The BDSM Slave/Submissive Conundrum

Slave is submissive. Is submissive a slave?

Finding the right slave amongst the subs on social media is like searching for a gay man who doesn’t pick sides when it comes to Garland or Streisand. I have two methods of finding a potential slave if I am ever in the market for one. The first being a hunt, the urge to pursue my prey is somewhat strong. The second is to sit back and let them come to me – why should I be running after them?

On dating sites (fetish and vanilla) there it has become commonplace to use the nouns ‘sub’ and ‘slave’ interchangeably. They are graffitied onto profiles with little thought to the nuance with which they should perhaps be afforded.

I get a message from a potential slave, or a sub. He wants to be ‘completely and utterly owned by another.’

‘Welcome, potential slave. You have my attention.’

I give the usual introductory spiel: brief bio, TPE interests, a clear statement of my intention to own for life. He returns with signs of excitement – good start. I put him in touch with one of my owned bois. This paves the way to an understanding. If potential slaves can interact with owned slaves, they should gain clarity in what it is that I expect, while telling them if their needs and wants are going to be fulfilled in what I offer.

I set out boundaries, confess my desires; owned slave gives an interrogation of sorts, alongside an introduction to what our lifestyle looks like on a daily basis. Early on in this process, the potential shows itself as one of two divergent kinds. The first kind is a patient listener – it asks pertinent questions, expresses satisfaction on realising that the lifestyle of its dreams are firmly within its grasp. The other kind keeps butting in, asking what we are into:

‘What are your kinks, Master? What gets you off? How much pain? Can you send me a picture of your big Master dick? Can you send me a video of you abusing your slave? Are you hung, Master? Wh–‘

‘Ohhh, I am bored.’

24/7 Sex

The questions vomited up by this second kind tell me important things about that person. They almost always use the word abuse. I never abuse my slaves. I punish my slaves, I inflict pain on my slaves, but I never abuse them. I am not a bully, I am a Master. These kinds of contacts also display their inexperience in other ways, such as their naive view on the sex lives of TPE-ers.

I get it, all of us are somewhat driven by our sexual wants and needs. That is how I ended up exploring BDSM myself. But eventually that sex becomes less important. Sex is great. And between a Master and his slave it can be truly life changing – an exercise in complete trust and raw honesty. That sex though, however satisfying, won’t ever scratch the surface of what this lifestyle is about. This is what I tell that second kind of contact, if of course they have stuck around long enough to listen.

The second kind has been living under the mistaken impression that 24/7 TPE is 24/7 sex. Think about that for a minute: sex, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No, I don’t see a problem with that on paper either. But apply some logic. However desirable it might be (although, when you break it down, I’m not sure it remains so) it is preposterous to think that that is what TPE-ers are promoting.

Sub in the bedroom, slave for life

I have sex with all of my slaves. I am human. I like all the sex. Although, were my property to be a slave in the bedroom and free to live their lives everywhere else, it wouldn’t be real ownership. My slaves are under my complete control for life.

My slaves are subs. Of course they are. They need to be submissive, it’s essential to the dynamic. They are the subs to my Dom, the ketchup on my chips. They complete me. And life is the key: this is how we live. A slave in the kitchen, the living quarters, the House; even outside these four walls, makes a far better sub in the bedroom that you will get from a random hookup. Why? Because I know them. Completely. They have given themselves to me. Completely. Slaves, the real slaves, are almost always submissive by nature.

I have never pretended to be monogamous. The occasional shag can get me going, under the right conditions. But a bedroom sub is not always good slave material. They may not even be naturally submissive. There are a lot of dominant people our there who like to sub it up on the weekend. It doesn’t take a psychiatrist to analyse the drive: surrendering control for five minutes can be cathartic.

The difference between a sub and a slave

The difference is found in the lives we choose to lead.

Is a sub naturally submissive or just capable of submission? Depends on the sub.

A slave is someone who chooses to surrender their rights, their choices entirely.

In fact, the two terms are just too vague. There are so many subsets and clauses that are applicable to each multi-faceted individual.

The trick is that there aren’t actually just two kinds of follower-type people. The kinky desires of all us kinky folk vary in tons of highly individual ways. We can use labels like “submissive” or “slave” (or “masochist” or “romantic” or “edge player,” etc) to try and roughly sketch out what we seek and what we have to offer, but those categories are always subject to different interpretations by different people, and the more precisely we try to define them the harder they are to agree on.

https://www.consensualdominance.com/slave-or-submissive/

Meet your fellow man

When I make first contact, in return for laying out my desires I expect a potential slave to match my candid nature. To take someone on as property, you must know them inside out. And it doesn’t stop at messaging each other online. To put it in terms that most will understand, I’m talking about dating. Connection. Physically. Like back in the old days. Yes, I’m old, get over it. I did. Dating is crucial to getting to know someone who will be your sole or one of a few significant others. It doesn’t take long for me to determine whether there is a spark. If it’s not there, not for me. Positive spark found, I pursue, I question, and (this may surprise you) I surrender to their interrogation. They must know me as much as I know them. They need to know the person who is going to strip them of their former selves, just as I need to know the human being I am taking on.

