[M/s 365] No means no

This post has sat in my draft’s folder for about a month now, as I go back and forth on how to word what it is I want to say. Not because the message has changed, but because I want to make sure I’m as clear as possible in how I pursue an M/s relationship. I also needed to go back and clearly define when and how “no” is used.

There are three situations where “No” comes into play, in an M/s relationship.

First situation, is if I ask her a question like “Do we have Dr. Pepper in the fridge?” where there is a factual binary response of Yes/no. Or, “slave, do you have enough spoons to not only clean the bathrooms, but also to get an extra load of laundry done today?” – that is also another binary Yes/No situation. That is not the “no” I want to speak of. There’s no issue of consent here.

A second situation is where the slave doesn’t say “No”, but indicates that if were not for her surrender to my authority, she would have said no. Usually, these come with statements like “If it pleases you, Master.” or “If that is your final decision, Master.” The latter being used when I’ve told her to do something, she brings me back information that she would like me to consider, but in the end I’ve kept to my original decision. She’s indicated by her words and actions that she hasn’t withdrawn consent.

The third situation is the one I’m speaking of — the situation where a Master is either engaged in doing something to/with the slave or they’ve given a command to the slave, and the slave flat out refuses and says “No”. I am going to go on record and state my beliefs about consent and M/s in this case: If my slave has said “no” in this situation, in my mind, consent has just been withdrawn, the nature and fabric of the authority transfer has been torn and this relationship is over.

Should I continue to exercise my authority once consent is withdrawn, I no longer have a basis for my authority and, depending on the action, I could be performing criminal acts if I continue to perform those actions upon/with the slave. This is not chattel slavery, and should a Master decide to play loosey-goosey, it’s very likely that their local DA could eat them alive. If it comes to their attention and they believe that said Master can become their next political point to score, or there are laws in place that would see continued actions as abuse and/or assault. However, I don’t think the fear of law should be the basis of a Master stopping what they’re doing if consent has been withdrawn – I think it is ethical and the right thing to do.

I recognize that there are many different models for an M/s relationship, and that there are many ways of exploring the edge of consent and relationship dynamics. I was taught by people who believed in the ideal of “a slave relinquishes all rights and consent.” I agree with that ideal. Note my emphasis on the word – ideal. I was also taught by those same people that at the end of the day “no” means “no” when coming from someone in the relationship.

In an M/s relationship, a slave has surrendered to my authority. I’ve become the steward of that surrender… what is the basis of my authority over that slave? I believe it is by being the Master who will live up to my side of the bargain that serves as the basis of that authority transfer. In pursuing the ideal of a slave relinquishing all rights and consent, it’s up to us to work towards an environment where that slave doesn’t want to, or will not say “No” –  that work being done in an ethical manner consistent with what the slave consented to in surrendering. Some define that as “internal enslavement.” It’s that journey that I take with my slave.

That’s why “No” is a Big Deal with me. The trust and the fabric of the authority/surrender, for me, is based on that unconditional consent and that exploration of that edge of consent. “No” is the deal breaker, it’s the signal that this is FUBAR, that things are nuclear and toxic, in an M/s relationship.

Now, let’s go back to the third example – where a slave has revoked consent, that ends the M/s relationship, as far as I’m concerned. That is now a human being who no longer is in a relationship with me. If slave angie looks at me tonight and says “no” and revokes consent, she is no longer my slave… that means what I’m doing STOPS. She knows this. Clearly and unequivocally.

I’m also going to point out that there are situations where I expect angie to say “no” – if I ordered her to do something illegal, or so repugnant or harmful that I would be breaking my own rules – because that is my mistake. I’ve broken my own word, my contract with her and she knows that I expect her to revoke consent at that point. I don’t expect her to become the arm-chopping, mass-murderer slave that so many outlier arguments want to make about M/s. If I’m that much of an ass, I deserve to have my slave leave me.

I’m aware of situations where the “Master” tried to use the initial consent to justify actions that caused the slave to revoke consent, e.g. “she consented, therefore I can do whatever I want and she has to be cause she’s a slave!!!”; as well as to try to use initial consent to try to justify continuing the relationship – e.g. “That slave can’t leave me!!! I haven’t told it that it can leave!!! (huffpuff)” That situation, I truly don’t understand – if you’ve driven your slave to that point, why are you two going to stay together? I get ego, especially the egos of us Masters, but is it worth it? To me, if the relationship has broken down to that point, then that particular authority transfer is over. It’s time to heal, to pick up the pieces, to see what went wrong, to fix the issue and either start anew or walk away.

This approach does not stop me from exploring an M/s relationship to the fullest. I don’t live in fear of angie revoking consent. Rather, I revel in the authority I have over her. I have the keys to the kingdom, but then I don’t need to be an ass and bend her to a broken place. To push her beyond the uttermost limits of what is ethical, or harm her. That’s not to say we don’t explore the edge. I’m pretty sure that some would look at us and the authority/surrender we engage in and squick at where our rabbit holes go. Rather, I see this as a point of pride, that I’m living up to the ideals that my mentors and teachers believed in and that I believe in.

I’m going to address these last words to people who are not in an M/s relationship, or those who are not in THE relationship but have a slave come to them, and speak about actions that caused the slave to say “no”/withdraw consent. The slave may call it rape, abuse, or use other words to describe it, but at the end of the day, it’s pretty easy to know if consent was withdrawn.

The single-most abhorrent thing you could say, in this situation, is “Well, you’re a slave. You signed up for this. Take your lumps.” or something similar. 

Think about it for a second. It is most likely that you’re not there in the situation or relationship. Whatever you think you might know, you’re not in that slave’s head or Master’s head. You’re not part of that situation. It could very well be an abusive situation, it might not be… but if the slave is at this point to where consent was withdrawn, that M/s relationship between that slave and Master is over and broken. Trying to guilt the slave into going back because “that’s what slaves do” only perpetuates a rather vicious and hurtful myth that slaves shouldn’t leave at any price or for any reason. I’ve seen the fallout and the hurt and trauma that those beliefs and horrible myths perpetuate. It’s not pretty and it’s not ethical. Stop doing it, if you are doing it.

There’s a huge difference between a slave struggling and a slave who has said “no” to revoke consent. And if you can’t discern between the two, you probably should not give advice about staying or going in the first place. If that sounds harsh, well, shikata ga nai.


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Master Michael S

International Master 2014. Member of: Chicago Leather Club, Chicago Leathermen Group, MAsT: Greater Chicago. Longtime leatherman. One of the Four Horsemen.

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