Aug 142015
 

You know what? I had no idea what I was doing when I first started typing people up over 20 years ago. I didn’t know there were so many options, so many reasons to dive in, so many ways it could be excellent!

Along the way I have learned a lot of tips, tricks, and core concepts that have changed the way I explore consensual restrain, erotic ropework, and playing with partners… and here is a series of ten things I wish I had known as a bondage top!

1. I Don’t Have To Like All Types Of Bondage
2. One Tie Is Enough
3. I Don’t Have To Be Rich
4. Connection Counts
5. I Need To Stretch… and PEE!
6. I Can Safeword and Say “No”
7. Encourage My Bottoms To Share Information
8. Cutting Rope Does Not Make Me A Bad Top
9. Need Aftercare Is Okay
10. Get My Needs Met Is Important Too

But this video shares a lot of details of all of those. Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/OtP-GjDbY0o

Pass it on. And check out my newest book on rope bondage, “More Shibari You Can Use: Passionate Rope Bondage and Erotic Restraint” on Amazon (or directly from my publisher for signed and spiral bound copies) for more ideas, and the tools to help make bondage easy and connecting at the same time.


Written by and shared with permission of PassionAndSoul

Aug 142015
 

I’ve been hosting munches for 2.5 years and attending munches for 3.5 years. I’ve probably been to over 100 munches in that time. I’ve heard some people say that munches are cliquey and unfriendly, and nobody talked to them. I’ve had mostly good and a few not-as-good experiences at munches, though I can definitely see where those people are coming from. While I could maybe blame the munch hosts or attendees for my not-as-good experiences, there are also things that I could have done differently.

Maybe you’re an introvert and have trouble talking to new people (like me). I’ve been to munches with 30-50 attendees. I showed up late one time, I didn’t know anyone, no one acknowledged me, I felt really out of place, and I left after a short time. I’ve also been to that same munch, showed up 5 minutes early, sat next to munch hosts and talked with them for a bit, and they introduced me to several people as they came in. Being in the middle of the group, people started conversations with me. It took a lot less effort on my part than trying to break into an ongoing conversation at just the right point.

So you’re new at a munch? How to get the most bang for your buck:

Step 1: Upload a face picture. When new attendees tell me they’re coming to a munch, I check out their pictures so I can watch for them, to wave them over to the munch area. If you don’t have any face pictures uploaded, I can’t do that. RSVP on event page as Going or Maybe Going and fill out your profile with both kink and vanilla interests so that other munch attendees can check you out before the munch. Maybe they’ll find something in common with you and seek you out at the munch.

Step 2: Contact the host a couple days before the munch to let them know that you’re new and are interested in coming. If you’re an introvert or have social anxiety, tell them. The more information the host has, the more they can do to help.

Step 3: Show up 5 minutes early! Sit next to someone, even if you don’t know them (ask if that seat is taken first). Try to sit towards the middle of the table if you can, so there’s people on both sides of you (I realize that some people with anxiety can’t do this). If you sit on the end of the table, it’s easy to isolate yourself. I find that I have less anxiety when I’m one of the first people at an event, and people come in gradually, rather than me arriving late and Oh shit, there’s a ton of people, what do I do? Panic!

Step 4: Be persistent. Go to as many munches and events as you can. Even if you’re not that outgoing (like me), people will remember you and get more comfortable with you, and be more likely to start a conversation with you.


Written by and shared with permission of PauleyO, in this post.

Mar 142015
 

Kia Ora and welcome to both FetLife and BDSM

This is the second part in a series of articles that I intend to write for people who are new to either, or both Fetlife and BDSM. The first part of the series covered the basics of setting up a Profile and understanding the roles and status types that are included – as well as looking at ways to access more BDSM information through groups of other online sites. You can read the first part of this series here.

What makes me a good person to write a series like this? Nothing. I simply have enough confidence to assume that it may be something worth doing – and I do have a couple of decades experience as an active Sadist and Master (originally my M/s background was Gorean). 😉

In this episode…

I am going to talk about the basics of finding a play partner, meeting them for the first time, and then moving forward to play with them for the first time. It will cover the following topics in a basic way:

  • So remind me… what is the difference between Play, a Scene and the Scene?
  • Finding Mr/s Right
  • I have found someone interesting. How do I get started with playing?
  • Limits
  • The Checklist. What do I want?
  • Play Safe
  • Sub space
  • Aftercare
  • Sub drop

I would also like to acknowledge a Southland Dom (sleeveluver) who, once again, has acted as a sounding board and person to discuss this wee project with.

Further Reading

Don’t forget to read the other parts in this series of guides. The currently available other parts are:

Give this some love 🙂

If you are reading this go on and press the Love button. It will give it wider circulation and therefore help it find the news feeds of more newly arrived kinksters. It is in all of our interests to help them integrate into our community as swiftly as possible by providing them with as much information as we can.

Can I share this?

I am happy for you to share this or repost it anywhere on the web that you choose – just do the right thing and attribute it to 2Jays on Fetlife.com. I would also prefer that it remained unedited, and included the entire post (such as this bit and the rest of the above introduction).

Document Version History

Version 1.1

  • Added a section titled Seeking a Local Munch Group.
  • Added a Further Reading list with links to the other chapters in this series.

So remind me… what is the difference between Play, a Scene and the Scene?

These are rather straight forward terms that need to be understood before you will successfully move towards negotiating and enjoying your first BDSM experiences with people that you meet on a site such as Fetlife.

  • Play = Play is what we do when we interact in a BDSM way. If you flog someone, if you get spanked, if urinating upon someone’s face, or if you have your partner on a leash and make them drink milk from a kitten bowl… you are playing. Play is a broad term for all BDSM and kink activities when they are being enacted. (I played with Betty last night, gave her a splendid paddling with my kauri frat paddle.)
  • The Scene = The Scene is the real life in person BDSM community. It will vary from place to place, and there are different subgroups within it (such as Old Guard) however it is a reasonably standard term. (There is a Scene workshop on tonight about figging. Figging is putting raw ginger in someone’s ass or vagina.)
  • A Scene = The area where your play is taking place, as well as the play. This is more commonly used than play for larger scale interactions that use a lot more equipment or toys. (Jill scened with Jack on the St Andrews Cross.)

