Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Definitions...


There have been many changes in the BDSM community/lifestyle in all the years I have been in it.  And as with everything some changes have been good .. some not so good .. and some downright confusing.

But I thought I had a pretty good handle on the basics - terminology.  After all terminology is the common thread that sorta/kinda keeps us all on the same page - no??   Terms like Top, bottom, Master, Dominant, submissive, slave.   Words that help explain who and what we are and what we do.  

Obviously there are a whole mess of other "words" that we use .......... and I have felt pretty secure that I understood what they meant.. the good words and the bad words.... 

BUT I must have missed the memo changing the definition of one term..... "breaking a submissive".  In my day that was a very bad thing.  Breaking a submissive meant taking her very soul and tearing it into little bits and scattering them to the four winds.  This was not a good thing.

Yesterday I was reading some blogs and came across one entitled "Breaking Me" on the Monkey's Journey.  I get what she meant by the term (at least I think I do) she was referring to having her limits pushed beyond her comfort zone.  BUT my concern came when I realized she was defining a term for a relative newbie.  

That is a big problem in my opinion - newbies looking for and asking for definitions (and more) from blogs.  How do you know (as a newbie) that you have received the correct information.  Perhaps you have only received that one person's opinion.  

Even here on The Journey - some days I write with great authority - and afterwards worry that someone is going to take my words to be the ABSOLUTE truth.  Not so!!  It is the absolute truth for ME.  and W.  They shouldn't be the ABSOLUTE truth for anyone else.

Example - what if warm up for W and I involved knives and cutting and then needles and piercing and I said that it is the only way to do a warm up.... for everyone.  Excuse me??!!  There are a whole mess of folks who won't even watch knife play and needle play - now what happens?? Do they land up feeling they are doing it all wrong??? based on my words??? good lord!!! 

I have no problem with monkey saying she is being broken by her Dominant - none whatsoever - as that is what it feels like to her..........I do have a problem with the term "broken" being used to describe pushing limits to newbies.  How scary is that??? For most people something that is broken - is just that BROKEN.  As broken as the chain at the top of this entry.  It can't be fixed.  


Something that can't be fixed is very scary to me.......... especially when we are talking about people....... and their psyches.  I had to comment on the monkey's blog... I thought  I did it gently and diplomatically (though admittedly I am not known for my diplomatic skills) I worry about newbies - I worry period about anyone basing their knowledge on a blog........... yes even mine !!!

So I am not here to say "broken" is a good thing OR a bad thing......... cause ya know that would defeat the purpose of my "preaching" this morning.  I AM saying to the newbies - or even to those not too clear on the principal - to read and read and read some more - get many definitions - get many opinions......... then form your own.  Educate yourself - protect yourself - and rely on your gut instincts for what is right for you and what is wrong.

10 comments:

alyson said...

As someone who has only come into the BDSM world in the past 7 or 8 years, I've mostly heard "breaking a submissive" to mean something synonymous to "breaking a horse". So to me it's always meant that it's about bending a submissive to your will. In that context, I feel like it's something that newbies should probably at least be aware of the definition of. I came into D/s through an existing relationship so "breaking" (using the definition I've just given) was something that happened early because the trust level was already there.

I think the only time I've ever heard "break" used the way you know the term is when I've heard Doms say they don't want their toy broken (often in the context of sharing with someone else and the rules given to the third party). It's definitely a valid other definition, but it's not the one I've heard most commonly since I've been involved, or even reading about, BDSM.

Part of the problem, of course, is that "break" is a word that in vanilla English means so many different things. You can break a plate, which is bad, or you can break a horse, which is generally considered a good thing if you ever want to ride it.

I think a lot of it comes back to hoping people research BDSM and the words used in it when (or before) they get involved. We can't force them to, but there are so many nuances to everything, especially in some ways the language, that it seems important. I was lucky that I had friends in the lifestyle long before I was in it myself and being a curious person had looked into it then (even identified that I was submissive, just didn't feel the need to do anything about it at that point). But it's also a risk taken with pretty much anything anyone does. And I know few people research things as thoroughly as I do before jumping in.

abby said...

Thank you for posting this, I hope lots of newbies read this. The best advice find and do it your own way...the way that isright for the 2 people involved. I know that sounds like no advice...but it is what I believe.
abby

Sqoodd said...

Good post.
I agree with the line, "what if ...I said that it is the ONLY way to do a warm up.... for everyone. Excuse me??!!"
I have read so many blogs and reference websites that have posted something like this that I have wanted to put a warning on the website for newbies to believe it, but alas I could not. I teach that everyone is different and each have their own 'kinks'. The trick is to find that person, or persons, that share those kinks so one can have fun instead of just doing it rote (as some website said it SHOULD happen).

