How rife & I Created Our D/s Protocol. Plus: Invitation to the new Protocol ecourse

Take pictures of five different places you’ve had sex and send them to me with a short (2 sentence) description of each one.

Make a mobile.

Download the 100 Pushups app and go through the program, 3x a week for 4 weeks.

Record an audio mp3 of you masturbating to orgasm.

Write up five scene ideas (short, 2 sentences each) that you’d like to experience.

Before rife and I lived together, our relationship was long distance for almost a year and a half. We both had other partners that we lived with and we’d negotiated open relationships. We were experimenting with D/s and we both craved more intensity, more rules, more obedience, more opportunities to serve.

During this time, rife didn’t so much have “protocol” as he had “tasks”, and I’d send him one (like those above) either with a deadline, or tell him that as soon as it was done, I would give him another. Sometimes that meant he was done the next day. Sometimes it took a few weeks to complete the task.

I see protocol as something done routinely that is triggered by an action. Whenever x happens, do y. For example: Whenever I get home, offer to remove my boots. Whenever we wake up, make the bed. Whenever you need to pee, ask my permission first (if I am available). Before you go to bed, make sure the dishes are done. Whenever you address me, use my proper title.

Sure, there were a few protocols that we had set up while we were long distance—he was always to kneel and kiss my boots/shoes/feet first thing, before we even spoke to each other, whenever we had traveled apart from each other. He was to text me good morning and good night. He would reply to my emails or texts promptly, not keep me waiting. Those kinds of things. But mostly, we did tasks—one-off assignments that would thrill me to receive. I kept a long list of things he sent, the kind of love-gifts one creates in the beginnings of a relationship, and I would take note of the things I loved to receive and ask him to send more of them. It was thrilling for both of us to be giving and receiving orders, to have opportunities for obedience, to make requests and have them be met.

Then, we moved in together

When we moved in together, we wanted to up the protocol significantly. I wanted clear division of the household labor, and to set things up so it was clear who took care of what. I wanted clear schedules, clear date nights, clear ways that we organize our time together, doing work, playing, and apart.

We haven’t kept all of the protocol we set up. (Ask me about rife’s speaking protocol experiments sometime—and why we don’t have any restrictions on speech anymore.) There were times when I gave him too much to do, when I failed to monitor or enforce the protocol I told him to do, and when we both just completely dropped some of the protocol we agreed upon because things going on were just too much. And, eventually, we picked it back up again, I tightened the reigns, we check in, and we keep going.

The protocol part of our D/s was one of the most fun parts to play with, for me. I wanted to set up something really fun, and in-depth, and flexible; something that would keep the protocol as lively as it was when we were long distance and playing with all those tasks. So I started experimenting with forms, and this is what happened.

Making The Training Wheel

We were both a bit obsessed with it in the first year we lived together. We created a “training wheel,” areas of training for rife in his enslavement and submission, which we shorten to the acronym L-SHAFTS: Leather, Submission, Houseboy, Assistant, Fag, Trophy, Service. Each category has a short description of the intended ways that he’s “in training” for that subject, and each one has some ideas of what he’ll do to grow in that area.

rife's training wheel

Making The Protocol Game

After we had the training categories, I set up what we refer to as “the protocol game,” where I made little slips of paper with different protocols on them (roughly the same amount in each of the 7 categories, though some of them are easier for me to make protocol in than others).

It helped that we already had weekly check-ins about our D/s set up. At first, we would go over some specific questions: What was the most fun part of this week? What was the hardest? How did we do with protocol? How could we improve it? We would both reflect on the week past and plan the week ahead, gathering data from the experiments we were doing, and implement new protocol.

I set up a notebook, too, so that we could record the little strips of paper in the book and write a little about what each protocol was like. If there was one we really liked, we would implement it permanently.

protogolgame

Some of them, even though we really, really like them for a week, we don’t want to make into something permanent because they will likely lose their luster. For example, if rife had to wear a butt plug every single time he did house chores, it would get old and become ‘normal,’ but if he only does it occasionally, it’s still thrilling.

Making Protocol For Me

After we created 52 of these protocol slips and ‘played the game’ for a year, we reflected on the year and decided that yes, we did want to do it again, but with some changes. Namely: there were a whole bunch of protocol in rife’s set that were actually protocol that relied on me doing an action. For example, the protocol for rife to “wear jock straps every day for a week” he can do himself. But if the protocol is, “receive bruises every day,” that’s something I actually have to do. And we noticed, more often than not, that I wouldn’t actually do those things when he pulled that protocol.

