:: slave vs. submissive (part I)

ImageKasai and I were talking about the words slave and submissive, and I thought I’d share my thoughts here.

I feel I should preempt my thoughts by stating that words carry different, and sometimes multiple meanings with different people. I should also warn you that if there’s one thing I lack, it’s the ability to write my thoughts out briefly.  It isn’t my intention to criticize those who may accept words that I do not – but to offer what these words mean – to me.

First, I would like to address the seemingly harder of the two words; slave. To many throughout the world, this word reflects a deep pain. Multitudes of nations, tribes, and peoples have forced another, or been forced by another to the world of slavery (sexual or otherwise). Even today, there is an active slave-trade that inflicts pain to countless people.

It is not unsurprising that the word carries a lot of baggage to so many.

To me, the word slave carry’s a very impersonal meaning. It denotes one person as owning the rights over another. It implies that another has no liberty regarding their life at all. This relationship, to me, means there doesn’t exist an authentic relationship where love blossoms. In the end, there exists a self-centric system it seems.

In some BDSM circles, slave is used – and though definitions also vary – it is generally understood that a slave has no real rights – they are true servants owned by the master. The owner sets limits, schedules, diet, etc, or the lack thereof. But at the end of the day, unless the owner has unlawfully abducted the slave, the slave is “free” to leave, and cannot be bought or sold to another – which of course doesn’t fit with the historic usage of the word, but rather tries to romanticize the it – to make it feel sexy.

There is another word used in the same circle: submissive. The submissive is a partner in a relationship together with a dominate partner. There is more of a fusion of expectations, wants, and desires from the two. But there is definite leadership and obedience. Yet, there is much room for growth by both – and there is an area where a deep spiritual connection can exist.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t baggage with this word either. Some only act as a submissive for a scene here or there, and may not find themselves in an actual relationship with their dominant partner. To me, this is more of an escapist play – at least at first thought. Others live in a world where submission exists on so many levels, to the point where the one is completely lost – to me, this is very destructive.

There is baggage, rightfully or not, with many words. And sometimes, the baggage carries forward into actuality in an expression or experience. Other times, we are too demanding in what words mean or don’t mean, and often it seems people talk past each other.

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