A Weekend Vow of Silence

When I was fifteen, I took a weeklong vow of silence.  I learned a lot, and as the years went on, I frequently thought of doing it again.

Now, it’s been over eight years since the weeklong vow.  A lot has changed. So I thought I had a lot to potentially learn with a second go round, in what felt like almost a new life. 

When I first pitched that concept, Mistress was skeptical. I’m her main source of company, after all. So, years passed, but a new comment on “The Benefits of Silence” brought it back to the front of my mind.  I mentioned the comment to Mistress offhandedly, but it seemed her outlook on it had changed; she offered that if I wanted to do a version of it again, she might be willing within certain parameters.

I didn’t press right away—the timing wasn’t right—but a few weeks later, I floated a more specific idea, and she agreed.

Just a weekend vow of silence—from the time I fell asleep Friday night until the time I woke up Monday morning.

So came Saturday morning.

My morning alarm went off. I stirred on my usual blanket on the floor and shut it. I hit the pager transmitter button and got into Unleashing Position, cold air hitting my bare skin as always. 

Now, I wrote a post on our morning ritual: “24/7 High Protocol: First Thing in the Morning”. And when I say in it, “This is how I wake up pretty much every morning,” I really mean word for word.

Being 24/7 high protocol, many of our required interactions are so scripted that I really didn’t need to speak my lines at all. Realizing the true extent of that was interesting.

Mistress came in and unleashed me. She gave me permission to use the restroom, so I didn’t need to ask. And today, the required, Thank you, Mistress, was an appreciative nuzzle.

For the first vow, there had been more planning.  Negotiating with my parents and teachers, warning friends, carrying a makeshift whiteboard with a brief note on the back explaining the project.

This time, I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone other than Mistress, and didn’t really plan to until it was over.

I started to wonder about this when I went on my morning walk (Mistress, as usual, predicting my required notification that I was leaving, so I didn’t have to text). 

Doing the same mile loop at the same time each morning, I tended to pass largely the same few people and dogs whom I was used to greeting. Still, I reflected, a nod or smile or wave wasn’t that out of place.

Later, I relied on Instacart instead of a quick walk to the store when the sealed milk in the fridge unexpectedly expired early, and quietly headed inside when I sensed the neighbor might be about to make conversation over the back wall. (He sent his young son to our front door with the lemons from their garden instead—Mistress got the door, though that’s usually my job.) 

I mentioned Mistress’ early skepticism.  

At first it seemed that while she would now allow the weekend vow, it was without enthusiasm. But as the time’d approached, her enthusiasm had risen.

At first, she talked about how I would be choosing not to talk that weekend. Then it was about how I wasn’t allowed to talk that weekend, an important distinction. Something I would happen to be doing (with permission) versus something she would actively be enforcing. 

By the time I served brunch on Saturday—9:30 as always, hitting the ever handy pager transmitter button and assuming Waiting Position behind my usual chair—she was getting more enthused. “You may sit,” she said first—I already wasn’t allowed to do that or ask to on any other day, always silent as she did a quick check on my position, the table setting, whatnot, so that was as normal.

She noted that she was more talkative at brunch, as she was doing one hundred percent of the talking.  She mocked my required silence happily and was already verbally plotting a third, pet play based vow of silence that I could spend leashed to her desk with maybe my notebook, but it would be a digital detox day, too. I’d already done a digital detox day recently, and spend plenty of hangout time leashed to her desk while we do our own things, me on the floor.

I decided to take the plotting as a good sign.

Saturday is our review day.  We both have reflection and planning worksheets to fill out and share with each other, and other review tasks. I write a weekly summary of my daily slave journal entries and bring her the notebook.

So it was a good silent day of self reflection.

(This later got moved to Friday, but—at the time.)

I felt no strong urge to break my silence, as I hadn’t the last time, and there were no accidental slips (there was one, during the first vow, an exclamation when someone dropped something). 

The only thing that really gave me pause this time was the amount I apparently “talk” (more like mouthing words) to and for myself, and to and for my fictional characters, and putting that on pause even when alone. And, no conversations with the kitties.

I still felt very strongly connected to my fiction that weekend, even old, typically forgotten projects coming back into my mind. 

