I’ve been reading Discipline: Adding Rules & Discipline To Your BDSM Relationship on Das Kindle. It’s coincidental to the new rule about forbidding me from playing with myself when unlocked, but happily so. The book is by Lily Lloyd of blackleatherbelt and has been enjoyable and enlightening.

Lily identifies three types of rules:

  • Ritual and Protocol – Activities and  standards of behavior in which a Dominent and submissive engage to reenforce their roles.
  • Standing orders – Rules the Dominant expects the submissive to carry out on a regular schedule or when a particular situation comes up.
  • Behavior modification – Rules that are intended to help a sub develop a new habit or shed an old one, with the objective of changing the sub’s life for the better or making the sub’s behavior more pleasing to the Dominant.

In addition, she says the use of rules in a D/s relationship have their own simple rules:

  • They should bring you closer together.
  • They should build a dynamic you both want.
  • They should enhance (or minimally not detract from) the well-being of both partners.

This is, of course, eminently logical stuff. It is true. But that doesn’t mean any of it was obvious to either me or Belle as we stumbled into our D/s overlay. Some of what Lily says in the book we’ve already come to realize but other stuff I don’t think we have or didn’t realize we realized it until I read it all laid out as she has. If you’re a D or an s (or a little of both), you should read this book. I’m not finished with it yet, but am just about half way though. That’s enough for me to be able to say with full conviction that if you read my blog you’re likely to get something out of this book and should do yourself the favor. (I mean, come on. It’s only three bucks.)

As a sub, I love rules. Just thinking about them and writing that statement makes the device’s contents tingle and swell. On paper or conceptually, rules sound boring, but in practice (and specifically how the concept of being ruled percolates through my brain) they’re fucking hot. Combine this with my natural predilection towards process and definition and you get a nerdy subbie squirming mass craving order and discipline. Especially the discipline.

Belle doesn’t love rules. She’s the one who doesn’t measure the ingredients to a recipe and just eyeballs it (which drives me crazy) and is the first between us to do what she wants rather than what is expected. This is a natural point of friction in our foundational relationship, let alone a potential pitfall in our D/s overlay. Without thinking, it makes me want to say I don’t really have that many rules, but after some reflection, it turns out I do have more than just the one. In no particular order…

  • I have to wear the chastity device of Belle’s choice whenever and for however long she says.
  • I’m not allowed to have an orgasm until July 27, 2014.
  • I’m not allowed to refer to the penis as mine.
  • I’m not allowed to use the penis in any pleasurable ways without Belle’s permission.
  • I am to turn the TV off in our bedroom whenever Belle wants it off and I’m not to complain about it. (That one was my idea. I love the TV in our bedroom, she claims to hate it.)

There are a few that have become defunct.

  • I used to have to ask permission before getting into bed. This one suggested that the bed is Belle’s and she decides where I sleep, but she’s never made me sleep anywhere else (like on the floor or in another room).
  • I used to have to ask permission to sleep naked. For whatever reason, I just sleep naked anyway. On the rare occasion that I don’t, she asks what’s up.
  • I used to have to prepare the coffee machine to make Belle’s coffee in the morning. Belle bought a fancy-shmancy coffee machine that only requires the push of a button to make an apparently tasty beverage (I wouldn’t know since I don’t drink it).

Maybe there were others, but I’ve forgotten them. We both need to be invested in rules in order for them to work and these obviously weren’t that important to one or both of us. One that I particularly like that Lily requires of her girlfriend sub is to spend five minutes a day quietly contemplating their relationship and then to text her when she’s done. This is kind of like my desire to have to thank Belle every day for acceptance of my submission. It’s a difficult thing to stay in the subbie state of mind and a daily reminder, even something so simple, is appealing to me. Also, vocally reiterating my position is a profoundly energizing thing for me to do, especially when I’m not feeling it all that much.

As I said above, I’m all about the rules. I love them. I know I loved them long before Belle loved them (or at least appreciated them). When she really took charge of the device and when and for how long I’d wear it, it made wearing it ten times more appealing to me (and it was already appealing). That’s when it became a rule. One that she set and I follow. Same for her recent investment in my denial. Now, we both own that. Her commitment to the rule that I won’t come for another 520 days (it’s true – look it up) makes not coming so much more profound for me than back when she’d fuck me all she wanted and if I came it was my problem. I want to follow her rules. I want to obey. But I’m only a man, after all. You keep fucking me, I’m going to come eventually. It means a lot to me that she wants me to succeed as much as I do.

