December 23, 2012

Deconstructing Obedience

Jessica M.

deconstructingobedience

Artwork ©Steve Hanks

Obedience, to me, is a living breathing thinking creature that, like any animal, interacts with its environment in complex ways. Deconstruction suggests tearing off the wings off a bird in order to learn how it flies. And that’s not a very “constructive” approach, is it?  I don’t want to deconstruct living obedience in that sense but I do want to examine more closely what it is. I think that by understanding obedience better, I can better serve a man someday.

What inspired me to write this? Well, to be honest, certain discussions I read on the web really bother me. I cannot name who or where because when consulting management about writing this article, I was told to avoid “naming names,” but I can characterize them a bit. Maybe some of you have read similar threads and will know exactly what I am talking about.

In such threads, someone asks questions like these: What does it mean to serve a man? What does it feel like to you? How does it make you happy? How does it make you sad? Some women answer these questions with answers that seem superficially profound in their simplicity. But to me, such answers are more often profoundly meaningless. Take this response, for instance:

Being a man’s servant means to obey.
What makes me happy is to obey.
What makes me sad is to obey.
What makes me (anything) is to obey.

While everyone else seemed utterly awed by the elegant Zenness of this oversimplified proclamation, I was personally groaning in pain. I was so tempted to write back:  Oh. Well. If that’s all there is to being a humble servant of one’s husband or master, then I might as well just kill myself and get it over with! To think all this time I believed  that there was something more to obedience than “just obey!” So silly of me to think there might be something a little more complex, like thinking, involved! 

I know, I’m being a little sarcastic. Maybe more than a bit! Responses like this just strike me as incredibly vapid, and I couldn’t believe that all those otherwise intelligent readers actually fell for it. Something in such writings must be incredibly tempting to inspire all of the blind head-nodding that went on in the thread. I now think I know what that something is. It’s the kind of idea, that, like any good slogan, inspires “feel good” emotions and entirely shuts off thought and the need to take action as well:

I just obey. Yep, indeedy I do! Now I can go back to sleep. Snore! I know that even in my sleep I am obedient because I just obey!  

People like slogans precisely because these hypnotic phrases sound so right. Slogans do indeed allow people to “sleep” or coast unthinkingly on automatic through life while feeling at the same time that they are doing something great and wonderful.  I don’t have to figure out anything, work at anything, overcome anything, or learn anything. I just…obey. And anybody can do that because everybody knows what obeying means, right? Well, not exactly.

You see, unless someone is living in a very predictable rut where everything always remains exactly the same and she habitually obeys the same set of orders over and over again with no variation, it seldom works out  that “just obeying” is just, well, obeying.  The thoughts and feelings a person has around the act affect it in ways that make it more than just the action of a simple machine. For a thinking, feeling woman, each act of obedience is different than the next. “Just obeying” may be fraught with doubt (can I even begin to do something like this?), confusion (did he really mean I should do it that way?), motivation (this seems tough, but I can do this, I can find a way!), and fantasy (Of course the great and wonderful me can do this. I can do anything I set my mind to. No Problemo!).

Unfortunately, by encouraging athletic-style “don’t think, let your body do it” advice toward something that often requires thought in order to be done best, it presents what should be (and is) a living, breathing process as something very flat and shallow, and subsequently, not very helpful for those attempting to get at the core of things where obedience is concerned.

Machines don’t think or feel so they don’t add any of this mental or emotional background color to the act. When you push the candy machine’s button, the candy drops down into the slot, provided you’ve added the right amount of money. But people aren’t vending machines, despite what Little Miss Just Obey suggests! People are far more complicated, and every act they do, whether they are aware of it or not, is laden with meanings, unconscious assumptions, attitudes, responses, associations, and all sorts of other mental and emotional overtones that change a simple melody into a complex (although sometimes cacophonous) symphony. It is that symphony that interests me. So without further ado, I’ll dive into it.

For me, obedience breaks down into three major components that, while separate, are also intimately related: the act of obedience itself, the mindset behind the act, and the consequences of the act. I’ve already discussed the idea of looking at just the act of obedience in isolation, so I’m going to move on to the next two elements.

Mindset

It seems to me that why you obey and how you feel or what you think of as you obey are all very important elements. Some might argue that they do not matter, that “just obeying” is all that counts and in one sense they are right. When given an order from her man, a good woman obeys quickly, gracefully, and, if needed, with the appropriate degree of competence or skill. She does not argue back, balk, over-question, stall for time, ignore the command, present alternatives, or hesitate. I suspect that this is what the “Just Obey” crowd is trying to get at with their oversimplified Nike-like ad slogan. Unfortunately, by encouraging athletic-style “don’t think, let your body do it” advice toward something that often requires thought in order to be done best, it presents what should be (and is) a living, breathing process as something very flat and shallow, and subsequently, not very helpful for those attempting to get at the core of things where obedience is concerned.

In my experience, a mindset toward obedience is composed of a number of elements. Among the most important are:

Motivation, or why I obey. The reasons I obey and the attitudes that I bring toward the act of obedience.

Method, or how I obey. How I carry out the specific order. This can involve know-how and it can involve attitude.

Mood, or the feelings that arise when I obey. The feelings I have when first given the order and the emotional responses felt during its execution.

Why are these mental and emotional elements important? Because, invisible as they may be except to me, they have an impact. They color and shape my act of obedience. They change it, not just for me, but also for the one giving me the command.

A woman can obey for positive or for negative reasons. A positive reason to obey might be because she wants to please her man, make him happy in general or happy with her specifically. Another positive reason might be because she respects him and is honoring her word to obey him in all things, great and small.  A negative reason to obey would be because she knows she can manipulate a man by doing so: make him think or feel or do what she wants with her obedience. Another negative reason could be because she is too terrified to do anything else. (This is not always bad, but if fear of a man is the only reason why she is obeying, it doesn’t strike me as a very strong basis for continued, lasting obedience.) A third negative reason to obey could be because a woman has turned her “perfect obedience” into an act of egotism. She obeys so she can feel superior in her mind and heart to those less obedient, not because she cares about how the man she serves is affected by her obedience.

