I realized while writing this that it was running a bit long, so I’ve decided to break it in half. My normal readers should be used to that. For anyone new to the blog… sorry, but I often have a lot to say when I’m talking about relationship dynamics.
And one quick announcement for you since I just got some news: Taken By the Renegade has been accepted by my publisher. I won’t have a release date for a while yet but I expect we’re looking at around March.
Now, before I get into today’s topic, I want to point you to a blog post I wrote a little over a year ago, which talked about the various types of rules D/s relationships can have. In it I defined them and gave examples. If you’d like to refresh your memory, it’s here: Submissive’s Rules and Their Purpose
I think it’s worth reading, but I’ll recap a little, in case you don’t feel like going to check out the old post. Basically, most D/s relationships have rules built in, and I’m talking about the kind the Dominant gives the submissive to follow. I won’t say all D/s relationships because each is unique, but I honestly have never seen one that didn’t have some kind of rules even if only for fun.
Rules are a way for the Dominant to flex their power over the submissive, to reinforce that bond. They’re a way for the submissive to feel like they’re being dominated, which is really important for the mental state of submission. But the type of rules that each relationship employs can be very different. I’ve always thought of them as being in three different categories, which I’ll list for you:
They can be ‘Protocol’ rules like: “You will refer to me as Master and kneel before me at the beginning of each scene.” These are related specifically to the special relationship between Dom and sub and mainly dictate how the sub treats their Dom or acts in their presence.
They can be ‘Arbitrary’ rules, which are rules given without a clear or defined reason. Or a rule that comes off as strange or kind of random. For example, “You will wear a different color underwear every day of the week.” Arbitrary rules may have a deeper reason that the people in the relationship understand, but sometimes they are there to incur funishment (a fun punishment scene.) “Aha! You’re going to get a spanking because It’s Sunday and you have pink panties on. You know you’re supposed to wear yellow on Sunday!”
The last type of rule would be ‘Life’ rules. These are rules that are given to the submissive to help them manage their life a little better and make improvements. This last category can be a hard no for some people, and a submissive who manages their life very well may not want or need interference so this should be taken into account. The type of life rules a submissive would need varies a lot too, so if you choose to have them, they should be made with the submissive. Open communication on what each of you feels is needed would be the place to start.
I plan on making a post specifically about life rules soon, with some advice on how to go about setting them up, but for now, please remember that one way a real life D/s relationship differs from a fictional one is that the Dom and sub are equal partners who need to work together. As much as many submissives like to fantasize about the tough Alpha Dom swooping in and controlling them, very few submissive actually want to live like that and handing them a giant list of rules that control their life without any input from them is going to lead to some serious relationship problems.
A real Dom is not weak if they discuss things with their sub and decide things together. A real Dom is not weak if they listen to their submissives needs—in fact it’s the opposite and how I usually tell a real Dom from a wannabe.
Now to get to the point of today’s post—Daily rules.
Technically I have a lot of daily rules, but I want to set aside all of the commonsense life rules for the purpose of this post, because I don’t really think we need to talk about them right now. You know what they are for, so nothing on that list is going to surprise anyone. Whatever stuff people tend to slack off on because adulting sucks, those are the kind of things that would go under life rules, be it sleep, drinking water, or getting work done.
It’s obvious why they are there and what purpose they serve, and they can’t really be substituted for anything else. Sleep is sleep, eating is eating—and there’s nothing you can do in place of those things. So, if a sub has trouble with getting to bed then they need a sleep rule, or if they forget to eat healthy they might need an eating rule and it’s basically always going to be problem behavior = solution with those kind of rules.
Sometimes though… the solution isn’t quite that clear. When it comes to working through emotional baggage, prior trauma, and unhealthy learned behaviors it can be a matter of trial and error. So, when I talk about daily rules right now, I’m talking about specific rules I have that are really hybrids of two categories above.
They are both life and arbitrary rules at the same time. What I mean by that is these are rules that are arbitrary because it doesn’t really matter what the rule is, what matters is the reason behind them and that I carry them out. And they are life rules because they are there to help with real issues that I have, just not problems that can be easily solved with a ‘Don’t do that.”
The first rule, I’ve mentioned before in other posts. I have to send my Doms a picture every day, from one of three categories. I rotate them at my will, and I’ve expanded it more than they originally intended by using it as a chance to do a little research on each item. So, they actually get both a picture and a little essay on what’s in the picture. It’s more work for me but makes it interesting.
This is actually what inspired me to do the #DailyWordArt post I do every day on twitter and IG. It turns out I enjoy researching quick topics! If you’d like to see you can follow me there at Kessily Lewel on Twitter.