I love your writing. Keep it up.

Sqoodd

themonkeysjourney said...

You did do it gently and diplomatically.

I had a whole comment written her and lost it when I pushed the button, dammit.

As a relative newbie myself I was using the terminology that F and I used in our conversation. This is what it meant to me. That was actually the question I was answering in my post, "What it meant to me". I realized with the first comment (yours) that I might have taken the wrong tack, but I write with the assumption that people who read me are adults capable of making up their own minds, and making good decisions.


I am rethinking all this, I'm sure I'll have more to say but I'll leave your comment section relatively uncluttered.

Thank you, Morningstar, for taking the time and care to comment. I do value your opinion and input.

Sue said...

I understand the concern. I do.

And...

I remember very early on in my own explorations, when I'd made some clear statement about my life and my needs and my practices with my husband -- some "older and wiser" practitioner jumped all over me for putting things out there that might mislead some unspecified newbie. I found that sort of constraint unreasonable then, and I still do.

Newbies are new, and all of us were new at some point. I read lots of stuff when I was new, and much of it fired my imagination... I tried a wide variety of things, some of which I loved, and some of which I hated. Through it all I knew two things:
1) I didn't know much about any of this, and I was learning as I went along.
2) I was responsible for my choices; responsible for my safety; responsible for my well being.

Those of us who write out here in the blogosphere have a variety of experiences that we choose to share. We have a range of skill and knowledge. We tell our stories, and nearly all of us are clear that they are just that -- our stories. With only a couple of exceptions, that I can think of, we don't claim to be experts, gurus, or guides. The "your mileage may vary," disclaimer is ubiquitous, even if not explicitly stated.

I've often advocated that every BDSM blogger ought to put up a sign at the front of their page that warns: "This way there be dragons..." But that is just me.

swan

schiava said...

I am like you, morningstar, in that I have always heard "breaking" as a very negative thing. Years ago, Doms spoke of being careful *not* to "break a submissive", and it was quite obviously meant as a very negative thing. Honestly, I have never heard of it being used in the context in which the post you linked to described. I understand what she was saying, of course, but that extreme disassociation is what has always been called sub space by my peers. And sub space was a relatively rare phenomenon, because the definition was far more precise than it is now.

I agree with you that terminology is shifting, and except for the potential damage for newbies, I have no concern about it simply because the terminology means nothing to us....neither of us is active in any BDSM group or any public play. But I am truly very, very concerned about the impressions that newbies have of this lifestyle and how one is "supposed" to live/act/believe/feel/ etc.

Thank you for this timely post. :)

Anonymous said...

Sometimes semantics get in the way of clear understanding.

If nothing else...From reading your's and other blogs, I've learned there are many ways to live the lifestyle. There might be basic terminology and similar approaches but each relationship is a distinct entity. And whether you are a newbie or oldie, you need to know what is 'right' for another may not be 'right' for you. And vis a vis.

Your last paragraph says it all...educate and protect yourself and rely on you gut instincts.

Keep 'preaching' because you make really...really...good sense!

Joyce

newgirl said...

you always make good sense, as far as i'm concerned :)

If a Dom were to use that phrase, directed at me, i would have a billion questions to Him, about what He meant, because my initial reaction, oh no Your not! Even the definition context of breaking a horse (something wild, untamed) doesn't work for me - i may well need to be trained, but i am already very gentle in my nature - to "break me" would be a bad thing.

It is oh so difficult learning all this, and where i will fit in. So much of what i see, seems to center around degradation and humiliation (on FL) and that is so not me. At least, right now, that is true - my journey has just begun.

your newbie - angelquest

mostly mouse said...

Hi Morningstar,

Sin linked to your blog. Not really sure or certain what to feel...back when mouse was brought into bdsm, the Internet wasn't around -- at least not that she can recall. There was no way to a lot of research, so she had to trust her Dom.

When she was told that slaves were punished and used sexually daily mouse believed him...there were parts of her submission that she liked, but larger parts not at all. He wanted mouse completely dependent and without thought at all.

And for many years mouse was. The only way she could ever think to describe herself was "broken" and when something is broken it needs to be fixed. Repaired.

Today, mouse is grateful that she has a Good, caring Master to protect and guide her.

So, yes, mouse too worries about newbies out there, who might stumble upon or cross paths with a preditorial type Dom, who will somehow convince them that they must be "broken" to really submit. They need to understand the context.

Thank you,
mouse

SmilingBelle said...

Thanks for posting! Being oh so new to this ( a newbie), this post really made sense to me!!! Thanks again:):)