respect the rules

Rules are pretty key to our relationship, although even without that I am a person who likes to have rules to follow. I suppose that is why a D/s marriage works so well for me as having rules and structure makes me feel safe. It makes sense of things and makes me feel as though I have a focus and can get things done. Without this I can feel a bit all over the place and it puts my stress levels right up.

 

I think it is hard to stick to rules if you really don’t see the value of them. If they are just there for the sake of it then there just doesn’t seem to be the weight to give them the importance that they need in order for me to stick with them. We have talked long and hard about the rules that we have and, although they may change or be adapted over time, we both agree on their value and importance to us.

 

We review our rules quite regularly and the discussion that we have around them is quite important to us. We also use them as part of the discussions that we have on a daily and weekly basis – as a sort of check in I suppose. This helps, not only in that it reinforces the rules and the importance of them, but also in that it forms part of the power exchange. If this doesn’t happen and HL doesn’t check, then they lose importance to me and I may start to slip up a bit in keeping to them.

 

Checking in regularly like this helps to keep our focus and also keep our mindset. Built into this will be some feedback; reward and/or punishment. For us, some things will be dealt with as they occur, but a lot will also come out of this discussion and from me self-reporting. I am more likely to do this when I have done something wrong so it is helpful that we talk about it so that HL can let me know when I have done well too. Too many negative can be overwhelming and demotivating but a ‘well done’ always works wonders!

 

As I said, we evaluate and evolve our rules and I have written about them on a number of occasions before.  See below for more about what we do and how it works, but namely our rules fall into three main areas: respect, self-care and well-being. Some end up being pretty general and open to interpretation but we know each other quite well and there are no longer areas where we aren’t really on the same page about what is expected. Open communication has helped with this a lot and certainly at the beginning this was a bit trickier.

 

Showing respect and behaving respectfully towards HL is one of the general rules. This would include me asking rather than telling, using the correct tone, and showing that I have considered his thoughts and feelings in terms of what I do and what I say. There are also a number of rituals which go along with this which helps to reinforce the idea of behaving respectfully to him.

 

Self-care is an area which HL wanted to address through the rules. He felt irritated with some of the behaviours I had around the way I spoke about myself, both to him and to other people.  He doesn’t like to hear me put myself down and I hadn’t realised that it was a personal slight on him at times. These rules are more specific and include not speaking negatively about myself and also accepting compliments with the good grace that they were intended.

 

My rules surrounding well-being are specific too and they concern sleep, diet and exercise. I realise that this is not an area which everyone wants to link to their relationship, but for us how I feel physically has a strong bearing on how I feel emotionally. These are probably the most flexible of all the rules as they can be suspended by agreement depending on what we are doing at that time.

 

My being respectful towards HL means that he feels more valued and noticed. It feeds is Dominant mindset and helps him to feel  that he is in control and that he is genuinely leading. Infractions in this area will be dealt with quickly, usually at the time, and punishment will vary. The self-care rules are also really about respect and about recognising that I am his and should try to see myself as such.

 

These and the well-being rules are ones where I will be expected to self-report if he has not been around to witness what has happened. There are set punishments for breaking these rules and they ‘match’ with the rule itself so that carrying out the punishment helps to reflect and reinforce that particular rule. By having rules which help to improve my health and well-being, I feel better about myself and therefore it is easier for him. Essentially I feel sexier which is something he likes to take advantage of.

 

A lot of the things that we do are things that people might do anyway in a non-D/s type relationship but having them there in a way which makes me accountable adds a formality and structure which reinforces our power exchange. Rather than feeling onerous they actually feel supportive and rather than me resenting them, they actually make me feel cared for and safe so it works very well for us.

 

Previous posts on rules on submissy:
Broken Rules
Rules, Resets and Roleplay
Two New Rules
New Term New Rules
Rules
Rules and Rituals

The following post has been co-written, because we feel that a Dominant and submissive perspective to rules is important. Please let us know if you have any questions! As a side note- we are not experts, and there is no one right way to create a rules list. We aim only to inform those interested in how we do things.

