#FreakyFriday: What’s In A Name? Pt. 2

by Lord Unicron

A note about pronouns and other forms of address before I begin:

As a male, cisgendered, heterosexual D-type, I only take female submissives on. Because of this, I tend to refer to s-types using female pronouns and D-types using male pronouns. As with everything else I write, these pronouns should be taken to refer ONLY to the dynamics within House Unicron and varied as appropriate to your specific dynamic, gender and orientation or lack of same. (i.e. If you are a female D-type with a coterie of male s-types, flip the script as appropriate for your own situation.) In this same spirit, while I refer to my submissives as “my girls,” they are in fact WOMEN in every sense of the word. Each and every one of them is a strong, capable female in her own right, makes her own way in the world and has earned the right to my time, care, attention, discipline and love by demonstrating the genuine maturity, desire and will to become the best woman and submissive she can be. I say this only because I would not be misunderstood as to my meaning or stance on these forms of address, and wish to clarify my position accordingly at the outset.

With that disclaimer out of the way:

House Unicron is a hierarchical polyamorous House. What this means is, I have three girls as of this writing, each of whom inhabits a specific place and role within the House “on paper.” In actuality, the roles are a little more fluid, based upon who has the greatest need of my time, care, attention and discipline at any given moment. The hierarchy I have established serves my needs and that of my girls, and establishes a progression based upon seniority, training and ongoing role negotiation. I do not give my girls anything. Collars, names and position are not bestowed as a matter of right within my House. Everything they have and receive from me, they earn, for better or worse, and the House hierarchy reflects this and their individual standings. On paper, the organization of the House runs as follows:

Myself (Lord Unicron)

Skwirly: As the first slave of House Unicron, she is considered the Primary. All within the House are expected to defer to her judgment and will in matters where I have placed her in charge and/or where I am not available for immediate consultation. In practice, this rarely becomes an issue as her permanent address is 1,000 miles away. She enjoys the most leeway but the least margin for error of my girls. She addresses me as “Master.”

Sparrow: Sparrow inhabits a role somewhere between a full slave and a mere submissive. She is Secondary on paper, but in practice serves as my right hand on matters regarding training and House management, because she has spent more continuous time on both sides of the slash than anyone else in the House and demonstrates sound judgment in such matters. She enjoys a longer leash but less leeway than Skwirly. She addresses me as “Sire.”

Kitten: Kitten is the newest addition to House Unicron, and is Tertiary and my submissive in training. As such, she has the most room for error, but the shortest leash. She is still learning about herself and what she needs and wants out of the lifestyle, and I am deeply honored that she and her sisters within the House have chosen me to guide in their explorations. She addresses me as “Sir” or “Daddy,” depending upon the situation.

These names often make people do a double-take, especially when they know the provenance of my own lifestyle name. Names like “Cyclonus,” “Shockwave” and so on would be perfectly apropos. By contrast, you may notice that all my girls have animal names, and not just any animals, but CUTE animals, goddamnit! There’s a reason for this, of course, and I’ll explain what that reason is now.

As we discussed on #TastyTuesday, naming and titling conventions are largely meaningless. They are labels that serve as a convenient shorthand, but they frequently miss the mark, or at best give a very one-dimensional view of the person to whom the name, label or title is attached.

HOWEVER…

When it comes to naming my submissives, I don’t believe this at all.

A double standard, you say? Au contraire, mon cher ami!

Like many D-types, I hold to the tradition of giving my girls “House names” by which they are known both within the House and in the broader context of the lifestyle. I also believe, like many people do, that names have a unique power all their own that is largely independent of the precise configuration of letters and phonemes of which the names consist. Therefore, I believe that the naming of a submissive is something to be undertaken with exacting care and precision.

Like most of my conventions, the reason for this is simple if not immediately obvious.

A SUBMISSIVE’S NAME SHOULD REFLECT HER PERSONALITY AND THE PERSON AND WOMAN SHE IS, AS WELL AS WHAT SHE WISHES TO BE OR EVOLVE INTO.

Now, other D-types have their own conventions. So long as everyone involved in a particular dynamic is on board with a given handle, it’s not my place to say whether this is right or wrong. As a matter of personal belief and opinion, I feel that a submissive’s name should describe, at a minimum, the following:

  1. The name should reflect her both as she is and as she is viewed by her D-type.
  2. The name should reflect her primary personality traits and worldview.
  3. The name should reflect something she strives to be, become or attain.
  4. The name should NOT degrade or humiliate her.

Example: I often tell my girls, “You are not a slut or a whore. You are MY slut and MY whore. There is a difference.” Thus, in the context of a scene, I may refer to my girls as bitches and their lady bits as my cunts. I may call them my cock-sucking cum sluts. I may say things in scene that I would never consider issuing from my mouth outside of those confines. However, outside of those confines, I need a name for each of my girls which is socially acceptable (pet names being a common usage even in vanilla relationships) but still reinforces the dynamic and her place within the House.

