Rules and Protocols

Rules and Protocols

similar cubes with rules inscription on windowsill in building
Photo by Joshua Miranda on

It took me a while to decided what to write. I had ideas for the NTW as well as for KOTW, but I didn’t want to write two different posts. So I was figuring out how to merge my thoughts into one post.
Let me start with my feelings towards that thought and then move on to how protocol works for me and us:

Protocol means different things to different people but everyone can agree that a lot, if not all of it, has to do with respect. 

Before I even thought about what I wanted to write, I asked Michael about it. Mostly because of language and to make sure that my understanding is similar to what others understand it. But the point is that there’s No True Way and even without different language and different cultural backgrounds, everyone understands things in their own way.

A protocol is something that is very individual. Protocols that worked with one partner might not work with another. And that is something to the people involved in the relationship to find out. We change over time, so that protocols can even change within a relationship.

I have not yet made up my mind, whether ther eis a difference between protocol and rules. I guess there is, but I find it hard to name it.
One of the question I ask in the NoTrueWay prompt is:

Can a d/s relationship function without protocol? Or is it doomed to fail?

I think that a d/s realtionship can for sure function without protocol. Could it also work without rules? Maybe. But I know that without rules, it wouldn’t work for me.
To come back to the NTW meme: As I said before, protocol is a very subjective thing. Just as the prompt says. But the second part of the sentance makes me feel uncomfortable. I have have trouble accepting that there’s one thing in the world on that EVERONE can agree on. Why should that be how we feel about protocol.
And I very much disagree with the part that protocol has to do with respect. I can show respect without protocol. And I also believe that no matter how much protocol one inforces and wants, it won’t get that person any respect. Respect has to happen before protocol. On both sides, to each other.

How do I feel about protocol?

That is a hard question. As mentioned before I have trouble telling rules and protocol apart. We have rules and for some those rules might be part of protocol. What I can definetaly say is that what people would call “high protocol” is not anything I would enjoy be happy with. I need my d/s to be flexible. Whether it’s rules or protocol or whatever one wants to call it.

There are things I need to have rules for. There are things I asked for rules and others were his wishes. That’s how I like it and how I need it. I want the rules and even protocol to be a mutual decision. I can want something a lot, but if he doesn’t want it either, nothing will happen. Same is true the other way around. He can try and make something into a rule. But that might to end up very frustrating, because it’s not something I am willing to do.

As I was deciding on what to write in this topic, I had an incident at home. One evening I opened the fridge and a can fell out. Not a big deal, but what happened was that it fell on my foot and was very painful. There was blood and pain and even today, about 2 weeks later, I still feel it.
I went to bed shortly after and was still in pain. And as I was lying in bed, I told him about it and about my struggle to get up and take some pain medicine. He asked me to get up and please take some and I did. As I informed him about it, he thanked me and I was surprised.
“Why are you thanking me?” I asked.
“Because you did as I asked.” he answered.
I was confused: “Isn’t that what I’ supposed to do?”
“We have not negotiated any health aspects of d/s.”

Why am I telling you that?
Is the health aspect a rule or is that already protocol? Does it matter what we call it?
I have decided that it doesn’t. As long as both of us are happy…

And now I will go back to thinking about asking about negotiating health aspects within our d/s.

Check out other thoughts on “Protocols”:

See who else participated in NoTrueWay:


  1. violet fawkes

    I love the nuance of D/s and the moments of “why are you thanking me?” and learning how the other persona interprets the situation. It’s such a fascinating relationship structure.

  2. Bee

    Trying to work out what is a rule, what is protocol and what is just social conditioning can be so tricky. I’ve gotten to the point I don’t overthink it too much and I just do as I’m asked…mostly! But I think the health ‘rule’ is one of the most important but that works both ways, if he isn’t looking after himself then I can step up and tell him to do what he needs too.

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