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Lars’ Perspective

Rules can be a very useful tool for achieving goals and maintaining a certain standard, but can also be detrimental when not implemented properly. I see rules in 2 different categories- rules to maintain and rules that lead you where you’re going. “Maintenance” rules are things like respect, honesty and self care. These should be the foundation of any relationship as they help keep it healthy. Once you establish those baseline rules, you can create goal oriented rules for “where you want to go”. Those rules could relate to working out for weight loss, or even wearing a butt plug to train for anal sex. Depending on where you are and where you want to go, rules can be developed to help meet those goals or needs. Rules can change during the span of your relationship, and I recommend regularly reviewing your rules, adding and editing as needed.

Once you have determined what your rules list looks like, make sure that it isn’t too long. As my good friend Mr. Swanson once told me, “It is better to full-ass one thing, than to half-ass two things.” When you feel your sub has begun to manage well with the initial list, you can add more rules in as needed, and remove the ones that no longer serve you.

When it comes to enforcing your rules list, it is really important that you remain consistent. I believe rules lists should be accompanied by rewards and punishments lists. What is the point of rules if there is no accountability? If your sub is anything like mine then structure and consistency are some of the most important factors to having a functional and happy D/s dynamic.

When choosing rules it is important to be realistic and not go balls to the wall at the beginning. You can start small and work up to the higher protocol stuff as you and your sub grow together. It is very important that you are able to track successes- you can use sticker charts, apps, chores lists, etc.. Just make sure that you are holding yourself and your sub responsible for following rules and meeting goals.

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on rules. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a note in the contact me section, or in the comments.

 

 

slars’ Perspective

Creation

Creating a rules list can be a daunting task! When you are first getting started in a power exchange dynamic, i think it’s especially challenging. When Daddy and i first started our dynamic, it was solely with DD/lg. We joined an online community and quickly learned that a lot of the people there were single, and therefore didn’t have rules. We did a lot of research online, looking for examples we thought we could base our rules on, but even that proved to be a challenge. And then we met some couples who did have rules, but didn’t want to discuss them with us! It felt like a whole bunch of dead ends. We pieced together a rules list on our own, and had to work at tweaking them regularly to find our groove. Before i continue- if you are reading this and feeling like you have hit dead ends when making your rules list, reach out to us on the contact page. We would love to help! Don’t get discouraged! Anyway, we created our list. Do you want to know something crazy? Our first list of rules had over 70 rules!!!! 😰 You may see online that some Tops make their bottoms memorize their rules. Nope- how on Earth could i memorize 70?! Moral of the story- start simple. Decide what the top priorities are. Here is an example of 5:

-Do not disrespect Daddy- this includes back talk, profanity, and eye rolling

-Take care of your body- shave regularly, eat 3 healthy meals per day, exercise 3 days per week

-Accomplish all chores before playing

-Bed time is 10:30 pm, wake up at 8:30 am

-No spending money without first asking

These are non sexual rules that set boundaries for every day life. Starting with rules like those help build structure, and also make consistency for enforcement a lot easier in the beginning. You might also introduce a chore chart, to help make rewarding your bottom easier. Tracking successes is important! So once you have determined the every day rules, you can add in rules relating to personal goals. They could be education related, for weight loss, learning something new, saving for something… Whatever your goals are. i really like having goal oriented rules because they help keep me accountable. But achieving goals also really boosts my self confidence, and makes Daddy proud. i love the feeling of accomplishment! After choosing your goal oriented rules, if you are sexual, add in some rules for that too. Some examples could be:

-No masturbation of any kind

-Do not orgasm without permission

If your rules list starts looking hefty, slow down. Make a list of ideas you can implement later. Daddy and i meet every Sunday as a sort of reset, and part of that is discussing rules. Sometimes we remove one, sometimes we add one. Your rules list can change over time. It probably won’t stay as what it started as. And that is actually a good thing! Be flexible, communicate, and write things down! Okay next….

Implementation

How do you implement this lovely list that you created? Well, you will want to create a list of rewards. What does your bottom want to be rewarded with? An allowance, gifts, outings, orgasms? In a Master/slave dynamic, rewards may not be a thing. Do you want to reward your bottom? my personal vote is that in the beginning, rewards are important. You’re creating new habits, and psychologically rewards help motivate. What will your bottom need to accomplish to earn each reward? Set the goals. 1 month of 100% chores being done means a trip to the zoo, perhaps. And once you have decided your rewards, move on to a list of punishments. The list of punishments is likely to change. If you have never explored spanking, that is a good place to start. Daddy has cold showers on my list, because i absolutely hate the cold. But spankings, He has to be careful with, because i am a masochist. So when He spanks me, He uses phrases like, “you broke the rules, and I am punishing you, I am disappointed.” His disappointment in me is the real punishment, but His words are what makes the spanking unpleasant. So you’ve chosen your rewards and punishments. You have your list of maybe 15 rules. You are ready to implement them….

