to have an attitude of esteem towards; show or have respect for to respect one’s Master
to pay proper attention to; not violate to respect the submissive’s boundaries
to show consideration for; treat courteously or kindly
As a newbie entering into the BDSM lifestyle you hear a lot about ‘consent’ and ‘intent’ and how to play safely. What we don’t seem to hear enough about is respect. Respect is one of the key values that keeps what we do as kinksters from being abusive. Without respect, there is no honor and no trust. Without respect intent becomes another pavestone in hell, and consent is meaningless.
First and foremost, you need to respect yourself. This means knowing who you are even if all you know is that you are evolving and learning. It is living true to your values even if at times it is uncomfortable to do so. It means you behave in such a way that you can get up with yourself in the morning and go to bed with yourself at night knowing you made the best choices you could. It means keeping your side of the side-walk clean.
Our communities are filled with rugged individualists who by the very acts we indulge in defy living by society’s rules. The only way we can manage to play nicely together is if there is respect for others; for each other’s kink, relationships and limits. I don’t have to enjoy your style of kink to respect you or respect your right to practice your kink as you see fit. I don’t even have to like you personally to be civil to you or to exercise good manners when interacting with you.
A few months back Gamer and I attended a play party. When we first entered the room one of the women immediately shouted out to the entire room: “Oh goodie the English guy is here! Talk to me while I masturbate!” This was so completely disrespectful that I was stunned into silence. I will agree that the Governor has a beautiful voice and his soft British accent is a joy to hear. However, how disrespectful to him to reduce him to an object! How utterly disrespectful to his companions! I completely lost respect for this woman as she had completely ignored basic courtesy to my Dom and to me.
Respect in our community is paramount and it must be mutual. If you aren’t going to respect me, then it makes it impossible for me to respect you. If there isn’t respect, there cannot be trust and without trust there cannot be a healthy relationship. Thus, if I cannot respect you I will NOT associate with you. It is that simple.
So much that plagues our community as a whole could be avoided if the concepts of respect were pounded into us with as much enthusiasm as the concept of consent. Having respect for and within our community can be defined as behaving with civility. In the well known article, ‘Civility and Incivility in the Scene’ by Chris M and Lady Medora is a wonderful quote:
“One of the most grave and inexplicable problems facing our community in general is the continued presence of downright rudeness. It takes many forms: gossip, arrogance, slander, ingratitude, interpersonal cruelty , rumor-mongering, the propensity to snub, shun or belittle, a refined Sensitivity to slight paired with strident disregard for how ones actions And words effect others. It is astonishing, and terribly sad, how poorly we get along from the viewpoint of interpersonal relationships. Why a community like ours, whose members strive for a mature outlook on power, consent and tolerance, should feud with such violence and monotonous regularity is a true mystery.”
The authors conclude that the way to fix much of what plagues our community can be resolved with greater civility i.e., respect. It really all boils down to what you learned in kindergarten. PLAY NICE! It shouldn’t be that hard.