As I was silent, the background noise of my head seemed to have the volume turned up a notch: my inner monologue, what I call the music station, the white noise and conversational chatter, the fading out of this world and into my characters’, the intrusive delusional thoughts. 

It was around my fifteenth birthday that I experienced my first definitive symptoms of what wasn’t diagnosed for almost another three years as paranoid schizophrenia. I was much newer to psychosis during my first vow.

But now, I had more insight into such changes and more sangfroid in handling them (and a better medication choice), just observing my mind curiously. 

Communication, when I did feel the urge, was slow.

I realized I remembered most of the ASL alphabet, but Mistress didn’t, and it felt like cheating, anyway. 

More of my communication was regularly happening electronically than at the time of the last vow.  Mistress, my mom, my readers, my butler school instructor, the tenants.  I tried not to chat incessantly, but used messaging when I really had something to say. I put off asking permission to return one non urgent property management call until Monday. 

At one point, I asked Mistress for permission to use the restroom in person. Our typical protocol dictates that I wait in the doorway of her office (the loft) silently when I want her attention, waiting for her to acknowledge me.

So when she did, I pointed to myself and to the bathroom doorway perpendicular to what serves as her doorway.  She didn’t get my vague gesturing, though, and after several tries, she was standing in the bathroom looking around in confusion when the oh moment struck, and she granted it, which counted as permission to leave, cutting my figuring out how to ask if there was anything else I could do to be of service, then permission to go, without speaking. 

So I just curtsied and went into the restroom, leaving the door unlocked as always.

Sunday (and Wednesday and Friday) nights, sex is scheduled at 9 PM. (The schedule has shifted a bit since.)

It really went largely as normal—it’s not like I say much other than a, Yes, Mistress, here and there. As is pretty typical, I wasn’t allowed to come, but after, seeing to turndown and a few last tasks, settling onto my blanket on the floor for the night, I was allowed to masturbate there, and that was very nice.

So went my silent weekend.

It was interesting to compare the two experiences, to replicate the vow with the way my life is now, being a high protocol slave and all. I think there will always be some fun new observations.

I’ve decided to do it about once a year. Maybe one day we’ll do Mistress’ plotted pet play version. And every other day, we have the speak when spoken to rule for a taste of that feeling.

Our Contract

This contract supersedes all other versions of this contract as of the date it is published. It will stand until a new Ownership Contract has been published in its place.

This contract is an agreement to a 24/7 live in Mistress/slave dynamic. Kate and Hannah are married; Hannah is Kate’s owned and collared slave.

This contract is an exclusive agreement. Both agree to be monogamous. This means no power exchange, romance, kinky play, cohabitating, or sexual activity with other people, unless discussed.

Schedule

This schedule is only to be broken with good reason.

Weekly

  • Every Sunday, Hannah will handle shopping.
  • Every Monday, sex at 4PM.
  • Every Tuesday, Hannah will see to additional/deep cleaning tasks in the kitchen as needed. Hannah will give Kate a pedicure at 4PM.
  • Every Wednesday, Kate and Hannah will play ping pong after dinner. Hannah will see to additional/deep cleaning tasks in the bathrooms as needed.
  • Every Thursday, Hannah will put the outdoor trash cans down by the curb. Sex at 4PM.
  • Every Friday, Hannah will bring the trash cans up the driveway once they’ve been emptied. After brunch, Maintenance will occur. Maintenance discipline sessions are defined as private and non sexual. Hannah will tell Kate she is ready, fetch the Discipline Wand, and wait in the bedroom with it in Presenting Object position, nude. Kate will give Hannah a spanking with the Discipline Wand (given over Kate’s knee). Hannah will count some strokes at beginning and end in the format, “One, thank you, Mistress, please may I have another?” Also, Kate and Hannah will complete their weekly reviews.

Holidays

Effort must be made to be together on birthdays and major holidays, and observe traditions as set in the past.

Service & Routine

Daily

Each day, Hannah will complete any tasks that Kates gives her, to the best of her ability, before they are due, with a positive attitude.

