June 17, 2014

Protocol: Does It Match?

Today I am going to cover a simple topic but one that impacts BDSM relationships everyday.  The sad part is that this particular issue destroys relationships daily yet few even consider it before entering into an arrangement with another person.  On this one I speak from experience since I did not ponder the possibilities for years.  It is only recently, in chatting with those in relationships where there is a mismatch, that I came to understand the depth of this single topic.


Protocol is something that you hear thrown about within the lifestyle but few really take the time to understand what it really means.  Basically, there are both high and low protocol environments in addition to a blending of the two.  Oftentimes, the circumstances dictate which is the appropriate approach although many masters insist upon one or the other in their everyday lives.

In simple terms, high protocol is a extremely rigid environment.  It is one where a sub or slave operates continually under tight standards.  Each action is scripted according to a protocol that is designed for such purposes.  How she enters a room, where she stands, who she interacts with, and a host of other things are all scripted and practiced.  One is expected to know exactly how to behave in each instance.  Clothing and accessories are also covered under this realm. 

The most noted approach within this arena is the Gorean lifestyle based upon the science fiction series written by John Norman in the 1970s.  In his publications, everything is written down with lists explaining everything a slave needs to know.  It even covers the basics of kneeling, how to do it appropriately, and which position is used at what times.    

To excel in this arena requires study by both the master and slave.  For many, it requires years of study to excel in this arena.  This is not a path for those who are unwilling to put in the effort required to attain functionality.  For those who are inclined to follow this direction, it can be a very rewarding choice.

In contrast, as you can guess, low protocol is the exact opposite.  Instead of every action being scripted, one who operates under this outlook is offered more flexibility.  Under such conditions, a sub/slave is given more latitude in how things are done.  Basically, she is issued the desires of the master and it is up to her to determine how it gets accomplished.  At the same time, the interaction with master will be less formal as compared to the high protocol environment.

I must mention that one path is not necessarily better than the other.  In fact, many blend the two protocols together.  There are times when a master/slave will be informal while others, formality is preferred.  This certainly is the case in the presence of other masters and slaves.  That being said, I equate this to the difference between micromanagement verses a more macro approach.  Both can be effective in the right environment with the proper participants.


One of the problem with the BDSM community is that too many people feel there is a one size fits all approach.  As I travel around the Internet and chat with subs/slaves, I am stunned at the ignorance on the part of the dominants (not really, nothing they do surprises me).  So many are out there demanding respect and honor (mistake number 1) while automatically assuming that one will fit into his mode of operation.  This is completely false.  A sub/slave needs to be looked at as an individual to determine what her needs are.

As I stated in the open, this is a topic which destroys so many relationships yet people are completely unaware that it takes place.  The basic fact is that someone who is in need of high protocol will not do well with someone who is the exact opposite.  I found the reverse is also true.

I cannot tell you the number of situations I come across where a relationship is falling apart and both parties are totally ignorant as to the cause.  In short, the two people were incompatible with each other on this foundational premise.  They took the proper steps to review what each brought to the table in terms of the domination and submission.  In addition, they might have even taken the step to consider their mutual likes/dislikes outside the bedroom.  However, they did not delve into what each thought about protocol and the needs of each there.

The bottom line is a sub/slave who desires high protocol will be left empty if she receives anything less.  At the same time, take a girl who is suited for a low protocol environment, put her in high protocol, and watch her eyes roll.  She will get bored very easily.  Her core desires a different type of stimulation that is not provided in this approach.

I found a clear indicator is when a slave says something to the effect "my Master never trained me".  This tells me I am talking with one who requires high protocol.  She is in need of being shown and focusing her energy upon protocols which will make him happy.  The fact is that when a master shows/tells a slave what he wants, that is in essence training.  He is teaching her what he expects and desires.  However, this particular slave does not feel she is in service unless living under eye contact restrictions, required to kneel in certain ways at different times, and having her clothing chosen for her.  To her, this is servitude, submission, and being owned.

On the flip side, we see an indication of where someone is in terms of the protocol needed when she posts something such as "I am seeking someone who is able to have a 'vanilla' relationship outside the bedroom".  What this person is saying is she still wants to maintain the proper control outside as well as inside the bedroom.  However, she is not seeking to live a high protocol which many equate to being fully immersed within the lifestyle.  Sadly, this is not the case.  Just because two people understand that we exist within the real world and choose to structure their interactions within that framework, that does not mean they are not immersed in BDSM anymore than someone walking around in leather 24/7 is automatically in the lifestyle.  An individual of this sort wants to interact with her dom/master in a way that does not alert friends and family members to her choice.  Again, I stress that this does not mean the control or power exchange changes one bit.

In closing, I want to emphasize how important it is to resist the notion that one of these approaches is better than the other.  They are not.  Slavery and submission mean different things depending upon the individuals involved.  The central thread is always the exchange of power.  How that manifests in terms of the interaction between the two and what is required for one to feel "owned" will vary.  Some require the high protocol.  As stated, if this individual is involved with someone who is not this, problems will arise.  She will be looking for the "micromanagement" while he is more apt to create a broad outline for her to operate within.  She will grow frustrated with his lack of attention to her "training" while he will get upset about her badgering.  Of course, neither individual is wrong.  It simply is a matter that these two are incompatible with each other on this central matter.  She is better off with a master who is into the high protocol scene and him with someone who excels in a low protocol environment. 

Therefore, in closing, take a look at this concept in your relationship.  Is this a cause of a great deal of turmoil for the both of you?  Perhaps you simply are ill-suited for each other.


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