Todayís Young Masters
Blazing new paths -- rediscovering old truths
This is the age of the Internet, and nothing can ever be the same. Gay men have been especially enthusiastic about the new medium, so much so that for many of us chat rooms, email lists, online ads, and so on have largely replaced traditional ways of meeting partners. The new Internet culture empowers youth as no other has before, and young men today are discovering a passion for ownership and control earlier than most of the respected Masters of older generations -- usually with little or no experience. They have a vastly greater store of information and ideas available to them than the best informed Masters and tops had 20 or 30 years ago, yet at some point online must meet real life. Todayís young Masters often struggle to overcome prejudice, disbelief, and obstacles that older men may not encounter. At the same time, however, they have the advantages of youthful energy and a fresh perspective that can see opportunities where others may see problems.
A New Path to Mastery (Master Jeff)
- finding your way without traditional guides
- desire as the key
- moral/ethical issues in ownership
Dealing with Age Bias (Master JW)
- credibility: being honest at the risk of being brushed off
- education: learning the craft without losing face
- life experience: being willing to make mistakes
Mentorship (Master Rick)
- why itís necessary
- who can do it: older Masters? experienced slaves?
- how does it work in practice?
- learning by being a slave first: pros and cons
Mastering Your Own Life (Sir Gary)
- time management: making room for a slave in your life
- money issues: what if the slave makes more than you do?
- toys, equipment, housing: making the most of what you have
Sir Garyage 24, Allentown, PA
Born in California, I knew I had an interest in BDSM at age 17, and it was solidified at 21. My first glint of fetish started at 5 - my best friend and I would compare how far each could piss. Later, a good family friend was in the service, and he took me on the military base. I asked and got my face painted in grease camo paints and my head buzzed. My first vanilla relationship lasted two years, from age 17 to 19, and my BF told me he could see something brewing because of my insistence on wanting to piss on him. Piqued by a smattering of BDSM stories I had read, once I moved out on my own at 21, I found a "pig" and forced myself into trying some of the activites in those stories. My interest was instantly confirmed by that first experience. I then sought guidance, sitting in BDSM chatrooms online till I found what felt like a good "mentor." I met him offline, and his friend came along and agreed to be the boy for me to try some new stuff on. In the 3 1/2 years since then I have sought various opportunities to learn what drives someone to service, how to encourage them in it, and defining my own boundaries to keep myself in check.
Action Plan: Making It Real
Public DisplayI have done some public display in the past and found it a bit stressful ó being mindful of where my slave is standing, protecting him, and taking in the responses of others. Some will look, some will make jeering comments, and others will ask questions. Itís my responsibility to learn how to deal with all these reactions. Public display of my dominance over a slave takes planning and some guts, but I have an exhibitionistic streak, and it drives me. Doing more of it builds my self-confi- dence and also confirms my slaveís place. My ideas here are a mix of things Iíve tried and others I still want to try.
- Keeping him behind me. Having my slave follow behind keeps each of us aware of our place. It also gives me a comfortable personal space that my slave will become used to respecting. Itís easier for him to pick up my walking patterns from behind, and onlookers may pick up the subtlety of whoís leading and whoís following . Reminding him occasionally where to follow reassures him that I know heís back there.
- Having him dress/groom as I like. Parents dress their kids up in clothes they like or make them wear their hair a certain way, and I enjoy doing the same with a slave. Checking him for proper grooming, such as a shaved head, requires consistency and direction. Just because he shaved his head last time doesnít mean heíll come the same way a few days later. Stating ahead of time what Iíd like to see and acknowledging his obedience lets him know Iím aware of his service and willingness to follow my direction.
- Learning to answer for both of us. When others approach to ask questions, Iíve noticed myself turning too often to my slave for feedback. Learning more about my slaveís thoughts, likes, and dislikes will allow me to answer confidently for both of us in a public situation.
- Coming out and bringing him along. Admitting more freely to friends my interests in D/s and bringing him along will make each new situation that much easier. Though some divisions between work and personal life need to remain, Iíve discovered that the friends Iíve told about my D/s interests took it fairly well when eased into it. Bringing my slave along is the next step.
Self-management / slave managementIf you want to be a Master of another man, floating through life wonít do. Dictating parts of another manís life requires you to manage your own first. Self-management and personaldevelopment books abound. I suggest reading one over for ideas. Each chapter heading will hit on some areas -- daily habits, grooming, timeliness, completing projects -- of benefit to you or that you may want to train your slave on. Time management is the one Iíve had the most difficulty with.
