I do monthly classes here in Louisville, on “BDSM Basics.” I had one a couple of weeks ago on safety. We talked about both the kind of safety as in, how and where you can strike people safely, but we also talked about some other aspects of safety, which for me boil down to behaving rationally, knowing the people you play with.
The thing that struck me, though, was an email I had gotten from someone who had signed up for the class. I send out a reminder because anyone who wants to attend needs to get pre-registered, so I know who’s coming and they know where to go.
So I sent an email to one guy who had signed up for the class. He’s pretty new in terms of the community, six or eight months, I think, and considers himself a Top.
In other words, one might think he’s precisely the person who should attend a class. Particularly, perhaps, a class on safety, since he’s taking a dominant role, so knowing where and how to strike someone, knowing the kinds of questions to ask someone to assess limits and limitations, might be really valuable knowledge.
His response was, he had signed up some time ago, but would no longer be able to take the class, because he had a new submissive he was “training,” and he needed to focus on her…
It’s not that he wasn’t interested in coming to MY class, while I am egotistical, I am not that egotistical. I am not the be-all and end-all of kink education. On the other hand, I am the only one in Louisville offering classes, so there is that.
I think the thing that bothered me the most, honestly, is that he is too busy “training” his brand new slave to spend any time on educating himself.
To be fair, I usually find the word “training” to be both annoying and inaccurately used.
Most of the time when a Dominant tells you that they are “training” a submissive or slave, what they mean is, they’re doing a lot of physical things to them. “Training” them to take a flogger or a whip or whatever.
I think, personally, that’s both an inaccurate and misleading use of the word. The actual definition of training is, “The action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior.”
I don’t think there’s a skill in taking a flogger, nor do I think it’s a type of behavior to be whipped. You may disagree, you’re welcome to, this is my blog and the beauty of it is that I can say whatever I want.
So, I don’t think that’s training.
Training to me is someone learning what you like and want. slave drew, for instance, knows that I want hot black tea in the morning, I dislike and won’t drink herbal tea, green tea is for evening. I will never ever drink coffee, whether it’s hot or cold. I drink unsweetened ice tea, but sometimes I’ll drink Diet Coke. I dislike sweet tea, I don’t like Pepsi much at all, though I will drink Diet Pepsi if it’s fountain, if it’s not, then he’s probably better off bringing me water.
slave thomas knows that I have no sense of direction whatsoever, and if I head the wrong direction in a hotel, he needs to let me know, because I will end up somewhere usually opposite of where I meant to go. He is also aware that I often confuse left and right, so he also knows that if he says “Right,” and I go left, he needs to say, “Other right.”
In my book, that is training, that is acquainting someone with my tastes and preferences, in order that they can serve me better, with less direction.
Training might be knowing exactly how your Master likes his coffee, or that he likes pepperoni on her pizza but never sausage, or that she prefers her towels folded longways first and no more than four ice cubes in any drink.
I doubt that was what he was doing in his training, though to be fair, I really don’t know, so maybe it is. Maybe I am simply assuming because he is new and has not made the kind of education of which I am aware a priority, that he is not serious about it.
I imagine he would agree. I imagine he believes he’s doing right by himself and this submissive, because that is the nature of being dominant, to some extent. We believe we are correct. And no one, I suppose, can tell us definitively that we are not.
What I do know, though, is that experience counts for a lot, as does hand’s on education when it comes to kink. I know that your local community college probably doesn’t offer classes on BDSM Safety, or Kink Etiquette, or Canes and Crops.
It’s funny, too. If I went to a munch and asked people what they wanted from the community, there would be two answers. They want parties, of course, because we all love to play.
But they’d also all insist that they want education, that they want to learn to do what it is they do better, more safely,to understand better how to navigate the community.
The next obvious observation would be, of course, “Gee, all your classes must be filled to the brim, since people are so interested in education.”
Sadly, no, and it doesn’t seem to matter if classes or free or there’s a charge. I have done free classes in the past, and I still do a lot of them, but I discovered over time that people seemed to value it more and take it more seriously if they actually paid, so I offer both.
Interestingly, it’s often the people who are the most vocal about wanting education who never seem to manage to make it. It’s a work night. They have a family function. They forgot. They have to work, they have kids, they’ve been sick, etc.
All of those are, of course, valid excuses, but in the end we make time for what matters to us.