Thoughts on Rules, Structure and Negotiations
Today’s discussion questions: Do you set and enforce structure, rules and limits as part of your Dominance? Why or why not? How do you feel about the use of structure, rules and limits as tools used to invoke and maintain submission from your partner/s?
I do set rules and enforce structure. It is pivotal in everything we do in a dynamic. Rules, structure and limits should all be discussed prior to entering a D/s relationship. There are some amazing templates available online for both establishing negotiations and kink compatibilities (link below). In what we do, it is imperative, at least in my opinion, to adhere to the structure and rules of engagement. Not only does it satisfy the needs of the Dom and the sub, it creates a clear black and white outline for the roles of the relationship. No matter what comes in the future, your roles are clearly outlined and provide a security net to fall back on in times of turbulence. Both of you should be providing safe harbor to one another.
As to the setting of rules, this is a matter that should be discussed, negotiated and discussed again. The needs of both the Dom and the sub must be met. There will be some compromises, undoubtedly, it’s only natural. In the end, it’s all about communication. Too often, I see time and time again people rushing into this lifestyle and they inevitably hurt each other. “You like kink? I like kink too!”, and that’s the end of it. If you’re unwilling to take to the time and make the investment into one another and negotiate a clear set of guidelines, your forecast isn’t favorable.
My role, my need, is to provide structure, discipline and safe harbor for that of my submissive. I need to create structure. Even in my daily life. Anyone that knows me will attest to how much I hate disorder and will wear myself down to the point of exhaustion to reassert order in the chaos. I need it so much, I found a job that pays me money to do it. The same feelings apply to my personal relationships. I, personally, am not fully happy unless I’m providing the environment and structure she needs, craves and desires. How I create my structure and guidelines are purely on the aforementioned agreements of the negotiation.
I’ve used the same template in coming up with rules for a long time now and I’ll share it. One of the most frequently asked questions I see if how do you come up with your rules. My rules are tailored to her. They’re designed to uplift and support her. In vetting, I take extensive notes. Things she struggles with, things she says she needs help with and more. I keep all of these in mind when creating and filling out my template. My rules include General Protocol, Daily Routine, Grooming/Hygiene/Body Care, Mental Guidelines, Communication, Household, Punishment Outlines and then I include two special areas. The first being My Promises and Mutual Promises.
In General Protocol, I outline expectations. These are serious and carry much weight in how our dynamic works. General Protocol infractions are serious and carry serious punishments. Common rules include a forbiddance of lying, an expectation of completing tasks and the reinforcement of her safeword and the fact that it is okay to use it and to use it without fear of repercussions.
Daily Routine includes all of her rules governing day to day needs. Eating habits, water intake, sweets and coffee limitations, bedtimes and the like. Infractions here are more tolerated and are usually incremental in their punishments. I try to be more lenient here. These rules are meant to support her the most and if she’s brats, this is where I word the rules loosely enough to give her space to buck.
Grooming/Hygiene/Body Care are all rules and guidelines in how I expect my submissive to take care of herself. Some of these are for her, some of them are for me. These rules include shower routines, how she takes care of her body, etc.
Mental creates the structure to reinforce a positive mental state. Rules here include not hiding her feelings or emotions, not hiding her tears, the acceptance of punishments, and the reinforcement that is not okay to belittle herself. There’s a lot that can go into this space, but it’s all designed to support and uplift her and her needs as well expressing need for her positive mental health.
Communication outlines and reinforces how we communicate with each other. Infractions with communication are heavy and carry heavy consequences. These rules include how I am to be addressed, text message requirements, coming forward with concerns and the value of her own voice.
Household creates the structure for how chores are done. There’s not really a lot to say here. It’s pretty self explanatory.
In the Punishments subcategory I outline how my punishments will work. I reinforce here that her soft, hard and trauma limits are respected and heard. I outline that a punishment will always be given, though punishments can very widely based on the infractions. And finally, I reinforce that I will always match the punishment to the infraction. It is important to remember that a soft hand can accomplish just as much as firm hand.
In My Promises, I outline my commitment to her and outline what her expectations can and should be of me. I also take the time in this space to put in writing that all of the above rules can be negotiated at any point in time. My structure is adaptive and is designed to support her needs and mine.
Finally, in Mutual Promises, I add any missing touches in dynamic expectations. Including, but not limited to reassurances that we will always treat each other with respect and to talk to each other like adults should problems arise. This is for her benefit as well as my own.
Again with invoking? Are we summoning demons? I invoke and maintain her submission by the enforcement and adherence to our agreed upon structure. The tools at my disposal have already been negotiated and I am free to use those tools at my discretion. A good Dom is consistent and I will constantly challenge myself to maintain consistency. She craves my attention through my structure and the adherence of it. I will be consistent in my punishments. I will strive to be unpredictable. Predictability is boring and nothing that we do in this wonderful playground we have around us should ever be boring. I will stay within her lines and make sure to use all the colors at my disposal.
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