Normally on Fetish.com, we like to flash a big middle finger to following the rules. Unless of course, you made them yourself. But Abu Brown shares her shiny new guide to help you build your own BDSM relationship rules.
 

BDSM relationship rules 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 jewellery.

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.

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.
 

BDSM relationship rules 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. 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.
 

BDSM relationship rules 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. This is a rookie error, though, and one to avoid. Neither partner will ever remember them all.

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.
 

BDSM relationship rules 4: understand what it means to have rules

The first thing you need to internalise 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.

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.
 

BDSM relationship rules 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.

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.

 

What BDSM relationship rules have you used? How successful have they been? Share your experiences in the comments below or on the Fetish.com forum.

 

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