Each day, at Hannah’s convenience, the following tasks should be completed or checked on:

  • Fetch and distribute the mail on a regular schedule.
  • Generally keep the house and car tidy.
  • File papers regularly.
  • Collect, wash, dry, and put away the laundry, following Kate’s guidelines; wash everything on a reasonable schedule; maintain any needed mending.
  • Keep surfaces and furniture clean/handle dusting.
  • Keep floors clean.
  • Maintain the pool and yard.
  • Handle the trash as needed.
  • Alert Kate to any home maintenance issues or handle minor ones.
  • Ensure the cats’ litter box is handled; alert Kate to any possible vet issues.
  • Restock specified items in the household as needed on a reasonable schedule.

Morning

  • Wake up by 8:10 AM.
  • Dress in her Uniform.
  • Complete her morning exercise routine (walk; one mile).
  • Make the bed and fold her blanket.
  • Adjust blinds, lights, windows, and scents.
  • Prepare another pot of coffee.
  • Water plants as needed, and see to the cats’ food and water.
  • Serve brunch at 9:30 AM, table and food to Kate’s preferences.
  • The kitchen must be cleaned immediately after brunch is complete.

Evening

  • Serve dinner at 6 PM, table and food to Kate’s preferences.
  • The kitchen must be cleaned immediately after dinner is complete, and a pot of coffee prepped for the morning.
  • Write her slave journal entry.
  • Shut all usual window coverings and lights; shut all windows and lock all exterior doors. Generally shut down the house.
  • Turn down the bed; lay out turndown card; unfold her blanket.
  • Be ready for the morning.
  • Fill the humidifier.

Monthly

  • Ensure the air filters get changed.
  • Clean all mirrors.
  • See to any needed leather care.
  • Handle budget items on specified days.

Quarterly

  • Wash accessible windows.
  • Change HEPA prefilters.
  • Rotate the mattress.
  • Change toothbrushes.
  • Ensure the sliding door gets maintained.
  • Sharpen knives.

Annually

  • Have less accessible windows cleaned.
  • Clean walls.
  • Test household safety features.
  • Have an exterminator spray downstairs.
  • Get the vacuum serviced.
  • Change HEPA filters.
  • Ensure the cats get professionally groomed.

Other

  • Have a home inspection once every five years.

Permissions

Hannah is required to have Kate’s permission to do any of the following:

  • Touching herself sexually, or orgasming.
  • Showering, when Kate is home.
  • Inviting people over, when Kate is home or expected to be home.
  • Uploading photos, deleting photos, or setting a profile photo on FetLife. This does not apply to the TNG account.
  • Leaving the house for any reason other than getting the mail, going for her morning walk, or going to the office. 
  • Using the bathroom, when Kate is present and awake. (If in vanilla company, Hannah may request permission for this by tapping Kate’s knee three times. Kate will answer subtly/nonverbally.)
  • Making a phone or video call when Kate is present (Hannah will notify her when no longer on the call).  If she receives a call, she may answer, and will notify Kate as soon as possible.

Rules

  • Hannah may not unfriend anyone on FetLife; she may, however, unfollow. This does not apply to the TNG account.
  • Hannah may not change the thermostat, when Kate is home.
  • Hannah may not create an account on any standard social media platform.
  • Hannah may not be answerable to someone who is not Kate (ex: have a job).
  • Hannah will archive, not delete, emails unless they are explicitly spam.
  • Hannah may not use tobacco, nicotine, marijuana, vaping, alcohol, or smoking products.
  • Hannah will change her prescription medications only with the approval of the prescribing physician, and notify Kate for final approval.
  • Hannah will not use baby powder.
  • Hannah will not own any pets.
  • Hannah will not lock interior doors (she may lock the bathroom when company is present).
  • Orders that Hannah receives from other people are to be redirected to Kate for approval.
  • Hannah will speak respectfully and honestly to Kate at all times.
  • Hannah will answer any message, call, or summons from Kate requiring response as soon as she can.
  • Hannah will notify Kate when she is leaving the house, and notify Kate when she is returning, if she has been gone longer than twenty minutes. She will generally keep Kate informed of her plans and will allow Kate to track her location.
  • Hannah will park the car in the shade, and refuel before hitting 1/4 tank, if possible.
  • Hannah will be responsible for interacting with delivery people and answering the door.
  • Nighttime leashing protocols are as follows: if Kate is home and awake, Hannah will ask her to remove or put on the leash. If Kate is asleep or out of the house, Hannah may remove the leash for a few minutes if needed, and will releash herself upon returning if she does. If Kate is asleep when it’s time for morning unleashing, Hannah will wake her; if Kate is out of the house at that time, Hannah may unleash herself. Leashing or unleashing by Kate will be done in Leashing Position. Hannah will generally be leashed for the night at Evening Inspection. If Kate is out at that time, Hannah may leash herself for the night. If Kate is asleep at that time, Hannah will wake her. Hannah will sleep on the floor at the foot of the bed.
  • When entering Kate’s office, Hannah will wait quietly near the entrance until she is acknowledged. If Kate cannot see her from where she is, she may move into the room as needed and wait. If Hannah enters a space Kate is in and does not make eye contact, it will be assumed that she is passing through, retrieving an object, etc., and will not be counted as “in Kate’s presence” (and thus not requiring verbal exchange before leaving.)

