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The Spirit of the Rule

In any dynamic there are usually some form of rules that have been pre agreed to which encompass things such as, daily routines, presentation, grooming, habits, speech, training, journals, clothing, chores and the list goes on. All of these rules have one key similarity and that is ‘The Spirit of the Rule’. This is the concept that we will discuss throughout the article, diving into such things as it’s meaning, importance, can it be broken, and how it affects both sides of a dynamic. With this information you should gain a better understanding of a dynamic as a whole and why even small details should not be overlooked or taken advantage of. 

What does it mean?

‘The Spirit of the Rule’ is a concept which lies within every rule set, we will be looking at the applications of it more so in a D/s dynamic, but the same aspects can be true for the rules of daily life also. ‘The Spirit of the Rule’ in its bare bones is essentially, understanding what is implied with the directive, task or rule, not manipulating it and trying to find loopholes to get what you want. If you are looking for loopholes in rules, tasks or directives, then perhaps you should evaluate what your reasonings are for submission?. ‘The Spirit of the Rule’ is to embrace the rules and directives given to you and incorporate them into your life naturally so that your behaviours are in line with what the Dominant wishes. A great way to look at it is in the example of Sportsmanship, a lot of athletes will naturally know to show respect to the other team and play fair game. This isn’t a set instruction, rule or directive but it is one that almost all follow without it being said. That should give a better understanding of how ‘The Spirit of the Rule’ works.

Why is this important?

‘The Spirit of the Rule’ is important because it keeps a dynamic strong. When everyone involved is doing their part and following the rules, tasks and directives that have been established and putting in maximum effort the outcome will always be positive. Not only that, when keeping in the spirit of it all it allows you to really understand which elements are for you and which aren’t. If you find that there is an area of these rules, tasks and directives that you really enjoy and fully embrace without feeling as if it is a chore, then you know that is for you. On the flip side the reverse is usually true also. If you discover there is something you aren’t as fond of, bring it up with your Dominant and have a discussion about it. Don’t end up doing a minimal effort job just so you can say you have done it. 

What does breaking the rule look like?

Breaking this rule is essentially finding a loophole in a rule, task or directive. Here are a few different examples of finding a loophole and breaking the spirit of the directive given.

A Dominant asks you to edge 5 times.

For most people this would be a straightforward task and simply just follow the instructions, use your hand to edge 5 times and then you are done. However people who break the spirit of that rule would potentially do things like incorporate a buttplug while they edged or decided that on the 6th one they can cum. This is because the Dominant didn’t explicitly say not to do so. This is where the implication comes in, it is very simple. If your Dominant wanted you to do those extra bits they would have asked, do not take it upon yourself to do them as if you are doing them a favour, just do what was asked.

Let’s say that your Dominant has asked you to do your daily run protocol when you get home, and today you got home 30 minutes earlier than normal, instead of following the instructions given by your Dominant you watch tv for 30 minutes instead and then check in with your Dominant saying you just got home, and are just about to start the run.

With this you are neglecting to adjust your behaviour like your Dominant wishes, breaking the spirit of the rule by not giving your full effort, instead you got home and took control of how you wanted to handle the arrival home. You might think it’s no harm done as the task was still completed, if that remains the mentality of your contribution to the Dynamic it will suffer. Along with this you have told a little white lie to your Dominant who may be none the wiser. Which can create a bad habit, especially if you get away with it. 

Another example could be that you have been instructed to have a shaving ritual where once a day you shave to keep everything looking clean and tidy. But instead you just make sure to shave before the Dominant comes round, or before some play, making excuses like you need a quick shower. 

Again this is neglecting to follow instructions properly. The Dominant is trying to establish a mindset with the rules and rituals they put in place. When they are not done correctly it defeats the entire purpose of having set the rule and ritual in the first place. 

A lot of these examples can be done easily in online Dynamics, which are extremely prevalent in our current world. Just because the Dominant is not physically there with you, it does not mean that being more relaxed with the rules, tasks or directives is more acceptable. The implications will still be the same and cause a negative outcome. Always just be sure you are open and honest with your Dominant if there is something you are not enjoying, rather than lie, have a conversation. It is far more respectful.

How can this affect the Dominant?

In this section we will look at both the positive outcome and the negative. When a Dominant’s submissive is neglecting the rules, tasks or directives they have set to try and curve the submissive’s behaviour in a direction that pleases them, or trys to get away with putting in minimal effort into a task, it will always be seen as lazy and disrespectful. The Dominant will feel a loss of control, ruining the entire point of a power exchange dynamic. If the sub doesn’t wish to put in the effort, it’s as if they don’t care about the relationship or the Dominants controlling power in the dynamic. This behaviour can cause many results, anger, resentment, bitterness, sadness, disrespect creating distance and ultimately the end of a dynamic. If a sub truly wants to serve and submit to their Dominant they will put in the effort with all directives given, all rules, ritual and protocols agreed to, they will be invested in the dynamic. 

On the flip side, If a sub is fully engaged with the Dominant’s directives, rules, rituals, protocols and guidelines set for them, it will cause the Dynamic to grow stronger, and both D/s to grow closer, creating a much more harmonious dynamic with a solid foundation. The Dominant will feel respected, cared for and in control and in that position of power that they should be. There will also be a mutual respect for the submissive from the Dominant as they haven’t faltered and have put in maximum effort into achieving what was agreed to. Showing true service to the Dominant and loyalty.

How does this make the submissive look?

If a submissive does nothing but skirt the rules, tasks and directives and put in minimal effort it is simply going to look as if they do not care and do not wish to serve the Dominant or be in a committed dynamic. It will come across as selfish especially if all they do is lie about how much effort they are putting into the tasks, rituals, guidelines and protocols. It defeats the purpose of submission, a sub should want to serve at their core. When they have chosen a Dominant to agree to serve, this is when the maximum effort should be given. If not, it is all for nothing, and the submissive should evaluate what they actually want.


At the end of it, it is all down to the individual, nobody can force you to put in the effort, you should simply want to. Have a think over directives you have given/been given, the tasks, rules and rituals you have either given out or received and ask yourself, are you doing it to the full extent, or just treating it like a chore?

Contributors: This article was researched and written by Umlindi, edited by Mistress Michelle and published by Umlindi.

These educational topics wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and dedication from our Dom(me)sLife contributors – Thank you MM

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