Code d’Odalisque and Protocol

Edited to add: This is my 500th post. Crazy! Funnier still that it revisits something discussed in one of the first blog entries I posted.

Someone I’ve been talking to mentioned the Code d’Odalisque the other day, and I’d never heard of it. It’s essentially a framework and extensive set of protocols for a male dominant/female submissive sexual slavery relationship. Read it here.

The Code was interesting to read. I was a bit surprised that someone had the time and energy to create such a document. I mean, they include things all the way down to how to address other slaves in text. That’s a bit intense. There are some things that really appealed to me, though:

  • As a whole, the framework emphasizes legality, consent, and the protection of vanilla reputation.
  • There are contract and many safety precautions.
  • There’s an emphasis on existing for the Master’s pleasure – training, service, etc. along those lines – and being tortured with pleasure.
  • There are formalities and rituals for initiating a period of intense service and for earning a collar-like necklace (only they are incredibly specific that it be tahitian black pearls…).
  • There are clauses that require honest discussion.
  • Masters aren’t permitted to cut their slaves’ hair, or beat her face, scar her, or humiliate/degrade her.
  • There are protocols for interacting within a D/s relationship that are built on a foundation of respect and care for one another.

Those things all have positive elements to them. There are larger things that bother me, though.

  • The slave is required to have no sexual desires or plans of her own. She becomes a passive vessel for her Master’s fantasies. I’m all for my Dom using me for his pleasure, and taking my submission as an opportunity to play out fantasies…but I also want my fantasies to be acknowledged. They don’t have to be included in our play, that’s my Dom’s discretion, but I have desires, and I’m not going to pretend they don’t exist.
  • The slave should not take initiative. I’m sorry, but sometimes, it’s fun to turn the tables, insomuch as I’m horny as fuck and want to jump my Dom. He’s welcome to playfully punish me for it later, or I’m happy to ask for permission to take initiative, I guess, if I had too…but too much restraint makes for no fun.
  • Similarly, the slave should be silent unless spoken to. I get this for a scene, or maybe a long scene/weekend of crazy-intense protocol, but for a regular dynamic, no thanks. I want to converse and joke with my partner. I want to be able to snark at him and have him tease me back. That’s part of who I am and what makes me happy in my relationships.
  • The code says sentimentality and vulgarity should not be in the bedroom…I beg to differ.
  • Clothing must be sacrificed – the code suggests putting them under lock and key. I can understand rules about clothing, inside and outside of the home. Selecting every item and having no access to clothing is micromanagement I’m not interested in. The point is for the captivity to be reemphasized…but to some extent, I’d rather be trusted with the choice. If you want me naked at home, fine, then  make it a rule. If I disobey it, discipline me. But wouldn’t you rather have my submission when I am faced with an option and I voluntarily choose to ignore the clothing, rather than forcefully keep it from me?
  • Service for obedience’s sake isn’t appreciated. Service should only be sexual, and all other types are sort of spoken down about. Literally, to the extent that wearing an apron indicates lesser status because odalisques shouldn’t cook, it’s beneath them. Sometimes, I want to cook for my partner because I want to serve him in that way.
  • With that, I want my submission to be valued in ways outside sexuality. If I want to clean or do something as a service to make him happy, why not do that? I want to exist for his pleasure, not just sexual pleasure, as long as my needs are being met and he’ll listen to my wants, and we can work out daily life responsibilities in a way that isn’t overwhelming to either partner.
  • Solitary confinement as punishment. Being deprived of affection and/or love, or being ignored, are dealbreakers. I’d rather use pain, or write lines, or have an activity restricted, etc.
  • There’s a lot of emphasis on sharing and how to interact with guests. I’m not sure on this. If I were going to engage in M/s in a group setting with other Dominants, I like the idea of having etiquette for that scenario. I just am not OK with a protocol that allows  my Dom to share me at his discretion.
  • Sex slavery is listed as an adjunct to marriage. My ideal is to find a Dominant that I can marry. I want to be wife and submissive, not just tertiary sex slave.
  • A series of individual protocols: referring to myself in the third person (Master’s slave thinks…), having no name or being renamed, mandatory marking/branding, chanting, a six year limit on a relationship, slaves aren’t allowed to toast at dinner, slaves must have an empty glass by their side for semen only and can’t have their own beverage cup otherwise, capitalization protocols with people other than my Dom…basically there are a bunch of nitpicky things that bother me.

