Gorean slave positions
Background and purpose
One reason for rituals such as kajira positions is that they express and reinforce social values and relationships. For example, as recently as the early 1960's, men in the U.S. tipped their hats to a woman they knew as she passed by on the street, and if a man stopped to talk with a woman, he would usually take his hat off (these customs reflected "chivalrous" values commonly held in the U.S. at the time). Also, from a psychological point of view, doing such activities can often help you feel the suitable emotions. So on the most basic level, people who smile can often feel a little happier just from smiling. Similarly, if one gets into the spirit of the thing at all (rather than participating with feelings of pure bitter ironic mockery), then performing rituals of respect can help one feel respectful. As John Norman says in another context, "She may begin by acting, but after some days or weeks, she will presumably shift into feeling." Thus doing kajira positions could help women feel sexually desirable as well as vulnerable, while reinforcing Gorean social status distinctions between kajirae and free men.
For the master, such positions allow him to feel pride of mastery (by exacting kajira obedience), to place a kajira in various appealing or provocative poses, and to position her suitably for what he wants to do with her next (whether applying restraints, lovemaking, etc.).
Note that there is no absolute standardization of such positions across the planet Gor, and some of the positions have several variants, due to regional differences, or due to the individual preferences of each master, or due to adjusting to the particular circumstances in which a position is performed. There are also variations in the names used for some positions, and many positions are actually relatively infrequently referred to by name in the Gor books. However, the basic essential features of the Nadu position, the common Obeisance position, and the Female Submission position seem to remain the same everywhere, and all three of these positions (however they are referred to) play a somewhat prominent role in Gorean culture. The Nadu position and the common Obeisance position epitomize (in different ways) the relationship between kajirae and free men, and either or both may be a constant accompaniment of being a kajira, while entering the Female Submission position can be legally equivalent to a formal admission of captive or slave status (and kajirae often use a slight variant of the position to serve drinks etc. to free persons).
|Pleasure Slave or Nadu||One of the most often used of all of the Gorean slave positions, and one of the first that a kajira typically learns. The word Nadu is a command meaning "kneel" in the Gorean language, and can give its name to the position. It is also known as the position "of the pleasure slave" or "of a woman who is of interest to men" or "that of the female slave who is used ... for the pleasure of men". In this position, the kajira kneels back, sitting on her upturned heels (the tops of her toes on the floor), with her back straight, shoulders thrown back, her chest out, belly in, and her head up. Her knees are open, widely spread. By default her hands rest upon her thighs, palms down, although there are variations. Sometimes a kajira places her hands palms upwards on her thighs in humble supplication. Usually her head is held up (with chin high) so that the kajira's beauty is fully exposed to view, but in some circumstances her head may be deferentially lowered (with her eyes averted to the floor); this last is called "a common position of slave submission". Also, in some cities on Gor, the kajira usually holds her hands crossed behind her, instead of on her thighs. (This also happens if a kajira is commanded to assume the pleasure slave position when her hands are bound behind her.) In yet another variation, the kajira clasps her hands together behind her head, elbows back, and throws her head back (this is the kneeling version of the "Display" position discussed below, and is called "a common position for slave assessment" in the Gor books).
In the Gor books, the basic position can be invoked by the commands "Nadu!" or "Position!", or by the master extending and spreading apart the index and middle fingers of his hand, and pointing down to a spot where such kneeling is commanded to occur (such hand-gestures are not truly standardized across Gor, but this one seems to be widely understood in the zone of the main northern cities). Also, whenever a kajira first encounters a free man in various contexts (such as when her owner re-enters the house, or she is addressed by a man in the street, etc.) she is generally required to assume the Nadu position (or in some cases the common obeisance position, depending on circumstances). Kajirae tend to develop a quasi-reflex reaction of semi-automatically kneeling whenever they hear themselves being addressed by the voice of a man whom they have not been previously recently interacting with, so that kajirae sometimes have to be specifically instructed not to kneel, if the free man does not desire this. The pleasure-slave position is referred to as "that most elegant and helpless position in which men may place a woman", and as a "beautiful and significant position" which "well betokens the submission of the female to the free man, her master".
