This essay originally appeared as a post to the gl-asb and gl-subs e-mail lists in April 1998. Copyright ©1998 by david stein; all rights reserved. May not be reposted, reprinted, or otherwise reproduced except for personal use without explicit permission from the author. Please note that subsequently to the occasion described below, Master Steve moved to Tucson, AZ, and after hosting BUTCHMANN's in His home there fore a few years, transferred it to Phoenix under the aegis of the Arizona Power Exchange.

This is a report on my latest period of slave training with Master Steve at BUTCHMANN’S Academy in Palm Springs, CA. Much of it will be old news to members of gl-subs, who got periodic reports from the front <g> during my stay, but i also have friends on gl-asb and elsewhere who have asked about it, and perhaps others will also find it of interest.

This time i was in service for 8 days, 7 days in personal service with Master Steve, and 1 more day in household service before leaving, as He had to go out of town. The training was a private arrangement and not connected to any of the formal BUTCHMANN’S weekends, which i have yet to attend because of scheduling problems. This fall, i hope!

One of the things that is most distinctive about the training Master Steve has given me and others is that it is not at all oriented toward s/m “scenes” and “play” but is like a slice of slave life. The Master works for a living, the house needs to be cleaned, laundry needs to be done, meals need to be cooked, served, eaten, and cleaned up after, and so on. And all of that becomes part of slave training, not just time in the “Dunge,” as the dungeon space is familiarly called.

So anyone reading this who hopes for a narrative of nonstop “play” for 8 days will be disappointed! Bail out now! <g>

Except for one weekend outing to a local tourist attraction, one lunch out with a friend, one run to the grocery store, and a couple of days when the weather turned cold, i spent the entire time naked, and for all but the first evening i was collared (chain and padlock). Although my body is not something i’m proud to show off, it was easy to adjust to the nudity simply because no one made a big thing out of it (though Master rarely missed an opportunity to rub my fur — i’m beginning to think He may have a bit of a fetish for body hair <g>). There are always naked or half-naked slaves in the house, some of them buff but others not.

i slept the entire time on a futon on the floor, though sometimes this was in Master’s own room and sometimes in another room. (i snore — very, very loudly! — and a regular weekend slave of His could not sleep when we were in the same room. Master had no trouble with it, however.) Because i have bad knees and joint/tendon problems elsewhere, it was harder for me to get up and down from my bed on the floor than for a more limber slave, but it was no problem psychologically. It didn’t feel like a “humiliation” but simply my natural place. Similarly, i stayed off the other furniture except for the patio chairs, which slaves are allowed to use, a chair at the computer when i was working there or allowed to go online, and occasionally a kitchen chair by special permission (because i have trouble standing for long periods).

i’ve always enjoyed bondage, and in this stay (i also spent 5 days at BUTCHMANN’S last fall) Master Steve discovered that He enjoys keeping me in bondage, so i spent most of the time wearing chains between my hands and/or feet, connected to padded leather cuffs for comfort. Usually there was also a chain from my collar down to the leg chain, with both that and the wrist chain connected to it, and on a few nights additional chains were attached to Master’s bed (i used a large screw-cap jug to piss in during the night).

i set a personal record for continuous bondage without a break: 60 hours. Aside from smelling like a ripe cheese because i hadn’t been able to shower, it was great! And after the break for my lunch date with a local friend, it was right back into chains for another couple of days.

Except for one 2-hour period when i was tightly restrained and hooded, lying on my sleeping pad, the bondage wasn’t rigorous, and most of it wasn’t even locked, just clipped. i could have gotten out of all but the locked wrist cuffs (and my collar) at any time. To some that will invalidate it as “bondage,” but to me it made no difference. When Master put a chain on me, it was on until He took it off; it may as well have been welded as far as i was concerned. i could imagine taking it off — and sometimes, trying to do housework or computer work, i was sorely tempted! — but nothing short of a fire or earthquake could have moved me actually to do so.

Except at the very start and a few times later when Master handled me intimately, the bondage wasn’t especially sexual or exciting. It just was. my mobility and freedom were limited and controlled by Master’s will, via the chains, and that became simply a condition of my being. i felt lighter and freer when they came off, but i also felt safe and secure when they were on, so it’s a toss-up.

One afternoon late in my stay, Master bound me to a bed in the Dunge and flogged me. Since this was the first time He’d done so, and in view of my physical limitations, He went a little easy — He called it a “light to moderate flogging.” The “moderate” part included strokes as heavy as i’ve ever had before from anybody. They knocked the wind out of me, and i grew hoarse from screaming (i was forbidden to use words, just animal sounds). It all lasted about half an hour, He said, plus the warm-up and aftercare, which amounted to another hour at least.

i can’t report any remarkable breakthroughs from this experience, but it was very good! Master and i both felt i could have taken more — though i was very glad when He stopped! He was pleased with how i handled it and said that i would benefit from daily floggings. The idea terrifies and exhilarates me at the same time. While this particular flogging didn’t quite silence the nagging little voice in my head, it muted it considerably, which was a good thing! And it felt so good when it was over, as if i was wrapped in a thick, fluffy blanket. One patch on my back stayed red and then bruised for several days.

Aside from housework and cooking, my main work assignment was editorial, revising the “protocol” document that all slaves at BUTCHMANN’S (and Master Steve’s personal slaves) are expected to follow. The protocol derives from the one that SlaveMaster (Mike McDade) worked out for the slaves He personally develops, but Master Steve felt it needed modifications for the much wider range of slaves and Masters, at different levels of commitment and understanding, who come to BUTCHMANN’S (where SlaveMaster is co-instructor during formal weekend sessions).

