So.. this must be the twentieth time I've sat and tried to write this one. I'm going to do it a little different, sort of Question and Answer format (that's right, I'm interviewing myself, shut up. =p ) and see if I can't get through it. Hope I do and that you enjoy.
Oh, and please remember this is just my take on things. Each individual will have their own opinions.
Q. What is a submissive?
A submissive is a person who has a pressing need or an inborn comfort with giving control to another person. They gain something from letting someone else have power over them. Perhaps simply arousal, perhaps something deeper.
Q. Is this the same thing as a pet?
No. Not at all. A submissive gives control to their partner, but labeling oneself as a 'pet' implies ownership. It also brings the relationship to another level. I consider a pet to be more attached to their Dom/me, Master, or Mistress. They are their pet, seeking to please them, lavishing in their attention.
Q. So what is a slave?
A slave is deeper than a pet. And.. more varied, if you will. A slave finds their purpose in life in the service of their Master or Mistress. A slave gives everything to their counterpart. They freely let them break down barriers, change paramiters, make rules, dictate all aspects of their life. A slave gives wholly, deeply, and truly.
Q. What characteristics are common in subs, pets, and slaves?
Here's an interesting point. Each is different, as is each Dom/me. I would say the characteristic I've seen most often in subs, pets, and slaves is probably affection. They are cuddly, huggy, people.. Or if not there's a reason for it and they would like to be. Not all subs, pets, and slaves are this way, that's just fact, but most... Most tend to have a streak of cuddlyness in them.
Some other things I've seen in many others on my side of the spectrum include lack of confidence (which is a negative characteristic, but is one none-the-less), insecurity, trust, courtesy, feistiness, pride.
Obviously it depends on the individual, but most of the time those who lack confidence will not be prideful. Sometimes they are, and the contradiction is that much sweeter (Gosh, after my love letter to Dom/mes I find myself almost writing the parallel to subs).
All subs, pets, and slaves trust to varying degrees. Otherwise how could they be what they are? They might be afraid of betrayal, but if they still hand over control they are giving their trust to someone despite their fears.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve about subs, pets, and slaves?
Very easily, my biggest issue with my own 'kind' is the ones who lose themselves to it. It is one thing to need to submit, to want to put that trust in a Dom/me or Master. It is quite another to be a doormat. My God. If you are in it to be punished for being yourself you should examine your choice to be in the lifestyle. Being a sub, a pet, or a slave should never be a punishment. It's a choice we make as individuals. If it's not rewarding it is unhealthy. If it is unhealthy, you need to find out what it is you really want.
A slave is not a doormat. I choose to talk on slaves because they are the most extreme. A slave finds themselves from submitting to someone else. They find their purpose, their life, their peace in the act. This reward, this harmony, this place of happiness they find is the reason they do it.
A sub or pet or slave who has lost themselves lets themselves be abused regardless of what they feel or want. They let go. Typically it is coupled with depression and a feeling of self-loathing or lack of self-worth. This should not happen. This is not what a sub is. This is not what a pet is. This is not a slave. This is a broken person.
*Hugs to those in this dark place.* I've been there. I used to do it for the pain, the punishment for all my shortcomings in life. I saw so many things I'd done 'wrong' I needed to suffer for. Lots of time, lots of scarring, lots of healing changed this for me. By the time I was 'whole' again it was what I wanted. Lo and behold, I enjoyed the pain. However, to this day I examine my reasons every time I indulge. Am I doing it to hurt myself? Am I asking for pain as a punishment? Is it an outlet for self-loathing? Then I don't do it. It's a dark road, and a treacherous one. I've seen too many people lost and letting it happen through this (this being the lifestyle) I suppose.
To wrap this part up, you're not alone. Others have been there. Some remain in the lifestyle, some realized they were in it for all the wrong reasons and left. If you see this about yourself, leave (as in the situation, maybe not the lifestyle if on examination it is what you want but in a healthier light). In most cases in today's world the only person who is going to help you is yourself. No one else can make the decision to be healthy for you. They can lead you, but you must choose to follow. If they aren't leading you, they're unhealthy for you and you should lead yourself at least this far.
