I wrote to a slave yesterday and as is my way, I asked if I needed to obtain permission from her Master to speak with her, or if she did. She replied: “Sir – to talk … requires only respect on my part.” I have strong convictions about the subject, so let’s talk about that tonight… even though there is a storm brewing that I want to dig into. I want to collect more information about the recent decision in the US that we have no constitution right to engage in consensual BDSM sex, before commenting. So on to the topic of respect.
I like to imagine that if royalty, say a Queen, were speaking with a dirty, half clothed, person with low intelligence and poor hygiene, she would be gracious and respectful. Not because they are on equal stations – they are not. Not because the person deserved respect, the Queen could hardly know this. The Queen would should show respect because this is what civilized people do. Showing respect is not a measure of the person it is shown to, it is a measure of yourself, of the culture and refinement that YOU possess.
I have often heard of Dominants demanding respect from slaves after identifying themselves as a Dominant. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t have a problem with a slave demanding respect either. We all walk in as equals. To place ourselves above or below another is something we consent to. But respect has nothing to do with power or consent.
I need to go back to the Dominants who make demands. If a Dominant demands submission, or trust, or recognition of authority, that is an entirely different matter. I think sometimes people say: This person demanded that I respect them, when what they meant was, this person demanded that I recognize their title and authority. Those are two entirely different matters. If you have read or heard me much, you can anticipate the quote that is coming next:
The only titles of value are those acquired thru recognition by others. One claims that title by exercising that recognition, not asserting it. ~Xtac Quote
I do not believe in asserting that you are a Master. If you own property, you are THEIR Master. If people choose to call you a Master, then you have achieved a new level of respect. Which means that there is respect that we give because of who we are, and respect we give because someone has demonstrated to us their worthiness to be respected. It think the distinction is important. When we respect another, it is good to consciously consider which one we are giving.
There was a person who came into the local community some time ago, and though they were new, they declared themselves to be a Master in the dungeon I frequented at the time. There was a stairwell, not far from the play space, and asked him aside for a private conversation. I explained what I thought… direct as always..
I suggested that perhaps later might be a better time to project himself as a Master. But this person was insistent that they were worthy, and would prove themselves.
The person of whom I speak, ran afoul of the local community later, not for the Master thing but consent violation charges. This kind of thing tends to pull a community apart. I relate this because I believe that to be worthy of a title like Master, you must also have a certain degree of humility, a willingness to earn recognition. I will always assert this concept.
Respect should be something we give, until it is lost. But we can also have new found respect, a deeper and more genuine respect that is earned. Don’t say respect, when you mean authority, it confuses things. Authority is consented to. Anyone attempting to assert authority based on their perceived title should lose your respect.
Honesty is the building blocks of a BDSM relation. Since it is what people do that reveals their honesty, it takes time to build trust. Trust is earned through the demonstration of honesty. These are the basic values we should understand and apply. On a side note, because I know these things, it is why I promote the concept of three collars, and a collaring ceremony. This process allows time for trust to be built, and stages at which a person can choose to move to a deeper commitment, or back out.
Respect is not always desirable. For a person who seeks humiliation and objectification, respect would be poisonous. For such a person, once you learn of their need and have acquired consent, you would want to drop any hint of respect.
What role does respect play in BDSM? Since respect given is a reflection of the grace, culture, and sophistication of the person who gives it, I would say that when you observe it in a prospective partner, mentor, or friend, it is a good sign. A sign that says, investigate this person more thoroughly.