Training vs. Romance: The View from the East Wing

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The East Wing Perspective on Protocols in The Estate: What and Why

When we formed The Estate, it was with the specific goal of codifying what we like into a structured, well thought-out and consistent set of rules and guidelines that could be used all the time. Our feeling is, it should never be necessary to go outside the system… in other words, the system needed to be flexible enough to handle anything that might happen in the course of our day.

A common statement to see and hear in the BDSM community is that one cannot be Dom/sub 24 hours a day, or ’24/7′ as it is called… the specific idea is that “sometimes the real world gets in the way.” This is immediately distressing to me because the implications are clearly that somehow my Dominance is not part of my ‘real world.’

Dominance, to me, is power and authority. The ability to compel or inspire the compliance of those around me. This power and authority is real and as such is absolutely part of the ‘real world’ and my ‘real life.’ Reality cannot ‘intrude’ or ‘interfere’ with my Dominance anymore than a rock or a tree can interfere with the ocean or the stars. My Dominance may be affected by other factors in my life, and it may be altered by situations as they occur, but it is never rendered any less real by that fact.

Thus, in creating a set of rules that could be lived day-in and day-out, it became important to recognize that authority was completely separate from ritual. Why was this so important? Because rituals are not always desired or practical, but power and authority must remain intact. The answer was protocols.

A simple and fast definition of the protocols, and an example of their implications is given below – you will be able to find a much more in depth set of rules for these modes in the future on the site:

High Protocol (formal)

High conforms most closely to the ‘ideal’ of service we read about in the BDSM erotic literature. The submissive may be required to refer to themselves in the third-person, and full titles will be used when referring to a dominant, no furniture is permitted, and the submissive will always be in one of the Estate positions.

An example exchange in High would be…

Dominant – “How much longer will you take to clean the hallway?”

Submissive – “Sir, it will take this girl another 30 minutes.”

Middle Protocol (semi-formal)

In Mid, we see a workable but still distinctly BDSM environment. There is still much formality in the manners and speech, but there is a flexibility that makes it possible for the submissive in question to still display her personality. Middle protocol is flexible enough that a submissive may still be a companion in this mode. Generally, Mid would be a good mode to use when taking your submissive out for a night on the town. Furniture is permitted in Mid, but the submissive will always be in an Estate position.

An example exchange in Mid would be…

Dominant – “How much longer will you take to clean the hallway?”

Submissive – “It will take me about another half hour, Sir.”

Low Protocol (informal)

Basically, be polite and generally respectful and all should be well. Low protocol is the one that requires the most attention to be paid on the part of the submissive. The guidelines are few, and generally fluctuate based on the mood of the Dominant(s) around at the time.

An example exchange in Low would be…

Dominant – “How much longer will you take to clean the hallway?”

Submissive – “Well, that depends, are you gonna stop hitting me with that pillow?”.

If you think about it a bit you can see how useful this is in providing structure, even during those times that seem most relaxed. Even more interesting, they allow the submissive to have a good grasp of what is expected of her at the different ‘stages’ of formality. You can simply say “This evening will be spent in Mid” and everyone knows exactly what is going to be the norm of action and carriage.

This three-mode system is simple enough to be remembered, but flexible enough to take the stress and strain of daily life, reinforcing to the submissive that no matter what is happening there are some rules and standards… providing them with a firm groundwork.

As a final note, almost all BDSM relationships have these types of ‘modes’ in one way or the other, if you think about it, yours probably does as well.

– Soulhuntre