Overall, I don’t think the code has a middle ground. You’re either a sex slave, or you’re not. You’re in “occlusion” or “sojourn.” What about the in-between? I want a more flexible dynamic. I think it’d work having a set of very formal rituals and protocols that can be lived out in a fantasy weekend here or there. The rest of the time, though, I wouldn’t want to be in “sojourn,” I’d just want a lesser amount of protocol. In the bedroom, there can be an element of pleasure slave, sure, but in life, sometimes protocols get in the way.

Honestly, I don’t know what level of control or protocol works for me. I’ve never been in a D/s relationship like that. I’ve been in relationships with men who Top, and I’ve dated men into D/s, but I’ve never built a power exchange relationship. When I think of having rules for clothing, greeting, speech, eye contact, sitting, and more, it overwhelms and scares me. I want some rules. I want structure, discipline, and subservience. I want to serve my Dom’s desires and please him, to feel his control over me. I just think that can be achieved in a variety of ways, both sexual and service-oriented, not all with protocol.

I also know that I can’t start out with protocols galore and such. I need to start with small gestures of submissive, and gradually escalate as trust, affection, love, and comfort grow. I need to be led into it, too, and with lots of positive reinforcement and constructive conversations so that I can learn and accept my role thoroughly. Being a submissive at all is a new thing and requires training and gentle guidance for me, being one with a high level/frequency of power exchange would require even more.

That said, protocols I think make sense would include wearing a certain type or style of clothing that fits my Dom’s preference, addressing him as Sir, keeping a journal, sitting on the floor unless alone or have his permission, asking permission to orgasm, on certain days maybe being required to do something specific with him in mind, etc.

Rules I think make sense would deal with how to maintain communication, how to behave in his presence, pet peeves to avoid, habits I want to instill that he’s reinforcing, etc. For example, if I am trying to exercise more, we can talk and have him make it a rule or provide some form of accountability so that I can reach the goal that I want. Note that the emphasis is on his guidance to accomplishing goals that I set and we mutually discussed, not on him trying to change me outside my will or without my acknowledgement. (Manipulation should be acknowledged and consented to.)

But really, the dynamic I foresee is similar to a “normal” (non-kinky) couple. We’ll live our lives, and when it’s just us, I’ll refer to him differently, defer to his decision-making – but be allowed to debate and joke, try to do things that please him when I can, and be sexually available to him. He would provide opportunities for me to please him (i.e. it would make me happy if you did x,y,z), or directly ask (sternly so I know it’s really a command) me to serve him in some way. If I have a problem with something, I voice my concern. If I have needs not being met, I voice them. If I have wants, I voice them but he can determine whether or not they’re satisfied. My choices are to obey, to disobey and be punished, or to end the dynamic.

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Love Languages and D/s Languages

The 5 Love Languages came up in a BR class on communication I attended this summer, and I bought the book soon after. Though I haven’t finished it, I did learn a bit from it. I attended another class last week on D/s and the love languages of D/s, and it brought the whole thing back to mind. Hence, blog post.

Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Gifts, and Acts of Service.

My receiving love language is (1) quality time, followed closely by (2) physical touch, with (3) words of affirmation in third. Without the first two, I won’t believe the third, but without the third I won’t be entirely fulfilled.

My giving love languages are quality time and acts of service, followed somewhat more distantly by physical touch. I stay really busy and highly value my time, so when I make time for you it shows I’m prioritizing you; the more time with you, the bigger the priority you are to me. On the service side, call it my midwestern upbringing or blame my submissive side, but I like to take care of my partner and do what I can to serve their overall happiness.

