The Power of a Name

May 6th, 2011

I’ve written about labels many times, but I have generally ignored names and titles between people. By that I mean, I ‘ve written about labeling oneself Dom or sub, but not about calling someone Master X or Slave Y. Last year, calling him Sir was a big thing, part of object space, part of the game. But I never really wrote about what using the word meant to me. Hubby is my Master, I call him that when we play, and he calls me slave or little one, but I’ve never written about that either. Words are very important to me. Names, they say, hold power. Labeling yourself something is one thing, being called that by someone else, another. We all know the power of our parent using our full name in anger, or our loved one using a pet name in joy. This week, there was a question about what I would be called on Monday nights, by toy and by him. And it sparked a lot of different thoughts in my brain. I’ll try to get them out onto this blog if I can.

A long time ago, in a country far away, I had a Daddy. But he was Daddy for nonsexual reasons, so I never called him Daddy in bed. I called him Sir. He called me a lot of things. Including a few I didn’t like. A few that upset me, made me feel like less of a human being. I did not tell him, I didn’t know how to tell him, I was afraid to tell him. So, I tried to ignore those words coming out of his mouth, but they still stung. Years later, the other used them, in the same types of situations. And I let him, and they didn’t hurt anymore. They reminded me of the time when they did, but the sting was no longer there. They were entertaining and useful and sexy when the other said them. Words can hurt, but it is all in how they are delivered and received.

My name is special to me. I like it, I like how it is spelled. I like that it came equally from both my parents. I do not use someone’s first name in casual conversation with that person. It feels strange to me, to do so. Using a first name, to me, puts significant impact into what I am saying. If I am talking to someone, they know I’m talking to them. I don’t need to say their name unless I am trying to get their attention or if I want to emphasize what I am saying. So, when someone already has my attention, and uses my name, what they are saying has more impact on me. I honestly don’t know if other people feel this way or not.

Then we come to how I refer to people I am playing with. Sir, to me, is the most natural title or name for a male I am submissive towards. It is what I call male customers at work, though I’ve had a few object to that (Don’t Sir me, I work for a living.) simply out of respect and not knowing their name. It is a term of respect, deeply ingrained in me. Last year we made it into a task I repeatedly failed at by requiring it in every sentence to him. I guess I wouldn’t do well in the military, but we already knew that. But even then, it was couched in terms of my respect for him.

We are returning to that now, with the contract. We will respectfully call him Sir. I find that when using Sir, I will say it far more often than I would have normally used his name. It holds my respect for him, but less of the power of his name. On which point, his name, during such times that we are calling him Sir, is a safeword. It does have power. The power to alter headspace. To denote something is wrong, and that we need him, not the Dominant he is being for us.

I call hubby Master, because that is what we chose to use. He likes that term and he is first in my life, above any other Dom or Top that may be part of my life. He is the one who takes care of me, day to day and the one I come home to. I am collared to him, married to him, and forever his. That is what calling him Master means to me.

I have never bottomed to a female and used any type of label or title. There are a few who I call by their chosen names: Domina or Mistress or Lady. But these are just like using their first names, not out of any sense of my respect for them, just an identifier of who they are.

Toy is the first bottom I’ve had a name for. It is her relationship to us, and a tool to help her stay in the headspace. It is a term that she enjoys hearing, and depending on inflection, can be very useful in getting a message across. I am still learning about what this means to her and to myself.

So, what about things people call me?

Toy calls me Miss. A counterpoint to Sir. But not all the way up to Mistress or Madame. I wasn’t comfortable with those. They felt too high, too strong. I’m just the little d, afterall. Miss, I like. It’s what we call young women. I am very young in this topping role, so I feel that it is still respectful, and it fits me.

Hubby calls me slave or little one. Slave is the counterpoint to Master. It is filled with all those same feelings of love, and care and forever. Little one, is a term of endearment that has been used by several men. I am not tiny, but I am rather small in comparison to a lot of my partners. Certainly, I’ve been shorter than all of them. It makes me feel protected and cared for.

Other names I have been called(again, not labels, but names): kajira, slut, whore. These last two being the names in question in paragraph two, and most often used by the other. Slut and whore were used sexually, to heighten a moment, for dirty talking or teasing. To push emotionally and mentally. Kajira was a term of endearment, around our mutual love and use of rope in our play and sex. It held all the sensations and attachment of rope at it’s core for us. I was not just a rope slut in those moments, but a slave to the rope. And it felt good.

So, full circle, then. To what sparked this post. What, if anything, did I want him to call me during Monday playtime? I am terrible at naming characters in stories. In my erotica, I tend to write without names. I did not want to use names used by hubby or by the other. He had only ever used my name last year. Names from other venues had their own attachments. Toy had a few suggestions, but none of them felt quite right for us. In the end, he decided that for now, he would just use my name. As we have always done. As I am learning to do with Toy, he is able to do well, put the meaning behind his voice that he wants there by tone and inflection.

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