Same goes for the “no playing with it” rule. I was out this past weekend and that fact kept waking me up (as a hard, sensitive penis will do) and each time the first thing through my mind was that I could not touch it. I’m choosing to interpret “playing with it” to mean no pleasurable touching, not just jacking off, so I have to be very careful not to grab it just because it’s needy. In any event, that one simple rule that you would have thought seemed pretty obvious for us has resonated in me very deeply. I suspect (though I haven’t had a chance to put it to the test) that I feel so strongly about obeying her that she could leave me alone sans device and I would be good. That’s a huge difference from how I felt just a few weeks ago.

Friggin’ rules, man. They’re awesome.

I have more to say about using rules to modify behavior, but will save that for another time.

10 Replies to “Rules”

  1. “…a nerdy subbie squirming mass craving order and discipline. Especially the discipline.”

    LOVE this. And I want to know more about the discipline. Mrawr! 😉

    “We both need to be invested in rules in order for them to work…”

    EXACTLY. I like that the psychoLOGICal (emphasis on the logic) aspects of Rule As Structure come across in this post. Often, rules can be arbitrary or archaic, and in a D/s relationship that doesn’t work. Your rules with Belle are relevant to your dynamic, and that’s important.

    You obviously have strong mental ties to rules and *being* ruled, which means your cognitive self is very much involved in your subbie-ness, and that’s awesome. There’s nothing quite as sexy as a mind fuck.

    I look forward to reading more about your rules, Thumper. And the enforcement of them. 😀

  2. I agree with you that it’s a book worth reading. As you said, especially when it’s very affordable: I think that author deserves some encouragement (if not money) for the effort and time invested. I agree with you Thumper that rules gives a thrill; for me it’s sometimes a submissive feeling or sometimes devotion towards my wife. Not so much because of the rule itself as it’s not necessarily core to our relationship but for my commitment towards the Chaste life if not of some FLR undercurrent.

    As said in the book One of the major issues with too many relationships is that many of the rules are unspoken, and often we believe we share assumptions about important issues like finances, fidelity, sex, and family, only to find out at the worst possible time that we really don’t. Rules like values are a way of life: I act according to ymy beliefs. And that is worth discussing with my life partner.

  3. Oh, yes. I really need to write more on this. I kink pretty hard on rules, but I’m not always sure why. The security factor, that I know that I’m doing as I should, it high up there…but I think it’s more than that.

    There’s an expression of care embedded in rule making…that my actions and outcomes matter to my Princess, and that all those things would be missed if the dynamic of our relationship changed.

  4. This is incredibly timely (seriously, get out of my head) as the Bossman and I are trying to hammer out rules for our situation. We’re going for something a little more Master/slave than what you’ve outlined above, but we’re coming to it much the same way: trial and error. Mostly error. Will definitely be giving that book a read.

  5. Hi, Thumper —

    Thanks for being the perfect reader 🙂

    This is, of course, eminently logical stuff. It is true. But that doesn’t mean any of it was obvious to either me or Belle as we stumbled into our D/s overlay.

    I want to point out that *I* did not know any of this either when I started. D/s was my first foray into intentional relationship — or, really, intentionally and consciously tinkering with and creating a relationship dynamic. All relationships have a dynamic; non D/s folk just have an egalitarian dynamic, and there are as many different flavors of that dish as there are couples, of course. But like most people I know, I just kind of blindly stumbled into my relationships and whatever dynamic happened, happened.

    Now, once I got into the land of the intentional dynamic, I really had no clue how to get started. I did know that I had ALL THE FEELINGS about it, which made it kind of hard to think clearly. I made a lot of mistakes, mainly of the BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT CAN’T YOU READ MY MIND WAAAAAAAAH variety (my poor Bryce; fortunately he is very sturdy).

    I do have the gift of being a very systematic thinker; as a kid I’d sort my M&Ms by color into the world’s yummiest bar graph before I ate them. So once the initial surge of emotion cleared (which was no short time, I’m talking three years) I started to simply sift things into categories. What were the individual elements of the dynamic (what color M&M is it)? How do the categories relate to each other?

    And that’s how the book came about.

    I’d say I have an outline for another book, but it’s more correct to say I have a grab bag of chapter titles that make me chortle with glee at the thought of filling them out.

    Work has been busy (and quite lovely, actually) so I haven’t really even been attending over at my own blog. That will change, of course, the way things always do.

    Thanks again 🙂


    1. I want to point out that *I* did not know any of this either when I started.

      No, of course not, right? It seems to me all of us who figure out how to release their kinky selves later in life have as much in common as they are different. So many of the stories have a twinge of familiarity even though the details often don’t match. Meanwhile, there also seems to be a bunch of young punky kids who think they have it all figured out before they’ve graduated from high school. Yeah, I hate those kids.

      I’d say I have an outline for another book, but it’s more correct to say I have a grab bag of chapter titles that make me chortle with glee at the thought of filling them out.

      You have to start somewhere! I look forward to reading it if you ever fill out those chapters.

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