Dominant and Caring
By Master Taino

The International Master/slave Weekend held in Atlanta in 1999 was the first major event intended to enhance the education on Master/slave relationships. The incredible track of workshops in that event was put together by author, psychologist and leatherman Guy Baldwin.

As it was for many others, it was a defining moment in my life. I have been kinky since my pre-teen years. I have been a leatherman and part of the Leather Community since the early nineties. But that event put me on my way to accept the calling of Mastery.

There I began to create my network with renowned Masters and slaves in our country. And it was there that I began to express myself and lay out my philosophy.

A year later, at a similar event, Master Steve from Butchmanns SM Academy heard me asking a question during the opening panel session. After the panel, he came to me to express how pleased he was hearing me talking and insisting on the need of “caring” for our slaves, something he had heard me talk about the previous year as well. Master Steve pointed out to me my own “Master Heart”, a new term to me. He also said that every human being has a “mission” on this planet; for several years I had already been very aware of that concept of mission. Now I knew the term for mine.

Since then, I have been able to give form to my own philosophy on Mastery: Dominant and Caring. The philosophy is simple. We sometimes spend too much time addressing the importance of domination, control and ownership, but we usually forget how to care for our property: the slaves.

During my own baby steps in Mastery, I was amazed and appalled with the rampant abuse that many so-called masters apply to their slaves. The fact that our relationships usually involve a great deal of BDSM, a very physical and sensual activity, should not be mistaken to include violence, abuse or mistreatment. The abuse I have found in many cases is usually physical, emotional and/or financial.

Once again, I turned to Master Steve, whom I not only considered my role model, friend and mentor, but also the one who validated my own mastery. I asked him publicly what we could do to stop that kind of abuse of slaves. I have to admit that I was waiting for a magic pill from my dear friend. But he responded with “one person at a time”. Since then, I have tried hard to enhance my mentoring and educational work in the community “one person at a time’.

Dominant but Caring is a very simple philosophy. Masters have to be themselves and follow their calling. Being dominant, in control and in charge is part of who we are. But that dominance comes with a great responsibility.

When a slave presents himself to us as a gift, we assume the full responsibility for his life, well-being, growth, development, caring, nurturing and discipline. There is some notion out there that all slaves want and need is to be used and abused. I have a problem with that notion. We have to start with realizing that slaves are human beings, human beings with a calling to serve, human beings with a slave heart, nevertheless, human beings.

As human beings, slaves also have the human need for love, nurturing and caring. And as masters and owners, we have to provide that. We do not have to fall in love with our slaves (although some masters do), but we have to love them with that special and unique love that only a Master can provide for a slave. And Masters also have to care for the well-being of their property. Masters need to keep them healthy and happy. That is why many of us insist or order that our slaves quit smoking, drink moderately, abstain from recreational drugs, watch their weight, exercise, always engage in safe sex, have medical check ups, etc. That is the Master’s responsibility.

And finally, we are the providers of nurturing. I cannot think of anything else a slave can cherish more than being held by his Master, be it after a cathartic flogging, in moments of personal despair or just to provide that sense of security that slaves need. When a slave is in his Master’s arms, he feels safe, protected and loved. he feels he belongs.

Dehumanizing can be acceptable during a hot scene in the dungeon or during dog or pony play, but dehumanizing should never be an acceptable way of life in a Master/slave relationship. Because of this, I do not allow my slaves to refer themselves as “it” as some in the Old Guard tradition still does. If we refer to a slave as “it”, we are dehumanizing him and referring to him as an object instead of a human being.

What I do promote is the use of upper case when referring to a Master and the use of lower case when referring to a slave as part of the writing protocol. That protocol establishes the clear differences between Owner and property without being dehumanizing.

At the same time, I do use and promote the concept of property. slaves are the property of their Masters. But they are a precious and a very special property, a property to take care of, a property to nurture, a property to love. There are masters out there that prefer to treat their property as a “piece of shit” or “trash”. Well, I do not see much fun in owning a piece of shit or trash.

Another important aspect is that slaves, as human beings, have their own human needs. As Masters, as should pay attention to those needs. It is true that slaves should always place the needs of the Master over their own needs. But this does not mean that slaves do not have needs that should also be met.

Most slaves sign contracts with their masters. But that does not mean that they cannot walk away if they are abused, mistreated, taken advantage of, or their basic needs are not met. They will and should walk away if that is the case in their relationship. Some slaves think that they, for some reason or their own submissive nature, deserve the abuse, physical or emotional. That is far from the truth.

slaves, as human beings, deserve the respect of their Masters. I would not have it any other way. If I cannot respect my slave, I do not want him. Or if I lose respect for my slave, I would release him.

In summary, Mastery is about domination and control. slavery is about service, obedience and surrender. But the relationship between a Master and a slave also needs to be developed with love, caring and nurturing. It’s that simple.