I think I need to stop promising what I'm going to write about in my next post, because I'm clearly setting a precedent of not doing it. So, new year's resolution - never promise what my next post will be on my blog :)
After the collaring, my boy and I specifically decided not to set up any protocols right away because we were attending Lee Harrington's Rituals for D/s workshop a week or so later. We didn't want to set anything up just in case the workshop was life changing. No one wants to have to say "You know that thing I told you to do a week ago? Yeah don't do that anymore, do this." Not in such a small time frame.
The workshop was wonderful, and while it wasn't particularly life changing it did give me a few things to think about. If nothing else it reminded me of some very basic, very important things, for example, it is better to have ten rules implemented and enforced than four hundred rules that even the Dominant forgets about.
So far, we don't have any rituals or protocol that have been specifically introduced since the collaring. We have a few little rituals that are very casual and not formal - but these rituals have been there for a long time and have more to do with them growing organically rather than being implemented.
For example, the boy always asks me before he comes. I didn't ask him to start doing that, he started doing it of his own accord - and it has now become such a ritual that if he comes without asking or comes before I say he can, he gets in trouble. (Not the kind of trouble that involves punishment, but I feel pretty confident in saying that if I tell him he's a bad boy, he'll feel bad enough from that alone.) Although I admit we have both been so busy the last couple of months I did give him permission a while ago that he could come whenever he likes when we're apart.
To get off subject here a little and talk about that for a moment, orgasm control is one of my boy's biggest kinks. So I imagine he misses being told he can't come on his own, and I'll be revoking that privilege at some point in the near future. I know he gets very wriggly and happy when my words control whether or not he comes, and I imagine a lack of that is probably a little boring for him.
That's a hard thing to deal with, as a Sir. As much as I am in control, sometimes life gets in the way of what we love to do, as I'm sure you know. Parents, kids, work, school, moving house, all kinds of things. For us, recently my life has been very stressful as I'm reorganizing my living arrangements, and I had some interstate visitors, and I've been quite sick... anyway, the point is, life gets in the way sometimes, and sometimes you need to dial D/s back a bit. And that's hard for me, not just because I love the control (don't get me wrong, I do) but because the boy loves the control, and I love the boy. I want him to feel that his needs are being met in this relationship, I want him to be having a good time, I want him to be happy.
A happy boy makes for a happier dynamic. So it's very hard for me to dial down things I know make my boy happy, no matter how necessary that dialing down is.
D/s is a feedback loop. We both need to be getting what we need out of the relationship for it to work. If my dominance is making him feel happy and at peace, then he is getting what he needs out of it to be a good boy, and when he is a good boy and serves me well, I feel happy and at peace. It's a big circle of goodness.
Anyway, to get back onto the initial subject of rituals, one thing that I have implemented is a bed time.
See, the boy has a habit of bumming around on the computer until it's quite late. This is not very useful for someone who works fulltime. He frequently does not get enough sleep and is often complaining about being tired, even on the weekends, because he does not care for his sleep schedule. Left to his own devices, he used to only sleep six hours a night! For my boy, this is not enough (of course how much sleep is good for us varies from person to person). The boy needs at least eight hours sleep every night for him not to be always tired.
So I implemented a bed time. I asked him what time he has to get up in the morning, and then I counted back. I seem to recall that ideally he'd be going to bed at 10:30 (I think that was because it would give him a half hour either of extra sleep, or a half hour of between-waking-and-sleeping time so he still got a full eight hours), however I realized quickly that would be impractical for him. So I set his bedtime for 11pm. He has to be IN BED and trying to sleep by 11, every work night. He can't start getting ready for bed at eleven. He has to be in bed by then.
The boy does not have insomnia, or any other sleep problems. He is just lazy about caring for his sleep. He gets into bed and falls right to sleep - which has been a source of mild, amused annoyance for me as I do suffer from insomnia and have to struggle constantly to keep my sleeping schedule functional.
Anyway, I am getting off topic again (clearly I am feeling wordy today, perhaps to make up for all the blog entries I've missed making over the last few weeks).
The last couple of nights, the boy has been half an hour later for bed time on one night, and five minutes later for bed time on another. Now here's where us D-types sometimes get stuck - what do I do about that?
It's easy to say "punish him!", but what does that mean? Punishment is a very tricky subject in D/s relationships. In scenes, punishment can be for fun or not, it doesn't matter. But in D/s... 'funishment' (that is, play that is presented as punishment) is not going to discourage an action.
But my boy is a pansy (this is not an insult, it simply means he is a beautiful, delicate flower). Pain (sudden or sharp) would certainly be a punishment, but does the punishment fit the crime? Is being late to bed really worth a beating, or ten strokes of the cane?
I don't think so.
So coming up with a punishment that fits the crime can be difficult. It has to be something not too bad, because he didn't disobey too badly (and there was no intent to disobey, which is important). It has to fit the person in question, and can be neither too lenient nor too strict.
It also has to not have associations set up elsewhere. My first thought was to make him spend his lost time (35 minutes) sorting rice grains, until I remembered that he uses a similar exercise to practice focus and meditation. I do not want him to consider focus and meditation a punishment! And I do not want him to think that his punishment is fun, either!
So, I thought about withdrawing affection and touch for 35 minutes. Certainly quite mean to my boy, who is very touch-focussed, but tolerable. However, how do you implement that? I considered corner time, however I quickly realized that being near him and not letting him touch me is something we do in play. It is a way I can tease him - so it immediately becomes a bad punishment, because it is something we do for fun.
But I followed the train of thought over to the cage. As you know, the boy loves the cage. He loves sleeping in it, he loves being it.
Suddenly I had a thought.
If I remove all the blankets and cushions from the cage, it becomes just that little bit uncomfortable. If I do not let the boy have any stimulation while he is in there, it also becomes that little bit more uncomfortable.
To put the boy in the cage in that way, for 35 minutes, one of two things will happen:
1) He will get bored. If this is the case, I think it's a suitable punishment.
2) He will go to sleep. If this is the case, he will be catching up on the sleep he was otherwise missing out on.
A win-win situation! Both of these options are a good consequence for missing bedtime.
So that is how this particular dominant goes about selecting a punishment. As you can see, it's a lot harder than most submissives think. :)