|This article, Bloodmating, was written by Dragonclaws. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
Bloodmating or bloodbondage (Jiralhanae: , or ), is a sadomasochistic homosexual Jiralhanae agreement legally and spiritually binding two male Jiralhanae in a union analogous to marriage. The name refers to the process of the bloodmating ceremony, in which blood (symbolizing life and passion) is shared between the partners. The word "bloodmate" can refer to either partner but typically refers to the submissive male (see below). Additionally, the word "bloodmate" is used out of context as a pejorative term roughly equivalent to the human curse word "faggot".
Normally, Jiralhanae males are polygamists and will each take a set of wives when they become of age. This would best benefit the males from a reproductive standpoint, as genetic material would be ensured to pass onto many new generations. The few homosexual Jiralhanae were and are looked down upon for failing to fit into this model of marital dynamics, though homosexuality never achieved quite the stigma in Jiralhanae culture as in that of the Humans.
While homosexuality was disliked, it could not be ignored. In the seventh Old Age, High Chieftain Charon developed the bloodmating ceremony to give homosexual Jiralhanae a way to be bound to those they love. However, the union was highly influenced by the extreme patriarchal beliefs held in ancient Jiralhanae society and that continue to modern times.
Male Jiralhanae often engage in acts of sexual intercourse with other males, though this is rarely an act of love. Indeed, such behavior is usually used to assert dominance in an otherwise nonsexual relationship. Though uncommon, bisexual Jiralhanae males may form deep emotional bonds, and are encouraged by the government to maintain the traditional form of marriage through placing severe restrictions on bloodmates.
The bloodmating is designed to take place between two individuals of distinct sexual orientation: homosexual and bisexual. The homosexual partner is considered to be at a symbolically feminine level, placing himself beneath the dominant bisexual partner of conventional masculinity, who keeps the bloodmate alongside a traditional collection of wives. Charon was well aware of the degrading aspects of the role, intending to ensure that only a few devoted males would ever choose such a lifestyle.
The submissive partner displays their submission publicly with an ornate collar to indicate the ownership of the dominant partner. The collar is generally built to fit loosely on the neck to allow the dominant partner to grip it fully, but collars are sometimes built to fit snugly to serve as an uncomfortable constant reminder of the submissive partner's status. The glyphs on the collar indicate both that the wearer is a bloodmate as opposed to a slave - the distinction being that a slave may be bought and sold while a bloodmate remains bound to one person - and the name and prestige of the owning Jiralhanae. The dominant partner may choose to have inscribed some description of punishment should the submissive bloodmate cause trouble when the dominant partner is not around to issue discipline, but this is superfluous and is generally looked down upon as the dominant partner neglecting his duties. While early collars simply stated their information, after the Jiralhanae induction into the Covenant collars changed their aesthetics to imitate the Halo in their similar ring shape.
The traditional bloodmating ceremony is performed in a large room with dim lighting formed from candlelight. Three circles are rendered on the floor, usually with black paint. The submissive bloodmate crouches in the innermost circle, while the dominant bloodmate stands in the second circle. Family members and political allies of the dominant bloodmate who may be invited to the event wait in the outer circle several meters away from the two bloodmates. The dominant bloodmate then asks if the submissive bloodmate wishes to belong to him, verifying that the submissive bloodmate understands and agrees to the requirements of the relationship. Upon agreement, each Jiralhanae makes cuts in his own forearm. Their arms are then bound together to allow the blood to mingle. This formation of arms reaching across the innermost circle reproduces abelieved to signify lost artifacts, which is considered holy in the Jiralhanae culture. The blood symbolizes vitality and passion, and its transfer symbolizes the joining of two souls.
The dominant bloodmate then pulls his submissive partner into his own circle. Together, they approach the outer circle, where the family patriarch holds the collar. Without stepping across the circle, the patriarch places the collar around the neck of the submissive bloodmate. Should the collar have a manual lock, it is expected that the submissive bloodmate lock it himself, thus sealing his bond to the dominant bloodmate. Both bloodmates then step outside the circle to meet the guests, who congratulate the dominant bloodmate on his acquisition. Finally, everyone feasts on the meat of thorn beast. In many cases, the submissive bloodmate is expected to fast beforehand so that his partaking in the subsequent feast would be a moment of bliss to celebrate his new life as a submissive bloodmate, enjoying receiving the bounty of his dominant partner.
Most notable bloodmates are dominant. The submissive bloodmates are generally so low in status that they never achieve any historical recognition except through their relation to a notable dominant partner. The one exception is Consus, who achieved the status of Chieftain of the Jiralhanae shortly before his death. Consus' dominant bloodmate Ship Master Aeson, who was killed in battle with the Arbiter, receives historical recognition primarily through his association with Consus. Other notable bloodmates include Field Master Romulus and his unknown submissive partner, Ship Master Orpheus and his unknown submissive partner, and Chieftain Dardanos and his submissive partner "Tena". As tena is a derogatory Jiralhanae word meaning a sexually promiscuous female, roughly equivalent to the English "slut", this is likely not the bloodmate's real name.
In Human Culture
Human cultures, specifically those deriving primarily from European countries, have the similar concept of blood brothers, a platonic bond created by sharing blood. After the end of the Great War, humans began peacefully trading with Jiralhanae, and aspects of alien cultures subsequently entered each other's own cultures. The bloodmating cut pattern became a popular blood brother design among gay human businessmen who entered trade with the Jiralhanae. To these humans, it was merely symbolic of their partnership, and they inherited none of the slavery implications of such an act. Any retention of sadomasochistic associations were used only in such a way to fit within existing human BDSM conduct, emphasizing constant consent and safety.
The trend entered public consciousness when pop-star Sapphire Sams broadcasted his and his husband's blood brother ceremony as a gesture of peace with the Jiralhanae people. Reproductions of the act became popular amongst his fans, and pictures of the ceremonies became a favored trend on the chatternet. Subsequently, a fictionalized fetish marriage ceremony based on bloodmating featured prominently in Z. N. Ophelia's erotic novel Fifty Shades of Purple, in which she mistakenly represents bloodmating as a Sangheili tradition.
Jiralhanae reactions to the human trend have typically been scornful. High Chieftain Potodus, making an offhand remark, described the human imitation of bloodmating as "children masturbating to high art." Likewise, Chieftain Dardanos described the humans who partake in the trend as "obnoxious." Human social justice activist Daniel Baker has repeatedly made statements in support of the offended Jiralhanae, calling the trend "cultural appropriation" revealing humanity's "mindset befitting conquerors" who would "pillage" their defeated enemies' treasures.
- Violet Skeates: Brutish Mating: Sexual Slavery Among Jiralhanae. Gatewood Press (LALb) 2558
- Howard Curry: We Have Met Aliens, and They Are Kinky. Southern Whale Publishing (FOMb) 2554