The Question That Won't Go Away, Part 4

   So if there is some standardized D/s knowledge that it would be good for both subs and Dominants to know about, what's the best way to deliver this content?  There are two prominent ways.

   1.  Books, articles, blogs, etc.  Probably the most common way people find things out about D/s.  There are countless internet sites with all manner of basic information, and as with any big sampling there are the very good, the totally horrible, and a big 80% middle of more or less good information delivered more or less effectively.  [Completely self-serving addendum:  There are a number of very good articles about theory and practice of D/s in the older posts of this blog.]

   2.  Online interactions.  I know that online D/s has a bad reputation with some (many?), but as with anything, there is value to be found;  the loud exceptions to the rule often are responsible for creating a general misconception.
     Online interactions allow for instant feedback.  The problem for the neophyte is that it's hard to know who is genuinely knowledgeable and helpful and who is looking to take advantage of someone who might not know any better.  One must proceed with caution, but one shouldn't throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  [Completely self-serving addendum:  You can find Me on, in #Enchanted_Palms.]
    And while Gor isn't everyone's cup of tea, and lord knows there's players and phonies there too, but Gor is more oriented around standards, since there exists a "bible" of sorts in the form of the Gor novels.

   But is there a better way?  Wouldn't it be cool if one could learn about D/s in a real environment, outside of some nasty club at 3AM?  I'm thinking of a place like Lady Heather's house on CSI . . .  a place where there is interaction of a non-sexual kind in addition to the more notorious aspects of D/s.

   There was a place called The Estate, that seems, from what I can tell, not to be in existence any longer, at least on the Internet.  The Estate, from what I can recall now, was place where submissives could go and learn how to serve, to put it succinctly if somewhat inexactly.

   The Estate's "curriculum" was clearly laid out on its website, expressing their general philosophy of D/s and detailing what the prospective trainee should expect, learn, etc.  [Note:  The Estate's program was completely non-sexual;  I don't know what happened in the reality of the place but their expressed emphasis was on serving in non-sexual ways.]

   I can't recall everything expressed there, and I'm not necessarily endorsing their theory and practice of D/s as "right," but The Estate, assuming that their reality matched their website's description, had the essentials in place.

     1.  A consistent body of knowledge and the resources to teach it.
     2.  A secluded real-life setting in which to practice/learn.
     3.  Clear expectations and metrics to determine success and identify areas for improvement.
     I hope that there are other places like The Estate, because I think that sort of model, properly, honestly, and faithfully applied, is the best way to impart a standardized body of D/s knowledge.

     So, after all this, has the Question That Won't Go Away, gone away?  Not completely.  But it's resting comfortably.

The Question That Won't Go Away, Part 3

2.  The Dominant is responsible for the submissive.  This seemingly self-evident statement is the source of the most trouble and negative associations with D/s.  The old cliche is that One cannot master another until One has mastered Oneself.  It is perhaps the most important, most accurate cliche imaginable.
     Would that there was a school for Dominants, or better yet some sort of certification.  A way to weed out the abusers, the bullies, the paranoid control freaks, and worse.  

3.  Each party has certain rights and obligations.  Rights and obligations are at the core of D/s -- what we are to expect and what is to be expected of us, in each role.  My experience tells Me that by and large both Dom/mes and submissives are not always aware of the depth of these rights and obligations and the implications thereof.

    The above suggests that there is ample and fruitful ground upon which to build a basic curriculum, for lack of a better word, for submissives and Dominants both.  That statement is at odds with what I wrote some years ago, and that bothered Me, even though I as fully open to the possibility that I might answer "the question that won't go away" differently this time.

    This is what I conclude.

     1.  There is a certain body of knowledge, intellectual and procedural, that it is worth knowing, for all submissives and Dominants.
     2.  Those who are involved in long-term, one-on-one D/s relationships may have less need of this standardized body of knowledge, since presumably the Dominant in that scenario constantly communicates and enforces His or Her wishes and preferences.
     3.  However, forever relationships are more rare than we want to think.  A submissive may find his or her dream Dominant, but there are no guarantees, and My anecdotal research tells Me that in D/s, there are even fewer guarantees than in vanilla relationships.
     4.  Those who are not involved in a community, or D/s scene, or in any poly situation, will likely not see the need for any standardized training or universal body of knowledge. 
     5.,  Still, there is value in having that knowledge, for both parties.  One, because of the impermanence of things, as discussed in 3., above, and also because a solid basis can only help both submissive and Dominant.