Enforcement

And now your bottom has broken a rule. What ever are you to do? Consistency is key!!! Let me repeat: Consistency!!! That is why having a shorter list of rules in the beginning is important. It is easier for a bottom to remember and easier for a Top to enforce consistently. Use your punishments list, and as you feel comfortable, pull some ideas out of your back pocket if you want. Just keep in mind the levels of consent that you have with your partner. And don’t forget the power of rewarding your partner, even if its just telling them they did a good job! There is no one right way to make a rules list. If it works for you, it is right! And remember, if you have questions or need a little advice, feel free to comment or contact us! Good luck!

 

This post was originally featured on Married and Owned.

To quote Bananarama, “It aint what you do it’s the way that you do it, and that’s what gets results.” This is something that I think is important when you are thinking about your relationship, particularly if you are introducing D/s to an existing relationship or thinking about establishing or reviewing the rules and rituals which will help to reinforce it. I recently read Kisungura’s post, Knowing your why and it made me think that so often with D/s, it is not so much what we do but how and why we do it. I realise that at the start D/s can seem that it is something new and different but actually, you really need something that will fit into your life and be sustainable. Unless the life and relationship you have currently is one which requires a complete overhaul, it is likely that you will just be redecorating and remodelling what you have, rather than casting it all aside to start again. So what you do may be similar to the sorts of things that you have done before, but the way that you do it and the meaning and reasoning behind it will often be what has changed.

 

Frequently during discussion, we see that while one couple does it one way, another does it the opposite way. Initially this may seem contradictory but in actual fact, it is because the meaning and the perception of that act to those particular individuals is what counts. I remember a very heated topic chat about service where this became apparent. There were differing views as to what was and wasn’t service, based on what worked and carried meaning for that couple. There really is not a right and a wrong here, expect for the obvious if it works it is right and if it doesn’t it is wrong. This is a rule that HL and I have tried to follow since we learnt the hard way that there was no one true way and that our way was the one for us (although we certainly would not suggest it would be the one for all of you).

 

The rules and rituals which we have serve to reinforce our own power exchange. The things we do are essentially based around respect, self-care, and nurture and over time we have found that the ones that have stuck are the ones which are important to us. Initially we made the mistake of trying to incorporate things which we had read others did, or things which other more experienced people told us we should be doing. This failed, quite spectacularly in some instances. It was hard for me to remember to do things which held no value to us and it was hard for HL to reinforce them for the same reason. Obviously what each couple does will depend on them but, for anyone who is interested, there is more detail about the sorts of things that work for us here and here

 

Some of what we do will help to reinforce the feeling of submission for me and Dominance for him so essentially it is there to support the power exchange. Some will be about me thinking about him and making him the focus and my motivation for what I do. We try to meet the needs of the other and that is easier when you are fully connected on an emotional and on a physical level, so it will be about talking and listening as well as showing the other person that you are thinking abiout them and demonstrating how much they mean through your actions. Through constant effective communication, the level of trust will grow and the level of intimacy that is created as a result will strengthen what passes between you. 

 

I think that whether you are starting out, or part way through your journey it is always good to stop and ask yourselves why you are doing the things that you are. What do they add for you? How do they contribute to your growth as an individual and strengthen you as a couple? Whether you wait for a door to be opened for you because that is part of the respect and care that your Dom wants to show you or whether you hold the door open for him because that is part of how you show your respect and service to him, really is immaterial. Whether you  initiate things sexually because he wants to know that you love and desire him, or wait for him to initiate them because he sees your body as his, will not matter as long as the way that you approach things is adding value to your dynamic. 

 

All so often, when making sense of the world, we tend to focus on the actions that we see without always being aware of the thought and reasoning behind it. Within a relationship, this sort of approach doesn’t really work that well as it can lead to things which lead you to feel like you have failed or have not got it right. It is not what you do but how and why you do it that is important and those are often the things which are not discussed because they are particular to the individual and to the couple. If you can come up with things that fit with your lifestyle and which are significant and hold value to you, then the chances are that they will be easier to implement, to reinforce and to sustain.