Choices ... in the end it is ALL about choices, but choices predicated on certain immutable precepts. With full awareness of the consequences of each path stretched before one – and needing, indeed, REQUIRING some insight and inner knowledge about the individual who is the other part of the desired dynamic.
For choosing to submit, be it as a slave or a submissive must, in the end, be an internally driven decision. A decision based on information only the individual can decide is crucial to taking the step.
The bottom line is that none of us can predict the outcome of the choices we make– all we have is the knowledge that there WILL be a consequence to that choice. One we may think a solid probability, one that based on logic should occur but in the end, it is ALL a gamble, a roll of the dice. For every action there is a reaction ... for every choice there is a consequence. That is the reality.
Labelling oneself “slave” or “submissive” is, when all is said and done, a pointless exercise. The reality is that no one individual will have the same vision of that label. For in the end, labels are useful only in the sense that they give a grounding to those outside the dynamic. Within the dynamic, only the individuals involved have a full understanding of what the label encompasses – and then only after open and honest communication and sharing of that concept. (Gillette gives a truly insightful discussion about how communication can be misinterpreted and have different meanings here)
And because NO dynamic is immutable nor static, every relationship is an evolving, constantly shifting work in progress. Thus, even within the magic circle, the nuance and impact of words will themselves change and shift.
But another paradigm which has been postulated by PK is equally crucial and to my mind perhaps marks the biggest differentiation between the fantastic and reality – and that is RESPONSIBILITY.
I think PK’s erudite (grins) grasp of the subject says it best - It's not that living with someone and choosing a M/s dynamic is wrong as long as both parties know what is what. It's that it is (for me anyway) the absolutely fucking WRONG choice to choose that when it is not a choice, but rather an ABDICATION of my own personal responsibilities and power.
And that, dear friends, is one of the places I see the demarcation between reality and fantasy. Because while the concept of abdicating all decision-making can have a delicious and compelling pull to it, the reality is that it would be almost impossible to live a life wherein one would have the inclination, time and degree of effort required to make the fantasy work every moment of every day.
I also personally view it as the ultimate ‘cop-out’ to seek someone who will live your life vicariously and make all decisions for you because you refuse to find the strength of character and discipline to take the responsibility yourself. I would also question the stability of such a relationship –as I believe it inevitable that ennui and burn-out will occur in the Master and on the submissive’s part, believe it is a foregone conclusion that constantly having to seek advice and guidance on even the most mundane matters will quickly pall.
I would also, at this point, emphasize again that submission is not for the weak of heart. Putting your mind, body and spirit into the often untested safekeeping of another`s hands is at best, a leap of faith, at worst, a sometimes overwhelming and often frightening proposition; a step which takes great strength of mind, a willingness to trust and in the end, a certain fatalistic acceptance and willingness to experience possibly negative consequences.
That takes strength, and I believe that part of a submissive’s attraction to the right person is the strength required to submit; D. often said that there was no victory in mastering someone easily mastered by anyone – that the true satisfaction lay in having a strong, independent, capable individual kneel through choice.
And as I truly believe an ongoing M/s or D/s relationship is simply a variation on ANY type of relationship, it also requires ongoing and committed dialogue, a willingness of both parties to open up insecurities and concerns, and finally – and Swan says it best – ultimately an understanding of the parameters of the dynamic – thus the choice of both to live inside of that apparent inequity.
Crap days happen. Real life intrudes. Work, family issues, health concerns are all inevitable parts of each of our lives. And while as M:e says We strive for the perfection of it...whilst recognising it will always be imperfect, because relationships contain human being and humans are imperfect. So yes, maybe a mix of fantasy AND reality....for many of us heavily weighted towards the latter though .... there is an understanding there that as in ANY relationship, the ebb and flow will fluctuate, the intensity increase or decrease, that as in any of our lives, the incandescent moments that many of us have experienced at those seconds of complete understanding cannot (and probably should not) be there at every interaction.
There are real people involved. There are real, ongoing issues that affect the individuals entwined in the dynamic. As every parent I have ever noted has said at some point why don’t they come with instructions .... that comment about children can be equally apropos when referring to either the dominant or submissive element of the equation.
The complexity of the human mind, the sensitivity and quirkiness of the human spirit should never be underestimated. There is a reason that the submissive and dominant are attracted to each other. It is not a universal truth that every dominant is equally attracted to every submissive nor that every submissive is automatically compelled to serve and bow to every dominant – that’s the fantasy thing again.
While there are certain intrinsic traits that are perhaps comparable among individuals (without question, service for the submissive, control for the Master), it is the personality of the individual that triggers the initial attraction. Which brings me to my earlier querying of the reality of training and conditioning. I believe, that ultimately, a good dominant enhances and embraces ALL the qualities of a submissive as the submissive does the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the Master’s personality. Otherwise, it would just not make sense to create a personal dynamic in the first place; i.e. any port in a storm (or any submissive when in the mood). But if that were the case then we’re not talking about a Master/slave or Master/submissive dynamic – we’re talking about “tops” and “bottoms” - an equally valid but very different kettle of fish.
Sir J I think has an excellent grasp of it when he talks about his initial contract with his h - -h has the right to expect her Master to both know her, who she is and has always been, and to respect these facets of her personality and not to require her to do or become anything which would make her uncomfortable or in any way interfere with those facets of her personality.
And Vesta, when she says two people like each other fundamentally as they are.
Every single one of us has individual character traits which to a greater or lesser degree define who we are – traits whose complexity and nuance create the uniqueness of one person. Some can (and in many ways should perhaps) be altered to some degree; we all carry baggage, baggage from life’s many buffetings and experiences, baggage that is not always healthy nor desired. In that sense, a good guiding hand can help us get rid of unwelcome baggage. However, there are other personality traits that to some may look like baggage but are in fact, an important part of our perception of self. Innate personality quirks that define the essence of what we are. I strongly believe that to fully integrate acceptance of self, then those that profess to care about us, must accept those parts of us that may not always make the person comfortable but are understood to be part and parcel of the whole package.
This includes understanding motivations and triggers for a submissive or slave. Vesta, for instance, brings up another valid point about training which touches on a personal hate of my own – the useless imposition of pointless exercises on the submissive. I just don’t understand what demanding pointless exercises simply for the sake of ensuring the submissive completes them does and to me, again smacks of the online fantasy thing rather than reality. She says:
The things I am asked to do need to be meaningful or else I am going to struggle
to consistently do them. Unless the submissive (or slave, or whatever) feels
that there is a purpose for the change, then I don't see how she can maintain
her desire to make the changes simply because another person desires her to do
The reality is that there IS no Manor in the country where naive submissives can be sent for training. Many of the “rituals” one reads about are in fact variations on practices derived from the Leather community; certainly many of the rules and regulations originated there. And there is nothing wrong with that – in fact I find generally speaking the Leather community’s open and honest appraisals are refreshingly free from pretence or fabrication.
When all is said done, an M/s or D/s relationship is a relationship with all the nuance, variations and distinctions of any other relationship. The dynamic that works provides a rich, fertile and luxuriant tapestry of pleasure and a deep soul-satisfying background to living that is compelling and ultimately intensely rewarding to all parties.
But it is premised, based on and intrinsic to personal choice. Choice, which when given, ALWAYS has the possibility in our society of being revoked. Slavery in a free society is only possible if the individual chooses it – in a sense, an oxymoron yet intrinsically valid as a lifestyle choice if you are so inclined.
As Gillette puts it, succinctly, humorously yet effectively ...Muahahahahaha...she takes herself wherever she goes... the individual is ultimately in control of her destiny even to the extent of putting that destiny in the hands of another.