In the context of fetish, kink and sexuality, nowadays terms like “Master” and “slave” are used frequently. Being a Leather MASTER or a BDSM Master, just as much as being a slave, is something much more specific than just being the Dominant or submissive part in a sexual exchange. It encompasses responsibilities, features and skills that are earned with a lot of experience, and it’s important to learn what a real Master is, and what a real slave is, both for cultural reasons and for safety ones.
What does it mean to be a Leather Master
Let’s start by stating something obvious, but very important to understand.
Being a Top or a Dominant doesn’t equal being a Master. Being a Master is not a role play, it’s not a sexual position, and it’s not supposed to be a way to be looked up to. It encompasses enormous responsibilities, a tough learning process, lots of years of Mentoring, and being recognized as a Master by the Master who have trained you.
A BDSM Master, just as much as a Leather Master, are unique people who have been in the lifestyle for a very long time, and have earned said title; even semantically, it should be clear how the word “Master” is associated with the concept of mastery. The BDSM Master is a man who takes his role very seriously, and is aware of his skills and limitations, together with the responsibilities of having a submissive’s mental, physical and emotional wellbeing in his hands. Being a Dominant, a Sadist or a Top may be parts and shades of the colors of the personality of a BDSM Master, but those are not sufficient qualifiers to be recognized as a “Master”.
A BDSM Master’s main goal is to train, educate, and shape submissives who decide to put their trust and service in his hands. Normally, a Leather Master is also guided by a sense of duty in the development of the sumissive’s journey, and is not merely driven by ego, or the need to feel “superior”. A Leather Master becomes such when he has decided to devote himself to the lifestyle and its commitments, because he knows that his nature is the one of the Leader, and in the context of Leather sociology and sexuality, his wellbeing depends on exercising said role in the space of consent and honor.
What are the criteria to become a responsible and qualified Leather Master
A Leather Master is a man who has gone through an initiation path (and traditionally in Old Guard Leather, a Covering Ceremony) guided by a Mentor to take the Lifestyle path seriously and with full and total commitment.
- No matter if a Dominant or submissive, every Leatherman starts as a “boy” under the guide of an experienced Mentor
- He has learnt that there is no shame, nor weakness in submission, but only bravery and strength; he has served His Mentor and other Older Masters in the Community during his learning time. Said service may or may not be also sexual, depending on the nature of said relationships.
- He has learnt the value and importance of humility and humbleness and has willingly given up His freedom and rights as an Alpha, during His Mentorship.
- He has learnt on his skin and soul the joys and achievement, as well as the pains and sorrows that can be experienced when living in real, full submission.
- He has been developing skills and techniques learnt from His Mentors, both directly (direct teaching and assisting Master) and passively (being on the receiving end of these skills and techniques).
- He had the thirst to absorb all of the knowledge and teachings of his Mentor, in order to become a valuable Master Himself one day.
- He has earned his Leathers. Single pieces of Leather wear are gifted to the boy as he develops and matures. The Leather he wears is part of his path and experience.
- He has faced his fears and have learnt how to handle them, and he knows how a sub can feel during a relationship or a Session (fear, doubt, anxiety, pain, eagerness, hunger, sore knees, sore back, frustration, happiness and more)
- A real Master is never self entitled just because he feels it’s cool to be a Dom and rule people around.
Being a Master is a title you earn from your Mentors, from an Etiquette and Protocol point of view. Also, it is an achievement that you’ll unlock in yourself when you’ll know it’s time. If the reader identifies as a Dominant, I’m sure he knows deep inside of himself if he should be called a Master or not. It’s about integrity and being honest with ones self.
What are the responsibilities and code of conduct of a BDSM Master
Being a BDSM Leather Master requires a full comprehension of your responsibility in ruling, leading and handling men. That’s why it’s so important to be on the other side of the polarity first.
- If you’ll get abandoned, you’ll know what it means.
- If you’ll be played with with no respect, you’ll know how it feels.
- If a Dom loses his self control and you get beaten up seriously, you’ll know how shameful that is and you’ll never want to lose control.