Without Vanilla Company Protocols

  • When in Kate’s presence and not standing, Hannah will assume her General Kneeling Position next to Kate.  She will ask Kate’s permission before changing position on the floor.  She will not sit on the furniture or ask Kate’s permission to, unless directed by Kate.  This does not apply to the bed. She will wait behind her chair in Waiting Position before meals.
  • Before leaving Kate’s presence, Hannah will ask if there’s anything else she can do to be of service. If yes, she will do so first. When there is nothing else, she will ask for permission to leave. If granted, she will curtsy before she leaves.
  • Hannah will respond to orders with, “Yes, Mistress,” unless it would be disruptive to the conversation.  Response will be based on intention, not phrasing. 
  • Hannah will respond to permission or favor grants or denials with, “Thank you, Mistress,” unless it would be disruptive to the conversation.  Response will be based on intention, not phrasing. 
  • Hannah will respond to compliments or critiques with, “Thank you, Mistress,” unless it would be disruptive to the conversation.  Response will be based on intention, not phrasing. 
  • Hannah will address Kate as Mistress whenever clearly appropriate.
  • When asking for a permission, Hannah will use “may” (not “can”), always say please, and address Kate as Mistress, unless it would be disruptive to the conversation.
  • Hannah will wait for Kate to initiate interactions/speak only when spoken to. She may then assume permission to speak for the duration of that interaction. If she needs to request permission to speak, she will use Speech Request Position.

Positions

Slave positions include:

  • General Kneeling Position: kneeling on the floor where directed, knees apart, big toes crossed in back (right over left), hands folded at small of back (right over left, right thumb over left thumb), back straight. Transition to kneeling: place hands in position, lower slowly to both knees at once, keeping the back straight, without wobbling, then spread knees. Transition back to standing: close knees, kneel up, stand one leg at a time, keeping the back straight, without wobbling.
  • Leashing Position: kneeling on the floor at foot of bed, knees apart, big toes crossed in back (right over left), leash across both palms, hands resting on thighs, hair/head out of the way, collar o-ring in front, back straight. If Hannah is on the bed, she will sit up cross legged on the bed, the rest the same.
  • Corner Position: standing facing wall, legs together, arms boxed behind back, nose touching wall, back straight, silent and still unless prompted.
  • Inspection Position: standing in front of Kate, legs spread, hands clasped behind head, head/eyes straight, back straight.
  • Waiting Position: standing where directed, legs together, hands folded at small of back, right over left, right thumb over left thumb, back straight, head/eyes down.
  • Presenting Object Position: “General Kneeling Position”, but with object across both palms, hands resting on thighs, head/eyes down.
  • Speech Request Position: wrists crossed in front against the waist, fists closed.
  • Curtsy: from neutral/standing, back straight, lower head and eyes, grip hem of shirt or skirt on both sides between thumb and index finger and pull it slightly out, pinkies extended, place ball of right foot behind left heel, briefly bend at the knees, straighten, place feet back to neutral, release hem, raise head and eyes slightly.

Uniform

For Hannah’s daily Uniform, she will wear her assigned black and red plaid top, black knee socks, black leggings, black bra, black underwear, collar, and wedding ring. She will keep her pager clipped to her leggings (she may also keep her phone there if desired; headphones are generally permitted). Pager and wedding ring may be removed and set nearby for tasks such as doing dishes. Shoes, if worn, will be the assigned black boots. She may choose her own jackets and bags until told otherwise, and use bathrobes, sunglasses, aprons, masks, and gloves as reasonable. Hannah will sleep nude, except for her collar/leash and wedding ring.

