April 15, 2013

BDSM: Slavery


Today I am going to cover one of the more extreme aspects of the BDSM world: slavery.  For many, because of historical contexts, this leaves a poor taste in people's mouths.  When they hear the term slavery, they usually associate it with what the Africans endures being pulled from their land, put on ships, and brought to the "new world" to work as free labor.  Of course, this was just another segment of the population added to the long list of people who existed as slaves throughout the ages.  Most of the ancient wonders such as the Great Wall and Pyramids were constructed by slave labor.

Forced

Obviously, the common theme throughout history with regard to slavery is that it was forced.  Regardless of the term utilized, it is the same outcome.  People are taken from their homes and forced to perform tasks for others without receiving compensation.  They cease to exist as human beings rather becoming property.  In this regard, they are placed at the same levels as horses or oxen.  Beatings were often a part of the curriculum and death was only a concern because of the loss of an asset.  Whether one is called a slave, indentured servant, or houseboy, the premise is the same.

In this era, sexual slavery is one the most common form of slavery there is.  Much of the world has worked diligently to stamp out slaves doing physical labor.  Human rights groups are all over countries that allow this practice to exist.  However, sex slaves are quite common existing in most countries in the world.  Again, the terminology might change but at the end of the day these people are owned and used for another person's financial gain.  Drugs and alcohol are used to "addict" the person making them more controllable.  Of course, younger ones are taken because fear is more effective on them (in addition to there being a market).

While I am not going to enter into great discussion about the historical shortcomings of the human race, the point I am making is that slavery has always existed and, at its premise, people had no choice.  Conquered people became the property of those conquering.  Certainly, there is nothing enticing or glamorous about this way of life.

BDSM-Consent

A central tenet to BDSM is that all actions are based upon consent.  Here is one way that we separate ourselves from the traditional meaning of things.  While some of the actions will mirror what took place historically, it is crucial to remember that both parties agreed to the structure.

To start, BDSM is a conscious decision for most people.  Few are reared in this lifestyle.  Instead, they follow the traditional model as it is set forth by the culture they live in.  It is only after realizing some failings in the "normal" way of life that one begins to seek an alternative.  This is where BDSM enters the picture for many.  A conscious choice is required to enter this way of life.  One does not wake up one day and have a subconscious thought about turning his or her life to another.  Rather, after some research, the idea enters that this option as a relationship structure is appealing.  This is where one starts the journey on this path.

Also, upon entering, one must also decide at what level he or she is willing reside at.  While this is often a process akin to an uncovering, eventually a faction of the submissive BDSM community decides that slavery is preferred.  Again, this is a conscious choice.  Upon entering a relationship, consent is given to live in accordance to this relationship structure.  Here we see the stark difference from the historical examples of slavery.

Total Power Exchange

For slavery to exist, total power must be given.  By definition, slavery is a complete arrangement.  Power is not shared.  Here again, we can look at the historical context to gain the understanding.  Forced slaves do not have any power.  All of it resides in the hands of the owner (Master).  This power was handed over to someone else at times where applicable.  An example of this is when a foreman type person was responsible for keeping the slaves working on the assigned project.  He was free to do what he wanted to the slaves via the transfer of power.  Either way, the slaves had no say.

In certain situations it was not uncommon to see some responsibility bestowed upon individual slaves.  Again, the owner is free to distribute the power at his option.  There were times when a slave was given the responsibility over a few other slaves or a particular aspect of the work.  For example, on the large plantations, it was common for there to be a female slave who was responsible for the work within the household.  This was usually an elder slave who was born and raised on the land.  Her position included responsibility but did not change her status as a slave.

In the BDSM community, for one to live as a slave, we need to see the similar transfer of power.  This is not a split proposition.  Those who opt for this particular path are into total power exchange.  It is a voluntary decision to become what is the equivalent of property.  Naturally this goes against the laws of the land which is none of this is legally binding.  However, in the context of the lifestyle, one's commitment is what is binding.  While one is always free to leave, it is a big reflection upon that person not to remain unless some extreme harm is present.  A person who opts for this particular mode of relationship structure agrees with the parameters which go along with it.

Here is where many will take exception with me.  Some believe that there are different forms of slavery.  This idea comes from the notion that people are free to live how they see fit.  I agree with this sentiment.  Nevertheless, terminology is important and slavery, by its definition, is a total exchange of power.  It is not an equal or even a partial divide.  The exchange of power is complete.  If it is not, while a very practical way to structure relationships, slavery does not exist.

By the way, it is important to note that most BDSM relationships are not M/s.  Few opt to live this way of life or are they able to.  The skills required by both Master and slave to exist at this level are enormous.  On the dominant side, the responsibility of owning another person is more than most can handle.  In fact, in this day and age, most have difficulty controlling themselves let alone someone else.

Sex Slaves

Before concluding this article, I thought I would mention something about sex slaves.  In the beginning I touched upon what sexual slavery truly it.  This is not something that is consensual and there are millions of people (including children) who are living this way at this very moment.  Abduction, prostitution, rape, molestation, pregnancy, disease, and death are a common part of this culture.  There is nothing that can be glorified about this reality.

Nevertheless, travel around the BDSM dating sites and you will see people posting that they are "sex slaves".  It took me a while to figure out what these people meant but I eventually drew my conclusion.  When one terms him or herself a sex slave, in effect that person is proclaiming to be a slut.  In other words, anything goes sexually.  That is it.

Sadly, these people are misinformed.  A "sex slave" is not a slave.  While one is trying to proclaim total power exchange over sexual areas, this ends as soon as orgasm is achieved.  Tell her to go clean the toilet and you will get a non-submissive response.  This is not slavery.

Part of the problem is in the term "sex slave".  This is misleading.  True sex slaves are really slaves who are used for sexual purposes.  Therefore, the word sex describes the actions they perform as opposed to what they are.  Slave is more accurate.  They do not have control over any area of their lives.  This person could just as easily be used for other purposes if the owner deemed it necessary.

Getting back to the BDSM world, those who claim to be "sex slaves" are simply submissive people who want to have no say over their sexual affairs.  Usually, this entails those fantasizing about being taken in all different ways.  They believe BDSM offers a path to fantasy fulfillment.  Being passed around, tied up and used, or taken in public are all ideas which resonate with these people.  Certainly there is nothing wrong with having this as part of one's life.  However, the problem I have is that being horny and wanting to be taken is not on par with slavery.  I do not dispute the validity of choice just the terminology.  I feel the desire to be used completely sexually does not make one a slave of any kind; BDSM or otherwise.

BDSM slavery conveys a great deal of misconception.  The term slavery itself, as first mentioned, carries a negativity that most cannot get past.  Regardless of what many think, this is a fundamental part of the BDSM community.  If it is something you are interested in, do not let other people tell you it is wrong.  There are many who live in TPE relationships who are totally happy.  For those who can handle it, it is a perfectly acceptable path to choose.

DN  

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

BRILLIANT!! So far and by far the best articles i have stumbled upon while looking around for clarifying information about BDSM slaves and slavery. Thanks for taking your time to put it together and publishing it.

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