Slave to the lifestyle, or lifestyle slave ?

There has been much discussion of late in the circles in which I move, regarding slavery, and whether in D/s or BDSM it can be consensual, or not, and the pros and cons of such relationships. When I first considered this subject my mind was necessarily affected by the historical views we all have of "forced" slavery from the last few hundred years, and the trade in humans from such places as Africa and the Far East to create a workforce which had no value as such, and who were considered as simply chattels.

My worry about those who insisted upon using the term slave was that these people really had little or no idea of the historical meaning of the word. It was used by many as a label, a fad, which in their view made them seem like part of a lifestyle, the reality of which they probably would never grasp anyway.

I have seen teenagers who have read one article on lifestyle slavery coming into conversations and claiming they were slaves, and that they had no limits to their submission. I have seen so-called Dominants with names like "Master of Worthless Slave" who also appear to have no idea what the realities of Dominance and submission are about. If only these people would sit down, and consider carefully just what they are saying, then perhaps they might be more cautious in the way they use the terminology of a lifestyle that is full of easy-to-acquire-but- hard-to-understand buzzwords. The ramifications of these hastily chosen descriptions, to create what some believe is an acceptance within a group are far reaching: many who say they are slaves and don't understand the definitions even within this lifestyle, can suddenly find they are in a relationship that is a good deal different to the fantasy pictures that were in their mind. Those who are in the Dominant role can use the slavery label as an open invitation to abuse, and hurt with little care for the well being of the other party.

So, back to my own experience. In meeting and becoming real life with my partner, and submissive, I was mindful always of the factors which can create hurt and pain. So much so that I was probably not firm enough with her in many ways, and still am too forgiving (so she tells me!) in many instances. However I am always balancing the needs of the sub to receive her fulfillment from D/s, along with those of a loving and intimate relationship. Not an easy juggle at the best of times believe me.

As we grew into our respective roles our experience and knowledge of each other increased, and things we do now, we would not even have contemplated 2 years ago. That's the dynamism of a good relationship: we learn, we find out, and we improve what we do in a mutually beneficial way. Over time we have discussed the "need to serve" which is one of the basic facets of the sub's psyche, and sure enough cleos need to provide that "serving" for me has deepened. When she first came to me and suggested that she wished to be thought of as a slave, rather than a submissive, I admit that I was aghast, because all those fears and worries about the slavery issues which we had both argued against came flooding back.

Carefully she explained that her submission had deepened, and her mindset had changed, a fact which I of course agreed had happened, because mine had too. We looked then at ways to describe what we had, which perhaps suggested a little more than simply submission, and for weeks and weeks we searched, without any luck. There simply was no alternative description which fitted the role which cleo had undertaken, other than slave.

So what do we think of when we use the term slave within our relationship? Essentially I think it's an "absolute" submission, within limits. Those limits are certainly always going to be there, and won't ever go away. The limits might change, and we might add new ones but they still have to be respected come what may. We retain our safewords, and as with the limits, I don't think they will ever go away either. Our personal view is that it is not practical to be a slave if one is not in a 24/7 relationship. The simple fact is that you cannot switch the slave mentality on and off, and while many would say they are 24 hour a day slaves even though they don't cohabit with a Master when He is not there the inclination to relinquish the slave mentality is perhaps a little too great.

To live as a slave is to live the lifestyle choice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no let up, and without any option to relax from it. This is fundamentally the difference that we see between a slave, and a submissive. Many of course won't agree, and that is their right, and I respect that.

There is much discussion as well about "consensual slavery", and whether it can actually exist: if one is a slave, should there be consent, or simply an acceptance of the will of the Master in all things? I see consensual as encompassing not just the choice to become slave but the continued acknowledgement of that choice. No person has the right to "own" another. Human life is too precious to have value on it, it should be revered, and nurtured: it is in fact priceless. So while I am willing to admit that I have a slave who serves me, and my needs, I baulk at the thought of owning her. She is a grown woman, she has children, and a mind which is at least as good as mine, and she is capable of both logical and perceptive thinking. Who am I to say I can own such a person? Not in a million years!! I am thankful that she chooses to stay with me, and that she affords me the opportunity to do the things we do together. Her uncanny ability to see my needs and wants, often before I do, is pleasing in the highest order, and her never ending endeavours to make my life as comfortable, and as happy as possible are far in excess of the "norm" that one might expect from a non D/s, or even a normal D/s relationship. This totality which she has found is what makes her submission more than just submitting. It is the fact that she wants to do these things which makes her slavery consensual. I did not force her into the submission, I did not tie her to a post and stop her from running away. What I hope I have done, is created a life for both of us which is rewarding, and fulfilling: something from which we both gain an enormous amount, more so than we ever could have imagined. I ask her regularly if she is happy, and whether I should do things differently. I care about how she feels about us, and will listen to her views and ideas. She of course gives me the veto in all things, but I would never make a choice without first considering her perspective, and I hope I would never make that choice in a purely selfish way either.

My cleo may well be called a slave, but she certainly is not in slavery