If you are looking at BDSM as an extracurricular activity, something you do outside your “normal” life, then a scene is pretty easy to define. Top meets bottom. Top hits bottom. Bottom goes home. It is a moment in time that is negotiated before hand; it has a singularity in Time and Space and there are clearly marked entrances and exits. I could go off for paragraphs on the room metaphor – a room has a very clearly defined existence and that existence can not sustain a person forever. You can only stay in one room for so long before you are looking for a door.
If a scene is a room, then the 24/7 lifestyle is a house. A house has more rooms. It has different rooms for different activities. A house is a place that you can live.
When ZeeGee and I first came out it was clear to us that we wanted to live BDSM and D/s as a lifestyle. Neither ZeeGee nor I are people who lead partial lives. This sense of living completely immersed in a power exchange has gotten stronger for me now that my primary relationship has changed and I have taken Dedita into my house. The dynamic is in everything we do: how the laundry gets done, how we sleep, how we eat. It is so apart of our lives that it has become second nature. We do not think about it often or with much fanfare when I take her by the elbow when crossing the street. We do not feel that it is a “scene” if I make her masturbate while pissing. These are the things that make up our everyday life.
These are not the artifacts of a room seperate from reality, this is reality.
What happens when the two worldviews cross? I have play partners besides my slave. They are scene partners that I build special rooms for in the ever-changing house that is my mind. Dedita sees me working on these rooms. She sees me carrying tools and materials, opening locked doors, and she catches glimpses of what I am building, only to have the door shut before she can step inside.
These rooms are not for her. She knows this, and at times, struggles with it. There is a certain sadistic irony in watching her kick around sad about the rooms she cannot go into when she lives in a house full of rooms which only she can access. This sadness is not because she does not appreciate what she has, but because she sees that others have something she doesn’t. Play partners who are exploring dynamics within a scene often experience this envy as well. They can see the day-to-day existence of their top living in a Master and slave relationship and want to experience that. These are common feelings for both parties.
I don’t feel that you need to avoid situations that create these emotions and longings for your play partners and slaves, but as a responsible partner, you do need to be aware that there will be consequences and actions that result from these feelings. It is often easier to deal with any problems that may arise if you know what is coming. For example, I do not like the effects of a play partner who becomes too attached. I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings or create false expectations, so I make it clear from the beginning that I am not looking for a relationship. I make them understand that I am building them a room, not a home. This is simple and can be dealt with almost completely with clear communication at the onset of the adventure, and by using a take it or leave it approach. I do not negotiate on the level of commitment I can give a play partner; if we aren’t a good fit in that regard, we simply don’t play.
However, with my slave, I am in a different situation, one where “take it” is the only option for her. And if I force her to take something, I am responsible for knowing and handling how she will react to that absolution.
A partner can be defined and limited from the beginning but a slave has to be trained. A slave has to be understood more completely. What Dedita is sad about when she sees me working on a room that is not for her is that I am giving another partner physical attention, focus, and time. She sees what I am doing as a manifestation of my caring. If she feels that I care for others, she sees that she is not a priority in that moment. I have found that I can use this feeling to train her in three different ways: active behavior modification; passive behavior modification; and dynamic maintenance. I am sure other Masters will have different lessons and habits but these work for me.
Active Behavior Modification
By directly connecting the scene building and courting process of a play partner with Dedita’s actions, I can quickly make short-term changes to the way she behaves. Tell your slave about the scene you plan to have with another; tell her why you are doing it; tell her what you like about your other partner. Active modification is clearly explaining what you want from your slave that you are getting from your play partner and watching them change their behavior.
For Dedita, it works best to not be too specific. If you can show your slave what games, sexual acts, and physical punishments you like through a play partner, she will focus on ways to please you, and often offer up alternative ways you can do those things to her. However, be aware that playing, “why can’t you be more like your sister…” is fun but can be counter productive. Look for ways of expressing these desires and needs so as to compare and contrast the two without making the competition too fierce. Having two partners at odds is fun to read about but hell to live through. For a slave with healthy self-esteem, comparison can steer their actions.
Passive Behavior Modification
By taking my attention from Dedita and turning them towards an outside partner, I am redirecting a resource and making her realize that she can lose what she has at any moment. Talking about a scene you are going to do with another person with your slave can seem innocuous, but in fact carries a lot of weight. If she is acting out or being a brat for attention, a few well-chosen words that show her my mind is not only somewhere else, but with someone else, can quickly remind her that she does not make the priorities in this relationship.
Likewise, giving her a role in the creation of the scene, using her to measure height settings of furniture, making her stand in as I check lighting or temperatures, can make her feel both used and deprioritized at the same time. Making Dedita know that I am thinking of the play partner and the scene instead of her, as she would prefer, gives her a very quick and real connection to the idea that I make the decisions This all combines to reinforce the inequality in our power dynamic.
I am using the word dynamic as both a noun (a method of interaction) and an adjective (changing) here.
The dynamic between you and your slave is managed through her feeling of place and ownership. Every action you take as an owner is making this bond. How you interact with others, and more importantly how you interact differently with others, affects how you are seen in the eyes of your slave. If you use a partner to fill a need that your slave doesn’t fill, she can feel useless. A person does not remain stagnant, and a useless slave can either try harder to be useful or give up. Knowing which way your girl will respond makes all the difference. Do you want her to feel loved? Do you want her to feel used? Do you want her to feel low? Knowing where I want Dedita to be in the pecking order helps m allocate my resources and prioritize my time.
The other definition of dynamic (changing) maintenance is more about the moment. All relationships are in flux. As humans, we are growing and becoming more emotionally complex every single day. Watching how a slave responds to this partner versus how she responded to past partners can be useful for understanding what she is feeling and thinking. It is through these interactions that we learn whether or not our training has taken hold. If Dedita is responding to a new partner as I planned (i.e. jealous, loving, cold, attentive) then my behavior modification has worked. If she is still responding in ways I do not want, then I know there is more training to be done.
I think of my house like the House of Leaves – it is larger on the inside than the outside. I like to make new rooms for my play partners but the real fun for me is making it a constantly changing and shifting home for Dedita. A scene may be a room, it may get my attention for an hour, a day or a week but in the end the room dissolves and the scene is over. The house itself is changing and the games I play with my slave are not about the rooms I make, but the way I lead her through them and the feelings I can create within their walls.