Today I’m ruminating on personal responsibility and M/s dynamics.
I’m going to give a warning (not a disclaimer because – well frankly I’m tired of disclaimers) that what I’m going to say may sound paradoxical perhaps. such is the way my little head works. Also I realize that abuse does occasionally happen in our communities, this is not about that.
In many (but not all) of the M/s dynamics in my sphere the Master has and retains all of the power and authority in the dynamic. Such dynamics start any number of ways and in truth while the starting is often indicative of a great deal – it’s not quite as important as the ending.
In my years in the community I’ve seen a LOT of relationships end. A LOT. And often I’m perplexed at the ending. Let me clarify. I’m not perplexed as to why they ended – because things end for their own reasons. I’m perplexed as to the story that is told AFTER it ends. Consensual relationships are now termed as having been abusive. Things that were joyfully agreed to as part of one being enslaved, now are horrible pains inflicted upon them. The Master becomes the Predator. The M/s dynamic is now just a means by which to cause harm. Obedience becomes betrayal. Consensual non-consent is now an elaborate fiction – not something agreed to, but something forced into. Anything not written in stone is now a violation.
This is all very interesting to me. As a mentor and coach – I have helped slaves through devastating break-ups. Sometimes the Masters behave in ways that are less than honorable. Sometimes they break trust and faith. Sometimes they stoop to their lowest selves. This is horrid and there is no justification for it. At the same time I’m not a big proponent of the Victimization of Slaves/Submissives Movement that I often observe in our community.
And here’s why.
I REALLY do believe that submissives and slaves are Powerful, Brilliant, Amazing creatures. I really do find that submissives and slaves can be Competent and have the ability to make GOOD decisions, have the right to make mistakes as they Learn in Life and are not these fragile, insecure, nearly broken beings that many would have us think.
The other side of that state of Empowerment – is the responsibility for our own experience. Owning our experiences as our OWN. Saying the “Yes I chose that, it didn’t work out, I found that things just didn’t resonate” without the need to Vilify and Demonize our partners gives us Power believe it or not.When I first came into the “community” I met a very well known Dominant. He was gregarious and charismatic, and while we both knew that I did not desire to pursue a dynamic with Him, I thought it might be a good place to explore. Not knowing (or frankly caring to know) about negotiation, or all the rules of a scene (I did not come into this because of an interest in S&M but due to a real longing for D/s) when He told me that a specific action meant I desired to be treated as a submissive – I didn’t ask questions about what that meant. When we went up to His dungeon later that evening, I didn’t know what to expect. When he proceeded to use most of his toys on me (no blood or fluids etc;) it never occurred to me to safe word. Now. Many would say “He was predatory” or “He was abusive of his power”. However, I wholeheartedly disagree, and He remains someone our household is friends with to this day. I was/am an adult woman. While I did not negotiate for what occurred, I also didn’t say NO to what was occurring. Did I enjoy it? No. Was I abused by it? No. He showed me how to use quick release locks and told me the importance of them. He checked on me afterwards. Those were kindnesses – but really even without them He would not have been abusive to me because I CHOSE to take the ride.
Having a less than enjoyable scene or a less that desirable outcome does NOT equal abuse. Feeling emotionally fragile, out of sorts and raw is actually very typical even when in a relationship – this is not indicative of being violated. Frequently it seems that in our communities – in order to honor those who really ARE abused, or really HAVE been violated – we’re not willing to examine, to talk to or provide guidance to new people regarding what various experiences look like in the community. Typical Kinky/Leather sexual interactions and expressions of desire are now termed predatory, interest is trolling, and any Master or Dominant desiring to avoid being accused later might want to create a contract for every interaction which describes each action in extreme detail seven ways to Sunday. New Kinklings are given the idea (Thank you 50 shades of Gray – although it began before that) that this is a Kinky Amusement Park. Even if it WAS an amusement park we still seem to have forgotten some basic rules. Laura Antoniou is credited with having said “You must be this tall to get on this ride” I’ll take that a bit further and say “recognize the risks”. When you get ready to get on a roller coaster there is a list (most of us don’t read it) of what the side effects could be. We ASSUME the risks when we get on the ride. There are no guarantees.
Maya Angelou said “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Frequently I find that slaves don’t do this. (actually people in general frequently don’t do this – but I’m going to speak about slaves specifically because that’s the place of my experience. ) The Master said He wasn’t interested in monogamy. Believe Him. The Master shows you that He’s not very “hands on” when it comes to Mastery – Believe Him. The “Master” said He WASN’T a Master- BELIEVE Him (or Her!). Allowing the desire to have the submissive itch scratched to cause you to end up in a relationship built on fundamental incompatibility is ill advised. If you DO end up in this place – there is no judgement or condemnation. We make mistakes, we choose dynamics that are not viable. Don’t dishonor your own Power and Ability by then painting yourself as the victim. Don’t diminish the time spent in that growth process by maligning the person you chose to Serve, to Scene with, to take that ride with. Take responsibility for YOURSELF. Own your process. You are too Empowered to diminish your journey by playing the Blame Game.