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You must ask permission

“Before you can interact with me you must ask my Master for permission.”

I see this around Fet all the time and it kinda bugs me.

No offense to those who have it on their profile.  I don’t have any say in how you live your life, nor am I even trying to be persuasive in this post.

But you’ll never see that written on my profile.

Let’s get the labels discussion out of the way first.  During my short time in the bdsm world so far, I’ve learned that there are about a billion labels for relationship types and the people taking part in those relationships.  And to make it more confusing, everyone has a slightly different interpretation of those labels.  For me personally, there’s some uneasiness around the term “Master” and its usual counterpart, “slave”.  I tend to associate those terms with certain fetishes that are hard limits for me, namely humiliation and dehumanization.  There’s also this overriding concept of the slave essentially giving up all of his or her rights (with consent of course).  I have absolutely no interest in that.  I do understand why this is alluring to some people, it’s just not for me.

Regardless of how I feel about the M/s dynamic, I’ve seen versions of this disclaimer used with all of the various “Top” terms: Dom, Domme, Daddy, Mommy, Master, Mistress, Protector, Owner, etc.  No matter what the dynamic, this phrase still rubs me the wrong way.  Whenever I see this, I get the impression that the bottom is not trusted to handle his or her interactions with people outside of the relationship with his or her Top.  It’s quite clear that this is a method of exerting control, but it seems so unbearably unrealistic and awkward to me.

Let’s talk through a few scenarios (I am envisioning a male Top and a female bottom in these, just to make things easier):

  • The clause is on the bottom’s profile, with the particular amendment of If you are a <insert Top type here>, you must ask permission from my <insert Top type here> before messaging me.”   I can’t help thinking that this is just a backhanded way of supporting the terrible stereotype that all Tops are assholes.  Apparently, they all have to be ‘checked out’ before a conversation can occur between them and the bottom, AND the bottom is incapable of making this determination for herself.
    I’m trying to imagine the extremes of what this other Top could possibly want to say to the bottom.  On the positive end, perhaps he just wants to compliment her.  Just for that he has to go through the process of asking her Top for permission first?  Seems ridiculous to me.  On the other end of the spectrum, let’s imagine he wants her to leave her Top for him or some shit like that.  It’s pretty easy for the bottom to simply delete the message and block him, right?  Why does her Top even have to be involved?  If things escalate the wrong way I could see him stepping in to diffuse a situation, but otherwise it seems really inefficient to have all three people involved.
  • I have also seen, “If you are a male, you must ask permission from my <insert Top type here> before messaging me.  Females are welcome to chat!”  Well that’s just painfully obvious gender stereotyping.  Newsflash, everyone: a male is fully capable of talking to a female without being a douchebag.  Also, a female talking to another female is fully capable of being a downright disrespecting, shitty person.
    Having this on your profile is incredibly discriminating.  Not only is it alienating males, but it is also disregarding the concept of gender fluidity entirely.  Imagine someone who doesn’t fall under the category of “male” or “female” wants to talk to the bottom.  What are they supposed to do?  I could go deeper into this but, I think my point is pretty clear.

I know this is primarily targeted at online conversations, but I can’t help thinking what this might look like in real life.  I can just see the bottom walking around a party or something, when some random guy approaches her, all friendly and with good intentions.  She maybe says hello but then as soon as possible blurts out “Are you a Top?!”.  The guy says yes.  So what does she do?  I’m seeing her go completely silent while waving around a big red flag (or perhaps a siren) like a lunatic to get the attention of her Top from across the room so he can come check this guy out before she can keep talking to him.

Kinda dumb, huh?

In all fairness, it would be disrespectful of me to judge those who have this type of rule in their dynamic.  I don’t actually think that there are any flags or sirens involved.  Like I mentioned above this is about me and how wouldn’t want to be in a relationship where this is necessary.  I would hope that any Top I’m with trusts me enough to make logical decisions about who I talk to.  I would hope that he knows that me talking to another Top isn’t a sign of wanting to leave him.  Honestly, I think that if a relationship needs such strict rules about communication outside of the dynamic, then there’s probably something amiss within it.

 

Categories: BDSM Online

Miss Skaro

1 reply

  1. Often times, I see this issue framed as simply a part of the D/s protocol that has nothing to do with trust or anything else. It is simply a way for the dominant to restrict the behavior of the submissive and for them to then feel powerful as others must go through them to access the submissive. Both partners experience a tangible power-exchange effect and feel happy about it.

    But I think they fail to consider those outside of the dynamic. They are essentially using the pretense of their own dynamic to restrict the behaviors of others who have not consented to that restriction.

    I usually try to advise these couples to instead focus on internal restrictions. Replace “You must get permission from my [whatever] before contacting me” with “I must seek permission from my [whatever] before responding to messages, so your message to me may be read by them.” This approach keeps the restriction to only those within the dynamic and does not impose that dynamic on others.

    Many people with this on their profile insist that compliance with the rule is showing “respect for the dynamic” and is used as a test to whether others are worthy of that connection. I simply don’t agree.

    Thank you for the writing.

    Like

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