The drawing at the top of the page (above) accurately depicts the basic configuration of the torso and lower body (though in strict position, her hands should be placed symmetrically, with her head facing forward). Also, in the photo at right a model is shown kneeling in a pose similar to the Gorean pleasure slave position, but with more relaxed posture in some respects (in strict nadu position, her torso would have to be more vertical, her head looking forward and up, and her knees a little more widely spread). In some on-line Gorean fan-art, a kajira is shown kneeling with her torso forward above her knees, instead of back on her heels. In the Gor books, this is known as "high kneeling", and is not the same as the pleasure slave position, and is done much less often than the basic pleasure slave position.
In book 29, Swordsmen of Gor, Norman explains the position as follows:
|Tower Slave||(Also called "the position of the house slave" or "of the serving slave".) This is another variant of the pleasure slave position, in which the kajira kneels the same way, but with her knees modestly together. If her hands are not occupied with some task, then typically they rest loosely in front, with wrists crossed (as if for binding). This position is associated with slaves whose duties do not prominently include sexual services; also, pleasure slaves might kneel in this position before free women. Gorean free women commonly use a similar position to simply sit on the floor or the ground (without expressing any submission), but in much less revealing garments than kajirae, and never with wrists crossed.|
|Lesha, or Leash, or Bracelets||The Gorean word Lesha translates as "leash". In this position, the kajira is usually standing (though in some contexts, if she was previously kneeling, she remains so). She holds her chin up, her back and shoulders straight, and her head turned to the left, so that a leash may be attached to her collar. She also holds her hands behind the small of her back, with her wrists about two inches apart, in a position to be locked into chained slave bracelets. The commands "Leash!" and "Bracelets!" are essentially equivalent (the difference being in what the master has immediately in mind, rather than in the position to be assumed by the kajira — though "Bracelets!" may imply that the kajira should stand with her back to the master and "Leash!" the opposite). The command "Collar!" also invokes a similar position, but the kajira approaches the master closely, facing him (and stands if he is standing), so that he may inspect her collar and/or read what is written on it without effort.
A leash is usually attached to the front of a slave collar, since Gorean masters are always very careful never to put excessive pressure on the fragile front of the throat (windpipe). Attaching the leash to the front of the kajira's collar also fits in with the common Gorean practice of "heeling" (i.e. the kajira following the master by walking along somewhat behind him and a little to the side).
|Sula (i.e. supine)||In this position, a kajira lays upon her back, her hands at her sides, palms upward, her legs widely spread, to await her Master's pleasure.
Another common supine position in the Gor books is similar to that commanded by "Sula!" as described above, but the kajira lifts and bends one knee (instead of parting her legs). Also, there is the command "On your back, split your legs, part your lips, lift your arms to me!" in Gor book 19 Kajira. And lying on her back with wrists somewhat above her head (on the floor) and far to the sides, and legs widely spread (i.e. spread-eagled), is described as a "common binding position" and kajira sexual use position.
A common master's gesture to order a kajira to lie on her back is to hold the hand horizontally with the palm up; if the fingers are spread apart, this signals that the limbs should be spread.
|Bara (belly)||In response to the command "Bara!", the kajira falls to her stomach, with her head down to the floor and turned to the left, crosses her wrists behind her back, and similarly crosses her ankles, her legs straight, in preparation for binding. (This is the "standard binding position" for a kajira lying prone.)
Some have speculated that the word Bara is the Gorean-language word for "belly"; but when Belly is used as a noun in commands in the Gor books, this indicates that the kajira should lie prone (on her belly) without signifying any one exact position across all its uses; and when Belly is used as a verb in commands in the Gor books, it means that the kajira should crawl forward without lifting her belly from the ground (see alternative obeisance below).
One common belly position is for the kajira to lie on her stomach with her hands at her sides and the palms of her hands facing upwards; her head is often turned to the left and/or legs spread. The alternative obeisance position described below can also be invoked by a "To your belly!" command. Also, in some contexts if the master holds his hand horizontally with fingers spread and palm down, he is commanding the kajira to lie on her belly with both legs and arms spread widely (prone spread-eagle).
|Obeisance||The "common position of obeisance" (also called "first obeisance position" in recently-published Gor novels after book 25) is basically the position which results from starting on all fours (supported by her hands and knees), and then bending her elbows so that her elbows and forearms are on the floor, and with head lowered. An alternative position is for the kajira to lie on her stomach (i.e. fully prone on the floor), called "second obeisance position" in recently-published books. In either case, her hands are beside her head, palms on the floor, and her hair often falls on the floor. The purpose of the position can be completed by the kajira crawling forward (or if prone, "bellying" forward) to the master, and turning her head and placing her cheek against his feet, then kissing them lightly in a symbolic gesture of love and submission (or often she simply licks and kisses the master's feet). Sometimes the kajira is ordered to take the master's right foot and place it gently upon her neck or head.
In other contexts, the initial common obeisance position can transition directly into either the tower slave position or the pleasure slave position (depending on what kind of slave a kajira is, and whether she is kneeling before free women or before free men). For the use of the common obeisance position when a kajira first encounters a free man (sometimes called "tile position" if performed on a tiled floor), see the discussion under Nadu above. Often a kajira greets her master in the morning in the common obeisance position, saying a formula such as "I hope to be pleasing to you today".
Some masters on Gor consider the version of the pleasure-slave position with head down and eyes lowered to be functionally equivalent to the obeisance position.
|The "posture of Female Submission" (and its variant the serving position)||Also called "the submission of the captive female" or "the submission of the girl to her new master" (and often invoked by the simple command "Submit!"). In this position the woman kneels back sitting on her upturned heels, with her torso vertical and her arms extended forward and slightly raised, crossed at the wrists (which are thus ready to be bound together), and her head down between her arms, lowered in submission. In Gorean culture, this is the classic position by which a woman who has been captured in war etc. submits herself as a captive to her captor, or a kajira submits herself as a slave to a new owner (there is not much practical difference between the two situations, since the rights of a Gorean captor over his captive are much the same as the rights of a master over his owned slave). According to the traditional codes of the Gorean warrior caste, if a woman submits herself to a warrior, he must then and there on the spot either take her as his personal captive / owned slave or kill her. The posture is often accompanied by a verbal formula of self-enslavement, which can be rather complex (such as "I, once XX of YY, herewith submit myself, completely and totally in all things, to AA of BB, as his girl, his abject slave, an article of his property. At his hands I accept my life and my name, declaring myself his to do with as he pleases. I am yours, Master."), or relatively simple (such as "I declare myself a slave, and I submit myself to you as my master"), or merely "I submit". In some circumstances, if a woman performs the position before a free man, this in itself is regarded as legally equivalent to a declaration of self-enslavement, even if she doesn't speak any words. In certain cases, if a woman is uncertain whether she is to be killed or enslaved, then if she wishes to plead for her life, formulas begging or enticing a man to enslave her become appropriate (e.g. "I surrender to you, naked. Spare me. I beg bondage." or "I have endeavored to conceal my true nature from men, that I am a slave. Visit justice upon me." or "I have stripped myself before you. Let me live, that I may serve you as the most abject and loving of slaves." or "I have been a secret slave, masquerading for years as a free woman; I now confess my deception." etc.).
In the Gor books, there is no one position generally used for collaring, but sometimes it is convenient for the master to command a woman kneeling in the posture of female submission to raise her head or "Look up", and then place a collar around her neck.
