BDSM Rules, Rituals & Protocols (part 2)

Control: The Building Blocks of Rituals and Protocols

Almost all rules, rituals and protocols center around the Dom practicing control of the sub, and the sub practicing surrender to the Dom’s control. There are a number of areas in which a Dom can control the sub’s body and behavior, and a couple can choose from those that feel like pack the most power for them and their unique dynamic. A couple new to D/s will typically begin with a few light rules, usually confined to the sexual sphere. But over time, as their dynamic deepens, and a Dom becomes more comfortable wielding power, the allure of exercising control over his/her sub outside the bedroom can become very intense. Meanwhile, as the sub learns how liberating being controlled can feel, he/she may yearn to be more controlled in more ways. As one eloquent sub who uses the name Spanish Red wrote in a post to FetLife, “Control feels like bliss to me, and power exchange is the space wherein I’m free. I’m built to be a conduit for a dominant’s desire, and when I’m used, the world around me disappears … The universe expands, and I fly between the stars.”

Sexual Control

For most D/s relationships, the sub making herself/himself sexual available to the Dom at his/her whim forms the bedrock of their dynamic. It is the one constant in my own relationship, even when we are in a time or place where we can’t indulge in any other kind of D/s rituals or protocols, our ironclad, never-changing rule is that I will make myself sexually available to my Dom for his use. For nearly seven years now, I have never said no to any sexual command, and I never even have to debate it in my mind, my obedience long ago became automatic. Although, on those rare occasions I feel genuine resistance in me I might refuse with the expectation he will force me anyway because of our agreement for Consensual Non-Consent (CNC). The few times he has forced sexual interaction on me, I have never resented him doing so, even if I hate every moment of it. I always recognize it as his right, and it always helps reinforce our power exchange. Of course, I have a discerning Dom who does not make unreasonable demands if I am sick or otherwise dealing with life difficulties. But generally, he takes what he wants from me, and I enjoy static-free sex in which I feel liberated from choice.

Many protocols are based in sexual control, and may include such things as “anal training” with butt plugs, or regular oral servicing of the Dom, as in ritualized cock worship or ass worship (anal rimming). In the beginning of our relationship, I would welcome my Dom home from work by dropping to my knees and sucking his cock until he said stop. It was the perfect way to reconnect after being apart all day and helped us get in the proper frame of mind for the evening. Now that he doesn’t go to an office every day, we have set that ritual aside for more random cock worship sessions throughout the day. Our more regular protocol now is for me to orally worship his ass after his shower, a service I always feel to be a privilege.

Rules and protocols can also be established for masturbation control — either the sub must, or more often must not masturbate without permission — as well as orgasm control, such as edging or orgasm denial (oh, how most subs love the control of denial!). Forced chastity also falls within this category, either by command or with a chastity device (for male subs usually). I have read tales of some Doms who do not fuck their sub’s pussy, only their ass, for reasons that fit their particular dynamic. Basically, any type of sexual control or rule is up for grabs in D/s, and can be incorporated into protocols and rituals. Is it BDSM playtime? Then I go down on my knees for my collar and say a mantra in which I invite my Daddy Dom to do with me as he wills. Are we going to a play party where I might be touched by another? Afterward, my Dom will tell me to get in the tub so he can “mark his territory” by peeing on me in a ritual we both find deeply satisfying.

Speech and Communication Control

Controlling a sub’s speech and how he/she speaks to the Dom is another basic bedrock of a D/s dynamic, beginning with the chosen honorific for the Dominant. Nearly all Doms are addressed not by their ordinary name, but by a title that carries the nature of their power over the sub. After spending time on FetLife, it appears most Doms prefer to be addressed as Sir/Ma’am or Mistress/Master, although there is also a good many Mommy or Daddy (as my Dom and I prefer), and a sprinkling of Lord, Lady, my King, my Queen, or Goddess, among others. Further rules may apply to how a sub refers to him/herself, as in Master/slave relationships in which the sub may be required to speak of him/herself in the third person, as “it,” or as “this slave” or “your sub,” or one of my favorites “this service hole.” Fans of high protocol D/s may have very strict rules about every facet of communication between Dom and sub, including not being allowed to speak at all without express permission. But more often, couples choose a few specific phrases that express the difference in power; for example, being required to say “Yes, Sir” when given a command, or “Thank you for correcting me, Daddy” after any kind of discipline. Some creative Doms will give their subs a phrase to say at a specific prompt, such as “Who do you belong to?” The answer could be something simple, such as “You do, Sir,” or it could be much more elaborate. I was once very moved by a “call and answer” protocol I witnessed between a well-known Dom and his sub, a rhythmic exchange of words that wove a spell of D/s. No matter how simple or complex the protocols, a respectful tone and manner of speaking to their Doms is a baseline requirement for all subs.

