October 19, 2008

Also mentoring?

Previously, I talked about Mentoring (with a capital M) and the traditional rules and practices relative to the Dominants who Mentor and the submissives they teach. Several comments revolved around the formality of the relationship and the defined separation between the Mentor and the student/mentee/protégé, and rightly so. That is, that there should be no intimacy and/or play between the Mentor and the submissive, and the construct of the Mentoring relationship was discussed.

There are certainly unscrupulous people who will take advantage of a girl in such a "mentoring" situation, to wit:
"I now have a mentor/protector the trouble is i feel He is treating me more like a sub. He asked me to shave myself, i just trimmed it, then He wanted photos. (he is supposedly an on line so called mentor) I've not taken these yet. The thing that worries me most is He asked me to go without panties for seven days. This terrifies me as i may be soon working in an area of child care. I emailed Him with these concerns and still haven't heard. I thought a mentor was meant to guide and support someone and not set tasks that i believe are too much for me."

This sounds like an example of exactly what I was talking about when I said, these rules are intended to create a sense of safety for the submissive, which "the community" deemed as perhaps young, and naive, and inexperienced, and susceptible to undue or unethical influence. In other words, the rule was created to protect the submissive from the Dominant. But perhaps the act of defining such roles and structures leads to the confusion and expectations this girl felt; that she would even question if it was possibly proper, if there were not some construct in place that suggested this man might have some sort of power over her. I cannot believe that any of the women I know would fall for this sort of treatment.

I think there are different constructs within the formality of these "communities", and the relationships that are formed within those communities or groups, can be different than the relationships that are formed between individuals. In general discussions, the terms, "mentor" and "mentoring" are used rather loosely to describe a wide range of roles and activities, and so the words have come to mean different things to different people. The formality of the role of Mentor in the leather community is a different than the role I, as a dominant, might fulfill answering questions from a submissive that reads my blog and sends me an email with questions, although she might very well consider it mentoring. And, if that correspondence continues on an ongoing basis, I might well be considered a mentor (with a small m), but that is certainly different from a Mentor.

And as that relationship develops, and she continues to think of him as her mentor, there is a likelihood that some affection and caring might develop, some intimacy. As many of you said, it seems that intimacy is inherent in the development and growth of the relationship. That the term mentor is used to describe the dominant in this kind of fledgling relationship might be a misnomer, but it is the word used by many people when forming a relationship. These submissives have not said, I want to go out and learn things from a teacher, I am going to find a mentor.

Perhaps the notion that a dominant/mentor that plays with a submissive is automatically being inappropriate is incorrect. And worse, I think it can be interpreted as insulting by implying that the submissive is too fragile or ignorant to be able to tell the difference between a learning experience and an experience of more emotional depth. I think it also paints the dominant as predatory and self-serving. Some people may be all those things, but I think making that general assumption is incorrect. In many cases it is just the natural evolution of a dominant and submissive relationship.

Every time I try to write about this I think I get stuck between the formal BDSM-D/s that is what communities are formed around, and the informal BDSM-D/s that is the personal thing that many of us feel is part and parcel of how we relate to a partner, as part of our routine day to day interactions, as part of foreplay and sex play, part of our emotional make-up.

I certainly appreciate the comments everyone provided previously, thank you all very much. I think both perspectives were well represented; the formal community-based notion that a Mentor is a teacher with limitations and boundaries constricting their role, and the more personal notion of a forming a relationship with a dominant who will be teaching them things about themselves and about BDSM-D/s, who they identify as a mentor.

There seems to be a lot of discussion of this topic out there in "the cloud", or perhaps it is just that since I have been thinking about it, I have somehow figuratively, stepped into the conversation stream.


  1. This is a very interesting discussion. I read the blog of a submissive whose husband arranged for a mentor for her and many of her readers were aghast, though she is comfortable with it. I was interested to see how quick they were to dismiss the notion.

