All relationships follow protocols, whether unspoken or spoken. But within D/s relationships specifically, protocols are explicit, negotiated with the needs and best interests of everyone in mind, subject to change based on reflection and consent.
For rife and I, these include things like:
1. Every day, he calls me master and I call him slave at least once.
When he says “Master,” it makes my cunt clench and my heart ache and burst. I’m flooded with reminders of our many hours of negotiations, the dozens of workshops and discussion groups we’ve been to, our contract, the intentions we’ve set, and his expectations and negotiations that I’m in charge and make decisions and steer his life based on his needs and mine. I’m reminded that I am supposed to use him for my pleasure.
When I say “slave,” I say it with the weight of the deepest desires that drive us, our cravings from way back, from before we negotiated these things, from our impulses to feed and touch and suck. I say it to remind him of the way he has given authority over to me, but I also say it to celebrate him. To share with him the joy of ownership, the thrill in me when I know he is mine.
Exchanging the words “master” and “slave,” highlighting our titles and who we are to each other, is my most precious of our protocols, and I thrill every single time.
2. He asks permission.
Precisely what rife asks permission for has changed over the years, but the underlying protocol is that, because I am in charge, he asks me to do certain things that we agree upon together. Sometimes the purpose is to enforce our power dynamic and build our intimacy and pleasure, like when he asks to use furniture or to use the bathroom. But sometimes it’s more practical and based on his own goals, like when he asks to eat something he’s attempting to regulate.
Over time, we’ve discovered that sometimes his asking for permission can get in the way, and we’ve made adjustments. For example, for a while he asked permission to have a drink when he went out with friends — but sometimes I wasn’t available by text or phone for a quick answer, and it interfered with his social life. I don’t want to involve anyone in our D/s arrangements who hasn’t consented, and this protocol caused too much stress, so we eventually nixed it altogether.
We play with Daddy/boy dynamics in our partnership, and like that sometimes asking and granting permission supports those: he gets to ask for his every desire, and I “know better” and get to grant or deny, even if underneath it I’m not denying him anything he hasn’t asked to be denied. And since one of his major fetishes is tease and denial, asking permission plays right into it.
3. He begins to eat after I do, and other specifics at mealtime.
He waits for me to start. It’s a way of deferring, and of letting me take in the table, ensure everything I need is there and savor the flavors first.
But that isn’t all – I use mealtime as a place to express gratitude and feel the connection between my body and the earth. It feels more like ritual than protocol; the actions may be similar but the intention is different. Ritual reminds me of my larger purpose and connection to the natural world, and to whatever spiritual energy animates all living things (sometimes I use “The Great Big Good,” from Kate Bornstein and Barbara Carrellas). Plants, animals, the seasons, the many people it takes to harvest and process our food — together, we express gratitude, even in a small way (“thanks Earth! Let’s eat”) at mealtime.
There are a few other protocol details about meal-time presentation (table settings are very pleasing) and things I want to be included (salt and pepper, glasses of water, usually hot sauce) — but those are variable and keep changing.
4. He follows presentation guidelines.
Everything on the boy’s body — from the way he dresses to the way he keeps his hair to how and where he shaves to the jewelry he wears — is under my control and guidance.
We have gone through his wardrobe and I have decided which pieces to keep, which to discard, and which to replace. I’ve bought him some particular adornments that he now wears every day: his silver and wood engagement ring, one single bone hoop earring in his right ear, the sterling silver hoop in his right nipple, his steel collar and lock. He keeps his hair and body hair the way I like it.
He has expressed the desire to someday have more of a daily uniform, and guidance for how he dresses based on what pleases me, which I often think about. I’m still working on that one, occasionally buying him clothes and exploring how I would like to dress up my boy.
5. He texts me when he’s on the way home.
Lots of people do this, but I use it for a few different purposes: to inform me of where he is, to allow me to prepare to shut down my projects and receive him when he arrives, to give me the opportunity to ask him for errands while he’s still out, and to ensure that I can change my mindset from whatever I’m involved in back into the Master/slave dynamic.
It reminds me of his subordination, of our agreements to keep him under my care and command. I get to know, at all times, where he is, because he is my property — much like I would want to know, if someone borrowed my car, whether they were taking a road trip or going to the store.
I want to know everything about what he does, where he goes. I want intense intimacy.
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