More importantly, it is my belief that a woman who chooses to submit to her D-type is worthy of the utmost respect and care. This sounds counterintuitive until you remember that in addition to being a cisgendered male, a D-type and a Sadist, I am also a feminist. I believe a woman should not be forced to do anything…UNLESS she willingly, enthusiastically and voluntarily chooses to adopt such a dynamic. Therefore, a name is the first and most evident criterion for how a D-type conducts himself with his s-types and what she can expect from him in terms of care, devotion and guidance, to my way of thinking.

Sparrow’s first D-type promptly christened her “Cumdrop.” Well and so: She belonged to him at the time and that was the form of address they negotiated, so I won’t bother to second-guess his reasons. Still, when she told me this on our first meeting, my response was a hard flinch and an immediate resolution to do better. She wanted to lose weight. She identified with birds. She has a cute, independent streak. Thus, Sparrow. As an interesting side note, she had been considering a tattoo of a sparrow for a year before we met, and I was pleased to be at her side when she finally got it done in February. It looks amazing, and if you should happen to see us at our favorite dungeon, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to see it “in the flesh,” as it were.

Skwirly was named for her somewhat skittish but playful personality, as well as a sketch from The Swedish Chef. Look it up on Youtube: “swedish chef squirrel stew.” Likewise, Kitten was named for her catlike (not catty) traits, a theme which has followed her through most of her adult life in one way or another.

This contrast between the hardness of my own name and the softness of theirs speaks to their personalities and my belief that as their D-type, it is incumbent upon me to ensure that I conduct myself as their protector, caretaker, disciplinarian, guide, teacher, shelter from life’s storms and giver of both pain and pleasure when necessary and as appropriate. Thus, I must be “harder” than they are and yet capable of giving them my softer side as well.

Names are just one of the many command and control mechanisms at a D-type’s disposal, but I happen to believe they are perhaps the most critical right from the outset. In addition to establishing their positions beneath myself, they also indicate that you see your s-type for who and what she is and honor her for these things. To do less, in my opinion, is to do yourself, your s-type(s) and your House a grave disservice. A name is the most important gift you can give your s-type, and it is not something that should be undertaken lightly.

What are your naming conventions? How do you decide what your s-type’s name should be? Do you keep it only behind closed doors, or do you introduce her publicly under the name you have negotiated? Please leave a comment below, and be sure to check out our Grand Opening Blog Hop by clicking the ad on the right!

Until Tuesday,

Best,

Lord Unicron

You don’t have to have a cute name to bring out the animal in your s-type.

Freaky Friday: Power and Force

by Lord Unicron

In my last post, I wrote about power and force as they equate to a sensual spanking, and in a broader sense to ALL forms of impact play. We can even broaden these definitions further and say that in some respect, they apply to just about any kind of BDSM play. From a pure physics standpoint, power is defined as the amount of potential energy available, whereas force is the transmission of power to and its action upon an object. (The object, in this case, is naturally the s-type who is receiving the action.) Therefore when we hear about “stopping power” when discussing firearms, this is actually a misnomer. We are actually talking about stopping FORCE, because stopping power is relatively useless except in the theoretical realm.

When a trigger is squeezed, the person performing the action is not interested in the theoretical. It comes down to two simple questions: Will this weapon fire? And if so, will it stop the person or thing I’m shooting at from doing what it’s doing? Force is what gets the job done. Thus, stopping power in this case must surely be the despair of anyone who knows more than nothing whatsoever about high school physics.

But wait…there’s more.

Consider that just about any human relationship can be reduced to patterns of power and force. Whether it’s with family, friends, a lover or an s-type, these patterns assert and reassert themselves over and over again. In the kink world, power dynamics tend to be more rigidly stratified and enforced than in a vanilla relationship, but even there, if you look hard enough, you’ll notice a tidal flow of power to and from each party.

So what’s the difference?

From a relationship perspective, I like to use this example.

In the aftermath of a transgression, I order my s-type to kneel and place her nose against a point I’ve marked on the wall or the floor and to stay there until and unless I tell her otherwise. She does so without fuss or having to be told twice. I wait what I consider an appropriate amount of time and then I grab her by the hair, haul her to her feet, drag her across my knee and proceed to spank her.

1922_spanking_illustration

In both situations I am demonstrating dominance over the s-type. In neither case is my dominance or my right to do these things, which have been negotiated and consented to previously, being gainsaid. The difference in these things is deceptively simple, because if you think about it for a moment, a lot of different things are happening all at once.

By issuing a series of verbal commands with which the s-type complies without question or hesitation, I am asserting power over her. Power is given by the s-type to the D-type to do with as he will, under the assumption that he will not abuse it or use “his” power as an excuse to violate the s-type’s consent. Nevertheless, once given, it is unquestionably his power and so long as he uses it responsibly and within the negotiated parameters of the relationship, he will likely retain that power. Power does not rely on external factors; it is purely internal, within the minds of the people in the scene. Their physical compliance is an outward symbolic representation of their internal agreement as to who wields the power.