The motivation behind one’s obedience affects the experience of obedience and what it personally feels like. Over time that can affect the consequences of obedient acts, but that’s jumping ahead a bit. I think it’s pretty clear that the motivations brought to an act of obedience change the experience of the act, at least for the person doing the obeying. And, over time, those experiences can become habitual. If a woman feels inordinately proud and superior each time she obeys a simple command, it becomes easier to feel that way the next time she obeys a command. As time passes, she becomes prouder and prouder, more entrenched in her own superiority over all those other women she sees who “can’t do it nearly as well as she does.”  But she also becomes, at the same time, less and less attuned to the needs of the man she serves. She barely thinks of him and his happiness when she obeys—it’s all about her, ironically. It’s all about her growth, her superiority, her skills at obeying and being better than the others. She becomes an inward braggart.

On the other hand, if a woman obeys because her man’s happiness is everything to her and because it fills her with joy to see him satisfied and happy then the next time she obeys, she hopes to feel more of that joy. So she tries especially hard to satisfy him. Her focus on him and her exclusion of other factors (fear, doubts, pride, and blind, unthinking habit) makes her love him and want to serve him even better. It makes her pay attention to him and his needs rather than simply perform a mindless act. And that mindful attention likewise grows and grows.

Method is important, too.  A woman can sweep the kitchen floor in a sloppy, fast, careless manner because she’s anxious to get back to her computer game or to her kinky social network where she can boast to others about how obedient she is and post the latest shots of her naked bod, all to garner attention…or she can sweep the floor correctly, slowly, skillfully, thinking about what she is doing, finding better ways to do it, careful to get the crumbs in the corners, able to set aside her other thoughts about what she’d rather be doing in order to focus totally on what she is actually doing. She’ll notice spots on the floor and stop to clean them with a mop or a sponge, instead of ignoring them because she’s been ordered to sweep only, not wash, and she’s in such a great hurry. She can be there in the moment, feeling her obedience, realizing that she cannot disobey anything her man tells her to do.

She can feel her obedience instead of being lost in a fantasy about something else. This helps her to realize that she feels good or bad based on how she performs even the simplest acts.  Or she can be thinking instead about doing her nails or the TV show that’s coming on soon or how she’s going to handle herself at work the next day or what to get her son for his birthday, in other words, thinking about anything except the boring crumbs on the boring floor. Guess which floor will ultimately look better? And guess which mind will ultimately feel better and be better suited to obey the next time?

Sweeping the floor sounds like such a little thing, such a trivial thing, but if it’s an order given to you by the one you worship and obey, isn’t it highly important to perform it right? And if a woman doesn’t regard this as highly important, how can she possibly regard the one giving her the order as highly important?

Mood, I think, is something that might arise from motivation or method. It also, in turn, influences them. It’s an interactive thing. We all have experienced how mood affects performance. If you are anxious about something you’re much more likely to perform some nervous act that harms the outcome or even be too paralyzed to act at all. Ordinarily, a woman won’t feel overly anxious about what she does unless it is something new and unfamiliar, something she lacks confidence in doing, or unless she is brand new to submitting. But she will certainly feel other emotions in response to receiving an order or while obeying it.  She may feel irritation, for instance—irritation at being interrupted while in the middle of doing something else (even something else for him) that she considers to be more important or more interesting. She may feel resentment because she is sick or in pain and here he is ordering her to do all this stuff despite how terrible she feels. She may feel eager, bored, curious, angry, expectant of a reward, discouraged, sleepy, happy, grumpy, drunkenly elated (I had to break up the seven dwarves metaphor!) or nothing much at all in response to the command. She may be shutting her feelings down because she believes that servants just mindlessly obey, they do not feel anything when they are obeying. Not if they’re doing it right, anyway.

Most women, by the time they realize they want to serve a man, come with a slew of habits and attitudes already formed. A skillful, controlling male will utilize the good habits/traits and burn or weed out the bad ones.

Why are feelings important when a woman is obeying? Because they color the experience, they make it pleasant or unpleasant, and these experiences, in turn affect how she feels the next time the order comes up. I might remember, for example, how I felt the last time I was ordered to cut my spending and that memory might slightly influence how I feel the next time I am told to cut my spending. I also think that the mood you are in when you do something influences how you do it and how well you do it. If I am distracted and stressed, my focus on the physical act is likely to be spottier than if I am relaxed, open, and just living in the moment. If I associate obeying an order with boredom, I’m going to tend to feel more and more bored each time I do it. Eventually, this may become a part of what I think of as my “root personality”: I am a person who is bored when performing menial tasks.  This sort of stubborn attitude can, over the long run, get in the way of obedience. Nobody likes to feel bored and it’s natural to try to escape boredom, when possible.

Consequences

The most immediate consequence of obedience for a woman is the response of her man. If she obeys well, with alacrity and skill, he will be pleased, or at very least content. She will not be scolded or punished. There will be no dreaded “little talk” later. If she obeys poorly, puts off the command, performs it in a half-hearted or incomplete manner, he may be displeased or disappointed with her. Depending upon the relationship, she might be punished for this, she might lose privileges, or experience other signs of his displeasure. One form of psychological punishment that is very hard for some women to bear is when the dominant man stops issuing the order entirely because he feels she is too incompetent, incapable, or unwilling. This can provoke tremendous guilt in a servant with a conscience. Strangely enough, it can also breed resentment against him:

How dare he feel I am not competent or capable simply because I screwed up this once! How dare he take this responsibility away from me? 

But there are other consequences, too. One that I’ve already touched upon is the tendency for single acts, feelings, and thoughts to become habitual. If it feels good or if it feeds a hunger in someone, even if that hunger is not ultimately a good thing, they are likely to repeat it. Habits, over time, can become quite strong and even morph into rock-hard personality traits. Something that began as a single simple response to a single act can, with constant repetition, become hardened into an unchanging aspect of one’s personality. If that aspect is a good one that benefits the man a woman serves, that is good–great in fact! But if the response is a bad one that hinders, hurts, thwarts, or channels her obedience into something less savory, it can be a terrible or tragic thing if it becomes hardened into a habit.

Most women, by the time they realize they want to serve a man, come with a slew of habits and attitudes already formed. A skillful, controlling male will utilize the good habits/traits and burn or weed out the bad ones. How willing he is to do this second thing, this weeding of her mental garden, depends a lot on how negative and entrenched the habitual behavior is. Some females are beyond hope or help in this regard and it is tragic that they feel they must obey when these very hard, crystallized portions of their personalities prevent that obedience. A woman who is not in that situation, who is actively and happily serving a man, can look at her less-fortunate sisters, the females her man shudders over and says he’d never want them serving him, as examples of what she could become if she is not mindful about the formation of habits, particularly bad habits.