So here are a set of core responsibilities that a real Master should embody, and when they are missing with no explanation, it should be an immediate red flag.
- A good Master always has a safeword. He might decide in a tailored relationship not to unveil it until he is sure it will not be used poorly, but He will always have one. Safewords are mostly used for public settings where the lighting or sound is poor, and the Master can’t properly read the submissive, and technically a safeword is never to be used unless something is going really the wrong way.
- A good Master knows the difference between hunting for pleasure and raising and leading men. He will never play in between and will always be extremely upfront and clear with his subs.
- A good Master will never endanger His property
- A good Master will never run from confrontations or responsibility.
- A good Master has the capacity of entering the mind of a man and be trustworthy and respectable enough to be the carrier of all of man’s secretes and desires.
- A Good Master is not a nanny, your mother or your therapist. It is in His responsibilities to care for the subs, especially upon meetings and in presence, and when ownership is involved also be present from far away; yet, he will always state out his own rules, as long as they are clear from the beginning. Some Masters can be Daddies and Father Figures; others might not be interested at all in being that person. That will not affect the Master’s good name and quality, as long as rules are clear from the start.
A Master is a natural born Leader who has learnt to harness his own power and emotions first, and then will be ready to harness other’s power and emotions in the delicate and intricate path to power exchange.
For all of the hard work becoming a Master is, a Master deservers Respect from all of the subs in the Leather Community and from all of His Brothers in it (in a brotherly and not necessarily submissive way).
Of course, this doesn’t reflect the current scene where being a Master is just a label to craft one’s onlyfans profile with, but this is a contemporary society problem, not the scope of this article.
A Leather Master’s Duties
A Leather Master isn’t some pinup porn figure that only demands worship for the sake of worship. The honors that come with being a Master are enabled by the adherence to the duties that qualify you as a Master.
- A Master will always be upfront and honest about his feelings and wishes
- A Master will not lure people into submission without an actual interest to build something consistent
- A Master will give clear instructions to the subs so that they can learn a pattern
- He will practice what he preaches, living by the code 24/7 as much as his life allows him to.
- He will not get Ownership over an excellent slave just because he wants it. A Master will evaluate if there is room in his life for the dedication of an excellent slave, and will leave it free if he knows he cannot give back the same kind of commitment that the slave want to give.
- A Leather Master would always address his Brothers with respects and good etiquette (did you know that amongst Masters, we also call each others Sir? Read more on Protocol and etiquette here.)
- He would never disrespect his Brother, toying with their properties without explicit permission.
- A Master should always be sober during BDSM activities.
- A Master should also always keep his behavior within good sense limits, living a life which is self respectful (not poisoning himself with too much alcohol, too much smokes, too much recreational elements..).
A Master should always keep his alert awake and never engage in any BDSM activity if his judgement is impaired (drunk or else). A Master can drink and can lead his own rules, as long as he won’t start a session with a compromised judgment.
- A Master would not encourage “chemsex” or heavy recreational drugs use, as the point in BDSM is connection, and those substances are dissociative; therefor, a Master is not a junkie or into junkies, but not from a merely moral point of view; it’s about the impossibility to establish a real connection.
- A Master who takes a slave, a sub, a boi, an omega, a beta, an Alpha or a pig into training should take full responsibility of the teaching path he will provide, and will be ready to deal with the subject’s lack of experience in certain fields.
- He will never mock or abuse emotionally or psychologically a sub for its lack of expertise or for performance, as long as the sub gave everything he had.
- He will respect the slave’s rights at all times (you can find a list of the slave’s rights here).
Last but not least, a real Master will accept interruption of service and won’t abuse emotionally or psychologically the person who was his submissive, as long as also the other party respects the Master’s rights and dignity, and mutual aftercare.
The rights of a BDSM Master
A BDSM Master isn’t a toy and isn’t a hero. He is a human being, just as much as the submissive is. Therefor, he also bleeds when hurt, and he is also endangered by abusive relationships. On that, we have a good article on how to deal with the end of a bdsm relationship that can be useful for anyone.