Other types of communication control can include greeting/goodbye protocols, or rules about phone calls or texts at a certain time (a good morning/good night text rule is common when apart). Meanwhile, required journal writing by the sub is an effective way for a Dom to instill discipline in a sub while getting valuable insight into the sub’s thoughts.

Position Control

Most any BDSM training manual will include a list of positions that a Dom can command a sub to take for purposes such as bodily inspections, discipline or sexual service. Kneeling is, of course, a mainstay position in most D/s relationships because it expresses submission so literally, but many other positions are worthwhile and can help create a submissive mindset that otherwise might not come easily. I once had a real modesty issue and would automatically close my legs when my Daddy Dom tried to look “down there.” He helped me get over that in a matter of weeks with a position he called “Splay,” in which I had to sit in the evening with legs wide open and pussy bare for a prescribed number of minutes. A Dom may also choose protocols on how a sub should place her/himself in relation to the Dom. Perhaps she would like her sub to sit at her feet when she watches TV instead of on the couch beside her, or she might want the sub walk a little behind her or perhaps wait for a door to be opened first (or conversely, the sub may be required to open the door for the Dom). I am always amazed at how something as simple as obeying a position command can induce a submissive feeling.

Appearance/Grooming Control

Doms often like to control how their subs dress and groom themselves. I have submissive friends who are required to wear skirts only, along with no underwear, anytime they are with their Dom. My Dom once liked me to present him with two options of what I wanted to wear, and he’d make the final choice. Rules for how much make-up a sub might wear, or how the hair should be cut or styled, or how the genital area should be shaved are also popular. Most any kind of grooming or bathing habits can be subject to rules or rituals (such as my Dom friend’s hair-washing ritual). Post-shower or post-bathroom-visit “inspection” rituals can be a powerful adjunct to that. (“Did you get good and clean? Bend over and let Daddy see.”) At the far end of the appearance control spectrum is a Dom who will dictate the sub’s weight, whether to reduce it or increase it, complete with regular weighing and diet control. Another option is Dom-mandated permanent body modifications, such as piercings, tattoos or other changes that might cater to the Dom’s tastes. Doing the daily work of elongating one’s nipples with suction devices can be turned into a ritual that makes a sub feel deliciously stimulated and wonderfully controlled all at once.  

Decision Control

Depending on the depth and scope of their D/s dynamic, Dom and sub can decide to turn any number of decisions over to the Dom, from small things like what to order at a restaurant, to more personally invasive things like when the use the bathroom, to larger life things, like control of the sub’s money and finances. Money is a powerful symbol and few things can match the psychological impact of giving control one’s money to a Dom; hence, an interesting kink called Financial Domination. When a Dom starts making larger decisions for the sub, it can take their power exchange to a whole new thrilling level.

Housekeeping Control

A Dom may enjoy dictating how a sub takes care of the house, and can set up lists of chores and responsibilities. Many service-oriented subs love to take care of their Doms in this way and welcome being told when and how to do everything from cleaning and cooking to other types of household tasks. I know that for myself at a certain point in our D/s journey, I started feeling uncomfortable if my Dom did any housework at all. I didn’t want the feeling of an equal partnership, and I started doing more and more on my own with my knowledge of what he might like. (Some would call this “anticipatory service” and it’s often a highly valued submissive trait to Doms who don’t like to micromanage). But like many subs, I crave to be told what to do, and find it far more satisfying for me to do the work if it is made into a rule or command that allows me the inner stillness and peace that comes for me with obedience.

Whatever the Dom Wants

Some things aren’t so much about a particular type of control, but more about whatever pleases the Dom. Does she like her feet rubbed when she gets home from work? The Dom can make a ritual or protocol out of that. Does he like his coffee or tea at a certain time and a certain way? Coffee service makes a great morning ritual, while drink serving makes for a fine evening ritual.

What About Punishments?