UndergroundSea’s Class on D/s Love Languages:

As for D/s love languages, the first note from this class was an organic power comment. In order to have a good D/s dynamic, you need to have an equal balance of organic power to begin, or the Dominant party needs to have higher organic power. Otherwise, if the submissive party has more organic power they must surrender more power as part of the D/s dynamic in order for there to be a power exchange. Organic power’s contributors include desire, confidence, comfort with conflict, and mental tenacity/wit/resolve. For me, I equate this to generally having your shit together. If I have my shit together more than my partner, than it’s harder for me to surrender enough power for there to be a D/s dynamic. Another way of looking at is Type-A or Alpha – I’m generally pretty Alpha, but if there’s someone more Alpha than me present I naturally step aside to them. That type of feeling is an organic power thing.

There are many more than 5 D/s love languages, and many that may not be on this list, but examples: verbal, physical, service, deferring for priority, privilege differences, exaltation/reverence, omitting social courtesies, physical subjugation, restraint and bondage, violation of space and dignity, infliction of physical/mental discomfort, obedience/capitulation, decision making, control of resources, supervision, and discipline/behavior modification.

Several things became apparent to me in this class, including my preferences and some ideas surrounding service, protocol, behavior modification, independence/pride, and brattiness.  Continue reading

Subjugation

As it’s probably been obvious, I’ve been thinking a lot about submission, D/s, and power exchange over the last few weeks. It’s something that, despite my extensive involvement in kink, I haven’t explored much. I’ve been afraid, and I may delve into that in a moment, but as I’ve experimented I’m seeing just how much it fulfills a need in me.

Most people – women especially – enjoy and need to feel protected by and safe with their partners. Respect, desire, trust – all those things play a role in most relationships, kinky or otherwise. Something about my history and my personality have combined and make it so that for me, I feel most safe when I trust and respect my partner enough to surrender control to him. I’ve built my life around maintaining control and doing so quite well, and for me to give that up indicates you’ve won me over entirely, heart mind body and soul.

That right there, that last bit – that’s the clincher. True submission comes with great trust, and the latter doesn’t come easily. To trust someone enough to submit to them means I need to trust them not to judge me negatively for the emotions I experience, to trust that they are committed enough to discipline or correct me for infractions rather than break up with me, to trust that honesty is encouraged and not too much information. I need to trust that they desire me and want to possess me. This is reciprocal – I obviously also need to desire this person, trust them to be honest and communicate with me, and be committed to them; if I was submitting, the presence of those things would be implicit in my submission.

So many people I know can have casual play situations that explore and delve into power exchange. I wish so much I could do so. I want to kneel at someone’s feet, wear his collar, crawl for him, stand in a corner, restrict my eye contact, use proper forms of address, worship his body, suffer for him, please, obey, and serve him. I want to be possessed, to be someone’s pet or plaything, to be mildly embarrassed and objectified. I crave that type of submission – the stern, knowing look, the command, the firm hand on my shoulder/in the small of my back, the caress of my hair, the slightly paternal condescension/arrogance. Thing is, the thought of most people doing this horrifies me, and I can’t be like this casually.

I have had to be independent since a very young age. If I didn’t take care of myself – from my basic needs to my professional/academic success to my happiness – no one would. I stopped relying on my parents to fulfill these things in middle school; I still let them influence me beyond that, but I could not trust them to make sure that I was ok. I had to rely on myself, and I strengthened and did so. Being weak was never an option in my household, and only invited further difficulties. When I trust someone to be my superior at something, I respect their authority wholeheartedly and I will have no problems asking them for guidance. Outside of that, asking for help is very difficult for me. I am stubborn and prideful.

I have built my life around this strict code of pride and independence, and it’s worked for me. I’ve gotten better at letting people in over the past few years, but it’s a challenge for me. I want people to see me as strong, to respect me – even if they’re Dominant and I’m submissive. I don’t defer right away. I don’t usually treat Dominant men any differently than any other men. I’m always a bit shy when I’m flirting with someone new, and I cater my manner to the person I’m talking with, but it isn’t the batting of eyelashes – oh Master please don’t hurt me – type of thing. I have purposefully kept myself from becoming the type of woman someone needs to pity or rescue, but most men go for the obviously deferential.

