We have talked about basic BDSM Protocol in this article, but how to apply Protocol when in different situations? What are the BDSM Protocol levels and when to apply them? What do you do when you are at work, with your relatives, at the grocery store? And how does it change during and out of Session?

What are BDSM Protocol Levels and when to apply them?

The Three BDSM Protocol Levels

Talking about Protocol, we know that we can’t be at all times expressing our true nature; we need to function in a society where we might be in touch with people who are outside of the Community, at work places, in our biological family, in public amongst civillians and so on.

Therefor, how can a Leatherman adhere to Protocol in all of these situations? That’s why Three Levels of BDSM Protocols exist, to address each of these situaton and maintain the power dynamics and commitments in place, safely even amonst people.

There are three levels of Protocol in Old Guard Leather and BDSM: they are known as High Protocol, Low Protocol, Social Protocol. High Protocol is the highest form of PROTOCOL adherence and it’s usually reserved for official occasions (Ceremonies, official nights out or clubs, the Play Room or Dungeon, Service time in general); Low Protocol is the one you’d normally exercise in 70% of your daily life. It’s still guided by rules and forms and etiquettes, but it allows also “normal” life to happen, without preventing house chores, meals, free time and such. Social Protocol is instead only to be used when it’s not safe or advisable to advertise any kind of BDSM dynamic (dinne with your mom, colleagues, at the groceries depending on where you live…).

In all forms of Protocol, there are some constant basics that really shouldn’t even need writing. Some of those, are things like:

  •  Memorizing what your Sirs preferences are and reminding them, proactively offering comfort and entertainment (eg: at a bar, when meeting with friends outside “Sir, may it get You and Your guests a drink?”. Or, car interior: “Sir, would You like it to play Pink Floyd while during the trip?”)
  • Always offering for help and assistance when possible (eg: “may it also carry Your suitcase, Sir?” or “Would you let it come with you to the Department Store for some help?”).
  • Never interrupting people, nevertheless Sirs, when speaking.
  • And other common good sense like this.

 

Social Protocol

Let’s start from the apparent absence of Protocol in public situations behavior, which is secretly also regulated by a specific level of Protocol, which is the Social Protocol. Social Protocol is perfect for different situations in which it’s not wise, advisable or just good common sense to advertise your identity or your partners identity in public. Some situations might be:

  • Biological family gatherings
  • Going to church (some people do)
  • At work
  • With complete strangers in determined public setting
  • at the Movie Theatre
  • at the Grocery Store
  • all similar public situations

Note that it’s the Masters discretion to decide how and when to enforce Social Protocol. As an example, in this Family, the sub will wear its chain with pride and without hiding it also at the restaurant, at the groceries, just everywhere. It will still call the Master “SIR” even in public. But you see, this is something customized and it should be customized in every household. The Master has to set the goals of Protocol, and every person might find it more or less suitable to use Social Protocol at all.

Yet, it’s important to understand that Social Protocol is still Protocol, as it’s a set of rules of behavior and conduct set by the Master of the house. So even when seemingly not being a kink person, you can still safely be one and maintain your identity.

Typical Social Protocol variables (they can change from Family to Family, here’s hours):

  • The sub and the Dom will call each other by their birth name (eg. not Sir Michael or boy Charles, but just Michael and Charles).
  • The sub will still maintain the rules of Protocols such as not leaving the room without its Masters knowledge, but it will do so camouflaging it as common courtesy (eg. standing up from the dining table and excuse with everybody saying “I’m going to use the restroom).
  • The sub will be free to wear civilian clothing and hide eventually tattoos and chains if so required.
  • The sub will be free to engage in conversation with other people, but will keep eye contact with Master at all times to see if everything is all right.
  • The sub can conceal its waiting for the Master to start drinking or eating before it starts eating or drinking, by just engaging conversation with someone before starting.
  • The sub should never abuse of Social Protocol to behave out of focus and manner; Social Protocol is not an excuse to suspend Protocol itself. Social Protocol IS Protocol. 
  • Subs can stay near their Master or walk relatively freely in regards of their position, as if they were a vanilla couple.
  • Even in Social Protocol, the sub should always have cutter, lighter and whatever other handy tool Master requires it to have on it.

 

Protocol Levels in BDSM for Leathermen

Low Protocol

Low Protocol is a form of strict Protocol that doesn’t require extreme situations such as hard to maintain positions, extreme strictness ending up in punishment if not maintained, and it still gives the submissive a lot of free room to express itself and just co-exist in the Household-

Low Protocol is the mostly common used form of Protocol. Most probably is the only form of Protocol you’re familiar with. It sets the rules of the Household, and is to be maintained at all times, 24/7/365 unless differently indicated by the Master.

Typical Low Protocol variables (followed in this Household, might vary from Master to Master):

  • Master is to be addressed with His Title as SIR, BOSS, ALPHA, MASTER, DADDY at all times.
  • Every sentence should start and end with the Master particle. If Master is called SIR, then “SIR, yes SIR.” “SIR, thank YOU SIR” “SIR, it has ironed the shirts and they are ready for YOU SIR”. The strictness on this part depends on the gray area between High and Low Protocol, and depends on Master’s choice.
  • Subs are to refer to themselves in third person; IT. “SIR, It thinks that the movie was nice SIR”. “SIR thank YOU SIR for fucking it (or “YOUR Property”)”. “SIR, IT needs to take a piss SIR”.
  • Some Masters prefer the subs to sit o furniture, after waiting for the Doms to have sit, some others prefer the boys to sit on the floor, but not kneeling in uncomfortable positions for extended periods of time.
  • The submissive will always serve the Master as a Driver, Domestic servant, Waiter, Body Guard or whatever their specific identity and relationship settings define. Low Protocol doesn’t mean “rest”. It means “life”. While Hight Protocol, doesn’t mean every day life, it means “Worship”.  It’s a Worship of your Dominant, of your identity and your lifestyle.
  • If in a public situation, a boy or a slave or a sub would not walk away from the Dominant it has engaged conversation with; It would wait to be dismissed, and if it isn’t, it could ask “if there isn’t anything it can do for You Sir, it would leave you be if You so wish Sir”. This way the dominant is aware of the fact that the sub is well trained, and if He doesn’t require it around, He will dismiss it. Being dismissed isn’t a punishment. It’s mutual etiquette.
  • A sub is allowed to engage conversation with other subs, but not to start a conversation with a Master/Sir.
  • The sub would proactively resolve any logistics issues; opening and closing car doors, taking care of luggage, hotel checkins, booking a restaurant.. whatever is needed taken care of and can leave the Sir more time to actually manage the Household, should be proactively taken care of by the submissve; as usual, these are general and common Protocols, but every Master arranges His household the way He so wishes.

Protocol Levels in BDSM

High Protocol

High Protocol is the most solemn and meaningful level of PROTOCOL. Note that I’ve written it in ALL CAPS myself, as I always do with anything that requires solemnity and Respect, both values which vaguely got lost in the modern pop leather scene.

It is used in determined situations:

  • Worship / Service / Dungeon Time
  • Official community Events (I am not talking about circuit parties and Darklands. I’m talking about Collaring Ceremonies, private gatherings and such).
  • Household Rituals
  • When instructed by Master (eg: “slave, this afternoon Master Mike is going to come and visit. I expect High Protocol, a cleaned ass, and you to be quiet until and if summoned later in the evening. Got it clear?”)

Commonly and widely shared forms of High Protocol are:

  • A sub doesn’t speak until and if spoken to or asked to. Period.
  • A sub stays hyper alert even when idling. If at any time anything is needed, the sub must be ready to serve immediately.
  • At all time, unless ordered differently, staying in ON POINT Position. To check this out, refer to this artlcle.
  • To interact with Master to show it has seen an order or any non verbal communication, the boy can simply nod its head.
  • A sub should always use full Titles when allowed to talk. “Thank YOU MASTER GLENN and SIR JOHN for allowing IT to serve YOU tonight”
  • The sub will hold and collect any item the Master is given or that are keeping His hands busy, in public: holding car keys, wallet, bag, jacket, and will be directly responsible to the safekeeping of those objects.
  • A sub will not eat until granted permission
  • A sub will not piss or shit until granted permission
  • A sub will not sit on furniture
  • A sub will kneel unless differently ordered
  • A sub will not smoke until granted permission
  • A sub will be only and fully focused with every cell of its body and soul to its purpose which is service and selfless dedication. If it is a sub, of course.

High Protocol is a moment of Worship of self, of identity and maximum self expression, both for the sub and for the Sir.

High Protocol in BDSM

 

Disrespecting Protocols and Traditions

I feel the need to include in the end of this article about a thought I had today, while scrolling through Twitter (something I do less and less for activism reasons, and to be honest more and more just to beat my dick, as I find it to be an extremely toxic audience to deal with) I have noticed something that confused me a bit, and made me wonder.

I’m going to attach a screenshot of one of the tweets I’ve read from a very influent and public figure in the US Scene.

To be honest, my emotional side feels confused more than my rational one. I cannot personally think at anything else than a Top who is starting to get older, and wants to fulfill more of a sexual agenda in having as many young guys around as possible, rather than honoring the roots and ground fundamentals of his community and lifestyle. I think this because I also think that this man is very intelligent and sensible, and he couldn’t have typed and shared this kind of vibe (which from a publicly respected Dom always come with a specific gravity and weight) without knowing it would reinforce a large set of non constructive behaviors and trends in todays Kink scene, especially amongst the younger generation.

This kind of message sounds like “come to Daddy. No gate keeping here, the hard and serious guys are wankers, let’s have fun and that’s it”. I believe it’s perfectly fine that a man decides that he likes to have a lot of company of young men that he can display publicly for his and their entertainment, but it would show much more integrity to say “There are people who care very much about Protocol and are very traditional. Their dedication is to be respected. I personally don’t like to apply all of these rules, let’s have fun freely!”.

Sure, that would come off with much of a smaller “Big Boss Aura”, but it would show much more humanity, respect and less hyper polarization, which is in the end what new guard people criticize so much about Old Guard; why can’t it be simply said that we are different groups with very different goals, and that we can respect each other, and that we both have something to learn from one another without needing to change each other into something they’re not? Gate keeping is good, and new guard does that all the time. Their gate keeping happens to look much more sugary and sparkly, that’s all.

Moreover, the tweet encourages subs not to stay clear from “these kind of people”, but to actually shame them, invoking a toxic dynamic not just for the Sir, but also for the sub. Of course the one stated there is a strong Protocol and as stated in this article, all forms of Protocol are customized to each Household and NOBODY is forced to belong to a Sir it doesn’t share the views with. But then, I think, this tweet is saying that people like me, my Mentors, my boy and my slave and my friends are Full of shit. And saying this to any other Leather Brother is for certain not the mark of a man who weights his words with caution.

Since this is our blog, I feel free to say that I would have personally typed it this other way: “Any Dom who thinks that every sub in the world should align with his views on strictness, structure and Protocol is blind to the fact that each sub is a person, and a whole unique universe.”.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and thank you for reading and the request for this set of article sabout Protocol.

 

 

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