One of the most common topics dominant men want to talk to me about are the rules for their submissive, more specifically what rules to create, what rules to avoid, and how to enforce them.
The entire concept of the D/s dynamic is a relationship built around a ruleset. Some of these rules are inherent to the dynamic, while the others are enforced as a reaction to it. It’s crucial to understand the goal of these rules to avoid making mistakes along the way.
I am a proponent of honest dynamics. What I mean by this is I, personally, am only interested in truly honest reactions and interactions with a sub. To push a sub’s limits, you need to have enough information to know exactly where her limits lie, and how you can push on them in a positive, beneficial manner. The more information you have, the more able you will be to accomplish this, and the greatest source of information from your sub will always be interactions, honest to the core.
This mentality is in direct conflict with one of the most common rules enforced by Doms new and old: forcing your sub to always refer to you as Sir (Master, Lord… whatever). My honest interaction mentality is my absolute number one rule. This means I only want to be referred to as Sir, if she feels in that moment I deserve that respect. If she doesn’t feel that way, then I don’t deserve to hear it.
When choosing rules to enforce, you need to plan ahead. Creating a rule that you can’t actually enforce, or a rule that is impossible to follow, undermines your dominance.
For example, what about a rule where your sub is required to strip to her panties as soon as she enters your home? This is another common rule Doms will come up with, but what happens when she comes over with her mom? Or when you have some vanilla friends over?
If your sub has to try and decide if you would want her to break your own rule or not, the rule is a failure. Rules and orders shouldn’t leave any room for interpretation or guesswork.
For this reason I suggest you are very careful about creating any persistent rules. Before you do you want to carefully think through three things:
Going back to our first example, of having them always address you as Sir, this rule has possible issues with both number 1 and number 3 on that list. Instead I make it clear to my subs that it pleases me greatly to be addressed with respect. If I am doing my job, deserving of their respect, instilling a genuine desire to please me, then I will always be addressed as I desire, regardless of any rules.
The only persistent rules I have with my sub are as follows:
That’s it. All other rules are given with a time constraint on them.
Note: I’m not mentioning any relationship rules we have, just the ones related to the BDSM side of our relationship. The details of how you run your relationship will be tied into the BDSM roles you take on, but they shouldn’t be confused as being the same. If you are interested in the rules and concepts used for managing a poly relationship, let me know.
When it comes to rules for a scene, the only limit is your imagination. Since a scene is something you have nearly complete control over, you don’t have to be nearly as vigilant with the rules you put into play. As long as the rule won’t undermine your authority, make logical sense, and is created with a purpose, you’re good to go.
Enforced eyeline: Your sub must look straight ahead, and only straight ahead, at all times.
I consider this rule to be a discipline/mental blindfold. Instead of her vision being passively entirely restricted, it’s partially restricted but requires great effort and control. If you push her hard enough, her eyeline will almost certainly break, forcing punishment.
Speech restriction: Your sub is not allowed to speak unless spoken to.
This one is very common, and is used in the majority of BDSM scenes. Just be sure she’s clear this rule never usurps her need to speak a safeword, or to voice a legitimate concern. It might seem obvious, but you never want to put a sub into a position where she has to choose between her own safety and feeling she will be a disappointment.
A variation of speech restriction also used, sometimes in perpetuity, are banned words. While some Doms simply have words they dislike to hear, I tend to use this as a tool to correct a sub’s poor grammar. Specific common mistakes will be banned, speaking them will incur a punishment. For rules like this, the punishment should be known in advance, for example: Any time you say “anyways” you will get 11 strikes with the paddle.
Procedure: Your sub must remember, and obey, a set of commands.
Procedure is an element of play I don’t use enough of myself. As the name implies, it has your sub follow set procedures based on input. The most simple example of this is using hand signals, and having your sub memorize a series of positions. Here are a couple pictures showing some examples:
Some Doms take procedural play to the extreme, with great success. If you are more of a task-minded person, or were in the military, this might be an angle for you to explore in detail.
Vocal Queues: Your sub must respond, vocally, to specific actions.
The most common example of this is having your sub count strokes in impact play. It’s also common to have them thank you for specific actions. For example, any time I let you touch me, I expect you to thank me.
Any other rules you want to enforce are up to you. Just be very sure the rule will add to the scene, instead of hampering it. If you do feel a rule is causing friction in a scene, abolish it. It’s never wrong to make changes to things not working as you had intended.
As a Dom, every choice you make should be made for a reason. If you’re just doing things without thought, simply because it seems hot, or it’s something you saw in a video, you’re setting yourself up mistakes, failure, or inconsistency. As we learned in grade four physics: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Your job as a Dom is to focus on the reactions first. Every choice you make should be made in an effort to emotionally manipulate your sub in a desired direction.
When giving an order you should follow these guidelines:
If you want to be a great Dom, your orders should never be two dimensional. Take this as an example:
I want you to strip for me.
That on its own seems like a perfectly fine order. It’s simple, and the intended result is having her rendered nude. Every Dom reading this has given this very order many times without thinking twice. But if you want to be the best Dom you can be, you need to go deeper than this.
Having her naked is a physical reaction. As I have mentioned countless times before, sex (and BDSM) is almost entirely mental. When you give an order (or make any choice) it should be with an intended emotional reaction in mind. Remember: your job is emotional manipulation. She can get naked on her own any time.
The more you push, and the deeper your sub sinks into a scene, the less lucid her thoughts will be. It’s possible to put her into a state where lucid thoughts are nearly impossible. On top of this, any order you give should leave absolutely zero room for interpretation.
The order “strip” seems basic, but it’s actually missing a lot of information. Instead this order should be framed differently:
I want you to stand up, stand facing me in front of the fireplace, and remove your shirt.
After having her remove all her clothing, the physical result is identical. But instead of her feeling no different, only now being naked, your series of most basic orders have removed any semblance of “free will” from the order, and has forced her into a position capable of making only a single choice: to obey or disobey.
It’s these little details which separate a man dabbling in kink, and a Dom transcending typical sexuality. Anyone can try to tell someone to do something they think is hot. To be a great Dom you should be giving orders with a purpose, and you should frame them in a way you will enjoy as well. While everything we do as Doms is focused towards the ultimate pleasure of our subs, you should always find a way to package what you do in a way you will enjoy to your core. It comes back to the wants versus needs. You give her what she needs, in the way you want it.