First of all, in describing what it means to be Gorean, many use words like honor or integrity or principle. While many are, these traits are not fundamental to what is portrayed in the novels of John Norman and his Chronicles of Counter Earth. On the planet of Gor there were those who were liars, dishonest and deceitful. Yet they were, by definition, Gorean.
A perfect example is Surbus. Surbus is described as a pirate, a slaver, a murderer, and a thief. He was known to be a cruel and worthless man, abominable, full of filth and rottenness. In fact, it is said that 'he was totally evil'. But he was . . . Gorean.
Obviously most people would rather associate with someone unlike Surbus, someone they can trust. And those I have come to know are indeed, honorable. But my point is simply that 'honorable' and 'Gorean' are not synonymous.
The fundamental description of being Gorean here on Earth is the belief that males are superior. In other words that there is a Natural Order to things.
While women can and do have a place, it's just that, they have their place. Yes, of course, Free Women are accorded a certain deference. In fact, Gorean men commonly stand when a free woman enters the room. But it is also said that 'the free woman is a riddle, the answer to which is the collar.'
My claim of being Gorean describes how I live my day to day life. It is an awareness that no one else has the power to make me feel guilty for how I live my life. I have no need to prove myself to those who do not understand.
Actually there are two groups who use the term of being Gorean. There are those who are online only. By that I mean they are ones who see the swashbuckling hero types and attempt to dress up for a night of role play. They claim to be swinging swords and throwing knives, cutting off heads and whipping slaves. Or the ones who feel the draw of being a slave and then serve masters until they turn off the computer and go back to being whatever everyone else knows they are.
I suppose there really is nothing wrong with this. One of the enticements of Role Playing games is that you can be something you really are not. And too, most go through this phase after first discovering the online chat world. It's no different than sitting around playing "what if" games. What if you had a terrible visage and everyone trembled in your presence? What if you were so beautiful that men drooled? What if you won the lottery? What if . . ?
Then there are those who actually live the lifestyle. No, this does not mean they walk down the street with a sword on their hip and lop off the head of the cashier at the corner market. They instead embrace the ideals set forth in the Gor series and incorporate these ideals into their dealings with themselves and others.
Actually, I should restate this. It's not that these embrace the ideals set forth in the Gor series, as much as they already felt this way, and now have found a label for these feelings.
It has been said that being a master or slave cannot be taught or learned, that much more importantly, it is a self awareness that has now been given a name.
The main distinctions between the lifestyle of a Gorean and some of those who practice D/s - BDSM are that being Gorean does not go away Monday morning. For the Gorean slave this means being a slave every minute of every hour all year long.
For instance, a slave owns nothing, not even her name. She has no decision making authority beyond what her Master allows. There is no 'safety contract'. There are no stipulations on what will or won't happen. She owes her very existence to her Master.
In the novels of the Gor series, slaves were actual property. They had no rights under law. They were bought and sold, used and dealt with at the whim of men. The only real difference here on Earth, under the confines of Western civilization, is that the Master / slave relationship is consensual. The slave has only the final option of leaving. Up until then, she is slave in every aspect of the word.
There are relationships I have watched where the boyfriend and girlfriend or man and wife argue, complain, fight and bicker more than they ever seem to get along. They talk down to each other and about each other to others.
I care very much for my girl. I take care of her. I want her to be clean, well fed, have medical insurance and be psychologically stable.
However, you mention someone being a slave and all that comes to mind is "whips and chains - torture and abuse".
A Master and slave relationship is a concept very few outside the circle of alternate lifestyles can comprehend. To me it is the most rewarding lifestyle I can imagine.