This post is the result of a number of thoughts recently, and I just wanted to throw them open to the board and get a broad response of different opinions.
Training is such a cliched word, yet if I think about it, it holds quite a serious meaning for me.
When I very first started in BDSM, my first Owner (who was, horror! an online and phone Dom, although we did meet and play several times) was very keen on training. Everything was possible training to him - he handed out orgasms the way a dog trainer hands out choc treats. I learned to associate everything with pleasure, including the newly discovered pain. I must admit, I liked this approach very much, I learnt loads, I grew as a submissive in leaps and bounds. It just seemed so easy, and pleasurable.
Fast forward ten years, and my present Owner is not really the training type. In his own words, he prefers to 'explain' than to train, and this has served us well for several years, and gotten me to a deeper, perhaps more voluntary and less manipulated submission than I might have been otherwise. So I can see both sides of the coin.
Recently I started talking to a couple who are embarking on their D/s journey - they want everything, right now! He wants the perfect, obedient little slave, and I keep trying to explain that it doesn't really work like that - it doesn't just happen instantly, no matter how much you want it. No matter how much she wants it, you still need to train her to be able to do it!
And then today I was answering another question somewhere from a fella whose girlfriend wanted a TPE, but whom were struggling - no mention was made of training. It seemed to be assumed that if she wanted it, she shoulds just be able to do it, no problems. (That's never been true for me, is it true for anyone? Perhaps more perfect submissive types.)
So, pulling all of this together, my question is - what role does training occupy in your relationship? Is it more for the beginning or is it always ongoing? And how do you train? When I was trying to give an example I said to wait till she is relaxed, submissive, perhaps play a little with her or get her aroused, and then tell her what you want from her, how to behave for you, how you will reward or punish her - make it clear, don't make her have to guess what you want and get it wrong, that's just demoralising. And don't let her do it, and get it right without rewarding her - at least a word of praise, or a hug. But is this true of the way everyone trains? What is your training style? And if you had to teach it to someone else, how would you do that?
The more information the better. Sometimes I think we spend a lot of time using words, and very little time discussing the actual activities behind those words. What does training mean to you? And how has it played a part in your BDSM journey so far?