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Submission Training

an essay by Suzanne's slave T

Submission Training is a descriptive title that works.

Isn’t it strange - the one thing all of us seem to agree on, in this often contentious lifestyle - is the conveniently all-inclusive name for the lifestyle: the four letters BDSM. In one sense, it is a brilliant phrase that links a tremendous variety of practices, practitioners, lifestyles and mind sets, including bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism. Thus it puts us all in one big boat, maybe because, to cite Ben Franklin in another context, If we don’t all hang together, we shall surely all hang separately. And indeed I will defend your right to be a fetishist, or yours to engage in 24/7 slavery, or yours to suffer harsh physical torments. We are, in the eyes of the public, all in this together, so why shouldn’t we enjoy the benefits of solidarity?

Yet, as usefully all-encompassing as is BDSM, it is terribly hard to explain to the vanilla world, it gets us into controversial details about practices -- instead of describing the overarching benefits gained from them, and it will never be successful in freeing us from the misconceptions that trouble the public.

For some people, pain is spiritual, therapeutic; for others it is a sexual stimulant which the public associates with orgies. For some, submission is a path of purification, for others it is a troubled working out of parent-child relationships.

In the public’s mind, the various practices of BDSM run from those it tolerates to those it is puzzled by to those it violently disapproves of. But if, as the previous section argues, almost all of these diverse practices can be of some use in enriching our personalities and even promoting holiness, why are we wasting time justifying the details of what we do instead of describing the benefits we - some of us - receive from their practices?

To focus on this spiritual side of BDSM, then, I would first refer to it as Submission Training. Is it over-simplifying? Let’s just say it is not complete. But that does not mean it is not useful. And, yes, it does, even in its simplicity, cover a huge amount of BDSM practice, and it is accurate.

The spiritual side of BDSM involves practices that have a long history within many traditions, both Eastern and Occidental (see appendix), and this is, for the most part, understood by our fellow citizens - regardless of whether they are personally attracted to such practices. And that, right off, is a big gain that the phrase BDSM will never achieve.

One professional dominatrix describes the benefits as follows: “It may be hard for the outsider to see a hard whipping as an expression of sacred love. But in many ways, BDSM transcends ordinary affection and sex. It requires a deep level of communication, trust, and openness to one's partner not found in the mundane sex act. To take pain for someone is an act of tremendous giving; to take control of someone else is an act of ultimate caring. For many, the acts of BDSM open both partners up to tremendous love--love that brings them closer to the Infinite.” - Mistress Ariachne, article published by Bondage.com, June 6, 2004.

Another, who is also an author, writes: “A cleansed submissive is an indomitable force. Invulnerable to the temptations and manipulations of the world and others around them. An offering of this purity of being, this force within is without any question the greatest gift that can ever be offered from one human being to another.” -F.R.R. Mallory, website www.steel-door.com, article “Submissive Mythology (2)”

When many around us seem willing to ‘sell out their grandmother’ if it gets them that job promotion they covet, how refreshing to see someone who will submit, willingly, to another in order to create peace and happiness. This is not weakness, it is holiness.

But is it accurate to describe what we do as “submission training”?

First, although the phrase emphasizes what’s going on for the submissives and bottoms, it does not ignore the role of dominants and tops, any more than mentioning ‘math instruction’ ignores the fact that there must necessarily be math teachers. They are implicitly very much involved.

As for the practices themselves, decide for yourself:

I describe BDSM as having three categories of practice:

* Surrendering our Will
* Suffering Pain
* Opening our Sexuality
Each can be included under Submission.

1) Surrendering our Will: This is so obviously included in submission training that I won’t do more than list a few practices:
* Following the orders of the dominant
* Being trained to serve the dominant
* Practicing humility
* Enduring bondage

2) Suffering Pain:
Pain is different from submission. Nevertheless, our pain is a pain “under submission.” As so many writers on the topic point out, most of us don’t like it when we stub a toe. Ouch! The pain we relish is in our sessions - it is ritualized, it is consensual, we suffer it as an act of submission and it thereby enriches our soul.
In this sense,
* Being whipped is submission
* Suffering CBT is submission
* Experiencing Electric shock is submission
Et cetera.

3) Opening our Sexuality:
* Receiving an erotic massage is submission
* Obeying a command to be nude in front of others is submission
* Accepting intimate touches by another is submission.

How would I define Submission Training to someone of the vanilla world?

