I thought I might post the book discussion questions/comments and book sections I created for our book discussion. I always over-prepare. You know how many questions we got to in two hours? Three. We got stuck on the idea of mindfulness and what that actually means.
If you haven’t read Ms. Abernathy’s book, you may want to consider it. Everyone but one person felt it was an excellent primer but also offered reflection points for experienced slaves and Masters. As a side note, there are slave workbook questions and there isn’t a question in there that I did not ask of Sir Raven, prior to entering into our Master/slave relationship. There is no reason, in our minds, why the questions would not be equally useful to both partners.
I have referenced the book in italics, unfortunately we learned the provided page numbers won’t match up because i have to enlarge the book so much that the numbers are way, way off. Sorry about that. 🙂
“All slaves – and dominants, too, for that matter – should cultivate an attitude of mindfulness.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Locations 185-186). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- How important is an attitude of mindfulness? For Masters? For slaves?
“For the slave, it is dharma yoga, the pursuit of one’s true vocation, that is the path to mindfulness. A slave’s mindfulness should encompass her physical body, her mental awareness, her emotional state and, insofar as it is possible, the physical, mental, and emotional state of the dominant.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Locations 189-190). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- Does frustrations resulting from not continuously be capable of producing mindfulness the true culprit behind the constant fetlife questions that revolve around “having a slave mindset” or “a slave heart” or “headspace” or “role”? Are all of these questions really about not developing mindfulness (which is a skill set)?
Early in the book, Ms. Abernathy notes,
“Experienced slaves do often develop a sort of sixth sense, the ability to anticipate the dominant’s needs before he verbalizes them.”
Towards the end, she explains, “As a slave, you do not give up your will. You learn to attune it to another person’s, until the two are as one. This is the real source of that “second sense” that some experienced slaves have: they know their Owners so well that they experience the Owners’ needs and desires as their own. In a sense, then, rather than giving up responsibility, a slave becomes doubly accountable.”
- Do we agree with this idea? The fantasy, of course, is that slaves give up responsibility. The reality may be that we accept the responsibility for attuning our wills to match our Masters will and actively absorb their value system. A lot of the work of “experiencing the Owners needs and desires as our own” is internal, deliberate, mindful work. To me, everything else I do stems from this main task, having internalized her needs and wants as my own. When something occurs that does not match up, it is infrequent, and intensely disturbing to me. How typical is that experience?
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Location 4282). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
“It is a sad fact that many submissives, so adept at caring for others, neglect their own well-being.”
- Ms. Abernathy suggests that trainers should teach good self-care skills and that the responsibility for self-care is of ongoing importance. How often is good self-care skills stressed in your M/s relationship? Whose responsibility is it to ensure the slave is caring for themselves?
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Locations 275-276). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
“Nothing is more disappointing to a submissive than an inattentive dominant.”
- This comment received more highlights on the kindle edition that almost any other reference in the book. How important is it that our Master’s are attentive? What are we looking for that informs us that they are being attentive?
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Locations 295-296). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
“Physical discipline may prove useful for slaves who are physically and psychically able to withstand it.”
- Can an M/s relationship exist without discipline?
- Ms. Abernathy asks slaves-in-training several questions that relate to childhood feelings about being punished. Is this important to consider? Does childhood experiences of punishment factor in to an M/s dynamic?
- The quote above makes it seem like the slaves ability to withstand are going to determine discipline and punishments. It struck me as backward thinking. Thoughts?
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Locations 447-448). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
“Slaves prove their love and devotion at every turn, in the small acts of service that make up their day, but loyalty in times of trouble is the best measure of a slave’s devotion.”
- This might be my favorite quote in the book. When life gives us trouble, any hint of fantasy is removed, and you learn what you have in each other. I think that “loyalty in times of trouble” show the devotion of a Master as well. While my Master may not be devoted to me as a woman, she is devoted to the dynamic. Should a slave actively consider the loyalty of any Master they might accept the collar from?
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Location 559). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
“Group scenes do bring up the matter of jealousy, and it would be unwise to ignore it. Dominant/submissive relationships are by definition possessive, and it is not uncommon for a dominant to resent the attention his slave pays to another dominant (even if it has been negotiated) or for a slave to feel wounded at the sight of “her” dominant with another).”
- Do we agree that D/s relationship “are by definition possessive”?
- What would motivate a Master to set up a situation for their slave to pay attention to someone else if they are going to feel resentful? What would some purposes be for going ahead with group scenes, loaning a slave out, or developing poly relationships anyhow?
“A dominant must be both teacher and student, able to learn from her peers and from her slaves.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Locations 707-708). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- What are some things Masters have learned from their slaves?
