So, between reading Dear Raven and Joshua and writing about cultivating one’s entitlement, I got to thinking about Deep Play (Actual essay is here.  Hi there, I’m an anthropology geek and a former religious’ studies major.  How are ya?) and how it relates to ongoing D/s relationships.

I guess I’m a bit of a practicality snob because the thought of making my submissive learn 27 different postures “just ‘cause” has always struck me as kind of frivolous and not something I wanted to do.  “This 24/7  D/s is Srs Bznz!  All that gear and ritualized behaviour is for people who are just playing around!  We’re SERIOUS, so we don’t NEED that stuff!”

That kind of attitude.


Except that, recently, it’s dawned on me (after, gods, getting close to two years…) that all that “playful” stuff?  Isn’t just “play”.  It’s also deeply symbolic of your larger dynamic and, as such, there’s a point to incorporating the Gear and Ritualistic Behaviour into your ongoing D/s relationship.

When you tell your submissive to address you with a particular title, or to always sit at your feet; or when you get into their personal/physical space at random “just ‘cause”… you can do it for deeper reasons than “it feels good to do”.  Those postures and titles and everything else help to reinforce your dynamic in your sub’s mind and heart (just like all the books tell you they do) and you can (I gather) use them to help ease your Person further into a submissive head-space with you.

Handy, yes?

But what if you don’t like being called “Master” or “Ma’am”?  What if the Door Dance leaves you feeling flustered rather than In Charge?  What about you?

See…  Look.  I feel like a LOT of the written material available for (or “for”) Dominant folks tends to focus on “how to make your human do tricks”, and doesn’t often address how to go about picking which tricks or why there’s any benefit to you as The Domme to pick them out at all.

Let me see if I can put it another way:  You know that old cultural stand-by?  The one that goes “If women act like women, men feel like men”[1]?  I feel like there’s a similar unspoken thing going on in D/s situations (or at least D/s literature?) that goes:  “If submissives act submissive, Dominants feel dominant”.

I feel like the assumption is that, if you tell your submissive to go through the motions of this or that “traditional submissive action” (TSA?) then you, as a Domme, will automatically discover feelings of Domme Space welling up within you, regardless of whether or not (or how well) your own personal tastes in submissive actions dove-tail with any given TSA.

In my own dynamic, for the longest time, my submissive is the one who led the protocol in our house.  This isn’t a bad thing, in and of itself.  This is my first ever D/s (let alone O/p) dynamic and, when we started it, I was even more clueless than I am now.  I didn’t even know that I had options, let alone what they might be.  So I asked my Ghost what her protocol was and, by and large, adopted it as “what I want”.

The reality, though, is that – rather than being something I actively and concretely wanted – those protocols were merely a Nice Bonus.  I understood that having protocols to follow would help my Ghost, would feed her, would give her some of the structure and focus that she craves as a submissive.  What I didn’t understand was how this stuff was supposedly being done “for me”.

Thence my writing this post.

See.  Choosing “traditional” protocols and rules-of-engagement and what-not – as if from a pre-set, no substitutions, menu – can leave a Dominant feeling put-upon and resentful (because the promise that “This is all about You” isn’t lining up with reality), and potentially also feeling really uncertain about whether or not they’re A Real Dominant because they feel like they’re Supposed To Be craving this stuff, and it’s not necessarily doing anything for them.

Additionally, it also means that the submissive in question isn’t actually getting what they need from the protocols.  Because the point of that stuff is to shape the submissive’s actions/behaviour so that it reflects what the dominant wants.  And that point – the focusing and shaping of the sub’s energy, action, and attention in ways that are pleasing to the Dominant – isn’t getting achieved if the Dominant doesn’t actually like/want the protocols they’ve put in place.

See what I mean?

So.  You’re the Domme.  You call the shots.  What do you do in this situation?

Ask yourself:  What makes me feel powerful?  In control?  Predatory?  Protective?  What makes me feel well-served and well-looked-after?  What makes me feel competent?  In charge?  Like a rock start?  A CEO?  A Queen?  (As opposed to “What do I think should make me feel like that?”)

If having your submissive walk the traditional two steps behind you makes you feel like royalty, then great.  But if it makes you feel guarded or stalked or off-balance or otherwise kind of crappy… try something else.  Maybe you’ll discover that having your sub walk a couple of steps in front of you makes you feel totally on top of things and fully in the loop (master of all you survey, so to speak), or maybe it makes you feel like a celebrity who’s so Magnificent she needs a security detail to clear a path through the Adoring Throng.

If having your submissive act as your footstool makes you feel like you’re getting special treatment, then fantastic.  If your inner Domme, however, is a seven year old Princess who Always Gets Her Way, she might be happier sitting in her sub’s lap and playing with their hair.

Or whatever.

What I mean is: You have options (I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this before but, if I haven’t, you’ve probably heard the immortal words “You get to make it all up yourselves” from somebody).



How does figuring out what makes you feel powerful related to Deep Play and the not-so-frivolous-after-all Gear and Ritualized Behaviour Stuff that turns up in D/s interaction?

The “playful” stuff serves a dual purpose.  On the one hand, they really are “frills” and, as such, are a great way to take small steps towards getting confident in expressing your entitlement.  On the other hand, though, they are symbol-sets that point to the more complex reality of your dynamic and – provided that you are choosing “frills” that you actually enjoy and that make you feel powerful, confident, and happy – enacting them (or having your sub enact them, as the case may be) will deepen your own feelings of Being In Charge and having the right (within your dynamic, at least) to be there, to be catered-to, to be the Queen.

What this leads to (and this isn’t just about the playful stuff anymore) is:

1)      As you grow more accustomed to Being In Charge and Getting What You Want, you will probably find yourself giving more and more consistent (And accurate) direction to your sub about what you do and don’t want, and when, and so-on;

2)      Which means that your sub is going to feel more and more consistently contained and directed, thanks to your growing confidence with giving direction, and that will make hir feel more secure in hir own role in your shared dynamic, AND

3)      Since you’re calling the shots that reflect what you actually want and need and like (As opposed to what you think you should want and need and like – or, for that matter, what you think your sub thinks you should want and need and like), and since your sub is (I hope and assume) following up on those shots by doing what you want, YOU will be feeling more and more consistently empowered and well-served and more secure in YOUR role in your shared dynamic.

Everybody wins! 😀


Anyway.  So that’s my slightly rambling post about why the Playful Stuff and the Posture Stuff matters outside of the bedroom.  I hope’s it’s made sense and, ideally, been helpful.



Ms Syren.


[1] See, for example, any situation where a woman not following the cultural rules of femininity leads a man, and/or The Patriarchy In General, to feel emasculated.