Finding Mr/s Right

At this point you have your Fetlife profile all set up, and you are basically chomping at the bit to start the process of meeting either the soul mate of your dreams, or, the wicked playmate of your darkest desires. The path to that first person can be a challenging one, and I would like to highlight a few things that are quite common.

Primarily I will deal with online dating here, and not the case of meeting someone from Scene events. I am taking that tact as this is specifically a Fetlife survival guide.

Online scams do exist

I am aware of a very educated (postgraduate university qualifications) and highly experienced (several years in BDSM) middle aged man who lives in Southland (New Zealand) and was badly scammed by an online BDSM community website user. Having discussed the events with him at length, in his case it was an incredibly intricate scam where the scammer (listed as an experienced female submissive) even used fake documents, gained bruising/swelling to fake a car crash (the photos provided have since been identified as being a car belonging to a different person), and a third party to play a fake role over the telephone. He ultimately fell victim to a combination of loneliness and his desire to protect someone and that cost him a thousands of dollars.

I am recounting those details (with his permission on the grounds that he remains anonymous) for the sole purpose of reinforcing the idea that while amazing people exist, and the partner of your dreams is out there… there are also less honest individuals who do prey on others through online ‘dating’ sites. Be careful. Check everything you can, and go slowly. Sometimes being cautious and making sure things are as they seem can pay off in the end.

How can I keep myself safe?

There has been a plethora of stuff written about keeping yourself safe in online dating situations. Unfortunately a lot of that invaluable information is often not made explicitly available within kink based dating and community sites. I do not for a single second pretend to be an expert on online dating safety measures however I will make the following suggestions:

  • Use a free Google email account. This can help you avoid giving people access to your ISP provided account and make it a little harder for them to find you.
  • Stay relatively anonymous for some time. Yes you can reveal your first name reasonably safely, you could probably also reveal the region you live in. You should however avoid giving out your surname and exact location for a while. It is important to protect yourself – and keep in mind, this relative stranger could use that information straight away to blackmail you with the threat of ‘outing’ you regarding your BDSM interests. Get to know them first.
  • Be on the lookout for Red Flags. A Red Flag is personality trait, action or general behavior that can indicate that the person will either be abusive towards you or try to scam you in some way. When you embark on getting to know someone with view towards either a BDSM relationship or play agreement it is really important to be aware of what to ‘look out for’, and to watch for Red Flags. Keep in mind that a single Red Flag does not make the person evil or someone to avoid – it just means they are human, and no human being (even including super-humans like me) is 100% perfect (I am at least 103% perfect ofcourse). When you see Red Flags slow down, and if you keep seeing them stop. I will talk more about some of the more common Red Flags below.
  • Remember that distance = money. If you are not employed and well paid keep in mind that you are probably better off with someone close. Long distance relationships are, and I speak from experience, very expensive. Weekly flights to see each other on weekends become costly fast. Keep in mind that you may have to go through time periods of not seeing each other, or, one of you might have to pack up and move house.
  • Keep a lid on your expectations. This applies in two ways. Firstly, keep in mind that the first person you meet may not be the best one – they are simply the first one. Consequently go into the meeting with the expectation of a good conversation with someone you have enjoyed talking with thus far – not thinking ‘this is the one, I will meet him and kneel’. Secondly, keep in mind that if you are a brand new dominant… you may not be Mr Super Attractive to the fetish model masochist with ten years experience in being tortured on stage at large public events. (Fortunately or unfortunately, from my general observations newcomer submissives are at times able to be very attractive to experienced dominants, but new dominants are rarely interesting to experienced submissives.) So pursue appropriate relationships.
  • Be responsible. Try not to meet a dozen people and wind up having bareback sex with them all. This is a good way to catch a disease and spread it throughout the community. Be responsible about what you are doing and protect your own, and others’, health.

Red Flags in more detail

I strongly suggest that if you are seeing Red Flags you should stop your interaction with the person. Red Flags can indicate that you will be heading towards an abusive relationship – or that you are about to be scammed. If the person responds badly to your breaking off the relationship there is an ignore feature within Fetlife. Alternatively, if it is more extreme, you have other options such as contacting a respected dominant from your local Scene and asking for their assistance in dealing with the person, contacting an abusive relationships help line, or simply phoning the Police. (Keep in mind here that the Police will ask questions about how you met the person etc.) If you are in New Zealand you are welcome to email us if you need advice or help with a situation like this.

Mr Jay’s list of common Red Flags to watch for is:

  • Breaks promises. These could be about doing things for you, meeting you or anything else.
  • Liars are bad.
  • Seems inconsistent with the information on their profile or with things they have told you – especially in terms of their job, where they live or their marital status.
  • Not giving you their home phone number when you ask for it after talking for a while, and/or, not giving you their work phone number after meeting.
  • Claims to be a dominant without being in control of their own lives. A few examples of not being in control of their own life might include: not having a job, not having a permanent and reasonable place to live, having a horribly messy house, or having serious mental health issues (while I recognise that mental health issues do not make you bad in any way and they are just an illness – a time when you have them is not a good time to try to take control of another human being).
  • Consistently making you feel bad about yourself for the stage you are up to with progressing into the BDSM lifestyle. Alternatively suggesting that you are not a ‘twue sub’, or that all others are not ‘twue doms’.
  • Is always in touch with you at odd times. While this might be a sign of a super active social life it could also be a sign that they are hiding their contact with you from a significant other. Even if it is the active social life option you would probably be better off with someone who has time for you before the wee hours.
  • Is too interested in alcohol or recreational drugs. This applies for two reasons – firstly due to the severe waste of money it causes to people in a relationship, and secondly because BDSM is a relationship and lifestyle choice where the mind is extremely important and where people need to be capable of making crucial judgement calls during sexual interactions (or play). Regularly being in a chemically altered state reduces the capacity to make those calls in an effective and prompt way. Furthermore if people play in an altered state – they are dangerous.
  • Goes missing for periods of time. This could be hours, overnight or for a few days. They may have a wonderfully elaborate reason. Watch for patterns if it happens more than once. If it seems too dramatic it probably is.
  • Quickly indicates that they need financial assistance with some kind of life disaster.
  • Is obviously bad with money. In 2011 Time Magazine published an article to warn people about the real dangers of sexually transmitted debt, or the consequences of debt exposure when entering into new relationships. Here in New Zealand it is such an issue that a prominent Christchurch lawyer has even written about it on their company website.
  • Has lots of children with lots of different partners. If all of those relationships produced children and did not work out what is to say you will not be the next ex-partner with a child to that person. The obvious answer here is to ensure the use multiple types of birth control.
  • Is visibly unable to control emotions like anger, or, indications that they have an anger management issue. This could also include things like quickly swapping between people being beloved friends and total enemies, or announcing love for you before really getting to know you.

