Saturday, December 10, 2011

Internal Enslavement part 5 - "Submission in stages"

This is the fifth essay of my series about "Internal Enslavement". This time I picked the subject "Submission in stages" and will focus on the development of a submissive that engages in an M/s relationship to reflect on various possibilities to strengthen the intimate bond between Dominant and submissive. What facilitates and what threatens enslavement in D/s context?
Most of what i am going to present here was inspired by the website that provides many interesting essays, a huge part of them was written by the RL Master Tanos who runs a poly D/s household in the UK.

0. Introduction

The concept of "Internal Enslavement" deals with the question if a radical consensual slavery is possible in an M/s context that is based on the pillars of safety, sanity, consensual and mutual trust, respect and commitment, in the physical, emotional and mental area of relationship. According to Tanos the answer is yes. Radical consensual slavery is possible (-> TPE = Total Power Exchange). It is a goal you can work towards to step by step, and you can make more and more achievements towards this goal. Tanos also believes that there are certain techniques derived from psychological knowledge that help with the "examination of a female slave's thoughts, emotions and past experiences to establish and maintain a solid and inescapable state of ownership". When the authors of the IE website speak of a "natural slave" they mean someone who is a slave by nature ... someone who has an innate or inborn character trait which predisposes them to slavery in some way. This means that while some people are predisposed to feeling comfortable under conditions of consentual slavery in D/s context, others are not. So not every submissive is going to feel comfortable and "at home" in a Master-slave-relationship.

1. Conditions that allow the growth of an M/s bond up to the enslavement of the submissive

I guess we all are aware that no intimate relationship of a Dominant and a submissive can successfully work longterm without the pillars safety sanity and consentuality (--> "informed consent"). The conditions for an intimate relationship involving the D/s dynamic pretty much seem to be the same as for any kind of intimate relationship, of the BDSM kind or not.

The solid ground is "matching characters/compatibility", mutual attraction, mutual respect, honesty, openness, a tight bond of trust, mutual commitment and the will of the partners involved to actively work on the success of the relationship which also includes will and ability to self reflect and to communicate.

So, when we have the solid ground and these nice pillars, what will prevent the solid material
from crumbling when time is taking effect after the first bliss of a new D/s relationship?

If you hung on the lips of some grand self-proclaimed Masters and Mistresses, You might think it is rules that rule. Have a good rule set and all will go smoothly and longterm. Nice ideologies. Let's look at the reality of being humans. I say ... the most important thing that will prevent a D/s relationship from crumbling to pieces after the first bliss is over, is ENJOYMENT. In this a D/s relationship is not really different from any kind of intimate relationship, right? Just the areas and methods of finding enjoyment might be different.

* Enjoyment of the other person and how he/she is.
* Enjoyment of oneself in the relationship ... enjoyment of Your role as submissive or Dominant or switch ... enjoyment of how one can be due to the fact of being together with the Dominant or submissive partner.
*Enjoyment of the mental and emotional aspects of D/s and their effect on one's own and the other's mind and heart.
*Enjoyment of having control or enjoyment of giving control away. Enjoyment of experiencing the partner in control-loss or in control.
* Enjoyment of the physical aspects of a D/s relationship, for example SM practise (if involved).

Finally, it should also be bourne in mind when considering potential Masters or slaves that Internal Enslavement is necessarily built while living together, and this will involve the submissive joining the dominant's household at some point.

Tanos writes: "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.

In this context I would now like to mention some unplesant things that occur in too many long distance relationships that came into existence by online contact.

2. Unhealthy conditions - example: Myths used to deceive submissives
(source of info:

a) Online training

Online training is the most common distraction from a genuine search for M/s. A number of men with no intention and/or no talent 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. 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.

b) Formal Mentoring

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.

