Lauren (laurenybeth) wrote,

For me...

This is an article posted to one of the sub groups...feel free to read it, but i'm putting it here just for myself =)

What Slaves Need

slaves, and those who seek to be slaves, are constantly advised not
to be self-centered and not to focus on our needs and desires but
rather those of others. And this can be good advice when a would-be
slave is so focused on fantasies of what a Master will look like, act
like, and do to the slave that he loses sight of what he will do for
the Master or bring to the relationship. Being a full-time sex
toy/captive/whipping boy almost never actually happens, and if that's
what slavery means to you, 99% of the real-life Masters out there
will be terribly disappointing.

But aside from that lesson, there's another, more subtle lesson about
slave "selfishness" that's only now becoming clear to me, which is
that someone who's looking to become a slave, or remain a slave,
needs to be ruthlessly selfish about getting his or her slave needs
met. By this i don't mean the basic needs of life for food, shelter,
clothing, employment, social contacts, and a degree of affection. We
all need that, whether we're slaves or Tops or boys or vanilla.
Rather, i mean the things that feed and strengthen a slave's slavery:
things like direction, discipline, and service. About these there can
be no compromise, because when they are lacking in a slave's life,
slavery itself cannot long be sustained.

The popular conception is that slaves are people who are forced to
obey a Master's orders, and many slaves also fantasize being forced.
Being obedient is held to be the opposite of freedom, and the
negative connotations of "slavery" largely consist in this lack of

This no doubt was true of many or most coerced slaves in history. It
is not true of consensual slaves today. Those who become slaves today
in the U.S., Europe, and the rest of the developed world do so not
because they are being forced to obey, but because they positively
need to obey. Obedience is the voluntary slave's lifeblood. To obey
is not our cross but our joy! We only ask to be given the opportunity.

And that's where direction comes in. Any idiot can tell someone else
what to do! Lots of people are bossy or domineering or pushy. That's
not what can satisfy a slave's need to obey, not in the long run,
because people who are merely bossy tend not to be very consistent or
intelligent about what they tell others to do; they operate on whim.
The more perfectly you obey someone like that, the more likely you
are to get into trouble, because today's order may contradict
yesterday's or undermine tomorrow's. You can drive a dog or a child
insane with contradictory orders; is a slave any less sensitive?

Ideally, what slaves need — whether they're aware of wanting it or
not! — is clear direction, firm goals, consistent rules, unambiguous
orders. And it takes a Master with great presence of mind,
intelligence, self-control, and self-understanding to provide that
kind of environment.

The most common slave fantasy is probably of being punished, but i
think the erotic charge of this is really a metaphor for discipline,
which is not the same as punishment. Discipline is controlled
behavior; punishment is simply a means, and often not a very good
one, of achieving discipline. Just as slaves need to obey, we need to
follow rules and to push ourselves to live up to some ideal. i think
every (voluntary) slave wants to be "the perfect slave" in some
sense, and we need — as much as we need air and water — someone to
hold out that ideal before us and challenge us to live up to it, even
knowing that we'll never actually achieve it.

If it were easy to be a slave, if anyone could do it, what would be
the point? If there were no sacrifice involved, if it required
nothing "above and beyond" ordinary life as a bottom-oriented
leatherman or leatherdyke, why bother?

slavery is a demanding, challenging vocation, or calling, and its
challenges cannot end once the slave enters into service with a
Master. The Master must provide a continual challenge as well as an
environment in which the slave's discipline and dedication are
continually honed. To this end, many Masters institute various
rituals and protocols for their slaves to follow. These are
misunderstood, i think, if they are examined too literally, and
especially if the point is taken to be the inculcation of a
worshipful attitude toward the Master's person. The point is to
enable the slave to develop a worshipful attitude, period. Giving the
slave a framework by which to live a disciplined life of respect and
dedication is the point, not feeding the Master's ego.

Nonetheless, at the very prosaic level of "enforcement of rules," a
Master who does not notice or care about infractions is one who is
shirking His duty toward His slave. It is not necessary to punish,
but it is necessary to take notice of the lapse and deal with it in
some definite way. slaves need to feel the Master's eye on them
continually, until it is internalized. If He cannot or will not
provide discipline, He has no business owning a slave, just as a
parent who will not provide it for a child is unfit for that role.

While there are no end of fantasies about obedience and discipline,
most slaves only fantasize about sexual "service" — but that is
typically the lesser part of a full-time slave's service. Indeed, the
difference between a slave and a bottom may turn on the willingness,
even eagerness, to serve in nonsexual ways. (As i once read in a
bottom's personal ad, "I don't clean my own apartment — why should I
clean yours?")

Difficulties arise when Masters, or slaves, confuse service with
being used. The difference is subtle but critical. Perhaps it is the
difference between "being used" and "being useful." Being used has a
very negative connotation for most people, and i suspect that in
cases where it has a strong erotic charge, it refers more to the
categories of direction and discipline than service. That is, what is
exciting about "being used" is being obedient and controlled,
transcending your own ego and its selfish pleasures to be an
instrument of someone else's will. That doesn't have to be a
humiliating, demeaning, or degrading experience — it can be an
exhilarating and liberating one.

Being useful, in contrast, is something that most people do find
pleasurable and rewarding — slaves more than others. It is the sense
of "right employment," of expending your life energies in a good and
satisfying way. The joy of service is the feeling of having "made a
difference" in some part of the world, however small.

When Masters think of a slave's service purely in terms of having him
at Their beck and call to fulfill any whim or transient desire, They
trivialize the slave's slavery and undermine his ability to continue
that way of life. On the contrary: a case could be made that the main
reason Masters even exist is to provide slaves with an opportunity to
serve to the best of their abilities! Whether you accept that view or
not, a Master who neglects or wastes a slave's talents is worse than
a fool; it is a form of abuse as serious as physical harm or neglect.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for a Master is to determine how a
given slave can best serve Him, and to reconsider the matter again
and again as the slave grows, learns, and develops. This is not to
say that any particular service should be beneath any particular
slave — we can all benefit from taking a turn at menial chores.
Nonetheless, a slave needs to feel, overall, that he is fulfilling
his potential for service, or he will not remain content in his
slavery for long.

In conclusion, the lesson i'm trying to convey is that slaves need to
look out for ourselves in terms of making sure that our needs for
direction, discipline, and service get fulfilled. No matter how sexy
a potential Master
may be, no matter how many of your fetishes He matches and BDSM
buttons He pushes, if there's no clear evidence that He'll provide
for your basic needs as a slave, look elsewhere. By the same token, a
potential Master who's not your wet dream but can offer an
environment of clear direction, firm discipline, and opportunities
for challenging and satisfying service deserves at least a second

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