Basically trust your gut instinct here and be on guard.

Your emails and cell phone and Fetlife account

While I do recognise that:

  • Even vanilla couples often share email accounts or passwords
  • It is not an uncommon practice for Masters/Mistresses in established M/s relationships to monitor the communications of slaves (perhaps by reading their cell phone logs, having their email and Fetlife passwords, or using a GPS tracking feature on their cell phone)

That kind of control is most likely not something that you are ready for as a newcomer. Furthermore, it is not something that should ever happen quickly within a relationship. This kind of thing is a deep form of submission that should never be taken lightly – and which needs a huge level of trust on both sides.

My strong advice is to avoid relationships, or people who are pushing for this level of control, if you are new to BDSM. Furthermore, I suggest avoiding such things even if you are an experienced M/s practitioner if the person is pushing to introduce it to the relationship quickly.

Seeking a Local Munch Group

Joining your local BDSM community munch group is a great way to get started at meeting new people. A munch is basically a meeting of kinky folks that is usually held at a restaurant or cafe in vanilla clothes. It is a semi-regular get-together where you can meet like minded people and begin establishing friendships.

One great resource for finding your local munch group is:

  • FindaMunch.com, aka The Munch+Adult Local Link (MALL) Directory. Their website states that they are: ‘the most extensive, actively updated, worldwide source for links to and descriptions of adult locality-based groups, gatherings, events, parties, dungeons, activities, meets, resources and information.’ This is obviously an awesome way to find local people – no matter if you are new to BDSM, travelling or moving house.

As an example of a munch group the Gorean Diners is a new munch group that I am getting started in Gore, New Zealand.

I have found someone interesting. How do I get started with playing?

As a newcomer there are three things you should do when you get started – they are important for your safety and to make sure you have a positive experience.

At the first meeting

When you first meet someone with a view to setting up BDSM interactions there are a few important things to keep in mind.

  • Meet in public and on neutral ground the first time. Wherever it is possible and practical you should organise to meet in public for the first time. If you live within a short distance that first meeting should ideally be a brief one too – say coffee or lunch. This gives you an easy ‘out’ if the sexy person you thought you were talking to turns out to be not so appealing. It also gives you an opportunity to see if the person seems to be legitimate.
  • Make sure that you are carrying a charged cell phone that has calling and texting credit. If you live in a rural area it is also important to make sure, before going, that your carrier has cell phone coverage i the area that the meeting is scheduled for.
  • Do not drink alcohol or take recreational drugs on or before your date.
  • Keep in mind the power of prescription drugs like flunitrazepam (sometimes known as Rohypnol, roofies, Narcozep or Hypnodorm). Flunitrazepam is a hypnotic prescription drug that is intended to be used as a treatment of chronic or severe insomniacs who are not responsive to other hypnotic drugs. (Ie. This is the heavy stuff.) It has been referred to as a date rape drug because of its high potency and ability to cause strong amnesia. I am aware of a case in Australia (I knew the submissive who it happened to – I was working there at the time) where her drink was spiked with flunitrazepam and she awoke with heavy bruising not remembering the encounter. Flunitrazepam aside, we should all recognise that drinks can be spiked with a wide range of substances. Always watch your drinks.

Planning for the first play session

I would like to stress here that the following is written with the targeted audience being people who are inexperienced at BDSM, or who are completely new. I am aware that variations can be appropriate with more experienced players, and that there are particular circumstances where different processes might be appropriate. The point however is that for newcomers this is, in my opinion, the most advisable approach.

*Negotiate = You need to talk to the person/people that you intend to play with. Discuss what will happen and what should not happen. Make sure that everyone understands what is and is not OK. Having a plan of some sort is good.

*Safewords = Set a safeword with your potential play partner/s. A safeword is something that stops play. As someone completely new to BDSM this is very important as it gives you an ‘out’ of play that is not going so well. This also means that the word ‘no’ can be ignored – allowing you to act out otherwise challenging content and fulfil things like rape fantasies.

*Safe calls = Always tell a friend, or someone from the Scene where you are going to play and with who. This is so that if something goes horribly wrong the cavalry will be sent in. It is rare, but it is sensible. Often people have active safe calls where it is set up beforehand and if they do not txt or call at a particular time the cavalry is on the way. The reality is that you could be tied up, gagged, blindfolded, and your partner standing above you with a cain. Be smart. If you are really stuck and can not find someone to run a safe call for you (and you live in New Zealand) email us and we will try to help.

  • Do not participate in heavy S/m play or bondage play in the first play session. This is for the safety of both the dominant and the submissive. You both have a lot to potentially lose if either something goes wrong or the other party has second thoughts. (If there are more than two people present bondage is less risky.) Obviously this is negated if the play is at a public play party and both participants are highly experienced.

Your best bet as a new BDSMer is to start slowly and softly, and then to build up. It is better to be left wanting more than to be left having had too much and not want to try again.

The Top/Dominant/Master should also check the state of the submissive/bottom a few times during play sessions – I like to use a non-verbal check method where I squeeze her hand twice with mine, if she is ok she is required to immediately squeeze my hand back twice.