Her clothes should generally look neat, be in good repair, and fit well.  She will bathe regularly and shave any body hair each time she showers, keep her bangs at a reasonable length, and keep her nails short.  Kate will inspect Hannah’s job of shaving immediately after each time she showers, in Inspection Position. Her hair will be left down.

Hannah may add, remove, or change out Uniform clothing items without prior permission if it is necessary to maintain a vanilla facade.  She will notify Kate of it as soon as reasonable. Any other visible changes must be approved.

Daily Inspections

Each day at 10:30 AM, Kate will ensure that Hannah’s morning services were adequately completed, and let her know the results either way, handling punishment if necessary. She will inspect Hannah and her uniform in Inspection Position (Hannah should be waiting in position in the bedroom at 10:30). Hannah will offer Kate lotion. This will be happen immediately after Maintenance on Fridays.

Each day at 9:45 PM, Kate will ensure that Hannah’s evening services were adequately completed, and let her know the results either way, handling punishment if necessary. She will inspect Hannah nude in Inspection Position and then leash her for the night. Hannah should be waiting in position, undressed, in the bedroom at 9:45). Hannah will offer Kate lotion.

Punishment

Hannah is subject to being punished by Kate. When Kate decides that Hannah should be punished, she will use the following method to do so.

  • Hannah will be instructed to fetch the Discipline Wand and go to the bedroom.
  • Hannah will wait in the Presenting Object Position, nude, and presenting the Discipline Wand until directed otherwise.
  • Before spanking, Kate will prompt Hannah for why she is being punished.
  • Kate will spank Hannah with the Discipline Wand in a position of her choosing, specifying if she is to count (format: “One, thank you, Mistress, please may I have another?”)
  • Hannah will be sent to the corner for some amount of time after her spanking, Corner Position.
  • Kate will release Hannah from corner time at the conclusion of her punishment.

Facing Issues

Both agree to raise issues verbally for small issues, and in writing for more involved issues.  The written report will include what happened to trigger the report, how it made the person feel, why they felt that way, what can be done to make it better right now, and what needs to be true for this to not happen again.  The issue will be raised as soon as possible within reason.

Light Slave Duty

Light Slave Duty is the term used to describe a period of time when Hannah will have reduced duties, due to illness, etc. Hannah may request Light Slave Duty, or request to be off of Light Slave Duty. Kate will decide when Light Slave Duty is in effect, and communicate this to Hannah.

While in effect, the following changes are observed:

  • Daily Inspections may be skipped with no punishment.
  • Service & Routine tasks may be skipped with no punishment.
  • Schedule items may be skipped with no punishment.
  • Note: Hannah must still prepare coffee for the next morning at her convenience.

Understanding

The dynamic follows a total irrevocable consent model of M/s, and Hannah will not invoke safewords, limits, relationship termination, or any other form of refusal.  This contract is a tool to communicate the current understandings and cannot be “enforced” from Hannah’s side.  Kate may verbally make exceptions to, add to, remove, or change its contents, and will endeavor to maintain the overall integrity of the agreement as a matter of honor rather than due to enforceability.  If Kate chooses to dissolve the dynamic, she agrees to do so in a reasonable manner after due communication, and be open to ongoing discussion on further agreements. 

Publishing

This document will be considered published when it has been printed out and signed by Kate and Hannah. At that time, it is considered in effect and remains so until and unless replaced.

M/s vs. D/s

D/s is a power dynamic where one partner (the Dominant) consensually maintains some level of power in certain areas over the other (the submissive).

M/s is a power dynamic where one partner (the Master/Mistress) consensually maintains a very high level of power in many or all areas over the other (the slave). It has a higher connotation with 24/7.

Neither of these relationship dynamics inherently connects to romance, sex, or kinky play.

A commonly heard idea in discussions about D/s vs. M/s comes down to when the choice to obey is made. Obedience in M/s is often seen as a one-time decision; the slave decides to obey when they become the slave of their M-type, and that decision is never really made again, because it’s already been decided. Obedience in D/s is often seen as more of an active decision each time the submissive follows their Dominant’s will, with each act of obedience seen as accompanied by a bit more of a thought process. Relatedly—internal enslavement is something I see referred to almost exclusively in M/s language.

