Ten Rules for Dominants / Ten Rules for Submissives
Posted with the author's permission
Mistress Michelle Peters first wrote these two lists of rules off cuff. They were first used in Allen Carters B&D Digest and /or his magazine Amazon in the early 70's. It was might also been used in one of the numerous publications from the Roxbury Press.
In addition, the rules have appeared in an early issue of Growing Pains, the Eulenspiegal Society's Prometheus magazine, and the July, 1980 Growing Pains. (A representative of the Society of Janus has attributed ownership to SOJ -- http://www.soj.org/ -- but was unable to identify the author.)
Author Autobiography: Even at early age I had a dominant personality. By 1963 I started looking at the Ridged Bondage Roster (a mimeographed sheet of adds), Centurians catalog with ads and also a rag sheet put out by Barbara Behr in Chicago.
By 1964 most of the rag sheets had disappeared, in their place B&D magazines. From 1964 to 1975 I answered ads in those magazines and met with people.
I appeared in the inside cover of Centurians Catalog, 1974, along with The Silent Rules of Bondage.
In 1975 while working for General Motors a friend of mine, Don Cope (now married to Mistress Darlene Johnson) suggested that I run an ad in one of those magazines as a professional Mistress to compensate my income. In April of 1975 the first B&D magazine I advertised in was Obey My Command, a Matriarch Publication. In June of 1975 I was the first Mistress in the U.S. to be featured as a photo spread. (Submit vol.1 no.3) From 1975 to 1987 I wrote articles for all the major B&D magazines, Esoteric Press, Matriarch, Mistress Antoinette's Erotic Reflections, B&D Digest, Tonja Volien, Guide Press, Fetish Times (first Mistress in the US to have a phone number in an ad) and many more. I wrote a column for High Society Magazine and for 5 years had my own column in Corporal Newspaper. In 1977 I appeared in a column in Playboy Magazine and in February and March of 1978 appeared Hustler Magazine. I have done videos for Bizarre Video, Versatile Fashions, Mistress Ann Murray, and Corporal video. I have done guest appearances on TV and Radio and have given talks at colleges and universities. I currently live in southern California where I host one of the largest well equipped dungeons in the US.
On FetLife: MistMichelle & TheGhostWhoWalks
|Ten Rules for Dominants||Ten Rules for Submissives|
Until you enter into a contract with a submissive, you have no more right to order him/her around than does anyone else. Give you bottom time to get to know you and what you like. Finesse and subtlety are major elements of dominance. Similarly, strength and gentleness go hand in hand. The sensitivity and awareness (or lack thereof) that you show in the real world is likely to be repeated in the playroom.
A potential top will let you know if she or he is interested in you or not. Keep in mind that your purpose as a submissive is to serve and to satisfy someone who will take into consideration the realization of your fantasies. Don't expect your top to be able to turn on like a light switch. The timing must be right for both of you.
You may be God's/Goddess' gift to the world, but no one needs to hear it or wants to hear it. You will have ample opportunities to show how good you are - and plenty of opportunities to make a fool of yourself. No matter what you claim, the "real you" will show through in a scene. Don't set yourself up for a failure by developing expectations that you know you can never reach.
You may be God's or Goddess' gift to the world and the most sought after prize in town, but no one needs to hear it or wants to hear it. You will have ample opportunity to show how good you are. No matter what you claim, the "real you" will show through in a scene. Don't set yourself up for failure by developing expectations that you know you and your top can never reach.
Although the top is classically considered to be the teacher in SM, you can always learn from your bottom, no matter how inexperienced. Be willing to learn from other dominants who may have a totally different perspective from yours. Try to approach by-now-familiar trips with an attitude of wonderment and discovery. Be aware that everyone has her or his own personal style.
You can learn something about SM and about yourself from everyone into the scene, no matter how experienced or inexperienced they are, or how dominant or submissive they are. SM is a very personal art, and an "I already know it all" attitude will make you miss valuable SM lessons and experiences, and ignore potentially valuable SM friends.