Think about safety and take precautions in advance. Do not attempt anything where you can not get the submissive into a safe position quickly, and make sure you have the medical or help seeking knowledge to deal with any situations that may arise. You need to remember that sometimes things go wrong – so have a plan and have thought about possible outcomes.

Limits

Both Hard and Soft Limits are used in negotiating BDSM play and relationships. A Hard Limit is something that you simply will not do – no matter what. A Soft Limit is something that you really do not want to do, and would only do under very particular circumstances with a very particular person – and probably would like to avoid anyway.

Virtually everyone has several Hard Limits which include things that society deems illegal. Additionally you may have other Hard Limits which relate to things that create different strong responses of a very negative kind.

It is totally normal to have some limits and this is not something to worry about. Having no limits would be a worry, as that would mean you were happy to have your limbs amputated.

The Checklist. What do I want?

In negotiating play, or a BDSM relationship, using a BDSM checklist can be really helpful. The following Checklist is one that I have helped format – feel free to check it out and use it to help your negotiations go a little smoother.

The content of the checklist was copied from Bondage.com, before that site closed, by Sir Jude of www.sweetsurrender.org. He then compiled it various other internet based sources to create a singular compilation and is rather thorough. Since then Mr Jay has done further compiling and formatting work on the list. Like Sir Jude, Mr jay is providing this checklist FREE to the public for distribution how they see fit although a citation back to his FetLife page is appreciated.https://fetlife.com/users/3803021

Play Safe

It really does not matter if you are into: calling your tutu wearing partner Hitler while you spank him lightly with a fluffy pink feather duster; urinating in her mouth; or, using a sjambok on her thighs until they are swollen with bloody welts… the same crucially important rule applies. This one, is a rule. Play safe.

In thinking about safe BDSM practice one of the usual ways of defining the best approach is SSC, or Safe, Sane and Consensual.

Being safe is paramount. It is something that we think about in many aspects of our lives – from not touching hot pans on the cooktop to looking both ways when you cross the road. This is also applicable when you engage in BDSM. Edge play is fine, heavy sadism is fine – but there must always be planning and an understanding of activities to ensure that what you are doing will not result in long term or permanent harm.

Sane is just as important as safe. If a top is too deeply into a scene, or someone is not thinking clearly due to drink or illicit drugs, the play is not sane. People need to play in a way where they understand what is going on and they are making appropriate decisions.

Consensual is all about both parties being informed and agreeing to take part. This is important not just in BDSM but in all sexual relations. When we talk about consensual activities we also recognise the place of consensual non-consent.

Sub space

Sub space is a natural high that submissives can (but do not always) experience during BDSM play. It can be prompted by a range of things including, but not limited to, the pain of S/m play and the psychological and emotional stimulations of D/s control. Upon entering sub space the submissive feels ‘floaty’ – they might not possess their usual sense of time and they usually have an impaired ability to communicate. Sometimes they do not have the same concept of their body during sub space, and their acceptance of pain can increase many fold. Due to that increased pain tolerance level it becomes crucial for the dominant to be even more aware of precisely what is happening during the scene and to behave in an ethical and responsible manner.

Endorphins

Endorphins (‘endogenous morphine’) is a very special biochemical within the body that is produced by the central nervous system and pituitary gland. In a nutshell, upon release into the body endorphins inhibit the transmission of pain signals and produce a euphoric feeling those produced by opioid drugs.

Scientists are aware that endorphins are released in a range of situations including extreme physical exertion, pain and orgasm. These chemicals can provide us with a physiological set of responses which combine with the mental and emotional responses of a good scene and help the submissive move into sub space.

FetLife Groups that discuss sub space

Top space

Top space is not really discussed the same way that Scene members discuss and document sub space. I believe however that it is a very real thing – and from my experience does exist. Top space, based on my thinking and experience, is a place that I enter during a heavy S/m scene. It is literally nothing like sub space – it is a place where awareness of every detail takes on a new level, where you feel total focus and your connection to the submissive deeply increases. It is definitely a unique headspace, but it is one that empowers the here and now.

Aftercare

One stereotype of the vanilla male is the idea of a quick fuck followed by wandering off to do something else and ignoring his partner – both in terms of her sexual and emotional needs. When we deconstruct that scenario in the light of nonsensical heterosexual male led vanilla M/s we might see the following points:

  • Vanilla Master uses his wanton headache-free wifey to satisfy his vanilla itch for 10 seconds of missionary bliss.
  • Vanilla Master has a thought that he should watch the game in TV so wanders off to do that, his vanilla itch sated.

*Headache-free wifey, having just surrendered her almost slightly damp cunt to her sort-of liked Vanilla Master for a full 10 seconds, is feeling all awash with emotions and lays on the bed confused about what she did wrong as he wanders off. She probably also wishes she had a hitachi…

  • Eventually headache-free wifey gives up on her monthly 10 seconds of bliss as she always feels put out by Vanilla Master rushing off to watch the game and how she is left feeling afterwards.

Unfortunately that irritatingly pathetic scenario can also occur in BDSM-world – but with a few differences.

After a scene it is crucial for the dominant or top to invest time into helping the submissive to come back to a normal state. In general terms there are a few basics that you can do which will go a long way – they are:

  • Cuddle her. In the case of most submissives (well all but one) that I have done heavy play with they tend to really respond positively to being held after a scene. It gives the warmth and emotional connection that they need to feel after opening themselves and laying their bodies and minds bare before you during whatever deliciously dark things you did to them. This should including a gentle caress.
  • Keep her warm. Submissives have a tendency to get cold after an intense scene. It might be that you have had them naked for three hours of beating their ass, or it might be the fan you put on the cool you down while you were having to stand there swinging a cane. It does not matter. Have a blanket on hand, put it over you both, keep her warm and hold her close while doing so.
  • Give her something to drink. I used to own a Masochist in the early 90s who would almost crave super sweet coffee after a heavy scene. I have my own theories about the reason it had to be so sweet but that is unimportant. The fact is that drinking (non-alcoholic) is good at this point. It is a normal activity, and it will help bring her back to her normal headspace. This is also important in that if the scene was long she would naturally be thirsty.