Q. What do you think a sub, pet, or slave brings to a relationship?
Largely trust. Yeah, I bet some people would expect me to say power, and I'm sure it plays in, but.. How many people in the world will crawl across the floor to another person on their knees and naked and say, "Will you please tie me up so tight I can barely move? Will you please hurt me?"
And that brings me to another point..
Q. Is it a requirement of a sub, pet, or slave to enjoy bondage and pain?
Fuck no (please excuse the language). It might be as simple as, "Please tell me
what to do." It might be as simple as, "Tell me what to wear today. Tell me what
to eat." It's the surrender of control. Submitting of one's will to another. Pain
and bondage are often involved, but they are by no means a required facet of
the role. (I just happen to be the sort of girl who gets a little excited from
blindfolds, bindings, and pain. If it leaks into the blog, keep this one in mind, it's not
required, it's a preference).
Back to the question before this one... It's about trust, it's about the fact that another person is giving up part of their life, part of their individuality. And at the same time, the choice to surrender that portion of their individuality only deepens the whole of it, defining another aspect of their persona.
Q. What does a sub, pet, or slave get from a healthy relationship indulging in that aspect of who they are?
Many, many things. They are rewarded for their trust by the partner's care and caution. The way the partner keeps their best interests in mind. A sub gets a little less than a pet, and both get a lot less than a slave depending upon the severity of those tendencies in the first two. A sub or pet gets what they give. If they give more of their life, they gain more from the relationship. The affection, the control, the ability to trust someone with their most intimate, dangerous, risky desires.
A slave gets something on a whole new level. A slave gets a defining point in their life, a crescendo in the melody of their lives. They find peace, they find purpose, they find someone who they can serve fully, completely, and have lead them to a better place. They give everything and get the world in return. (I very much admire slaves. I don't meet them often. No matter how extreme a sub is, a slave is further. Just complete awe for me.)
Q. Do they have the right to say no?
One of the most beautiful things I see in a healthy sub, pet, or slave (No, I don't see this in myself. I don't see much positive in myself, we're working on that. Don't ask me how I can classify myself a sub and not include myself in this, but I can. Paradox ensues) is the fact that they retain their individuality. They have their interests, their likes, their quirks and habits. They may control them at the command of their counterpart, but underneath the submission still remains the person they've always been (this I see more in subs and pets than slaves for what I think would be obvious reasons).
That said, they have the right to say no. In fact, they should exercise it.
Q. But wait, didn't you say slaves give up everything?
Oi. Intricacies. Yes, a slave surrenders themselves. That doesn't mean they
surrender their personality. They have limits, especially at the beginning of
their journey. Just like the rest of us.
Back to the previous topic. Communication is key to a healthy relationship. Letting your counterpart know your boundaries, your limits, what bothers you, is key to being sure they can accomodate you. Saying 'No' is not only allowed, but I encourage it. Saying 'No' when something first bothers you will save a lot of pain later on, when things begin to intensify.
Whatever you do, be open with your partner. A suggestion I have that I have seen work very well in the past to keep the lines of communication open for those who are like myself and have trouble saying 'No' in the heat of the moment is: Keep a journal. Let them read it every night. If you can't just say, "When you did X it bothered me," you might be able to write it.
Q. How do you spot a fake?
This one is one I've been thinking on a while... Mostly I will say, people in the lifestyle know the lifestyle. It's in the way a person poses themselves, the way they act, the way they talk, the things they do... There's no real defining point of how to pinpoint a fake though some are more obvious than others.
This is the best in twenty attemps of writing this, though I feel like a freak for sitting here having a conversation with myself. The last thing I would like to say about this particular topic is that in my eyes a sub, pet, or slave is a beautiful creature with individuality and a sometimes subtle confidence despite their insecurities (and again, I don't believe this of myself, I'm a contradiction, I know, but I'm not writing about -me- I'm writing about subs, pets, and slaves and if I were writing about me it wouldn't be in a public place).
Thank you for reading this. I hope it strikes chords in those it should. *Soft smiles*
Two edits, highlighted by the green color around them. Noticed and thought they bore a slight bit of clarifying while I was correcting more typos.