D/s tends towards more negotiating than M/s, so a submissive might think about the implications of following an order more than a slave. If they do it now, does that set the expectation that they’re always okay with it, or that they’re okay with an escalation path going forth from it? A slave who gives up more control might not think of those things because they might not matter as much.

In those negotiations, it is more often seen in M/s that the slave does not have safewords, hard or soft limits, or the full ability to leave the relationship. It is rarer in D/s for the submissive to not have those things.

D/s is kind of a “headspace enforced” situation. If the submissive is not feeling like obeying at that moment, I see a lot of “then the headspace needs to be fixed” (often by the Dominant). M/s is more of a “headspace expected” situation, where the slave obeys whether they want to or not, and if they don’t want to in that moment, it’s not viewed as a problem; there’s just the expectation that they still want to obey overall, and their headspace will reflect that better later, in a likely fairly natural way.

Often, in fact, I think that these expectations are good for the desired headspaces in themselves, and the expectations for a submissive might be actively detrimental for a slave, and vice versa. A slave would feel discouraged if their M-type wanted to fix their headspace every time they internally didn’t want to do something; a submissive would feel discouraged if they didn’t get help with their headspace at the same moments. Same for how they feel they should address it within themselves.

The positives of being a submissive are often described as “the joy of the feeling of surrender”. It is associated with something you actively feel. The positives of being a slave are often described as “the joy of serving and pleasing another”. It is associated more with how you make your M-type feel.

With this difference in mindset, D/s often has the submissive’s headspace kept in mind when coming up with specific ways for the submissive to submit, with the submissive’s wanting to do those things being important. M/s more often has the Master/Mistress’ wants being kept in mind when coming up with specific ways for the slave to submit, and their desire to submit overall being the important factor.

I am frequently asked about my thoughts on this subject, and I wanted to create one reference on it; so, here it is.

Sadism vs. CNC

I had an interesting conversation with Mistress on this Valentine’s Day.

“I think I might be a sadist,” she said.

“Why?”

“Well, a few hours ago—“ before the nap I’d needed after “—we had sex, and you were in pain, and I liked that you were in pain.”

Okay. Well, yes, that sounded like sadism—but also wasn’t news. She’d used a neon wand to the point of pain on me just the night before, combined with a chest harness of conductive rope, while our friends watched. We’d done impact scenes that lasted hours and consisted of mostly single tails. So why did enjoying having sex that exacerbated some pre-existing pain trigger this revelation?

Her initial explanation came down to “because you were in pain and didn’t want to be in pain”.

I thought out loud about definitions of sadism I’d seen. In the kink scene, “sadist” and “pain play Top” often get kind of combined and messy. A more classic definition of sadism would say that it was enjoying the pain of others. The difference I spotted was basically enjoying inflicting pain for one reason or another, or enjoying others being in pain for the sake of pain.

I asked, “What do you get out of pain play scenes?”

Well, mostly she enjoyed it because she knew I liked it. And she got to guide me through a journey of sensation. And, sometimes, show off—in the case of a public scene.

None of those really had to do with the pain itself. Of course, pain was involved, she said, but it was something I generally wanted as a part of a scene, pain for the sake of pain.

So that’s what made the sex today different. I was in pain I didn’t want. And she enjoyed it—without my enjoyment, without getting to lead a sensation journey, and without any showing off. If her definition of sadism was just about the pain itself, she could’ve had this revelation from an impact scene. But she hadn’t. Because it wasn’t about the pain.

It was about the fact that I didn’t want the pain; that was the differentiating factor.

We’d had sex, which exacerbated pain I didn’t want to be in, making it hard for me to enjoy it. And she found she especially enjoyed the experience specifically because I was experiencing pain I truly didn’t like.

Having thought through some things out loud, I came to the conclusion: “Maybe it’s not sadism, maybe it’s CNC.”

Because if sadism is about pain, if plenty of people identify as sadists when they are enjoying the pain of someone else when that someone else also enjoys it on some level, then her identification as a sadist wouldn’t depend on me not enjoying it; it also wouldn’t be about just being a pain play Top or not, because she was already definitely that.

It wasn’t about my pain; it was about my consent, and I’m not allowed to say no.

