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The three men live together. And, yes, they all sleep in the same bed, along with their two English bulldogs. Obviously, every power differential relationship is different. Some partners choose to enact their roles on variant levels when in public and in private, for example. Although I had known Dan for quite some time, I had not yet officially met his slave Todd. As you may have gathered by now, it was fine! Despite superficial pop culture interest in BDSM culture, the whole subject remains largely misunderstood and often disrespected in American consciousness.

In the Leather community, however, these relationships are often open and supported. Still, the idea of both BDSM and polyamorous relationships may be considered at best unusual, and at worst controversial even among the LGBT community at large. But one thing is clear: This unique Leather family makes it work. More importantly, they make it work well. Dan and Todd took the time out of their incredibly busy travel schedule for an enlightening discussion about their relationship, HIV and PReP pre-exposure prophylaxis awareness, and the current state of the Leather community. Thank you for speaking with me.

So, Dan, let's start with you. A lot of people, even in the LGBT community at large, may have a hard time understanding the dynamic between a Master or Daddy and his collared slave or boy. They may have a negative impression because they say that the relationship is not "equal". How would you explain that to them? It's very clear that they are power differential relationships.

One person is agreeing, consensually, to give up some of their power to make decisions or to do certain things. But it is an exchange. So, the other person is agreeing to take over those roles and to be responsible for that. And that really does mean being responsible to it. That means sexually as well. I am completely responsible for making sure that they Todd and Randy have a good time, and that they get off, and that they are happy. There are two of them and just one of me, so I have to make sure we do things that involve all three of us, and that nobody feels left out, and to figure what we are going to do next.

I have to put some thought into how I play with them and what we do. I wouldn't necessarily call it "catering", but it is paying attention to certain needs and interests -- which may be very different for Todd then they are for Randy and determining how can I do both of those at the same time.

I come from the position that my job is to make sure that he is satisfied As long as he's happy, I'm happy! And, he's getting it multiple times a day! Laughs It's my job to make his life easier. He is in charge, and I love it. As long as he's happy, I am totally happy. Our views are totally complimentary.

My role is to make sure that they are totally taken care of. How did it happen? It's interesting, because I wasn't necessarily looking to be in a polyamorous relationship -- although I am now glad I am. There are certainly some things that you have to get used to about that. Some of them are really great learning things, and some of them are really tough learning things. In our scenario, what happened was: Randy and Todd had been together. They are both more on the submissive side, and they were seeking someone who was more dominant for a long time. They had been disappointed quite a bit.

Todd had told me that it was never going to happen, to find someone cool with both of them. I was moving to Washington, and Randy invited me to dinner with him and Todd. We talked about things we were interested in, and relationship dynamics, and our experiences. We had a great time, and then Todd and I went on a "date" to the D. I got along with Randy really well and talked with him a lot, but I wasn't sure if Todd liked me! But I had to play it cool. I really had to prove to him that I liked him!

We had a really great time at the Eagle, and then our relationship really grew from there.

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Randy and Todd had a very "equal" relationship with each other, although it has varied over time. Initially, Todd was dominant to Randy, and that's what they wanted I would say that in any equal couple, one of us has a certain spirit control that we are the master of. For instance, Randy "owns" the kitchen, "owns" the cooking, basically "owns" the house! So basically, when it comes to how things are washed, how things are folded, how things are vacuumed, how things are cooked I basically earn the money.

It's not like there is a role assigned. He just likes it that way He's good at planning and all that other stuff, and I just let him do those things. The relationship between Randy and I has changed with bringing a Master in to the mix, but those roles still play a part of it. Randy is still paying the bills, taking care of the house, cooking, baking, doing a lot of the laundry, making sure the dogs are walked For Randy, this fits into his submissiveness.

So, it's also his way of serving me, and therefore the way to serve his Master. He feels really good about it. It is his strength, and he can bring it to help the family. So, the bottom line is: The slave gets pleasure from the submissive role. I like to cook. Randy is a fantastic cook, and he loves to cook, so I am happy to let him do that. I would not think to get into his kitchen, or touch anything, or do anything. I am happy to help out, but it is his domain.

