When does a habit become a ritual? When does a ritual become a rule? These are the existential kink questions that I love to muse upon. Every power dynamic is different and we may have a relaxed dynamic, but low protocol is not no protocol.
There are plenty of things about our relationship that define it in kinky terms, and there is a lot that would not meet the exacting standards of more High Protocol kink practitioners. I have written about how a strict TPE could never be right for us, and how thoughtful and consistent rituals create closeness in our trans-Atlantic love.
We both have expectations of ourselves and the other, and we are both committed to living up to those expectations and following through on our promises. We are also committed to allowing things to change and adapt as the relationship progresses and time goes by. This, to me, is key. It allows for us to experiment and try new things, we let go of what doesn’t serve the dynamic, and we keep what does. Our protocols are not like the high protocol traditional BDSM examples: you won’t find Him hand-signing Gorean slave positions to me or not allowing me to make eye contact with other Doms (no judgment – that stuff is all cool if that’s what floats your boat). We do, however, have actions and expectations that work for us and keep our roles clearly defined and both our needs met.
I tend to think of rituals, rules and protocols as more or less synonymous in the sense that they are the “how to” of our dynamic. Rituals are mostly for comfort, often mine, sometimes His. Rituals include cute things like leaving each other messages to wake up to, *shakes fist at timezones*, me making my tea just like how He makes His, or my use of mantras regarding submission.
Rules, are less about comfort and more about what is good for me and what keeps me connected to submission. There are not many rules that apply to Him, but rules for me are things like daily tasks and good habits (meds, water, exercise, etc.) and things that help me stay balanced and content, like limits to social media, positive self-talk, etc.
Protocols are actions and expectations that please Him. They are not things that are necessarily good or bad for me, because they aren’t really about me, they are about Him and the pleasure He gets from His part in our dynamic.
The newest protocol we have is surrounding orgasm control and masturbation.
I touch and play only with His permission, that is nothing new, but there is a new piece to that puzzle: all masturbation requires my collar <insert squeals of delight>.You may be wondering why that is squeal-worthy, but it’s another layer of the dynamic that has been manifested and it pleases Him to see His property, His toy, wearing a symbol of ownership. It’s a firm expectation that He will remind me of from time to time, but by and large, He knows I will dutifully undress, arrange the permitted toys, fasten my collar and ask for permission. I suppose in a sense, it’s a ritual for me that helps me quickly sink into subspace before He has given me any other instructions or said anything delicious and dark into my ear. For Him it’s a structured example of His control, which He enjoys deeply, for me it’s a reminder of my chosen place in our dynamic: forever at His feet.
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