My Kink’s Better than YOUR Kink
(Another reprint of something I wrote and posted elsewhere.)
We’ve all done it. We’ve all dismissed someone else in the community because they’re not a real” Master, or a “true” slave. The implication, of course, is that we ourselves are that rarest of breeds, the real, true example of the thing we are.
Sometimes I think we have a point. I remember hearing a woman tell me, years ago, “I’m a slave, but I’m not cleaning ANYONE’S house.”
I had another man say of his wife that she was a complete slave, but, of course, she had equal say everywhere except in the bedroom.
I myself had a “slave” once who told me, in a not very pleasant tone, that he would NEVER give up his life’s work of videotaping every single episode of Star Trek and Dr. Who, not for anyone. In my own defense, he didn’t last very long and I was much younger then.
Sometimes it’s a case of misuse of the word. Slave and Master do have actual definitions, some of which are agreed upon even in our notoriously individualistic community.
I don’t think it’s too much to say that a slave is someone I expect to do as they are told, up to a fairly significant point, not someone I expect to be able to choose their housework tasks, their television show recording tasks, or have an equal say in all decisions outside the bedroom.
By the same token, I think it’s fair to say that when we say Master, we mean someone who takes control of a relationship, who guides it and makes choices and decisions for everyone in the relationship, with their prior consent.
If you have a relationship in which both parties have equal say in all areas except sex, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad relationship or even that it doesn’t fit somewhere in the D/s dynamic, but it’s not a Master and slave relationship. I can insist to you that my three Scottish terriers are cats, too, I can swear they are and always refer to them as kitties. However, that doesn’t mean I’m correct, and it’s likely to completely muddy the waters if you come to my house expecting to see three felines and are, instead, enthusiastically greeted by my three canine children.
More often, though, we use it as a put down. “She’s not a REAL slave,” usually means she doesn’t fit MY idea of a slave. Her slavery doesn’t look like mine. Or, she’s perhaps more correctly considered a submissive, not a slave, and that is, obviously, not as important, hard-core, or valuable as a slave. Her style of Mastery doesn’t look like mine, and is, therefore, less valid.
Sometimes, I think, we wonder about ourselves. Am I a “true” Master? Am I a “real” slave? I think it’s one of the ways in which the vanilla community has it both a bit easier, and a bit less satisfying in the end.
I married my slave in 2007. We now have a relationship that is very easy to define. We went through a legal ceremony in which we were married. Though I do not think of him often in those terms, the fact is, he is my husband and I am his wife. No one can say, with any real conviction anyway, that he’s not a “real” husband or I’m not a “true” wife.
They might say he’s a pussy-whipped husband, or I’m a bossy bitch of a wife, and that would all be true within their vocabulary of what that means, but until and unless he and I go through another legal ceremony, and as long as both of us are living, we are still husband and wife.
The good thing about that is that it makes the definitions easier, makes it easier for us to know what we are and harder for others to dismiss us. We all know that no two marriages look just alike, and it’s not the way the marriage is conducted that makes it a marriage.
On the other hand, sometimes the destination that we have to reach through a more circuitous path, the one that we had to do our own trailblazing to find, the one that was more of a struggle is usually the one that means more to us. We did much less “work” on our roles as husband and wife than we have on our roles as Master and slave.
Maybe it’s because we’re still a relatively new community, that of kinky people who recognize and try and define their kink. It’s obviously been around for a long time, but it’s only been in the last thirty years or so that we seem compelled to define it and categorize it.
Maybe some of it is self-validation. If I am a “true” Master or a “real” slave, then I know what box I fit in, I know I can claim the role and the respect we believe comes with them. If, on the other hand, we dismiss others, we’re denying them that same place and respect.
It’s also, I think, too easy for us to assume that if their relationship, if their role, if their kink doesn’t look like ours, it’s not as good, not as real, not as true. WE’RE the real Masters and slaves, dominants and submissives, they’re the wannabe tops and bottoms.
The problem with that, though, is two fold. One is that there really isn’t a single thing that makes one a Master or a slave, a dominant or a submissive, or even a top or a bottom, not in the way that there’s a thing that makes one a husband or wife.
Because of that, the decision of what’s real and true is a judgment call, and until we know everything about their relationship, we can’t really say what’s real and what’s true for them.
The other downside is that it is a way to keep us more fragmented as a community. If I can dismiss you so easily as not a true or real player, then I don’t assume that I can learn anything from you, that your means of getting to the end of the road is as valid as mine, and that, perhaps, we might even have something to learn from you.
In the end, what that does is to cheat ourselves of the possibility of becoming more than we are.
In the end, doesn’t that make us the ones who are not real or true?