Basically, when I interact with men, even in the scene, they tend to see me as an equal right away. They see me like this because that’s what I want, and what I’ve spent my life trying to project. They may try to play; in fact, I was told recently I’m getting a reputation for being a good bottom, so cool beans on that. Men rarely try to get me to submit, however. It’s like they dismiss it immediately because I’m a bit type-A. They rarely get stern and commanding, slightly paternal or teasing. Yes, if you’re an arrogant ass, it’s annoying if you act like that. Thing is, my tendency to slip into an alpha role fades immediately when there’s another alpha present. I do react to “Domly mannerisms,” and my inner deferential submissive will show itself. If people don’t act like that with me, then they usually don’t see that side of myself. I lead when no-one else leads, I maintain control when no-one else is around who does it better…when someone who does it better steps up, I more than happily step down.

Essentially though, my issue is that the image I’m projecting isn’t attracting the type of man I’m interested in, but I don’t really know how to alter my mannerisms to change that. I don’t know that I want to, either, because I want to be true to myself and the strong, independent person is a big part of my life, just not necessarily my romantic/sexual life. It’s complicated, because to attract a Dominant, I need to show my submissive side, but to show my submissive side, I need to have this really high level of trust and respect that only comes with time, which happens after someone decides to get to know me.

To clarify, people that have known me a long time and are Dominant in nature don’t question my submissiveness. It’s like with everything in my personality. I guess I’m a bit complex, and I’m the type of person that reveals her personality slowly. Different questions, activities, interactions show different facets. People who know me really well love me for all these things that don’t really show up in a one-off happy hour or on a first date. It’s the same here, I just need to find a Dominant man who sees the underlying natural submissive urges and is willing to invest the energy and time to draw that side of me out from under the hard shell it’s been shoved under for so many years.

Lastly, I will add that I still worry that a fully D/s relationship would become stifling in time. I’m hesitant because I do enjoy elements of my independence. My level of submission does still entirely depend on the person I’m with and our interactions, personalities, etc.

D/s Interactions in an LTR

*Edited to add that I really don’t know anymore how much I desire this type of relationship, but most of these things appeal on some level. I just don’t know that I’d ever want them all, all the time.*
These are elements I want in an eventual long term D/s relationship:
  • When my Dom sits on the couch, sitting at his feet rather than by his side, his hand on my neck or in my hair.
  • When out in public, wearing some form of necklace or token to signify my Dom’s power in our relationship.
  • Occasionally going out to dinner, a movie, etc. with hidden toys – ropes harnesses, remote vibrators, butt plugs, possibly even discreet nipple clamps, etc. and having to maintain the vanilla facade. This would be most fun when going out with my Dom, but could also be done when going out and about my business alone.
  • Needing to ask permission to play with myself or to orgasm.
  • Being required to write down sexual fantasies, curiosities, or vulnerabilities and my Dom having full access to my writings so as to promote open communication. Or, rather, being forced to vocalize them in different ways.
  • Being required to maintain eye contact when discussing anything kinky, emotional, sexual, or generally difficult. Basically, not being allowed to hide, even in that minute way.
  • Having my Dom order for me when out, even if just asking me what I want then telling the waitress.
  • Holding my wrist, rather than my hand, or walking with his hand on my lower back.
  • Having potential clothing restrictions, insomuch as “wearing a skirt once a week” or a certain type of panties, not anything crazy micromanaged, just general preferences or occasional requirements.
  • Having my limits pushed, with pain and other experiences. I want to be challenged.

*Edited 5 months later to add that the thought of all of these things at once in a relationship overwhelms and frightens me into not wanting power exchange at all. This is an idea of general things in a power exchange relationship that appeal, but in no way would I or could I have all of these all the time. At least not at this point in my life.*

GrUE Pitt & Life

So, where to begin? Have I mentioned time is FLYING by? I mean, seriously, I move in less than a month. This is an unintentionally long post, since it’s been a while and a lot is going on. I like to process in this blog, and this helps me reflect on things as time passes. I guess that’s just like another disclaimer that I write this for me and not anyone else, so if it is tedious that is why.

