an essay by Suzanne's slave T
Submission Training is a descriptive title that
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
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
I describe BDSM as having three categories
* 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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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 Five Steps