Greek Slave

Enslavement
Main site page

Essays
The largest section of the site

lili's writing
More essays and weblog posts

Glossary
Definitions and pointers to more information

IE FAQ
Answers to common questions & objections

Bookshop
Analytical approaches to D/s or Psychology

Links
Other TPE and IE resources

About
Aims and background

The O&P website and blog, forums, and wiki are where most of my new writing on M/s appears. The IE website will stay online indefinitely to host the IE Essays and lili's writings.

Finding Enslavement

In this essay I aim to deal with some of the issues involved in finding a dominant or submissive with which to build an Internal Enslavement (IE) relationship. Like the rest of the IE website, this essay is directed at male dominants and female submissives seeking a Master / slave relationship.

I will start by describing the landscape in which your search will have to take place, talk about some of the places in which you might look, and then suggest ways of managing consent in the early stages of the relationship.

The Dominance Economy

People who have participated in the mainstream BDSM Scene will have noticed that there are far more men than women, both in terms of highly visible and active participation in mailing lists and chatrooms, but also at real-life events like munches and club nights.

Indeed, an anonymous survey we conducted on the general UK BDSM website, Informed Consent, had 887 male respondents but only 384 females. These ratios are also comparable with the membership of the site and the numbers of male and female personal ads.

However, if we narrow our view and look only at respondents' interest in dominance and submission, we find a very different picture. When asked to rate their interest in dominance and submission separately on scales between 0 (no interest) and 5 (almost an obsession), the most frequent response from women was 0/5 interest in dominance and 5/5 interest in submission. 50 out of 384 women responded with this one combination, out of the 36 available. Broadening the scope to include women who responded 0/5 or 1/5 for dominance, and 4/5 or 5/5 for submission, includes 168 extremely submissive women in total - almost half of the total respondents concentrated in only one ninth of the total number of combinations available.

Turning to men, we find only 32 men with the complementary combination to the 50 women - ie men who expressed 5/5 interest in dominance and 0/5 interest in submission. Broadening to 4/5 and 5/5 interest in dominance and 0/5 and 1/5 interest in submission, includes 171 extremely dominant men, which is statistically equivalent to the 168 women with the complementary bias towards extreme submission.

Consequently, among those that would be seeking relationships between Masters and female slaves, the numbers should at best be roughly equal, and there may even be an excess of would-be female slaves among the more extreme individuals.

Furthermore, these figures reflect respondents' interest, and not their desirability as potential Masters or slaves, and asymmetries inherent in M/s increase the imbalance in the available numbers of the two groups.

Due to the Master's leading role in the relationship, his competence in managing his and his slave's life plays a central role in its success or failure. Attributes such as experience, responsibility, reliability and knowledge of techniques of Enslavement and aspects of BDSM are highly sought after by submissives looking for Masters.

However, although the corresponding traits are valuable (and indeed common) among female submissives, they are not essential to their desirability in the same way. In particular, whereas a totally inexperienced would-be Master would find it difficult to improvise the techniques necessary to establish an M/s relationship; the corresponding inexperienced female submissive can be led and moulded by a competent Master, with her lack of prior knowledge no impediment to learning.

(It must also be pointed out that a significant fraction of self-proclaimed male dominants are not seeking long term relationships, despite their claims to the contrary, and are merely manipulating submissives with false promises and fake self-descriptions.)

The combination of the underlying statistics of men and women's interest in extreme dominance and submission, and the effects which penalise inexperienced dominants but not inexperienced submissives, mean that, on average, there are more available female submissives than male dominants with whom a genuine M/s relationship could be started.

This observation leads to the concept of the Dominance Economy, in which real-life, competent dominance is a scarce resource, and this scarcity has negative consequences for both women and men.

For female submissives, this means extra effort must be made weeding out dominants who exaggerate or blatantly lie about their desirability in terms of experience, knowledge, responsibility and even social status and employment. It also means they may not be able to rely on conventional female social norms of "waiting to be asked", and may need to make the first contact with a desirable dominant - something which many female submissives find very hard to do directly, as part of their general reluctance to risk rejection by asking for things.

This imbalance can also lead submissives with a great need to be dominated into accepting short-term, unhealthy or even abusive D/s relationships, as will be discussed later.

For male dominants, the statistics of the Dominance Economy at first seem favourable. However, the practicalities mean they must make extra effort to differentiate themselves from the large number of less than honest or clueless competitors.

(And in general BDSM environments, female submissives can be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of responses to personal ads, many of which will be totally inappropriate - in their desperation, some male submissives even try bombarding female slaves with requests to be dominated.)

