We often speak of the components necessary for a successful
BDSM relationship. We discuss discipline, safewords, contracts,
experience and protocols, etc. These and numerous other elements
make up our lifestyle and the relationships in which we engage.
The formula seems to be different for everyone even if the ingredients
are the same.
Yet we seldom discuss
the more basic elements of relationships and how they might
be applied or disregarded in our lifestyle. We don't discuss
companionship, humor, mutual interests or compassion as they
might be insinuated in WIIWD.
For the purposes
of this article, consideration will be defined as thoughtfulness
of others. This may also be taken as solicitude toward the well-being
or comfort of another. Also for the purposes of this article,
bottoms, submissives, masochists, slaves and any other word
you may have for that element of the lifestyle will be grouped
under "slaves". Their opposite number will be grouped
under "Dominants". This saves me a lot of time, makes
the article shorter and does not stick me with the job of finding
the genderless BDSM pronoun.
necessary to maintain a lifestyle relationship? In a single
word: No. A slave has no need to be considerate of their dominant;
the only actual need is for them to be *obedient* to their dominant.
As long as a slave honors the terms and agreements of their
relationship, consideration does not need to enter the picture.
As most dominants
will tell you, they do not have any obligation towards consideration
either. A dominant's obligations are to the safety and health
of their slave; and to also honor the terms and agreements of
their relationship. No more, no less. Consideration does not
need to have importance in this arrangement.
So when does consideration
enter into the lifestyle relationship? It is when shared affection
also enters into the relationship. Consideration is a symptom
of caring for another. Without caring, whether that caring is
for a friend, lover or even one's fellow human, consideration
is almost impossible. When caring enters the relationship, the
comfort, happiness and well-being of another becomes a much
stronger force. Consideration becomes an emotional desire. We
can see this in slaves that go beyond the basics of obedience
and take the time to learn the likes, dislikes and preferences
of their dominant. The obedient slave has dinner on the table
at the required time. The considerate slave prepared it to the
very best of their ability and might have made their dominant's
favorite dessert to top it off.
Most of us know a
few considerate slaves. In our culture, consideration is almost
a requirement in a slave. Very few dominants desire their slave
to *only* be obedient. They desire a slave who truly wishes
to please them. However, what about the considerate dominant?
Emotion and caring are supposed to be a two-way street, right?
I don't know what
the rationales behind it are, but many dominants treat even
the lightest forms of consideration as if it were a crime and
they need to come up with an alibi for it. I have heard such
remarks as: " I have ordered my slave to bed for the day.
She is sick and....eeerr...uuuhhh....slaves don't serve well
when they're sick and I dislike my property not being at peek
performance." I have to admit that I have been guilty of
similar remarks. I have been know to say things such as: "Drive
carefully. I do not want my property to be damaged." as
if it would be some sort of strike against myself and the entire
dominant community to admit I care for and worry about my slave.
It has only been
recently that I have come to question such an attitude. It is
not that I believe that such an attitude has no place in a lifestyle
relationship; only that such an attitude is a hindrance in a
lifestyle relationship in which shared affection is, at least,
one of the primary considerations. We, as a community, like
to pride ourselves on our honesty and sense of responsibility
in our relationships, yet we will adamantly refuse to admit
that that our consideration of our partner(s) wants, desires
and comforts stems from our care and affection for them rather
than our responsibility to them.
Where is our grand
sense of honesty when it comes to things like this? We have
even been known to say such remarks as the previous to ourselves
to preserve the integrity of our attitudes. Again, I am not
saying there is not a place for such attitudes. I have been
involved in relationships that were based *only* on the lifestyle
dynamics without mutual affection. In these relationships, such
an attitude was honest.
I tend to prefer
those types, probably due to my own selfish desire not to be
emotionally vulnerable. However, when the relationship moves
beyond lifestyle dynamics to include shared affection, one needs
to learn how to adjust one's attitudes to the change. While
lifestyle dynamics involve honoring one's obligations, mutual
affection involves thoughtfulness and consideration on how your
actions (or lack of them) are going to make your partner *feel*.
This is when honesty and attitude can become sticky points,
at least for me.
The very thought
that, through some action or inaction of mine, my slave would
feel emotionally hurt, or worse, in doubt of my feelings for
him, turns my stomach into knots. I am just as attached to my
slave as I am to my master, although I am much more capable
of showing my feelings and being considerate towards my master
than I am to my slave. Slaves seems to have the upper hand when
it comes to showing consideration within a shared affection
lifestyle relationship. While a slave will actively seek out
many ways in which to show thoughtfulness towards their dominants,
dominants don't seem to have the same diligence. How many dominants
can name their slave's favorite color, flower, food or even
what they like on a cheeseburger? How many dominants can tell
when their slave is cold, hot, uncomfortable, stressed, worried
or unhappy *outside* of a scene? How many dominants would know
what to do if they *could* tell?
Which brings the
interesting question: Does a slave have the *right* to consideration
from their dominant? I would imagine that if a dominant desires
historical slavery and that, as property and nothing more, then
the slave would not have the right to consideration... or anything
else for that matter.
However, I also imagine
that if the dominant shares affection with their slave, and
desires to continue to share affection, that it will be very
difficult for the slave to do so without also sharing mutual
Perhaps these will
be points to ponder on your slave's next birthday. What did
they do for you on your birthday?