So back to the difference between sub and slave. Perhaps we are asking the wrong question. Perhaps we should be looking at submission as a spectrum. For some, submission is a road that will inevitably lead to slavery. But it’s not always a linear path from start to finish. There are countless subs out there who would never entertain the notion of becoming slave. And neither should they. Not everyone needs to be. To some degree at least, every sub will move back on forth within the spectrum, but it’s not a competition or a race to either side. Everyone is different.

The sliding scale theory works until you start trying to make marks to represent the “measure” of submission or dominance in an objective, rather than subjective, way. A yardstick works because somewhere, someone, once upon a time, decided that a certain amount of linear space is called an “inch” and everyone else agreed to adopt this objective unit of measure. But there is no comparable measure for our lifestyle – there is no inch, centimeter, foot or yard.

https://www.katekinsey.com/the-difference-between-a-slave-and-a-submissive.html

I look for those on the slave end of the spectrum. But, as Kate Kinsey says in her discussion on the subject (link just above), the spectrum itself is subjective. This is my spectrum, not yours. Yours is entirely different. On my spectrum, at the slave end, are men at least ready to consider submitting for life. I seek those firmly aware of their desire to be slave. I don’t seek to manipulate anyone to my way of life. You either need it or you don’t. My slaves need to be dedicated to the life, to me.

The journey is not for everyone

We live in a world of distractions, a world where it seems all but impossible to maintain an alternative lifestyle. Minimal baggage is helpful. And by that I mean baggage of the physical kind – ties to the outside world. Not unrealistically so – family, friends, work – I accept all of that. They can be assessed and worked around. But come at me saying you want to be owned for life, yet have a spouse and kids at home, we might have a problem. Those are ties that are going to keep you out of my House. And so they should. I know there are people who juggle TPE dynamics around families with children, but I don’t know how to deal with that.

The journey is different for everyone

I say this a lot, I know, but it’s worth repeating:

Master and slave need to be holding the same stick at opposite ends.

This ideal slave of mine however, is not the ideal slave of the next Master, or the next one. One person’s slave is another’s sub.

Within BDSM and TPE there are protocols – high and low – that some of the community stick to rigidly. A playbook to live by. Others, such as myself and my bois, have adapted these rules to suit our own needs and our own particular peccadilloes.

When I was a slave to my master – and that is what I considered myself and what he considered me, placing all my limits at his discretion — I accept polyamory and swinging, which some others who considered themselves slaves could not condone in their own relationships. And while I allowed him to control how I dressed, who I fucked, what toys he would use, even whether I would breathe or not, there was always one area that he never attempted to control, and I would have been really uncomfortable and unwilling to give up — that of my personal finances. Yet many slaves believe that you cannot be a “real” slave if you cannot give over complete control of all areas of your life, including your money.

https://www.katekinsey.com/the-difference-between-a-slave-and-a-submissive.html

BDSMers have sometimes vastly differing views on how things should be. It happens within vanilla relationships too. Everyone has their own version of normal. Which is why I hate the word – utterly meaningless and entirely subjective. When I use the term ‘alternative lifestyle’ I use it as a means of context. I don’t view my lifestyle as the alternative, I view it as the norm. I am a highly subjective person. Like you.

Interrogate yourself

Are you a sub who can be a slave? Yes? But do you want it? You don’t have to want it just because some other sub told you it’s where you need to be. Perhaps you want it despite that. Do you need it? Is the thought of being slave driving you?

What kind of slave do you want to be? Do you want to keep it to Friday nights after a long work week? Maybe in the outside world you are naturally dominant, maybe you fancy taking time to surrender, let go, let someone else take the reigns.

Perv slave is an alpha sub. He has a lifelong desire to serve but he does so while owning the dominant aspects at his core. Boi slave is submissive through and through. He lives his life owning his submissive nature and sees being slave as a destiny of sorts. They both chose to be slaves. They both submit willingly. They and my other bois all want and need the lifestyle.

Before you approach a Master, think about your needs and desires. A legitimate Master will ask you what it is that you want, before you have surrendered to them. You still have all your rights and choices in tact before choosing to submit. You can choose to whom and just how much. The perfect Dom/Master is out there for you.

The same argument applies for Doms/Masters. Ask yourself the above questions, switching the context to apply to you.

All of us should be looking for that person who is holding the same stick at the opposite end.

Ultimately there isn’t an ideal sub or an ideal slave prototype – we are all human, we are all unique.

Be good,

The Boss and his bois

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