Places to seach

There are now many free BDSM websites carrying personal ads. Even for people seeking Internal Enslavement, these are worth advertising on, since in return for a few minutes composing a short ad, you may be able to reach thousands of readers over months or even years for no additional effort. However, the downside is that you may receive far more inappropriate than useful responses (especially if you are a woman) and you will need to weed these out without spending a lot of time on each one. Some ads sites are very poorly run and may even by packed out with fake ads. For this reason, you should not in general pay to use a personal ad site, since it is very difficult to judge the quality of the respondents you will get.

Mailing lists and discussion boards provide another and more subtle way to advertise your existence, and look for a suitable Master or slave. Most of these forums have explicit prohibitions on personal ads, although many permit you to place a short ad of 2 or 3 lines in the "signature" at the foot of your posts. Active participation in discussion forums can both increase your knowledge of this subject, build a reputation as a stable and interesting person, and subtly advertise to other readers that you exist and might be looking. You should, of course, read the guidelines before posting since you do not want to earn a reputation as a clueless or desperate individual who posts blatant ads wherever they go. Many forums also maintain archives of previous postings, going back years in some cases. This will allow you to evaluate someone's character over the long term - not just the image they like to project now they are looking again.

Chatrooms provide some of the same functionality as discussion boards, but operate in "real time" - that is, others connected to the same room see what you type immediately and can respond in seconds. Chatrooms tend to be much less serious and focused than discussion forums, and also more prone to frauds since they attract those hoping to talk the vulnerable into giving them instant gratification, via "cyber sex" chat and now webcams. Of the online environments, chatrooms are the hardest places to gauge character, and nothing there should be taken at face value. (As an example, in an M/s chatroom which only lasted a couple of months, one regular used to claim to have been using it for two years as part of his claims to be experienced as he approached female submissives. It goes without saying that online experience is largely irrelevant to achieving Internal Enslavement.)

Local BDSM groups now organise informal meetings called "munches" in many parts of the world, usually in a cafe, restaurant or bar. These can be good ways of meeting and talking to other BDSM people, especially if you have a shared interest in some mainstream BDSM activities like SM, Bondage or Roleplaying. However, they can be very anti-M/s in tone, and some local groups even explicitly exclude people who do not subscribe to mainstream BDSM dogma, such as the use of safewords. In my experience, munches have gone from being places just to talk to other BDSM people, to places where most of the participants are looking for a partner and even munches which have an atmosphere like a meat-market "singles bar". It is unlikely that you will find a suitable Master or slave at such an event, but it is not inconceivable, since most of the Masters and slaves I know personally had attended them at one time or another.

Fetish or SM clubs are also now relatively widespread, but unless you are looking for a Master or slave with a strong interest in SM or Bondage as well as M/s, usually provide a worse environment than munches, if anything, due to the limited opportunity to socialise in between playing on the equipment, dancing or talking over loud music.

Some BDSM guides suggest finding compatible non-BDSM partners, and then attempting to find some aspect of BDSM they can enjoy (enjoyment of light bondage is suprisingly common, for instance.) However, I believe that finding a suitable Master or slave this way would be very hit and miss.

Finally, it should also be bourne in mind when considering potential Masters or slaves that IE is necessarily built while living together, and this will involve the submissive joining the dominant's household at some point. It is considerably easier to evaluate genuine compatibility if dominant and submissive can spend time together regularly before moving - for instance, spending every weekend at one house or the other, or spending an extended period of "everyday" time together (eg a few weeks, and not just a holiday.) For this reason, there is often a risk associated with starting a long-distance relationship in the hope that it will lead to Enslavement, since you may not be able to fully evaluate whether you are compatible before it is time to live together if the relationship is to progress.

Myths used to deceive submissives

1. Online training is the most common distraction from a genuine search for M/s. For some of the reasons described above, a number of men with no intention of establishing Enslavement seek to attract women with a genuine need for an M/s relationship. One ploy is to offer some form of online training which is claimed to increase the submissive's attractiveness to potential Masters. This can be especially powerful due to the statistics of the Dominance Economy if the submissive has come to realise the difficulty of finding a suitable Master. Online training can lead to periods of short term dominance, which go some way to satisfying this need in some submissive women. However, because submissives always retain final control in online submission (by withdrawing if necessary) they are ultimately unsatisfying - in particular, Reactance cannot normally be overcome if submissives are expected to "dominate themselves" into obedience.

