Essay 3: In His Interest

Author: J. Mikael Togneri ©

Used With Author's Permission


It is impossible to discuss D/s relationships on-line, in person or anywhere else, without the topic of trust arising very early on as a central issue. However, it is questionable whether that trust is always placed in the right areas – indeed whether what is being demanded really is trust in the first place.

One of the most often repeated statements, when a submissive explains why she calls herself a slave, is that "I know that he is a responsible man, and I trust that he will have my best interests at heart at all times." In the absolute M/s relationship, however, that is very far from always the case. A dominant basically has one single responsibility toward his slave: to provide her with the wherewithal to serve and obey to the best of her ability. Any other responsibilities that exist within such a relationship are invariably hers.

When she bares her neck for his collar, a slave gives her owner blanket consent to anything that he might wish to do to her, not do to her, give her or take away from her. In absolute M/s the slave is property, nothing more, nothing less. The dominant literally owns his slave; mind, body, heart and soul, up to and including the power over her life and death. Her submission is unconditional, all-encompassing and permanent, or it cannot be said to be absolute by any standards. So the master in an absolute M/s relationship cannot have his slave's best interests at heart at all times. The logic is simple: should a conflict of interests arise, no matter how insignificant, if the master defers to his slave, he would instantly cease to be master, and she would no longer be his slave. He is not bound by any moral or ethical standards other than his own, and he has only his own best interests at heart.

Paradoxical though it might seem, here is where the real guarantee for the submissive lies. It precludes any of those ridiculously outlandish scenarios that are so often put forth in discussions of trust, which are not only extremely unrealistic in any case, but particularly ludicrous in connection with absolute M/s. One quite simply does not invest the time, effort, and money in training a slave and accommodating her needs, just to squander it all on a whim, any more than one would purchase a Rolls-Royce just to plough a field and then dump it in a ditch when it runs out of petrol.

The dominant who has his own interests at heart takes excellent care of his property; maintains it, so to speak, if only in order to ensure a reasonable return on his investment. And although BDSM orthodoxy often seems to disagree, the fact of the matter is that a slave represents a considerable investment. When assessing the potential for a fulfilling M/s relationship, the slave does not consider a dominant's ability – or even desire – to look out for her interests, but his ability to look out for his own.

I called this the real guarantee for the submissive, but I might just as well have called it the only guarantee, because this is as good as it gets. In discussions of BDSM it soon becomes apparent that the overwhelming majority of the needs expressed by a submissive are in fact wants. By the same token, most or all of her stated requirements for trust are in fact requirements for security. However, it stands to reason that in any D/s relationship, and certainly in an absolute M/s relationship, there is very little room for a slave's wants, and not much more for her security, either.

A slave is a human being with all the associated needs, but it should be borne in mind exactly how few those needs actually are. The frequently quoted Abraham Maslow erred on a number of pivotal points in his Hierarchy of Needs, and nowhere is this seen more clearly than from the perspective of the BDSM lifestyle. Human beings basically have three needs: nutrition, shelter and intellectual/emotional stimulus. The currently popular feel-good tyranny aside, the quality of life does not determine a need, only life itself does. We only actually need those relatively few things it would literally kill us not to have.

Security is often presented as a need, but it is not. The statement to the effect that a submissive needs to feel secure in order to trust a dominant is a contradiction in terms. Trust is an act of faith, and the defining characteristic of faith is certainty in the absence of evidence. In other words, trust is given before a dominant has proven himself, before the provision of any other evidence than the submissive's gut feeling. Once he has, and there is more tangible evidence to go by, it is no longer a matter of trust, but one of certain knowledge.

However, the only way for her to acquire that evidence is to trust first and ask pertinent questions later. Very little in life is risk-free, and submission is definitely among the more risk-filled of human pursuits. There is no way to realistically minimise that risk. Indeed, anyone who demands a relationship that is clinically void of risk is not only demanding the impossible, but is also short-changing him/herself in the process.

The current trend among many people to reverse cause and effect, so to speak, by wanting to turn what can only ever be the result of a commitment into its prerequisite, is by no means peculiar to our lifestyle. Indeed, if at all possible, this misconception is perhaps even more widespread among our non-BDSM surroundings, where relationships frequently fail for precisely that reason. Yet perhaps it stands out more in BDSM because there it becomes even more meaningless and self-defeating than in other kinds of relationship. Attempting to take the risk out of BDSM is like attempting to avoid air pollution by not breathing.

It is so often forgotten that faith is not blind at all. It merely "sees" with another kind of vision, a sense with which we are all born, but which we are taught to ignore. If a submissive has an issue with trust, she must learn to trust herself and her own instincts first and foremost. If something feels right to her, there's a very real likelihood that it is.


Back To Essay 2: Spirituality In Slavehood

Forward to Essay 4: Let What You Have Said Be Done To Me





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