I pointed out that there were other times we’d had sex when I hadn’t wanted to, for reasons that weren’t really pain, per se—I was engaged in something else, I was short on time, I was tired, etc. She’d also very much enjoyed those—but hadn’t used sadism as a word to describe it because pain wasn’t involved. But the issue here wasn’t really pain either, though pain can be hard to define.

I do things as a slave on a daily basis that I really don’t want to do, but I do imagine it’s harder to pin down how you feel about that outside of a scene from the other side of the slash. Watching me do dishes and maybe looking a little agitated and jumping when washing a spoon ends up soaking the front of my clothes, is different than being actively engaged in something that’s clearly making me feel pain. It feels a little more the same from my side, sometimes pain is pain whether it’s from scrubbing or not.

I also pointed out that when providing a real answer to, say, a stranger at a munch about what she does in kink, Mistress usually engages more about having a slave than about whips or rope or fire play.

I think in the end I’m still thinking that this is about consent and not pain, an idea I’ve seen Mistress discover parts of over time, as I have. It’s an interesting concept.

Control/Service-Oriented and Anticipatory/Reactive Service

While service oriented and control oriented are two distinct ways of approaching submission, anticipatory and reactive service are two distinct approaches to service that can be a part of either orientation—here I discuss the meanings and correlations as I see them, with ideas from how I commonly see the phrases discussed.

Service oriented I see as a focus on and fulfillment from what you do in a way (the service itself), whereas control oriented is a focus on and fulfillment from how (such as that service being wrapped in protocol). Service I will simply define for the purposes of this post as the practically executed completion of real, nonsexual tasks done to make someone’s life easier.

Control oriented people I see as generally more likely to have a focus on things like rewards and punishments as a form of control and conditioning, whereas I see service oriented people as generally more likely to find the service itself rewarding and use punishment, if they do, more as a method of communication, with a focus on feedback.

Anticipatory service I see as service that is done without a direct order. Refilling the coffee cup before being told to, for example.

Reactive service I see as service that is done following a direct order, like refilling the coffee cup after being told to.

There are some things that kind of ride the line between anticipatory and reactive, such as following standing orders or a repeating list of tasks. If you make a pot of coffee every day without prompting, but you were to told make a pot of coffee every day, a year ago—is that anticipatory or reactive? What if a year ago you were told to always refill the coffee cup before it’s down to a third of the way full, and now do it without any prompting? The answer is probably somewhere between it depends and both, and neither.

Realistically, a lot of dynamics aren’t one-hundred percent service or one-hundred percent control, nor is the service within them (assuming there is a service component) one-hundred percent reactive or one-hundred percent anticipatory. Hence I define things as what the focus is on.

So how do these ideas correlate?

Many think—and I agree—that control oriented and reactive service match up fairly naturally, as do service oriented and anticipatory service. Anticipatory service leaves room to focus on the tasks themselves, the wonderful mix of art and science of serving. Reactive service gives a sense of control with the tasks; you get more direct interaction and can focus on why you’re doing the tasks as they come up, the beautiful sense of surrendering control to another.

Now, I also believe it can easily go the other way for the service oriented. Service oriented people can get their joy out of making someone’s life easier, and they can easily track results and patterns and smiles in a reactive service setting; they know they are being helpful if they are acting on specific instructions. Control oriented people looking to do more anticipatory service might take interest in the style I mentioned above that kind of rides the anticipatory/reactive line; having standing expectations is a good type of control for some.

Why are these things important? Other than just interesting, they’re useful in conversation, both to discuss some general ideas and when people are looking for compatibility. Being aware of these concepts can help fuel discussions and provide a deeper understanding of what is wanted, and what is compatible with those wants.

So, where do I fall on this spectrum? Personally I’m pretty far down the anticipatory service side. We do use the repeating task lists style in addition to more straightforward anticipatory service, and there is some reactive service—but Mistress sometimes jokes it’s rare she gets the chance to order me to do something before I do it.

We’re both pretty control and service oriented in some ways; though service is perhaps more at the core of our relationship, and I place more value on it in a way, being objectively useful, we’re also high protocol—dressing service up as pleasing. I think I am more likely to enjoy service without protocol than protocol without service. This side of things is what I find fulfilling, but I enjoy talking about all of it because they’re interesting concepts.