This post is the fourth in a series of posts regarding protocol. Put together, they are really, really long. If you have the reading attention span of a gnat on methamphetamines, then the TL;DR version is this: Protocol exists in nearly every BDSM/Kink partnership, whether occasional play partners to full-fledged TPE relationships. It’s not a question of whether to protocol but whether to add degrees of protocol. There’s also a discussion on why protocol != High-Protocol. If you intend to read all of them in one sitting once published, get some water to hydrate and a snack or two — you’ll need both. Feel free to leave us some comments!
~ angi, g, and mynx.
Why Protocol is not Necessarily Needed
Whether high or low, not everyone is protocol-led. Established rules work better for some dynamics, and some benefit more from a softer approach. Some see any form of protocol as feeling forced or unnatural, and see it as sullying their dynamic. This isn’t to say that an expectation of behaviour isn’t there, but if it doesn’t come along with the knowledge that there will be a consequence for not adhering, then this is probably not “protocol” in the BDSM sense.
Dominants may not want to establish any set protocol for day-to-day, as they may feel like they are micromanaging. Conversely, submissives may not want to feel micromanaged. There may be situations when protocol is inappropriate or cannot be maintained with witnesses present, and both partners may feel it is not worth the effort to even attempt it.
While protocol is a set of rules and consequences, some may prefer to have a case-by-case basis for rules that are discarded outside of a situation rather than a constant set. When taking into consideration childhood, religion, or creed, protocol may be too far-reaching and attempt to overtake personal standards, beliefs and pre-established modes. In these situations, it could cause emotional and mental crises, which are not conducive to maintaining a healthy relationship.
Next in the series: Why Protocol is a Personal Style Thing vs. a Lifestyle Standard