Property Values

Posted on | February 6, 2012 | 7 Comments |

When I posted my recently about my Title Deed, and my Owner/property relationship with Tethys, the lovely Amie Wee was a tad perplexed. Nothing wrong with that – if you’d told me eighteen months ago that I’d choose to be owned by someone, I’d have scoffed!

So she asked me some really good questions, and I thought I’d devote a post to answering them. I hope they will prove interesting to you, dear readers.  Italics are by Amie.

Firstly, congrats. Secondly, I have questions because I can’t imagine ever wanting to own or be owned by anyone, so my questions come purely from a place of curiousness.


That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Why? Because we really wanted it, and it felt like the right thing for our relationship. There was definitely a sexual power-dynamic between us, and we wanted to formalise it in a way that wasn’t phrased as Master/slave or Dom/sub  (or Boss/pet, for that matter). So we hunted for the words that felt right for us.


What differs this from a marriage, other than the physical?

This relationship doesn’t feel anything at all like a marriage to me (in fact, your question threw me for a loop when I read it, because I was so surprised anyone would even ask that!). I suspect because the Title Deed looks legal-like you’re thinking of it as a legal arrangement like marriage is, but this is not. We did want to signify our seriousness – hence the deed. As for how it is different from a marriage? Well for me and Apollo, marriage (or in our case, civil union) is about co-operation and making a life together. Whereas my relationship with Tethys is instead about hir taking care of hir property (i.e.: me), and me doing as my Owner wishes. Which is in some respects a lot like older-style marriage arrangements – but we are considerably more up-front about it!


How will this affect your other relationships?

Finishing the Title Deed doesn’t actually make any difference to my other relationships. The day after the deed was no different than the day before! But my overall relationship with m’Lady has caused some small alterations in my relationships. A (mostly amusing) one is that Hylas sometimes teases me by ‘threatening’ to call Tethys on me. And if I’m on orgasm denial I can provide pleasure for my partners but not have orgasms of my own – luckily I am fairly good at controlling my orgasmic response, but both Apollo and Hylas like to push me on that one…


Does it make it any more important?

I presume you’re asking if it makes my relationship with Tethys more important than my other relationships? Definitely not, and we’ve been really careful to state that in the Title Deed itself. Because the order of the rules is also the importance of the rules, the top rule takes precedence over any further down, and the second rule takes precedence over any rule save the top rule, etc.

So the most important rule is that (paraphrasing) I must care for myself. And the second most important is that I care for my relationships with Apollo and Hylas.  In fact, the first four rules are all about caring for me (as the property) and my other relationships – it’s not until the fifth rule that we get to my relationship with Tethys at all!


Can you only ever be owned by 1 person?

I have no desire whatsoever to be owned by anyone else. Theoretically, I imagine I could be. Practically, I don’t think I’d want to be. And while I like m’Lady’s other partners very much, I don’t see any of them wanting to be part of owning me!


Are all your relationships equal? Does this make your relationship with Lexi rival any of the others?

All of my relationships are different. They’re not equal – but they’re not unequal either! Apollo, Hylas and Tethys are the most important day-to-day and in my heart, and I think of them all as my partners, with their own titles: husband, pet, and owner. I speak to all of them daily in some way, shape or form. But I have other lovers, and they’re important in their own ways as well.


Do you have to ask Lexi before you get new lovers?

I don’t have to ask Tethys this any more than I ask any of my other partners. Which means I do what I always do – kiss whomever I like, but if I like someone as a potential more-than-kissing friend, I blather on to everyone in my life about them anyway, introduce them to one or more of my partners (usually Apollo, but not always), get myself and them tested, and then go for it. I’ve been working through this exact process with Ailuros recently.

If I did have to ask Tethys, it would be one of the rules on the Title Deed. But it’s not.


Why is ownership necessary for Lexi?

It’s not that ownership was necessary for Tethys, so much that wanting to be owned by hir was necessary for me! It was a yearning that I had, very strongly. So we explored that, and this is what resulted.

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7 Responses to “Property Values”

  1. Irn Bruja
    February 6th, 2012 @ 9:40 pm

    Interesting answers, thanks for responding!

    Personally, I find the idea of ownership of another very difficult. The connotations with historical slavery raises a lot of issues for me. Did you do any research on other examples of human ownership, and if so what impact did that have on you and your decision to enter this agreement?

    Reading the title deed again though, it does offer you a lot of freedoms and latitude that go against any “traditional” definition of human ownership. With the exception of how you and Tethys define yourselves within the boundaries of the relationship, and that you have formalised the boundaries of your relationship, how would you say it differs to a standard definition of a D/s relationship? Obviously I have absolutely no problem with how you decide to define yourself and your relationship with another, I’m just interested in how your definition of ownership differs to mine!

    Apologies if these questions overstep the mark, your posts on this topic have raised some very interesting issues and questions for me and I think it would be a great resource for others if you (and perhaps Tethys and your other partners) could expand more on this?

  2. Amie
    February 7th, 2012 @ 11:26 am

    Interesting! Thanks for answering.

    Be keen to hear the answers to Irn’s questions too. :-)

  3. Michael Samadhi
    February 8th, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

    As always Dee dear, you are an inspiration!

    To help answer Irn Bruja’s questions from the standpoint of a man who blog’s about his slave/wife . . .

    ownership within the BDSM community – from a “traditional” D/s standpoint – is such a wonderfully varied thing that it really defies any “standard” definition . . . monogamous D/s relationships are obviously going to have vastly different rules than a poly D/s relationship . . . It’s all as varied as human imagination can possibly be.

