There is a bit of a hubub brewing on fet about a post that suggested playing with someone is not the same as having sex with them and, therefore, was/is just fine in the context of the OP’s monogamous relationship. I came across a splinter discussion, as so often happens in fet land, which continued to explore this idea. The folks in the splinter discussion spoke in absolutes so emphatically that it got me thinking.
Since I began Topping, I have maintained that when I Top, it is not at all sexual for me. I also recognize that my bottoms may feel twitchy in their special place. I’m ok with that. Some of the discussion I read, made the argument that having a scene with someone is “intimate”. (I put that in quotes because it’s what was said, not because I’m being snide, as quotations can sometimes indicate.) I get that a scene can be incredibly intimate. I have a bottom who frequently states that when he scenes with me it is as if we are alone in the dungeon. His focus is entirely on me. It’s just the two of us. He forgets there are people watching. I’ve had that experience as a submissive. I understand entirely what he is saying.
When I Top a casual play partner it is not at all intimate or sexual for me. It is no different than a surgeon and a patient. I am gathering skills. I am deciding how best to apply my scalpel to serve this patient most effectively. (That’s a metaphorical scalpel, by the way. Intentional blood play is a hard limit.) I am instigating reactions. I am assessing pain tolerance. I am monitoring breathing and muscle tension. It is clinical.
I am as straight as they come yet I will Top a female just as readily as I will Top a male. In my community the females tend to be more fleshy. That’s a whole different way of Topping and a lot more real estate with which to cause pain. Fun, fun fun. Yes, please and, no, I will not be penetrating nor interacting with their genitalia. They will have to get their orgasm play elsewhere. It is no more sexual than a surgeon and the gall bladder she is removing.
That being said, I’m having all kinds of fun in the same way a surgeon loves what she does. I thoroughly enjoy finding new ways to cause pain. I love pushing my bottoms to take more than they have previously. I am comforted by knowing that every scene I have makes me a better Top as I gain more experience.
Ethically, I have zero challenges with casually Topping as many people as I possibly can. If two people are in the same scene, can one have a sexual experience and the other be entirely focused on the mechanics of it? You betcha. Does that mean that the person not having a sexual response is, by association, having sex with the other? Nope. Not any more than the actress on the big screen is having sex with the guy in the tenth row covering his now bulging crotch with the popcorn bucket because my-god-she-has-fabulous-tits. Do I believe those who are monogamous can have multiple platonic play partners and still define themselves as monogamous? Absolutely.