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.
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.
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….
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….
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.