he touches the wet tissue of the yoni.
Only have sex with people who you know to be honest.
Use Safe words in BDSM: (Red = stop and Yellow = slow down.)
Keep a log of who you make love with and when to allow for notification of lovers in case of any STDs.
It’s best to only fluid bond with one partner at a time.
Take extra Zinc and other natural anti-viral supplements to keep imune system high and reduce your viral load.
If a woman is positive for HPV or Molluscum Use dental dams, gloves and female condoms.
If you are playing with gloves take the condom off and then gloves off after the genital play.
If you come out positive for an STD tell everyone that you have slept with during the window between your last negative test.
If someone is having an active outbreak, instead of sexual connection increase intimacy with massage, running energy and eye gazing.
5) REDUCE DRAMA.
- Only Seek new relationships that enrich or enhance your previously established relationships.
- Listen to your primary partners about their feelings and thoughts about new potential partners.
- Communicate often and thoroughly with your partners, the more checking in the better.
- Connect with your lovers lovers frequently to increase understanding, reassurance and inclusion.
- Do not date people unless they are willing and capable of taking responsibility for their own actions feelings and needs.
- Before talking about other lovers, ASK if it is a good time to talk about other lovers, this gives the person you are with a choice.
- If you are unsure about relationship agreements, better to err on the safe side.
- Don’t make assumptions, if you are running a story in your head…check it out with that person.
- Seek third party moderation/facilitation when the emotions are high.
- No Gossiping: Don’t say anything about someone that you wouldn’t say to their face, unless you have that person’s permission to talk about them.
- No venting: Speak of your lovers and their lovers in ways that are neutral or positive.
- Journal or pay a professional, or at least disclaim, “I need to vent for a while and start with “The story I’m telling myself, is…”
- If you find yourself talking about someone when they are not around, turn it into a practice conversation and tell that person what you said at you earliest opportunity.
- Respect for other lovers: Make every attempt to welcome, connect and share with other lovers.
- If you have genuine concern for a partner’s safety, sanity or honesty best is to express that openly, in group, or with a mediator but not behind their back.
**Best practices to REDUCE POLY DRAMA:
No relationship processing after 9:30
If someone is upset ask them if 1) they want a hug, 2) to take space or 3) to talk about it.
If you are arguing, don’t say anything you will regret. Stop the fight by calling: “Red Light” Stop, shift and don’t start again unless you are able to look each other in the eyes and take 3 calm breaths.
Don’t make big decisions unless your are centered, wait 72 hours after an arguement.
Relationships are best maintained with regular dates. Strive to make that time/space sacred. Pod runs smoothly when there are times for 1) play, 2) process, and 3)spiritual practice.
Do not postpone or cancel a date with one partner to see someone else. There are exceptions for emergencies and one-time things. But these exceptions should not become the rules.
If the only way you can date a new person is by rearranging schedules and taking time away from pre-existing partners, that means you DON’T have room for a new partner in your life.
- At any time, any member can communicate if any of the relationship agreements feel restrictive or not safe enough.
- This Document will be reviewed next On or before Poly Palooza 2013
- This document is an organic work in progress reviewed and signed by Kamala Devi, Michael, Jennifer, Tahl, Roxanne, Daniel, Jesse and Tziporah. Last Reviewed Nov. 10th 2012
- Additionally, there are separate relationship agreements between: Kamala Devi & Roxanne, Jen & Jesse; Tahl & Jen, Roxanne & Daniel
If you’d like to join KamalaDevi and the San Diego polyamory family for a fun weekend retreat to explore firsthand how they do polyamory, check out Poly Palooza: Top 10 reasons to go to a 4-day festival for free lovers! or go to Poly Palooza: The Weekend Festival for Free Lovers.
Share your thoughts on polyamorous relationship rules and open relationship contracts, and how you and your loved ones decided to create them!