It’s not that I don’t want to … but, well, between you and me? I’ve been struggling with my mental health balance a lot the past few years. I think it’s getting worse. I’m pursuing all kinds of avenues of support for this, but it’s making it very hard for me to do things I love, like write, work, teach, and be the badass dominant that I aspire to be.

(But that’s kind of a different post.)

So when we set up the second year of 52 protocol slips to pull, I also created a training wheel for myself and 52 of my own. Having my own protocol has been mostly challenging, but there have been some great things that have come out of that too.

Want to join me for an experiment in making your own protocol?

If this process of creating, implementing, and enforcing protocols through this Protocol Game method sounds interesting to you, you’re invited to come join the Protocol Game ecourse that starts this weekend. There will be two webinars, one this Saturday, March 5th, and one the following Saturday, and in between you’ll have a workbook to fill out. I’ll walk you through this entire process where you’ll create a training wheel and 52 corresponding protocol, and then make a way to check in about it and enforce.

Click here and reserve your spot!

If you are a submissive or a dominant or a switch, you’re invited—you just have to want to create 52 protocol. There’s even a price for couples to take it together, and create 104 protocol for both of you.

I could tell you a whole lot more about it, but mostly all the info is over on the Academy of D/s Confidence page for the course—so go check it out.

I’m really excited about it! I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Define: Courtly

Back in September, I asked for a word for someone who accepts chivalry. We had a lively discussion in the comments about what that person would be called.

It’s a very specific skill, really. Not everybody knows how to move when someone else is pulling out your chair, slipping your jacket onto your shoulders, how to navigate a door being opened for you, how to wait until the car door is unlocked. It takes a lot of consciousness about what is happening around you, and between you and the chivalrous person.

Many folks liked “gracious” as a word to describe those who receive chivalry, but I feel like it’s not specific enough. It has another definition and commonplace usage in our culture, so the word wouldn’t stand out as being used with this intentional meaning in conversation.

Which is why I really like the word “courtly.” (Thanks to Femme Gender for suggesting it!)

Court·ly: adjective.
Receiving chivalry and politeness with graceous skill.
Example: “That sub boy I went out with last night was really courtly, it was fun to have the foreplay start with chivalry.”

Court·li·er: noun.
A person who receives chivalry with politeness with graceous skill.
Example: “When the courtlier rises from the table, it is customary for the chivalrer to also rise.”

Here’s why I like this word:

  1. Courtly is uncommon in daily speech, so it stands out. If used in conversation with someone who isn’t familiar with it as a term for receiving chivalry, it will be different enough for that person to be able to ask, “what do you mean, ‘courtly’?”
  2.  It has an archaic quality, yes; it reminds us of the royal courts (and reminds me specifically of the historical stories of British knights and kings and queens). But I like that, especially because many people see chivalry as archaic as well, so they kind of match. Plus, I think there is some reclamation of these terms that has to be done and explained in order to use them consciously.
  3. Definitions of the term “courtly” relate mostly to manners, elegance, refinement, and politeness, which isn’t specifically what I mean, but it’s definitely related. Much of chivalry is about manners and awareness, and I think being courtly is too.
  4. It also relates to the term “courtship,” that dance that we do when we’re interested in another person, courting each other into a relationship. I like the connection of chivalry and courtliness to courting and courtship.

This also pulls a little on the idea of chivalry as consensual – I think it’s important to have enough awareness over chivalrous acts that you stop opening doors, holding umbrellas, rising when the courtlier stands at a table, if the person in question does not like to be treated that way.

“Hey, I’m not courtly,” s/he can say. “I don’t like being treated that way. No offense, but knock it off.”

Having a word for the position of accepting it, aside from the acknowledgement that accepting chivalry is a skill that, for most of us, must be studied, acknowledges that some folks may prefer not to be in that position, may prefer not to be courtly.

tear you apart

My retaliation mix for Miss DD went out into the mail yesterday, but unfortunately I didn’t realize that she can’t actually get the mail on Thursday, she’ll be occupied by being on a plane to come see me. So here’s praying it comes in the mail tomorrow.

Why did I not send it overnight? Dammit dammit dammit.

I’m keeping a lid on the tracklist until she actually gets it, but I want to share this one particular with you, track #12 from the mix how much my heart can take.

UPDATE: Looks like the embedded video isn’t working; meanwhile, watch the video on YouTube.

Lyrics in the ‘continued’ page.

your love will not be light and gay

Thanks for all the lovely comments on those last few posts; I have plenty to say about this crush, this long-distance romance, the desires of courtship, of getting to know someone.

But! Amidst the ridiculous sappy love shit, I have a new erotica story I am particularly excited about, and that’ll be up later today. It’s called The Houseboy’s Rebellion and it is, of course, written for Miss DD. Custom smut is so much fun.

