Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Slavery reconsidered

Greetings all,

Those who have followed my blog, or know of my other writings, may understand that I have some problems with people defining their relationships as Master/slave. Recently this came to a head on FetLife. The following is a copy of a new thread I recently started on the Masters and Slave forum there, with the intent of provoking some discussion.

I am posting it here as well with the same intent.

A couple of weeks ago there was a rather brisk discussion about the status of being a slave, and its implications. I took a rather contrary view to the majority. The thread was sadly purged by the list moderators because of complaints of name calling, etc. However, I believe this is an important topic, and so I am raising it again in the hopes that we can maintain a respectful level of debate, and some valuable information sharing.

Here are the basic premises which I would like to discuss:

1) The terms (not their meanings) "Master" and "Slave" are not really reflective of the dynamic of the relationship that exists in many couples who claim M/s status.

2) The use of the terms "Master" and "Slave" used in conversations with people outside the community makes meaningful communication very difficult, plus does a disservice to the community as a whole.

3) A new lexicon and taxonomy is required to describe the relationships that are currently defined as Master/slave so as to allow for better communications between people in the lifestyle, as well as the "vanilla" world.

Given the length of this post I was considering breaking it up into three different topics, but in the end decided that they should be kept together, since I imagine people will reference them all when they reply

So, with that in mind, let us begin:

Section 1: Does Master/slave really mean Master/slave?

Move anywhere outside the BDSM community and start looking for the definition of a slave. I would suggest that none of the definitions you would find in any way reflect the reality of the interaction model between two people in the community who call themselves Master and Slave. In my experience when people say they are in a Master/slave relationship what they are really saying is that one partner has agreed to obey the other partner in most things, that one partner has agreed not to engage in certain activities without the other's permission, that there is a long term commitment between the parties involved, and a general recognition that the relationship is based on one partner being Dominant and the other submissive. Plus a bunch of other things that vary from relationship to relationship.

But this is not slavery by any stretch of the imagination. For example, a real slave has no civil rights, may not own property, may be damaged or destroyed without any legal recourse to the Master, etc. In the most commonly accepted definition of slavery (outside the BDSM community) a society that legalized slavery would recognize that as property, the slave could be disposed of in any way their owner wished.

The matter is further complicated, at least here in North America, by the fact that even if the submissive partner wished to sign a "slave contract" in which they gave up their civil rights, and would hold their Master harmless for any injury, that such a contract would not be held as legal by the courts. Frankly, it is impossible for anyone in North America to become a slave.

Or put another way, no one may abrogate their rights and privileges as a citizen, even if they wanted to.

What this means is that in every real sense of the word, there is no way for anyone to voluntarily become a slave, and further, even if someone was to call themselves a slave, it is high unlikely that they are referencing the common accepted definition. Rather, they are using the word to describe a "special" committed relationship. What makes it special is however the participants decide to define it.

Bottom line: I have no problem if two (or more) people choose to use the term Master/slave when they speak to each other, or as a way of honouring the nature of their relationship. But such terminology should be kept private to the relationship. Much in the same way that most couples keep their special terms of endearment for those occasions when they are alone with each other.

Section 2: Trying to explain ourselves to others

Consider the following hypothetical scenario. You are at a party and you meet a couple. After a few moments the man announces that he is a pedophile, and that his partner is his child-victim. You (naturally) are shocked and tell him that you are about to report him to the police. "You don't understand!" he exclaims. "In my community the term 'pedophile' and 'child-victim' describe a committed loving consensual relationship between two people which expresses itself through photography and the acting out of situations where each partner assumes a role. If you were part of my special community you would understand!"

Get the picture?

Telling those outside the BDSM community that you are a Master or a Slave is counter-productive in the extreme. All it does is setup a situation where communication and dialog become more challenging. Not only that, but as shown in Section 1, when people say they are in a M/s relationship, in reality they are not. So, not only are they creating barriers to communication, but they are not even accurately describing their relationship.

Another example happened to me a few weeks ago on this forum. Something I said caused someone to label me as a "Gorean". Once that happened, they decided that there was no further point in talking with me, since Goreans are a sort of person that this individual already had a pre-conceived notion about. And both of us are in the BDSM community! How much more of a challenge then to try and open up a talk with someone who is not?

Wouldn't it be so much easier if we described ourselves using some other label?