- He will have his own feelings respected and will not be mocked and abused, nor will he let any sub manipulate him into a spiral of constant blame for the subs unhappiness.
- If interruption of service happens, the subject will inform the Master right away in a formal and respectful way, informing him about what is wrong and why the sub took this decision. This will give the Master the tools to cope with, and also the possibility to the Master to work on himself if required.
- A Master’s household, playroom, any of his properties, are his temple when the context of BDSM is enabled. All of Master’s properties, including the subs, must be kept in perfect conditions at all time. If mistreated, the Master can immediately counter react by his own laws, including interruption of service.
- A Master’s health is as important as a sub’s health; Master will be kept informed immediately and without fear of consequences of any changes in the subject’s health status.
- A Master’s has the right to be considered and respected for his hard earned title, and not because of his looks, age, body shape, dick size and so on.
- Older Masters’s must always be respected by younger subs and Doms in the Community. By my rules, if an Older Master requires service from a younger one, it is honorable and Perfect Protocols for the younger Master to gladly provide service. Said service doesn’t have to be always sexual. Sometimes it’s just about leaving the best place to sit, offering a drink, lighting up a cigar, and so on.
As the reader might have noticed, being a Master is something very serious to BDSM people who take the lifestyle seriously. Taking the lifestyle seriously is fundamental both for safety reasons (because in real BDSM, not following a proper code might result in mild to fatal injuries, be them physical or emotional), and also because as humanity it’s saddening to see how we use words with no care.
Being a Master is much more than being a top, and has nothing to do with coping with a fragile ego. Being a Master, is a life of service to your believes, in the polarity where you have all the responsibility, and all the honors that come with them.
What does it mean to be a Leather Master in the context of Old Guard Leather?
Being a Leather Master in the Old Guard Leather community signifies a commitment to the traditions and values of this specific subculture within BDSM. It involves a deep understanding of leather culture's history, protocols, and codes of conduct, and having decided to embody in theory and practice his role of Leader and men trainer.
How does one become a Leather Master in the Old Guard Leather community?
To become a Leather Master in this context, one typically undergoes a mentorship with an experienced Master, demonstrates a strong understanding of leather history and protocols, and earns the respect and recognition of the community. Don't be fooled by the word "community" here. Community doesn't mean the commercial pop scene of hundreds of thousand of clueless people chasing a harness discount. Community means other Old Guard Leather people.
What are some key values associated with being a Leather Master in the Old Guard Leather community?
Core values often include honor, integrity, respect, discipline, and a commitment to preserving and passing down the traditions of Old Guard Leather. These values shape the Master's role and relationships within the community
How does a Leather Master handle responsibilities and authority within the community?
A Leather Master in the Old Guard Leather community takes on the responsibility of nurturing and guiding those they mentor while respecting the community's hierarchies and protocols. They lead by example and maintain a high standard of conduct
Can anyone become a Leather Master, or is it an exclusive title?
While anyone can aspire to become a Leather Master in the Old Guard Leather community, it's an earned title that requires dedication, knowledge, and a deep understanding of the culture. It's not a title given lightly
Is the role of a Leather Master fixed, or does it adapt to individual dynamics?
The role of a Leather Master can be somewhat flexible, as it may adapt to the specific needs and dynamics of the relationships they are involved in. However, the core values and principles of Old Guard Leather culture remain constant.
How does a Leather Master ensure informed consent and safety in BDSM activities?
A real Leather Master places a strong emphasis on informed consent and safety. They communicate openly with their submissives, establish clear boundaries, and prioritize the well-being of all parties involved in BDSM activities. That's why there are three levels of collaring in Old Guard Leather, and there's often a pre-consent negotiation form, house rules, and depending on the individuals, more documents informing the submissive party on what kind of journey the might be embarking on.
Are there expectations for a Leather Master's behavior outside of BDSM activities?
Yes, as much as the same expectation are looked for into a slave outside of BDSM activities. Masters are expected to uphold the values and protocols of the Old Guard Leather community in all aspects of their life, not just within BDSM dynamics, and to maintain their role and responsibilities towards the submissive always, not just while having sex.