Do not suddenly put on bright lighting or expect her to participate in a discussion of philosophy. This time is all about remaining connected. If the dominate does not provide appropriate aftercare there can be negative effects on the headspace of the submissive – not to mention the obvious fact that she may choose to never play with him again.

Aftercare and Play Parties

If you are in the situation of being invited along, and attending, a play party as a BDSM newcomer the aftercare phase is something that you need to keep firmly in mind. This can be a time to see aftercare practices modelled for you by a variety of experienced dominants and tops.

One pitfall that newcomers sometimes fall into is rushing up to ask a dominant about his/her scene immediately, or soon, after it has finished – thinking they have done the right thing by waiting and not interrupting the scene itself. They are correct that waiting and not interrupting the scene is the right thing to do; however, they also need to wait and not interrupt the aftercare period. The submissive may still be floating merrily in subspace, and the dominant might still be in his own headspace too. This is a time where those people will be bonding, and sharing the pleasure/result of what just happened. Give them time, watch how the dominant takes care of the submissive, and smile. Those moments are just as special (to me) as the moments during the scene itself.

Sub drop

Sub drop is a temporary state of depression that can be experienced after play by either masochists of submissives. It can be minimised through excellent aftercare however it is not something that you can always guarantee avoiding – the mind is a very complex thing and different experiences can touch on deep triggers that the dominant and submissive both were not previously aware of.

The ‘drop’ can occur anything from a few hours to a few days after play – and it is something that in no way reflects badly on the submissive. It is a known process that many people go through.

After play, for the next few days, you should regularly check in on the person that you have played with. Those check ins are important so that you can make sure they are not going through a ‘drop’ process – and provide the support that they may need if they are.

In sum

I hope that this small chapter in my BDSM guide series for newcomers has been useful to you in some way. If you have any questions and you think we might be able to help – feel free to ask us. Please leave your comments, feedback and ideas for ways to improve this guide below.

The next episode in this series will tackle the somewhat contentious topic ofGorean BDSM – both online and in real life. 🙂

Further Reading

Don’t forget to read the other parts in this series of guides. The currently available other parts are:

Mar 142015
 

Kia Ora and welcome to both FetLife and BDSM

Recently we have been thinking about the difficulties faced by new comers as they arrive to Fetlife and BDSM. What prompted us to be thinking about that you might ask? – well… we have been receiving quite a few mails from new folks who were new kind of confused about what they should or should not be doing.

So what are these new folks like?

Perhaps they have been thinking about their darker fantasies for a long time and are finally seeking that moment of self justification, or maybe they are just newly curious – either way it is a big step and one that people deserve to be able to make safely and with dignity. Unfortunately it can be a little overwhelming at times, not only as here is a lot to learn, as there can be a circle of less scrupulous and perhaps even wolfish dominants prowling around new arrivals almost instantly with gleaming eyes seeking out their ‘fresh meat’. Consequently, over time we will be writing up and posting a series of help guides for people who are newly arriving to the community and not quite sure about what to do to take those first steps – just to try to help set them get onto a less bumpy path and find the joy of their kinks more easily.

What makes me a good person to welcome you/them like this? Nothing. I simply have enough confidence to assume that it may be something worth doing – and I do have a couple of decades experience as an active Sadist and Master (originally my M/s background was Gorean). 😉

In this episode…

I am going to talk about the getting started on Fetlife. It will cover the following topics in a basic way:

  • Am I normal? Is it ok to be here?
  • A basic definition for BDSM
  • Profile Basics (BDSM Status, Relationship Status, Descriptive test)
  • Picture Basics
  • Helpful starter Groups to join
  • First Contact and dealing with Mr/s Pushy
  • Other online places to go: I want more!

The sections about BDSM status and Relationship status are lifted from a welcome that I wrote for newcomers associated with 50 Shades of Grey.

I would also like to acknowledge another Southland Dom (sleeveluver), who I discussed this project with after posting my welcome guide for ‘50 Shaders’, as he had a couple of good ideas about things I could add to this too.

Further Reading

Don’t forget to read the other parts in this series of guides. The currently available other parts are:

Give this some love 🙂

If you are reading this go on and press the Love button. It will give it wider circulation and therefore help it find the news feeds of more newly arrived kinksters. It is in all of our interests to help them integrate into our community as swiftly as possible by providing them with as much information as we can.

Can I share this?

I am happy for you to share this or repost it anywhere on the web that you choose – just do the right thing and attribute it to 2Jays on Fetlife.com. I would also prefer that it remained unedited, and included the entire post (such as this bit and the rest of the above introduction).

Document Version History

Version 1.1

  • Added WordWize (A collection of writings about BDSM) to the list of general groups.
  • Added a Further Reading list with links to the other chapters in this series.
  • Corrected information about Collarme.com to be current with recent developments – thank you to Malkinius for pointing out that it was out of date.

Am I normal? Is it ok to be here?

My first response to questions like this is usually: “Your asking me if you are normal for liking BDSM? You know I am a self-confessed Sadist?”

Seriously however… normal is a construct that has no place in reference to a person’s sexuality. In the 1950’s we falsely felt that homosexuals were abnormal and had mental issues. Thankfully that abhorrent diagnosis is now swept aside – and here in New Zealand we even have completely legal same sex marriages. While we are a long way from achieving such status for lovers of BDSM the slow process is taking place. Films such as The Secretary and 50 Shades of Grey are helping with that process. Novels are helping. Word of mouth is heping. Fetlife is helping. You simply need to understand that while you are ok, and your sexuality is something that is fine and good, society is sometimes a bit slow in catching up.

I strongly believe that it is fine to be here. I have been an active participant in legitimate real life BDSM since about 1988. (That said I do recall playing games that involved naked tied up girls as far back as when I was in Elementary School – many years prior to that.) Supplementing that, I have been a member of different online communities (ranging from IRC to Second Life) on and off since the days of Windows 3.1 in the early 90s. Being connected to people like yourself, talking to them and sharing a learning pathway – about your chosen way of living and sexually expressing yourself – is a positive and empowering thing. It is a good choice.