Once rules are set in place, it naturally follows that a Dom needs to make sure they are followed and hold the sub accountable when they are not. This is where some subby types balk for reasons of their own particular psychology. One bottom I know told me she feels so badly for breaking a rule that an actual punishment puts her in an unhealthy negative mental state. Another said she finds it “fake” to submit to punishments, it makes her D/s feel too much like a silly game to her. The concept of punishment is one of those very personal and individual things that each couple has to work out for themselves, but most often submissives crave correction when they’ve broken agreed-upon rules, and may even feel upset if the Dom neglects to enforce them.

The biggest challenge in concocting appropriate punishments is that submissives often have a masochistic bent and are likely to find satisfaction in all manner of pain or even humiliation delivered by the Dom. Rare is the submissive who doesn’t get off on a spanking. Some consider this a real problem in D/s—how will the sub be motivated to change if she enjoys her punishments? It is true that if the change one is seeking is strict compliance to the rule, then “funishments” like spanking probably aren’t going to get a sub there too quickly, and other more unpleasant-to-the-sub punishments might correct the behavior in short order. However, if the change one is focused on helping the submissive develop a mindset toward obedience, then having one’s pants pulled down for a spanking, even if enjoyable, works amazingly well in its own slow but steady way. The sub eventually internalizes that the Dom has the right to make rules sand do as he pleases with her/him. And the enjoyment factor is hardly a problem if it helps the sub relish her submission and want to go deeper. Pleasure often has a higher payoff than disagreeable punishments when it comes to training.

Still, it makes sense that a Dom might not want to reward “bad” behavior, and instead inspire obedience more directly through punishments that a sub would be eager to avoid. (Or, perhaps the Dom is simply sadistic and enjoys inflicting discomfort!) There is an entire school of thought that declares Doms should not to use any kind of corporal punishment whatsoever on the grounds too many submissives enjoy it. This school recommends more mundane punishments of the kind often used on children, such as Time-Outs, or the suspension of privileges, or that age-old grade school standby, writing something 50 times. These kinds of “corrections” might be effective for certain subs, or for those with a complementary dynamic like Daddy Dom/little girl (DD/lg). They certainly feel like unwanted punishments. But again, the most important criteria for judging a punishment should be this: Does it make the sub feel more submissive, and thus more hungry to obey? For me, most non-corporal types of punishments are too easy to withstand and so boring that they don’t make me feel more submissive in the slightest; rather, they nudge me dangerously close to feeling like our D/s is a ridiculous game. In my mind, it is much more effective for my Dom to go at me with physical punishments. Yes, I may well enjoy my beating in the end, but if done with enough speed and force I will feel a tingle of fear as it is carried out, and afterward, I will feel a lingering sense of awe of my Dom’s physical power over me.

Of course, punishments do not have to be corporal or impact-driven to be effective. Other types of intense punishments can do the trick, especially if they make use difficult physical predicaments — like the ever-popular holding a penny to the wall with one’s nose while standing on tiptoes. A dose of humiliation can also create a paradoxical sense of fear and awe for a Dom, such as a sub being forced to crawl while wearing something they perceive to be embarrassing (for me it’s that damn fox-tail plug). Anything that makes a sub feel viscerally overpowered and/or “reduced” (preferably both) will likely do the trick. If I am made to crawl with a fox-tail plug lodged in my ass, I feel so reduced that I will find myself kneeling in front of my Dom, hugging his ankles, half-hysterical with regret and at the same time full of worshipful lust. It is for this reason that I always embrace my punishments. I do not break my rules on purpose, but when I do, I welcome the opportunity for correction, welcome the chance to be taken deeper into my submission.

In the end, the rules and rituals any D/s couple chooses, and the punishments they use to enforce them, will work not because they come from any manual or list of suggestions found on the Internet. They will work because of how the couple pays attention to the impact those rules and punishments have on them and their dynamic. BDSM doesn’t ask us to think our way into it, BDSM asks us to let go of thinking and feel our way into it.

Other Views on BDSM Rules, Rituals and Protocols

https://bdsmrules.org/

https://www.devianceanddesire.com/2015/11/how-ritual-in-bdsm-brings-us-closer-to-our-authentic-self/

https://badgirlsbible.com/submissive-rules

https://collarncuffs.com/resources/doku.php?id=protocols_4_d_s

Other Views on Punishment

https://arcaneadvice.com/all-lessons-a-z/healthy-corrections-that-avoid-corporal-punishment/

https://www.the-iron-gate.com/essays/365

https://www.the-iron-gate.com/essays/58https://badgirlsbible.com/bdsm-punishments

https://badgirlsbible.com/bdsm-punishments

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