Another very important consequence of obedience is that if a woman obeys in the right fashion (usefully, helpfully, constructively) she can more easily spot it when she’s being disobedient, even in an attitude like boredom. Her sensitivity toward obedience becomes more finely tuned, more accurate, more detailed, and more wonderfully diverse, like diving into a fractal. The simple act of obedience through mindfulness becomes more and more enriched through complexity, not less so. In other words, she is learning. More each day. And her obedience and attitudes during obedience improve as a result. This starts an upward spiral, a momentum, that becomes difficult to derail or sabotage with negativity. Eventually, the serving woman may become so exquisitely conscious of what she is doing as she obeys that she can be said to be “just doing it” or “just obeying.” But she has earned, through her consciousness and critical attention to detail, the right to say she “just obeys,” because within those two simple words there is now in her mind a near-infinite universe of meaning.  Most women who want to obey a man try to run before they can even crawl: they take the easy way out and never closely examine why they obey, how they obey, or what they feel when they obey. Instead, they adopt easy slogans, such as “I just obey.” They may obey, after a fashion, but that obedience is empty and meaningless compared to what it could be.


November 14, 2012

One No More

Nina E.

Being one of several female servants

Artwork ©Paul S. Brown

“If love was a choice, who would ever choose such exquisite pain?”

—Lady Tuptim

The curtain opens on a classic scene from a movie. It might be The King and I or something similar. The scene occurs in a lush, luxurious harem where a Western woman is speaking with the Asian first wife of the king. The first wife lives in this harem with dozens of other girls, many of whom are much younger and more beautiful than she. The first wife and mother of the heir to the throne is trying to to explain to the strangely independent Western visitor what her life is like. She wraps her story in a metaphor:

Once upon a time there was a mighty oak tree and nearby grew a tiny sapling. The tiny sapling loved the large oak tree and basked in its attention. It grew taller and stronger, contemplating the mighty oak and taking comfort in its benevolent attention. But, as time passed, many more saplings sprouted between the first little tree and the mighty oak. They, too, grew tall and strong and eventually the first sapling could no longer see her beloved oak. There were too many other trees between her and him. Likewise, the oak no longer saw her, as he was focused on the newer saplings closer to him. The little tree grew increasingly sad and lonely.

This is obviously a Western romantic-love interpretation of what was once a common Eastern and mid-Eastern living situation: a large harem of wives and concubines. Unrealistic as it was, this scene pulled on every monogamous heartstring in the theater because the first wife’s obvious suffering was what we would expect to feel in similar circumstances. Likewise, the thought of being a part of a smaller, modern-day harem often fills a submissive woman’s heart full of dread and sorrow. She will not ever be his one and only, nor even necessarily his favorite girl—other women will get his attention how, when, and where he wishes. There will be times when he will not be available to her, no matter how strongly she feels she needs him. She may wonder how he can possibly care for her and another woman (or more) equally. While this is the lot of many a genuine and devoted female servant—to live a life totally dedicated and faithful to the man she worships but never to experience total fidelity or monogamy back, to always be one of several female interests—the fears described above usually dissolve under the rule of a wise male who has chosen his humbled females wisely, too.

What does being one of several actually feel like for the humbled female? I believe I can answer this question, as I am one of several. To keep the narrative consistent, I will describe this experience in the third person, but feel free to think of the depictions below as my own experiences or very closely related to them.

First and foremost, being one of several means the humbled female must accept the idea that she will not be the only woman in the life of the man she loves. This is a huge hurdle for most women raised in this day and age as we are still brought up with the traditional idea that the man we fall in love with is “ours,” that he “belongs” to us in some fashion and that even if he is our master, we own him every bit as much as he owns us. The typical female ego needs to believe that a man she is involved with is indebted to her, couldn’t bear to live without her, in fact. When she encounters a truly independent man who doesn’t respond to her personal erotic control, she will sometimes be shocked, but more times than not simply disbelieving. “I’ll cure him in time,” she thinks to herself. “He’ll realize sooner or later that he can’t live without me.” This is her ego speaking: this is self-love founded on the soft ground of insecurity but many deluded women call this ultimate selfishness and self-regard, “True Love.” They are, in a sense, right. They have “True Love” all right. But only for themselves.

Such an attitude, obviously, is entirely at odds with the concept of belonging to a man, being his loyal female servant and even property to do with as he wishes, but many a submissive woman tries to fit these two conflicting ideas in her head together and often without much foresight. Somehow, magically, she will belong to the man of her dreams and he will, equally magically, want nobody else but her. Because a lot of men are raised with the concept of monogamy, a humbled female has some possibility of attracting or being attracted to a monogamous man, but such men often aren’t the ones the humbled female is drawn to. She is drawn to a stronger, sterner type—a man who knows his own mind and does as he wishes, a man with balls who will not compromise his basic principles to please a mere woman, no matter how special she is to him, a man who cannot be pussywhipped. She cannot be with such a man and also expect to run things her way. That is a crucial principle of obedience and humility that all humbled females learn, although if the the female is one of several from the beginning, she most likely learns it more quickly.

After overcoming their primary fears and insecurities, the women of a harem-minded man may have to give up certain ideas and expectations about what coexisting with other females under his rule will be like or should be like, even if these ideas are quite positive. The harem situation will be whatever the dominant male wants it to be, not what any of its members imagines or desires it to be. Sometimes other females may live with him and sometimes they might not. He may go to see them or bring them to his house for extended visits. He might want them all separated by distance or keep them all together under one roof. A female may become a close friend or associate of another of his females or she may not. She may be required to bear his children or he may assign that role to another of his girls.

If a dominant man truly controls his females and not the other way around, none of them, no matter what their seniority or their charms, will be able to direct the household organization, set their own status in his house, or determine whether certain girls are accepted into it or not.

She may be encouraged to be beautiful and feminine at all times, even transformed with surgery and other extensive beauty treatments into an ideal love doll or she may be required simply for menial labor. She may be a female he proudly takes out on his arm to parties or events to show off or one, perhaps equally beautiful, that he insists remain secluded and isolated in the home, scrubbing the tub while he is out on the town with one or two of his other girls. There is often a keen wisdom attached to this seeming arbitrariness. The male may recognize that his Cinderella-like tub scrubber has a natural masochistic need to be made the least of his girls, to be denied most of the stimulation and privileges that they are allowed. He may be doing her a great kindness in forcing her to stay at home and clean while they go out and have a good time. Alternatively, he may do it to teach her a finer lesson in humility.