I laugh about how after 18 years, I showed up and I was the "homewrecker"!

But I'm not really the homewrecker. There is definitely the power dynamic, but there's also the fact that Randy and Todd had been together so long, and there's also the dynamic that there are also things to learn from being in a polyamorous relationship as opposed to being in a relationship with just two people. One of the things that people ask me all the time, or suggest to me, is something like, "You have to be careful that your relationship with Todd is exactly like your relationship with Randy, so that no one gets jealous.

I tried to do that exactly, but if you actually sit down and think it through, it's ridiculous. Randy is a different person than Todd. He has different needs than Todd has. He wants to do different things with me than Todd wants to do with me. Trying to make the relationships identical is ridiculous. They are going to be different, and that's totally OK.

We have relationships with each other, and they fit together well and compliment each other. So, that's an interesting part of it I thought that when we first got together, all it would take would be one argument and I would be out on the street, cause I'd be the problem! In fact, I'm both happy and embarrassed to say that the first argument we had was a full-on, "everyone hates everyone"! It was not Todd and Randy ganging up on me, but it was all of us yelling at each other.

Then, we got all of that out of our system, and communicated about what happened, and it was great. We got past that. The biggest part about a polyamorous relationship is that you have to communicate. If you have to communicate a lot with two people, then you have to communicate an exponentially greater amount of time with three people. People, sometimes even straight friends, ask me two weird questions. The first is, "How can you love two men? And do you love your mother? So, how can you love two women at the same time?

We all have the capacity to love many people. It might not be the norm to love more than one person romantically, but I found it to be amazingly fulfilling. I think that the difference is that most people would never even venture to try it, so they don't know that they do have the capacity to have multiple romantic relationships. Our culture doesn't really foster that. Yet, the Leather community has always been unique in that we respect traditions, yet we also are known for "breaking the rules" at the same time So, Dan, you've been very open about your work with the Federal government.

You are clearly out at work, you use your real name, and it's in your official bio. For a lot of people who live in more repressive states, cities, or cultures, I would imagine that they'd be astonished, or in awe, or both at your openness. How has that been for you, to be able to be "out and proud" and openly in a polyamorous relationship?


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So here's the thing: That didn't "just happen". I worked for one of the more conservative Federal agencies. I wouldn't say that it's necessarily well-accepted, or embraced, or that people were happy about it. My partner at the time went out to Los Angeles, and I went to Atlanta. We were separated for a time. It was really difficult, and we were having problems.

My manager knew about that, and she was really great. She suggested that I transfer out to the West Coast. The closest I got was Hawaii. It was great because my partner at the time worked for the airlines, and at the time there were about 30 direct flights a day from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Her boss, however, found out that I was gay and went completely nuts. He called me in and took me to task about it, and told me all about his religious beliefs, and that I didn't deserve a federal job based upon my "moral turpitude", and all these things.

He was really terrible about it. I had to go through the whole EEO process. I had to file a complaint. I was also still a probationary employee, so he could have just fired me. My boss, however, knew what had happened and was willing to stand up for me. I went through that whole process, and it was not fun. But at the end of it, I learned a few things. We have these sets of rules and regulations that protect us -- and while the federal government doesn't always go a great job in enforcing those, they are still there. Once that happened, I was "out" to all 47, of my work colleagues.

My face is on the website, my phone number is there So, if it's just a little bit more shocking than that, or a lot more shocking than that, I'm already out there. You're certainly not going to "shame" me. I meet with the Assistant Administrator for Civil Rights and the Assistant Administrator for Human Resources, particularly when the Obergefell decision was coming through. And then there was the executive order stating that they were going to extend benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. I was talking about how that was going to happen and how they were treating people,.

