I just started reading The Master’s Manual, and unlike the last book I read, I’m going to try to write my thoughts about the book as I go along.
From the very beginning you can tell that this book is written from someone that has been around and in the scene for a long time. In a way he addresses that it takes a while to truly become a Master. He writes, “The kind of people who stand out as Masters know what to do, and they know that they know what to do.” The only way you are going to get there are with years of practice and learning.
As a Master, if you truly feel you know everything, I hope you get as far away from the SM scene as possible because you’re likely to hurt someone. The SM world is no different than life… you will NEVER know everything. As a Master though, depending on who you are with, you may want to hide that fact from them. I prefer to let my partner, scene or otherwise, know that we’re both on a journey to expand our worlds and learn more on the path. I’m not going to be perfect, and I’m going to make mistakes, but I will take every opportunity I have to reduce the chances for dangerous mistakes. Just as he writes:
SM needs the same interpersonal skills, the same common sense, and the same desire for experience that any human endeavor demands.
The one thing he wrote about that really made me want to start writing this was his thoughts on how “SM is real people being real.” It’s very true to. For a lot of people, it’s really just a part of their life, just as watching football is far a football fan. That is something that is very important for outsiders to understand. Although the things SM folk do may seem very weird, think about how an outsider with no knowledge of the subject would look at a hardcore football fan – covered in paint, wearing the team’s colors, shouting at a TV screen at people they have no true personal involvement with, and doing all of this with friends in a ritualistic way.
He mentioned something I frequently forget to think about, and almost causes some problems with me. SM is about pleasure. It’s that pure and simple. It’s not about having an orgasm. It’s not about fucking. It’s about enjoying what you are doing regardless of the outcome. A lot of times we focus too much on what we want to get out of an encounter rather than just making sure we are enjoying everything as we go along. I have had amazing experiences without shooting my load. Granted, most of the times I wish I had, but they were still great experiences and that’s what I need to make sure I keep in mind.