    Yes, I’ve known people who wanted to literally act out the Story of O, there will always be some more enthusiastic for experience than others. I’d guess the majority of D/s relationships look pretty much like Ward and June Cleaver on the outside to the rest of the world, except you might find ropes attached to our beds! 😉

  4. Kiwiana
    February 8th, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

    I’m still pleased for you! I might just understand a bit more now than I did which is great. Big Hugs K

  5. Irn Bruja
    February 8th, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

    Fair point Michael, though I’m looking at this more from the use of the words “owner” and “slave”. To me, these are very loaded words with a lot of historical and social weight behind them. Whilst I understand and accept the broad spectrum of relationships both D/s and vanilla, I am fascinated at the idea of these concepts being used in such a way, and the effect that using such labels has on a relationship that redefines these roles.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t jump down someone’s throat if they describe themselves as being a “slave” in day to day context, but here we are talking about relationships where human as property is taken very seriously. I suppose I’m looking at this through an anthropologist/sociologist’s lens, rather than that of the BDSM community.

  6. Dee
    February 11th, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

    Hi Irn,

    I’ve pondered most of the week on how to answer your questions, and it’s not gotten any simpler. So I’m just going to suck it up and type and hope I make sense.

    The idea of being owned, as a person, was not something I’d desired for myself at all prior to meeting Tethys. After getting to know hir, that changed. And it was me that wanted it, very much.

    My historical knowledge as regards slavery is less about the Deep South/African-American/Caribbean slaves (although I studied that in high school) but far more about slaves and manumission in ancient Greece and Rome. Because ancient Greece in particular is an area of immense interest to me, I do a lot of reading in that area. As such, I’ve picked up a lot from both non-fiction and fiction reading.

    The word ‘slave’ isn’t one I particularly like. Nor is ‘master’ or ‘mistress’. I feel they have particular connotations that sit very uncomfortably with me (others may like them, and that’s fine – just don’t expect me to use them). However ‘owner’ is a very broad word – you can own most anything. I own my computer. And ‘property’ is equally broad. Yes, in this instance Tethys and I are using them to apply to hirself and myself – but we’re not asking anyone else to use those terms when referring to us, or to our relationship. They’re welcome to use our names, or call it a power-exchange, or whatever.

    And, of course, while my Title Deed has been written in such a way that it looks official, and, for us, it formalises this power-exchange in our relationship, it isn’t legal. It in no way gives Tethys legal ownership over me, any more than my civil union paperwork gives Apollo ownership over me (although that does, legally, combine our assets).

    I don’t know how our relationship differs from a standard D/s relationship – but as Michael pointed out, I’m not sure that there really is a standard! All I know is that we spent a very long time putting together the clauses for my Title Deed, to make it the best, most flexible and appropriate deed not only for me, hir and our relationship, but also for our other relationships and how they impact our lives.

    I hope that answered a little!

    xx Dee

  7. Tethys
    February 11th, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

    Hi Irn,

    Dee has already covered a number of the points i’d make; but i’d like to add a few more.

    First, some background: i’ve never been in this sort of kink dynamic before. i’ve never been in a kink dynamic before. i’ve never even sought this kind of kink dynamic before. So when Dee started talking about feeling like she wanted to be owned by me, i was quite startled; and as i’ve written in previous guest posts, i found the concept quite challenging to my long-standing feminist beliefs.

    Dee has already noted that we haven’t, don’t, and won’t used/use the word ‘slave’ in relation to her. We have very consciously avoided that word; neither of us has any interest whatsoever in using it in this context. Hence why we refer to our arrangement as an owner/property (o/p) dynamic.

    It might be argued, “Well, okay, but come on – when you talk about ‘owning’ another human being, you’re talking about slavery in practice, even if you’re not using the word ‘slave’.” My response to that would be:

    * As Dee has already said, this arrangement is in no way a legal one, i.e. one backed up by the law. This stands in stark contrast to historical slavery where slave-owners had the full force of the state behind them. (And even were there the possibility of making this an actual legal arrangement, i wouldn’t take the opportunity, for various personal and ideological reasons.) Nor is it like contemporary slavery-like practices, such as bonded labour / debt bondage, because Dee is free to not only end the arrangement, but our relationship overall, at any time, and walk away. Which is as i feel it should be.

    * Even within the bounds of our arrangement, there are things which take priority over my ownership of Dee – more specifically, her personal health and well-being, and the health and well-being of the two other core relationships in her life. There are thus bounds on my control over her that i feel aren’t reflective of the degree of control slave-owners have historically had over their slaves.

    * Finally, Dee has noted that our arrangement ” is in some respects a lot like older-style marriage arrangements – but we are considerably more up-front about it!” Indeed, for most of its long history, legal marriage has overwhelmingly been about property rights, and has involved (i feel) outrageous ‘rights’ a husband was regarded as having over his wife. It’s only relatively recently – say within the last century or two – that the property rights aspect has begun to diminish, and even more recently – say within the last several decades – that the “husband can treat his wife however he wishes” aspect has begun to diminish. None of this, however, has stopped non-heterosexual people from demanding equal marriage laws, because, despite history, many people feel that marriage doesn’t inherently have to be patriarchal, or sexist, or depriving of one party’s individual rights. Similarly, i feel Dee and i have developed an ‘ownership’ arrangement which keeps those aspects of owning / being owned that work for both of us, that make us happy and content, whilst at the same time removing those aspects which have been central to historical slavery / ownership of people, and which neither of us want to be reproducing in our own relationship.

    Hope that all makes sense …. ?


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