Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mutual Respect (by Meadow Theas)

In all our marvelous diversity, what we have in common is power exchange relationships.

Power exchange can be expressed by any action.  The action that expresses the exchange of power is like the celery that carries the cream cheese.  It’s a vehicle, neutral in itself, charged only by the fact that one person commands and the other obeys.

And power exchange itself doesn’t get us a pervert label.  It’s part of the mainstream in intimate relationships.  Consider “traditional marriage.”  The difference, and the thing that gets us considered perverted, is the diversity of our expression and the fact that we choose it rather than allowing our culture to dictate it.  Kink is part of that controversial diversity.

Despite all this, we perpetuate our own oppression by carrying social stereotypes into our D/s.  Gender roles are a prime example.  There’s no reason why doing the dishes should be either a female or a submissive task . . . yet I observe a strong trend towards assuming that subs/slaves are female and that their submission is expressed in domestic service.  And I suspect that many of the problems Dommes and male subs face are based in vanilla gender expectations.

And we generate our own stereotypes and labels from within as well, thereby generating both misunderstanding and disrespect.  Examples are myriad, ranging from relationship assumptions to the nature and capabilities of people based on whether they’re Dominant or submissive.  I can’t tell you how discouraging it is to feel myself facing, as a submissive in my theoretically revolutionary community, a similar set of limiting stereotypes to what I face as a woman in the vanilla world.

So here we are, wanting community, sharing a deeply primal human experience, yet united primarily by our diversity.  How can we talk to each other, learn from each other, when each of our relationships has its own vocabulary?  Even the word “submission” is defined differently by different people, and each definition describes a valid experience.

I would argue that “education” is something to be approached with care.  It’s human to want validation and reassurance that we’re succeeding in the dynamic we’re creating.  However, creation is individual.  As Marge Piercy said about writing:

“The reason people want M.F.A.'s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else's mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall . . .”

In M/s and D/s, what classes can offer us is techniques and somebody else’s preferences.  

What we each bring to the table is ourselves.  Our own experience, our own priorities and choices, our thoughts on what is right for us.  Not for our neighbors.  And we can bring open ears for the lives of others.  I believe that if we could listen to each other’s lives without feeling a direct or implied pressure to be like them, if we could take what’s right for us while respectfully leaving the rest, if we could act towards each other based on understanding and acceptance of each other’s individual preferences, we could learn more and do less damage to ourselves and others.

To my mind, what power exchange relationships offer us is a chance to live one of the most demanding spiritual tenets I know of:  the Wiccan Rede.  “And it harm none, do as you will.”

Thanks for reading.

Ryn’s kajira

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Silly Thing Called Structure

I've always said I enjoy having a routine. It's extremely difficult for me to willingly break from my morning routine during the week. The same can be said for my routines with Master. I'd feel quite lost without the structure they provide for me. Breaking it down, there are a few reasons I'm hopelessly addicted to routine. To me, structure equals safety. It's reliable. There's comfort in ritual. While other things are out of my control, while things around me change, there's solace in the repetitive motions I do for myself and for Master.

Master and I recently began to really work through some...communication struggles. The reason I bring this up is because it has all seem to come full circle. Master asked me to write this blog as a demi-punishment. We can call it a re-focus exercise. Our recent conversations have all unintentionally come back to structure. I truly didn't realize how much it meant to me until the other day.

Until recently, I didn't see how even how Master speaks gives me the structure I so apparently need. He could tell me when we're doing something, who's making the final decision etc. It's not exactly what he's telling me, it's how. This is a completely different take on structure than I'm used to; I usually equate structure to routines and rituals, habits and schedules. Those are still extremely important, valid and necessary. But the structure that Master's words bring almost feel like a missing piece. I get closure. There's no uncertainty. I know where the control lies. If Master expect me to make the final decision, I'm aware of it and not left trying to figure out why he didn't take the control I was offering.

Master knows I can be dense, stubborn or completely spaced out sometimes, however we hadn't quite tailored our communication to address that nor had we created a structure to work with my endearing shortcomings. No submissive or relationship is the same which is why control and structure will vary greatly between different relationships. There's a power in figuring out what works. It can be quite frustrating getting there and slightly terrifying, but reaching this goal of better communication that you didn't even know you had is absolutely worth every hair-pulling moment.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An essay on safety

Following a Fetlife profile link I found an interesting essay on "Slave Safety" that once was published in the yahoogroup theslaveboynetwork. It was written by a male gay sub from California with the nickname coyote. The text was written for the gay leatherscene, but i think a lot of the advice coyote composed is also useful for hetero male and female submissives. Here is an URL to a website where I found the essay published: