A Tour of Gor …

In this segment, Unwritten will take you on a journey through Gor. Find out the latest happenings, what it means to play in Gor, and other amazing tidbits surrounding the genre.

Gor – Is it just a fancy or odd sort of BDSM? By Unwritten

First and foremost, let’s define BDSM to be sure we’re all on the same page.  Basically BDSM is an acronym to describe a relationship or occurrence involving one or more of the following groups: Bondage and Discipline, Domination and Submission, Sadism and Masochism.  Defining that in greater detail could take up an entire post (or more!) on its own, but we’re here to talk about how BDSM and Gor might be related, so I won’t delve too deeply into the definition.  I do feel that the Gorean realm and BDSM have some aspects linking them, but they are two pathways that are different from each other, although they may run parallel at times.

The Gorean novels, which our online roleplay revolves around and stems from, are based on varying areas of society where, for the majority, what is known as the “natural order” is a key part of daily life.  The natural order basically states that men are the stronger, more dominant gender and women are not necessarily inferior, but hold a distinct role of being weaker and submissive.  Upon Gor there are two basic types – free and slave.  Men and women can be a part of either category.  So, while there is the natural order to say women are submissive (generally speaking), they can be free.  In fact, when looking at the series of Gorean novels versus the history of online Gorean roleplay, there is a discrepancy in regard to the role women hold.  In the books only a small fraction of women were actually enslaved.  Most were actually free women with the rights, abilities, and property afforded to them within their societal status.  Online, however, it seems as if the majority of the women are, or have been, enslaved.  In both aspects there is definitely a usage of Domination and Submission, or D/s.

Naturally, where any sort of D/s is concerned, there is likely to be aspects of Bondage and Discipline involved.  We see this outside of Gor and also within it.  Bondage can refer to the actual act of being tied up or otherwise secured, but also to the mere fact that one is held within a level of servitude.  Discipline, of course, is necessary to maintain order and control and this can be applied to all sorts of people and property – not just the slaves.  Of course slaves are disciplined, should they error, but so too are both free men and women.  The women perhaps more so solely for the fact that they have the ever present threat of the collar (slavery) hanging over them if they should make grievous mistakes.  Men, however, are not immune to some level of control being put upon them.  The threats they must attempt to steer clear of, however, are usually death, shunning/banishment, or financial loss.  A fine, enslavement, a beheading are all forms of discipline, just as a spanking is, though obviously some hold heavier consequences than others.

In my opinion, where Gor veers away from BDSM entirely is within the level of Sadism and Masochism, especially within the novels.  It is said that Gorean men were generally not cruel or sadistic.  Yes, they often desired control, and although pain and, at times, even torture in some form could be a part of gaining this control the goal was always control, not the sexual thrill of dispensing pain.  In turn, the women were not seen as chasing the arousal from being hurt.  Once again it is more about control, or rather, in the case of the women, being controlled.  Even the free women sought a level of being controlled, both online and in the books, by learning their boundaries and sticking within them.  As already mentioned, should the woman stray too far from what is allowed or acceptable, she is likely to find herself enslaved or, perhaps even, killed.

I feel as if the biggest difference between BDSM and Gor is centered upon the focus of each.  BDSM often (though not always!) is centralized around a sexual aspect or a singular scene depicted for a specific purpose.  Gor, although holding key components of a sexual aspect, is more than mere sex or a particular scene.  Given the fact that we have an entire series of books to draw from, in which a rich, varied planet is displayed and explored, Gor has the ability to allow for more than sex alone or limited purpose.  Online, within our roleplay, we have a whole host of options available to us in which we can portray the Gorean tendencies while our characters actually live within the Gorean world.  This roleplay can vary from scene to scene, day to day.  We are not secured in a dungeon or a bedroom where only carnal activities take place.  We have an entire world to relish and grow within.  Relationships, including the Master/slave dynamic, but also beyond that alone, can be explored.  The caste system comes into play as Goreans tend to their greatly varying jobs, tasks of which are vital to keep the planet alive, active, and under control.  Beauty, or even the lack thereof, can be taken in upon a simple stroll just as easily as it might be witnessed from a collared woman serving prettily.  Families and factions can vie for power or wealth.  Gor, as a whole, and even within each room specifically, has a lot to offer, but it is up to us to seek it out and forge our own avenues within the world created for our use.