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People who have been significantly influenced by John Norman's Gor fantasy novels are called Goreans. Those who consider themselves adherents of a Gorean philosophy or world-view, and attempt to bring selective elements from the books into their daily lives in the real world, are known as "lifestylers" — while those who predominantly engage in on-line role-playing (formerly in textual chat rooms, nowadays often in Second Life), and are not necessarily seriously committed to a Gorean ideology, are known as "roleplayers".

Goreans are often disdained by the mainstream of BDSM practitioners, because the Gorean philosophy appears to reject ideas like Safe, sane and consensual and Risk aware consensual kink, following instead a more strict Master/slave ownership model. Those who take a Gorean identity seriously often consider it to be an overall philosophy and way of life which has relatively little to do with kinky sex; such individuals do not consider most of what they do to be BDSM, and do not judge themselves by BDSM standards. (Similar in this respect to Taken In Hand, etc.)

Other reasons for disdain are because the books are fantasy (though Norman actually based most of his fictional scenarios on historical slave-owning cultures), or allegedly misogynistic (though Norman claims that he is revealing the glorious complementarity between male and female within the "order of nature", and not contemptuous of women). In his non-fiction book Imaginative Sex, Norman did not advocate that people should attempt to literalistically incorporate customs or institutions from the fictional planet Gor which strongly diverge from the customs and institutions of modern Western societies into their daily lives on earth...

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