Protocol is the highest form of service there is… – Lady Markette
Today we’re going to talk about rituals and protocols. There is no universal set of rituals and/or protocols. Why? Because every power exchange dynamic is different. Because the needs and wants within every relationship varies greatly from one to the next. That said, there are some rituals/protocols which appear to be common and widely used for sexual, and non-sexual situations.
Protocols are a set of governing rules that dictate the body, behavior and attitudes through an enforced code of behavior and/or rituals whether it be within the confines of a (…) power exchange relationship.1
Before diving into the deep stuff, there are a few points to consider when putting rituals and/or protocols in place.
1 – the submissive should be able to perform them with little to no guidance from the Dominant
2 – they should be enforced by the Dominant when the submissive is being derelict, with appropriate corrective action taken for violations of protocol
3 – they should be revisited, as needed, to ensure relevance
4 – they should be purposeful (enriching to the D/s experience)
Now, let’s take a look at some of the things which fall under the great big ritual/protocol umbrella.
Honorifics – a title used to denote someone’s stance on either the Left or right side of the slash. Some on the left side of the slash prefer such terms as: Daddy or Mommy, Sir or Miss, Master or Mistress, Lord or Lady and a plethora of other variations. Not to be left out, those of us on the right side have a few titles of our own: slave, babygirl/boy, little one, prince/princess… just to name a few. For example, i refer to my Dominant as “Sir” at all times, because that is how He prefers to be addressed. He addresses me as “little one” (mostly due to my being more of a little when we first met, and also because i’m very much smaller than He is). Any other Dominant will be addressed by name, unless permission has been granted to address Them otherwise. Some D-types prefer to not be addressed with an honorific unless part of an established dynamic with a submissive
Rituals – a ceremony, of sorts. Again, these vary by relationship and can be anywhere from something simple to an elaborate set of steps laid out by the Dominant for His/Her submissive to perform. Typically, there’s a trigger which tells the submissive to begin/perform the specific ritual/physical action. For example, when Sir wishes me to wear His leather, He typically arrives with the collar in His hands. When He’s ready, i am to ‘present’ and the ritual begins. What this means is, i am to face away from him, feet spread apart, hair lifted and, with hands behind my head, wait for Him. This allows Him to slip His leather collar unimpeded around my neck, and to fasten it in place with a lock. Once the lock clicks into place, i am free to move and speak again. This can also be referred to as conditioning: a signal that produces a reflexive action, or reinforcement to produce a desired result. More about that in a bit.
Another little ritual W/we have is in the form of a linguistic convention. Throughout my posts, you’ll have noticed that when referring to my Dominant, the pronouns are always capitalized (Sir, Him). When referring to myself, pronouns are lower case, and if i’m talking about both it’s a combination of upper and lower case (W/we, U/us, O/our).
Protocols – similar in nature to rituals. As with rituals, protocols can take some time for the submissive to be effectively conditioned. The complexity or foreign nature of the request will play a direct role in how long it takes for the required behavior/action to become second nature for the submissive.
There are three (3) levels of protocol that can be observed: high, medium and low.
High protocol, also referred to as First Protocol, entails complete and utter focus on the Dominant. The submissive is expected to curtail all unnecessary movement, speech and thoughts. Absolute obedience is expected, and the Dom’s needs/wants/desires are paramount to any the sub might have at the time. Failure to meet any of the expected behaviors will be met with intense scrutiny and judgement. This type of protocol is most often seen during formal dinners and/or events.
Medium protocol is typically seen in public BDSM events or scenes. While somewhat less restrictive than High protocol, the submissive is still required to be aware of and anticipate their Dominant’s needs, as well as those of other Dominants in T/their company. The submissive should maintain and uphold rules of conduct when Medium protocol is enforced.
Low protocol is the most informal and ‘vanilla’ of the three levels. Prescribed protocols and/or rituals are observed in an ‘invisible’ manner. The submissive demonstrates behavior that is proper, respectful and presents the Dominant in a good light.
For the most part, Sir and i engage in low protocol behaviors. There are some elements of Medium protocol in place when W/we’re out at events, and those are relatively easy to uphold and require very little to no guidance from Sir. An example of a protocol Sir and i have in place is that i am always to be on His right side. If (on the rare occasion) i’m not where i’m supposed to be, i’m reminded of my place. Failure to be anywhere else but at His right side earns a glance or verbal reminder. Continued displacement results in being ‘moved’ to the correct side. i`ve actually become so conditioned to this that it feels incredibly awkward to be on the left side of anyone. Another example is that whenever Sir comes over or picks me up, i am expected to kiss Him as soon as He enters the house, or i enter His vehicle. Once i’ve kissed Him, i’m free to speak.
i`ll list a few rituals/protocols which intrigue me or that i would like to explore further with my Sir. His suggestion of this article came with the request to include protocols i wish i had. And so, i give you a few of the ones i’d really love to have.
Some aspects of First (High) Protocol, definitely. The idea of speech and/or movement restriction intrigues me, as does the suspension of my wants/needs/desires during time spent together until such a time as He decides to return them.
Another thing i’d love to develop as part of O/our established protocols is verbal and non-verbal commands. A word or signal to do things like kneel, present, etc.
Tasks or assignments strongly appeal to me. Either daily or weekly. As someone with anxiety and ADHD, structure and focus are very, very important. Having a task to complete (like writing this blog post) keep me focused, and help lower my anxiety level.
Rules. i love them. Rules keep me in line, put my heart and mind at ease and make sure that i’m being held accountable. It’s also a way to maintain mindset and connection.
That’s all i have for today on the vast topic of Protocols. If Y/you have something Y/you’d like to add, or a topic Y/you’d like to see discussed, please feel free to leave a comment.
As with all things kinky, there is no ‘one true way’. Do Y/you. Have fun and be safe!