Some Essential components of an M/s relationship
My comments: These are some thoughts I put together for a MAsT NYC meeting on the essential components of an M/s relationship. This post needs some more work and editing. If you are not scared by that – please continue reading.
What are essential components of an M/s relationship?
Communication, transparency, responsibility, and trust.
I think it starts with communication, communication and communication (yes, we need to communicate with our Masters/slaves more than once!). But this is not any different in other relationships: How can we relate to each other in a meaningful way, if we do not communicate in one form or another? A typical observation is that the “richness” of our relationships is directly related to the success and quality of our communication.
By transparency I refer to the quality of being candid and open. While I think this is a two-way street, were both the Master and slave are expected to be transparent with each other, due to the nature of a structured relationship the level and degree are most often different. However, both need to be open about their expectations (for a slave we may refer to this as her “wishes”) about the relationship and the future. Non-congruent expectations often lead to failed relationships.
Responsibility and trust are closely related, with responsibility being somewhat weaker in the following sense. Responsibility is a necessary trait to establish trust, but it is not a sufficient one. This distinction is maybe philosophical, but I think a very important one. At the onset of a relationship, both Master and (potential) slave need to be able to make moral or rational decisions on their own and therefore be answerable for their own behavior. For example, a slave under consideration is responsible for making the decision of entering into service with a particular Master. This prospective slave is therefore (within practical reason) responsible for understanding what kind of situation he/she may be faced with in the future. The same of course holds for the Master. As a structured relationship develops, this type of dynamic may change as the decision-making power is shifted towards the Master. In this sense, the level, degree and center of responsibility changes as our relationships develop. Trust, on the other hand, needs to be exercised equally from both ends of the leash at all times in a relationship. As a relationship grows, so does trust. For everyone involved trust is essential in order to take on (or give up) control safely without jeopardizing physical or psychological health and safety.
In the above paragraphs I have not touched upon the basic “technical” skills often needed for a M/s relationship, such as the how-to’s of protocols, rules, rituals, and obedience. Surely, these are by no means less important.