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Choose Your Words Carefully V: Want VS Need

Author: Norische

Filed in: training, speech

Within the vanilla world there are many words that we use without consideration. Words that seem ordinary within one realm gain quite a different meaning within the realm of BDSM. Simple words that are very similar in meaning can be worlds apart in definition within the safe haven of a dungeon.

Want VS Need. I used to have philosophical disputes with individuals over the similarities and differences of these two words. After much deliberation and a little controversy I came to a general conclusion…there is no such thing as need…only want. One does not need to breathe unless one wants to live. At least this is the conclusion I came to in the vanilla world. Unfortunately for me I learned that this is not the typical point of view within the BDSM realm.

During my training to be a Dominant my mentor had two male slaves, drew the younger of the two had been in the lifestyle for about a year and was still being trained himself. One day Walter (my mentor) stated, "drew, I need you to get me a cup of coffee". drew casually finished writing the email he was working one, which only took a minute or so…if that, and went and got Walter his cup of coffee. When he came back Walter took the cup and sat it down on his desk then grabbed drew by the hair of his head and bent him over the desk and took his belt and beat him severely. I myself was sitting in stunned silence across the room, holding on to the boot I had been polishing…wanting so much to ask why drew had gotten such a horrible beating. I knew it couldn\'t be the coffee, because Walter had not tasted the coffee yet, his presentation of the coffee had been flawless so I knew it could not have been a show of disrespect or lack of form. I simply was at a total loss for why Walter had behaved in such a manner. I glanced over at Walter\'s other male, jeff….who had been with Walter for several years by this time. He sat quietly at his desk watching the whole thing, but as he watched he was slowly shaking his head, as if he knew exactly why drew was being punished. After Walter released drew, drew fell to the floor and pressed his lips against Walter\'s ever-shinned boots. Walter told him to rise and asked him did he realize why he had been punished. drew responded that he did not understand the reason, so Walter glanced over at jeff and asked jeff why had drew been punished. jeff stated that Walter had said "I need a cup of coffee" and that his needs always come first and foremost. That the proper behavior would have been to drop anything that drew was doing and get Walter some coffee immediately, instead he finished what he was doing and then took care of his Master\'s needs. Walter nodded and looked back at drew, who now understood the harsh difference between need and want.

Want is a desire, if a Master or Mistress states "I want you to get me a cup of coffee" the general phase should be understood to mean "as soon as possible get me a cup of coffee."

Need however is a demand, if a Master or Mistress states "I need you to get me a cup of coffee" the general understanding should be "drop what ever you are doing immediately and get me a cup of coffee." If for any reason you cannot immediately follow through on a statement that includes the word "need" the slave/sub should humbly request permission to finish what he or she is doing or be allowed to stop what they are doing and get the desired item. For example a slave is frying eggs for breakfast, and the Master/Mistress states "I need you to set out my clothes." The slave/sub should state "Master/Mistress if it is not too inconvenient may I have your permission to finish frying the eggs and then proceed to get your clothing, it will only take a moment or two, but I am afraid if I delay your breakfast will not be suitable." Now the phrasing does not have to be exact but the general idea is present. Need is immediate and any delay is unacceptable without explicit permission.

When you wish a specific behavior to occur you must use specific words. Never assume that an individual will know the exactly what you mean unless you define the words you choose to use, and exactly what they mean to you.

As with everything this is my opinion, take what you will and leave the rest. If you wish to contact me, my email address is If you wish to see more of my work you may find a complete listing of all my writings at…. in the files section.


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