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What’s the difference between boyfriend, partner, friends with benefits and "Toy"?

May 10, 2018

What’s the difference between boyfriend, partner, fuck buddy and toy?

PARTNER - I consider people my partners if we are both bringing intention to the relationship and have some mutually agreed upon desire to build some level of a life together. Conversations with partners tend more towards the “How is your life doing?” track and convos with boyfriends are more along the lines of “What’s fun today?” conversation track. 

BOYFRIEND

Boyfriends fit into my life. It’s just for fun, we do fun things and relax, no productivity requirements and often very little in the area of intention and preparing. There are serious adult conversations, but the main focus is enjoying ourselves and play.

Since a boyfriend doesn’t usually contribute to my standard of living in a big way (maybe picking up the tab for stuff we do together), the boyfriend time part of the equation depends on how much energy, mood and time I have for play and who I want to spend that playtime with.

Boyfriends are never “entitled” to my time (no one is, actually) and I do make that politely clear whenever I feel I need to.

I do make having boyfriend time a priority because that light, easy kind of relationship of fun does feed me in many positive ways. There is space in my life for boyfriends and that amount of space changes often (weekly even) depending on what’s most important to me at the time.

To me, boyfriend time is kind of like my version of “weekends off of work”. I consider boyfriend relationships to be more like high school/college era relationships, and partners to be the more adult, grown-up relationships. Boyfriends are, in the end, simply people I want to spend time with regularly and want to have something more than a surface connection with.

LOVER

Someone I fuck. And usually have true feelings of love for them too (and vice versa), though the container box in my brain/schedule for “Lovers” is smaller and more separated from my life than the box for boyfriend or partner.

TOY

A toy is usually someone whom I’m being a temporary top for. Consensual, pre-negotiated boundaries only. I am a slightly kinky person, and I think that consciously negotiated BDSM play can be one of the most enlightening self-growth opportunities - if done well! I top for a few of my partners and for those that prefer to explore this BDSM world often want to be considered my “plaything” (I have a sensually sadistic streak!).

HOW I CHOOSE TO SPEND MY TIME

I used to have a pretty set schedule - Mark on Monday nights, Derek on Wednesdays nights, one or two nights alone each week, one night working and the others with Chris. It was a great rhythm for a while and then it started to feel too forced, so I slipped into a “whenever I want to and let’s schedule things casually and play everything by ear” system.

That’s working pretty well now.

Who I’m most drawn to connect with that week and who asks to connect with me are the main factors in deciding how I spend my boyfriend time. How busy or slow my work has been also determines how much casual hangout time I have, and what projects I have going on at the moment and who I’m doing them with are also a big factor in who ends up on my calendar. 

When work is slow for a little while, it can be a nice break and give me more time for myself or with my friends/bfs/biz partners. When work is slow for too many days in a row, I will start using my downtime to market and amp up the energy of my other income stream, which takes time and attention away from casual time.

When work is busy, I need more time to myself and will likely see my personal partners less frequently.

Occasionally I’ll need to postpone, change or cancel a boyfriend date so that I can work, or because I’m just not feeling like hanging out (I don’t blow anyone off, just politely ask for a raincheck).

And occasionally a boyfriend/partner gets offended by it even though they know from the beginning that I set my own priorities and they are not always at the top of that list.

And sometimes they still get hurt by that. I know that it’s not my responsibility to prevent my partners/friends etc from ever feeling negative emotions. I date evolved, enlightened people on purpose.

Whether someone feels hurt by my actions is not fully in my control anyway, and so my intention is simply to be in integrity with how I interact with everyone and let them figure out how they deal with their own response to that. (Of course, that doesn’t mean be insensitive and unkind, it means radical personal responsibility for everyone is the expectation).

In other words, the barrier of entry into my polycule is I must trust them to talk to me about stuff when they need to say something or ask for a boundary, and I feel I can trust them to take care of their own mental garbage and beliefs so we can be happy together without them projecting stuff all over me and vice versa.