Section 3: Towards a new lexicon

I don't have too much to write about in this section. I am hoping that you, the reader, will have input. If you agree with sections 1 and 2, then it seems to make sense that we want to find a new way of describing our relationships in a meaningful manner, without using emotional or intellectual triggers.

Power-based relationship? Dominant/submissive lifestyle? Consensual domestic discipline? I really don't know, but what I do know is that one of the reasons most Masters and Slaves are reluctant to tell others about their relationship is because of what happens as soon as you say Master or Slave.

A while back I wrote a short story called "All things great and small" which was a metaphorical creation tale. My two main characters were called God and Satan. I was not really referencing the Christian stereotypes, but I thought they were good terms to use to describe the first two entities in our universe, and part of their interaction model. The problem I encountered from those who read it, was that once they saw the word "God" or "Satan" a whole host of filters and biases came into play which made it very difficult for anyone to understand what the story was really about.

The same thing applies here. We are using terms that are just too emotionally loaded to be of any value. I suggest that new terms are required.

What do you think?

Be seeing you,

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Every now and then, I try my hand at humour

Greetings all,

So, a few days ago I was engaged in a rather active debate on the Masters and Slaves forum of FetLife on the subject of what it means to be a slave. My opinions were in the minority. In fact I would say it was about 20-1 or so. The thread became so contentious that it was pulled by the list moderators, although in private notes they did say they thought I had acted well, and they had found the thread to be very interesting, but had received too many complaints.

Ah well, so it goes.

IAE - I will be writing about the whole "slave" topic in more detail in my next post, but in the meantime I decided to try a somewhat lighter approach to the topic. The following will probably be posted on the same forum later today, but since I am not sure if they will allow it to stay. I thought I would also post it here for posterity. Sadly, I am not really a very funny fellow, so please do not be too unhappy if my rather meager attempt falls short of the mark.


Title: Is your man a Master, or is he a latent household appliance fetishist?

Confused? Of course you are. And with good reason.

Many men are in fact latent household appliance fetishists. However, the terrible social stigma attached to this groteseque perversion means that they have to find more socially acceptable means to express their dark deep desires to engage in carnal relations (and worse!) with those sleek sexy aluminum and plastic enrobed devices. For many, this has meant assuming the faux mantle of a Master, and trying to replace his unhealthy appetites by turning his woman into a "slave", when what he really wants is to spend hours stroking and caressing the smooth contours of his blender.

After all, consider the many similarities between "slaves" and appliances.

- Both are considered to be his property

- Both may be used in any way he wishes

- Both may be shared with others, but rarely are

- Both tend to be objects of great affection

- Both are expected to be pleasing to him

- Both have a wide variety of buttons that can be pushed

- Both are often used for seemingly domestic tasks with significant erotic overtones

- Both require a maintenance schedule

- Both must be purchased

- Both come with a guarantee which is rarely honored, and is often meaningless

- Both can be ordered never to speak (although the German appliances have been known to require more discipline than others to get them to be silent).

- Both can be turned on and off

- Both can be sold, traded, bartered, or gifted to others

- Both have a limited life expetnacy

- Both are often replaced when newer, sleeker, sexier, models become available

So, as you can see, the social acceptable acquistion of a "slave" can be used by many latent home appliance fetishists, as a mask for their secret perversions. In reality, every time they have a "session" with their slave, or create a meaningless discipline for the "slave" to follow, they are really sublimating their desire for a session with their appliance. In fact, some of these so-called Masters cannot even achieve true sexual satisfaction unless their "sessions" are accompanied with a wide variety of electrical "toys" which are nothing more than an attempt to incorporate their fetish into a more socially acceptable behaviour.

Fortunately, there are a number of telltale signs that slaves can be on the look out for, to determine if their Master is a closet latent household appliance fetishist.

- Does he spend time pursuing magazines about new gadgets and technologies?

- Does he seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in his workshop, not really getting anything done, but rather "organizing" his tools?

- Does he spend more time talking to his buddies about his latest technological acquisitions than he does talking about the beauty of his slave girl?

- Does his eyes light up when the next edition of Comsumers Report shows up in the mail box?

- Does he ever volunteer to help when the slave is engaged in a domestic task involving an appliance? For example, does he offer to "repair" it, rather than taking it to a service shop?

- Does he spend too much money on his tools which are rarely used, but often polished?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then your "Master" may be a latent household appliance fetishist. But do not worry. Help is available.

