Wednesday, 12 September 2018

A rulebook for Doms?

There was a thought provoking comment by Princesse to the last post about BDSM Contracts. Her comments may have been influenced perhaps by previous unhappy experiences where Doms proved not to be as experienced as they should have been or proved not to be trusted. However, whatever the stimulus, I think it does raise some important points.

A sub gives control and power to the Dom. Surely as Princesse suggests, they should be able to expect that as part of the agreement the Dom at least knows what he is doing and is going to stick to sane, safe and consensual and would only move to elements of risk when both parties were fully committed to that. It should also be expected that the Dom is fully aware of level or risks and has the appropriate knowledge and experience to engage in the proposed activities.

"Does a pilot fly a plane without his rules in head or does he just wing it?" she writes. I would no more expect someone to submit to a Dom who had no idea of sensible rules in relation to BDSM than I would to fly with such a pilot. The rules aren't just about appropriate knowledge and experience but are also about attitude. Is this someone who you can trust to take care of your emotional needs as well as your physical ones. There is as much danger of potential psychological and emotional harm as there is of physical harm. However much a Dom knows how to use rope safely or to manipulate certain implements, he needs to understand the psychological and emotional impact of such activities just as much as the physical and to regard it as his duty to supply the appropriate after-care.

This may also seem just a matter of common sense. However I am guessing the fact that Princess raised it shows that she may have had experiences where that was not the case.

So how can a sub ensure that all of this is clear? Should they really sit down with their Dom and write out a detailed list of responsibilities of the Dom as part of a joint contract?

"I'm all for a contract that clearly and excruciatingly details how the dominant will care for the submissive. ... It seems the dom needs a rulebook and chart, just as much as the sub. Bring on the ink pens, pencils, erasers and the big bottle of whichever libation of choice. Will take a while to hammer it all out. ;-)"

I think that Princesse may be right to insist that these issues are discussed in some detail. Partly it is a matter of trust. I am not sure that writing it down ensures the Dom is any more trustworthy. So are we just back to good communications, using ones instinct and taking time to build trust and respect? Can one then ever be sure that trust will never be abused or betrayed?


EsMay said...

Trust sadly can be abused, even without intent. That is why it is so crucial to sit down and make sure that your Dom knows exactly what you need, what you consider safe, what you consider to be crossing a line, abusive, what have you. I would say have it all written down, just so that you have it to go back to in case someone forgets what was said, and says they never promised such and such a thing, or that such and such an issue was never brought up to them. Our brains can only take in so much at once, and no matter how important the things we talk about are, it would be a good idea to have it all written down just so that it's stated plainly for you to refer back to later on.

I have only had my husband as a Dom/Hoh, but we had to be very clear with each other. He had to learn to not only go with what I wanted, but had to go with that changing from time to time because of things in my past. Some nights he can do whatever he wants with me, he can push the envelope quite far, other nights, I'm only emotionally able to go so far, and he can read that in me, or I can tell him.

I do agree that there needs to be rules for both people. A sub is placing a lot of trust into a Dom, and that is serious. He needs to follow certain rules for her to be able to fully let go with him. Those rules aren't to control him and hand the reigns over to the sub, but to create a safe environment for both people to be able to openly and freely explore without fear of judgement, abuse, fear, and so forth. If she knows he has her back, she's able to do this much easier, and the same for him if he knows she's got his back in it.

This is just my opinion though.

Princesse said...

Super thumbs up to Esmay on that reply, 1st off. *applause*

As to you, Pygar--how am I to reply to your queries, when you did it for me in such an excellent way? *grin*

As you might recall from waaaay long ago, I had one D/s thingy that was...challenging. As time went on, I found that periodically Mr Dom would swagger to me, all ready for action and he got none, as he just didn't pass the test. I could not trust him. None of the series of hims, TBH. (I now have one I can trust but was not looking, as am not a sub. Accident in connection;it was all warm and kismet-y.)

D/s requires detailed negotiation, on all sides, I truly believe.

Pygar said...

Thank you very much EsMay and Princesse for your comments. I'll reply to each separately.

P xx

Pygar said...

@EsMay Yes, you are right that trust can be betrayed unintentionally. That makes the whole trust issue even more complicated - showing that where there is genuine trust that it can sometimes still go wrong. You therefore emphasise the importance of good communication and a thorough discussion and understanding of everything. You also suggest writing it down. I am still a bit sceptical or written agreements. However I am also very aware of how writing something down can really focus ones mind and clarify issues. So perhaps just the act of writing it down can be a very useful exercise in itself.

However, you go on to describe the following situations,
"He had to learn to not only go with what I wanted, but had to go with that changing from time to time because of things in my past. Some nights he can do whatever he wants with me, he can push the envelope quite far, other nights, I'm only emotionally able to go so far..."
To me that cannot be controlled by a written agreement. What makes it work is that he knows you and your needs and desires very well. He is sensitive to them and your changing moods and can adapt himself and what he is doing to try his best to meet them. It is a sign of a really positive BDSM relationship. However it also includes scenarios where things may occasionally go wrong. Such occasions may be nobody's fault, just a misreading of signs perhaps. In a close relationship though it should be able to be possible to get through such occasions with appropriate care and support.

