When I was in Colorado last time, I was asked, “Do you feel you have been conditioned to be what you are and do what you do?” The word “conditioned” threw me off. In the moment, I answered, “Yes, sort of,” but it was a kind of gibberish reply, and I regretted it later.
I’ve been thinking about that question a lot more. Perhaps the question has resurfaced with me because my submissiveness is mostly unused here in Pennsylvania, and I so deeply feel the absence of active domination. It’s obvious: I am indeed conditioned to need the slave life.
But the answer to the question is more complicated than it seems.
I am wary these days of people assuming a lifestyle or orientation that they don’t like or approve of is a result of conditioning. Or education. Or grooming. I won’t get into that beehive, but with that in mind I now want to amend my Colorado answer.
The question was, “Do you feel you have been conditioned to be what you are and do what you do?”
I would now answer that those are two different things — what I am and what I do. I was never “conditioned” to be what I am. I was always submissive, and in some ways I was the last to know. No one encouraged me to be submissive, and in fact one dominant man in the lifestyle told me not to get into it.
I think the intent of the question assumes coercion or a kind of brainwashing. No one could (should) ever choose that, so you must have been talked into a bad lifestyle. So it goes.
On the other hand, given that my orientation is submissive and I am rather extremely wired this way and that this is what I am by no one’s coercion or even by my own set of “bad” choices, there’s the other part of the question regarding what I do. And that’s what I meant in my original answer to the woman’s question.
The general model of lifestyle D/s is one of training. It’s intentionally an alternative relationship: the submissive gives herself to a dominant and consents to be trained into his preferences. This training, formal and casual in the daily life of D/s, is indeed a kind of conditioning. I am submissive naturally, by birth, I have chosen the D/s life by my own free will, but once in it, I have been trained, conditioned, shaped to be the kind of woman and submissive my dominants prefer.
I walk and sit and stand a certain way, as I’ve been trained. I am submissively proper in social situations, as my owners have shaped me. I kneel and bend over and spread myself open just as my dominants have conditioned me to.
However, it’s not conditioning to make me submissive, but conditioning to make me a better submissive. It’s not shaping me to be but shaping me in how I do what I do.
I do agree that my conditioning in the “how of doing” is something that deepens my submissiveness. Does it make me more submissive? Maybe. I know some men and women who would say so. I certainly submit to more, endure more, and crave to be used more.
I admit it feels like a drug in a way, such that when I am dominated constantly, living in 24/7, I want more and more of it. And such that when I am outside of the life, as I am in Pennsylvania, I feel withdrawal and the absence of it.
This is complicated more by the fact that I am kept as a sexual submissive. My submission and sex have become intertwined. And I am “conditioned” for both of them to be used of me together. And conditioned perhaps to crave both together.
So, it gets complicated.
Some would still say that I have been conditioned to crave an insatiable life of submission and sex. That my moral compass has been hijacked.
I think of it differently. I used to live a life of quiet repression. I now live a life of freedom to be what I am.
Kind of ironic.
5 thoughts on “conditioning”
Shae, I find it really interesting that we both come from different forms of repression (thoygh mine was from military-style parenting, not religion), and that we refer to ourselves as being “kept” a certain way now, by our Dominants. I am not trained to be socially submissive – quite the opposite – and yet I find it fascinating that we both talk about the freedom and happiness that comes in our submission. I wrote a post today on my “ramble” blog (Whispers Of A Phoenix on my profile) where I also chose the word “kept” as an explicit expression of the mental state you talk of here. It is something that, I feel, only those of us who know would truly understand.
I cannot understand why anyone would advise you not to get into the lifestyle though, but perhaps only to express caution and find those that are safe for you. Sadly there are some bad eggs out there who would think nothing of using a beautiful submissive soul such as yourself, and this is why it pays to be careful.
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Helen, I appreciate this so very much… Read your Whispers of a Phoenix blog (so good) and I loved your line: ” This is just the way I am now. Kept.” There is something in the submissive experience that is hard to describe/define, and “kept” sort of gets at it. It’s tender but possessive at the same time. Suggests being used, yet also protected… And yes, you get the irony I was referring to. You and I dealt with repression early on, and we’ve come to this kind of life. It’s hard for people to see how freeing it is… Great thoughts, Helen. Thank you.
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so well put about conditioned. trained or conditioned to know your owner’s wnats, needs and requires of their sub. it is free to be oneself with the right partner because there is a partnership between Master?Mistress and submissive.
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You certainly were not talked into being submissive. Had you been, you would have made a choice to become submissive. But you have no choice in the matter. Submission is your nature. It is what you are, not what you do. You were submissive before you became a slavegirl, when you were not “doing” it. You chose to become a slavegirl because to do otherwise would run afoul of your nature. You had already tried that and it did not work well for you. Current circumstances have required you to somewhat step away from your submissive nature, and it is not working well for you, now. You can function where you are, but you miss domination, as well you should.
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