   In Part 4, a thought about one way to deliver the lessons.

The Question That Won't Go Away, Part 2

     So I'll start from the assumption that it's not totally futile to try to find some aspects of D/s that can be organized into a standard, or some body of common useful and applicable knowledge.

     It seems to Me that it should be fruitful to start with most elemental and even mundane aspects of D/s, and (hopefully) find some basis there on which to build more complex structures.

     Along those lines, I come up with the following "bottom level" precepts.

1.  The submissive obeys, serves, and strives to please the Dominant.
      A.  This obedience can take various forms.  Presumably there are submissives who are not sexually subservient.  From what I can tell there are many that are only sexually subservient.
      B.   There is a reasonableness test.  The submissive doesn't have to obey any order that is impossible, illegal, overly dangerous, or which breaks one of the submissive's expressed limits. 

2.  The Dominant is responsible for the submissive.
     A.  The Dominant must look after the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of the submissive. 
            i.   2A applies even if looking after the submissive's well-being is at the expense of the Dominant's own pleasure or convenience.
     B.  The Dominant takes the responsibility of teaching and correcting the submissive as necessary.
3.  Each party has certain rights and obligations.
     A.  The submissive is entitled to express hard limits and to expect that said limits will be respected.
     B.  The submissive is entitled to expect that the Dominant will make the submissive's well-being the first priority, as in 2., above.
     C.  The Dominant is entitled to expect that obedience and service will be complete, cheerful, and immediate, in absence of any mitigating circumstances. 
     D. The Dominant is entitled to expect that the submissive will not start adding to his or her list of hard limits just to avoid certain things s/he might find boring/unpleasant, etc.
     E.  If there is a written agreement between the parties, both parties have the right to expect that the other party will abide by the contract.

I'll stop there -- that's more then enough for the purposes of this exercise.

1.  The submissive obeys, serves, and strives to please the Dominant.
     Obeys.  I'm not sure that obedience can be taught, or needs to be defined in any standard way.  One either obeys or doesn't.
     Serves.  Non-sexual service can and should be taught.  There is a way to serve a drink, for example, a right way to make a bed.  And so on.  This is not to say that a particular Dominant will not have His or Her own particular way that S/He wants things done, but knowing standards can only help.  Think of it as, you learn how to write numbers clearly, then when you go into bookkeeping you're taught to put a little line through all the 7s.  But you still needed to learn how to write in the first place.
     Strives to please.  The submissive who does well at obeying and serving is likely to be pleasing, but still there are things that can be taught.  The good submissive has a certain mindset, and that mindset can be learned, and practiced.

Part 3, soon.

The Question That Won't Go Away, Part 1

   Many times over the life of this blog I've thought and written about the question of whether there is any real "standard" for D/s, or is it completely roll-your-own, based on the unique relationship between a Dom/me and a sub(s)?

   My experience tells Me it's the latter, especially lately.  But in My heart of hearts I want there to be a standard.  If there is a standard, there is an objective way to tell good from bad, and a common basis for discussion.  If everyone's experience is equally relevant and completely anecdotal, then there is, logically, no point in writing/thinking about D/s.

  But every time I try to establish that there is a standard, I end up more or less proving the opposite.  But perhaps the investigation of the question can be its own reward.

   Lately I've been looking at the tumblr pages of many subs and Dom/mes.  And while I can't claim to have looked at them all, or even most, perhaps, and the usual disclaimers always apply, there are a few conclusions I come to.

     1.  D/s is almost completely a private activity.  To the extent that there was a D/s scene, it seems to have faded, at least from the notice or experience of people who create D/s tumblrs.
     2.  Few submissives are universally submissive.  Rather, they are submissive to One.  This demarcation extends to online interactions.
     3.  There is little discussion of the emotional aspects of D/s;  the sexual is much more heavily stressed.
     4.  There is a general lack of critical thinking about any aspect of D/s.

      Assuming that the above are even somewhat correct, they all mitigate in favor of the idea that D/s is a completely unique activity, based on each couple's (or group's, in poly situations) desires.  And if that's the case, the question certainly can be posed -- what's wrong with that?  If that's the way it is, then that's the way it is.

     The short answer is that nothing's wrong with it.  If it's a fact, then to argue against it is to be angry at the sun for setting, as the poem goes.

     The long answer is that if it's not 100% a fact, then something valuable is to be gained by identifying those things might be applicable to most or all situations.

     Part 2 to follow, shortly.