Kajirae commonly use a similar position to serve beverages or hand over small items, except that the wrists are not crossed, and the cup, goblet, bowl or item to be delivered is held in both hands; also, her knees will be widely spread if the kajira is serving free men (referred to as "the position of serving paga or wine to a Gorean male" or "the common wine service"), which is less often the case when a woman submits to a captor or new owner. The kajira is often required to press the rim of the cup or goblet into her belly (lower abdomen) and/or against her breasts and/or to kiss it lingeringly before offering it to the master (especially if serving an alcoholic beverage). The head is lowered between her raised arms at the moment when the cup is presented. If she is serving at a banquet or in a paga tavern, and the kajirae there are to be sexually available to the guests or customers (as is often the case), then she is generally required to remind the men she serves of this, using phrases such as "Here is your drink, Master; I beg to serve you further in any way I may" or "Your girl brings you drink, Master; use me as you will" or "For your pleasure, I bring you paga and a slave" or "Your girl tenders drink humbly to Master; she hopes Master will later find her suitable to give him pleasure" or (if appropriate) "I serve you, naked and collared; I beg to be taught my slavery", etc. (The kajira's name can be substituted for "your girl" in such phrases.)
Also, if a kajira is handing over a whip or other long narrow object, it is held so that the backs of her hands and wrists are upward; this recalls the submission position (with wrists crossed), even when her wrists are not crossed.
If the kajira stays in place after having served the beverage or handed over the small item, then the serving position naturally transitions into either the pleasure-slave position or the tower-slave position (depending on whether her knees are spread), since the position of her torso and lower body remains the same.
The posture of female submission is the one slave position which free women on Gor are often formally taught as part of their upbringing or education, since it is considered that knowing how to assume the position may contribute to saving the woman's life in a dire situation... Sometimes among on-line Gorean fandom, it is said that the arms are held vertically above her head, but this is not correct to the descriptions in Norman's books.
|Leading position||The kajira stands a little behind and usually to the left of the master, bending deeply at the waist, and with knees slightly bent, with her hair (if free flowing) falling forward. She places her hands behind her (if they are not already bound or braceleted), wrists crossed, and puts the side of her head to the master's hip, so that he might lead her and control her movements easily, with his left hand gripping her hair, while they walk a relatively short distance. This leaves the master's right hand free.
The master can silently command the kajira to assume leading position by holding his left hand at his hip somewhat opened (i.e. ready to grasp), or opening and closing it there.
|Display||Many positions and movements can be used to display a kajira's beauty (extending to elaborately choreographed "slave paces" or "floor movements"). In one common position mainly intended for this purpose, the kajira stands with her hands clasped behind her head, head thrown back, and her back and upper torso arched backwards. If her feet are together, then her knees are slightly bent and (presumably) her toes turned out, to help in holding the position. In a variant of this position, the kajira's body is not arched backwards (though her head is still thrown back), and she turns in place on command to display herself on all sides. If it is not intended that she move while in position, then her feet are commonly widely apart. For the kneeling variant of the display position, see "Nadu" above.|
|Stand||A strict standing position isn't described precisely, but the kajira stands very straight (presumably more or less "at attention"). In a slightly more relaxed standing position, the feet are often turned out at an angle approaching 90° (together at the heels but apart at the toes), so that her body is subtly opened to her master. The weight of the body is often placed more on one foot, with the hip of the other leg turned out.|
|Bracelet check||In response to this command, the kajira turns to face away from the master, and lifts her hands and arms behind her, so that the master may easily check that slave bracelets connected by a short length of chain are securely locked on her wrists.|
|"Kneeling to the whip"||There are a number of whipping positions on Gor, but most involve the use of bindings or restraints, or the kajira holding on tightly to a fixed object. If no such external aids are to be used, the kajira is ordered to "Kneel to the whip". She then goes down on elbows and knees with her head down, her wrists crossed beneath her upper torso, and her knees and hips presumably fully bent, so that her back is relatively level and convex (i.e. fully exposed). Generally she is stripped to at least the waist, and her hair (if free flowing) must be thrown forward or to the side, so that her back might be utterly exposed to the whip. This is also known as "the position of the slave girl who is to be punished".|
