Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Who's the Boss?

My name is 'stormy', and I was invited by Deity to share a few words while he and his girl enjoy their yuletide journey. Fear not: he'll be back soon!

There are plenty of sexual things that 'feel' right to me that others would find bizarre: being sexually subservient, emotionally dependent, mixing pain & pleasure, and more. But my kinks are my own, not something for everyone, and so I tend to keep my desires private but for a few close friends.

But even among friends, I've still found there are triggers that create a backlash. Like the language of sexuality.

The honorifics of D/s are something many people take very seriously. When you talk to your dominant, is he 'Daddy'? 'Master'? Or can he be just a guy named 'Jack'?

Are we driven to use the names we choose because we truly feel them, or because we think we're supposed to? I've often wondered what other submissives and dominants think of this whole issue.

I could be wrong, but when I read sex blogs, my overwhelming feeling is that most submissives address their dom as 'Master' because they think they 'should', because it makes them more genuine in some way. And by extension, it seems like many doms believe they're only properly respected if they're referred to as such.

And it's not that there's anything wrong with that but I often wonder if these people genuinely feel their role, or if they're simply following some script to legitimize themselves.

'Master' in particular is a term I have mixed feelings about. I've been in several serious D/s relationships, yet none of the men I ever formed a profound connection with ever demanded a constant form of address. It wasn't protocol they wanted, nor empty words to define what they were to me. They knew they were dominant; what they were more concerned with was ensuring I knew it, too. Right down to my bones.

I do value language a great deal, the subtleties of meaning and respect, but 'Master' often feels so forced and artificial, I've seldom felt the genuine desire to use it. In my limited experience, doms who expected it (especially early in a relationship) seldom deserved it, while those who did deserve it felt no need to demand the title.

I realize I'm generalizing here, but these are just my own impressions.

On the other hand, a form of respect I do enjoy without it being demanded of me, is 'Daddy.' Yet I've know many other submissives who have a serious aversion to the word.

Ironically, I'm not particularly interested in men who consider themselves "daddy doms" either, and I have no interest in age-play. But despite that, 'Daddy' is often the first word on my lips with the type of man I connect with. The title represents authority with compassion and total trust. He nurtures, disciplines and corrects, and I do what I'm told both because I want to please him, and because I fear him to some extent. He is both protector and tormentor.

But ultimately, do names like Master, or Daddy or whatever... do any of them really matter?

I'm always curious how dominants and other submissives feel about the issue. Why is it important - or not - that we use these chosen names for our dominant partners? What does it represent for you... is it part of some unseen script, or something you honestly feel inside you?


oatmeal girl said...

it's a good question and one i do think about. i usually address the man who owns and loves me as master, but generally with a little bit of irony behind it. that is, until the conversation switches from "how did your day go" to how naughty i've been or what he's planning on doing to me (it's a long-distance relationship). then something inside me changes, he hears it in my voice, if we were together he would see it on my face. i'm feeling very submissive and very small, and when i say "yes, sir" or "yes, master" it's because it feels fully right.

however, this form of address started rather in fun, as an erotic correspondence entered into for amusement became increasingly bdsm-flavored as we each gave in to what we called our dark desires. now we have a "real" relationship, and it takes structure from D/s, which is good for both of us, but often there is a teasing flavor to our interactions. the term "master" was definitely adopted way before you could say it was "earned".

he started calling me kitten pretty early on, but it came from a story i wrote him on the second day so arose rather naturally as opposed to being chosen as an appropriate name for a sub. he DOES use it as my name, and it feels a little weird - like a shock - when he uses my real name. he'll be here for 5 days over new year's, and we'll be spending time with a bunch of my friends, so i'm curious if either of us will slip.

thanks for bringing this up. i'm curious to see the other responses. i suspect we are a lot more playful about such stuff than are many other D/s couples. (i should also mention that i dispense with caps not out of any idea that it is appropriate for a sub, but because i'm a lousy typist and it helps to have one less thing to worry about. i really don't like sticking to convention, which is pretty funny for soemone who is so happy being submissive and following orders...)

The Masochistic Coquette said...

Ah... always a good topic!

Sadly for whomever I end up with, the first word I go to is "sweetie"--kind of amusing given that this most naturally goes to, "Please spank me harder, sweetie, I want some bruises." It stems more than anything from how affectionate I am, nothing to do with sex.

As far as kink goes, it's always been "Sir"--once I got used to it. I happened to play with doms who really preferred "Sir" in play in beginning my adventures, and now it's a bit ingrained. I don't mean the sort of dom who immediately expects to be addressed as "Sir" [that I bumped into a number of those put me off of honorifics for a time], but when one aims to please and something as easy as a name does so much... why not?

I did at one time have a Master [and my pet name was Storme, actually!]--and yes, at first I felt silly saying it. Because of the way this community/scene/assemblage of pervs is, "Master" has gone from sounding funny to becoming a little of a sacred word for me. I have slipped and called a play partner "Master" in the midst of a scene--it was, for me, awkward on par with saying "I love you". [He was flattered, though, so it worked out.]

So, I do think these common protocols do shape our habits--still, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. I don't mind having the habit of, when playing, adding "Sir" to every sentence. It's a sort of signal that everything's going nicely [and when "Master" pops out, superbly]. I don't really approve of people needing to legitimize their sex lives with terms--but the words are triggers that bring on sometimes very enjoyable responses, because of how hallowed they've become in the kink-speak. Why not make use of such easy tools? I also think that in time in any healthy relationship, the participants' natural urges will come out anyhow [hence sentences like "Fuck me harder, sweetie!"].

jayne said...

I could never use daddy, my relationship with my own father is far too difficult for me to find it a word that conjours up trust or respect. I enjoy using Master and feel very comfortable with it, it mirrors Mistress and is simply a term of respect. Sir i would reserve for another dominant in a multiple play situation, it is not so possessive as Master and fits all males.