If a dominant man truly controls his females and not the other way around, none of them, no matter what their seniority or their charms, will be able to direct the household organization, set their own status in his house, or determine whether certain girls are accepted into it or not. That’s a lot to not be in control of for the females concerned, but for a female who craves to serve and submit to a stronger will, that lack of control should greatly relieve her mind: it reassures her that his rule is real and strong. For someone who really needs to be directed by a man, being one of several, painful as it may initially seem, is a condition she can learn to adjust to. She must enter the situation, however, with as few expectations as possible. Being one of several does not necessarily mean she is going to have “sisters” or new best friends forever. It doesn’t mean she’ll have a loving replacement family or an opportunity to compete in a cutthroat fashion for “alpha” or “favorite” role. It is not a situation for her to use to play out acceptance or rejection dramas or air other old emotional baggage within. Instead, it is an opportunity to give up far more in her service to her beloved male than her monogamous counterparts ever face. It offers many wonderful opportunities for selflessness, for sacrifice, and for learning to love these things and the special satisfactions they bring.

A humbled female will likely learn in her experience of being one of several that:

1. Being alone and missing him deeply makes her, at the same time, very happy because she’s overjoyed that he’s having a good time with someone else. It’s interesting how a woman subservient to a man’s every whim can experience two very different feelings at the same time, but it is possible. Poets and mystics throughout the ages have described this experience:

Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require.
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your servant once adieu;
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought
Save, where you are how happy you make those.
So true a fool is love that in your will,
Though you do anything, he thinks no ill.

—Shakespeare, Sonnet 57

This classic and sometimes over-quoted sonnet contains a profound kernel of truth at its core: it is possible for a slave to be happy, overjoyed even, when thinking about her master’s pleasure and pursuits even if they seem to deprive or hurt her, even when she’s feeling lost, alone, longing, even jealous. Her master’s joy and contentment makes her suffering moot in comparison. She still feels the suffering, of course, but on the ladder of her mental and emotional priorities, it take a far lower rung than his own happiness.

2. Seeing someone else get all or most of the attention, sex, opportunities for service, or even beatings (whichever of these she values or desires) is bearable, even quite tolerable and that she can learn to overcome childish emotional responses of unfairness, insecurity, or jealousy over these things. She is with a strong man and secure in the knowledge that she, too, is valued for her unique contributions to his life and that he is not one of those weak-willed fellows pulled around through life by his member and thus likely to abandon her in order to chase a random lust. If she has chosen wisely, the man that the humbled female adores is made of much sterner stuff and she can relax and be deeply content with her own role and place in her Lord’s realm and not constantly covet others’ roles or the attention he gives to them.

3. She can, for the most part, control her female nature and refrain from creating drama even if she feels very bad. Of course, no female is perfect at this but some learn not only to restrain themselves from the worst of womanly behaviors but even to love being the object of apparent emotional cruelty or rejection for the same reason some others love physical cruelty: because it gives him intense pleasure to treat her that way and she loves to please him. Not all females are born for this sort of masochistic role, of course, but if a humbled female has this particular darkness in her, a strong male will likely see it and may draw it out and she will find secret joys in pleasing him in this fashion. She can feel content in her selflessness and the opportunities it provides her to grow and become a more flexible, loving, useful servant to the man she adores.

4. So many opportunities for personal growth and for becoming a better woman exist within a multi-female household, opportunities that a female will never encounter if she has her dominant male all to herself. This is a wonderful thing for those who value becoming less selfish and better able to serve and please their men. But there is one other aspect of being one of several that provides a personal benefit to the humbled female and is connected to self-interest, not selflessness. It is an observable fact that many dominant men, the men that are the most intense, strong, brilliant, charismatic, and attractive, have multiple girls. They have not committed themselves to a single female. If a submissive female wishes to belong to a truly extraordinary man or even to catch his eye, she must be willing to accept that she will not be the only female in his life.

But if she’s never been part of a harem and if she’s been raised to expect monogamy how does the humbled female get used to this new and possibly frightening situation? Each female approaches this problem in her own way and must find her own answers but to offer a bit of hope, there is a core truth that slowly emerges when a female is firmly devoted to serving a wonderful man. While such a woman must discover this truth inside herself and see her own evidence for it in her daily experiences, it doesn’t hurt to anticipate its arrival. Thinking upon this truth will help a woman in this situation in times that are difficult and stressful, such as when first coming into a household with one or more other women already in place serving the man that she also loves or when faced with his acquisition of a new girl. This core truth is that everything that comes from the dominant man that she loves, every experience she has under his rule, is a gift from him. It may hurt or it may not seem like a gift at the time, but a female should never doubt that it is a gift and that it is what she needs to help achieve her personal, cherished desire to grow into a better and more beloved servant of his: more loyal, more loving, more obedient, more competent in the areas he wishes competence from, more content with her lot in life, and more closely attuned to his desires with every passing day.

This inspiring idea may sound great, but is it really true? Is it actually something a humbled female experiences? To answer that question requires one to look closely at the way most people experience their lives. Encounters and experiences of all sorts mold and change the average person in almost random ways. Unlike the coherent, logical stories of growth we tell ourselves about our pasts, such as “I did X which caused Y to happen which in turn led me to anticipated meeting Z,” we are actually the products of far more random and accidental influences. We are flung in unexpected directions across the billiards table of life, never anticipating those twists, turns, and random accidents of fate that cause us to change course and experience profoundly different outcomes than what we had expected. It is only in retrospect, when the experiences are long past, that we take these unplanned-for events and weave them together into a coherent whole.

