8/13/2010

Vulnerability and Training a Slave


One of the benefits of BDSM relationships is its openness to complete vulnerability.

In BDSM scenes, both the top and the bottom can let go and be completely, nakedly open. Their most evil thoughts and desires? Open. Their most needy, pathetic thoughts? Bared. It's an incredibly vulnerable experience, one that often frightens me to no end.

Vulnerability can be a positive thing when received by a loving, self-controlled Master who will not abuse or take advantage of the sub. Read this affirmation of his subs by Jack Rinella:

Frankly I will correct every negative statement uttered by a submissive. I will remind them that they are good people, beautiful and capable. I will do my best to back my words with actions that support, encourage, and affirm their very high worth as humans.

The vulnerability found in BDSM can be a beautiful, albeit frightening, experience. Masters can make or break their slaves. I think it is perhaps this utter control that frightens vanilla writers who are so against BDSM. They want (rightly) to protect the weak from being annihilated by a power-hungry Master. And it is true that BDSM involves a scary level of power exchange. Lives and emotional wellbeing can be in danger. Do some Masters use this power for destruction and pain? Sure. That's why subs and aspiring slaves must be very careful to find a Master like the one described above, one who uses his complete power to build up and heal, not annihilate or destroy. To be a good Master is a large responsibility. If the idea of accidentally breaking your sub doesn't frighten you, it should.

Power is like fire, according to Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton, authors of The New Bottoming Book. Fire can destroy if uncontrolled. Fire can provide heat and light if used carefully. Like everything, BDSM can be abused. It can also be wielded carefully and with forethought, and can illuminate the life of the holders.

When you give control to someone, if that person has a clue what he or she is doing, things can progress very fast. In an article about vulnerability, Master Stuart's pet says:

My transition from novice sub to trained sub to enslaved collared pet was a speedy one.

But sometimes my Dom is not sure how to make me progress from "novice sub" to "trained sub" and especially not to "enslaved sub." Some people progress very quickly, others not at all. I hope I don't turn out to be one of those not-at-all people.

Vulnerability for me, right now, can be a huge turn-off. But I still enjoy the physical vulnerability of BDSM. So maybe I can't always open myself, mind and emotions, but I can enjoy the simulation of that sacred act by being physically overpowered, physically vulnerable.

Sometimes my Dom acts out of anger or what a vanilla asshole would do, which can be easily confused with what a BDSM Master would do, but are rarely the same despite their seeming similarities. But B.E.S.T. slave training says

The Master should not apply consequences out of anger. The consequences should be well thought out and appropriate to "fit the crime." The purpose is to modify the slave’s behavior so that it pleases her Master.

The point here is for the Master to be slowly, with an end goal in sight, working toward that goal. He wants to change the sub to be more pleasing to him, so no sub will be trained exactly the same way by a different Master. In a relationship with one Master, my training could be completely different from another. I've heard of Masters who make slaves walk without swinging their left arms, slaves who can't use the furniture, and slaves who have to stop using pads and tampons during their periods. It's completely up to what that Master wants.

Of course, when you start a training program, you should expect resistance. Subs and slaves are humans, and no matter how much they want to be a submissive, you are both fighting a lifetime of social norms and millenia of cultural information. Women and men are raised to act a certain way, and this can be seen throughout history. A free, consensual slave is unheard of in the annals of history, and so the two of you must slowly and painstakingly erase hundreds of pages from your mental history textbooks and refill the pages with your own story, without any help from anyone else. How do you want your slave to look? to act? to think? to be? It's a hard question to answer, and one that could take hours and weeks of thought.

For more info for Doms and Masters, check out these articles: