This is what separates BDSM from a lifestyle of abuse. BDSM is about the fulfillment of both parties through varies activities which are in accordance to their core. Although some of the practices look abusive from the outside, they, in fact, when administered properly and under the right conditions, are designed to heighten the experience of the individuals involved. So, while it looks abusive from the outside (and to the non-knowing), it is really enjoyed by the parties involved.
Slavery is a practice which is rather ironic. While it is a deplorable practice, non-BDSM slavery that is, it is something that is ever-present. Mankind, the most advanced animal in the world, is also the most barbaric. Slavery is something that was always in existence in one form or another. Throughout history, conquering forces enslaved the population of those they conquered. This is how kingdoms expanded and empires arose. Whatever the era in our history, we see slavery as a basis. Even today, we see its existence in the many forms it takes.
Now, I am not writing this as an endorsement of what occurs Obviously, we are dealing with a situation which is 100% non-consensual. Slaves were treated like sub-human creatures in deplorable and unsafe conditions. However, the point that I am making is simply that this is something that appears to be a condition of mankind. It also presents the imagery we have in our minds when we think of the terms "slavery".
As you can guess, with such a horrific view of something, why would anyone in their right mind choose to follow that path? What would make someone willing choose to live as a "slave" when it is one of abuse and terror? The answer lies in the fact that "slavery" as presented in the BDSM world, is a totally different concept. While there are similarities to "real-world slavery", the truth is the practice does not really match.
Before going any further, I will point out that on this subject, as most I write about, there is a certain segment of abusers out there who will take everything and twist it for their purposes. While this is something we need to deal with, the truth is the Internet enables any fool with a keyboard and a username to become whomever he/she wants. Unfortunately, this opened the pathway for all those who want to simply use and abuse in a hurtful way for their own ends. These people are no different than those who enslaved in the past. An abuser is an abuser no matter how he or she is dressed up.
Everything starts with the identification of a characteristic within oneself to submit. I am a believer of people going deep within themselves to find their core. Once this is done, the natural traits of domination and submission are recognized. This is something that is discovered or uncovered within oneself. It is an ever-present characteristic often showing up at an early age although the individual most likely did not recognize it at the time. Therefore, when someone refers to her submission, this is a natural trait as opposed to something that was decided upon.
The decision comes in following this trait and making it a centerpiece of one's life. Now, I use the word centerpiece because I do not believe this is something one picks up and puts down. A person who is submissive is simply submissive. Sure, this person can assume a dominant role in a situation where it is required such as work or parenting. However, the natural "calling" always moves towards the submission. One is inherent in this individual while the other is a role that one assumes. An individual's ultimate fulfillment is dependent upon the following of what is located deep down in her core.
Many enter the lifestyle aware of this. They did enough internal searching to realize that, indeed, submissiveness is present. Most likely, looking back over her life, there is a degree of it that is noticeable in many interactions. Also, when it comes to "romantic" relationships, one understands that there was a desire or craving for more, something that often went unfulfilled. Hence, our new person embarks upon her journey into the BDSM world.
At this point, I am going to state a simple point that many, especially online, seem to overlook. Someone who is submissive desires to submit. Think about that for a second. This individual wants to cede control over to someone. As I just stated, it is natural for her. There is no effort required. It is not forced. In fact, it is most likely beyond her to stop it. She needs to submit like she needs to breathe. It is an automatic response in her. I read about so many who try to pressure and force one to submit. This is an abusive practice. If one is truly dominant and real, one who is truly submissive cannot help herself but to submit. It is what she craves. The caveat is that both be are truly what they proclaim.
Disclaimer time.....for all my abusive readers out there...just because someone desires to submit does not mean she will submit to YOU. Those who are submissive are not brainless, out of control emotionally boobs. They are individuals who have the ability to reason, think, and control themselves. Simply because the urge is strong within her, that does not mean she will take any fool who comes along. Criteria needs to be met. Also, your expectation that she is yours is misplaced. Nobody with any sense is going to submit simply because you send an email or two stating you are dominant and she needs to listen. Please try to get a clue about what is going on.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
Therefore, one enters the lifestyle as a submissive person with the desire to submit. This is how she is going to opt to structure her relationship and her goal is to find someone who completes the other side of the equation, i.e. is dominant.
The foundational basis for the BDSM relationship is the exchange of power. Unlike "vanilla" or traditional relationships, BDSM makes no pretense of equality in the relationship. In this realm, the power breakdown is in favor of the dominant. That is really what submission means: turning power and control over one to another. It is a rather simple concept yet confuses so many.
Now, when we look at the natural craving withing a submission person, what do you think her desires tell her? Obviously, give up control is what rings true with her. So, why do we have so many who are hesitant and resist? In other words, why do so many hedge their thought process?