Submission Training is a cluster of practices whose purpose is to make us stronger, more free and happier. Its methods help us return to our primitive roots in order to humble us, which has the effect of making us more empathetic and more balanced. By, at the same time, putting us under stress - through pain, confinement, etc. - the lesson receives a ‘multiplier effect’ - a jolt - that produces a deeper learning.


Appendix:
In 1995, the British Home Office’s Law Commission issued the 300 page Consultation Paper 139 about violence and consent. The report included these sections on religious uses of pain:

10.4
The purpose of flagellation is to mortify the body in order to subordinate the passions to the spirit. It is an activity now mainly associated with countries like Mexico and some of the southwestern states of the United States which have a strongly Hispanic Roman Christian tradition. The practice exists in Britain in the religious group known as Opus Dei, and it is also sometimes used among the Cistercians. The penitentials describe practices like mortification and flagellation and specify the permissible limits. It is accepted by some Christians that pain may be accepted as penance for one’s own sins and also for the sins of others. Flagellation is sometimes practiced only in Lent. One respondent told us that he was educated at Catholic schools by nuns and lay-brothers who practiced flagellation for spiritual motives.

10.5
We received moving evidence from a woman in one of the learned professions. She is on the liberal edge of the Roman Catholic Church and was catechized in the pre-Vatican II church. She takes her religion seriously. It forms an integral part of her life and goes to the core of who she is as a person. It is deeply ingrained in her to examine her conduct against the ideals she is trying to live up to, and to think in terms of doing penance for sin when she finds her conduct wanting.

10.6
For many years she has occasionally found self-mortification the appropriate penance, if she has behaved in a way that falls gravely short of what a committed Christian faith involves. She makes a measured calculation as to what is appropriate, in terms of a limited number of strokes, and applies a very ordinary leather belt to her back. Now that she is married, her husband helps her. He inflicts an adequate level of pain to ensure that the punishment is full and effective. As she put it, the threshold for "actual bodily harm" is clearly exceeded. There is no hostility, anger or animus involved and no serious or permanent injury is done. Her husband’s attitude is that what he is doing is something morally positive - "digging you out of a hole" - which, he believes, cannot surely be contrary to the criminal law.

10.7
We have also been told about practitioners of other faiths who indulge in pain in furtherance of their beliefs. In Hinduism, some ascetics believe that the acceptance of pain, which is often extreme and caused by seriously injury, is one of the ways to obtain the desired union with the absolute. In certain branches of Zen Buddhism activities like running marathons of extreme length or standing under icy waterfalls are considered to be acceptable ways of meditation. In some Amerind faiths it is believed that by accepting extreme pain and discomfort (and sometimes hideous torture) it is possible to obtain supernatural powers. People other than the receiver of pain are needed to assist the receiver in almost all these different cases.

10.8
This evidence was given in the context of a very thoughtful submission we received from one respondent about the infliction of pain. He suggested that five reasons are commonly given for a person to desire pain: bravado; acceptance as an adult or as a spiritual member of a community; the heightening of sexual pleasure; the removal of feelings of guilt; and, if used correctly, assisting the receiver either to travel a path to salvation or to obtain a transcendental experience of the type for which descriptions like spiritual joy, ecstasy, mental calm and peace have been used. He said that these could be described compendiously as "spiritual joy". He felt that genuine and wholehearted consent should be permitted as a valid defense to a charge of intentionally or recklessly causing injury, not only in cases of flagellation and religious mortification in a traditional Christian context, but in all cases where the purpose of the injury is to give pain that will enable the victim to do one or more of the following things: obtaining relief from feelings of guilt and/or anxiety; mortifying the body in order to subordinate the passions to the spirit or to obtain union with the absolute; and/or obtaining, by a process akin to meditation, a transcendental religious experience of the type described above as spiritual joy.

Source: http://alternate.com/ASLinks.html. “Law Commission, Consultation Paper 139, Consent in the Criminal Law. Crown copyright © (section 5.6). Published by The Stationery Office, The Copyright Unit, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, Saint Clement's House, 2-16 Colegate, Norwich, NR3 1BQ, or Her Majesty's Stationary Office, P. O. Box 276, London SW8 5DT. ISBN 0-11-730224-4. 21 pounds sterling.”


slave T's other essays...

World's Oldest Newbie

The Connection Between Sex and BDSM

The Five Steps

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