many terms used in the D/s and BDSM lifestyles, Respect is
one with many meanings and common misunderstanding. When using
the term Respect, it seems we often confuse Courtesy (treating
in a civil or gallant manner), acting Respectfully (by addressing
others in a manner that shows deference for a person's status,
position or the situation we encounter them) and giving Personal
Respect (holding the individual in high esteem for their achievements,
consistent behavior or personal character).
confusion over the meaning of Respect occurs in all settings,
it is most common in the virtual world, the chat rooms. And,
because of the importance of Respect to the lifestyle, most
pronounced in those orientated to D/s and BDSM.
and Respectful Behavior
do we hear "I give respect to everyone unless or until
they prove themselves unworthy."?
most often, we mean that we treat others with courtesy in
deference to the tenants of the lifestyle and customs of the
particular environment. Here, unless someone acts in a crude,
rude or other inappropriate manner, we are going beyond merely
being civil, to being genteel and/or even gallant! The history
of this can, I believe, be traced to the expected interactions
of people in medieval courts. Treating others respectfully
is one of the hallmarks of the D/s, BDSM community. It is
one of those things that differentiate our community from
many of the rowdier, free-for-all on-line communities. It
has more to do with the customs and protocols of expected
behavior than the actions of characteristics of any individual.
Respect, on the other hand, is given to and centers on the
individual. It is based actions, knowledge and consistent
behaviors of that individual. For the Dominant, gaining Personal
Respect (as opposed to self-respect) is highly correlated
to the sources of Personal Power.
often said, "Respect must be earned." Here we are
talking about Personal Respect. It can not be demanded; it
MUST be earned. Those who expect otherwise have little understanding
of what Personal Respect is, nor the tenants of the D/s community!
Often we see those who are generally unknown or who have "spotty"
track records demanding (Personal) Respect merely because
they present themselves as "Dominants". Occasionally,
they bluster, rant or engage in other self-demeaning ways
when they do not receive the "Respect" they feel
they are due merely by their presence. Quite often, these
expectations are placed on others, while these blustering
individuals themselves behave in a manner showing little understanding
of the D/s community and disrespecting those around them.
They fool only themselves.
misconception is that Dominants are due respect (actually
to be treated respectfully) by virtue of their station or
status as Dominants and submissives are not! When viewed in
a broad context, this makes no sense. Like most Dominants,
submissives are intelligent, capable and thinking individuals.
Submissives are quite capable of taking care of themselves,
and CHOOSE to submit to another to meet needs and desires
unrelated to what they are capable of doing for themselves.
Being submissive does not mean being "less than"
or of lower status than a Dominant. It does not mean being
dependent or incapable. Being submissive is not being a doormat.
Nor does presenting oneself as "Dominant" make someone
automatically all-powerful, capable or worthy of being granted
capable (and in my view, desirable) submissives don't submit
to the world, they choose to submit to an individual or to
particular individuals. Many of the customs of the D/s and
BDSM lifestyles on the part of submissives (the ever-present
serving of drinks, bowing or curtsies) are acts of courtesy
or respectful behavior, not acts of submission! Often we lose
sight of these differences. The act of "serving a beverage"
is taken as an open act of submission with the so-called "Dominant"
feeling he has been given the freedom to now use the submissive
however he chooses! This actually shows a very shallow understanding
of the act and wonderful value of submission.
Respect must be maintained
is also a misperception on the part of some that once earned
(given by others) Personal Respect becomes a given, lasting
in perpetuity. It is not. To retain Personal Respect, we all
must continue to those things that brought us respect to begin
with! If we don't, the respect will fade away. AND, if we
engage in inappropriate behaviors, we will outright forfeit
the respect of others and may easily reach the point where
we should not even expect to be treated respectfully (courteously).
we see someone loudly proclaiming "I am a Dominant, respect
in many regards, the virtual world is one where we can present
ourselves to be... anything! People can (and often do) claim
to have knowledge, experiences or characteristics they really
do not. Furthermore, the virtual world is full of predators
and wannabes. In my view, it is not only unrealistic, but
also naive to demand unquestioned acceptance, let alone Personal
Respect, merely by one's presence. Once again, these are things
that must be earned.
if you want Personal Respect...
must be earned...
Not even expected automatically...
you want my respect...
tell me you've done things,
Show me what you've done...
tell me you have "presence",
If you do, it will show...
tell me you have experience,
Tell me what's it's been...
ask for my respect,
If your actions merit, it will come....