Code d’Odalisque and Protocol

Edited to add: This is my 500th post. Crazy! Funnier still that it revisits something discussed in one of the first blog entries I posted.

Someone I’ve been talking to mentioned the Code d’Odalisque the other day, and I’d never heard of it. It’s essentially a framework and extensive set of protocols for a male dominant/female submissive sexual slavery relationship. Read it here.

The Code was interesting to read. I was a bit surprised that someone had the time and energy to create such a document. I mean, they include things all the way down to how to address other slaves in text. That’s a bit intense. There are some things that really appealed to me, though:

  • As a whole, the framework emphasizes legality, consent, and the protection of vanilla reputation.
  • There are contract and many safety precautions.
  • There’s an emphasis on existing for the Master’s pleasure – training, service, etc. along those lines – and being tortured with pleasure.
  • There are formalities and rituals for initiating a period of intense service and for earning a collar-like necklace (only they are incredibly specific that it be tahitian black pearls…).
  • There are clauses that require honest discussion.
  • Masters aren’t permitted to cut their slaves’ hair, or beat her face, scar her, or humiliate/degrade her.
  • There are protocols for interacting within a D/s relationship that are built on a foundation of respect and care for one another.

Those things all have positive elements to them. There are larger things that bother me, though.

  • The slave is required to have no sexual desires or plans of her own. She becomes a passive vessel for her Master’s fantasies. I’m all for my Dom using me for his pleasure, and taking my submission as an opportunity to play out fantasies…but I also want my fantasies to be acknowledged. They don’t have to be included in our play, that’s my Dom’s discretion, but I have desires, and I’m not going to pretend they don’t exist.
  • The slave should not take initiative. I’m sorry, but sometimes, it’s fun to turn the tables, insomuch as I’m horny as fuck and want to jump my Dom. He’s welcome to playfully punish me for it later, or I’m happy to ask for permission to take initiative, I guess, if I had too…but too much restraint makes for no fun.
  • Similarly, the slave should be silent unless spoken to. I get this for a scene, or maybe a long scene/weekend of crazy-intense protocol, but for a regular dynamic, no thanks. I want to converse and joke with my partner. I want to be able to snark at him and have him tease me back. That’s part of who I am and what makes me happy in my relationships.
  • The code says sentimentality and vulgarity should not be in the bedroom…I beg to differ.
  • Clothing must be sacrificed – the code suggests putting them under lock and key. I can understand rules about clothing, inside and outside of the home. Selecting every item and having no access to clothing is micromanagement I’m not interested in. The point is for the captivity to be reemphasized…but to some extent, I’d rather be trusted with the choice. If you want me naked at home, fine, then  make it a rule. If I disobey it, discipline me. But wouldn’t you rather have my submission when I am faced with an option and I voluntarily choose to ignore the clothing, rather than forcefully keep it from me?
  • Service for obedience’s sake isn’t appreciated. Service should only be sexual, and all other types are sort of spoken down about. Literally, to the extent that wearing an apron indicates lesser status because odalisques shouldn’t cook, it’s beneath them. Sometimes, I want to cook for my partner because I want to serve him in that way.
  • With that, I want my submission to be valued in ways outside sexuality. If I want to clean or do something as a service to make him happy, why not do that? I want to exist for his pleasure, not just sexual pleasure, as long as my needs are being met and he’ll listen to my wants, and we can work out daily life responsibilities in a way that isn’t overwhelming to either partner.
  • Solitary confinement as punishment. Being deprived of affection and/or love, or being ignored, are dealbreakers. I’d rather use pain, or write lines, or have an activity restricted, etc.
  • There’s a lot of emphasis on sharing and how to interact with guests. I’m not sure on this. If I were going to engage in M/s in a group setting with other Dominants, I like the idea of having etiquette for that scenario. I just am not OK with a protocol that allows  my Dom to share me at his discretion.
  • Sex slavery is listed as an adjunct to marriage. My ideal is to find a Dominant that I can marry. I want to be wife and submissive, not just tertiary sex slave.
  • A series of individual protocols: referring to myself in the third person (Master’s slave thinks…), having no name or being renamed, mandatory marking/branding, chanting, a six year limit on a relationship, slaves aren’t allowed to toast at dinner, slaves must have an empty glass by their side for semen only and can’t have their own beverage cup otherwise, capitalization protocols with people other than my Dom…basically there are a bunch of nitpicky things that bother me.