The answer to this lies in the fact that so many dominants out there are complete idiots. A submissive craves submission. She wants this more than anything else. It is a need just like breathing. Does one desire to breathe only part way? Of course not. Then why would anyone believe that she wants to submit half way? My conclusion is that, while she does not, real world observations necessitate this. The stories are many of how morons used the guise of BDSM to abuse another. Word spreads quickly when one takes advantage of a sub's trust and totally destroys her. There is not only the physical abuse but cases of extreme mental and psychological. Again, this is not part of the consensual lifestyle deal yet it does happen and submissive ones are very aware of this.
At the same time, there are many, while not abusers, who are clearly unworthy or irresponsible with power. They have little control over their own lives yet insist upon running another. These individual like to operate from the "do as I say not as I do" platform. Unfortunately, this outlook makes for a terrible leader which is what a dominant/master truly is (or should be).
Finally, many D-types (not sure I like that word...sounds pretty stupid) are arrogant know-it-alls. They believe that everything is their business when it pertains to one under his control. Sure, ownership comes with having access to all that is going on in one's life. However, be real about things. There are certain situations which might be none of your business and is best if you keep your opinion to yourself. For example, she might have a successful career that she excels at. For you to but in and tell her what to do could result in damage. Another situation is if she has kids. Unless they are your kids, you have little say especially if they have a father. What is interesting is that if you look at those who are within the lifestyle, many of them were crappy dads to their kids yet they want to tell someone else how to parent. This is where some self-appraisal is required to determine where your weaknesses reside. Nobody is good at everything so just own up that it is not your area of expertise and cede to your submissive. This does not make you any less dominant, just realistic.
This brings us to the final point that I want to make today. Slavery is looked upon as extreme. The exchange of power is total and complete. It is not a partial breakdown. However, as I mentioned before, I do not believe submissive persons want a partial breakdown. What they want is someone they can trust who is not a complete fool and will consistently look after her best interest (read that again all my abusing friends...it is not a one-way street nor is it all about you). A submissive craves giving over the control and really does not want that censored. But again, fear, practicality, and realism based upon observation prohibit that in most instances.
Therefore, when I think of slavery, I consider it more to be a totality of the power exchange as opposed to extreme. Being a slave means nothing more than one who decided to give full control over to her dominant. That is all. It is a power breakdown that is complete. Again, if one is truly submissive, is this not what she wants if she can find one who can be responsible and trustworthy with that power? My answer is I believe that is the case.
Now we encounter the conflict. As I mentioned in the open, for obvious reason, slavery has a negative connotation in our mental imagery. We need only look through photos or drawings depicting what people who were slaves endured. It is not a pretty sight. We couple this with the horror stories we hear about from the abusers in the lifestyle and it is easy to see why one holds back. Simply put, slaves are looked down upon for a variety of reasons.
At this point I will state that much of what is out there is true. Are slaves abused in some instances? Yes they are. Do many look down upon them with arrogance and contempt? That happens also. Are some slaves whipped, beaten, and treated like dogs? I have to state that takes place.
But a much bigger question is "are slaves less than"? Are they individuals who are not to be respected? My answer is no. Slaves are not less than. They are not individuals who are without esteem. In fact, within the lifestyle, they are the individuals who are most worthy of respect. A slave is an individual who consents to giving full power over to another. She is acting out in accordance with her core in totality. Within this dynamic, she is holding nothing back from her dominant. Her life and control over it is being trustfully (hopefully not misplaced) in his hands. She is not approaching this in a half-assed way. In other words, she is all in. So I ask you, what is not respectable about that? Why should anyone be degraded for living in this manner? I seriously would like an email if someone can answer these questions to the contrary.
The simple truth is a slave is someone who decided to completely live according to what her core is telling her AND spent the time and effort to learn to live in this manner. I add the second part because simply because one decides to go all in does not mean she is worthy of being titled "slave". There are lessons to be learned, experiences had, and knowledge to be gained. This is what takes one from the state of being "untrained" to "trained". Of course, like everything else in BDSM, this is an ongoing process that goes that lasts the rest of our lives.
So it is time for everyone to rethink what the term "slave" means in the BDSM world. It begins with the understanding that it is a consensual relationship decision. It is made by an individual who is committed to living out what is at her core and giving all of herself to her partner. She desires to serve him in every way she can completely and to live for his pleasure and benefit. In return, she seeks to be held in esteem, protected, and interacted in ways which enhance and fulfill her. This interaction takes on many forms and is not the same for each individual. Simply because one is a slave, that does not mean she is open to abuse, pain, and total degradation. If that is her thing and something agreed upon, then so be it. But do not presume that all want to live that way. Finally, a slave is someone who dedicates the time and effort to learning what it means to live this way.
So in closing, in the world of consent, slavery as it is in BDSM, does not carry a negative connotation.
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