I was standing up for someone who put in his benefits application for his husband who he'd been legally married to in Massachusetts for some time -- and a benefits person out in Kansas City said, "I don't believe in gay marriage. I ripped up your life insurance application. But I'm not really the homewrecker. There is definitely the power dynamic, but there's also the fact that Randy and Todd had been together so long, and there's also the dynamic that there are also things to learn from being in a polyamorous relationship as opposed to being in a relationship with just two people.

One of the things that people ask me all the time, or suggest to me, is something like, "You have to be careful that your relationship with Todd is exactly like your relationship with Randy, so that no one gets jealous. I tried to do that exactly, but if you actually sit down and think it through, it's ridiculous. Randy is a different person than Todd.

He has different needs than Todd has. He wants to do different things with me than Todd wants to do with me. Trying to make the relationships identical is ridiculous. They are going to be different, and that's totally OK. We have relationships with each other, and they fit together well and compliment each other. So, that's an interesting part of it I thought that when we first got together, all it would take would be one argument and I would be out on the street, cause I'd be the problem!

In fact, I'm both happy and embarrassed to say that the first argument we had was a full-on, "everyone hates everyone"! It was not Todd and Randy ganging up on me, but it was all of us yelling at each other. Then, we got all of that out of our system, and communicated about what happened, and it was great. We got past that. The biggest part about a polyamorous relationship is that you have to communicate. If you have to communicate a lot with two people, then you have to communicate an exponentially greater amount of time with three people.

People, sometimes even straight friends, ask me two weird questions. The first is, "How can you love two men? And do you love your mother? So, how can you love two women at the same time? We all have the capacity to love many people. It might not be the norm to love more than one person romantically, but I found it to be amazingly fulfilling. I think that the difference is that most people would never even venture to try it, so they don't know that they do have the capacity to have multiple romantic relationships.

Our culture doesn't really foster that. Yet, the Leather community has always been unique in that we respect traditions, yet we also are known for "breaking the rules" at the same time So, Dan, you've been very open about your work with the Federal government. You are clearly out at work, you use your real name, and it's in your official bio. For a lot of people who live in more repressive states, cities, or cultures, I would imagine that they'd be astonished, or in awe, or both at your openness.

How has that been for you, to be able to be "out and proud" and openly in a polyamorous relationship? So here's the thing: That didn't "just happen". I worked for one of the more conservative Federal agencies. I wouldn't say that it's necessarily well-accepted, or embraced, or that people were happy about it. My partner at the time went out to Los Angeles, and I went to Atlanta. We were separated for a time. It was really difficult, and we were having problems.

My manager knew about that, and she was really great. She suggested that I transfer out to the West Coast. The closest I got was Hawaii. It was great because my partner at the time worked for the airlines, and at the time there were about 30 direct flights a day from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Her boss, however, found out that I was gay and went completely nuts.

He called me in and took me to task about it, and told me all about his religious beliefs, and that I didn't deserve a federal job based upon my "moral turpitude", and all these things. He was really terrible about it. I had to go through the whole EEO process. I had to file a complaint. I was also still a probationary employee, so he could have just fired me. My boss, however, knew what had happened and was willing to stand up for me. I went through that whole process, and it was not fun.

But at the end of it, I learned a few things. We have these sets of rules and regulations that protect us -- and while the federal government doesn't always go a great job in enforcing those, they are still there. Once that happened, I was "out" to all 47, of my work colleagues. My face is on the website, my phone number is there So, if it's just a little bit more shocking than that, or a lot more shocking than that, I'm already out there.

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You're certainly not going to "shame" me. I meet with the Assistant Administrator for Civil Rights and the Assistant Administrator for Human Resources, particularly when the Obergefell decision was coming through. And then there was the executive order stating that they were going to extend benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. I was talking about how that was going to happen and how they were treating people,. I was standing up for someone who put in his benefits application for his husband who he'd been legally married to in Massachusetts for some time -- and a benefits person out in Kansas City said, "I don't believe in gay marriage.