A word of caution must however be whispered. In the past different BDSM communities have been ‘infiltrated’ by unscrupulous people and their members have been publicly ‘outed’. Simply follow the usual cyber safety precautions that would keep your identity safe if you do not want your employer, your mother or your children to one day be able to learn that you like to do this.

A basic definition of BDSM

BDSM is a range of different things to different people. The name breaks down into three different categories:

  • BD = Bondage and Discipline
  • DS = Dominance and Submission
  • SM = Sadism and Masochism

Then as a special bonus you can also find the letters for MS – Masters and slaves.

Around that framework you can think in the following terms:

  • Play = Play is what we do when we interact in a BDSM way. If you flog someone, if you get spanked, if urinating upon someone’s face, or if you have your partner on a leash and make them drink milk from a kitten bowl… you are playing. Play is a broad term for all BDSM and kink activities when they are being enacted. (I played with Betty last night, gave her a splendid paddling with my kauri frat paddle.)
  • The Scene = The Scene is the real life in person BDSM community. It will vary from place to place, and there are different subgroups within it (such as Old Guard) however it is a reasonably standard term. (There is a Scene workshop on tonight about figging. Figging is putting raw ginger in someone’s ass or vagina.)
  • A Scene = The area where your play is taking place, as well as the play. This is more commonly used than play for larger scale interactions that use a lot more equipment or toys. (Jill scened with Jack on the St Andrews Cross.)

Profile Basics

BDSM Status

The participants in BDSM have a range of titles as well, from pet to Daddy and from slave to Top. In setting up your profile you will need to select one of those roles. It is important to have at least a vague understanding of what those roles mean so that you identify yourself correctly to others, and you have a vague idea of what kind of person you are talking to.

So lets look at a few of the more common role types:

Uncommitted to BDSM roles

  • Vanilla = This means that you are not actually into BDSM and are just here to talk to someone, or look at naked boobie pictures… or some other reason… but you probably look at the boobies anyway.
  • Unsure = Unsure indicates that either you are not sure if you are really into kink yet – perhaps you are just curious, or, that you are just not quite positive what your role will be.

General Roles

  • Top = Someone who likes to tie people up, spank them, or perhaps use other toys on them, and actively do things to them for pleasure in the bedroom. Tops usually pair off with Bottoms. This role relates solely to a scene.
  • Bottom = Someone who likes to be tied up, spanked, or have a range of other toys used on them for pleasure in the bedroom. Bottoms usually pair off with Tops. This role relates solely to a scene.
  • Switch = Someone who likes to be both a Top and a Bottom. This type of person takes a role that relates solely to a scene – and then can swap roles for the next scene. The Switch classification can apply to someone who is a Top and Bottom or a Sadist and a Masochist depending on the situation.
  • Fetishist = A fetishist is someone who is primarily interested in one or more fetishes. They are not really into power exchange or general BDSM play.
  • Kinkster = This role definition is often chosen by people who are not experienced enough within the realms of BDSM to classify themselves more accurately. They know they like kinky sex, but so far that is about all they have worked out. Some experienced BDSM practitioners keep this role title by choice but that is not the norm.

D/s Play

D/s relationships are ones that include a combination of play, some power exchange and usually some role play (even if it is limited to just using honorific titles).

  • Dominant or Domme = Someone who likes to take control of their partner in the bedroom (and sometimes outside of it as well within pre-negotiated ways) and do things to them for pleasure. This can include everything that a Top does, and also usually includes some kind of roleplay such as being called Sir/Ma’am. This is the Top-like role where people begin exchanging power, yet usually it is only in small ways or at set times.
  • Submissive = Someone who likes to give up control to their partner in the bedroom (and sometimes outside of it as well within pre-negotiated ways) and have things done to them for pleasure. This could include bondage, flogging, spanking, paddling, humiliation or any number of a multitude of other activities. Usually it also includes some kind of roleplay such as calling their partner Sir/Ma’am. This is the Bottom-like role where people begin exchanging power, yet usually it is only in small ways or at set times.
  • Brat = This classification is usually used by a submissive with a bratty, or not naturally submissive, attitude. They are often slightly lippy and behave in ways that elicit spankings. Some Dominants like the challenge of bratty submissives, others simply find them irritating. This role title can however also be used by Bottoms, Ageplayers and Babygirls.
  • Daddy / Mommy = Someone who enjoys BDSM activities with a heavy amount of roleplay. The roleplay will include the other person calling them Daddy during intimate moments – and often includes interactions typical of a Daddy/daughter or similar relationship. Sometimes there will be a process of taking care of the other participant as well.
  • Ageplayer / Babygirl = Someone who usually engages in D/s interactions with a Daddy or Mommy dominant. These people might like to regress to the state of small children, or ‘littles’, where they may be bathed, have diapers and suck on pacifiers. Alternatively some Babygirls take the role of extremely sexualized young teens. These are submissive roles.
  • Pet = A pet is a submissive role within a D/s relationship. The title can be used as a term of endearment, or alternatively it can refer to the nature of the D/s interactions. There is a lot of variety in ‘pet’ styles.

S/m Play

  • Sadist = Someone who derives sexual pleasure from causing particular kinds of pain.
  • Masochist = Someone who derives sexual pleasure from receiving particular kinds of pain.

M/s Play

M/s is usually thought of – rightly or wrongly – as the most extreme form of the power exchange relationships. This kind of relationship almost always includes the use of honorific titles. M/s relationships often involve the use of ‘slave contracts’. M/s relationships , as a group, are a very broad ranging group of relationships so they can vary a lot.

