Protocol in a D/s Relationship

Protocols in a D/s relationship are a set of rules and concepts agreed upon by both parties and set in place within their relationship to provide organisation, structure and even a peace of mind.

But if you’ve found my site, are curious about the lifestyle and you haven’t had a chance to dig deeper as of the moment you read this– well, hopefully I can shed some light on some of the areas protocol can cover in a D/s relationship.

First off all, I think the most important thing you can do before hand is to have a conversation with your better half, about each other’s needs and wants. See what they are interested in or opposed against, as there may be certain things you can tweak, like the name you give each other, or special unique rituals you share. Maybe there will be a compromise you have to make with certain areas, such as physical interaction if your partner as sore joints or a medical condition.

The Introductory Phase

When you first begin implementing some of these concepts, keep in mind to work through the aspects slowly.

If I may use my own experience here – things can get overwhelming fast and the mind has a funny way of twisting any forgetfulness of concepts and turning that into a false sense of personal failure. My own partner experienced this when she forgot aspects when we first entered into a D/s relationship and even when she realised an aspect wasn’t to her liking after all months after training.

We all learn and adapt and grow and change in different ways, so it’s always worthwhile to approach learning something like this radical change – with patience.


Body, Behaviour, Attitude

When you think of body and behavioural aspects in a D/s relationship, chances are one of the first things you’ll think of is kneeling. There are A LOT of kneeling positions and stances a submissive can take in different circumstances but I couldn’t even begin to tell you about them because it’s not something I’ve personally explored beyond a couple of basic stances. So as much as I’d love to say I am well versed in names and positions, I would recommend a little research into some positions and such that you’d like to explore.

I think you’ll find that your attitude and behaviour and the way your body wants to react will come to you naturally. Maybe it has and someone out there has put a name to it already! The important thing is to trust yourself and your thoughts, no matter how abstract and wild they seem.

The right look in a submissive or dominant’s eyes, a beautiful way to stand for your partner – these are all erotic aspects that charge a relationship. Hell, the look my lady can give me sometimes, that I know is a surrendering of her self and senses to me, is enough to drive me wild and insatiable.

Speech Protocols

Speech Protocols are concepts designed to train the submissive to speak according to the specific D/s relationship – a concept chosen and customised by both the Dominant and the submissive.

It can begin with the Dominant and the submissive finding what speaks to each other personally when they come to addressing each other and when or how often? The boundaries are there for them to decide – and this can extend to other areas in their life, such as if they want to maintain speech protocol in public where their kinky sides are hiding in plain sight.

When it comes to addressing each other in a social setting that won’t draw attention, you can get creative. Think of subtle ways in which you can address each other – a casual hand on the shoulder, a gentle tug on the ear lobe. The possibilities are endless!

But speech protocol doesn’t end there – it can tap into other aspects of behaviour, such as if the submissive mishears something the dominant says and will ask a pardon instead of a ‘Huh?’ or a ‘What?’. Perhaps the two personalities will come to an agreement where the submissive refers to herself in third person and in a pet name, e.g ‘This pet had a good day, thank you Sir.”

When I mentor people and this topic comes up, I always like to ask folks what speaks to them personally, deep down in the gut. What ideas tickle their stomach and cause them to laugh nervously?

Personally, I have found that asking them that helps them mull it over and think about what they’d like to be addressed as and what they’d also like to address their dominant.

Dress Protocol

A dress protocol can be a thrilling protocol to experiment with one another. Not only that but it can mean control and order and peace for both personalities and can centre the relationship and the dynamic in both minds.

Speaking personally, there’s a wonderful sense of ownership and control that can come with the various degrees of dress protocol. You’re suddenly in control of someone’s life and wellbeing. There’s responsibility there, but also an intoxicating edge to explore and experiment with dress codes.

How can you dress your submissive around the house? Around work? Parties? Dinners? What if you want to be geeky and buy her some DC comic-themed underwear? It’s all about finding a balance for the dress code in her life, or your life together – but always be open to negotiation


Rituals in a D/s relationship are a fun way for both personalities to feel fulfilled and centred throughout their day and week.

From formulating and preforming a mantra – a passage of words that serve as positive reinforcement, while also serving as a type of affirmation to health, mind and relationship of the submissive to themselves and their world – to little gestures such as the submissive asking if they can share the bed of the dominant, asking if they can visit friends, leashing a submissive of the evening as a form of relaxation to even doing household chores.

These rituals come down to what the two of you would like to explore in your relationship in terms of cementing each others’ presence in your lives, either when you’re together or apart from each other.  Have a think about what you want to explore with someone, or with each other. Have a think on the ways in which you want to explore your Dominant / submissive side? What tears at your skin, claws to get out?

Things to consider…

Be patient with one another – this is a time of growth and of learning and sometimes that can take a few tries to perfect and to master.

Be open to change and to suggestions and to new experience – especially new experiences and most importantly, make sure that everything you have agreed upon together is safe within the realms of negotiation.

The Master in Me

So here’s the thing about me.

You could say I’ve been in this lifestyle since my experiments with it as a teen, but I really didn’t start to understand the depths to which it was a part of me until my mid 20’s.

Only then, through educating myself through various web pages and through friends across Fetlife, Whisper and Collarspace did I start to understand what I was feeling.