You finish in such a positive way when you write,
"Those rules aren't to control him and hand the reigns over to the sub, but to create a safe environment for both people to be able to openly and freely explore without fear of judgement, abuse, fear, and so forth.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

P xx

Pygar said...

@princesse It was great to get a positive comment from you Princesse. Thank you. I was worried that in using your earlier comment as inspiration that I may have misrepresented what you thought. So I am very pleased to hear from you.

I know you are in a much better place now than you were all that time ago. I hope that kismet finds you a warmth that provides for your needs and wants.

As you say though, D/s requires detailed negotiation, on all sides, I truly believe. I am sure we are all agreed that is the key point.

Thank you again.

P xx

EsMay said...

Pygar, thank you for writing back. :) I guess I should say that I think the written is for newer relationships. The Duke and I had a contract when we started, more as a physical sign of what we were getting into because it was new, and exciting, and we thought that was how things were done. I think for people who do not know each other well, a written contract is very important.

But for couples that know each other, and the Duke and I were married for a few years before we got into this, there was already a level of trust built. I didn't need to worry that he might push me in a way I wasn't willing or wanting to go. We already knew we could tell each other everything, so even in the middle of play, I could say I needed him to know something, or share my fear, and him talk me through it. For us, we didn't really need a contract, and if you have a relationship already built of trust, there may never be a need for a written contract.

But if I were to do the scene outside of marriage, and with someone I was still getting to know, I definitely would want a contract. One, to help get everything out in the open, to see how he reacted to each thing we talked about to see if he gave any indication on respecting my limits or not, and because, well, talking about such things can be amazing way to get the dynamic going. :) It insists on talking about deeply intimate issues that many normal couples don't get into until much later. In a way, it can be a way to jump start the relationship in a deeper level that may date months of dating otherwise. And as you get to know each other, you have that list to go back to to remind you of each other's limits. Something talked about over a date five months ago may get fuzzy in the mind for the other person, and they may forget clearly their partner's limits. Ideally they'll ask, or maybe they can read it over, bring it back, and they can go over it again. It can also be a great way to see how they've grown as a couple, and how trust may have changed those limits. :)

EsMay said...

PS, not sure you check your other blog much... hope it's okay to do this, I used the quote from the third comment in this blog post for my newest blog post. I can remove it if that wasn't okay.

Pygar said...

Thank you EsMay for extending and developing this discussion with your further thoughts. That idea of looking back sounded very interesting.

Of course it is fine to link to that quote. It was put there by Tamar and I thought it was great too.


P xx

neriche said...

My D/s play(ground) has so far been all of the benefits of online play, realizing this now, is that everything IS written down. I have emails and saved chat correspondences (initial ones, at least) that detail those early conversations where soft and hard limits are discussed. Those correspondences serve as both a point of reference from which I and my Dom explore the boundaries around those limits (and boy, have they evolved!), as well as a frame of reference for me to use in looking back in contemplation...which limits actually turned out to be hard limits, and which came down like a house of cards?

Contemplation has turned out to be very valuable as a new sub, and the initial documentation of limits, etc., facilitates that. It centers me to reflect on how well I know myself (some hard limits remain hard limits, and it's no surprise) and how far I have come in my adventures and D/s education (some limits I downgraded to soft limits or not limits at all! interesting!). It's centering, validating, and confidence boosting to have this point of reference.

I think in the end, though, I agree with Pygar. Good communication is critical, and perhaps taking things slowly enough so that you learn to read one another, learn to support and care for one another, to learn from your mistakes, and grow together -- that seems to be plain old effort and a hefty dose of compatibility.

Pygar said...

Thank you neriche. Your thoughts about how this applies to online D/s are very interesting. Online can be very intense and in many ways it is built on careful and structured communication because of the long distance nature of it. Where this is through the written word it can become very focussed and very intense.

The description of the development and changes in limits in such a relationship are also very interesting and informative.

It is great to hear of your experiences and how it is working for you.

P xx

Princesse said...

Great and thoughtful comments all around, Pygar. I hope that it helps your (silent) readers with formulating their ways-and-means.

Pygar said...

Thanks Princess. As I often say, it is the quality of the comments rather than what I write that is the best part of this blog!

P xx

Anonymous said...

Can anyone point me to samples of contracts that we can use as a starting point for our own? Thanks!

Pygar said...

There is link to an example of a BDSM contract in one of my comments to the BDSM contract post here.

However it is VERY thin on the responsibilities of the Dom. I am sure princesse is suggesting and looking for something with much more detail and some prescription of the attitudes and experience of the Dom. I think it may be hard to find one like this that is already written.

However if readers know of any or are compiling their own - please let us know. Though perhaps the thinking through and agreeing of ones own is part of the point?

P xx