You are responsible for finding out basic, essential information about the people you play with, such as experience, limits, likes and dislikes, and health information. Playing SM without this knowledge is like Russian Roulette. Talk about your head-space and you review of SM with your bottom, so that any uncertainties can be dealt with before you start playing. Clearly spell out roles, rules, limits and contracts. Do not take for granted that your bottom instinctively knows the ground rules.
Verbalization is necessary, but at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way. Your top needs to know basic information about you, such as experiences, fantasies, health concerns, and turn-offs. But -unless it's an emergency - wait until your top asks. Don't expect your dominant to be a mind-reader instinctively knows your needs, wants, and limits. Your cooperation will enhance the scene for both of you.
If you lack experience in an area that your bottom would like to experiment with, be honest about it. Your partner has a right to know that. Be honest with yourself and take your submissive only to those levels at which you are completely in control of the situation. Safety should always be the first concern, taking priority over how hot a particular scene is.
Don't be afraid to share your needs and fantasies. Your dominant expects it. Honesty about your wants, health concerns, and turn-offs is essential to a good scene. Lying or being less than candid can only lead to problems, as the top will base the scene on inaccurate information. Besides causing problems, it can be dangerous.
There's a very fine line between a sensitive, caring dominate and a self-righteous, insensitive overbearing clod. Your scene should be a creative synthesis of you needs and fantasies, and your bottoms needs and fantasies. Although, on the surface, your submissive is serving you, what actually is happening is that dominant and submissive are serving each other. Earn the complete trust of your submissive and never violate or even threaten to violate that trust. His or her submission is a gift to you. Use it appropriately.
Your scene is a two-way street. It is not just the physical realization of your prior fantasies. If you want to limit your experience to certain physical and psychological stimulation, then contract with your top ahead of time. But don't always expect your top to be a puppet in a fantasy play you've written in your head. It's far better to let your top surprise you, to extend your limits, to take you to places you're never been before. When you trust your top completely, let her or him know it, and let him or her guide you into new fantasies.
End the scene with the bottom wanting more, not wishing there had been less. Remember that power, control, and sensitivity are the keys, no just the intensity of the stimulation. Be clear about what is fantasy, and has little to do with what works in practice. Your favorite porno picture books may be stimulating in themselves, but don¹t try to imitate them to the last detail.
Your dominant is human, and even the most experienced tops have moments of awkwardness and indecision. Don't call attention to what you perceive as a lapse. Know the difference between reality and the fantasy world you see in books and magazines. Few tops are rich enough to afford a large dungeon with a lavish layout of equipment...Your top's equipment is expensive - respect it and don't abuse it.
Be Really Dominant
Submissives are looking for someone who will take over their body and mind, not just for brute strength. Real people are wanted, not just cardboard images from ads or stereotypes. Your dominance enhances you whole existence. It does not cover up or substitute for other areas of your life - it is you. Make your submissive fall in love with you, and expect them to give themselves up to you totally. Follow up on rules, expect obedience, and punish appropriately when it is called for. Don¹t shirk your responsibility to your bottom or to your sister/fellow tops. Be dependable and expect dependability. You have agreed to take the dominant role - now take it!
Be Really Submissive
This is the whole point. Let your dominant take you over completely. Don't coach or second guess or be critical of your top. Exchange information on your special needs before the scene starts, but once it starts be quiet! If you insist on running a scene to your own specifications, then you should try being a top. You have agreedto limitations of your own power. Stay within those limitations. Respect and obey your top and expect punishment if you don't. Accept it gracefully and cheerfully. Your top has many things to be concerned with, including your safety and what turns you on. Be loyal and dependable and enjoy your role.
