Author: LadyFlame © 2000


A long time ago, it became obvious to me that "labeling ourselves" as one thing or another was a necessary evil; particularly in the "online world"; where WHAT you call yourself is the backbone of HOW you communicate with others. In the web medium, as well as in other mediums, we use terms like...BI, FEM, GAY, CD/TV, Gorean, slave, sub, old-school, leather, SWDGPM, and the list goes on. Sometimes we're lucky enough to have a translator, other times we have to decipher the code on our own. In the arena of BDSM, our "labels" identify us to potential partners. It defines us as being of a certain mindset.

Many of us found that we claimed and identified more with one side of this multi-faceted prism than with any of the others, and we began to develop our "identities" based on those intrinsic characteristics. Even so, (and to our surprise), out there in the "real world" we found that we had MANY, MANY sides to us...many curiosities that were never even considerations before, and we began to feel our identities mutate.

How many of us entered as subs, became switches, experimented as Tops, and finally found OUR "place"- the place that caught us off-guard? There's nothing wrong with self-discovery, and there's nothing wrong with changing your orientation. It happens all the time. The only aspect of BDSM that remains constant-is change.

One of the driving forces in our relationships with others is the excitement and challenge of the unknown, to be stretched, to be pushed, to be ANYTHING BUT apathetic. It's not uncommon for an identified submissive to want to try her hand at topping--no more than it is for a Dominant to desire the feel of surrender. (Let's face it, that drop into subspace is quite an exhilarating thing to experience, and from the other side of the flogger, it can look like SO MUCH FUN!) The problem is, we are conditioned to think that we are "stepping out of bounds" when we have desires that can only be satisfied from the other side of the D/s equation.

Early in my own explorations, I decided that my orientation was "submissive", although I balked at the term "slave". Later, when the opportunity presented itself, I tried my hand at "topping". For me, those were experiences in submission, too-- although I was the one wielding the implements of pleasure. For me, it was ALWAYS about pleasure. Giving pleasure, receiving pleasure, facilitating fantasies; the very idea arouses the submissive slut in me. (Another label!) As I became more comfortable with myself-- as I developed my own confidences and shed my inhibitions, I realized that I am MANY things. In the context of WIITWD, I AM a submissive. Beneath that title are several "sub" titles. I am bisexual. I am a "pleasure slut". I am sometimes a "switch", and I've been mistaken for a Domme many times. I am a "collared sub"-so I belong to someone else.

Primarily, I am HIS. In our earliest conversations and negotiations, we used "labels" to identify ourselves to each other. He was a Dominant male-I was a submissive female, but identity alone did not (and never could) make a relationship work. We explored the boundaries of who and what we were-our dreams and desires, our fantasies. We used labels to facilitate our interaction with each other-to describe ourselves in terms that each of us understood. Nothing was chiseled in stone, and we left the metaphorical door open for further explorations.

As we have grown in our relationship with each other, our labels have changed. Although I am "the same" in many areas-I am forever changed in others.

Growth and change are NOT negatives in an ongoing relationship. Adhering too strongly to our "labels" is prohibitive and restrictive, and corrosive to our foundations. Being rigidly one "thing" or another makes us vulnerable. We must be able to weather the storms that are inevitable, bend in the wind...even if it means our branches scrape the ground, sometimes.

Additionally, refusing to explore makes us stale and disinteresting. It is the responsibility of BOTH (or ALL) partners to maintain the excitement-to push the envelope, to keep the relationship MOVING. As long as we are capable of change-as long as we can bend, the likelihood of breaking is diminished.

Therefore, are we "X" because "Y" is unacceptable, or are we only afraid of where "Y" might take us? Are we capable of change-of exploration, of mutating and combining ALL of what we are without fear of retribution? Or are we what we said we were so very long ago? Never changing, still the same, planted, rigid, and immovable?




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