Normally on Fetish, we like to flash a big middle finger to following the rules. Unless of course, you made them yourself. For the new year, we've got a shiny new guide to help you build your own BDSM relationship rules.

 

 

A Complete Guide to

 

Constructing BDSM Relationship Rules

 


There are a hell of a lot of ways to run a kinky relationship. Some people have the sex they like to have when they’re in the mood for it. Then seem entirely vanilla most of the rest of the time. Others wear their collars permanently, address their dominants by title at all times and base their social lives around their local kink scene. Most of us fall somewhere in between, of course. A few things about our BDSM dynamics that are ‘active’ most of the time and plenty more that only come into force when we go to bed.

Most relationships like that have a few rules. Drawing up a list of them can be a fantastic way to build a dynamic between a kinky couple. You might not be sure where to start, though, especially if you’ve never tried to do it before. Coming up with rules can be daunting, and it’s easy to get discouraged. Sounds familiar? Never fear: here are The Rules Of The Rules.

 

 

RULE #1: Think About What You Want From Your Rules


The easiest way to decide what your rules should be is to start by thinking about what you want them to do. What is it that you want from a kinky relationship? Why does having rules appeal to you?

It might be, for example, that you don’t get to see as much of each other as you’d like to and you want your rules to help you feel more connected to each other when you’re apart. In that case, you might want to make a rule that the submissive sends a hot photo to the Dom every day or that they always wear a certain piece of jewelry.

For many people, a set of rules is a way for them to feel as though their dynamic has some structure. The rules are a representation of the fact that the dominant partner “owns” or controls the submissive and has a say in the way they run their daily lives. A common rule in such circumstances is that the sub is never allowed to orgasm without the dom’s permission, and that’s a fantastic starting point. You could also discuss rules about the kind of clothes the sub wears (or doesn’t wear!). Or give them some mantras to repeat to themselves throughout their day.

 

 

A niche for...


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For people with a specific kind of dynamic that fits into a particular fetish niche, rules can expand upon and reinforce those roles. Someone in a CG/l relationship might want a rule about saying goodnight to their caregiver Dom in a particular way every day or always wearing a reminder of their role in the dynamic. A couple who are into petplay could set a rule that the sub needs to spend a little time every day in their pet headspace or perform some petplay-related action every morning before work.

Some submissive people find that kink and BDSM are extremely helpful for helping them achieve their goals and lead the kind of life they’d like to lead. There are plenty of dominant people who get a kick out of helping them do that. In those relationships, rules are often based around the sub’s personal development. When they get up, how long they spend doing chores, how disciplined they are about their work and studies.

Of course, there’s no need to pick just one of these ‘categories’. Most BDSM relationships have elements of several, and some will have driving forces that I haven’t touched on. Whatever your reason for wanting to create a set of rules is, make sure you’re clear about it. Use it to help you determine what those rules should be.

 

 

RULE #2: Don’t Worry About What Other People Do


A search online will find you any number of suggestions for rules. There are plenty of conventions and standard practices within the BDSM community as a whole. I’ve made some of my own suggestions above, too - but you should never forget that you don’t need to give a damn about any of it if you don’t want to.

If these ideas appeal to you, use them. If they don’t, do something else. You might want to try something that you can’t find evidence of anyone else doing, congratulate yourself on your inventiveness and knock yourself out.

There are as many kinky relationship types as there are kinky people. Your rules don’t need to be like anyone else’s just because you assume that’s “the done thing”. You’re into this to make yourself and your partner happy. Make that your highest and indeed only priority while you’re drawing your rules up.

 

 

RULE #3: Don’t Take On Too Much At Once


It can be tempting to launch yourself into an exciting new kinky relationship with a massive list of rules and regulations detailing every possible corner of your lives. This is a rookie error, though, and one to avoid. Neither partner will ever remember them all. You’re more likely to give up than you are to find yourself living in an erotic novel.

Start small. Make one to five rules, and work hard at sticking with them and developing them for a while. If you still feel the need to expand after a few months, feel free. Make sure you don’t take on too much, especially not all at once.

 

 

RULE #4: Understand What It Means To Have Rules


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The first thing you need to internalize is that BDSM relationships are, essentially, a fiction. Like all fiction, when it’s done well and works properly it feels incredibly real - but it is a fabrication nevertheless.

It is for precisely this reason that it’s so important for your dynamic that you both treat your rules as though they are real. When you don’t do that, you’re essentially breaking the fourth wall. You’re reminding yourselves that nothing you’ve laid out can ever really be binding. This can do serious damage to even the most well-established of kinky dynamics.

For submissive partners, this means that you need to genuinely try to stick to the rules you’ve established. That means you need to confess as soon as possible when you break them. This might sound obvious, but for most people, it’s a lot easier said than done. If you have a rule that you’re not allowed to make yourself come without your partner’s permission and you get a bit carried away alone at home one day. The temptation to simply never bring it up and forget it ever happened can be strong. After all, how would they find out?

 

 

BDSM's fourth wall dynamic


This is probably all well and good the first time, but chances are you’ll do it again. Then, before you know it, it’s a habit and whenever your partner does give their permission you feel like you’re play-acting. You will have fundamentally altered the nature of the relationship you have with them, and they won’t even know about it.

It’s not only submissives who can make this mistake, of course. The dominant partner, for their part, has to make sure they’re enforcing the rules you’ve agreed on. Letting things slide because you’re distracted one day is the beginning of a process that can wind up with that part of your relationship not feeling “real” at all.

If you’re in the kind of relationship that has rules, chances are that’s something you’ve been daydreaming about since you were a teenager. It will only be everything you want it to be if you’re conscious about maintaining it. So don't allow yourself to break that fourth wall.

 

 

RULE #5: Make Your List Of Rules A Living Document


Of course, if you’re constantly finding that the submissive partner wants to break the rules and/or the dominant partner doesn’t want to enforce them, that’s a good sign that it’s time to review the rules you’ve set.

These rules exist to make you both happy- If they’re not doing that, change them! In the long term, it will be much better for the health of your relationship. If you actively discuss the rules you’ve decided on then change them when they need changing. Rath than letting the rules that aren’t working slide and gather dust without ever really confronting the problem.

Google Docs is particularly good for this. You can both have access to the document and edit it easily. Go back to it often, and keep it fresh in the forefront of your mind. You might be surprised by how dramatically it reinforces the dynamic you’re in.

 

Abi Brown is a freelance writer and general pen-for-hire devoted to sexual deviancy, far-left politics and wearing too much jewellery. Find her at her website or @see_abi_write.

 

Images by Colourbox.com, Colourbox.com and Colourbox.com

 

 


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