Two terms that nearly always cause confusion in conversation are “mental BDSM” and “internal enslavement”. They sound like they might be similar concepts, but “mental BDSM” usually refers to psychological (rather than physical) control, while “internal enslavement” refers to what you’d imagine the dictionary definition of “slave” is.
WHAT IS INTERNAL ENSLAVEMENT?
Internal Enslavement is a sub-culture within the broader BDSM umbrella, bringing power exchange to the extreme maximum. It was coined by Tanos, and there is very little negotiation (and a lot of training) in this relationship.
Tanos defines it on the Internal Enslavement website as:
“One of the key concepts of IE is literally – slave: this is just the everyday definition of “slave” that everyone grows up with, and it doesn’t include the roleplay slaves you sometimes meet elsewhere in BDSM. For example, this is from the definition of “slave” in the second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary: “One who is the property of, and entirely subject to another person, whether by capture, purchase or birth; a servant completely divested of freedom and personal rights.” When we say “slave”, we mean literal slave, defined in this way.”
HOW IS INTERNAL ENSLAVEMENT DIFFERENT TO THE USUAL DEFINITIONS OF MASTER/SLAVE RELATIONSHIPS?
Internal Enslavement will always have an initial training period, but as the relationship develops it does not require much communication and there is very little or no negotiation at all. The Master holds the supreme authority and power, the slave does not have a say, and the household is run for the sole benefit and pleasure of the Master. Individuals who are into IE, look for extreme ownership, regardless of being loved or not, regardless of it being healthy a relationship or not, and more extremely, regardless of danger to physical health or not.
It may sound extreme, but for a certain type of person you can see how this lifestyle might be attractive. By reducing one’s life into a simple slave form, from morning until night, every day, the slave is being fed, used, told what to do, etc. The complexity of living is reduced to a simple logic.
Nobody’s life is easy, it’s always complex. What course do I choose to study, how do I earn a living, would I be able to survive, does my family support me, what should i eat in the morning? What’s the point of cooking when you are just yourself, what’s the point of living? Internal Enslavement cancels out all this life confusion and constant complexity, reducing it to a simple power dynamic.
Some may argue that Internal Enslavement is a lazy way of slavery, where the slave throws their entire life to the Master, but i disagree. Every M/s relationship is unique, there are many different approaches. There are Masters who have the time and luxury of dedicating their energy to Their M/s Dynamic, and Internal Enslavement might be the right kind of relationship for them. There are Masters who have many competing demands on their time and energy and live complex and multifaceted lives, so Internal Enslavement might not be exciting to Them. The same obviously goes for slaves. Some wish to focus all their energy, 24-7, on their role, others wish to lead more varied and textured lives.
There is no one formula, and only you will know if Internal Enslavement is your nature or not. It is worth understanding the concept, because when we meet potential partners we use terms like Master and slave quite freely, sometimes not consciously being aware that one person’s perception of its meaning may not be the other person’s. Obviously, negotiation works best when terms are clear.