Anyway, this rule has multiple purposes. First it was to give me something to rebel against when I needed to. So, if I felt like breaking a rule, I could break that one and not one of the important ones that keep my life functioning smoothly. But on the other days it gives me a task to complete for them and even if I don’t feel like I did anything else productive at least that is one I can usually manage.
Now the other arbitrary daily rule I have is one I’ve been doing now for almost a year and a half. Every day I write in a notebook “I am loved. I am not a burden.” This also has multiple reasons. First, I have trouble with asking for attention, or even allowing myself to be too needy because I always feel like a burden. It’s been an ongoing battle with L and G to believe that I deserve their time, and this was meant to be a daily reminder of that and their love.
Second, again it’s a daily task that I can complete without too much time or effort but feel like I’ve accomplished something. And personally, I also think it was meant to discourage me from calling myself a burden. It does feel a little silly to write that I’m not one every day, and then announce that I am.
So those are the kind of things that work for us. I have my important daily rules that involve health and safety issues and breaking those have stern consequences. Then I have these simpler arbitrary daily rules which help to remind me that I’m owned and cared for.
I think these kinds of rules are important for maintaining a D/s relationship. They give you a sense of continuity and stability and that’s probably the biggest thing for me. Life can get hectic and sometimes you don’t have as much energy for your D/s as you’d like to. Family, jobs, traveling—all of that can interfere. Sometimes there’s just no time for scenes and play. Rules like this don’t replace those things but they can help bring a focus each day to your submission.
If you have life rules many of those will be for your health and well-being so you have to try to make time for those, but sleeping seven hours and eating two meals a day doesn’t feel very subby just because it’s a rule. It mostly feels like someone is enforcing your common sense. (Which they are, of course.)
In order to feel like you are doing a submissive task you really need the type of thing that you wouldn’t already be doing.
It has to be something that has meaning for both Dom and sub, and preferably it connects to a specific need the sub has. Whenever people tell me that they’re having trouble finding time for their dynamic this is the sort of thing I suggest as a way to help.
It takes me literally less than a minute to write out my phrase in my notebook, but every day that I remember to do it is a success for me. For that minute I am often thinking of my Doms, and at times when I’m stressed I will find myself saying those sentences to myself as a reminder—which means it’s accomplished its main purpose.
Every time I reach the end of the month and haven’t missed a day I feel great about it, like I’ve accomplished something major, and sometimes will even feel brave enough to ask for a reward because it’s not often that I don’t forget at least once during the month and have to make it up the next day. (x5 every time I forget!)
So, is this something you should include in your relationship? Come back next week and we’ll discuss it in part two!
6 Replies to “Daily Rules and How They Work”
It’s funny you say the third category is a hard “No” for some people. I 100% understand why, and I even think that category of rules can get into dangerous territory if not done carefully, or be used as a cover for abuse.
But I still think it’s funny because “life rules” are our primary type of rule, and the first category, protocol, are the ones that are a hard “no” for me!
I have quite a few daily rules myself… and I think they all fall into the category of life rules. And without exception, I think they’ve all been my idea rather than imposed on me. Arbitrary rules can also be quite fun. The daily rule we have that probably is closest to what you’re talking about here is that I have to send a photo of my breakfast bar every morning… I had been getting a LITTLE out of hand piling chocolate chips on top of them, so the daily photo is to remind me to keep my sugar abuse in check!
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Yes, we have very few protocol rules in our relationship. We have one where if I’m getting an attitude I will be told I have to end responses with ‘Sir’ because it’s harder to be snappish when you have to do that, but otherwise we don’t use those. I can’t be a sub without rules though. That’s the most important part of submission for me.
I identified hugely with this comment when I read it first…
and I’m not sure I have anything positive to add, but my recent life changes have made me think a fair bit about the whole life rules thing… and how, right now, for various reasons, I’m sucking at it more than I realised.
After a very turbulent few years, a recent bereavement has led to a situation where suddenly all bets are off… and I find myself able to look at the way forward with fresh eyes for the first time in what feels like forever.
So I’m balancing one path that allows me to explore and indulge my submissive side in a way that might give some much-needed healing… while another part of me, which needs to wander off and engage with the world on is own terms, is finally free to go its own way and explore.
While these two parts of me are not mutually exclusive, there are boundaries and choices between them that I’ve almost forgotten how to make. I need to navigate my way to a sense of who I am in the middle of all this… which means spending time with myself, shutting out other voices and rediscovering who my own voice is before I start negotiating with others…
and it’s so easy in this life to get to a point where we’ve forgotten how to do that because a gazillion other voices crowd in… and our need to stay true to our own is tangled and twisted behind other agendas. I think sometimes, being with someone who helps you find that space and gives you the silence you need find your own voice there. Just thinking aloud, I guess.
This looks a lot like my handwriting! I had to do a double take to make sure it wasn’t mine! Lol
Generic messy handwriting I guess! lol