Some randoms: we were able to switch our lease so that we don’t have to pay rent until May 5, which is awesome :). I aced my management science midterm. I cleaned my apartment (which was very necessary). It was CMU’s carnival this weekend and I got to go on lots of fun midway rides.

The big thing I did this weekend = GrUE Pitt. This was my first ever kink conference, or educational kink experience. I really had NO IDEA what to expect. I actually volunteered my apartment for a girl who came in from DC – I figured it’d be helpful to meet someone in the DC scene for when I move, she’s my age, and I also figured if I were traveling I’d love a free space to crash. I had a moment or two when I questioned my decision, since I really had no idea who this person was, but it ended up a good decision as she was super nice and friendly.

The (un)conference was on Saturday. First off, I really enjoy the idea of an unconference, kink or no-kink. I think it greatly contributes to a creative vibe. I was able to attend a lot of interesting presentations. I went to one on pressure points, one on suspension, a roundtable on humiliation, a conversation on interrogation, and one on rough body play. Beyond some talk at munches, I’ve never really gotten to talk about my kink before, and I really appreciated the opportunity to do so. More than anything, I appreciated the chance to listen to others.

I was a bit worried at first that as a submissive and as a single person I wouldn’t get much out of this experience, or I’d be out of place. That was entirely wrong. People in Pittsburgh are so incredible, and I felt very welcomed. I was able to really just be myself all day, and it finally got to the point where I feel like some members of the community are good friends rather than intimidating strangers. I was also able to hear different perspectives on things I’ve been struggling to understand. Hearing people talk about and be accepting of their own masochism or desires to humiliate/be humiliated is totally different than reading it on a Fetlife discussion board.

For me, as I’ve mentioned before (I believe), humiliation is such a complex issue. I find the feeling of being flustered very erotic, but degradation makes me want to hurl and cry. Some humiliation, like mild objectification, fall in between. I worry a little about what I’d be willing to do in the name of pleasing and serving my Dom, but then how I’d feel about it afterward. I also struggle with the concept that a Dom could humiliate me and yet still respect me. Hearing Dominant folk talk about it from their end, about how it is about identifying it as a select moment in time, only doing it once in a great while, the trust involved, and the aftercare necessary kind of built my faith in myself and the potential for such play. I think that it is something I need to wait on, at least until I find the right person, but there is potential. As an aside, it’s almost comical how easily embarrassed I am – I was embarrassed/blushing just talking about humiliation. Ironic, really.

Pressure points was an awesome demo as well. It’s crazy how pushing one simple spot causes so much pain. Since I like pain, this is good. It’s an easy way for a Dom to gain the upper hand.

Another thing I learned throughout the day is that limits are ever changing, need to be discussed, and are never an end-all. A discussion on limits should not be the only discussion; more importantly, one should talk about uncertainties, desires, and fears. Also, a Dom should make certain to test the waters before introducing something entirely off the wall, because sometimes a sub doesn’t realize something is a possibility and thus doesn’t acknowledge it as a limit. IE : cutting my hair, burning off my eyebrows, insects, etc.

After the unConference part, there was play time. I was able to play with some coconut rope, which was awesome. I watched a man and a woman grapple for 2 hours nonstop, which was wicked crazy and kind of frightening; I’m not big on violence (again, ironic I know). I felt some fireplay in my hand, quickly, but still cool. I also met another man in the DC scene who explained a bit about different events, which was nice.