2. Formal Mentoring is often a more sophisticated variant of the Online Training ploy, and isn't limited to online environments. There have been respectable traditions of mentoring in some parts of BDSM's history (in particular, the Old Guard Leather subculture among gay men up to the mid 1970's) However, it is commonly used in online communities to enable dominants to obtain committed submission without taking any responsibility, and without making clear their motivation. In particular, Mentoring is frequently portrayed as some form of public service that the dominant does to "give back to the Lifestyle", and in which he will train the submissive in some way, encourage her to explore her Self and filter out unsuitable potential Masters for her.

Although I do agree that would-be slaves can learn some useful things in relationships of submission outside of Enslavement, I believe the true motivations of all involved should be made clear from the start. For dominants, this will normally include their desire to control, understand and be served by submissives, and such relationships may be better viewed as limited Service with opportunities to learn, rather than purely as Mentoring.

Nevertheless, in most cases, the best source of guidance for an inexperienced female submissive is usually a circle of other submissive friends with similar needs, rather than a dominant.

3. Secret Training Houses is one of the most suprising myths to persist online, and probably owes its origin to the mysterious slave-training chateau in the "Story of O". Typically, a dominant will claim to be part of a worldwide, underground network of training houses, decry the falling standards in BDSM today compared to the "Old School", "European" or "Formal" standards of his youth (he has been "in the Lifestyle" either exactly 20 or exactly 30 years) and then tell the enthralled submissive that he can tell even through her computer screen that she is good enough for him to introduce into his organisation...

Beginnings: Submission in Stages

A beginning is a very delicate time. None more so than the start of an M/s relationship, due to the need to resolve the apparent contradiction of consensual non-consent: how to change a submissive from a willing supplicant, seeking Enslavement into a slave held in her Master's possession.

Since we believe a relationship must start from consent, there is potentially a tension between the freedoms the submissive still has and the authority the Master needs to progressively acquire. In the worst case, progress can be halted and the Master's authority undermined by a reactive submissive selectively vetoing his decisions to prove to herself she is still free.

One model for dealing with this tranisition in the first few weeks or months is "Submission in Stages." In this approach, the dominant lays out stages of increasing authority transfer which the submissive consents to as her trust increases. For example, one stage might give the dominant authority to require domestic service, a respectful attitude and control over what the submissive wears, but exclude the right to demand sexual access, control over finances, choice of job, where she lives etc.

During the short relationship of voluntary submission prior to slavery, this approach means it is always clear how far the dominant's authority is guaranteed; the submissive retains reassuring control over aspects of her life which she still feels she cannot give up; progress is made at her pace; but the path is still defined by the dominant.

Submission in Stages can either be agreed verbally or by written agreements or even with formal contracts (although it should be pointed out that contracts about submission are only a means of clarification and offer no protection against an abusive dominant, or submissive.) Since these agreed stages of voluntary submission are best described as Service, such submissives may be described as "servants" and "in the service" of the dominant.

However, we should stress that the Internal Enslavement process will already have begun right from a supplicant's first meeting, by building trust and opening up the submissive's Self to the dominant. The "emotional" acceptance of the dominant's authority will usually be deeper than her "rational" acceptance during this phase - that is, there may be aspects of her life which she does not yet think she could lose control over; but if confronted by the dominant taking control of them, she discovers she can in fact accept it. Nevertheless, since this gradual process of "reeling in" a submissive towards slavery is unpredictable, especially when the dominant has not yet established a deep understanding of the submissive's mind, a techinique like Submission in Stages can yield more reliable and quicker results than a trial and error process of the dominant continually testing how far his authority extends, since the errors continually undermine trust and authority.

If these early stages prove successful, then the final stage is for the submissive to formally accept the dominant's authority over all aspects of her life, and to confirm her desire to become his slave. With this Consent to Enslavement in place, the work of building her emotional acceptance of her slavery can proceed, as described in the rest of the Internal Enslavement website.

Other sources of information

Ambrosio's BDSM Dating and Communication page provides useful advice, especially on safe meeting, and has links to more advice sites.

Of the BDSM personal ads sites, Alt.com is the largest and does allow you to search by region and M/s interest, but also one of the least reliable services. I would never recommend paying to upgrade to Silver or Gold membership due to their lack of technical competence.

Bondage.com provides both an IRC chatroom system and free personal ads, searchable by region and interest. This appears to be well run, and all the key features are free.

For people in the United Kingdom, Informed Consent's personals allow you to specify an interest in IE or TPE.

More focused is the TPEpersonals Y!Group which is specifically for people looking for Total Power Exchange relationships.

The late Tammad Rimilia's account of a public presentation by a "Secret Training House" is still online at his website.

"The Story of O" and more recently "The Marketplace" series are possible origins of the Secret Training House myth. One real-life attempt to create such a house is The Estate.

Last updated 4 June 2002.

 
 
© 1997-2012 House of Tanos