The thing is though, I didn’t learn everything in my mid twenties. Some of it was yet to come later – like the fact that I realised the Daddy dynamic – or that mentoring a student who began to identify as a Slave made me realise my own tendencies as a Master.

A Master.

The Master in me has always been a mystery to me because it’s so far removed from who I am outside of my Sex life. The Daddy side I understand – nurturing people, friends of friends, mentoring newcomers, reading to my kitten – these things come naturally to me. But my Master side is a bit more elusive.

It’s not just because it’s not always a fit for my relationship with my kitten, that I understand. We fulfil each other in a different way.

It’s that it comes out – is triggered, I guess you could say – at random, like I’m possessed by some otherworldly being.

I remember explaining to this student this visceral mindset and their reaction being one of ‘You’re kind of a different person’. A similar reaction occurred with my kitten in an organic way, though our personalities, melding as they often do, seemed to thrive off of each other as totally different people from our softer sides.

Maybe that’s the appeal? The contrast between different lives?

But then again, as I write this – I realise a lot of the M/s style appeals to me – the symbolism and rituals, the exchange of power, the slave training – all of these are things of beauty for me and appeal to me greatly.

Like I said with my relationship with Sadism, I haven’t fully understood what this all means for me but it’s an entity that takes up rent in my head and is along for the ride.

And as always, I’m eager to hear from both sides of the coin, the Master/Mistress and Slaves-mindset, new to it or otherwise, that are out there and lurking. If you care to, please feel free to share some of your own experiences with your journey so far – either in the comments or at email!

Navigating The Master / Slave Dynamic

Within the Dominant and submissive personality lies what has been established as the Master / slave aspect, which we will explore today with the help of some texts I’ll include at the end of this for you all to check out.
The relationship between a Master and slave differs from that of a typical D/s relationship, in that a Master has ultimate authority over a slave, through a 24/7 dynamic that consists of a Total Power Exchange (TPE) between sub to Dom. 

                    THE BDSM CONTRACT
It’s interesting to note that the TPE and dynamic is meticulously discussed before such an exchange occurs. 

This is where the term BDSM contract comes into play, as Dom and sub create the contract and discuss the limits, methods, scene play, appearance of sub, protocols, etiquette specific to the Master and so forth. 

Let’s take a look at some information a contract might include, as quoted in an example from Phil G’s Master / Slave BDSM Contract:

“2. When in private, I will always call Him “Master” or “Sir”.

3. Unless not allowed to by my Master, in public I will put my hand around his arm to show we are a couple. Master may instead want us to hold hands.

4. I may not leave a conversation on the Internet or on the phone between myself and my Master without explaining what I need to do first and getting permission from my Master to leave.  This is not the case if I’m cut off by the phone or Internet connection.”

Note that these are examples. Such information would be written out for the slave to read and work through with the Dom regarding his or her own wants and needs. 
I will add that though it’s a contract to be read and signed by the submissive / slave, it’s never legally binding. Rather, the submissive / slave reserves the right to refuse, as after all, it’s a contract built on mutual respect and consent. If things go south, they would not be trapped in an unhappy environment. 
It’s important to work together and communicate through the contract. Communication is key, especially as the contract involves every possible aspect of the slave, from protocol to grooming. Be honest with each other and yourselves.

                         SLAVE TRAINING
When I introduced my partner to the world of BDSM, we negotiated with each other a trial of training so that she could feel comfortable in case she made a mistake during her etiquette training. A time of one month was negotiated for us to work together and learn and grow and see what works and what doesn’t. 

In the world of M/s, Slave training is this to an extent but differs in that it’s specific to the individual unique contract and to the couple and their personal interests.
To the couple, I would say – before training of any kind begins, a length of time for the duration of the training needs to be established so that both parties are well aware of boundaries for themselves and for each other.
In this time, be gentle when it comes to failure. This is a point of time to learn – about yourself, about each other, about what works. Everyone everywhere once upon a time failed. It’s through failure we learn to pick ourselves up and keep trying. So: go easy on yourself. You won’t learn everything overnight. It’s a complex world but you CAN do it. 
Address failure through communication. Assess where the fault occurred. Then assess how to approach the activity again. Repetition is key to success, right? 
                       LEARN THE FOUR P’s

This is a little something I found with regards to a submissive learning his / her way with their Master. Since its relatively easy to break down, I’m including it here.
Principal – the Dom’s General ethical values
Protocol – The Dom’s rules that govern behaviour, physical and psychological.
Preferences – the personal likes and dislikes of the Dominant.
Perception – Be mindful of your place, your environment and the situation, for both your Master and yourself.
This of course can apply to the Master with regards to the slave as well but since TPE will come into play, I’ve addressed the slave.


THE NUMBER ONE KEY DETAIL: Just because there is a TPE in play does not mean the slave is of less importance. Equality should always be there. ALWAYS. 
Remember both roles need each other. What’s a slave without a master? What’s a master without a slave? They rely on each other, it’s as simple and straight forward as that.
Don’t lose sight of yourself. You may be under contract but allow room for your personality to exist. Allow for growth and learning. That’s important. It’s what make you unique. It’s why you’d be sought after by a Master. Individuality, personality – that psychological aspect – the self, who you are – that’s sexy as fuck. Be yourself. Don’t let your fire fade.

                       FURTHER READING

1. Master / slave BDSM Contract by Phil G.