I also want to make a few announcements.

#1:

Welcome my lovely friend Ariel? Ariel!; she’s posting brilliant rhetoric on things like radical love, where she asks: what do you owe the person you fuck? What to do with the friends with whom you have ambiguous boundaries or desires? Among other things:

I believe in lightning bolt love. I really do. Right down to the soles of my feet. I talk about polyamory and nonmonogamy but really if I found someone who lightning bolted my heart to the sky I wonder if these would become theoretical discussions.

… Oh I just love her turns of phrase. More over at Ariel? Ariel!

#2:

You may’ve noticed the facelift on Miss Avarice‘s lovely blog recently, I’ve meant to mention it, specifically the header image, which I designed. And I can indeed confirm that those are Miss A’s shoes – specifically, the shoes she braved New York City subways in when she visited me (ahem, I mean, this fine city) in October.

#3:

While I’m linking, I may as well mention that Miss DD made me a mix CD this week, complete with the cover image of my hands bound together in her leather wrist cuffs. (Yes, I sent her some of the photographs she took of me.)

The mix is really lovely (whole tracklist is posted over at her chronicles), and tells a story from the opening track “I’m Not in Love” (the Tori version, of course) to “Think I’m in Love” in the middle, to “This is Love” by PJ Harvey as the closing song. But? It also has “Come to Daddy,” “Nasty Little Thoughts,” “Smack my Bitch Up,” and “Crazy Bitch,” so clearly it is not all sappy ridiculousness.

Kinda like us. Go figure.

She wrote these things as her game-plan strategy, yesterday:

  1. let myself be excited about you while maintaining some realism
  2. enjoy the moment and not try to control or predict outcomes, but also not put any expectations on this (the “be present and mindful” strategy)
  3. date when i want to but not for distraction
  4. back off the emotional rollcoaster a bit and just focus on accepting this for what it is

And today, I keep coming back to that list, articulate and succinct, attempting to really feel it in my heart, not just know it in my head.

The Muse – my best friend here in New York, another femme spy, if you will, the one who keeps buying me amazingly fantastic ties, the latest being a hot-pink number that is flat at the end instead of pointed (is there a technical word for that style of tie? probably) – The Muse ran our composite charts, and we discovered that we are pretty much astrologically compatible:

… a feeling of “fatedness,” that this relationship is going to play an important role in your lives, even if it is not a long-term relationship. You will be exposed to the most basic and profound aspects of your own and your partner’s inner nature. Both of you will experience psychological changes through this relationship. In a sexual relationship, physical sex assumes an unusual importance. Sex is likely to be seen by both of you as an experience that transcends ordinary reality.

The composite Moon in the twelfth house requires the two of you to do a great deal of work that most couples are unwilling to do. … If you don’t seek out the truth, your relationship will give you the feeling that you have been defeated in life by forces you don’t understand.

In a love relationship, the expression of love will be quite intense, with a powerful quality that will transform both of you in some fundamental way. Your love will not be light and gay but something very serious that involves both of you at all levels of mind, body, and soul.

I wouldn’t necessarily let astrology make or break anything, but I think it’s an interesting tool to give articulacy to the feelings in a relationship, or one’s own sense of self. Strange how it can sometimes feel so spot-on.

She’ll be here next week (six days) for four days. And I’m sending out my own mix CD to her shortly – glad I got hers first, some of the songs actually overlapped.

in no particular order

things I would like to do with you

  1. dress up. take you to your favorite restaurant and order for you. share a fancy bottle of wine. talk all night and take our time with a long, lovely meal. order a decadent dessert and two forks.

  2. hold you while you sleep. your body curved in my arm against me. breathing in your dreams.

  3. fuck you, and make love. perhaps at the same time. perhaps sometimes one right after the other. more than once. more than three times. your back against the wall, on the table, bent over the bed. legs wrapped around me as I come inside you. your head back neck exposed mouth open body open. fingers clasping my shoulderblades. gasping, both of us gasping, breathing in sync, hearts beating in sync.

  4. make you breakfast. watch you stumble downstairs sleepy-eyed in the morning light, skin still lucent and luminous from the moon through the window way past midnight. make you pancakes. eggs. fresh orange juice. coffee. watch you wake and greet the world.

  5. laugh with you. meet your friends. play with your dog. push you on a swingset. watch you fall asleep on my lap while watching a late film. carry you to bed and pull the covers around you.

  6. maybe you’ll hold me while I cry. is that too much? I am currently a tsunami beneath the surface of glass. I worry about breaking the facade for fear of the gush of rushed emotions that will come. it may happen with orgasm regardless. this may be why I won’t be taken so much as I will take.