Tanos clearly states on
"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." (cited from

I would like to underline "DESIRE TO CONTROL".
If a self-proclaimed Master has no deep desire, even need, to control, then an M/s relationship cannot work longterm. And with desire and need there come up the question for TALENT.
Is the "Master" willing and able to invest the great efforts it takes to take control?
Le's look at the sub: Des he/she have the need to be in control? Ad is he/she able to truly cope with control loss and enjoying it? It comes down to the question if the sub is what Tanos calls "a natural slave" that has another way to experience and deal with reactance than other people have. evertheless, 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. .

c) Secret Training Houses

Let''s see what Tanos wrote about them:
"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... " (cited from

As these examples may illustrate, it is not at all easy to find a good, well-,matching Dominant or submissive partner that is actually worth investing Yourself into a committed relationship with him/her. But I don't want to cling to the negatives here. Let's see how submission may develop if a sub actually went into good Dominant hands and conditions are set for establishing a well-working longterm D/s relationship up to the bond of M/s, with the submissive being enslaved property of his/her Master/Mistress.

3. Submission in Stages

The initial phase of starting and building on an M/s relationship is a most delicate time: The sub and the Dom might already have a well working D/s bond, but for a Master-slave relationship more is needed. Of course, we hear the question ring on the mind if this all isn't an ideal, a fantasy, also by presenting it as something "different" that requires "more" than the "usual". Something that requires a "diploma", one could think. But in fact it is nothing but about nature. No forcing it makes sense, things should just happen as they naturally fit with people.

There is the apparent contradiction of consensual non-consent: The submissive needs to change from a willing supplicant, seeking eslavement, into a slave held in her Master's possession. One of the pillars of a D/s relationship, as we know, is consent. This implies that a submissive usually has freedoms that have been negotiated. A submissive can say no and leave a D/s relationship, for example. A submissive can always safe-word.

Now, when a submissive becomes a Master's possession as His/Her enslaved property, there potentially is a tension between the freedoms the submissive still has and the authority the Master needs to progressively acquire. uthority that is also grounded in a Master's/Mistresse's need for control. control He/She will take from the slave and simply use as He/She pleases, let's hope responsibly. An authority of the Master/Mistress that induces the sub seeking enslavement to "consent to nonconsent", so to speak. A power that lets the sub turn over his/her powers and control to the Master/Mistress completely, becoming His/Her property that is being cared for and that is being decided on.
Now, what is so diffcult about it? 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. Which is in fact the reason why "Total Power Exchange" seems to remain a matter of fantasy and ideals, not appearing apt to withstand the reality of relationships. And it is a
very natural thing, nothing to be criticized or despised as trait of the "less developed form" of submission. In fact, such inner rebellion against a Dom's command could be rooted in the antropological need for freedom and as such is not to be judged negatively. It is about being human.

Reactance, the emotional reaction towards restriction of freedom, helps us reflect when we are in unsafe situations and thank God this natural mechanism cannot be submerged by any external control. It is up to the subject how to act if reactance is felt.
If i felt uncomfortable with a command of my Dominant and felt reactance, but nevertheless did it because it is His will and I were eager to please Him, it is likely that it at the same time fulfilled a deep need within me to be controlled and to feel the bliss as soon as i got over the reactance peak.

"Submission in Stages" is a model that can help with the transition of the sub, being in relationship with the Dominant and still having several things of herself and some freedoms, to an enslaved sub/slave that is owned posession of a Master, having turned over the control/power into the hopefully capable hands and braincells and heart of the Master (--> Power Exchange). To put in a nutshell, it is as if the Dominant was cutting the big cake that we call "Total Power Exchange" (full enslavement) into smaller pieces, then feeding them to the sub bit by bit, so that the sub can have time to get used to the new aspects in the nature of their M/s relationship and have the chance to consent to each of these bits individually.

Tanos writes: "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." (cited from

So you could say, this all happens prior to slavery, as this "cake feeding" period is a phase of voluntary submission, and the sub always has the right to consent or not consent to each of the single "cake pieces". During this phase 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.

Such "voluntary submission" can also be described as "service", and "submitting and being in service to a Dominant" is different to "Being property of a Dominant". During the "Submission in stages" phase we have a service D/s relationship, not yet achieved enslavement and not yet achieved the sub's status as possession 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." (Tanos, cited from

"The "emotional" acceptance of the dominant's authority will usually be deeper than the sub's "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." (Tanos)

I call this phase when the sub is starting to feel alignment of the will of the Dominant with her own needs. Such alignment is so to speak the "Vital IT" of any intimate relationship, and without it no relationship is going to work well longterm.

