Gorean refers to a kink lifestyle that originated in the novels of science fiction writer John Norman. Those who participate in the Gorean lifestyle, or “Goreans,” tend to follow a master-slave relationship structure, although slavery is not required to be Gorean. The Gorean identity is built around Home Stone (the home), Caste System (the career and the status it brings), and the Order of Nature (the gender role).
Although the Goreans in Norman’s novels hailed from the planet Gor, many human fans of the writer’s work have adopted the Gorean lifestyle. It shares key concepts of servitude and slavery with the BDSM model. Despite this, however, most Goreans do not see their lifestyle as a type of BDSM.
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Unlike many BDSM practitioners, many people who engage in the Gorean lifestyle tend to follow their roles at all times, both inside a sexual setting and out, although some Goreans only enjoy the lifestyle on a part-time basis. Gorean slaves submit willingly to their masters without the need for bondage, whips, or other BDSM tools. John Norman, the author whose novels inspired this lifestyle, was critical of the physical and psychological harm that can come from BDSM. Because of this, he suggested using symbolic, safe substitutes, such as the sound of claps to punish instead of whippings.
Goreans tend to stick to traditional gender roles with women serving as slaves and men their masters. However, this is not always the case and a strong female may take a male slave. Even so, the Gorean lifestyle has been criticized by some who believe it is misogynistic abusive, and manipulative. Despite these views, however, women who participate insist that they do so willingly.