- Making good use of your time. Training a slave in your free time is great, if you have abundant free time. Making him part of your normal life shows him a more natural side of who you are, and feels less like youíre constantly entertaining him. Iíve planned an entire weekend as I normally would if he wasnít there, bringing him along to the farmers market, setting out vegetables for him to cut up for dinner, making him set the table and do the cleanup, and so on.
- Continuing training outside sessions. I make it a point to provide an assignment that has to be completed before the next session. Itís critical to follow up on this -- check his work, ask him questions about when he did it and how long it took. These are hours he served you, even while not in your presence, and should be recognized. The latency effect of the continuing assignments is helpful when he returns in person again. In his mind he just served you yesterday by completing your assignment, so returning him to the proper head space in person is easier. Sample assignment: pick a topic -- perhaps a review of how he groomed/dressed himself before coming over -- and have him write the entire piece without using "I."
- Keeping expectations reasonable. When making a writing assignment or creating new training, add on only or two items at a time. A grocery-store list of expectations is often more than either side can handle. Unless you have a good history of giving these demands and following through, such as being a Marine D.I., set lower expectations. Training for me is a cumulative process where I come up with a new idea, brainstorm it, solidify the goals I want to achieve, and keeps tabs of the progress and failures.
- Practicing to build confidence. Using my considerable driving time, I go through what happened in training and ready myself for the next session by having a Master/slave conversation. Out loud in a normal voice, I go over what I will say, imagine what questions he might ask or answers he might make, and then respond to him. Think itís difficult to talk in front of a group and come up with answers on the spur of the moment? Itís equally difficult if youíve got a slave kneeling and looking up at you for guidance. But if you build on what you already do in life by mastering yourself and evaluate what you can transfer over, you can create a better D/s relationship.
Master Jeffage 33, New York, NY
To my amazement, there were incredibly few resources online or in print for Masters and slaves (with a particular deficiency for Masters). Most literature seemed to focus on safe, sane, consensual BDSM only. Attending MAsT meetings was helpful, however, as some of the men seemed to understand the complex philosophical issues and unique problems that arise in such relationships. Two years later, my slave has become my boy (that's what love can do sometimes to a Dom/sub relationship), we still live together, and I have a second, part-time slave. I believe that I am an excellent example of a Master whose exploration of dominance and sadism has been helped and hastened by the Internet.
I remember speaking with a psychotherapist friend of mine (a man I deeply respected) about my kinky urges. I was about 25 at the time and thought that these feelings perhaps came from some unseen, previously unnoticed negative place deep within me. His response was to simply shrug his shoulders, as if it wasn't really worthy of analysis. "Why not just explore and see," he told me, and so my vanilla sex life began its not-so-slow, inevitable death. At the time, my residence was Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Although I felt quite comfortable in the various leather bars, my primary focus was on exploring the sadistic tendencies I had been stifling, not in developing a social network within its large and diverse leather community. The Internet, and AOL in particular, became a great help in finding men with similar interests who were less likely to prejudge me based on my age and slight figure.
By the time I moved to New York City in 2000, my experience was broad for someone who was essentially self-taught. Two months after moving here, I found an amazing slave. It was clear to me that a 24/7 Dom/sub relationship was the only type that was possible with this boy, and, while I had not been seeking a Dom/sub lifestyle, I was certainly willing to see if we could make it work.
Action Plan: Setting and Achieving Goals
- Know what you want.
I believe that itís much easier to react to a slaveís actions ("I like when he does that," or "I know I donít want him to do that anymore") than to know exactly what we expect from a slave and to proactively teach it to him.
Exercise: Without the aid of books or the Internet, write out a slave contract that you consider ideal. Is it more focused on large or small issues? How difficult is it to define what you want? If you canít put it on paper, does that imply that youíre uncertain what you seek in a relationship? If you can come up with a contract that youíre satisfied with, is it realistic? Perhaps itís better to write up one contract for an ideal situation and a second one that is more realistic, then try to reconcile the two.
- Know how to get there.
Exercise: Set goals! If youíre in a M/s relationship, do you have long- and short-term goals written down? The old clichť is true: you canít reach a goal you donít set. When I met my boy, I had one big goal in mind and a lot of small ones. None were committed to paper. Unfortunately, the one big goal was unrealistic and ill-advised, and my smaller goals were mostly inconsequential, minute details unrelated to my one big goal. Had I mapped out smaller goals to reach my one large goal, I probably would have realized much earlier that I was not getting the results I wanted and would have changed my methods and short-term goals accordingly. If youíre not in a relationship, itís still necessary to have goals, although they may need to be very flexible to take into account that the slave you end up with may not be the kind you originally envisioned.