    I am fortunate to have a mentor who corresponds with both me and my husband. It has settled into a very comfortable relationship for us all. I don't think we could have had the growth with our D/s relationship without this mentoring.

    I think we've been lucky, but on the other hand, I waited a long time, monitoring his comments on the internet before I made contact with him, and I was as sure as I could be, that he was a good fit with our way of thinking.

    Probably every experience re mentoring is unique.


  2. Good morning, David..
    i didn't offer anything to this discussion previously as i felt since i had no first hand knowledge nothing i might say could be relevant. Well, that only goes so far;>)

    BDSM is about consent. If you are feeling compelled to do something that feels nonconsensual, rather than educational or limit expanding, then it is not a "growth" experience but manipulation at best and abuse at worst.

    i strongly believe in checklists and won't bore you with examples. Any newbie who reads here and finds themselves in a situation where someone has said: "I'm an experienced dom/me, master, daddy, mommy, (whatever)" and is shortly placed into a position where they are psychologically uncomfortable should listen to that voice within and run the other way. Or at least back up very slowly and take a good long look at what it is they are truly hoping to gain/learn/experience.

    A tremendous amount of damage can be done by an unscrupulous top if they break trust with someone new to the dance. A healthy BDSM relationship is based on trust..in my most humble opinion. Once trust is damaged, or god forbid, broken within someone, it will take them a very long time to again find the trust they need to truly submit to another.

    And again, this is just my opinion, but "fake" submission is more damaging to the submissive than to the top. So, i am not suggesting chasity, unless that happens to be high up on your personal list!! But caution, take your time...any dom/me worthy of the name is PATIENT..and if they truly wish to help (or CONTROL you, for that matter) they know it is necessary to get to know you and what motivates and makes you tick.

    ahhhhh...pontification at 5AM..how refreshing...i return you now to your regularly scheduled programming!


  3. David,
    after much thought - and several attempts at writing this - i have to say that i feel i've gained several mentors these past few months. anyone who acts as a 'wise and loyal counselor' is a mentor, at least according to Webster.

    as for my personal mentor experience, whether it is the on-line slaves i email daily, or the Masters that i've met via my blog, and now, the Doms i've met from the munches - everyone has taken time and energy out of their lives to help a complete stranger. and not a single one of them (yourself included) is seeking to gain anything at my expense.

    i feel as though that action is my best summation of what constitutes a mentor - one who is willing to help teach another without an expectation of receiving something in return. it seems as if it's a pay-it-forward type of thing - this mentoring i'm receiving.

    and i wish that every newbie could be as fortunate as i've apparently been to have such wonderful, caring people helping to guide me through this world.

    of course, the mentoring is different with each person - but the general consensus remains the same.

  4. You know I've mentioned my lack of complete knowledge in this area, but wouldn't a Dom take into account that his sub might have a job that would make certain things simply impossible? I mean, while I can get his need to control, doesn't it ultimately lead to pleasure for his sub and not embarassement?

  5. I think mentors can provide great value to people at times, but think having a wide range of input is more valuable than finding that one person and counting on them solely or predominantly for answers. I guess I think of them in the same context as a personal trainer, worthwhile and helpful, but not necessary.

    The example of the girl who was uncomfortable is NOT what a mentor is about, you are right Naughty and s/nik, that is a classic example of the abuse perpetrated by "mentors/predators", I feel he had nothing to offer that girl, just wanting to take, under the mentoring guise.

    I think as anon R. said, and lexa, as well, getting information from a variety of sources or a correspondent mentor can offer the best value

  6. This post was difficult for me because I wonder if you are right about "most women" not "falling for that." When a submissive woman begins to get the care she craves, she goes to a submissive place quite eagerly, and just wants to please her dominant. If he mostly gives good care and once in a while throws in something like this it can be very confusing. Plus, she wants to believe that he really does care for her and has her best interest at heart, so she sure doesn't want to make him think she doesn't trust him and offend him. It is very difficult and not at all obvious when you are the submissive who is questioning an order. I hope this dear girl got out with her sense of self in tact.