To put it another way, we’re not near the corner pocket of life because we managed to valiantly or cleverly roll there; we’re there because of the random movements of other pool balls that knocked us near that corner hole. For most people, their true story, if they could but admit it to themselves, might go something like this experience of a friend of mine:

I thought I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up but instead I majored in political science because I found a college professor my course schedule randomly assigned to me so inspiring. I applied to a lot of grad schools but never got accepted by my top three choices so I settled on the sixth one because it was pretty equal to all the remaining offers, would put me in a new part of the country I hadn’t seen before, and happened to be far away from my parents, an influence I was eager to escape. While getting my graduate degree I thought one night that I was working too hard and decided to go out. I went to a party thrown in a frat house and there I met my husband-to-be. He wasn’t my normal type but he charmed me that evening—perhaps because I was drunk—with a gesture and a clever joke, and that was that. Later, I told myself that I always would have picked him for a mate, as we are so very compatible, but is that really so? Would we have noticed each other that night—or any night—if we both hadn’t been a little drunk and thrown together by random accident?

Notice the pattern in the above? The pattern is that there is no pattern. There is no plan. Things just…happened. That is how most lives happen, if the people living them are but willing to admit it to themselves. Whether or not a humbled female perceives the randomness that is the actual life experience of almost everyone, once she meets and falls in love with or nonetheless comes under the control of a dominant male who decides to take her for his own, once she is knocked into the corner pocket of service to him, the billiards-like randomness of her experience is slowly eliminated through the deliberate and willful addition of new experiences that he determines she should have and the elimination of other experiences that he no longer wants her to have. In the hands of a competent and power-conscious male, her environment becomes much more controlled, much more predictable, much more attributable to a prime cause: his will. In what ways her life is controlled depends on what his plans are for her: how he has decided to use her service to him. She may or may not be told what these plans are. Fully knowing what lies ahead in every detail, however, is no longer important for her. What is essential is that she obey him, even if she feels blind or unsure. This is the path of happiness for somebody whose body, mind, and heart is owned by another. It is the path of the true servant.

The environment, the experiences, the sensory inputs, and the sources of mental stimulation for a service-oriented woman devotedly and obediently serving a strong male can be summed up in one ancient phrase: her daily bread. A dominant male provides his females with their daily bread, with those tasks, requirements, information, stimulation, and other features of experience he has decided are best for them and his projected use for them. At times, there may seem to be very little influence coming from him other than a handful of “house rules” and protocols. At other times, it may mean literal control of all of the female’s senses and experiences for extended periods of time. Even during the times and situations where she seems to have a lot of exposure to randomness or outside influences, times when she feels relatively free, a controlled humbled female can see from how those random influences now affect her that her experience is, to more or less of a degree, being filtered, modulated, and controlled by the male that she serves.

When a man controls a female’s experience to that degree, then everything, in truth, comes from him. The humbled female’s daily bread of experience is controlled and shaped by him, and, like actual bread, these experiences, with their consciously controlled additions and omissions, are nutritious gifts from him. They feed her experience and the attitudes he wishes her to bear in his service. Even the things she perceives as bad (being forced to eat a vegetable she despises, getting a severe belting for disobedience) are gifts, because they shape her body, her heart, and her mind in the ways—sometimes understood by her, sometimes not—that he wants for her.

Being one of several can be one of the most challenging experiences a woman faces due to her prior conditioning and expectations about traditional, monogamous relationships and what she feels entitled to in them.

They make her more pleasing to him. And the more pleasing she is to him, the more likely it is she will be permitted to continue to serve him and bask in his glorious company and iron-hard control. Every experience that the man she serves gives the humbled female is a gift, a most precious gift.

One such gift, obviously, is learning to accept and live with the fact that she is not the only female in his life. Once she really feels this idea in the marrow of her bones then everything becomes so much easier for a humbled female. Being one of several can be one of the most challenging experiences a woman faces due to her prior conditioning and expectations about traditional, monogamous relationships and what she feels entitled to in them. These are ideas that nearly all females absorb from their parents or others around them as they are growing up. It’s hard to counteract these old, poisonous, useless ideas, to not let them color her experiences and cast certain realities (like the fact that he has other girls) in a most negative light.

A good way for a submissive woman to counter all of that old mental and emotional chatter is with a very clear understanding of what she ultimately needs and an idea of what it is she must experience to get there. At core, she needs him, the man that she loves and wishes to obey, obviously. She needs him in her life. Well, right there, this helps put those other things in their proper perspective in relation to her highest aim. These other things, like the presence of other females, become far less important compared to her ultimate goal and some may even become useful tools that help her to become the good, loving, serving female she really wishes to be. A few strong, positive truths can help a loving woman keep on course, keep working toward realizing her true nature. When she is aware that everything that comes from the special man in her life is a gift, then she is utilizing a powerful insight, an insight that will help her to turn away from her own selfish desires and turn toward that amazing beacon of light and hope that is the male who owns her…and bask in his marvelous, masculine warmth.

Yes, being one of several can be hard, perhaps even for a woman like the first wife of the king who is used to the idea of being one of several. But even harder is living without him, no? So why not make the very best of the situation: use it, as you can use any difficult life experience: to learn, to grow, to become a more ideal servant to a very deserving man. Love may very well be “exquisite pain,” but despite that, isn’t the grandeur of this experience the very thing that makes a woman’s life worth living?


March 30, 2012

Doormat!

By Karen D. | Marc Esadrian

doormat-submissive women-slavesA common, if not often abused phrase in the circle of dominance-submission is the ever dreaded “doormat” word. Yup. You’ve heard it before. It’s often used as a personal swipe about the nature of a girl’s servile and self-deprecating character, an accusation that her level of selflessness has passed the threshold from healthy to pathologically pathetic, an incrimination often passing from the mouths (or keyboards) of those who somehow wear the term “slave” with perceived immunity.

There are numerous lifestyle articles in print and on-line warning us of the dangers inherent in being too submissive to our men. Heaven forbid, right? They launch into a laundry list of scary abuse-watch questions seemingly lifted from a local rape and abuse shelter’s outreach brochure or the modern-day Malleus Maleficarum for mental misfits, the undeniably unhelpful Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM). The questions also go on to serve a rhetorical purpose, of course: to convey to you, dear reader, that if you’re involved in relationships where any of the more extreme shades of domination can be found, you may very well be a doormat, too…and you should avoid that at all costs! All the while, how contrary to the spirit of consensual slavery these warnings are seldom ever seems to be considered by authors and self-made authorities hand waving against the ever dreaded bugaboo that is the lowly doormat. Naturally, this leaves us to ask what the difference between a doormat and a consensual slave really is. Is there any difference at all? Is there something about this phrase that stands wholly aside from the level of servitude and devotion required in slavery to another person in the first place? Let’s first examine the meaning of the word itself, first.