|(usage)||The kajira kneels with her head to the floor and her hands clasped firmly behind her neck, so that her rear is lifted in preparation for convenient sexual use by the Master. This position is commanded on some occasions when the master is not concerned with the degree of pleasure felt by the kajira (something which Gorean masters are actually often quite interested in). In the Gor books, this is not given a name, or invoked by any brief one- or two-word command (though it is referred to as a "common slave position"). If the kajira knows the intention of the position when she starts to go down on all fours, then she should orient her body with her head away from the master (as opposed to the obeisance positions, where the head is towards the master).|
|(sitting)||In the Gor books, kajirae kneel more often than they sit. Low benches are found in some vehicles and special-purpose areas, but are not common inside ordinary private dwellings in the Gorean cities, while in Gorean culture true chairs (with backs and somewhat elevated seats) are rare except as thrones of office reserved for high-ranking free persons. However, one approved sitting position specific to kajirae is for a kajira to sit on the floor with her legs also on the floor extended in front of her, and her upper body leaning back and propped up by her arms. In this position, her hands (palms on the floor) are held in place behind her body by her own weight, while the front of her body is open and vulnerable. Another sitting position is for the kajira to have her back against a wall, her palms flat on the floor at her sides, and her legs extended before her, with ankles crossed as though bound.|
Commands which do not result in static body postures
|"Slave Lips"||When this command is given, the kajira turns her head up to the Master, her lips pursed in a sensual kissing position. Her lips must remain puckered in this way until she is granted the kiss of a Master.|
|"She-quadruped"||When ordered to serve in the "discipline of the she-quadruped" (occasionally also known as the "discipline of the she-tarsk"), the kajira performs her duties mainly upon hands and knees, without the benefit of the use of her hands. In this mode she may not rise to her feet, may not ordinarily speak (other than to whimper once for "yes" and twice for "no" in response to questions), and may use only her mouth and teeth to grasp and manipulate objects. She must move herself from place to place on all fours. This "modality" (as Norman calls it) would generally involve multiple postures, but the position most characteristically associated with it seems to be the kajira down on her hands and knees, but with her elbows off the floor (as opposed to the Obeisance and Kneeling to the Whip positions) — "the attitude of the she-quadruped". (Note that in the Gor books, "she-sleen" is an insulting epithet, not the name of a position.)|
|Walk well||It is not really a separate position as such, but through training and/or subconscious attitudes formed by the experience of being a kajira, many kajirae walk in a distinctive uninhibited manner, with head held high, shoulders back, back straight, and hips swaying — "walking freely... attractively gracefully... showing your joy in your bondage and womanhood". If she suspects that free men are watching her, her eyes are often downcast. If she is commanded to "Walk well!", she knows that her movements are on display and being closely scrutinized. (The command "Posture!" can also be used to order a kajira to pay special attention to maintaining a beautiful posture in standing or walking.) It is said that a kajira walks with pride — not the pride of a woman who thinks she is the equal of a man, but rather the pride of a woman who knows that no other woman is equal to herself. (She knows that "strong men" have found her "beautiful enough, and exciting enough" to choose to "put her to their service and pleasure".) Many of the movements of kajirae display a kind of all-pervading sensuous femininity, often in somewhat subtle form (such as a hip being turned out, or a foot being pointed).|
|"the basic position of the slave dance"||There are a number of "initial postures of... slave dances", which serve as the starting point of solo kajira dancing in various contexts. The most common and widely-known such beginning position is for the kajira to stand with her knees flexed, her ribcage lifted, and her arms raised so that her hands are above her head with the backs of the wrists touching (i.e. the palms facing outward).|
|(wall)||This is another position which, though it occurs in the Gor books, is not given a name there, or invoked by any brief command. A woman stands facing a wall, more than an arm's-length distance away from it, so that to place the palms of her hands on the wall, she has to lean forward, and her hands are thus held against the wall by her own weight. Also, her feet are very widely separated (even uncomfortably so). This position is occasionally used with newly captive women, or kajirae encountered under suspicious circumstances (if there is a convenient wall), in order to allow a quick determination of whether she is a threat, and to make it easier to handle the situation if anything problematic is found. A variant of this position — where the feet are not widely parted — does not leave the woman quite as helpless, but makes it more practical to lift her feet one at a time and check whether anything is concealed there (taped to her instep, etc.).|