  • Master / Mistress = Someone who takes control of their partner in the bedroom and often outside of it as well. The partner surrenders control over aspects of their life, sometimes progressively moving towards TPE (total power exchange) but sometimes just in an agreed set of ways. They do things to their partner for pleasure. This can include everything that a Top does, and also usually includes some kind of roleplay such as being called Master/Mistress. Generally Masters seek relationships with slaves.
  • Slave = A slave is someone who seeks a Master or Mistress. A slave surrenders control both inside and outside of the bedroom to form a power exchange relationship with their partner. The control surrendered can be limited to certain areas of life or it can be broader and cover all things in the case of TPE (total power exchange). Usually people start with a few areas then build up over time as trust grows and the bonds of the relationship deepen. The slave seeks to please their Owner in all things.
  • Kajira / kajirus = This is another name for a slave, and it specifically denotes the person as being actively involved with the M/s philosophy set out in the novels of Gor. Gor is a M/s setting (largely but not exclusively a heterosexual male led one) that features in the creative writing of John Norman. There are Gorean groups on Fetlife.com for people to discuss this M/s philosophy and there are Gorean roleplaying communities on Second Life. Kajira is the female role, kajirus is the male counterpart.

Relationship Status

Some of the status options should be easy to understand. I will just explain a few of the basic BDSM ones here. Translating these to Vanilla terms as briefly as possible, I would suggest that new Shaders view the terms in the following ways:

  • Under Protection = Either this person is new to kink and their partner is protecting them from the ‘wolves’ (read eager experienced dominants) until they build their confidence; OR; someone is being a pain in the ass so a dominant is looking out for the person; OR; an experienced dominant has marked this person as someone that they have first dibs upon once they learn more about BDSM
  • Play Partners = Dating. Playing, often sexually. This may or may not be exclusive.
  • Under Consideration = This one means that the person is being considered for ownership. They are off the market and in solid negotiations with one possible Owner until a final decision is made.
  • Owned and Collared = Think of this like married.

There are others but those are the basics.

Description Text

This field is a bit of a mystery, in that different people use it in different ways. I strongly suggest using it to explain what and who you are (do not reveal any identifying details though) and to explain what you are seeking. Be specific – if all you want is a chat on sunday afternoons then say it.

Picture Basics

You will probably want to add a picture to your profile. It will encourage more people to visit your profile, and lets face it, most folks will enjoy the attention it may attract. There are however a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, if you choose to post a photo of your face keep in mind that it will be on the internet – where anyone (including your mother, boss or twenty-something child) could find it. Secondly, if posting nudes keep in mind you should only be doing that if you are really totally and completely ok with it. Never post photos that are semi or totally nude just to make others happy. It has to be what you want – as you will have the permanent consequence of photos perhaps being ‘out there’.

There is the option to keep nudes or shots you feel more cautious about semi-private, and available to friends only.When you upload a picture, or at any time thereafter, there is a privacy setting that you can switch between visible to all Fetlifers or just visible to friends. You can also always delete pictures that you change your mind about.

Finally, keep in mind the powerful message in a song that is now a relic of the old ‘wild west’ days of the web.

Helpful starter Groups to join

General Groups for Everyone

Some more specific interest based groups

First Contact and dealing with Mr/s Pushy

Inevitably you will be contacted by a person with an interest in pursuing some kind of BDSM interaction with you at some point. Some people like that will be lovely. Others, not so much. The key is remembering that you are a human being and that no one ‘owns’ you or has the right to make you do things until you choose them specifically as the person to own you. You have the right to ignore anyone who is rude, or to tell them you don’t want to talk to them if you want. You can also use the block feature in Fetlife to stop receiving mail from them.

If they persist in being a pain you can report them, or you can get in touch with a friendly Dom who will tell them to go away on your behalf.

If you get really stuck send us a mail.

Other online places to go: I want more!

Ok so as a newcomer to BDSM you just want more!

Wanting to be social is normal – being new to BDSM and feeling like it is water and you are standing in a drought stricken wasteland… is normal too. Everyone goes through a period where they simply can not get enough.

In years past there were several viable options for BDSM folks online – aust.net, bondage.net and sex.net on the IRC network (basically dead compared to a decade ago); and web ads, forums and chat like www.bondage.com (now closed), www.collarme.com (gone after heavy amounts of public drama between the D/s couple that owned it) – which has reformed as collarspace.com and www.alt.com (currently being re-worked). In the mid-90s there was also a section of a larger virtual community called WBS that unofficially catered to BDSM, however the company that owned WBS was purchased by Disney and the Go Network… so you can imagine the outcome of that.

Along side all of those services there have been several 3D environments, almost like ‘games’ but in reality they are just interactive social meeting and BDSM online roleplaying or discussion tools, that have formed and developed. Of those the choice is definately Second Life.

Second Life

While many seasoned BDSM veterans shun online BDSM roleplay communities they do have a place for people who are not yet ready to take that next step – or who, due to life circumstances, just can’t right now.

Second Life is a 3D environment where there are developed and active BDSM roleplaying and discussion communities that cover most fetishes and interests.Second Life has the ability to highly customise your avatar, making it distinctlively what you want to be, and enables important things like voice chat.

In order to make the most out of your Second Life BDSM experience you may want to find out about RLV – which is a special piece of software that enables different BDSM controls within Second Life. I have not logged into Second Life for about five years but I am aware that it is still going strongly.

In sum

Welcome to BDSM. It has been an amazing journey for me, and is a part of my life so deeply ingrained that I could not be happy without it. There will be a range of people who will want to talk to you, and interact with you, keep in mind that just like everywhere else in the world some will be helpful and others will not. Everyone has their own reasons for what they do. Overall however, the BDSM community is very helpful and welcoming.

If you have any questions and you think we might be able to help – feel free toask us. 🙂

Further Reading

Don’t forget to read the other parts in this series of guides. The currently available other parts are:

Apr 022014
 

We are a community of anarchists and libertines so the point here is not to come up with 10 universal truths that apply to everyone. By definition we are a community that will and must rebel against any sense of structure or order. That being said if you are just starting out consider these as they have helped me.

1. Love Yourself

If your momma dropped you as a child and you are hoping that an adventure into BDSM will fix everything. Um it won’t. Find peace within and then seek adventures. If your soul is empty this community will not be a good place for you.

