Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Intimacy, Submission and Compliance (by Meadow)

Again, I share my musings about my experience, in the hope that others might find them useful or at least entertaining! Your personal mileage on this topic may vary.

I have mused before on the nature of submission, on my experience of submission as a positive, active state rather than an absence of reactance - or absence of anything else, for that matter. Thinking more deeply - what is at the core of submission (and kink) for me? And I find that it is the same thing that is at the core of a primary relationship: intimacy.

For me, sex, kink and D/s are vehicles for intimacy. That state of committed, connected, loving vulnerability is what holds the erotic/energetic/spiritual charge required both for sexual arousal and for the gratification of being controlled. And for me, that intimacy is equivalent to (and reserved for) life partnership. It’s all facets of the same jewel.

Compliance, on the other hand, is either unrelated or opposed to intimacy. When I use the c and q system in a discussion, I am not in an intimate relationship. On the contrary, I am engaging my adult self in collaboration with (hopefully) other adults to maintain a social consensus that allows us all to speak and be heard. When I choose to be polite to the nice police officer to avoid the consequences of saying what I really think, that is the opposite of intimacy. Following hierarchy or laws does bring up the ethical issue of when one decides that a custom or law is too unjust to obey; I think this is related to, but not equivalent to, a Dom/me, sub or slave’s need to evaluate the health and sanity of commands.

Because of the above, I share the feelings that someone expressed during a recent discussion. Equating my submission to my Master with my complying with hierarchy or law feels both inaccurate and disrespectful.

When I was a City girl in the Gorean town of Herlit, I was not in a submitted relationship. Herlit’s City collar gave me a place to belong, a place to contribute, the felt protection of a group, a recognized role in an established social context. My complying with the “rules” of that role was something I did with joy because it reinforced the belonging, but, for me, it was not submission. I think that sense of belonging is completely valid and valuable, and that many SL D/s households offer exactly that to their members, both in Gor and in D/s.

I believe that the experience of community and power exchange is multifaceted, and that different people get qualitatively different things, at different times, from a number of separate activities that are all labeled “submission.” We need more words. We need better ways to respect each other. Respecting each others’ kink or family structure is too superficial. We need to respect each others’ emotional, energetic and spiritual reality, and recognize the limitations of our language.

Ryn’s kajira