Queen Goddess at the blog "I am Her Maine sub" recently made a post about annual retraining with her sub. It's an interesting lifestyle post that covers some of the aspects of keeping a D/s relationship on course and ever-evolving.
As described in the blog posting there's often a bit of lull that sets in after a while where both the submissive's level of service eventually begins to wain and the Domme's enforcement of rules can also similarly lose its edge. The end result of this usually happens rather abruptly, where things decline until Domme decides drastic change must happen and tightens the reins until proper submissive behavior resumes. Other times things don't go quite as smoothly and there can be significant consequences to the relationship in the long run.
Queen Goddess's approach to rectifying this situation is every year to re-evaluate what is expected of the sub and make any changes to routines, rules, etc. Contracts are renewed and during the first month of the year the sub starts from "rock bottom" for lack of a better term, and must slowly earn back his privileges.
I think this is a very good method but it also got me thinking about my own behaviors and tendencies and where I find myself slipping up and what ways could be used to counteract those without having my behavior or my relationship deteriorate. In all honesty, it takes me roughly 6-8 weeks for strict adherence to standards begins to falter unless constant motivation is applied (usually right around the time she feels she doesn't have to tell me, I start fouling up). I feel bad and inadequate sometimes about this but I acknowledge it as my own current reality. While my service might be satisfactory after that time, satisfactory and exemplary service (what I would like to expect from myself) are definitely on different levels.
I do enjoy contracts and I don't mind having my routines/expectations laid out for me, so I thought a bit about how to integrate that into the cycle of a relationship. I also realize that the more back-end work a Domme has to do, the more of a headache being dominant can be for her, so keeping that within reason here's some ideas I was able to come up with that would probably help ease my chronic problems.
The contract would remain annual for our joint renewal, but include stipulations for quarterly reviews. Each year would be broken up in to three month stretches. Each quarter would have behavioral evaluations made and at the end of the of the quarter the Domme may make revisions to the contract/rules/regulations and sign them into effect for the next quarter (the sub still only renews yearly). At the end of the year there should be enough behavioral feedback to know what changes need to be made and with what emphasis/priority they should be given.
Each Quarter in Detail:
-A sub report card is a good way to record sub performance. These can have as many or few categories as seen fit and will be used at various times during the quarter.
A sample might include:
-Attention to detail
-Politeness and respect
-Willingness to participate and serve
If your sub is a sissy, it might include a section for appearance with grading on clothing, makeup, hair, grooming/shaving, etc.
-The Domme will randomly select a day during the quarter (she doesn't have to tell the sub in advance) and use this as sort of a pop quiz midterm and evaluate his performance and record it to a report card. This report card may count towards half (or something slightly less than half) of his quarter grade. It's up to the Domme's discretion if she wishes to choose a good day, average day, or bad day, but on a bad day it might be a good way to blow off steam. This could be done more than once but should be done at least once.
-The final week (or few days) of the quarter will be finals week. The sub will be graded with great scrutiny each day until the end of the quarter. These grades for the week will be averaged and count for the other half of his quarter grade.
When the quarterly grades are in, the sub's strengths and weaknesses both under knowing observation and at random can be determined and quantified and appropriate revisions can be made to the contract for the next quarter.
This leaves three quarter revisions and four quarters' worth of grades. At the end of the fourth quarter the yearly grades can be determined and should be fairly representative of the sub's strengths and weaknesses for the entire year. The contract is then revised again and both parties will renew.
Quarterly and year end grades can also serve another purpose as requiring a certain GPA can be used for granting rewards or punishments and give the sub something to aspire for (or try his best to avoid).
Just some ideas...