“The key aspect of a mistress or master is authority, and especially authority based on personal achievement.”
- What are some examples of authority based on personal achievement?
“Another role is that of the trainer. Trainers often model themselves after athletic, military, or animal trainers; they are often primarily concerned with performance. The trainer is the natural complement to the pet; a butler in the middle position of supervising other slaves may also act as a trainer.”
- Here, the role of trainer is defined as primarily concerned with performance rather than on personal achievement. What are some differences that arise between a primary motivator of the owner being “personal achievement” and “performance”? Are those separate goals? Why or why not?
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Location 746). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
“Love and acceptance are the basis of such a union. A submissive should be first and foremost a trusted companion to the dominant. Obedience, which often stands firmly at the center of any spoken or written contract between a dominant and a slave, grows out of the trust established by love.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Locations 787-788). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- Does obedience grow out of love? It sounds like Ms. Abernathy is suggesting that love begets trust. Then, Trust develops into obedience. How accurate is that in your relationship? Was love, friendship, trust, honor, or obedience stated goals for your relationship?
“Courtesy is, at base, a matter of respect. If we respect another person’s time, personal space, and rights, then we will naturally act in a way that expresses that respect.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Location 818). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- Do we agree with this? I find it very to communicate about things that are about respecting time, personal space, etc. because they are often subtly manipulated and tested rather than overt, belligerent gestures. Does someone touching you (or insisting you hug) after you have said you do not want that communicate a lack of respect for the slave? How about for the slaves Owner?
“We must, in all humility, respect our own needs for food, rest, privacy, recreation and the like. It is a discourtesy to others to be discourteous to oneself, in that denying our own human needs makes us all the more likely to disappoint our friend by being incapable or exhausted.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Locations 823-824). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- Should this advice go for Master’s as well? They are often not wanting to let anyone down any more than a slave, but if they become incapable and exhausted, what happens to the relationship?
“There are three models for a live-in relationship: marital, dependent, and employee.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Location 945). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- What are some thoughts about these models? Does your relationship fit one of these?
“People change more quickly than contracts, so it is inadvisable to sign a contract for more than a year at a time.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Locations 1004-1005). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- Does anyone use contracts? Has anyone had experience with the concept of a “lifetime” contract? It sounds as if a yearly renegotiation will be taking place if a new contract is done each year. Is this correct?
“One way of expressing submission is through specific acts of service performed for the benefit or pleasure of a dominant. In performing these acts of devotion for another, submissives also serve their own deepest desires and highest purpose. In short, service is their vocation.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Locations 1158-1159). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- I am overjoyed to not hear about acts of slavery and service related to sexual reward or genital stimulation. A vocation is something which should be treated with respect, by all parties. Relating service to a sex act alone cheapens what is, for some, a higher purpose and calling. Is the attitude that slaves are disposable a result of not having an inherent respect for the condition of slavery and service as a vocation?
“The thrill the dominant experiences is directly proportional to the submissive’s effort and dedication. No matter how technically correct the execution of a task may be, without the inner sense of earnest dedication a submissive brings to the work, the result is worthless.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Location 1168). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- As much as Master’s say things like, “I don’t care how it is done, I just want the glass of water,” one would think that this statement would not be too accurate. However, it seems to not be a matter of form over function in this case. Is the “inner sense of dedication” a meaningful part of any task?
“For a slave, speech is a privilege, not a right.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Location 1711). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- Do Owners and slaves agree or disagree with this statement?
“At its best, sex work can become a spiritual calling, a vocation in the highest sense. Sex workers are healers and priestesses.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Location 2400). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- Does viewing sex as a service change it’s relative importance? Does sex heal?
“Physical intimacy is often equated with vulnerability in our sexual economy.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Locations 2415-2416). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- We don’t often openly consider that Owners may experience vulnerability with sex. However, if we live in a culture that treats sex as a vulnerable act, then we are all effected by this. How can slaves ensure this is a safe space for Owners?
“The term “class” more properly refers to a complex set of beliefs, feelings, and assumptions that influence how we function socially. Generally you will need to appear as his or her social equal and so you should strive to match your public presentation (dress style, tone of speech, etc.) to the dominant’s.”
Abernathy, Christina (2011-08-01). Erotic Slavehood (Kindle Location 3871). SCB Distributors. Kindle Edition.
- Though Ms. Abernathy is speaking of the role of the Escort, in most M/s relationships, all slaves function in this capacity. To what extent did you discuss class backgrounds and differences? Do slaves try to match the social status of the Master? Given that the rules of class are often hidden, how important is it to discuss class backgrounds?