One of the key elements of the protocol is the ritual of PRESENTING, which a slave must do whenever a Master at BUTCHMANN’S enters or leaves a space the slave occupies, or when the slave approaches or leaves a Master. The slave normally kneels, with his hands clasped behind his back and head bowed (there is a standing variation, which i was allowed to use most of the time because of my knees). Then the slave says, “Sir, Master, Sir” (or “Sir, my Master, Sir” if he is in personal service to that Master), and waits to be acknowledged. After being recognized, the slave asks the Master’s intentions for the slave’s service. If the slave was already following an order or will be out of the Master’s presence for an extended time, the question is, “Sir, do You wish me to continue, Sir?” or “Sir, do You wish me to continue in Your service, Sir?”

With all the coming and going in a busy household, you can imagine that doing a full PRESENT every time is impractical, and, in fact, it was frequently waived (Master would say “Continue, boy” before i could even rise to the PRESENTING position). But the more i did it, and thought about it, and felt its effect, the more meaningful it became. It was only after returning home, however, when i found that i missed PRESENTING, that i realized it is more for the slave’s benefit than the Master’s. It’s actually rather inconvenient for a Master to take the time for a slave to PRESENT whenever He enters or leaves a room. But it does wonders for a slave’s sense of himself — or at least it did for mine!

Again, let me emphasize that this is not a form of humiliation! Humility, yes, but there’s nothing degrading about it. SlaveMaster says as much in His original formulation, and i kept most of His words in editing the protocol document (just moved them around a bit <g>). PRESENTING lets the slave feel the “power and strength of his slavery.” It is a positive, affirming way of getting in touch with his slave nature, or “heart of slave” as Master Steve calls it. PRESENTING is simultaneously very personal — this slave presents to this Master — and supra-personal — the slave offers his slavery to the Master’s Mastery, both being avatars of powers greater than themselves, powers they are both obedient to when the Master/slave connection is truly achieved.

PRESENTING lets both Master and slave stop for a moment and reground themselves and their relationship in what is real and permanent and powerful. The particular ritual used by Master Steve and SlaveMaster is very effective, but i’m sure other rituals could work, too. i’m less sure that any ongoing Master/slave relationship could work without some similar ritual — the pressures of mundane, everyday work and worries are so strong that they always swamp us if we have no way of resisting them.

That’s how it looks to me, anyway!

Besides PRESENTING, the element of the protocol that made the deepest impression on me this time around is the idea that a slave never asks permission or makes a request, but only inquires what the Master wishes. What usually struck slaves first about the protocol, before Master Steve changed this (SlaveMaster has not changed it for His slaves), was the requirement to speak only in the third person, avoiding not only “i” but also “me” and “mine” — with the signal exceptions of “my Master,” “my slavebrother,” and “my slavery.” Master Steve said that the third-person form had been an unnecessary stumbling block, so it has been relaxed for His slaves and BUTCHMANN’S visitors, but the rule about how to phrase questions or comments is unchanged.

To me, turning every question about meeting my own needs (let alone desires!) into a question about the Master’s wishes for me is a much more radical change than simply replacing “i” with “this slave” or “he.” At first it was very awkward, and even on day 8 i was still making mistakes. But the more i did it, the easier and more natural it felt, and i think it really did affect how i thought and not just how i spoke.

Saying, “Sir, may i check my e-mail, Sir?” comes out of a different mind-set from “Sir, do You want me to go online and check my e-mail, Sir?” That little bit of distance between the slave and his ego can open up a tremendous opportunity for service and obedience. Instead of moving from a stance of service to one where i invited the Master to either satisfy or frustrate my desires, it let me stay in service/obedience mode at all times. Everything, including attending to my own needs to eat, sleep, use the bathroom, and so forth, was recast in terms of service and obedience. And by the same token, instead of receiving a mixed bag of gratifications and disappointments from the Master, everything He gave me was equally a gift. That’s why the protocol prescribes that the proper immediate response to anything a Master says is, “Sir, yes, Sir! Thank You, Sir!” Y’know — i can’t think of another phrase in the language that gets less stale with repetition, except “i love you.” <g>

So what about sex?, you’re wondering <g>. Not much, i’m afraid. Master Steve used me once, and that was it. i had a hard-on then, and occasionally at other times, but i never came, and for the most part i didn’t care if i did. Usually i JO at least once a day, but i stopped that several days before arriving at BUTCHMANN’S, so i was chaste for a full two weeks, another personal record. It actually surprised me how little it bothered me, or how little temptation i had to give myself relief. That’s not to say that the experience was negatively erotic, or that the atmosphere wasn’t sexy — sex was in the air constantly. i just didn’t care about my own orgasms; there were more important things on my mind.

After i returned home, i allowed myself to JO again, but it’s been no big deal. It’s kind of nice, but i think i got more deep satisfaction from mopping Master Steve’s floor or folding His laundry <g>. No doubt in a more extended training period the chastity would be more difficult to maintain — maybe even be an interesting challenge <g>.

i titled this long post “finding my slavery,” because that’s exactly what happened. Although i’ve had fantasies of slavery since i was a youngster, and have had two Master/slave relationships in the dim past, one for five months and one for more than a year and a half (and i’m still in a relationship with the same man who was my Master at that time), i have lately had more doubts than certainty that this is truly the path for me. Master Steve says He has no doubt that it is, and i have to agree now. While i was in His house, serving and obeying Him, and wearing His collar and chains, i was happier than i have been in many years. my body still protested and limited me, but my spirit soared. i felt better about myself and about the people around me. i was nicer to people, and they responded in kind.

slave is what i am, and slavery is what i need. At the same time, i know that 40-some years of bad habits, self-defeating thought patterns, and neglect of my body cannot be remedied overnight, or made as if they never happened. i have a long road ahead before i can offer myself to any Master with a clear conscience and an open heart. So for now, i will sign myself, with respect to all,

beginner slave david stein

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