Book Review: Living M/s

30 May

Let’s start with the disclaimers.  I’m not an actively aspiring Mistress (or slave for that matter).  I have very little experience in the kink and BDSM scene up to this point and though I like my sex and pornography a little rough around the edges, I’m no Dominatrix (yet).

That said, am I the intended audience for this text?  Probably not.  But I read it anyway (because that’s just the kind of hairpin I am).  So let’s get started.

If you went to the kind of high school that I did, you undoubtedly saw at least a couple of the “goth” kids wearing collars and leashed to their S.O.  Up to this point, my conception of an M/s relationship fluctuated between that image of my 16 year old classmates chained to each other and that of a kinky relationship that takes place in a dungeon and revolves around constant, explicit, BDSM sex.  The latter sounds pretty damn hot (though I’m pretty sure I’d get tired of it after a few hours) but neither of those scenarios match up with the truth behind an M/s relationship as shown by Dan and dawn in their book.

Master and slave, all day, all night, all year, Dan and dawn have found a way to live their healthy, fulfilling lives in the context of a Total Power Exchange (TPE) relationship.  Sure, it took me a good twenty pages to stop cringing whenever I saw dawn’s name spelled with a lowercase ‘d’ and hearing her refer to her husband as Master Dan was hard to swallow at first.  But try as I might, I couldn’t find an aspect of their relationship that was unhealthy.  In fact, my biggest beef with this book was that so many of the elements they stressed as integral to an M/s relationship were things that should be present in ANY healthy relationship.  Honesty, growth, trust, respect? If you don’t have those in any relationship, you’re doing it wrong.

In my eyes, an M/s relationship is a separate but equal phenomenon to it’s vanilla counterpart.  dawn had a negative experience in her vanilla relationship before realizing that she was better suited to be a slave in an M/s relationship.  But that doesn’t surprise me.  If I had started off in an M/s relationship and inevitably decided it wasn’t for me, I would be dissatisfied with that model.  That doesn’t entitle me to make derogatory statements about the M/s lifestyle as a whole, especially if the Master I had chosen didn’t cultivate a healthy environment for a relationship.

dawn says:

“In a vanilla context, we are discourage from asking for what we want (it’s seen as pushy and impolite); at the same time, we are equally pressured not to refuse someone elses desires (even if we believe doing so would be against that person’s best interest or that of the relationship).  Self-sacrifice is promoted as honorable.”

If that’s what a healthy vanilla relationship looks like then I must be doing it wrong because that description couldn’t be farther from my truth.  Even if I’m not the intended audience, bashing the vanilla lifestyle doesn’t need to happen in order to promote M/s.  As I said, they’re both valid for different people and neither one is more open to corruption than the other.

But that’s just one section of the book.  From the rest, I learned a number of interesting tidbits.  As for the difference between M/s and BDSM, I learned that the former is a lifestyle while the latter is a way to play.  Collaring ceremonies are a beautiful version of a commitment ceremony but aren’t necessarily the same as marriage.  Leather and M/s are two separate entities (I’ll be talking about that in my next post so I’ll leave it at that) and just because you’re a slave doesn’t mean you don’t have a life and passions outside the home (dawn, for example, is an ordained interfaith priestess and has recently returned to school to receive her degree in psychology).

dawn says:

“Because of my Master’s support and his belief in me, I’m able to do most anything to which I set my mind.  I have power;  he has power – and he has control.  So although I have power, it is through his control that I experience that power, under his protection and guidance.”

That works for her and all I can say is, rock on!

I don’t have the space in this post to talk about everything that Dan and dawn touch on (you’ll just have to read their book for yourself).  It takes a lot of space to talk about the complexities of any relationship and theirs is as complex as any other (not to mention the bias they’re working against).

This being their first book as a unit, I hope they continue to share their experiences with the world.  Their next book could certainly do with fewer exclamation notes and slightly better organization (anecdotes were repeated a number of times and the chronology of their relationship was unclear to the point that I had no real context in which to place many of the individual the stories they shared), but it promises to be as intriguing as the last.

To learn more about Dan and dawn Williams and their relationship, check out their website, Erotic Awakening where you can listen to their podcasts and get in touch with their community if you so desire.  To Dan and dawn, thank you for sharing your experiences with the rest of us!  I look forward to seeing more of what you can accomplish.

Note: the screen name Mistress Pineapple is not my attempt at mocking the M/s lifestyle but rather a way for me to dig the concept of having a title (such as Marquis, Count, Duke, etc).  I shoulda been born as landed gentry in the eighteenth century, man…

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2 Responses to “Book Review: Living M/s”

  1. Miriam 30. May 11 at 15:28 #

    Hm…maybe I’ll read this book. I’ll be honest, something about this sort of lifestyle disturbs me and makes me feel really sad, but I’m trying to accept the fact that it’s fulfilling for people who do it.

    • Mistress Pineapple 30. May 11 at 16:09 #

      I’d be curious to hear how you feel about it after reading this book. At times I wondered if it was the appropriate introduction to the lifestyle, but it certainly helped me see how two people are able to function in a M/s relationship. I still have unanswered questions, but one book can only answer so much!

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