The Control Book - Introduction
The following is an extract from The Control Book by Peter Masters, pp. 1 - 5:
I want to come right out and say that this isn't a definitive textbook. I didn't write it to be one.
I'm a sadist at heart, and I have learned that one of the cruelest things you can do to someone is to teach them something, and thereby cause them to question their ignorance and long-held beliefs. As you're actually looking at this voluntarily, then it's likely that you're not the sort who's going to be particularly traumatised by being made to think. That's a shame, but on the off chance that you're looking at this book by mistake, I will attempt, in the following pages and chapters, to stir up some new thoughts, and to cause you to reflect on many things that you've probably just taken for granted up until now. I hope, by the end of the book, that you'll have a new understanding and appreciation for what control actually is---particularly in the context of BDSM---and how to use it.
BDSM is an abbreviation for Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission and Sadism & Masochism. These are areas of often-sexual activity involving pain, restraint, confinement, and authority. This is, of course, a very general definition, and doesn't convey either the extent of activities called "BDSM", or the range of emotions, passions and just broad psychological responses which BDSM can inspire.
One very important thing is that BDSM activities are rarely done solo. BDSM works best when there are two people, one of whom has the explicit role of being in control of what goes on. This fact lies at the heart of this book.
I believe that a very large part of the activities, which we include under the umbrella of BDSM, rely explicitly or implicitly on control being asserted over one person by another. These people are variously called tops, bottoms, dominants, submissives, masters, mistresses, slaves, and so on. However, what they're called isn't that important. What is important is how they use control. My goal in this book is to talk about control, explain what it is, demonstrate it, show how to take it, how to give it, how to manage it, and more. I want you, the reader, to be aware of the ebb and flow of control around you and through you.
Control is something that is present in many or most BDSM activities. It's explicit in many or most dominance & submission activities and lifestyles, and is usually obvious-to-a-blind-man in many bondage scenes, floggings, pain-play, piercings, and similar activities, where part of the thrill for one person is placing themselves in the hands (or control) of the other and just letting go.
For many people, control is like a tool or a catalyst. These people might be into the sexual thrills that they can get via their scenes, or the endorphin rush from heavy pain-play, or the sub-space; and they use control as part of how they achieve this. Control, for these people, is not what they look for. They might not even realise the part which control plays in what they do.
Then there are people for whom control is THE BIG THING. Dominants and submissives, as well as some masters and slaves, are usually good examples of these people. Their main interest is in explicitly controlling or being controlled by their partner. Pain, bondage, and so on become tools used to impose, or demonstrate, or manipulate control. These are the people I'm interested in. I refer to them, or the relationships where the element of control is primary, as control-sensitive. Control here is not a want, but a need.
As I'm going to be spending a lot of time talking about control, I'd like to make it clear exactly what it is that I'm talking about. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines control (the verb) as: To exercise restraint or direction upon the free action of; to hold sway over, exercise power or authority over; to dominate, command.
I am interested in all of this, mainly in the context of one person controlling another. I won't be talking about things like blackmail or threats as a way of achieving control, nor will I be talking about using physical force to control someone. This still leaves a lot of ground for us to cover.
The book is divided into five chapters. The first chapter---this present one---is called Introduction. This is where I'll be doing the groundwork: defining terms and providing background, which will hopefully make the rest of the book easier to digest. It is also where I explain what I think is a quaint relationship between evolution and dominance & submission.
The following chapter, Transfer Of Control, is fairly meaty. It's where I'll be talking about what's involved in taking control, giving up control, losing control, maintaining control, giving back control, delegating control, what can go wrong as control is being transferred, etc. It's the raw mechanics.
After that is a chapter on Communication. I know that every man and his dog has written something on communication, but there are some aspects unique to dominance & submission which are very important, but which are also rarely considered. I'll be looking at some of them here, including control of communication, plus communication and the impact on it of different headspaces or states of mind which can occur, such as sub-space.
Sub-space, in fewer words than necessary to do it justice, is a typically inwardly-focussed state of mind accompanied by emotional or spiritual feelings such as loss of identity, floating, feelings of belonging, being protected, and desire to please the dominant.
The last main chapter of the book is about Management. People involved in isolated scenes at play-parties don't face the same issues which far-reaching and long-term dominant & submissive relationships have to deal with. In this chapter I look at things like maintaining the feeling of control in the absence of the dominant, and long-term service issues.
I end the book with a small(?) chapter of Discussion topics. In the chapters up to this point I have attempted to answer the questions I pose, and to properly explore the areas in which I trespass. In Discussion I am much more interested in posing questions without providing answers. I hope that you'll find material here which you can use as a springboard for further exploration with friends, colleagues and, of course, eager submissives.
Using control is often a case of combining experience, talent, skill, understanding and instinct.
When you lack understanding, then adapting your skills to new situations and partners is a hit-and-miss affair, simply because you don't know what is going on, and hence have no idea of how to fix it. In fact, much of life can become very interesting indeed if you don't really know what you're doing, and are just relying on things that have worked before... and then something changes.
To my mind, part of the challenge in life comes from understanding and dealing with demanding and unusual situations. Regardless of whether you are looking for challenges or not, it's certain that the less understanding you have, the more you are confined to standard solutions, and the less you are able to deal with non-standard problems. This book is about teaching you awareness and understanding so that you can see more solutions, and are confined less to standard problems.
I end this section noting that this book is mainly written for dominants. As they are the ones in control, they are the ones best placed to effect change...one would expect, anyway.