Master Tim Coaching

Posts Tagged ‘submissive’

The Master’s Voice #15: BDSM is Good For You.

BDSM is good for you.

A bold statement, but for experienced BDSM practitioners it is no surprise. Many researchers have become fascinated with the psychology of the BDSM world and so far their findings have been very positive. Opinions are changing and something which in the past was treated as a disorder is now under serious review. The scientist in me admits that my bold statement is an extrapolation of the findings but it remains a reasonable conclusion based on current evidence.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is often referred to as the “psychiatrist’s bible”. In the latest (5th) edition, BDSM is no longer listed as a disorder but instead is referred to as a paraphilia, or unusual sexual fixation. Even in this incarnation, studies have consistently failed to link BDSM practices to any psychological problems, leading some professionals to argue for its removal entirely from the manual.

Recent studies do in fact tend to range from the ‘does no harm’ variety, to those which appear to suggest that BDSM behaviour lends itself to measurable positive mental health. So, can we truthfully say that BDSM is good for you? Well, yes, it seems that we can.

Elsewhere I have discussed the notion of the ‘sub-space’ or ‘head space’ which many submissives describe. One study (1) in 2013 found that BDSM can give similar results to focused meditation, leaving the practitioner in an altered state of consciousness. It appears that blood flow to the brain may be altered in similar ways to those previously recorded in certain types of deep meditation or in the well-documented “runner’s high”.

Some of the practitioners in the study were ‘switches’ who liked to both give and receive pain. Their role in the study was decided on the roll of a dice and they performed a cognitive test both before and after sex (the Stroop task). It was noted that those playing the ‘sub’ role performed poorly in that part of the brain known as the Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex which is linked to high level functions such as focused attention, working memory and executive control.

This area of the brain has also been associated with such behaviours as daydreaming, various drug ‘highs’ and the aforementioned ‘runners high’. We should not be surprised to learn that activating this area of the brain can lead to feelings of floating, peacefulness and of living ‘in the moment’. It can also give the impression of time standing still as well as impacting on the ability for rational thinking.

More general findings have echoed other studies where it was found that BDSM practitioners experienced fewer feelings of anxiety than the general public. There has also been some evidence to suggest that practitioners have more secure relationships than others. Of course this excludes the very specific anxieties felt when meeting a new BDSM partner and submitting to them.

Another research paper (2) published in 2013, seems to suggest that BDSM practitioners may as a general rule actually be more mentally healthy than the general populace. In this study, researchers questioned 902 BDSM and 432 ‘vanilla’ practitioners without telling them the purpose of the surveys. The questions covered aspects of personality, sensitivity to rejection, style of attachment within relationships, as well as their overall well being.

Interestingly the highest scores were achieved by the ‘Doms’ in the group as compared to the ‘switches’. Of the three groups, the submissives scored the lowest but even their scores were still higher than the vanilla practitioners. In reporting this research, the online magazine Live Science (3) explained the findings as follows:

‘The new results reveal that on a basic level, BDSM practitioners don’t appear to be more troubled than the general population. They were more extroverted, more open to new experiences and more conscientious than vanilla participants; they were also less neurotic, a personality trait marked by anxiety. BDSM aficionados also scored lower than the general public on rejection sensitivity, a measure of how paranoid people are about others disliking them.

People in the BDSM scene reported higher levels of well-being in the past two weeks than people outside it, and they reported more secure feelings of attachment in their relationships, the researchers found.’

More work needs to be done to look into the reasons why BDSM practitioners appear to be more mentally healthy than the general population. Some researcher believe that this may simply be that those practicing such activities are more aware of their own sexual needs and desires. This understanding may well lead to less overall frustration with their physical and emotional relationships.

Wouldn’t it be great to think that our need for anti-depressant drugs could be replaced by a pair of handcuffs and a decent flogger!

References:

 (1) James Ambler, a graduate student in psychology at Northern Illinois University, and presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in Austin, Texas.

(2) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jsm.12192/abstract

(3) http://www.livescience.com/34832-bdsm-healthy-psychology.html

The Master’ Voice #11: A Day in the Life of a Slave.

Today’s post is told mostly by my alpha slave whom some of you have met. A few months ago we marked ten years together which is something I am so proud of him for. That is not just for ten years of serving my exclusively, but for the amazing young man he has become and continues to grow as. Over to him:

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, the kind of resource I wish I’d had back when I first started looking into the world of submission. I’m going to attempt to describe a day in the life of a slave – specifically, a day in my life with Master Tim.

I’ve cautioned readers before that a lot of what I write here is based on my own personal experience and shouldn’t be taken as universal truth. I’m sure there’ll be people reading this who don’t recognize themselves in what I’ve written here, or whose concept of submission is radically different to mine. If that’s the case, please do leave your thoughts in the comments section. It would be great to hear from people with different experiences!