After that play, there was another party with even MORE play (yay!). I loved being able to hang out with people in such a relaxed environment. House parties are so much more my comfort zone than bars. I was actually able to ask for what I wanted (with the reassurance of a friend first) and got a nice flogging. I probably could have taken more, but the dynamic was a bit different since there were people watching and it was someone else’s Dom. I guess I kind of felt like he was doing me a favor, so I didn’t want to make him go on for too long (my pain tolerance is high), so when it got pretty painful I stopped it rather than pushing through. I feel guilty sometimes because I sense that Doms expect a sub to go into space or make lots of noise really quickly, and it takes longer for me. I don’t want them to do more just for me. I think because I asked, rather than was offered, I also felt a little like it was being done for me rather than for him, which reinforced the guilt thing. I don’t know, that was odd, but despite that the flogging was awesome and settled me down quite a bit. Pain is yet another way to focus me.

I then was able to talk to a Dom who does a lot with electricity and rope. I got my own personal mini-demo on violet wands (which are really freaking cool), and I got to be tied up in a nice, tight chest harness. A lot of times rope isn’t done prettily, or that tight, and I love it tight, pretty, and entirely constraining. This wasn’t constraining, but I’ll take what I can get. I wore the harness all night actually, and had to cut it off in the morning. It was just cheap nylon, but I still hated cutting it off. I would have worn it for days if I could hide it.

I had a rough time for a little bit in the day struggling with wanting to play and who to ask, working up the nerve to ask, etc. I was able to get past that a bit by the end of the night, but it was still a little difficult. In general, I’ve been feeling my lack of a Dom and of a boyfriend these days. Two of my closest friends just started dating guys seriously, and while I am genuinely, utterly happy for them, it still reinforces my own single-dom. It’d be super nice to end a kinky evening with hot sex and cuddling, you know? It isn’t something I’m crying over, but there are occasional twinges.

Sunday there were free pancakes, which were delicious. Then I went to see the Disney concert at the Pittsburgh symphony, which was good. Today I saw the movie Soul Surfer, and it just motivated me. If a girl can have her arm chomped off by a shark and immediately compete in surfing championships (and place), I can conquer my workload and get my shit together.

Levels of Submission

Stealing this from a fetlife group I’m a part of. I’m trying to keep my responses to things on there limited, and put more things here instead. I’d rather not clog people’s newsfeeds, and people who care can still read about what I think. Anyhow.

For me, right now I’m tending towards a 4.5-5. Ideally, my long term would be a 6.5-7. I could maaaybe do 8, depending on the dynamic and the person. Feel free to comment with where you think you are, or what you’re seeking.

 

Nine Degrees of Submission
by Diane Vera
© Copyright 1984, 1988 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.

Within the S/M subculture, different people use the words “submissive” and “slave” to mean many different things. When submissives say “I want to be your slave”, sometimes they mean only that they want to be tied up and whipped. Many professional dominants routinely refer to their (usually not very genuinely submissive) clients as “slaves”. At the other extreme, there are people who want to be full-time personal servants, and who truly want to exist solely for their “owner’s” use, pleasure, and convenience. And there are many shades in between these two extremes.

To help sort out the confusion caused by differing uses of the words “submissive” and “slave”, I have made the following list of nine degrees of submission, arranged in order from least submissive to most submissive.

(Since I’m a bisexual dominant woman, I will refer to dominants as “she” and submissives as “she/he”, but the following categorization can also be applied to S/M people of other gender-role orientations.)

1. The Outright Non-submissive Masochist or Kinky Sensualist Not into servitude, humiliation, or giving up control; just pain and/or spiced up sensuality, on the masochist’s own terms, and for the masochist’s DIRECT pleasure (i.e. being turned on solely or mainly by one’s own bodily sensations, rather than being turned on by being “used” to gratify one’s partner’s sadism).

2. Pseudo-Submissive Non-Slave Not into even PLAYING “slave”, but into other “submissive” role-playing, e.g. schoolteacher scenes, infantilism, “forced” transvestism. Usually into humiliation, but NOT into servitude, even in play. Dictates the scene to a large degree.

3. Pseudo-Submissive PLAY Slave Likes to play at being a slave; likes to FEEL subservient; may in some cases like to FEEL that one is being “used” to gratify one’s partner’s sadism; and may even really serve the dominant in some ways, but only on the “slave’s” own terms. Dictates the scene to a large degree; often fetishistic (e.g. foot worshippers).

