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Roles

It is often said that Master / slave relationships contain aspects of the Teacher and student relationship, as well as that of Master and servant. Following the Internal Enslavement approach, I would like to add a third pair of roles: Counsellor and client.

I use roles to refer to the style of interaction between Master and slave, and I do not mean that they are fantasy characters in roleplay. Roles have fluid boundaries, and Masters and slaves may sometimes be using more than one pair at the same time. Nevertheless, their underlying interaction is always that of Owner and owned.

The Teacher / student and Counsellor / client roles are complementary and somewhat overlapping: these are the development roles, which exist to improve the slave's ability to serve her Master. They are important in the maintenance of the relationship and will often require a large degree of informality to be used effectively.

The Teacher / student roles are best suited to external slave training: practical skills, formal etiquette, and position training are all best dealt with in this way. Nevertheless, some aspects of external training may be motivated by internal goals, and the slave's internal state must always be kept in mind.

As Teacher, the Master instructs the slave, presents her with information and rules to be learnt and, where necessary, gives constructive criticism to improve her service. If the slave's internal state is such that instruction backed by punishment is appropriate, then it should be administered in this role. However, for the most part, the Teacher / student role is a space in which to admit ignorance and mistakes and to seek improvement. It is also the place for the Master to experiment with techniques he is unsure of, perhaps as a joint exploration of the skills required, and her response to them.

In the Counsellor / client roles, the Master has the most direct access to knowledge of the internal reality of his slave, and these roles are most intimately connected to the Internal Enslavement approach. It is essential to present the slave with a safe environment when attempting to use these roles - an environment in which she feels safe to reveal her inner fears, doubts and hopes. As such, Counsellor / client roles may be a safe place to go during times of emotional crisis, when the criticism of the Teacher / student roles and the uncompromising demands of the Master / servant roles, would be too harsh to sustain.

The Master / servant roles are the Service Roles, and this interaction is the main goal of the relationship. When using these roles, the slave follows her external training, built on the current state of her internal development, and serves with minimal intervention from her Master: he commands, but is free of the need to continually restate the details of his preferences.

(The original version of this article appeared as part of the Internal Slave Development Manifesto in July 1999)

Last updated 27 August 2000.

 
 
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