|Life on Gor (Page 4 of 6)|
by Julian X  /  non-fiction  /  21 Jun 2008
Live-Action / Real-Life Goreans
At the same time, some Goreans started shifting to live-action role-playing. The exact relationship between the origins of the two groups – those live-action and online – has yet to be definitively determined. Anecdotal evidence suggests that most live-action Goreans started as online Goreans. But live-action role-playing games, such as Vampire: The Masquerade, were coming into their own in the 1990s, spreading from city to city as players moved. It’s perfectly possible that the live-action Goreans had separate origins, to one extent or another.
Live-action Goreans didn’t meet in basements in groups to enact Gorean scenarios for long, however. They quickly morphed into people practicing Gorean lifestyles in real life.
That’s right: they put their philosophies into practice and keep women as slaves. Except that these real-life Goreans avoid the kidnapping and rape common to the novels. These are willing women – the kind of women who were going online to simulate being slaves. Which they often call “kajirae,” just as in the novels. And who wear the accompanying sigil that the Goreans have come up with.
Real-life Goreans also use the internet, but for other purposes. One of the favorite seems to be explorations of the various slave positions described in the novels, somewhat inconsistently and each with distinct (but sometimes multiple) names. Several sites have photos of slave-girls, dressed appropriately, in these positions. You can also find online newsletters and even a Gorean personals website.
Whatever their shared origins, these two groups of Goreans generally do not get along. Live-action Goreans generally feel that online Goreans are poseurs, people playing at being Goreans but not putting their philosophies into practice – and thus not worthy of the term “Gorean.” Online Goreans, who mostly seem ticked off at the other group’s self-righteousness, respond that live-action Goreans aren’t true to the novels either: no one’s forsaking technology and going around kidnapping women to make them into slaves. And most live-action Goreans apparently started as online role-players, who vastly outnumber the live-action group.
Live-Action Goreans and BDSM
But there’s another split that’s of major importance: live-action Goreans don’t generally get along with the BDSM community. The reasons should be obvious. You can read many accounts of women in the BDSM community who have willing embraced slavery, sometimes for a select period, that community’s philosophy is centrally opposed to Gorean principles of male and female natures. While male dominants outnumber female ones, femdoms aren’t exactly rare – yet are seen as a sickness in Gorean circles. From the BDSM perspective, the Goreans seem to be embracing their own kink while condemning others’. To the Goreans, they’re not fulfilling “kink” at all: they’re merely expressing their gendered human nature.
Not to mention that the BDSM community is highly concerned with consent. Thus, the term “total power exchange” – the submissive gives us her – or his – power willingly. Again, live-action Goreans aren’t going around raping anyone. And they do refer to “failed” slaves: slaves who weren’t able to surrender totally to the liberation of complete and total submission – something that didn’t exist in the Gorean novels. But to practitioners of BDSM, domination is an erotic role-playing exercise: you’re either “in scene” or “out of scene.” To real-life Goreans, they’re not role-playing. Well, maybe about the terminology of a counter-Earth, but not about the slavery thing.
While live-action Gorean slaves willingly submit, it’s largely only because the law and social mores require it. You can even find live-action Goreans who extol the idea of kidnapping a woman and training her as a slave to test Gorean principles – but who wouldn’t do it because of fear of prison, should their theories be wrong or the chosen woman just prove too resistant, too programmed by society to disdain kidnapping, rape, being collared or branded against their will, and becoming a slave.
This is everything the public image of the BDSM community has sought to avoid. In fact, the BDSM community takes very seriously its implementation of a “safe word” – a word the submissive can utter, even if amid pleas to end a whipping, to end the simulation. Goreans don’t believe in no safe words. If you don’t understand how serious BDSM people take safe words, try telling some that you tried bondage without using one: jaws may drop, scorn may come, and an inquisition into exactly what you would have done will surely follow.
A few other issues also divide the two communities. For all the whippings in the novels, real-life Goreans are very rarely into sadomasochism. Norman’s sex manual Imaginative Sex recommended simulating whippings – which, while lighter than BDSM play, doesn’t even seem to interest most Goreans, who mostly just want to have or be slaves.
And BDSM people, while hardly hesitant around kinky costumes and scenarios, tend not to get the whole “based on a series of sci-fi novels” thing. If Goreans are too serious for BDSM tastes about their philosophy and thus consent, BDSM practitioners are too serious about their sex to inject something so close to Dungeons & Dragons.
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