With the disclaimer out of the way, let’s get started! What follows is a brief overview of what an average day as Master Tim’s slave is like for me.

First of all, I should point out that I don’t live with Master Tim, but in the space of a year we do spend a lot of time together. When I’m not with him we communicate with each other daily (actually several times daily!), but this is going to be an account of a day when I am staying with him.

On a normal day, he’ll usually come and wake me up sometime around eight or nine o’ clock. The first order of business for me is to make coffee or tea for both of us and then prepare breakfast. This is something I’d do for myself anyway, but I enjoy doing it for him. When breakfast is over I usually tidy up the kitchen and empty the dishwasher so that he doesn’t have to worry about it.

If that all sounds tediously vanilla, let me introduce something a bit more ‘BDSM-ish’. When I’m at home with Master Tim I wear a leather collar most of the time. (And when I say ‘most of the time’, it includes when I’m doing such exciting things as having dinner or watching TV. If this seems strange to you, you’re probably looking for a different submission experience to me!) However, it tends to irritate the skin around my neck, so I ask him to put it on me after I’ve had a shower.

This is one of those things where real life and fantasy don’t necessarily coincide. Ideally I’d like to wear it all the time, but occasionally that’s not practical. Of course, it would cause some problems if I was to wear it around outside, so I don’t do that. I bring this up only to highlight the fact that the mundane facts of life do sometimes intrude on our idealized versions of reality. In this regard, being a submissive is no different being any other kind of person. Sometimes you have to make compromises! To mark our recent anniversary Master Tim locked a stylish black necklace on me. Only he has the code and I have happily worn it ever since, as a constant reminder of him.

After breakfast, I’ll usually accompany Master Tim on whatever else he’s doing throughout the day. I’ve always tried to be a useful companion to him, which for me means enhancing his everyday life rather than expecting him to cater exclusively to me when I’m with him. I look for ways to assist him with things, even if it’s something as simple as tying his shoelaces, or carrying the shopping from Tesco.

When we’re out and about together I like to maintain my role in subtle but important ways. For example, where practical I always walk on his left hand side just a short pace behind him. I also open doors for him and carry any bags or shopping that we take with us or gather while we’re out.

Again, this might all sound painfully boring to you, but to me it gets right to the heart of being the particular kind of submissive known as a ‘slave’. I can think of no greater expression of submission than striving to be someone who enhances my Master’s life whenever I can.

That includes anything related to sex, which I haven’t mentioned yet. I believe that I should make any kind of sexual activity as pleasureable as possible for Master Tim – which isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy it as well. I do, a lot! But I think that a part of choosing to submit as a slave is to always have your Master’s pleasure in mind – regardless of the circumstances.

By now you hopefully see why I’ve been harping on about keeping compatibility in mind when you’re seeking out a Dominant/submissive relationship. If you’re looking to be a full-time slave, there’ll be a lot of times when you’re not doing typically ‘BDSM’ things. You’re unlikely to find what you’re looking for if you don’t meet someone who you enjoy being around. Thankfully, I’ve been very lucky in that regard!

-Alpha Slave

The Master’s Voice #10 Seeking the Perfect Sub.

In the previous post I considered one particular type of submissive but they are not my only ‘type’. I’m often asked both by Doms and subs to define my ideal sub. What is it that I’m looking for when I’m recruiting? Maybe my criteria are not the most obvious choices, but for me they are the factors which will lift a new sub out from the crowd –  and believe me, the crowd is huge! There really are way more subs than Doms out there, both male and female, so a Dom can afford to be choosy and the sub needs to stand out as unique.

The most attractive feature to me is the right attitude. Yes, of course I look for a certain submissiveness but it needs more than that. Some submissives come looking for another man to take control of them and their lives because they are unable to manage their own affairs. I drop those like hot bricks. If you are unable to manage your own life then you are certainly not going to add any value to mine. Sadly, there are Doms out there who will swoop on the helpless and take advantage of them for their own selfish pleasure, so beware.

Another part of the right attitude is open mindedness. By that I mean a readiness to learn and a desire to experience new things.

Many of my peers express surprise at how much I enjoy working with novice subs. They see them as hard work but I see them instead as eager, fresh, hungry, grateful and mostly unpolluted by bad habits. Don’t get me wrong, I see many subs who are very experienced and very good. They, however, happen mostly to be the ones who originally came to me as novices and years later they are still returning and we are able to ‘play’ together with the ease and familiarity of a pair of well worn but comfortable shoes. Oh, and a good sense of humour and some level of self awareness are essential qualifications too.

It has often been my experience that older and more experienced subs come to the negotiations with a fixed agenda and a wish list of the things they need to have done to them. They will try to lead from the bottom in a way which leaves no room for a versatile and creative Dom to lead or dominate effectively.