Doormat |ˈdôrˌmat|
Noun
One who submits meekly to domination or mistreatment by others.

In this simple if not sparse definition, we see the words submits, meekly, and domination. We know to submit means to yield to the will, power, or authority of something else. Meek is defined as patient, long-suffering, or submissive in disposition or nature. Domination, as it is used above, is the state of being so controlled. Thus far, nothing gleaned from the meaning of this word seems in contradiction to consensual slavery and the disposition required for it.

Where mistreatment is concerned, we can certainly say that’s all in the eyes of the beholder, and particularly where master-slave is concerned, it’s fair to say ordinary sentiment would label us M/s types as disciples of mistreatment, in the very least. We, being enthusiasts of serious submission, know better than that, however: what appears to be “mistreatment” is indeed mistreatment as ordinary society would define it, but for those who pursue this depth of servitude as a way of life, it’s fulfilling and right. It’s what we who desire such servitude want. Anyone who embraces the term “slave” with a straight face should know that quite well.

Sheer indiscrimination is another bastion of the naysayers against doormats in the D/s world. To them, all those who are highly malleable and submissive by nature in their personalities are deserving of a scarlet letter, for, as the conventional wisdom implies, all healthy consensual slaves have to be independent, self-respecting, ferocious tigresses in need of being overpowered by The One. The so-called One must see a woman for the powerful and headstrong siren she is, then genuflect up her temple of a hundred ivory steps to properly court her and, pardon me while I throw up in my mouth a little, “earn” her submission.

How many realize that serving a man this way—being a doormat to him or whomever he wishes—is synonymous with the realities of consensual slavery? It seems that those who draw such a bright contrast between the two are engaged in a bit of fashionable self-delusion, to say the least.

Only then is surrender of any form sanctioned in their eyes, apparently. Those females who roll over on their backs and expose their bellies too soon are spitefully considered “too easy” by the sisterhood (much like a sexually free woman is branded a slut in that “regular world”). These desperate bitches give up everything! They hardly resist! They submit to complete control by default! This may not be the way others feel comfortable giving of themselves, sure, but who are we to say less discrimination in the search for finding a master by applying abject submission more broadly is categorically wrong? Further, does it even matter what the moralistic logic is of what paths the individuals took to find each other, so long as there is a master and consensual slave in the end? Chiding someone over whether they are more or less discriminant with their submission during their search makes about as much sense as getting one’s knickers in a twist over coffee flavors or shades of pink. Surely, those strangely self-admiring women who claim to serve their men as slaves must concede to the fact they are in fact doormats to their masters too—and very willing ones at that. Granted, they may be doormats only for a particular person, yes, but doormats nonetheless. Um, right? For how can they possibly resolve the conflicting premise that serving someone as a slave is perfectly acceptable, but being a so-called “doormat” isn’t? Why make the distinction at all if you soberly embrace the reality of slavery?

But therein lies the rub in asserting there’s a fundamental difference. How many of those big-headed bleeding hearts identifying with the image of consensual slavery in their own lives truly embrace its absoluteness and all-encompassing logic? How many realize that serving a man this way—being a doormat to him or whomever he wishes—is synonymous with the realities of consensual slavery? It seems that those who draw such a bright contrast between the two are engaged in a bit of fashionable self-delusion, to say the least. Not convinced? Let’s look at the usual watch list items so often bandied about by the doormat detractors:

Does he tell you your opinions don’t matter?
Yes, we all know it can sometimes hurt when our masters remind us that our opinions may not matter on any given subject, but what’s the rational alternative in our chosen relationship paradigm? Demanding a culture where your regard is always carefully consulted? Where your opinion is always weighed fairly? Where you always have a say in things? If you demand such things, how do you resolve your need for his consideration to your longings for slavery, of all things? Is it possible you’re selling him and yourself short on your unwavering love and devotion in servitude?

Is he restricting your interaction with friends and family?
One could just as easily ask why can’t he? If you are indeed his slave to rule, to keep, and to command, shouldn’t he have that power by virtue of this fact? Certainly he should, and he would be wise to implement it, too. Restricting interaction with third parties is often smart and necessary when psychologically isolating girls for training. It’s really not anything too far-fetched on the roster of possible scenarios if you serve him with all your heart and soul and with all your love.

Are you allowed to leave?
Questions like these always seem strangely discordant, coming from a culture—supposedly—not estranged from the notion of consensual non-consent (a.k.a. consensual slavery). Do those who ask this question suddenly forget the depth of philosophy shared among those who live such deep personal subjugation?  Of course you’re not allowed to leave. You’re also not allowed to dress the way you want and style your hair the way you want, either. You’re not allowed to eat what you want and go where you want and buy what you want (covered next!) at any given time, too. That is, until you are released of your service to him or you invoke the only choice you have: to quit. Most women that deep into the process wouldn’t conceive of the notion of leaving in the first place, and we are apparently deranged enough to appreciate it when we aren’t allowed to just step out of and back into the relationship as if it were a bus.

Does he limit your access to work, money, or material resources?
At this extent, we’re beginning to sound a bit like a broken record on counterpoints, but the overall message bears repeating: consensual slavery and analogous states of servitude exist as all-encompassing forms of control and domination. Living this way is not a cute or unprincipled lifestyle mirage dismissed away by the woman whenever she feels the need step out of a simulation crafted solely, or mostly, with eros in mind; it is a reality with real implications stretching to all aspects of one’s personal life, including possessions, employment, and money, the holiest of proxies measuring freedom in larger society. It makes perfect sense that if a woman herself is so submissive as to be considered a possession, her right to own anything, even her own body, is logically overridden by her master. That doesn’t mean he lords that power over her head with daily, obnoxious, and dysfunctional glee, but it does mean both master and slave understand the logical extent of consensual slavery.

Does he frequently criticize you, humiliate you, or undermine your self-esteem?
It’s well known that in the BDSM realm, “humiliation” itself is considered a fetish, along with a host of other species of glitzy psychodrama. Within relationships where submission goes beyond skin deep, however, being truly criticized, humiliated, or and having your self-esteem “undermined” isn’t such an outlandish idea at all. We need to be very careful about the word “esteem,” however, for so often it’s confused with the sensitivities and corrupting forces of a female’s ego. A man who brings his girl down a peg (or several) may very well be helping her and if she herself is appreciative of the depths to which human ego can corrupt and distort the mind, she should appreciate being put in her place in a way that makes him happy. She welcomes being humbled and lowered. She embraces being crushed so that she may be re-made. The journey admittedly has its challenges and demons to face, for facing truths about ourselves and especially our shortcomings can be painful, but if we can accept the pain and move past the indignity of it, enlightenment of true humility awaits on the other side. Confidence in a slave’s worth rightly should come from the master himself, who she has chosen and stayed with because he is just, wise, and a good judge. In him her esteem is reborn and refashioned.

