Don't become Gorean

  • This is re-posted and the Author is given her proper dues for this writing.  It has some very well thought out statements and gives one something to think about.


    Don't Become Gorean!
    By Cecelia

    "What ever you do, DON'T become Gorean."

    I've been told that. Friends of mine have also heard it. In fact, that sentiment was recently openly stated at a public BDSM Lifestyle class. I have never understood why a community that claims to be open to all different "kinks" would be so down on one aspect of BDSM that seems so innocuous.

    The surface protocols (e.g. all slaves call all free people "Master" or "Mistress") at first turned me away. I was indoctrinated by the Leather custom that states: "I only call my Master by that title," or alternately, only those who earned that title. Yet over the past few years, I have found myself more and more curious about those that call themselves Gorean, and have finally started to explore what I have always considered to be just another aspect of the lifestyle.

    The biggest difference between the two groups is, naturally, the social protocols. Goreans have a defined protocol of expected behavior amongst themselves that is accepted in all Gorean communities. In the Leather community, protocols in a relationship are believed to be just that: within a specific relationship.

    A slave/submissive may be required to address her master as anything from "Sir," "Master," "Lord," "Almighty Grand Poohbah," "Daddy," or whatever. However, only the slave(s) of that particular person are required to do so. In reality, the unspoken community protocol is that all submissives will be respectful to all dominants, and typically call them by whatever title they have applied to themselves, along with their name, such as "Sir David." This unspoken protocol, by the way, is strictly enforced by the community in a variety of ways.

    Additionally, there are no varieties of titles within the Gorean community. All "submissives" are slaves. Period. The term "Kajira" simply means "slave girl." There are no "bottoms," "submissives," "boi's," etc. The roles are very clear. One is either a Master or a slave.

    In the Gorean community, all free people are addressed as either "Master" or "Mistress" by all kajirae (slaves). This is the standard protocol under which all slaves are held, and is openly acknowledged and openly enforced within the community as appropriate behavior.

    As I looked at this issue, what surprised me most were the unexpected similarities between the Gorean and BDSM Master/slave communities. The fact of the matter is that the Leather community views true, no-holds barred, Master/slave relationships with distrust and a lack of acceptance. This negative perception is applied to Master/slave relationships in both the Leather and the Gorean communities.

    As I have studied this phenomena, it has become clear to me that the different protocols, or the titles, or the lack or use of S/M play in a relationship are not the source of the negative attitudes. Nor are the Gor books, or the role play aspects of creating titles and names. The true source is the nature of the total Master/slave relationship itself. The idea that someone could actually possess that much control over another person is what is too "bad" to contemplate. It is the dynamic of the Master/slave construct that is not accepted more than anything else.

    The public class I mentioned above was presented by the Leather title holders, International Master and Slave 2001. In their presentation, they shared the fact that this very new Leather title (it is only 3 years old) was being judged by people who had no idea what "Master/slave" was all about. One of the judges, in fact, asked them to explain "what, exactly is a Master/slave relationship?" The slave also remarked that she has been told by people in the Leather community that their relationship is unhealthy, abusive, and, in some ways, immoral.

    Apparently it is okay to have a "Master/slave relationship" if the only way the relationship is expressed is in S/M play. "Yes, Master, I am your slave. You may beat me as much as you like. But you have no power in the rest of my life." As a role play for the evening, a weekend, or even a limited term contract, it is acceptable to submit entirely to the commands, demands, and wishes of your partner. Or conversely, to accept such temporary and superficial levels of control over another person.

    Both the Leather Master/slave relationship, such as the one mentioned above, and the Gorean Master/slave relationship defy that paradigm. We are living a life of consensual slavery. We do not restrict that power exchange to the dungeon or to a select environment or a specific time period. Instead, we live it in our daily lives to as full an extent as possible. It colors our every action. It is the foundation of our relationships, not an outer facade.

    Perhaps the best analogy would be taken from the BDSM world. The term "vanilla" has long been used to describe people not in the lifestyle. In the popular BDSM book "Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns," the authors went so far as to claim that all relationships have a vanilla base. B/D, S/M, and D/s are just "toppings," as if on a sundae. But in a Master/slave relationship, and therefore in a Gorean relationship, the first scoop is more like spumoni than vanilla. Our base is different.

    The fact is, those of us for whom the Master/slave relationship construct is our life, are not like them.

    Within the Leather community, people can pretend or assume that for the Masters and slaves they see, it is still a game, albeit perhaps taken a little too far. They can try to avoid those few individuals who take the lifestyle to this "extreme" and even ignore their existence. Full-time Masters and slaves in the Leather community are actually marginalized within their own community as "extreme players" who live a lifestyle that is discouraged and, basically, frowned upon by the majority of their peers. The relationship of the Leather Titleholders previously mentioned is considered, even by them, to be highly advanced and reserved only for a very small group of dedicated "players." It is not for everyone.

    The Gorean community cannot be glossed over in that manner. Goreans do not fit into any other category of the BDSM lifestyle, and, in fact, blatantly refuse to be assimilated into the Leather paradigm. Goreans are Masters and slaves. The slaves have two choices. The first is to accept the collar, and the second is to walk away. Nothing in between is negotiated. There are no safe-words. It is consensual non-consensuality.

    To be Gorean means, at the very least, to be seeking the totality of a Master/slave relationship. To either want to submit to complete control from or to accept full control of another person.

    Further, Goreans have the audacity to suggest that the Master/slave relationship is not reserved for just a special few. While Goreans cheerfully acknowledge that their lifestyle is not for everyone, they don't hide it under layers of Leather protocol or traditions or extreme S&M play. Their lifestyle is not relegated to dark dungeons and even darker back rooms in Leather clubs. Goreans live their lifestyle in the light. Bright rooms, bright costumes, and laughing slave girls are the hallmark of a Gorean gathering. The Goreans celebrate life and fun and find beauty in the overt expression of their lifestyle in their open, daily routine. They eschew the Leather traditions and protocols, yet they seriously live as Masters and slaves in their real lives.

    "Don't become Gorean" is not a warning to avoid the bright colors or the blatant sensuality of the Gorean culture, but to stay away from a group of people that live an extreme lifestyle; people who are unabashedly Masters and slaves.

    Goreans cannot be pigeon-holed within the Leather community because the only aspect of the Leather community that they fully embrace is the truly committed Master/slave relationship. The warning "Don't become Gorean" is a reaction against a lifestyle choice that is not for everyone. It is extreme. And it scares people.

    But, for those of us who seek it, whether in Leather or Gorean, it can be the most rewarding, emotionally fulfilling experience of a lifetime.

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