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Old 02-10-2013, 08:38 PM   #1
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Default BDSM 101 - Difference Between a Submissive and a Slave

I found this to be a very interesting read. Submissives of gD, do you consider yourself to be a submissive, or indeed, a slave?

Article by Bea Amor -

Quote:
There have been many articles about this subject and the views aren't always the same. BDSM has been around for quite some time and some definitions have been developed to describe someone's role and point of view.

It helps to define roles, as it helps people who are looking for a partner to distinguish exactly what would turn them on and also restricts the number of possibilities to interact with. Unfortunately there has been a disturbing trend to use definitions loosely or to disregard them completely, adopting the stance that each person determines who or what they think they are. Therefore some people call themselves slaves when they are definitely not and some call themselves submissives, while they are in fact slaves. I have tried to avoid writing on this topic, as the word slave could attract different types of searches that I do not want to be associated with. These searches are the ones looking for non-consensual slaves that can be forced into servitude or slave trade, that in my opinion is detestable. I wanted to distance myself from that before I even defined anything. If you wanted to find anything like that, then you may as well go elsewhere, because this is focused on consensual slavery.

There are several distinctions and differences between a submissive and a slave. I will take the term submissive first. A submissive is a person with an intense desire to serve that does so under some conditions. The conditions would typically include terms of service, length of service, which areas of the submissives' life the dominant does not get to control, what the hard and soft limits are when they play or just interact, and of course the safe word.

In many ways the submissive controls play. Hard limits are activities that a dominant will not be able to indulge with the submissive. Hard limits broken would lead to the end of a scene, relationship or arrangement and a serious breach of trust. Soft limits are limits that can be broken, but only after it has been discussed with the submissive.

These are things the submissive is not excited about doing, but will try if it seems to excite the dominant or causes some latent excitement and fear in the submissive as well. The safe word ends all play. The dominant has free reign as long as he or she stays within the set limits.

After a scene, many submissives go back to controlling their own lives. They slip in and out of the role of submissive in most cases. They continue to make their own decisions and even in a 24/7 situation will continue to control those areas of their lives that are off limits to the dominant. A submissive submits every time a scene starts or some activity where the dominant has been given control commences.

The choice is hers or his every single time the dominant requires submission. A submissive can walk away from a scene because something is not working for them and completely slip out of role whenever they feel the need to discuss something about the situation with their dominant. This does not indicate a lack of the need to submit or serve though.

Now we turn to the slave - the consensual slave. The slave gives up all rights to make their own decisions, becomes the "property" of a Master or Mistress, takes on the limits of their Master or Mistress and does what is asked of them regardless of their feelings about it. Sometimes a slave will give up all rights to property of their own and will continue to work for the household, having to ask permission to use any money they earn. Slaves earn privileges and do not have rights. A slave submits once - when the collar is placed around his or her neck and when something is difficult, has to ask for help to accomplish it.

Slaves are not kept in basements or locked away forever. They are strong people who have an intense desire to please another human being and now has the freedom to live that desire and not have to submit to anyone else but those chosen by their Master or Mistress. Taking on the limits of another means that slaves have to ensure that the limits of the dominant they are talking to matches theirs, as their only choice is choosing the dominant. It is responsible to make sure that the person does match them or their preferences.

Can a slave be sold to another? No, most Masters or Mistresses would never do that. Remember this is consensual slavery, a 24/7 arrangement with one person fully in control and another person obeying all the commands and wishes expressed by the other because both of them want this. There is often a lot of love involved in this type of relationship as well. There are mock slave auctions that are used as fund raisers in the community, and slaves would go and serve another man or woman for the evening, but they always go back to the person they chose to be with. Can a slave end a relationship? Yes, they can petition their dominant for release and no responsible dominant would say no if nothing could be done to heal the relationship.

The difference between the two does not make one better than the other. I have seen countless submissives that serve as beautifully and perfectly as some slaves do and prefer not to be called slaves because of the negative connotation to that word. I have also seen many wannabe slaves struggle until they eventually found their place as submissives. It is difficult to devote one's entire life to another person but it is also incredibly rewarding.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:39 PM   #2
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This was very well written and brings out several important points. Nice find.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:47 PM   #3
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It was interesting.

I, myself, am quite new to online play, and I was wondering how it is even possible to own a slave digitally?