4. True Submissive Non-Slave Really gives up control (though only temporarily, and within agreed-upon limits), but gets his/her main satisfaction from aspects of submission OTHER THAN serving or being used by the dominant. Usually turned on by suspense, vulnerability, and/or giving up responsibility. Doesn’t dictate the scene except in very general terms, but still seeks mainly his/her own DIRECT pleasure (rather than getting one’s pleasure mainly from pleasing the dominant).

5. True Submissive PLAY Slave Really gives up control (though only temporarily; only during brief “scenes” and within limits) and gets her/his main satisfaction from serving and being used by the dominant –but only for FUN purposes, usually erotic. (May or may not be into pain, but if so, is turned on by pain INDIRECTLY, i.e. enjoys being the object of one’s partner’s sadism, on which the submissive places very few requirements or restrictions.)

6. Uncommitted Short-Term but More-Than-Play Semi-Slave Really gives up control (though usually within limits); wants to serve and be used by the dominant; wants to provide PRACTICAL/NONEROTIC as well as fun/erotic services; but only when the “slave” is in the mood. May even act as a full-time slave for say, several days at a time, but is free to quit at any time (or at the end of the agreed-upon several days). May or may not have a long-term relationship with one’s Mistress, but either way, the “slave” has the final say over WHEN she/he will serve.

7. Part-Time Consensual-But-REAL Slave Has an ongoing commitment to an owner/slave relationship and regards oneself as the Mistress’s “property” at all times. Wants to obey and please her in all aspects of life –practical/nonerotic as well as fun/erotic. Devotes most of one’s time to other commitments (e.g. job), but the Mistress has first pick of the slave’s free time.

8. Full-Time Live-In Consensual Slave Within no more than a few broad limits/requirements, the slave regards herself/himself as existing solely for the Mistress’s use, pleasure, and well-being. The slave in return expects to be treated as a prized possession. Not much different from the situation of a traditional housewife, except that within the S/M world, the slave’s position is more likely to be fully consensual, especially if the slave is male (since men certainly aren’t socially pressured into this kind of lifestyle). Within the S/M world, a full-time “slave” arrangement is entered into with an explicit awareness of the magnitude of power that is being given up, and hence is usually entered into much more carefully, with more awareness of the possible dangers, and with much clearer and more specific agreements than usually precede the traditional marriage.

9. Consensual Total Slave with No Limits A common fantasy ideal which probably doesn’t exist in real life (except in authoritarian religious cults and other situations where the “consent” is induced by brainwashing and/or social or economic pressures, and hence isn’t fully consensual). A few S/M purists will insist that you aren’t really a slave unless you’re willing to do absolutely ANYTHING for your Mistress, with no limits at all. I’ve met a few people who claimed to be no-limits slaves, but in all cases I had reason to doubt the claim.

The above list isn’t intended as a rigid classification. Most submissives don’t fall neatly into one of my categories; there are still further shades in between. (For example, a live-in slave with an outside paying job would be category 7 1/2.) Also, the same submissive may attain different degrees of submission with different dominants. My list is intended simply to show the wide range of different possible meanings of the words “submissive” and “slave”.

In the S/M subculture, the majority of “submissives” seek scenes in categories 1 through 3, whereas most dominants I know (including myself) seek slaves in categories 6 and 7. If you’re a “submissive” in categories 1 through 3, you are probably best off seeking a relationship NOT with a dominant, but rather with a fellow “submissive”, or with a switchable (a person into both roles). She and you can take turns acting out each other’s “submissive” or masochistic fantasies.

When a submissive says to a dominant, “I want to be your slave”, it’s often hard to tell exactly what is meant. Lots of people FANTASIZE a much greater degree of submission than they are able or willing to attain in real life, and lots of “slaves”, especially inexperienced ones, over-estimate their own desire for real-life servitude. A dominant must CAREFULLY find out how far the “slave” REALLY wants to go. CAVEAT EMPTOR.