My boy is my boy, he is not my slave.
For a lot of people in D/s relationships, the line between D/s and M/s can be very blurry. For others, it is so far apart it's ridiculous to think of them together.
I'm a terrible black and white thinker. I can't do it. I just... don't think in black and white, at all. Black is just very dark grey, and white is just very light grey. They're there, but they're on a spectrum. This is how I see most things in life, and D/s is no exception.
This post is not meant to explain all the differences between boys and slaves. As with everything in life (ah, here is my grey thinking) it all comes down to the people involved and how it works for them.
But for us? Definitely my boy, definitely not my slave. I am his Daddy, his mentor, his guide, his partner, but not his Master.
I think one of the key distinctions for us about this is that rather than control the boy's behaviour or life, I support him and encourage him to build his own. This doesn't mean that I don't tell him what to do a lot - on the contrary, he has a bed time and set gym times, and I can order him to do something at any time of day - but it does mean that I don't utilize that to its logical conclusion. I do not desire to do this for him, and I think even if I tried, he would resent it.
I do not tell my boy who he can socialize with or even when he can socialize. He is free to make his own connections with other people and to interact with them however he likes. Sometimes I will make suggestions, for example I have told him I would like him to attend the local submissive's munch when he can, but they are suggestions, not orders.
I encourage my boy to follow his heart and do what he loves. I do not seek to control that for him. I encourage him to work as he likes, play as he likes, see who he likes, experience life as he likes.
Were I to have a slave, this would not be the case.
In a slave I would expect to have rights over their life (within reason - some people's hard limits may involve things like "no removing me from my career" for example). I would have no qualms sending them to TAFE to learn skills that would be useful for me, modifying their bodies without asking (shaving heads, for example), or installing annoying protocols in their lives that I find arousing (not being allowed to use furniture, for example).
A part of me feels odd laying this out here on my blog for people to see, because the truth is that I'm a very flexible individual. I am open to most types of relationships with most types of people. I like that no two relationships are the same. I like being able to build a relationship from the inside, rather than going in with expectations.
But after a lot of self work in the last few months (well, last few years really!) I find myself in the position of actually seeking a slave. And it means that I have very clear ideas on where a slave differs from a boy - after all, I already have a boy.
What it does seem to come down to is the level of control and authority. While I have an enormous amount of control and authority over the boy, it is not total, nor would either of us wish it to be.
I do not seek to mould the boy into any particular type of person; rather, I seek to assist him in fulfilling his potential as who he is and who he desires to be.
That, dear readers, is a very important difference.
In a slave, I want near-total control and authority. But that doesn't mean I want a doormat, which I am finding means that I am having trouble finding suitable people. I want a slave who is stubborn and ambitious - the type of person who, while they do seek to be a slave, seeks to be the best possible slave they could be.
I'm looking for the elusive slave-minded person who thinks, "I won't settle for being locked in a cage all hours of the day, only used for sexual service. I can be so much more. I can be anything, I can be amazing. I can and will be the most impressive slave anyone has seen. People will compliment my Master on how incredible I am. Master will wonder how he ever did without me."
To be fair, I do actually already know someone who thinks like this - but he is one of my best friends, so that isn't going to work ;)