- Seek to understand the slave mind.
We must constantly seek to understand what makes a slave tick if we can ever hope to motivate one to serve. Many suggest that a Master should serve another Master to understand what the slave goes through, but that route is definitely not for everyone. Hereís an alternative . . .
Exercise: After a scene with your slave (of whatever length), write a journal entry about the scene as if you had been the slave. How did you expect your actions to teach and train the slave? Describe the effect it would have had on you if you had been the slave and the Masterís methods had been fully successful. Have your slave write a journal entry as well, from his own viewpoint, and then read the two together. Chances are good that your slave will have a good laugh at your expense, so have a sense of humor about it all.
Master JW30, Roanoke, VA
Action Plan: Know Yourself
- Get to know yourself. Who are you? What are your wants and needs? What are you capable of? The motto of the Winston-Salem MAsT chapter: "Self-knowledge is the most important field of study." Donít be afraid to be vulnerable and honest, especially with yourself. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. A Master needs a slave just as a slave needs a Master to kneel to. Masters are people like any others -- we have needs and wants, make mistakes and have things to learn. How can you ever expect to develop trust and intimacy if you are not personal and show who you are? A slave is eventually going to learn everything about you, even your flaws and weaknesses. Identify these yourself, work to overcome them and be honest about them. Expect the same in return.
- Get your own life in order. How can you ever expect a slave to put himself in your hands if you have not gotten your own life in order? A slave is not going to solve your problems. A slave will serve you and enhance your life. Build a firm foundation to own a slave. Be ready to take your journey together.
- READ, READ, READ! Books about Master/slave relationships are slowly starting to appear, and there are some online resources. Try to read as many home pages for leather families and contracts you can find. Be discerning: is the contract or Web page portrayal realistic, or is it a fetish document? How can you tell? Also read S/M technique books, leather magazine columns, and Collars newsletter. [Its last issue was June 2003.] Even erotic fiction is great if you read with a critical and psychological eye and distinguish reality from fiction (or friction).
- Observe leather households. Visit leather households or attend educational leather events and observe the dynamics and structure. Watch what works and what would be awkward for you. The point is not to carbon copy, but to learn structure and patterns and see how the daily life of a Master/ slave household works. Is this what you truly desire?
- Learn to show joy and happiness. A slave thrives on pleasing. To not be able to emote, show joy, or communicate satisfaction is a sure way to lose a slave. A Master must be capable of showing his feelings. To show happiness is not a sign of weakness and does not make a Master any less masculine.
- Cultivate empathy and insight. Practice seeing multiple perspectives or figuring out the cause and effect of human behavior. A slave is a complicated being, and a Master cannot be telepathic. Learning to appreciate and understand othersí ideas and feelings will serve you well in any relationship.
- Talk to formerly owned slaves. slaves are people, not worthless beings. they exist to serve, so allow them to serve you by relaying their experiences. Ask them about their successes and failures in other relationships. Find out about the fears and callings of being a slave.
- Talk to other Masters. Many Masters you encounter online or in person can be a wealth of support and information. Generally, if older Masters can tell you are serious, they may invest their time. Remember: give these Masters the respect they deserve and approach them cordially. Ask about how they first got started. Everybody starts somewhere! Becoming comfortable enough to speak with a Master you feel is credible will be of tremendous value.
Master Rickage 30, Chicago, IL
I've been involved with the Chicago leather community for about six years. I participate actively in the MAsT Chicago chapter, have volunteered for the set crew at International Mr. Leather (IML), am an associate member of Trident Windy City, and am involved with TNGC (The Next Generation Chicago), a group of BDSM people age 35 and under. I also enjoy attending Chicago Hellfire Club parties and supporting the leatherboy community whenever possible. My slave, jeffrey, was collared about 15 months ago, and I enjoy being part of the leather community with him behind me. We met at a MAsT Chicago meeting in May of 2001. While talking at Cellblock shortly after the meeting, I mentioned that I was looking for a piss slave during the IML contest. Jeffrey agreed, and a great relationship was born. I served as a volunteer for the Leather Archives & Museum - located in Chicago and serving the world - before becoming its second executive director (succeeding Joseph Bean) in February 2002. Currently I'm pursuing a Master of Library Science degree.
Action Plan: Marketing and Branding
The Making of McMasterEvery year millions of companies around the world spend a huge amount of money on their images. The creation, development, preservation, and defense of a corporationís image is of ultimate importance. Burger King has generated revenue by getting people to walk in the door who "want it [my] way." Whatís the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Prudential Insurance? Itís most likely the image of a large rock. Not a bad image for a company that depends on being perceived as solid and well founded.
