Before going any further, I am going to categorically state that all I am writing about here is void of the idea of play. This topic is for people who are serious about a BDSM relationship and all that goes along with it. For those who are interested in playing, this isnt as applicable since that viewpoint carries a beginning and an end with established boundaries. In other words, once the scene ends, things move back to their previous state.
I write how important it is for one to be completely in touch with reality. Those who lose site of this tend to open themselves up to being hurt. There are many who do not have noble intentions and are apt to take advantage of one who looks at the BDSM word as some type of fairy tale. The truth is that reality always hits us sooner or later. Therefore, it is best to keep our eyes open and remain mindful of all our options.
The simple fact is that slavery is illegal in most developed countries. M/s is built upon the premise of complete power exchange that is agreed to by both parties. The consensual part removes it from the field of abuse. However, it does not make it legal. Holding a person against his or her will is a criminal act. That is reality.
Therefore, you are free to leave at any time you wish. A "Master" can claim that you are to remain, yet the law says otherwise. At the same time, you, as an individual, are free to call the authorities if activities infringe upon your basic rights. For example, many seem to feel that because they submit, then anything goes. I encountered one who was told by her Master that he could abuse her because she was owned. Not true. A call to the cops would result in a nice domestic battery charge. Being a Master does not entitle one to beat the snot out of a slave. Again, the consent does not make it legal.
The "Spirit" of BDSM
When we look at the "spirit" of BDSM we find an entirely different situation. Everything we discuss about this particular lifestyle is based upon this concept. To me, those who are able to succeed in this way of life understand this premise and operate accordingly. Those who do not, tend to be "passing through".
Again, I will utilize M/s as the premise for my discussion. When you look at living in a Master/slave situation, the fact that it is illegal in reality is only part of the equation. The other aspect that is worthy of note is the fact that this is a consensual relationship that is agreed upon by both parties. It is something that each wants resulting in a complete exchange of power. This is the structure chosen for the relationship and from which all interaction occurs.
It is at this point that things can get dicey. Even though one does legally retain his or her rights, in a M/s relationship, the spirit behind it is that they are given up. A slave has no rights other than what is granted by the Master. So while the law says one thing, the spirit of our lifestyle says another. This is the dual dichotomy that is always in operation and needs to be navigated.
The words we use can alter the meaning of something greatly. In this post, I have applied the terms reality and spirit to make a distinction. However, the truth is that both are not the best idea to use as a barometer. In reality, whether something is illegal or not has no bearing unless the law is involved. Consider the fact that sodomy is still illegal in more than 30 states yet anal sex occurs almost everyday in each of these areas. Of course, there is a world of difference between consensual sodomy and non-consensual which should require no further explanation.
Therefore, I feel it most important to behave in matters that are sane. When one is engaging in an activity that is consensual and safe, then what private individuals choose to do is of no concern to anyone else. However, when the sanity is removed and one is dealing with a danger, that is when reality needs to take over. Safety starts with the individual. Taking care of oneself is something one always needs to be mindful of. Even the most experienced Master can slip up periodically. Unfortunately, my experience is that insanity is far more common than sanity.
So, this is where I find the line is drawn. When one strays into insane behavior that is in putting one at risk, it is completely within a slave's rights to protect him/herself by saying "I am outta here". One does not have to put up with a lunatic. Abuse is not a part of the BDSM lifestyle and one needs to do all he or she can to stop the situation. This is a reality.
On the other hand, there are many BDSM relationships in which the parties are sane. At these times, the "spirit" of our lifestyle is the prevailing tenet. Everything we discuss in terms of rules, protocols, and acceptable ways of conduct apply. For example, a slave cannot leave a M/s relationship, she needs to be released. This is in keeping with the spirit of power exchange. Therefore, to up and leave a relationship which is non-abusive shows one to not respect the lifestyle and prefer to operate in ways contrary to what we are involved in. Again, while he or she is exercising a right that always exists in reality, this person is violating the spirit of the lifestyle which holds things together.
Always remember that these two aspects of the lifestyle are always in play. When there is sanity, let the spirit of this way of life be your guide. However, when one crosses over into the asinine, exercise your rights and exit that scenario quickly. There is no room for abuse within the BDSM community and, regardless of what some idiot says, you do not have to take it.
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