Tanos also gives this advice to Dominants who wish to enslave a submissive: "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."

So, what follows "Submission in Stages", if it has gone on successfully and led to ENJOYMENT and inner alignment and contentment for both, the potential Master of the potential slave?

Final stage: The sub accepts the dominant's authority over all aspects of her life, and confirms her desire to become his slave. This can happen after some weeks, and with other submissives craving enslavement, after some months of D/s relationship with the prospective Master. With this Consent to Enslavement in place, the work of building her emotional acceptance of her slavery can proceed.

So, to come to an end here, let me put a Dominant's main task in words if He/She dreamt of enslaving a submissive and becoming his/her owner:

written by Mirjam Munro, December 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reactance in D/s context

According to an essay on the Internal Enslavement website ( a "natural slave" shows a lower level of reactance and another way of dealing with it than people who do not have this trait.

What is reactance?

In November 2011 i wrote the following text about reactance, what it means and how it plays out for me in the context of D/s. I hope for many of You sharing Your thoughts and experiences on this interesting topic as well.

"To me, reactance is a feeling of rebellion against restriction. It is a positive thing, cause without it, i might not have the reflectivity and emotional energy to fight if my freedom was restricted against my will, this means non consentually. An example: When I get too many tasks put on my shoulders by my boss at work and that do not fit with my usual job role, I feel reactance.

Reactance is something that each human feels in every day life, in many areas. Reactance belongs to the traits of being human, and this is no surprise as freedm is a high good for mankind.

Now, in my D/s relationship, I enjoy being restricted by my Master. I feel much less reactance when He restricts my freedom and I even crave it. It puts me in mental bliss . I want to be controlled by my Master. The big difference to what I described before is: This all happens consentually. I want it to happen. I trust my Master in dealing with me harshly but never beyond my hard limits. I feel safe because I know He utterly respects my hard limits. And this safety makes me feel much less reactance, or even none when He restricts my freedom (physcially or "mentally", by giving orders, by permitting and not permitting certain things and actions etc.)

It happens that I first feel "inner rebellion" against something He does or that He commands me to do. Then I feel reactance. Reactance makes me alert and aware. It switches my mind "ON" and lets me reflect if I am still in the safe zone. And then I feel ... oh yes I am, cause I know my Master is totally trustworthy. I know it from experience. I know it from His eyes, His voice ... I know it from how He deals with me. I feel it in my heart ... and then I push myself to go through it and get beyond the peakpoint of reactance and fall into bliss. Feeling "one" with what is happening, giving in completely, and not feeling any inner resistance or reactance. And I crave this feeling.

I find it interesting that Tanos used reactance to describe the being of a "Natural slave" on the IE Website ... submissives who seems to feel a lower level of reactance when freedom is restricted , and who even seem to crave it and fall into blisswhen they got beyond the peakpoint of reactance are called "natural slaves", according to the article on the IE website.

Last not least: Towards ANYONE that restricted my freedom or tried to restrict it, I would feel a normal level of reactance, i think, and i would fight for restoring my freedom. But towards my SPECIAL ONE, my Master, I react differently ... cause what He does and decides is what I consented to. Cause what He does and decides has proven to be good for me in my experience with Him. And because I feel safe with HIm and trust Him completely.

In all of me that is His,there is no room for reactance, cause rebellion against what He decides and does can only happen in something that is "outside of my Master" and that does not belong to Him. And yes, if i had a non responsible Dominant that would not care for me well enough, then it would be damn good to keep some parts to myself and feel the reactance that could save me and bring me out of a situation and if needed, completely away from such a man.

And yes, thank God we have this mechanism. We need it for reflection, to be able to safeword (reactance makes us aware something is not right) - even with best intentions a responsible Master might fail at times and go too far or catch us in a bad situation. And when a relationship is new ... we damn need reactance to feel in our guts when we don't feel comfortable with a Dominant that might not give us the feeling of safety, that might not be trustworthy, that might even be abusive.

So to me reactance is very positive, and the experience of not feeling it when being with my Master is utterly awesome as well."

(written by mirjam in November 2011)