Now Sweetie sounds as though it is coming from a dominant female, although i do use it in my normal speech i don't think it would fit with Master! Likewise Honey and poppet which i save for special people, usually female.

stormy said...

oatmeal girl:
I think all relationships, especially D/s, do well to keep playfulness in the equation. Sometimes seriousness is needed (and part of the sexual charge, for me) but lightness is good, too. I'm glad to know you also appreciate the playful side.

I thank you very much for the thoughtful comment.

masochistic coquette:
I also have a tendency to say "sweetie" but I don't think I could ever imagine using it in a SM scene of any kind. But I still love your phrase "Please spank me harder, sweetie, I want some bruises." That made me laugh out loud. :-)

And I agree - words are easy triggers for a state of mind, our own and our partners'. But I struggle with the idea of using honorifics that don't feel right inside me, and I wonder if others also have that same problem sometimes.

I think I'd pay good money to see the look on a dom's face - any dom - when his girl starts calling him "poppet"!

I understand your aversion to the name 'Daddy'. I've certainly heard it from many others, and I used to feel the same way myself before the first time I used it... but it just came out of my mouth without even thinking. It just felt right with that man.

The only thing I can say is that there is zero mental connection to my father when saying 'daddy' in this way. If there was, it would keep me awake at nights, believe me. :-)

Kitten said...

stormy - what a great discussion topic!

I have never used the name "Master" or "Sir" and don't think I could with a straight face. Both names imply a sort of formality that I don't have with my partner. We're not big on protocol or anything that doesn't just flow out of our interactions, but I understand and respect others who use either name.

Now "Daddy"...well, I'm a fan of that name for him. Like you, I think it emphasizes his dual role as dominant authority figure and protective loving figure in my life. There is also a element of taboo to the name that gives it an extra erotic charge for me.

But yes, the word "Daddy" is in no way associated with my actual father. I used to worry about it and it took me a looong time to come to terms with the implications of that name, but I can now say that with confidence :-)

stormy said...

Hi there, Kitten.

You obviously have the same response and reaction to using the name 'Daddy' that I do. (I'm glad I'm not alone!) But whenever someone doesn't understand, I encourage them to consider Marilyn Monroe and how she said it... very sensual and non-parental. :-)

I looked at your blog, and I liked this post very much, as you describe how his name for you affects your own submissive state.

I can definitely relate.

Kitten said...

Thanks stormy! So nice to find a kindred spirit, especially since I've only been blogging about my experiences for a short time.

I look forward to reading your posts while Deity is away!

sub lyn said...

i very rarely call my Master that to his person. i address Him as Sir, and that just feels natural and comfortable and automatic to me. i use Master online because it's an easily understandable explanation of our relative positions. But it's not really his title in my mind.

We had a lot of explicit conversation in the beginning about what i should call Him, and evolved into different things as they felt right. It worked the other way too - when we began our D/s was more exclusively sexual in nature, and i was His slut. As my submission became more general, he began referring to me as His sub or submissive. And as He expected greater and greater obedience and subservience from me, slavegirl entered the mix. Now they all get used at different times and different ways, depending on the moment.

Interesting question - thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am the HOH in our marriage. Being HOH does not make me superior to my Wife it is simply that I have taken on the responsibility for her wellbeing. She needs a figure in her life that loves her with a higher intensity than a vanilla husband.

My Wife is openly submissive and obedient and she has given me her life to do with what I please. I take my responsibility very seriously and she knows that she is adored for the gift of her submission. I am taking her on a journey.


All Knowing Man

stormy said...

sub lyn:
You bring up a good point that hadn't occurred to me before - the fact that you use the term 'Master' on your blog is sometimes just an easy reference point for your relative roles. Perhaps others do the same thing, even while not always being so formal in their actual relationships.

And as you say, these things evolve and change over the course of a relationship, and depending on the moment.

all knowing man:
Thank you for your comment - it sounds like your relationship works very well for you both. And I agree with you that a relative power difference between partners - and the names we choose to feel that power exchange - does not bless one as 'superior' to the other.

An important distinction to make, actually. One that I think a lot of people have difficulty getting their heads around.

Séverine said...

Great question! I too find that the words "Master," or even "sir," for that matter, feel somewhat contrived to me, or artificial, if you well - more a convention of a genre rather than a genuine address. For that reason, I never bring myself to use the word "master" or "sir" or anything like that. It just feels uncomfortable to me, and I almost want to spit if I end up using it (or if it's asked of me in the scene) - so strongly I feel about it.

Deity said...

i've never referred to my play partners as subs or slaves. i frequently use the term 'girl', and that just comes out of me.

i know i have NEVER wanted to be called Master, unless it was followed by my first name and was spoken by a wrinkly englishman in a coat with tails holding my morning coffee. "Sir' i've accepted, but only when it's naturally offered.

i've typically taken the tone that she uses to respond to me as an indicator of where her mind and body occupy. i think we use these terms to impose a hierarchy in these exchanges, and another way i accomplish this is making her say words in reference to her that make her squeamish or humiliate her.

I'd really like to thank you for tending my site while i was away. i love the dialogue you created with even just this post, and am quite happy that you offered your viewpoint. i know it's one i've pleasured to analyze and explore, and i think you do the readers a great favor by offering it to them.

stormy said...

Thank you very much for your thoughts... and I have a similar reaction. But I suppose it comes down to our own personal experiences - for you, I, and others, it is unpalatable, but as we all should bear in mind, everything is an individual experience.

I've always appreciated how you view these things, as you know. We're very similar in some ways, certainly.

Thank you so much for inviting me to share on your site. Your readers are quite lovely and I've enjoyed myself thoroughly.