Like any strenuous activity, SM requires that its participants be in top physical and emotional health. Many factors, including the amount you sleep, your eating habits, your alcohol and drug intake affect your performance and endurance during a scene. Don¹t attempt to do SM when your physical or emotional energy is low. As a dominant you have a special responsibility to be in control of yourself and on top of the scene. An attitude of ³drugs and alcohol don¹t affect me that much...I can do it anyway² violates your submissive¹s trust in you and can be dangerous. If you don¹t want to accept the responsibilities, you shouldn¹t be playing the game!
SM, like any strenuous activity, requires that its participants - both active and passive - be in top physical and emotional health. The amount you sleep, your eating habits, your alcohol and drug intake, and everyday stress affect your response and endurance during a scene. Your dominant needs to know when your physical or emotional energy is low. No matter how tempting a scene sounds, an "I want it all now" attitude when you aren't able to give your all will leave both of you feeling let down. You serve your dominant and yourself by staying healthy.
After all, sex is all about having a good time. You have earned, and you are entitled to the unique, intense pleasures which come from responsible, creative SM play.
After all, sex is all about having a good time. You have earned and you are entitled to the unique, intense pleasure which comes from responsible, creative SM play.
Further Reading on BDSM Etiquette
Further Reading on Etiquette and Protocol in a BDSM and Leather Context
- The Manners and Traditions Section of "Ambrosio's BDSM Site" at http://www.EvilMonk.org/A/manners.cfm
- "Play Nice: Some Notes on Scene Etiquette and Leather Protocol" by Ambrosio at http://www.EvilMonk.org/A/protocol.cfm
- Part 1: General Principles
- Part 2: More Specific Guidelines
- Part 3: Cruising With Class
- Part 4: Play Parties
- Part 5: Flagging, Symbols, and Rituals
- Part 6: A Few Notes on High Protocol
- Part 7: In Closing
- The Entire Article on a Single Page
- "Etiquette for the Scene" by Rose at http://www.EvilMonk.org/A/etiquette.cfm
- "Civility and Incivility in the Scene" by
Chris M[Black Rose of Washington DC] at http://www.EvilMonk.org/A/chrism01.cfm
- "A Proposed 'Pansexual Protocol'" by Ambrosio at http://www.EvilMonk.org/A/ppp.cfm
- "To Share or Not to Share?" by Rowan Ste. Julian at http://www.EvilMonk.org/A/share.cfm
- A Leather Bar Hanky Code at http://www.EvilMonk.org/A/hankcode.cfm
- For further reading, there is an etiquette guide for alternative sexuality and lifestyle situtations including but not limited to BDSM: Campbell, Drew, The Bride Wore Black Leather ... and he looked fabulous! Greenery Press: Emeryville, 2000.
Links About "Old Guard" Leather
More on the "Old Guard"
- The Old Guard History, Origins and Traditions By Guy Baldwin, M.S. (from The Ties That Bind)
- Old Guard? If You say so. By Joseph W. Bean
- The Myth of the Old Guard By Jack Rinella from his Leather Views site.
- Old Guard, New Guard By
- Multiple Tops: Master, Mistress and Daddy Makes Three By Master L.J.E. An Old Guard view of 'Net Generation polyamoury.
- Marginalia on the Old Guard, Leather Traditions, and BDSM History By Ambrosio
- Rover's column in the December 1973 issue of California Scene Magazine: Earliest documented use of the phrase "old guard" in a Leather context.
- "Old Guard" Links on the Manners and Traditions page.
Further Reading on Etiquette in General
- Etiquette by Emily Post: This is an online republication of the 1922 edition of Emily Post's 627-page first edition Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home (The 1922 edition is the most highly recommended book for High Procotol.)
- U. S. Flag Protocol (Title 4)
- George Washington's "Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation"
- Cardinal Newman On Being a Gentleman
- Passage from Jane Austen's Northhanger Abbey
Further Etiquette and Protocol Links
- Additional links in the "Manners and Traditions" section at http://www.EvilMonk.org/A/manners.cfm