Overall, I don’t think the code has a middle ground. You’re either a sex slave, or you’re not. You’re in “occlusion” or “sojourn.” What about the in-between? I want a more flexible dynamic. I think it’d work having a set of very formal rituals and protocols that can be lived out in a fantasy weekend here or there. The rest of the time, though, I wouldn’t want to be in “sojourn,” I’d just want a lesser amount of protocol. In the bedroom, there can be an element of pleasure slave, sure, but in life, sometimes protocols get in the way.

Honestly, I don’t know what level of control or protocol works for me. I’ve never been in a D/s relationship like that. I’ve been in relationships with men who Top, and I’ve dated men into D/s, but I’ve never built a power exchange relationship. When I think of having rules for clothing, greeting, speech, eye contact, sitting, and more, it overwhelms and scares me. I want some rules. I want structure, discipline, and subservience. I want to serve my Dom’s desires and please him, to feel his control over me. I just think that can be achieved in a variety of ways, both sexual and service-oriented, not all with protocol.

I also know that I can’t start out with protocols galore and such. I need to start with small gestures of submissive, and gradually escalate as trust, affection, love, and comfort grow. I need to be led into it, too, and with lots of positive reinforcement and constructive conversations so that I can learn and accept my role thoroughly. Being a submissive at all is a new thing and requires training and gentle guidance for me, being one with a high level/frequency of power exchange would require even more.

That said, protocols I think make sense would include wearing a certain type or style of clothing that fits my Dom’s preference, addressing him as Sir, keeping a journal, sitting on the floor unless alone or have his permission, asking permission to orgasm, on certain days maybe being required to do something specific with him in mind, etc.

Rules I think make sense would deal with how to maintain communication, how to behave in his presence, pet peeves to avoid, habits I want to instill that he’s reinforcing, etc. For example, if I am trying to exercise more, we can talk and have him make it a rule or provide some form of accountability so that I can reach the goal that I want. Note that the emphasis is on his guidance to accomplishing goals that I set and we mutually discussed, not on him trying to change me outside my will or without my acknowledgement. (Manipulation should be acknowledged and consented to.)

But really, the dynamic I foresee is similar to a “normal” (non-kinky) couple. We’ll live our lives, and when it’s just us, I’ll refer to him differently, defer to his decision-making – but be allowed to debate and joke, try to do things that please him when I can, and be sexually available to him. He would provide opportunities for me to please him (i.e. it would make me happy if you did x,y,z), or directly ask (sternly so I know it’s really a command) me to serve him in some way. If I have a problem with something, I voice my concern. If I have needs not being met, I voice them. If I have wants, I voice them but he can determine whether or not they’re satisfied. My choices are to obey, to disobey and be punished, or to end the dynamic.

Life

I realized I haven’t been blogging nearly as much lately. I think part of it stems from having a weekly gratitude journal. I used to write about what was going on, but with my weekly “what was awesome in my life” private entry, there’s not as much need for that. I also think time (of course) and hesitancy from worrying who sees what I write have gotten to me.

More than anything, though, the time has been a factor. I have spent several months now always on the go, and it’s a pace I don’t particularly love. I enjoy doing fun and awesome things, but balance is a struggle, as always.  My time always gets even more stretched whenever I date someone. I told someone this weekend that I know when I need to break it off with someone when I would rather be with my existing friends than them. It isn’t necessarily that I dislike someone or don’t like them as a friend, but there has to be more than that to prioritize that date over other activities.

Weirdly, the guy I’ve been seeing most recently is moving at a glacial pace. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to rush into things – I don’t commit quickly, and my preference is to date for a while and/or be exclusive before sex is involved – but this was too much for even me. Nothing makes you feel less desirable than a guy not making a move to do more than peck you on the lips after 5 dates. I mean, really? C’mon now.

So, unfortunately, that means that needs to end, because I don’t feel as excited or giddy before or after our dates. I don’t have a bad time with him, I actually enjoy myself a decent amount. The problem is, I can’t relax or let my interest grow if I spend so much time questioning where he’s at or if he even finds me appealing at all.  At the end of the day, it’s time and energy I don’t have, especially if it makes me feel worse about myself afterwards. I hate it because I like him and thought there was real potential there.

More than anything, though, it’s taught me a few things about dating. If I could communicate “rules” to people I may date, they would be this:

  • Never split the bill. On a first date, the man should pay (call me old fashioned, but I’m old fashioned). After that, either he should pay or you can take turns. When one person pays, showing gratitude and offering to pay is also polite. Or,  for example, if one person grabs dinner, the other can grab the movie tickets. Going straight up dutch feels cold and, to me, platonic.
  • Make one another feel special. You’re not just hanging out as friends, so don’t act like that – pay a compliment here or there, tease or flirt, hold hands, open doors, or remember something they mentioned on a prior date.
  • If you had a good time, text after getting home or the day after to reiterate that.
  • If you want to see the person again, make plans at the end of the date to do so. Don’t ask for a specific second date too early, or traps the person into answering yes. You don’t need to hammer out details, just the day. If this fails, ask me 2-3 days in advance.
  • Once in a while, make a phone call instead of texting. It’s so rare that it is immediately woo-ing.

Other than that, life is good. Many positive things have happened, and finally the bride-zilla wedding is over. I’ve been more removed from the kinky world than ever, though. I go to the vanilla board game events with kinky people attending, and I’ll be attending a party this weekend for the first time in months. I feel so jaded about it. I want to play and do kinky things, but I really have no desire to do so with a stranger in a public space. I also am sick of going to happy hours where I don’t know anyone and have to deal with bunches of creepy men, superficial youngsters (and yes I realize they’re my age), and painfully awkward folks. I know there are cool people at those places too, but it’s so much effort to find them. My kinky chosen family has seemingly dissipated, because people have paired off and are all engaged or about to be married, and they don’t all get along anymore, so common hanging-out events don’t really happen much. That, or the other friendly faces are always out of town.

The positive of less kink is that I’ve been reading more and connecting with my grad school friends more frequently. Those friends are fun and smart and awesome, so I can’t complain. It’s just a strange transition.

Revisiting Rules: The Why

I posted a week or so ago about how I like rules and structure in life, and how that permeates seemingly every aspect of my life. I realized today why that is, and how that impacts how I view myself. It’s amazing how 1) once you notice something about yourself, you see it everywhere and 2) one other person can give you so much insight about yourself.

So, I like rules, structure, and discipline. It’s what I value more than almost anything else. I realized – I had almost no discipline or structure in my family life or growing up. The only discipline I’ve had has been self-installed, provided through school, or from God (or my interpretation of my spirituality).

Creating and following my own standards and rules has given me the order I need to get through life successfully. Lately, I’ve been super stressed out, and I had a hellish week last week. I feel like I completely humiliated myself more than once at work, and then I got super strung out a couple of times this past weekend – high strung to a level I haven’t been in a while. I recognized that this weekend – that my inability to control things lately has made me a bit crazy, and my lack of kink or surrender has just further facilitated that – but tonight, it hit home even more.

After a date’s comment a few weeks ago, I started noticing that I have a tendency to act like a know it all, be stubborn, or speak before thinking in ways that overstep boundaries I feel are in place. Acting like a know it all with friends is something I thought I got past in middle school. Letting my impatience and stubbornness impact my ability to stay humble, respectful, and deliberate at work is something I thought I got through too, but I’ve messed that up. In the scheme of my losing my internal shit the last few weeks, I overstepped my self-imposed discipline, which I haven’t been able to let go. I disrespect myself and am so embarrassed for my lack of discipline in these work situations.

I know that while yes, at the exact moment of these incidents, people may have thought differently of me, but likely forgot it immediately following. I need to let it go. All I can do is know that this is a tendency, work to improve and forgive myself, and try to be as best a person as I can moving forward. I think I may discuss it with my immediate supervisor, just to ask him if he has any feedback on how I can manage those situations and if it’s in my head. I can apologize for being too opinionated or overstepping his management, and ask him to be honest if he feels I’ve done that.

Anyhow, more reason why sometimes, I think I’m too harsh on myself. I set up high standards, then sometimes lack discipline to follow them, and instead of being able to be punished and let it go, I harp on it over and over. Someday, I hope to find someone who can give guidance and instill structure in my life.

Rules

I had a strange realization tonight involving rules. Basically, I like them (shocker, I know).

I’ve known my Myers-Briggs Personality type is an ‘ESTJ’ for a while now.  “The Supervisor.” Short summary:

ESTJs thrive on order and continuity. Being extraverted, their focus involves organization of people, which translates into supervision. While ENTJs enjoy organizing and mobilizing people according to their own theories and tactically based agendas, ESTJs are content to enforce “the rules,” often dictated by tradition or handed down from a higher authority.

ESTJs are joiners. They seek out like-minded companions in clubs, civic groups, churches and other service organizations. The need for belonging is woven into the fiber of SJs. The family likewise is a central focus for ESTJs, and attendance at such events as weddings, funerals and family reunions is obligatory.

Tradition is important to the ESTJ. Holidays, birthdays and other annual celebrations are remembered and observed often religiously by this type. The ESTJ is inclined to seek out his roots, to trace the family heritage back to honored ancestors both for a sense of family respectability and for a sense of security and belonging.

Service, the tangible expression of responsibility, is another key focus for ESTJs. They love to provide and to receive good service. The ESTJ merchant who provides dependable service has done much to enhance her self image.

ESTJs have an acute sense for orthodoxy. Much of their evaluation of persons and activities reflects their strong sense of what is “normal” and what isn’t. ESTJ humor is frequently centered around something or someone being off center or behaving abnormally.

ESTJs promote the work ethic. Power, position and prestige should be worked for and earned. Laziness is rarely viewed with ambivalence nor benevolence by this type.

Anyone who knows me would peg me as this to a T. It’s sort of creepy.  (Sidenote – not focusing on it in this post, but the service part also rings true given my submissive tendencies and the orthodoxy part explains why so many say I ‘do vanilla well.’) So basically, I’ve known that I like rules for a while. I never really noticed how much that “liking of rules” thing permeated my life, though.

For example, my job involves enforcing rules and sometimes improving rules. I got my Masters in a topic that would me allow to inform and create rules. Every internship I’ve had has involved enforcing or creating rules. Most people I meet professionally feel to removed from projects and policy…but me, I love enforcing rules (in my case right now, enforcing policies and federal law within certain federal agencies). Watchdog-type work suits me.

Then, in my private life, I seek out power exchange relationships. Part of this is kinky sex, open communication, increased trust, etc… but a large part is because in a D/s relationship, the rules are enumerated, whereas in ‘normal’ relationships there are either no rules or it’s guesswork. I like having boundaries to follow and enforce in my life, and I respect people who can set and enforce boundaries.

I really felt this click tonight though when, while playing board games, I realized I like games with a lot of rules. I don’t function well when there are no rules, or the rules involve going outside of the logic-structure. In Civilization, parts of the game force you to ignore the rules –> I hate this. I like being able to keep track of where I stand and I despise doing things wrong. Rules help me stay within what is normal and they outline a structure for me to get ahead in life (or specific situations).

Summary – I think the ESTJ personality is 1) predisposed to some type of BDSM or power dynamic and 2) is code for control freak.