When I look back at my first day in that IRC channel, I’m embarrassed at my nativity. I stumble into the supposedly medieval Tavern and type hello all cheerful. Nobody says hello back, which is a little strange. Then, as I sit eyes fixed on the computer screen, mesmerized, I read a blow by blow description of a sexual encounter in which a submissive woman is tied up, fondled and eventually forced to reach orgasm. Some of the language used sounds like a bad romance novel, but overall the impact on me is devastatingly erotic, I am sweating with arousal.
Believe it or not, within a few hours I become a slave at the Tavern. The seductive call of BDSM is impossible to resist, I’m seeing every sexual fantasy I ever had played out on the computer. My new owner names me “elira” and places a cyber collar on my cyber neck, with his initial on it. Wearing a collar is a tradition in the D/s world and is demonstrated by placing parentheses after a nickname, i.e. elira(BJ). Collaring is somewhat like marriage because it involves a commitment and a ceremony but is rare in real life where even the most fervent dominants and submissives tend to enter into traditional relationships. It is very common on IRC. After all, if it doesn’t work out, it’s easy enough to delete the parentheses, change your name, and move along. Wearing a collar, with its connotations of ownership and dehumanization, makes me excruciatingly hot.
Many people have gone through instantaneous conversion, an awakening, a bolt of religious enlightenment. They probably would agree with me that after that moment, nothing is the same. For me, certainly, nothing is ever again the same.
I have hardly any transition time, I am just an overripe fruit waiting to fall from the tree. All it takes is a shake in the right direction. And internet time runs on dog years. It goes about seven times faster than life outside, I think as a result of the intensity of communication over the computer. Regular life is full of distractions, but computer life is focused.
So, I scour the internet for information, not only about Gor but about all of D/s, find obscure web sites, read treatises, talk to people online and ask a thousand questions. Everything is there, all the background, all the facts about domination and submission, laid out in easy to understand terms. Mutual consent is what distinguishes D/s from abuse and assault, just as consent distinguishes sex from rape, I learn. Context is what determines whether or not pain is experienced as pleasurable. Going to the dentist isn’t erotic but flogging can be. Some people see D/s as their sexual orientation, while others just view it as a chosen sexual practice. D/s does not have to include sexual contact. Individuals who are submissive with their partner in a BDSM scene may not necessarily be submissive in other aspects of their lives. D/s can encompass physical and psychological interactions.
My head is spinning with information. All I want is to talk D/s, be D/s, act out D/s, 24 hours a day.
Gor is fun for a while. The rules at the Tavern are strict and elaborate. Women are not allowed to look directly at a master, nor speak without being spoken to. They cannot refer to themselves in the first person. They have to memorize a variety of postures, everything from how to kneel when serving food and drink to how to stand properly when sold to the highest bidder at a slave auction. Serving wine or beer had to be performed in a certain, colorful way. Punishment is the consequence of misbehavior or mistake. Runaway or disobedient slaves are whipped or killed.
Underlying every interaction is the principle that a female slave has no volition or identity. She is owned as chattel, subject to her master’s whim, bought and sold, traded or wagered or given away. Typically, she is fit only for menial or sexual tasks. Slaves are highly valued for their sexual responsiveness, but even the most desirable slave is worthless compared to a free person.
Gor philosophy is almost pure fantasy impossible to replicate, even emotionally, in the real world, but on IRC it works magic.
Right from the beginning, what I experience on the computer does more than just provide me with entertainment. It invades every aspect of my life. Few men on the internet are satisfied with only pretend interaction and fantasy role-playing. Most demand real life compliance with any number of directions and orders. Of course, they have no way of insuring that the other person is actually doing any of the things they’ve ordered, but there are ways around that. Typically, you have to submit detailed reports on your activities or even photographs.
I never have a problem doing everything I am told. I love getting ordered around, even micromanaged if I have the leeway. There are relationships like that, not necessarily Gorean, where a submissive can’t eat or go to the bathroom or have an orgasm without permission, all her clothes are chosen for her, she really can’t make any decision at all, even the most mundane one. That appeals to a lot of people in theory, but is not very practical because it’s so much work for the managing partner. After a while, the dominant gets exhausted and says, “Just wear whatever you want.”
After my collaring at the Tavern, I spend every free moment at the computer, drinking coffee and avoiding conversation with Karl. Laundry and housework are left undone while my days and evenings are spent staring at the screen and typing, learning how to serve the various masters with food, drink and sex. Sometimes, I have private sessions with my master, where he instructs me on the finer points of submission and slavery, a la Gor. These private chats prove to be my undoing as his collared slave. Not only does he have no perceptible sense of humor, he gives out too much homework and not enough sex. As much as I enjoy ritual, all I really want to do is explore my newfound sexuality.
Juggling my real life responsibilities, my time on the internet, and homework too, proves impossible. And I am restless. After four days of slavery, I go to my master and say I am unhappy. He spends about an hour trying to persuade me to stay, and I agree to think it over. Then he gives me more homework and dismisses me. I never return. Next day, I change my nickname to “ahlira” to make it difficult to be found, upload to a different IRC community, and begin my serious exploration into BDSM.
This is probably the time to mention that my persona on IRC is inaccurate. By about 20 years. From the beginning, I pretend to be a woman two decades younger than my real age. Lying about my age has its good points and its bad ones. One advantage is that it makes it impossible for me to meet anyone in real life that I become acquainted with on IRC. This constraint is handy in protecting me from my own headstrong impulses. Second, it is fun to be younger. It softens the anger I feel about missing out on the D/s experience when I was really 30. Third, I am a pretty smart and articulate 50 year old and an even more impressive 30 year old. I wow people. The bad part is that it is unpleasant to lie, especially when you develop a close relationship with someone. You just want to come right out and tell the truth all the time. You feel so close, you are sure that they wouldn’t mind you being 50. But, even if they didn’t mind the age part, they would be upset about the lie. If you are like me, you never quite muster the courage to confess.
At any rate, when I leave the Tavern, I begin an intense, exciting and tumultuous journey through other flavors of BDSM. I cram eons of experience into the next few months and change collars constantly. Aside from middle of the road domination and submission, traditional bondage and discipline, there is an amazing breadth of odd and interesting fetishes to learn about, people who like to pee or be peed on, people with size fetishes, one devoted to “shrinking women”, where all the girls are zapped by a special ray gun and miniaturized, then sexually enslaved by normal sized masters, foot worshipers, men who like women either completely bald or hairy all over, people who like to train girls like puppies or keep them in diapers, gangbangers, pretend doctors tormenting pretend gynecological patients, men who like to watch girls being fucked by horses or dogs, you name it, there is someone who is turned on by it. Not everything appeals to me of course, but it is liberating and fun to experiment with most of them. I begin to see each of the fetishes as metaphor for power exchange. Like rape, for instance. My own earliest BDSM fantasies are about rape, and for years I masturbate to make-believe scenarios of being raped.