The biggest turn on for me with a novice sub is the feedback I get both verbally and non-verbally as they experience something new for the first time. I expect every sane sub to come with limits, but in our negotiations I try to identify two types as we discuss them. First there are the hard limits, which must be respected without compromise. Secondly there are the ‘soft limits’ and these are carefully stored away for future investigation. Soft limits are the ones which elicit responses like ‘I’m not sure’, ‘not yet’ or, ‘I’ve not heard of that one before’. These soft limits often define the areas to be explored as trust is built and limits are being expanded.

One big difference between casual one-night-stand encounters and and the well-prepared repeat visits is that the former will almost always be the only encounter. First play-dates are often the clumsiest with fears and anxieties ensuring that things do not always go smoothly. The sub is eager to please but nervous, so when the Dom attempts to impress by going through the entire toy-box they will probably experience sensory overload and be too timid or embarrassed to return again.

I prefer the laid back approach and my main aim for a first session is to leave the sub wanting another one! In just the same way I hope I have left you wanting the next episode of this blog series!

The Master’s Voice 01 – Sub or Slave: Is There a Difference?

THE MASTER’S VOICE – Part One.

Of all the many questions I get asked on a regular basis, the most frequently presented one is some variation of  ‘Am I a Sub or a Slave?’ Or ‘What’s the difference between a Sub and a Slave?’ It’s a subject about which everyone has an opinion, and the debate has been around for as long as there have been people to discuss it.

For most people, the terms are interchangeable and the boundaries are woolly. For some the definitions are more rigid, or at least very personal and individual. I would maintain that there are no wholly right or wrong answers, but that does not mean that we don’t need some clarity of thought or some acceptable descriptors. These at least give us a baseline from which to form opinions and arrive at acceptable definitions which work for each individual person or couple.

Submission is not a weakness

For me, the basic definitions start with the words themselves. Slave is a noun and so a slave is what you are. Submissive is an adjective and so it describes what you do.

In BDSM relationships, submissives make their own decisions and choices, holding on to their own rights and freedoms. Submissives also set their own limits. A sub may choose to be ‘owned’ but the terms of the ownership will be jointly negotiated and it will only last as long as they choose to allow it. Submissives characteristically seek out casual contacts or relationships, moving in and out of their role freely as they go about their lives.

A true slave is a very different person completely. While a submissive may choose how, when and to whom they submit, a true slave will submit completely at all times to their chosen owner, with little or no negotiation. Slaves usually seek ownership, preferring to give themselves wholly to another dominant person. The slave has no rights or freedoms and certainly no choices. Of course in reality this only works where great wisdom, common sense and profound trust exist.

I can hear a whole chorus of ‘buts’ as I write this and I respect them all. Every slave or sub is different and every situation is unique and individual. At the end of the day, our roles are defined by our relationships and seldom the other way around. The sub/Dom roles derive from the type of relationships we enter into, after safety and personal limits are agreed.

We must accept that any definition is merely another form of labelling imposed by the wider society. Labels are a way of compartmentalising things which we might otherwise struggle to understand. Once you are labelled, you are ‘understood’, but of course real life is seldom so easily pigeon-holed. Every couple needs to arrive at their own working definition for what they have.

It should be clearly understood that the definition is a work in progress and will change over time. Every aspect of a relationship needs to be placed on a grey-scale where the two extremes are ‘black’ and ‘white’ but all our life choices rest somewhere along the line between the two. Anyone who thinks that there are only ‘fifty shades of grey’ (pun intended) is in for a big surprise!

A submissive may choose to submit sexually, but outside the bedroom (or dungeon) they will may still behave as equals with their Master or Mistress. The sub may choose to be a domestic servant but still maintain equality in their relationship. The mutually agreed level of control may be quite extensive and in effect be the same as slavery but of course the sub retains the ability to walk away or simply to say ‘no’ at any time.

A real slave, in contrast, wishes every aspect of their life to be controlled by the Master or Mistress. The slave will often describe themselves as “incomplete” without ownership and they will seek out a powerful dominant to control them. Of course in reality they will seek out their owner and so will be making choices regarding who that person is. At the end of the day they can still choose to end the relationship at any time.

Another point to consider is that not all slaves are submissives!

There is no doubt that I shall be returning to this topic in the future. One area that I would like to look at is the link between BDSM and sexuality. As a gay man I have met a great many heterosexual men who submit to other men. This does not in my opinion, make them gay!

Consider the various definitions, but do not be limited by them. Find what works for you and go with it. BE a slave, or DO submission, but have fun!

In the next part I will be asking my much loved Alpha slave of the last ten years to share with us the ‘sub’ side of this story.

Master Tim is a practicing Dominant with over 40 years of experience and is an alter ego of published m/m author T.J. Masters