Have you ever felt obligated to have sex?
Yes, I have and do. Do I complain about it? Of course not! Why? Because doing what he told me was part of the deal when I entered slavery to my master. Having to have sex on demand, of all things, is the least of my worries, quite frankly. There are many far less interesting things (depending upon how you look at it) involved in my life. How about having to stay up until the kitchen floor is scrubbed perfectly clean or the inside oven is spic and span? How about having to do research for him on-line for several hours on end? Scrub out the shower? Become a makeshift footrest at the snap of a finger? Massage him? Shave him? Iron his dress shirts? Pick up his dry cleaning? Do his laundry? Bear his children—or get an abortion? All these things are boilerplate examples of what a woman is likely to encounter in her slavery to a man, and cumulatively, they make the obvious “obligation to have sex” look rather insignificant by comparison.

Are you afraid of him?
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” the Christian bible goes on to say, and it’s something I consider relevant,  being that Master is very much my God. A woman who fears her master takes her master seriously and respects his wishes. If she doesn’t fear him, she’ll find it easier to disobey him and subvert his authority.

Anyone with intimate knowledge of what makes a so-called doormat knows she’s highly motivated to please; she gets her greatest emotional highs from pleasing the man she serves and bases much of her self-worth on how useful she is to him.

Fearing her master doesn’t mean she can’t love him still. Do I fear my master? You bet I do! I also love him without end, in part because I fear him; he is a man I deeply admire and respect. He’s also a man who is no stranger to disciplining me mentally and physically when he feels I am in need of it. Is my fear a sign of trouble? Of course not. It’s all naturally part of what it means to serve a man as a slave.

Supplemental to the usual watch lists, common claims of the ever dreaded doormat range from assertions like, “they like feeling useless and devoid of emotion,” or “the men who like doormats just want an empty shell with no opinion.” Even if such things are solely desired, it still makes one wonder why there is a need to demonize people with these preferences. Just how much made of glass are our own houses when we practice to judge the ways others live or desire to?

Contrary to popular mythology, a doormat isn’t useless at all; she’s very useful in many ways, for she is easily controlled and obeys consistently. Isn’t that the purpose of a willing servant, anyway?  And who says doormats want to be “devoid of emotion?” Anyone with intimate knowledge of what makes a so-called doormat knows she’s highly motivated to please; she gets her greatest emotional highs from pleasing the man she serves and bases much of her self-worth on how useful she is to him. It is a lack of emotion that would make her psychologically dead and useless as a servant, for there wouldn’t be anything internally to motivate her and drive her toward being the best slave she can be. And what of the men? Do they want doormats because they want empty shells? No! They want slaves because slaves become extensions of their wills and it pleases men to see their women be filled with love for their teachings, their opinions, their discipline, their goals, and their dreams. So-called doormats become the perfect pool in which master may project his will, the perfect slave to strong male desire. What deeply submissive woman wouldn’t be proud of that? I certainly am. And that’s why I’m proud to call myself a doormat.

Not all women want to be or should be doormats, of course. The choice to be give a man everything that you are and devote everything you can be to him is a personal decision we all have to make. Do we want to be submissive housewives that generally submit to our husbands’ wishes or do we want to be outright slaves to men we’d call masters? Do we want to be something in between? There is an entire sliding scale of choice for us women who feel the desire to submit.  What we shouldn’t get in the habit of, however, is mocking or disparaging the deeper end of the scale merely because it conflicts with our preferences or abilities to give of ourselves. Doing so is intellectually rigid and unbecoming of women who refer to themselves as submissive, much less humble.


January 24, 2012

Discipline: The Greatest Gift

By Nina E.

I am what can best be described as a consensual slave. I wasn’t abducted, tricked, or brainwashed into it. I consented, once, to become someone’s slave, knowing full well what it would entail, as I was experienced and he took great pains to spell out the details, big and small. Since that moment my life, as I fully expected, has had nothing to do with consent. I am kept by a very strict but admirably fair Master whom I regard as a god. I consciously chose this life for myself because I have needed and craved it since my earliest memories. By “slave” I don’t mean to invoke the usual icons the mainstream and “alt” culture tends to forward when the word is used. My life as a slave is just that: the life of a slave. It is not easy. It is, in fact, replete with pain, struggle, and hard work and, I expect, will always be so. There is no saying “no” to him. There is no pleading to do something later, for whatever reason. When given a command I must drop everything to perform it. I am worked constantly and the products and benefits of my labor are never my own—they are all his. I must abide by a complex code of deeply respectful behavior designed to show my awareness of my status as his property as well as my appreciation and love for his presence in my life. If I slip up in any way, I am disciplined with both the belt and the more terrible lash of his tongue. I am new to being disciplined and I am imperfect in my servitude. When corrected, I often sob from remorse, fear, and pain, but nevertheless, I consider it to be the greatest gift my Master gives me.

Why would someone consciously choose to live in this way? The answer to such a question is complex; there really is no simple (or single) answer. Instead of covering all the possibilities, this writing approaches that question from just one angle: the need that some females have to transform themselves or their lives, to change into something more refined than what they started out as. Such a change, if you choose the life of a consensual slave and desire to become a better one, is greatly facilitated by discipline. Many people, including many who claim to be in such types of relationships, do not include discipline within their lives. Some feel it’s something appropriate only for immature children, not responsible adults. Others think the negativity of painful punishment outweighs any good it might bring about, but those who have studied the effects of discipline in-depth or experienced them first hand usually have a different tale to tell.

A simple analogy from Nature might help to illustrate the beneficial effects of discipline from a transformative point of view. Rocks in the natural world come in all sorts of shapes, colors, sizes, and materials: pumice, shale, sandstone, basalt, mica, and quartz are just a few of the many varieties. Only a few types of rocks have the potential to become polished, beautiful gems if the right treatments are applied. 

