Ownership and Love
It’s a cliched phrase we’ve heard thrown around for as long as we can remember. “I belong to you.” Boyz II Men included that phrase in the chorus of their song “End of the Road.” Whitney Houston, Lenny Kravitz, and Muse each have songs by that name. We love to use the phrase as a declaration of how deeply and completely we are devoted to another person, but is that all there is to it? Are we truly trying to say, in effect, “you own me?”
To the Vanilla couple or person, the phrase “I belong to you” seems innocuous enough, likely in no small part to the superfluous manner in which it so so often used in song and film. When we examine the phrase, however, the influential word becomes “belong.” What does it mean to belong? Merriam-Webster has 2 potential definitions that can fit well with the sentiment in which the phrase is most commonly used:
1) To be the property of a person or thing
2) To be attached or bound by birth, allegiance, or dependency
Which of these two do most people mean when they say “I belong to you?” Is there a spectrum along which the two lie, and most people really mean somewhere in the middle, being less than property but more than a simple binding? I would expect so.
What about in the Not-So-Vanilla world? In the BDSM environment, saying “I belong to you” can be the final part of a ceremonial relinquishing of oneself to another as a slave. The phrase becomes binding, a way of telling another “yes, you own me, I am your property, do with me as you please.” Much trust is required for this declaration, as in the lifestyle that follows.
In Polyamory and in Swinging, the inference is not so much ownership as it is being bound. It is an intrinsic part of being able to open the relationship and share one’s partner with others to understand that “I belong to you” does not mean complete and total ownership but is instead a declaration of intent and dedication. The speaker is saying “whomever else I may date, or love, or fuck, I will always have you as a primary and important part of my life, and nobody can or will take that away from us.” It is from this base, this core understanding that the speaker chooses to be with and be dedicated to the recipient regardless of what happens with other that true sharing comes of the couple.
Mrs. AP tells me often that she belongs to me, and I know that she does not mean that she believes I own her mind, body, and soul. She loves me, she is dedicated to me, and she has given me access to the deepest parts of her in trust and in love, but her heart remains her own to love as she chooses, and her mind remains her own to think what she wants. I do not own or control her heart or mind, yet it is within me that she places the trust and hopes of both. In kind, I place myself in her hands in trust and love and dedication, bound to her yet still my own self.
Mrs. AP and I each belong to both each other and also ourselves, and therein we find the best partner either of us have ever had.
Stay SINful, friends.