I have had both submissives and slaves under the definition below in the flesh, but online surely it would rather hard to maintain a relationship where both parties, the Master and the 'Slave' were benefiting.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:53 PM   #4
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When it comes to online ownership sometimes it is hard to tell. I usually try to get to know the person on a more friendship level to build some trust, and go from there. Because if there is trust, you can get to know one better instead of jumping right in which helps build a trust and devotion as well as honesty. It also helps to be able to understand the sub/slave to a point to follow your feeling of "I don't think they are being honest" or "I feel they are being honest" So it comes down to the relationship, how strong it is, and what you as a Dominant figure feel and think. Communication is key for any online adventure or ownership phase.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by This-Girl View Post
Communication is key for any online adventure or ownership phase.
Well communication is the key to life. Interesting article, I still kind of look at this as way to direct an internal desire, but lots of great points.
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:16 AM   #6
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I realize the point of your post isn't so much to start an argument over the article, but it bugged me a bit so I want to at least say a couple things.

It would be useful to have fairly static definitions of 'submissive', 'slave', even 'painslut' or whatever else you want. But that isn't how it works with fractured communities spread all over the place. Especially when the topic is so private, limiting discussion and consensus.

He then goes on to imply that 'submissive' and 'slave' have specific meanings and defines them as if referencing some authority when no such authority exists. This is a bit grating.

The definitions are annoying too. While 'slave' may not be clearly defined, I don't think I've seen a single context/community where it was synonymous with 24/7 lifestyler. His definition of submissive is much closer to what most people use the word slave for.

It was also implied (at a glance) that safewords were a sub thing, not a slave thing. People should note that safewords are an 80%+ of the BDSM community thing and giving them up is not done lightly.

Anyway, still an interesting topic to discuss the terms as he defined them, I just don't want people to be under the illusion that this is the strictly proper use of those terms. Sorry to risk the derail.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:31 AM   #7
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I personally dislike the article it's written by someone who clearly thinks people can be pigeon-holed into particular roles and attributed a label by some governing body that's deemed them to be either sub or slave.

What happens to those that don't fall within either category -- should they be left feeling they don't belong in either camp? Life is rarely as black and white as the poster of that article would believe, I know many that would cross over both sets of boundaries or fall outside of either case. What about those who switch?

I've also known those who have always had boundaries and limits until they met the one who made them feel they could give everything and trust in so completely. Humans are not simple creatures.

It also misses completely one crucial element - that of communication. Just because someone has identified themselves as either sub or slave that it shouldn't be treated as gospel. Only through talking, sharing thoughts and feelings with one another plus the experience that comes from being together over a period of time can a couple truly know where they sit and what defines their relationship.

There is no magic blueprint for bdsm - what would should be teaching people is how to discover who they are, what they like and understanding themselves and to be confident in expressing their desires, needs and limits to any potential suitor.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:16 AM   #8
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Good post, agreed entirely. This forum needs a 'like' button.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:09 AM   #9
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People compartmentalize this stuff while they're still learning about it.

Personally, I find the distinction to be an arbitrary one.

This is an article written by a person who's teaching herself(?) about what it means to be a sub versus a slave so that they don't cross a line they're afraid to cross, with some good points thrown in.

An article like this is written by a self-aware person, and self-aware people tend to think a lot, and therefore have a lot of wisdom to share.

As you get more and more experienced, these distinctions become more and more meaningless, and it instead becomes a part of who you are.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:40 PM   #10
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I think it's interesting to read a persons thoughts and definitions of the terms we all use, particularly those of 'sub' and 'slave.' However they are just that, one persons own definitions and not necessarily those of any other person. I have found that withing the BDSM community there is very little if any agreement on the usage and definitions of any of the terms we all use. We define our lives and the way we live them to suit ourselves and to hell with what anyone else thinks.

Personally I have no problem with that at all, but it can sure be confusing some times.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by This-Girl View Post
When it comes to online ownership sometimes it is hard to tell. I usually try to get to know the person on a more friendship level to build some trust, and go from there. Because if there is trust, you can get to know one better instead of jumping right in which helps build a trust and devotion as well as honesty. It also helps to be able to understand the sub/slave to a point to follow your feeling of "I don't think they are being honest" or "I feel they are being honest" So it comes down to the relationship, how strong it is, and what you as a Dominant figure feel and think. Communication is key for any online adventure or ownership phase.
this is so true.....
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:23 PM   #12
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Interesting article. I myself, don't totally agree with the definition in the article. I am what you can call technically a slave, but my Master and Mistress know my boundaries, and never cross that line. I do help them in their everyday life. In those terms, I am called a personal assistant; and far as everyone else that is around here where we are located, that is what I am. Although, if I do step out of line in the public; I will be punished back at home. However, I am given many free times that I am aloud to do whatever I want. Plus, I am still taking a class or two here and their just furthering my education. That is one of the things Master and Mistress loved about me; and encourage me to keep furthering my education.
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