Human beings have something similar to a malleable stone inside them: the soul. Souls are far more delicate and complex than simple stone, but they, too, can be shaped, polished, faceted, and even placed in a setting that perfectly offsets their beauty—but, like stones, they will not really glow or shine unless they are of the right raw material.

For example, you can polish basalt all you wish, and it will still remain…a slightly shiny basalt which, while good enough for the bottom of an aquarium, has none of the luminous or translucent qualities we associate with gemstones. Sandstone, while it often has nice patterns that can be brought out by additional cutting and grinding, patterns ideal for flagstones or other building elements, will never glow with its own inner light. When you explore the class of rocks known as minerals, however, and, in particular, gemstones, you find that rocks which often don’t look like much in their raw state have the potential, through cutting, polishing, and correct placement, to become gorgeous works of art.

Human beings have something similar to a malleable stone inside them: the soul. Souls are far more delicate and complex than simple stone, but they, too, can be shaped, polished, faceted, and even placed in a setting that perfectly offsets their beauty—but, like stones, they will not really glow or shine unless they are of the right raw material. Most human souls with this potential are like common beach agates: randomly and haphazardly polished on the shores of life. The results are uneven and unpredictable, even hidden until placed into the right element. For agates, that element is water: they glow when wet and their semi-precious nature is revealed. Their nature becomes even clearer if these agates are then tumbled hard for many days in a lapidary.

To bring out a soul’s greatest beauty often requires far more than random blows from life that teach randomly and unevenly. For a soul fit to be a perfect servant, the finishing process requires two conscious wills: The first and strongest will is that of the “polisher” or Master. This person has a creative vision of what the end product will look like and the ability to recognize good raw material when he sees it. He also has a deep understanding of the processes that bring about the required transformation and an unwavering intention to follow these process through to the end, no matter how painful or difficult that might be. This determination, this steadfastness, is one of the rarest qualities to find in a would-be Master, for many self-proclaimed Masters who would polish the souls of their slaves are not up to the enormity of the task–particularly when things get difficult for the slaves.

The second conscious will is that belonging to the soul being polished. It must be the type of will that can patiently endure a long and painful process. The slave’s soul has to have a clear vision of the final result, believe it to be the highest ideal to strive for, and understand the connection between the pain of the process and the glowing end result. This, and her desire to please another, makes her receptive to being polished. She must be perceptive enough to recognize a skilled polisher when she sees one. She must not have the common flaws that cause people to quit a process halfway through or give up when things get a bit rough. Her devotion toward her polisher must be solid and steadfast as this will carry her through those times when even a strong intent and perseverance aren’t enough. The slave also has to understand that, unlike a gemstone, this process is never fully completed and that due to its malleability, her soul would degrade, turn dull, even sink below its original state if the polishing wasn’t kept up constantly. She must be willing to accept that pain on some level as her lot. A part of her, in fact, needs to crave the searing guidance.

In the context of a man refining his woman’s soul to his satisfaction, terms like polishing, faceting, and cutting all refer to discipline: physical and emotional pain that teaches her what she must do, how she must feel, and most important of all, who and what she really is.

For many years I participated in a lukewarm Master-slave relationship that was really a front for a romantic connection among equals. There is nothing wrong with this, but I longed for slavery. My Master at that time was in love with me and he was also philosophically disinclined to use corrective discipline. Like many others in such relationships, he didn’t believe it worked or that it was even necessary with me. He treated me with the utmost respect, we talked things out when I had difficulties, he let me clearly and freely express any emotion I felt toward himself and toward others.

As a result, I became a worse slave, not a better one. I was spoiled, indulged, coddled, and over-protected. I knew I could get my own way through manipulating him with my emotions. There were never any consequences for bad behavior. I ran wild on the Internet and was terribly disrespectful of others. I hid things from him and pretty much did whatever I felt like. I felt no obligation to be honest with him or to try harder to be a better servant, because I believed what he told me: that I was perfect for him just as I was. This coarsening of my personality would have continued until the day I died, had not my Master died first.

Losing him was the hardest thing I’d ever experienced. I realized many things during the loneliness and isolation of the ensuing years. Foremost among those realizations was that I still craved only to be a slave to a man I loved and worshiped.

I don’t feel resentment for any of the pain, no matter how harsh. His whip and belt hurt terribly, but I understand their necessity. Without his firm rule, I wouldn’t be able to change.

I also realized how very much I needed the strong guiding control of a Master that would not put up with my spoiled temper tantrums, my whining over how hard a command was, my attempts to wheedle out of my duties, or my inconsiderate and shrewish treatment of others. I finally realized that if I was going to succeed at improving myself in being a slave in more than name only, then the next time around I would need a special sort of man to shape me: the sort who wanted me to improve for him just as much as I wanted to and who knew how to bring about such improvement. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to find a person who could create such an environment of change around me.

And sure enough, under his discipline I feel myself changing: I feel the transforming processes upon my soul. I don’t feel resentment for any of the pain, no matter how harsh. His whip and belt hurt terribly, but I understand their necessity. Without his firm rule, I wouldn’t be able to change. I wouldn’t be able to become more loving, more subservient, more obedient to him with each passing day. But with his strong control and guiding discipline, I am becoming exactly what he wants me to become: a functional, useful female capable of sustaining the demands and rigors of total enslavement for a very long time and capable of loving her humble place at his feet.

The pain from discipline accomplishes a number of important goals. First, it improves memory. When a slave is forced to associate a bad behavior with a harsh slap or the strike of a whip, or is told to repeat out loud that she will not do such-and-such as each stroke is laid down, she tends to remember the next time that which she once found hard to focus upon. Secondly, pain reminds a slave, intimately and viscerally, of who and what she really is: his possession that can be used in whatever way he desires, no matter how she may feel about it. This realization, which many “slaves” who are treated more as “equals” likely never experience, makes her deeply grateful for her Master’s resolve and willingness to help her to improve. It also makes her thankful for the small mercies he bestows upon her during punishment. A slave’s soul is refined in this manner: she becomes more purely the property of her Master, she thinks more about his will and desires and less about her own, and she strives much harder to please him and not repeat past mistakes. She becomes beautiful in the eyes of those few who value selflessness above all else. Finally, the pain from discipline brings about a level of intimacy that is not achievable in any other way: it deepens the slave’s already profound dependency upon her Master and heightens her awareness of her humble role as his useful tool and plaything.