The Dungeon Master’s Guide: Protocol
If you are serious about actual BDSM and not just playing around with your Dollar Store flogger, it’s hard to have a conversation about it without protocol coming up. Yes, I know this is normally where I go into all of my favorite fetishes – it just happens I have fetishized protocol. What is it you might ask? Protocol is a formal agreement that is negotiated between the top/dominant and bottom/submissive as to what the rules, goals and conditions of their relationship is going to be. This is an agreement of trust. Know you will be pushed, but your hard limits are set. As the saying goes: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. In a society that sees people as disposable commodity little more than a swipe left or right, investing the time into developing a deeper understanding of someone might not be the most popular concept.
There are misconceptions. Some people I have met thought protocol was calling me Sir. While that can be discussed during protocol, that in and of itself is not protocol. I really don’t care what a submissive calls me; in fact, don’t call me anything, just do as you are told. There is a thing called “High Protocol.” It is a set of rules for how a submissive should act, speak or sit during things like group dinners or formal gatherings. There is a mistaken myth that high protocol is higher on the food chain and something to be aspired to. This is the opposite, as getting bogged down in rules where it’s all social details finds them with very little energy to exchange for discipline and rougher forms of sensual expression. In fact, they never get around to breaking skin or a sweat because they are too busy playing house in a way that is closer to BDSM LARPing.
Protocol is something agreed upon by two people. Having blanket protocol for events is micromanaging, because my personal relationship with someone is not for show. I suppose it’s my more punk rock fuck authority side coming out; aside from the rules of safety in a dungeon, being in the lifestyle means it’s a part of who you are, not something you are trying on or dabbling in to see if you like it. The dinner party games of bringing a submissive to show each other people how well we have trained them to sit quietly under the table feels contrived and pompous. This is much like goths who dress in Victorian wear like they are in an Anne Rice novel. When it comes to BDSM, and really most aspects of life, I am more function than fashion. If it’s all icing no cake it doesn’t work for me. I am a theater major and an occultist, so I get the need for theatrics and rituals. It’s not for a scene, bogging down a relationship with superficial fluff. Maybe fluff is your thing. I suppose someone has to do it.
There is what people call “invisible protocol” or how to act in vanilla situations and around children. In other words, how to be respectful and discreet in outside situations. There are some hard and fast boundaries, like I don’t talk about this with my kid. As a parent, I nipped this in the bud by having my daughter call all adults Mr or Mrs, that way there is no need to explain to her who they are to me. She will figure that out on her own if you are around enough, and she files it under you are either daddy’s friend or someone daddy dates or hangs out with. “Hangs out with” is the invisible protocol. Adults know it means you are hanging by chains in the closet or typically hanging onto consciousness from being choked. She and most other people don’t need to know that. It’s none of their business. Aside from that, I am only fucking with adults – if you don’t know how to act like one then we are not hanging out.
How is protocol a kink? Being a sadistic dominant, there is something about discussing what they want me to do to them as much as what they do not want me to do, it lets me know just how far I go. I am big on humiliation and degradation. Pushing someone to open up about what they have or have not done, what they are into, things they would not normally talk about hits all those buttons for me. I have heard people cry against protocol, saying it will scare away new people who will get overwhelmed by it. Granted ,this person was a so-called kink educator, and if you can’t making learning fun, especially when it comes to kink, then how good of a teacher can you really be? Why not make protocol fun? If you are a dominant, have the person masturbate while they tell you what they want from this agreement. You should be able to rephrase what they want in a manner that turns up the heat and makes them want it even more.
If you are interested in seeing what this looks like, I have a protocol questionnaire that I use. To obtain a copy of it you can contact me via the Facebook page.