However, when instead of commanding the s-type to get across my knee, I drag her bodily from the position in which I placed her and then across my knee, I am using force. Force is purely physical in this situation*, and while it is my right to do so because this is what we have mutually agreed to, it is not the same as power. True power does not require shows of force for its validation, although I am by no means saying that there aren’t times and circumstances where force can be mutually pleasurable all on its own. Sometimes the implicit loss of control that force brings to the table is exactly what both sides need. The D-type needs a reason, and the s-type craves that kind of attention. However, force is and has always been a poor substitute for real power in the long term. Therefore, the s-type kneeling where, when and how she is told is a much truer representation of power than the spanking that follows.

*Note: Yes, mental force, or coercion, is a thing. For example, while it is comparatively rare for males to be physically, overtly raped by women, being coerced into an unwanted or undesired act is by far the more common method. This is why negotiation is SO crucial and why any unclarities should be ironed out before the first command is given or the first prop brought into play. Coercion is not dominance, and those who engage in it for nefarious purposes do not deserve to consider themselves D-types. Of course, the problem with this definition is that just like #MKINYK, your definition of “nefarious” and mine may not even inhabit the same solar system. As with all human behavior, definitions can be a VERY slippery slope. Please keep this in mind.

So, if we want to produce a useful, simple definition of power in the BDSM dynamic, let us understand “power” to mean the following:

Power is negotiated between the D-type and s-type and employed in a consensual manner in ways that require minimal or no physical or overt contact to be valid. Power defines the overall hierarchy of the relationship and the responsibilities each has to the other.

If this is our working definition of power, then we may say of “force” that:

Force is negotiated between the D-type and s-type and employed in a consensual manner in ways that demand some or a great deal of physical or overt contact. Force defines how and to what degree physical expressions of power may be employed and the limiting factors upon same.

Power is the heart and soul of a BDSM relationship. When true power is freely given, responsibly wielded and properly acknowledged on both sides, the relationship is far more likely to be healthy and of merit to both parties. True dominance flows from a constant awareness of one’s power and the responsibility the D-type has to both his s-type and himself to use that power wisely. A D-type with true power doesn’t need to bang a gong, send up a flare or hold a ticker-tape parade to show just how much power he has. He understands his power, the s-type understands his power and within the confines of the dynamic, this remains satisfactory so long as neither party chooses to renegotiate the dynamic.

Force is not properly an expression of dominance at all. A D-type may choose to employ force in specific situations, but a reliance upon force rather than choosing shadings of tone, facial expression, stance and posture calculated to reassert power and thereby convey approval or disapproval as needed walks a razor-thin line between dominance and abuse. “Do X or I’ll kick your ass” can be cathartic in the moment, and it may well get results…but the raised eyebrow and soft tone with which a D-type lets the s-type know her behavior is not acceptable, and how quickly she moves to correct her behavior or make amends for same, is a far better measure of just how much dominance he really has.

The best dominance doesn't need to broadcast its existence. It is simply a fact, like gravity.

The best dominance doesn’t need to broadcast its existence. It is simply a fact, like gravity.

Does this mean that dominance with force or the threat of force behind it is invalid?

NO!!!!

As with so many other things, it is largely up to the people in a given dynamic. Some s-types may negotiate a certain threshold level of bratty behavior, after which the D-type has more or less free rein to employ force if power isn’t getting the point across. Some D-types may negotiate the use of force only during play scenes, not during discipline or correction, or vice versa. And of course, there is the question of “consensual non-consent,” wherein the s-type surrenders power and the right to use force completely to the D-type and then proceeds to play the role of hapless victim.

A fascinating test of this is going to dungeons and watching where the power in any given dynamic lies. You can even perform the same experiment right on the street. It’s generally pretty easy to tell who has the power in a relationship at any given time and to gauge how that power ebbs and flows. An s-type calling RED at a dungeon is asserting her inherent power to end the scene in which the D-type is nominally in command, rendering the D-type’s power moot, and the D-type will (typically) reassert power by rendering aftercare. You can observe similar psychodramas play out, generally in a less dramatic fashion, at work, at the mall, the park or the bus stop. Some people will be naturally submissive, while others will be naturally dominant. However, even the hardest D-type cannot be “on” all the time, so the tidal shift of dominance becomes an observable phenomenon.

The truest test of a D-type’s power is whether he can assert it at his will and whim, and achieve the outcome he desires. A D-type who must resort to force to enforce his will is not, in my opinion, a Dominant at all, but an abuser.

Thank you for stopping by today! Be sure to check back to hear more from Sparrow and Kitten about their side of the slash. If you have a comment, question or concern, we’d love to hear about it! Just send us an email at covertandcarnal@gmail.com or leave a comment in the box below. See you on Tasty Tuesday, where I’ll be talking about…well, come back and find out!

Best,

Lord Unicron

Power is an aphrodisiac. The ultimate power comes with absolute trust. Does your s-type trust you enough to deprive her of sight and motion while you have your way with her? Cuffs and blindfolds can be a very erotic way to build trust and prove that the power you have over her is not misplaced…