Submissive vs Slave

This is something which i struggled with for a long time – my understanding of the differences between subs and slaves, and which category i personally belong to. Of course it doesn’t help that virtually every BDSM site or blog you look at has a different interpretation of the two terms, and there doesn’t seem to be any common agreement on what those labels mean. So this post is just my own understanding of those terms, and the differences between the two.

Let’s start with the main areas of contention in discussing the differences between a sub and a slave. There seems to be one group of people who see submission as something of a ‘sliding scale’, a continuum with ‘slaves’ on one end and ‘bottoms’ on the other (i’ll come to the issue of what a ‘bottom’ is in a moment). So according to this view a slave is a type of sub but not all subs are slaves, and the further you move along the scale the more intense or deep or pervading the degree of submission becomes. Then there’s another group who adopt what i call the ‘apples and oranges’ school of thought, which sees subs and slaves as completely different types of people, who just happen to both fall within the BDSM category. According to this view a slave is not a sub because they have different needs, motivations and mindsets. Personally, i agree more with the ‘sliding scale’ idea, because i think it is possible for a sub to develop into a slave, and i see a slave’s needs and mindset as being similar to, although admittedly more complex and involved and with added extras to, that of a sub. i’m not saying that all subs have the capability or the desire to become a slave, because many do not, but i certainly think it is possible for that type of progress and evolution to occur within the right relationship (i happen to think it occured for me). To me, subs and slaves act in similar ways and perform similar roles, except that slaves do this to a wider and deeper degree by making it their whole way of life. However, that’s not to imply that a slave is better than or more advanced than a sub, but rather that a slave is a submissive who has taken her submission to its extreme. Confusing huh? Oh, and to add to the mix, i feel that a ‘bottom’ is someone who has some submissive qualities or elements, but only in sexual situations and not at any other time.

Many people take a somewhat narrow, stereotypical, extreme view on ‘slavehood’ and state that in order to be a slave one must live with their Master 24/7, not have a job, be available to Him at all times, have all their property, possessions and money taken away and controlled by Him, depend on their Master for all basic needs including food, water, shelter, toileting requirements etc, have no rights at all, not even to a name or freedom to move around or speak, be “loaned” out, given away or sold as the Master deems fit, and so on and so on. But to me that’s like saying that to be a dog an animal must chase cats, bark at bicycles and enjoy fetching sticks…. otherwise it’s not a real dog. i see ‘slave’ as something a person naturally is not a set of criteria describing how they must live and be treated, or what they can and cannot do. This is where i encountered my biggest hurdles in understanding my own identity or label or category. This lead to a long period of confusion and panic and denial, until eventually i accepted that i am a slave, but for completely different reasons to those just listed. i realised something important about ‘slavehood’, something fundamental and radical, something which i hadn’t seen much discussed in all the arguments about ‘real-life’ and ’24/7′ and ‘no rights’ and all of that……… ‘slave’ defines me because of what i am, not what i do, it is based on mental, personality aspects and therefore it doesn’t matter whether a person lives with their Master or not, whether they speak in third person or not, whether they kneel naked by the side of the bed every night or not, whether they shave their pussy or not, they can still be a slave. Novel, huh?

So, here’s my own personal list of what elements need to be present in order for someone to have the identity or label or whatever-you-want-to-call-it of ‘slave’:

‘slave’ is something that they are, it is a part of them, part of their personality or make-up, rather than being something that they do or a role they assume or put on.

they have given, or are willing to give, someone control over all aspects of their life, not just specified areas, and they willingly submit to that person’s decisions.

the notion of being a slave is present at all times, whether they are in the presence of their Master or not; always in the back of their head is the knowledge of who and what they are, and their actions and decisions are carried out as if He was there guiding them.

they act as a slave at all times, including in public (although it is more subtle then), when they are relaxing or sleeping or watching TV or walking in the woods or chatting or eating or shopping – all the time, not just on Saturday afternoons, or 2 evenings a week or whatever.

their ‘slaveness’ seems natural and right, they don’t have to make a conscious effort to be a slave, it’s what they automatically are when with the right person (although that’s not to deny that they make an effort to be the best slave that they can be).

although they may have some limits in specific activities, they are willing for these to be pushed and expanded, and they work hard to narrow down and eliminate some of these limits (some of these may be limits for their Master too).

they put their Master’s needs first before their own, their main goal is to please Him and make Him happy and comfortable and well-cared for and satisfied and provided for; they are always looking for ways to be of better service to Him.

they view their submission as something they have chosen to give to their Master once only, it then becomes something which belongs to Him; they no longer decide whether to submit to Him or not for each activity, the decision they made encompasses everything they do from then on.

they see themself as belonging to their Master, as His property, to train and instruct and guide and mold as He sees fit, they are His – body, mind, soul, heart, time, actions, everything.

they feel that being a slave is something they were born to do, something that they must do in order to feel happy and fulfilled as a person; their life would be lacking something important without the opportunity to serve someone; they are driven to be a slave by a deep-seated, overwhelming need from inside themselves.

But of course, that list is only my opinion and you may well disagree with it! Feel free to – the only thing that matters to me is that i now accept that i am a slave, and i’m proud to be one; it’s what i was born to be. There will be people out there who will not see me as a slave, because their understanding of what a slave is differs from mine, but to me, i am a slave and my view, at this time, is the only one i need be concerned about.

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