How tolerant are you of others who live in a lifestyle that would not suit you and who live in such a way it does not affect you? Do you consider yourself open minded? How do you react when others judge your lifestyle as fantasy?
I wouldn’t say I’m tolerant—I would say that I’m accepting of people who live their lives differently, as long as it doesn’t effect me (someone who believes people like me should be denied rights, for example). I tell people to ‘find their level’, because what is normal and healthy for one person would be stressful and unnatural to another person. I certainly know what it’s like to be judged and I’d never want to make another person feel that way.
I definitely consider myself open-minded. I grew up in a place that most definitely wasn’t tolerant, let alone open-minded or accepting, and I didn’t get why or how it was possible to dislike people for something they have no control over. I’m more interested in why people are interested in what they’re interested in.
In terms of what is considered healthy and what is considered fantasy—power exchange is two autonomous (or more) adults, consciously deciding how they want to structure a relationship based on what everyone involved needs and wants with the understanding those needs and wants may shift. ‘Traditional’ hetero, vanilla, romantic relationships rarely involve conversations about consent or desires, hinge on the notion of one person answering another person’s every need and rely on the ‘happily ever after’ trope. Which one of those sounds like a bigger fantasy? One of those two types of relationships acknowledges actual human beings are involved and the other tells the people involved they’ve failed if they don’t magically know what to do with this whole other person—without asking, because that spoils the ‘romance’.
By the same token, it’s understandable for people who’ve been told the way they naturally connect with others is the ‘normal’, correct and healthy way of doing things. People enjoy feeling like their way is the right way. It’s easy to misunderstand something when you’ve only been exposed to inaccurate versions of it in the media. Versions that have been written by other non-kinky people with their own prejudices.
It’s common for people to view the way other people conduct their lives or relationships as a rebuke of their own choices, whether it’s choosing to remain childfree to being polyamorous, and will respond as though, by merely existing, the non-traditional person, is telling the traditional person that they’ve made a mistake. This is is no more true than saying because jeans are comfortable for me all people should wear jeans and anyone who chooses to wear a skirt, kilt, slacks, sari or anything else should be defensive about it, as if my choice to wear jeans is my way of saying, ‘What I wear is correct for everyone. Differ and suffer my disdain!’
What is comfortable for one person—one person’s level—isn’t going to be for everyone else.
Different isn’t bad or wrong. It’s just different.
If people are allowed to be comfortable in something as basic as clothing, why are we all expected to conform when it comes to something as complex as relationships or sexuality or desire?
In terms of how I react to people who judge me, externally, it depends on the circumstances and the person. Some people clearly aren’t interested in being educated and it’s not worth the emotional energy. Usually, I try to calmly explain how I feel and what I think. Generally, people will treat you the way you behave and if you are calm and rational and behave like an intelligent, courteous human who knows themselves and something about what you’re talking about then the least that comes out of it is that you look like the grown up in the situation.