The Latent Household Appliance Fetishist Intervention Clinic (LHAFIC) is an organization dedicated to helping poor slave girls cope with their current situation. For a nominal fee, we will be able to free you from the terrible tyranny of living with your Master, and make you feel much better about your slave status. We have days of experience behind us, a very short list of references, and an contemptible attitude of taking advantage of your situation. IOW - you will feel right at home.

Call today, and don't delay. Remember, he can't heal himself. Don't take second place to a vacumum cleaner. Be all the slave you can be.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Mentoring women of different ages


Long time reader Vesta left a comment to my recent entry on mentoring and training:

I would be most appreciative if you would care to expand on how women of different ages are mentored differently.

Well, there is nothing like the appreciation of a well-trained submissive to provoke a response in me, so I am happy to oblige this request.

As I mentioned, I believe mentoring a submissive has less to do with her age than with her development and maturity. There have been 30-year old girls I have mentored who were much easier projects that girls at 50. IMO - the difficulty of the mentoring process is related to things such as:

- Social conditioning (be it feminism, pop culture, religion, etc)
- Previous relationships (and in particular if there is any history of abusive relationships)
- The motivation to be mentored (why have they come to me?)
- The support (or lack of it) from friends, family, etc
- Sexual maturity (only because many girls are provoked to sub-fever for the first time during mentoring).

It has always been the case that I have had to tailor and customizes the mentoring process for each girl. While I have a few techniques, rituals, and disciplines which would be common to all (for example the use of third-person form), I recognized fairly early on that it would be foolish to try a "one size fits all" approach to mentoring. Different girls are... different, and what works for one, will not work for another.

A good analogy can be taken from ski instruction. One of the things that is critical in learning to ski is stance and balance. There are many different techniques, exercises, instructions that can be used to teach this. All are aimed at the same goal, a proper stance and a dynamic approach to balance, but what works for one student may not work for another. Sometimes, as an instructor, you must come at the problem from a number of different ways until you see the light bulb click on over the students head. And when it does, no other techniques are required.

So too, is how I find the process of mentoring and training.

But now, back to age differences. In general, I have found it more of a challenge to deal with young girls (say under 30) than those who are older. Sometimes this is because the younger ones come with an attitude (I already know everything, I am the best pleasure slave in the world). Sometimes it is because they use words without really understanding what they are saying (I want to be the best submissive ever. I want to be a slave, etc). Sometimes it is because they are using D/s as an approach to finding love ("I will only submit to my One").

Regardless of the reason, the lack of maturity and experience can be a barrier to acceptance. Simply put, they do not have enough life experience to evaulate what I am trying to teach them, in comparison to what has already happened in their life. Often, there is also a fear. Fear of exposure ("Its so dirty!"), fear of the implications, fear of being abused. Older woman are less likely to have these fears. Rather, they are concerned about how the notions of D/s conflict with what they have been taught about being strong and independent, or they are concerned about not being "good enough", or of finally allowing the sexual beast inside them to come to the foreground. So, while older women may not suffer from the anxieties of their younger sisters, they certainly have their own to deal with.

And, as I said, this is far from a universal truth. I have known women who, even in their fifties, have never gone down on a man, never experienced a true orgasm, and categorically refuse to acknowledge the power relationship between Dominant and Submissive because it conflicts so deeply with their inner beliefs on the equality of the genders.

What this implies is that I often find myself in rather long and challenging debates with the older girls, while the younger girls can often be taught in a more experiential manner. In the same vein, I often find older women to be more articulate, better able to form and state their opinions, than younger ones. Or perhaps, this is only a question of assertiveness and self-confidence. OTOH, in some cases I find it easier to develop and enhance a younger girl since they have not yet had decades to build barriers and walls that must be torn down before the real development can begin.

Another difference I find between younger and older girls is in the area of self-esteem and self-image. Self-esteem in older girls is often higher, perhaps because they know themselves better, and have a proven track record of their ability to handle a wide variety of situations. Conversely, self-image in younger girls seems to be higher, perhaps because their bodies and faces have not yet begun to show the inevitable results of aging. This means that they will have different sensitivity to the same topic.

In the final analysis, I really do not let age affect my decision with respect to accepting a girl to be mentored, although I doubt I could be convinced to mentor a girl younger than 25 or so, but perhaps that's just an arbitrary value, since I have never been approached by anyone younger than 25!

Be seeing you,

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