I would argue that having a good image is also important in finding a quality slave. (I could make the same case about slaves searching for Masters, but thatís not what this workshop is about.) Marketing and branding can help build your image. I donít intend to apply a corporate agenda or profitmaking formula to the search for D/s relationships. Marketing yourself doesnít mean running ads in the New York Times. It doesnít mean flying an airplane over Yankee Stadium, although be my guest if it suits your fancy. It means sending a message through actions and proven performance. When I speak of "branding," Iím not thinking of focus groups or creating Ken dolls that look like you. Iím talking about proving that you have something to offer. Branding in this sense is also about being consistent in what you are and what you are not. These concepts are especially important for young Masters. The leather-fetish-BDSM community is becoming more global, more versatile, more pansexual, and more open to alternative forms of relationship and family. I think itís important to define and "announce" exactly where you fall in this growing scheme of things.
There are several ways a potential Master can market himself:
- Let people know you are searching for a slave ó at least those who are comfortable with or accepting of the M/s dynamic. You donít have to go into the details of what youíre looking for. Whether or not youíll fit can be determined on a first meeting.
- Develop a Web site. It may cost a little money to do it right, but you have something to say. This is an easy way to get it put out there. Much M/s searching is done electronically through online chat or message boards. Having a central place to post a picture, to say what youíre about, and what your looking for can save you lots of time in the end.
- Participate in discussions. There are in-person discussions (such as MasT meetings) and online discussions (such as the RealMastersNslaves group). Your participation in these mediums will naturally let people know you are searching.
Branding is really hard to put into words. Itís making yourself into a package. Itís demonstrating your values and beliefs through action. What are some words that describe who you are? Aggressive, honest, committed, safe, an expert "electrician," an "at home" type of person, an "on the go" type of person? Do your actions reflect these words? Using myself as an example, I wanted to let potential slaves know that I was very serious about M/s relationships, that I am committed and honest, that I enjoy playing in public spaces and lead a very active lifestyle. I made sure my actions reflected these values. I heavily participated in MAsT/Chicago. I made attendance at meetings a very high priority. I also participated in CHC public events.
Marketing and branding arenít necessary to find a slave. You can count on luck, or your friends, or destiny. But to increase your chances, think about what you have to offer. You can turn this into image by advertising yourself and putting actions behind what you stand for.
Masters And slaves Together/NYC is a group of men who are seriously interested in discussing and supporting Master/slave, Daddy/boy, and other male Dominant/submissive relationships. We do not sponsor play parties or match up partners -- though couples have met at our meetings. We meet on the fourth Sunday of most months from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Center. A donation of $5 is requested to cover expenses, but no one is turned away. There is no formal membership or officers. Decisions are made by consensus at meetings or by an informal steering committee in between meetings. Currently the steering committee consists of Master Lester (treasurer), Master Tip, slaveBEAST (e-mail list), james, slave neil. The best way to stay in touch is through our Yahoo! group; e-mail slaveBEAST (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information. Our Web pages are part of the MAsT International site at www.mast.net.
Like another Masters and slaves Together (MAsT) NYC program on longevity, this is such an important topic, with such good points to remember, that I wanted to preserve it in writing as a reference on this site. The program was held October 27, 2002, with the help of these generous co-sponsors:
- Leather by Danny: Quality leather restraints and dungeon equipment - wholesale and retail.
Famous for his gripper cuffs, Danny's commitment to produce quality products for the kink community is neverending.
- Cristo's Blades: The leather communityís premier vendor of knives ó the stock carried by Cristoís Blades is very robust and great quality. You can order right from Cristo in person at the many leather events he attends.
- Gay Male S/M Activists (was) The world's largest and most respected organization of men who are seriously interested in safe, sane, and consensual s/m.
- EXEMPLAR P R I N T I N G C O M P A N Y: "We want your business and we're not afraid to admit it!"
- The LURE Bar, 409 W. 13th St., New York City
New York's premier leather bar, where local leather/levi clubs hold their bar nights and events and the hottest leathermen cruise.
Special Thanks to:
- slave david stein for editing and designing the promotional flyer and program book
- setup/tear-down volunteers: bill, slave carl, james, boy keith, slave ken
- Exemplar Printing / Lolita Wolf for printing services
- The Center, www.gaycenter.org, for meeting space and a home
Contents copyright © 2002 by the authors; all rights reserved.
Sections reprinted here by the kind permission of the authors Sir Gary, Master Jeff, Master JW, and Master Rick and Masters and slaves Together (MAsT) NYC.