Saturday, March 24, 2012

Among the Submissives

There’s something very sexy about being submissive.  Because your guard is down, you have to totally surrender to something like that.

Eva Longoria

This week, I’m writing about a subject a little different than my usual fare.  (Although, after my recent visit with nudists I’m not so sure I can say that anymore!)

My topic this week is BSDM in Second Life (SL) and is based on an interview with a member of the community inworld.  (I’m not going to try and expand the acronym, everyone seems to have their own definition.)  Prior to this meeting, I’d had no exposure in either Real Life or SL to this lifestyle.  Just reading the Wikipedia article on the subject showed me the breadth and depth of this topic, to say nothing of all the inworld clubs, groups, and locations that serve the followers. 

An inworld friend of mine, who is a dom in her spare time, recommended the novel The Story of O  as a starting point for beginning to understand BSDM.  A classic work of fiction in the genre, it was written nearly sixty years ago and has been something of a cause célèbre itself over the years (I won’t go into that story here but the link above will bring the curious to it.) and tells a story of a woman’s submission and domination at the hands of her lover.  Before my early twenty-first century friends assail me for being a misogynist, please remember that this book was written a long time ago in a different world but is part of the body of literature surrounding BSDM.  I’d like to point out too that, besides vampires, BSDM is probably the only community in SL with its own body of literature.  (I know someone is going to come after me for that one.)  And, yes, I have read the book. 

Anyway, back to the subject of this story.  The person whom I interviewed is Flame Tearfall.  I’d met Flame a short while ago as I began to reach out to my neighbors in Nowaki as part of my attempt to meet the folks I lived among inworld.  Learning from her profile of her interest in writing, I forwarded my blog’s link to her and we began meeting and talking.  Eventually, I broached the idea of a story to Flame and she readily agreed.  That’s what brought us to where we are now. 

Flame is a submissive inworld and had assumed the role of a slave.  She is no longer one and doesn’t expect to return to the role.  For this interview, she is out of character (OOC).  I ask what drew her to being a submissive. She replies that it was mostly curiosity.  Her role began as just being submissive but she did not feel truly connected to the environment.  She felt this way because her role as a submissive was too loosely defined.  As a submissive she was free to come and go as she pleased.  Being a slave meant loss of rights and less freedom.  No freedom may be a better way to put it. 

I next ask Flame if she ever tried switching, being the mistress and not the slave.  She laughs and says she has and her subs and slaves loved her but she didn’t find it fulfilling.  Flame says that she chooses to be a giver, one who gives or nurtures.  This seems to be the difference between top and bottom in BDSM.  Flame feels most people don’t know which they are and are afraid to find out. 

My next question is whether there is a distinction between SL and Real Life (RL) where BDSM is involved.  Flame replies that with some Masters, yes, there is, but with most, no.  She has what she calls a check list of red flags to look for when seeking a Master.

Her check list is as follows:

·       If someone submits to you because they fear you, then you are a bully not a Dominant.

·       If someone submits to you because you threaten to leave or abandon him or her if they refuse then you are a manipulator, not a Dominant.

·       If someone submits to you because you won’t leave him or her alone if they don't then you are a predator not a Dominant.

·       If someone submits to you because you will beat him or her if they don't then you are an abuser not a Dominant.

(Actually, these are pretty good rules for any relationship, whether in SL or RL.)

Flame believes that only a submissive can protect herself from an abusive relationship.  She has never seen BDSM conducted as role play inworld.  Before a collar is accepted from someone, the submissive and potential Dominant have extensive conversations about the “wills” and “will not’s”.  These are very real.  Flame has own of activities that she won’t participate in. 

When I ask about the use of devices such as St. Andrew’s Crosses, saddles, or saddles in inworld play, Flame replies she hasn’t seen these much in SL.  Some players engage in kennel play but she feels this is unbelievably humiliating and she’s unsure what it either accomplishes or is supposed to accomplish.  Flame adds that loyalty from a slave/submissive is everything.  I ask if any pleasure is derived from this for the submissives.  She replies who would continue to do something if no results were netted?  Good point.

We move on to talk about some of Flame’s past Masters.  Her first Master was a collector.  He assembled a group of submissives and was so busy with them that he was always at his computer taking catnaps to stay up.  He would regularly gather his subs together for what he called “sharing”.  They would talk about themselves and play games.  Apparently, truth or dare was a big hit.

Flame’s second Master was only involved with her in a closed relationship.

Our next topic is the BDSM scene in SL.  Flame says that it’s harsher than in IMVU, another virtual world, and she wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or family member.  But, for that, she says there are some great BDM clubs in SL.  Flame’s involved herself in the renovations at the Black Lions Den Club on Creek Island in SL.  She has no experience of BDSM in worlds other than SL and IMVU. 

I ask Flame about her future in SL.  She wants to focus on learning the trades in SL and maybe becoming involved in family life setting.  She doesn’t see herself continuing in BDSM inworld, at least not as slave.  Flame’s also giving thought to opening a home inworld for slaves/submissives who desire training and placement.

My last questions for Flame are what did she like most and least about being a slave in SL.  She enjoyed most knowing that it was OK to relax and give total control to another. What she liked least about being a slave was not having any rights and the uncertainty of the bond formed between Master and slave. 

Flame feels that, like everything, BDSM has its pro’s and con’s.  Role play would be the best way to explore it, leaving an out for one if needed.  Flame adds that for all her friends from SL and IMVU who have gone RL, they are always in her prayers. 

I thank Flame for her time and candor and we part company.

I have only learned a small part of what BDSM in SL is all about.  In the future, I hope to interview a Master or a dom and get their perspective.  Unlike other communities in SL, there are many blogs and other resources about inworld BDSM.  Inara Pey has a useful blog and Lex Berchot’s offers some additional perspectives.  I’ve also learned in my short time in SL that the Restrained Love Viewer (RLV) from Marine Kelley enhances the BDSM experience for residents.

This story has given me another perspective on community life in SL.  This one may parallel RL more than some others I’ve encountered but that’s what makes SL so interesting – all the differences. 

I’d like to thank Flame Tearfall for stopping what she was doing and making time for an interview.  I appreciate her time and frankness.

As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 1: Flame Tearfall

Photo No. 2: Black Lions Den Club

Photo No. 3: BDSM Shop

No comments: