What is it? Why do we do it? And how does it exactly work?
I’m going to write about personal experiences here. Before we get in on what High protocol is exactly let me give you a bit of a rundown on how the different protocol settings MIGHT look like in our own D/s relationship.
So to use an example that everyone might be familiar with. We are a family with two kids. Running a household and Moc working and a busy life with two kids involved in all sorts. So by the end of the day, we are both tired. Kids go to bed so this is all happening after bedtime and kids getting into a deep sleep.
Low setting: (we don't have “no protocols” settings as D/s for us is 24/7 but some might have a complete no protocol setting for when family are around.)
We cuddle up on the couch and talk about our day. We might watch tv. I might get up and get a book and cuddle up and read. MoC might offer me a cup of coffee or he might ask me to make one. I might respond with Yes Sir but generally, it is just okay. If he states something as more of an order I might get sassy with an answer as I get up and do what was asked.
Later as our set normal bedtime routine, he tells me time to get ready for bed. I take a shower, brush teeth and dry myself and stay naked in the bedroom under covers with the ankle and wrist cuffs out for normal routine of him placing it on me for the night.
Medium setting: We cuddle up on the couch and talk about the day. He might lean over and say: "slave make me a cup of coffee." Using a title of some sort gives me the indication it is an order of more importance so I will reply with Yes Sir. I will get up and make a cup of coffee and present it in a bit more of a nicer way. If we have cookies I might even get those out and my focus goes more on pleasure for him. He will indicate where I sit and if I want to read I will ask if there is anything I can do for him. If the answer is no I will ask if I am allowed to read. He will usually say yes or give me other instructions.
Bedtime routine the same but he might tell me to wait in a certain position in the bedroom while he takes a shower. I generally can’t go on my cell phone unless I have asked permission.
High protocol: He will tell me that it IS High protocol. In the high protocol, I generally won’t make eye contact, unless He instructs me to look into His eyes when answering a question. I won’t use any of the furniture. I will stay close to Him. Forget the book, the tv and everything. He generally will put a cushion down on the wooden floors and I will kneel or sit there. I won't speak unless spoken to. He might get up and make a coffee and tell me to be in a position that he can view me or He will instruct me on making it. I will answer as Yes Master. Manners are extremely important. If say for instance I need to go to the bathroom I will wait and look up and say, Master. When he acknowledges me I ask what I need to and wait. Don't forget to say thank you, Master, in the end, and then quickly go do what I need to do and come back.
Bedtime routine: He will say time for his slave to get ready or he might decide that I need to shower him and dry him off or he might decide I will shower and he will wait for me. It's all up to him. So you need to be able to adapt really quickly. It's not run as a scripted scene so your attention has to be on your Dominant and their needs at all times.
I will definitely be kneeling waiting in the bedroom or in inspection position if my foot is cramping. I won't have to be told. So unless he gives me a position that is the position I will be in.
MoC tends to be extra critical. A position is never ever in perfect place. He will adjust and tell me to try harder. He expects perfection even though we both know it isn't possible. It's not to make me feel bad but to feel that extra sense of striving for the best.
So that is a simple part on how the different protocol settings MIGHT work. Remember everyone is different.
So now after a practical example of each protocol setting lets look at the differences a bit closer.
Power exchange is still present.
Use of titles not in effect all the time.
Freedom of speech (to a degree)
More casual and a lot more freedom
Power exchange will be a bit more visible.
Is or can be a bit more casual but the focus is getting shifted slightly.
Use of titles.
Might be where most couples will be when they do a scene.
The Dominant will indicate the correct way and it is up to the
submissive to pick up and react to it.
Power exchange is more visible.
Use of titles
Generally won't use any furniture.
The focus is completely on the Dominant.
No distractions allowed.
The wants of the submissive are completely pushed aside.
You live and breath to serve the Dominants needs and wants as perfectly as you can.
After reading this I think you can get a clearer picture of why I feel it is extremely hard if not close to impossible to live in High protocol all the time. But to incorporate it into your own dynamic can be an easy thing to do.
It might be that you do it for a set time period quite regular to get in the mindset. Say one weekend a month or a Friday every week. Some do it for specific rituals like for when punishment needs to be doled out.
It might be for everyday things like making tea at the end of the day and getting the bed ready for a Dominant and kneeling and waiting for them and see what further instructions there are. Or it might be like the above scenario where at any time High protocol gets demanded and as a submissive, you have to quickly shift mindsets and remember a few rules on how to behave, act and serve your Dominant.
It can be quite satisfying letting go of everyday stuff and getting a few moments, minutes or hours to shift to a place where the only thing that matters is obeying and following orders from your Dominant.
I know for me personally being placed in the high protocol the simplest act of service like greeting my Dominant, to making a cup of coffee or presenting myself takes a whole different meaning and I reach a safe calming space. Similar to when you meditate to center yourself.
So if you are interested, why not start small and incorporate a little bit of it into your dynamic.