I ripped up your life insurance application. How are you retrain that employee to make sure that the next LGBT employee won't get treated in the same way? So, with that kind of visibility came this freedom. You can't shame someone who doesn't feel ashamed about it. You can't silence someone who is an advocate and who speaks out regularly.


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I didn't want to come out at work initially, but that whole terrible experience set me free. It was probably the best thing that happened to me, even though it was probably also the worst thing that happened to me. I allowed me to become an advocate, and just really allowed me to be me.

Thank you for sharing. So, as Titleholders, what causes do you both feel most passionate about? For me, the two are intertwined with each other; They go hand in hand. We have this interesting situation where we are exactly mimicking the straight community and the very difficult time they had with offering birth control. We have the problem of unwanted pregnancy, and we offer birth control to women, and then there are people who are saying, "Why can't you just not have sex?

If you give these women birth control, they are just gonna become sluts. If you are someone who is anything other than ultra-conservative, you know that that's simply just not true. You are shaming people's sexuality, and trying to impose your own moral thinking about what they do with their bodies and what they do with their partners in their bedrooms. Is that really what we ought to be doing? I don't think so. It's none of my business.

You have this sort of visceral reaction. I completely understand why. But the attitude is: What's wrong with you? Don't you know our history? Don't you know better? PReP has come along. I'm not advocating that people use Prep and discard condoms. I'm advocating that people become educated about what their options are, and that they have conversations, and that they make smart decisions with their partners and their doctors. We seem to be reverting to shaming people about sex Let's talk about a different disease that's not sex-related.

There's a disease that's persists around the world that kills lots of people. You can avoid this disease by using mosquito nets and bug spray. There's also medication available, and that medication has severe side effects. In fact, it kills a lot of people. The effects are much more negative than Truvada's side effects. That disease is malaria. I don't hear anyone saying to stop taking your anti-malarial medication and use more mosquito nets. I don't see anyone peddling Deep Woods Off to malarial regions.

Laughs And I don't hear anyone blaming you for choosing to live in a region where there are a lot of mosquitoes! Doctors and infectious disease experts and smart people will say: Take your anti-malarial medication, use your nets, and put your bug spray on. Be smart about it. You really don't want malaria.

It's a bad time. But we say that in regard to HIV and Truvada, because it has to do with sex -- and we are very obsessed about being in other people's sex lives. So, that's what I feel passionate about! The thing that I love about PReP is that you take it when you're not feeling passionate.

What is going to impair your judgement when you wake up in the morning and you take the pill? The problem is when you're feeling sexual. That's when we are asking people to put on that condom, and that's tough. Usually guys may be drinking or engaging in other things, and that's not when we have the best judgement. You take it when you're sober.

So, there's a lot that needs to be learned in the medical system. Some physicians don't know much about PReP, and some don't even know it's available at all. Some even mistake it for a drug used only if you're HIV-positive already. The thing that I find very frustrating with current gay culture is that it's very difficult for us to respect one another just for being who we are, and for our health status. We have to respect medical decisions that we make for ourselves. The decisions that you make for yourself are between you and your health care providers.

You're also factoring in your partners, your family, your children and what not. Hopefully, you are getting accurate and appropriate information from your healthcare provider. Together, it's a decision you need to make for yourself. A third party really has no bearing on that. They should really have no say, or even an opinion on that, except maybe, "I'm glad you made that decision. Maybe you have a pre-existing liver or kidney condition, or maybe just one side effect is just too much for you. That is OK, but that's your medical decision. We have to become respectful of our medical decisions.

To call someone a "slut" just because they are on PReP -- it's unethical and ridiculous. So, Todd, you have been in the Leather community for a very long time, since you won your first Title in How has "the scene" changed since then? I remember "Drummer" Magazine and Tom of Finland artwork as inspirations for the man I wanted to be as well as the man I wanted to be with!

I discovered the Detroit Eagle as a second home. The thing that I love about being a gay man, particularly a gay Leatherman, is that you essentially write your own rules. You hear about the Old Guard. I don't know if I've ever actually met them during my 26 years. Laughs The thing is: