In my experiences thus far- I've found that much of the people whom I've come into contact with or have been introduced to who indentify as being poly also have been involved in BDSM to varying degrees from investigative to living it in full lifestyle fashion.
My question to the community is why is this connection common (or atleast in my case)? Are there any "schools" of thought as to why one possibly has a high association with the other?
Umm... a lot of crossover?
Seriously, there's just a lot of generally-alternative-lifestyle types in both communities, ad a lot of meshing. Not to mention that the term "alternative lifestyle" is so often used as an umbrella to cover anything that's not straight, monogamous, and nonkinky. But no, not all poly people are into BDSM, and not all BDSM'ers are poly. It just seems like it some nights down at the club.
There are quite a few people who are into BDSM who are also poly (like me), but the reverse does not necessarily hold true; many people who are poly aren't the least bit interested in BDSM.
In fact, it's been my experience that there is a large segment of the poly community that hates, loathes, and despises all people and things associated with BDSM.
It crops up from time to time in the local poly scene here in SW Florida, and it crops up so often on the alt.polyamory newsgroup that I quit reading that newsgroup a few years back because of it.
I've seen angry tirades about how "BDSM is completely opposed to polyamory, because polyamory is all about equality and BDSM is all about domination." I've heard people in the poly community complain about how those "perverts" are "setting back" acceptance of polyamory.
So it's not universal, and there are many polyamorous folk who're quiote resistant to the whole idea of BDSM. I find that unfortunate, but also distressingly common. People in any fringe subculture, regardless of what it is, all too often hate and despise peoplel in other fringe subcultures.
To add to what everyone has said...
There is a huge amount of overlap between any two of the following categories:
geek, gamer, goth, pagan, poly, queer, BDSM, kinky, or one of the above-friendly
I've met very few geeks, gamers and goths who are not poly, pagan, queer, and kink FRIENDLY. BDSM is actually imo the least accepted of these categories. So within the BDSM community, you'll find a lot of acceptance of all the others (for the most part!) and a lot of people who do/are the others. Within any of the other communities, you will find a higher incidence of BDSM friendly and BDSM folk, but still not as high as some of us would like. *shrug*
There's actually a community called bdsm_poly or poly_bdsm on lj; I forget which. (for your interest)
i'm going to play the devil's advocate here. i
**START DISCLAIMER** I am (obviously) poly and BDSM-y **END DISCLAIMER**
and now on to why i shouldn't LiveJournal (yes, a verb) at 1:30 am.
There is so much overlap within the two groups because of obvious emotional issues with commitment that goes along with both groups. How this is applicable to poly is obvious: poly people can't handle being mono in that they cannot cope with the level of emotional commitment necessary when being with just one individual, so therefore they are poly. The BDSM argument is a little more complex, so therefore i will elaborate. BDSM people are also sic, though in a less straight-forward, and darker way. their inability to feel a strong emotional attachment equates to them being emotionally numb. This emotional numbness, or void, then wants to be rectified, or filled. somewhere in our back words culture emotional fulfillment gets equated with sexual fulfillment. but when these people go out and have sex to try and fulfill this void, they still find themselves empty. therefore, thinking something is wrong with them, they search out pain and punishment through sex, because pain is better than numbness. but what they don't realize is that this void will never be filled by sex, especially such dirty sex that will cost one to eternal damnation in an even more gruesome circle of hell. but what CAN then fill that void? Is there any hope for the souls of these sick people? why yes there is! Jesus Christ can show these people out of their numb and sinful existences, and into the light. for only $99.95 you too can find everlasting redemption and freedom from your sinful ways. just send a check or money order to 666 sinners way, hell, michigan, and we will send you your own personal starter kit for the road to redemption. and if you put in the "memo" line the word "Poly-BSDM" we will include a FREE copy of the New Gideon Bible! allow 4-6 weeks for delivery, no refunds 'cause we WANT you to SAVE YOUR SOUL!
ok, i started that out meaning to be more serious, but i just couldn't help myself, i hope no one minds! hmmm... started out playing devil's advocate and then ended up jesus's advocate, i wonder what the goddess would say....