Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rules as a Form of Communication

I received some comments on my Wordpress posting of submission Day 9 and in the exchange I realized that I said something that was a new thought to me.  It's not really a ground-breaking epiphany or anything but I wanted to put it out there as I haven't really seen it portrayed this way either.

So much is made in D/s (and BDSM as a whole) about communication between both parties.  Talk.  Share your feelings.  Find mutual understandings.  Make sure everyone is happy.  This is definitely important and knowing that communication is possible is one of the cornerstones of trust in this lifestyle.

However, I've always felt the deeper that you go into D/s, the more the scales tip in her favor, the greater the disparity in status between Domme and sub, the less that the "traditional" forms of communication occur.  While the Domme may grill the sub, putting him under the spotlight and force him to spill his deepest thoughts and the secrets from his heart, the dynamics do not call for this to go both ways.

The leader does not have to explain herself to her subordinates.  The leader has the vision and the master plan.  The subordinates fill their roles, making that plan come to fruition.  This is so similar in that there are times when a sub's specialized talents and abilities will be put to use and they may appear to be "in control" of this aspect.  It is probably wise to let a submissive investment banker handle the monetary investments.  This does not make him in control, it merely puts his talents to use in the best way possible.

The Domme is the one with the vision of the life.  She holds the master plan.  Once a comfort level has been reached and he has been trained, there is a lesser need for her to share with him what is going on in her mind.  In fact, it better preserves the dynamics if he doesn't understand some of what she sees in her vision.  The sub has already agreed to trust her with his care.

As dynamics grow stricter, it also seems natural for the Domme to become more secretive, mysterious, and less revealing with her intentions.

I'm guessing right now there are at least a few people wanting to blow a whistle and shout "STOP!  You're saying there should be less communication?  Lay off the crack pipe, dude."

I do have a response to this.  I do not believe that communication should stop, I merely believe that many of the ways a Domme communicates to the sub will change as the relationship evolves.  When it comes to major, life-altering changes, yes, there probably should be a serious discussion with an honest back and forth dialogue between both parties.  These are generally few and far between.

When it comes to lesser-decisions, this is one of the ways that the communication form changes the most.  As a Domme becomes more dominant, she almost inevitably adds more rules to the relationship.  After giving it some thought, I tend to believe that rules are one the most complete forms of communication possible in a D/s relationship.  Although indirect, rules say so much as they state an expectation, give it importance, and imply a consequence. 

I know early on in D/s relationships it is common to negotiate and talk about rules, the reasons behind them, punishments, and the like.  This also seems to get less common the deeper you get.  After say, 5 or 10 years it isn't uncommon for a rule to be added and not talked about because he has no say in it so his opinion on it doesn't really matter and she doesn't feel the need to justify herself for adding it.

I still think that is communication... it's just done in a different way.

For those who might disagree, I'm guessing that at some point you have been in a situation where you failed to meet an unspoken expectation and been passive-aggressively punished for it.  When you compare the two, communicating through rules seems clear as day.

Also, if anyone wants to go, "dude, we already knew this like, forever ago," feel free to berate me in comments as I was late to the party and this is a new way for me to think about an old topic.


  1. I agree with most of what you're saying here, but this statement troubles me:

    "As dynamics grow stricter, it also seems natural for the Domme to become more secretive, mysterious, and less revealing with her intentions."

    The "secretive" and "less revealing" parts don't work for me at all. I enjoy explaining what I'm doing. There's no need to be secretive about it. The hard limits are already in place and have been for years. If I make a new rule or change an old one, it doesn't affect those limits, and I have no trouble explaining what I'm doing. Discussion is allowed, but only at the right time, and for us that occurs at a time specifically put aside for such discussion. Yes, I decide the time, and in some cases there is no discussion if I don't feel the subject merits such. Always remember that, in the end, this is a form of dictatorship. The benevolent despot may allow discussion, and even enjoy it, but in the end the despot's decision is final. Such is the nature of power and control, and the trust between the parties allows it to work.

    1. Thank you, Lady Grey.

      I can understand your views on that statement. I have experienced it both ways. I do prefer having reasons explained to me but I have found that few enjoy that aspect of the power dynamic in the way that you do (and I do very much enjoy your views on it). I believe what you have written probably holds the answers to why.

      If I would venture a guess, it is that your confidence on this runs deeper than most. In my experiences there is a bit of a eureka moment for developing Dommes when they first realize they don't have to justify their choices. In the short-run this can often lead to a little bit of defensiveness until their confidence is able to match this mindset.

      In some cases I have found that subs can be easily twisted around by giving false or incomplete answers that can make the decision feel a bit more cruel.

      I believe your benevolent despot comparison is spot on.

      Take care.