I have been talking quite a bit with close friends and important advisers over the past few weeks about what it is to be a Master.  Many areas of discussion came up, one of the most important was the emotional care and involvement that a Master feels towards those who give them authority over them.  His love for them, if you will.

Assuredly this comes directly from my own point of view.  I have heard strong arguments from many people that you can not maintain a D/s or M/s relationship if you love your s-type.  I disagree.  But this involves something quite different from what is usually experienced in the Vanilla world as “Love.”

I certainly can not say this is true in all cases, but I do believe in most.  In Vanilla relationships there is usually little discussion as to what the actual relationship entails.  What does it mean to be married?  There are assumptions, many of them, but few discussions.  What does, “Head of the Household” mean to you?  Which one of you will be the HotH?  What expectations does one partner have about the other, “now that we’re married.”  How does either’s behavior change?  Though I would guess that both people expect it to change.  I doubt that there is much discussion about what those changes might, or should be.

So what happens often is that the relationship changes through a sense of appeasement.  Internal negotiation, if you will.  “Ok, this doesn’t seem to be working, maybe I should change, maybe I should try things this way.” rather than sitting down for a time of clear, introspective communication.

It is my opinion that one of the greatest advantages of a D/s or M/s relationship is negotiation.  While just as I said about vanilla relationships, I can not say this is true in all cases, I certainly would hope it is true in most.  Before entering into a D/s or M/s relationship there are extensive discussions about what one person would be to the other.  What are each person’s responsibilities?  How is one person to behave towards the other, though these roles and responsibilities may be quite different for each partner.

But this negotiation, this questioning back and forth, each (hopefully) asking the other, “What did you mean by that?” this does not, in any way, preclude a deep and overwhelming love and affection from each for the other.  What it does do (again, in my choice of relationship) is add to that love an understanding of expectation.  We understand what is expected of the other, and what is expected by the other.

One of the most important elements of those negotiations and expectations is the element of obedience.  It is often said that in an M/s relationship there is only one rule, obedience.  But there are many forms of relationship outside of M/s and many levels of obedience that are required.  In any form of negotiation, honesty, commitment and clear communication is necessary.  What you have said you will do, you are expected to do.  We are, after all, dealing with relationships where the transfer of authority is central.

If a commitment is made, it must be held to.  If the person giving authority has the ability to choose, after negotiations have concluded, to take back that authority, to willfully disobey a “request” in an area where they have given authority, that is a challenge to the basic form of the relationship.  It is destructive to its core principles.  It is an end point.

It may be easy to view the Dominant, the Master, the Authority as that strong willed person who sets the rules, holds the authority, punishes the transgressor, and if the commitments are not held, if the relationship falls apart, walks away with confidence and little regret.  Of course, the ability to do that, to see that the relationship is not working, and to call it, is truly vital.  As a very wise mentor told me, “Make the vocation of mastery more important than the relationship(s) in which that vocation plays out.  In other words, stay true to your calling and do not betray yourself in order to save, salvage or appease a relationship…any relationship.”

But that, in no way, means it does not hurt.  It comes with a sense of deep loss, a feeling of personal failure, and a questioning of your own value and understanding.  It can be devastating, and require a time of recovery and healing.

Unfortunately, to be a Master, you must take  that responsibility.

The Eroticist