The Importance of Protocols for your Characters — Part I

When writing your novels you want to ensure to that appropriate protocols and rituals are observed. Nothing screams FAKE and UNBELIEVABLE then an author forgetting to portray appropriate and credible behavior by the Dominant or submissive in their novel. Below is helpful valuable information on why protocols are so important in a D/s relationship and the comfort and security they bring. If you want to create realistic characters your fans will fall in love with, ensure to establish a your protocols and rituals. Protocols are at the heart of any D/s relationship.

Note that this document is written using certain deferential capitalization and spelling not uncommon in the Master/slave lifestyle. Furthermore, I use “Master/He” to refer to the dominant person or persons, and “slave/she” for the submissive person or persons in the relationship. This is for matters of convenience only.

Some Master/slave relationships have protocols, others do not. Some think protocols make their relationship different and unique, others think they are too complex and make their relationships inflexible and rigid.

The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a protocol to be “a code prescribing strict adherence to correct etiquette and precedence (as in diplomatic exchange and in the military services).” In other words, a protocol is a set of rules and conventions to be followed in interaction and communication between, for example, peers, superiors, and subordinates. It might specify anything from how the slave should perform certain tasks or actions, how she should speak at home or in public, to how she should dress and behave at formal tea service. Potentially, it could contain anything and everything the Master wants.

So why are protocols used in these relationships? There are as many answers to this question as there are people using them. However, the most common reasons appear to be that the protocol:
• creates a clear distinction between the Master and the slave
• provides a good foundation for the relationship
• through its rules clarifies for the slave how to serve and behave in different situations
• strengthens the bond between Master and slave by distinguishing them and their unique relationship from others

Most protocols are directed towards the slave. They often regulate the slave’s behavior, communication, and interaction in one way or the other. Protocols can be very simple or very detailed. They can prescribe the specific way in which certain tasks have to be performed. The slave might have to use specific honorifics and figures of speech for addressing her Master. Each individual task or action might have its own rules. Clearly, the more specialized the rules are, the more difficult they become to learn as well as to enforce. When the number of rules increases (and often it does if one tries to provide rules for every possible situation) the protocol becomes cumbersome and almost impossible to keep track of. The slave will have difficulty learning and separating the numerous rules for all the different situations. And yes, it also becomes increasingly more difficult for the Master to reinforce and correct all mistakes.

Many practitioners agree that protocols should be simple and to the point. They should enforce a certain general behavior and obedience from which can be extrapolated and applied to many types of situations. The rules provide a foundation for the M/s relationship and enforce a certain dynamics between the Owner and the property. Simplicity, generality and broad applicability go a long way.

Note: this is a excerpt from Eric Pride’s essay on Protocols which he has graciously allowed us to post.. To review his entire comments and other information about his unique Masters Development Conferences/Workshops visit him at:

Discover more about Protocols in our segment of Protocols Part II: Connecting the Dots by Eric Pride

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