|(running)||In Gor book 5 (Assassins), some kajirae (probably a distinct minority of those on Gor) are specially trained to run in a stylized manner considered particularly appropriate to slaves ("more of a dancer's motion than a true run"). The kajira runs by taking short rapid steps, with her legs almost straight, her feet hardly leaving the floor. As she moves, her back is straight, her head is turned to the left, and her arms are at her sides, her palms facing outward at a 45 degree angle to her body. Not a basic common Gorean slave position.|
Positions not in the books by Norman
|Sula-Ki, or alternative Sula||This position is almost identical to the Sula position, except that once the kajira has assumed the Sula position she slowly lifts her hips up off the floor, as if beckoning the master with her body, encouraging her sexual use by him. This was invented by Gorean fandom (from the words Sula "supine" and Ki "not" or negative), and is not found in the Gor books, but it does have some similarity to the occasions in the books when a kajira lifts her body up towards her master (though this is usually done spontaneously by the kajira, not on command) and/or to the "Gorean love bow" or arched back positions (though in the books the kajira is placed into such positions by the master).|
Note that positions which depend on the use of external bindings and restraints, or which the kajira is usually placed into by the master, were omitted from the above list.
In Gorean culture, kajirae who have received more than a modicum of training are expected to know the common forms of most of the positions listed above (excluding those in the last two categories), and this provides a convenient basic repertoire for the master to draw on in order to further his goals of controlling a kajira, making her slave status clear to her, and obtaining the highest degree of service and pleasure from her. However, this listing does not represent any limit on the creativity or absolute authority of the Gorean master, and he can order her to assume any position (whether customary or not).
One exercise which can be included as a part of kajira training or evaluation is to issue a sequence of position commands (in random order), and judge the kajira's speed and accuracy in assuming the positions, and her gracefulness in transitioning between them. This is seen in a passage in Gor book 13 Explorers, where the commands "Nadu!" (referring to the standard head-held-high palms-on-thighs version of the position), "Lesha!" (referring to the standing position facing away from the master), "Bara!", and "Sula!" are alternated with increasing quickness.
Some of the above positions (including nadu and the beverage-serving position) are also used by kajiri (male slaves), as described in book 14 of the Gor series (Fighting Slave, which contains the most detail on male slavery). However, there are far fewer kajiri than kajirae (female slaves) on Gor, and the majority of kajiri are used for hard labor on work-gangs out of sight of most free people (while by contrast kajirae are a common sight in Gorean cities), so that slave positions are stereotypically associated with kajirae.
A non-slave Gorean position is sitting on the floor or ground cross-legged, which is reserved for free men, and sometimes called "the position of the warrior" (although "panther girls" of the northern forests sometimes mimic it, as did Boabissia near the beginning of Gor book 21 Mercenaries when she was pretending to be a warrior). Also, if a man has occasion to carry a kajira (because she is bound or unconscious, etc.), he generally does so with her deeply-bent waist resting on one of his shoulders and her head dangling down at his rear (while a free woman should theoretically be carried in a more respectful way).
In addition to the several master's gestures listed above, a non-specific gesture of this type is snapping one's fingers; this can be used to command a previously-explained action or change of position (or an action or change of position which is clear from context). A verbal command whose meaning depends on context is "Kneel up!" If a woman is in the Obeisance position, this can be a command to assume the Nadu position, while if she is in the Nadu position, it can be a command to move her torso forward and above her knees.
These are attempted representations of selected Gorean positions in the "Labanotation" dance writing system. The diagrams as written here are constructed around a central box divided into halves by a vertical line separating the left and right sides of the body, where symbols inside the box indicate how the weight is supported and leg positioning, while other information is placed outside the box. The extra horizontal line over the box (with no double horizontal line anywhere below) means that a diagram shows a static position (no movement).
- Artistic impressions of Gorean slave positions (Annasart.com) - Not all the illustrations are faithful to the descriptions in Norman's books, but the depiction of Nadu is good.
|This page uses content from SM-201; the original article can be viewed here.|