2. Pay it Forward

Through your journey hopefully you will meet some incredible people and enjoy wonderful experiences. Let the world catch you “Paying It Forward.” Even in your first year find ways to give back. Hint: The best way to attract good people is to be good people.

3. Pay Yourself First

You will be required to submit or lead others in a very intimate journey. Never let that submission or leadership take you away from your family, your hobbies, or your passions. If you loved skydiving before the journey then jump often. Any Top that is worth anything will want their bottom to pursue passions and hobbies that make them a stronger person and a better bottom.

4. Always Wear a Condom

Men man up. Women carry one and insist. There is nothing more loving than a woman that hands you a condom.

5. Context is King When Meeting New People

The internet is cool. Before the internet we responded to blind ads in the back of magazines or visited certain bars. Now it is easy to find a cute blond that is willing to move across the country and sit at your feet. But is that really wise. Someone that has a FetLife account and a cell phone means absolutely nothing. They could be a 14 year old, a police officer, or an ax murder. So what is context? A recommendation from a friend you trust, someone you meet at a munch that is known by others, or someone that you meet at a club that knows others. Do you want to meet safely then network at munches, conferences, and clubs. Make many non play partner friends (See number 2).

Context can also be vanilla. Do you know their mom? or where they work? Context attaches the other person to the real world. Predators do not like context. And really cool people thrive on it.

When you meet for the first time meet in a public place. Bring a friend. They can sit at the table with you or across the room. Have a safe call. Call them when you get there. Call them when you are leaving and call them when you are home safe and sound. Bottoms tell the potential Top that you need to make your safe call. Cool Tops will love the idea and be supportive.

6. The Bottom has all the Power

Submission is a gift. It is this gift that separates us from the act of rape, torture, and kidnapping. The Bottom has all the power and they gift that to you for a moment, a scene, a month or a lifetime. But it is a gift and it can be taken back at any time. Top Hint: Cherish the gift.

7. Safe Words are Our Friends

You are playing in a world where some give up control and others take control. Safe words are your super magic way to stop any scene. It may sound weird but screaming or saying no or crying may not be considered signs we should stop. (don’t panic eventually this will make sense.) Safe words are how a bottom takes back their gift. Use simple words like Red and Yellow.

Red should mean full immediate stop. Dress. Move to a safe neutral place and talk.

Yellow means warning. It means you need help.

Make sure anyone you play with knows the safe words and agrees to honor them.

8. Boundaries

There is a Chinese proverb: “Within any boundary there are an infinite number of possibilities.” There are many lists online. Know what you are interested in trying and what offends you. Be candid and discuss those boundaries before you play with anyone. Boundaries never bother me. Be very afraid of anyone that says they do not have any boundaries. They are either a liar or one step away from being the star of the next crime of the century.

9. Don’t Gossip

Praise in public. Rebuke in private. If you have something bad to say do it directly between you and the other person involved. Never get caught talking bad about others in public. Praise others often and publicly. Power Exchange is advanced human relationships. You are going to be in intimate relationships that are sexual or power exchange. You will be in uncharted territory. Along the way you will meet some people that just are not right for you. Have the courage to take the bad news and avoid the temptation smear the other persons reputation because you feel rejected. I detest gossips.

10. Drama

Drama is the lack of integrity and courage. Candidly if you don’t get the first 8 items in this list your experience in power exchange will be full of drama and gossip. Being the good person in the midst of adversity requires you to love and lead. Are you acting to be the center of attention? Are you acting out because you are afraid to be rejected or alone? Are you making noise because you can’t stand the silence? You are drama. Will Smith said it best: “Ain’t gonna start none. Ain’t gonna be none.”

Come on drama kings and queens. Now is your time to rise above yourself and love. Be creative. Create magic. Be a scribe. Do something constructive or at least go back to the the top of the list and work through the first 8.

I hope each of you have a wonderful journey.


Shared with permission of Kadansky

Nov 192013
 

Welcome to FindaMunch.com’s Bookshelf!

 

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Nov 072013
 

1. Looking for people in your area only

You want someone who is really into you, who gets you, who will take their time with you, be patient, be loving and caring, someone you don’t get tired of being with, someone you can grow with. Someone compatible. And you are really putting convenience as your first criteria? No one really wants long distance relationships. But limiting your search to your neighborhood is likely to cut down your chances to find that one special person that will ultimately change your life. *

2. They need to be into the same things

No, they don’t. If your significant someone likes the same band, the same movie, the same book like you, what are you going to show each other of the world? And if they are into the very same stuff, it is likely that you disagree in details, which may be the source of endless fights. You will find a richer partnership when you complete each other, rather than being into the same things.

3. Looking for the same age group only

People put too much weight into age as a number. Age is of course relative to life experience, but it’s not the only defining factor. Different people go through different phases in their lives at different stages. And not every 20 year old or 40 year old experiences the same things other people experience at their age. Of course age isn’t completely irrelevant with a partner, for various reasons. But you should be careful when making that number the defining factor that lets you decide whether someone is worth spending time with or not. Greater age gaps can lead to conflict sometimes, but they can also lead to a richer partnership experience.

4. Putting your judgement before your experience

We tend to take experiences with people and project them on other people. That’s just how humans are. It’s normal behavior. First impressions do count. But taking that impression and extrapolating it, imagining how this person may act under various life circumstances, simply kills the possibility that your future partner might swipe you off your feet. You need to provide time for mutual experiences to give space for something to happen. Spending some time with them and experiencing places, events and each other will give you the confidence to be able to say, you really want to be with them.

5. Searching for reasons why they are not right

You may think you’re not doing it, but it happens all the time. Especially when you are reading a person’s online profile. It happens more with dating or community sites than it happens in regular life. Because in person, when we meet someone, we rely more on the immediate impression: facial expressions, humor, natural laughs, their timing, the vibe of a person. Online, your only tool is your analytical brain and it is searching for feelings, so you overanalyze everything you see from this person. This filter can be incredibly misleading. Give experiences a chance.

6. “I don’t have time for this, but I really want my ideal partner”

Finding the right partner means work. Seriously, if you want someone great, a half-assed effort isn’t going to cut it. When you meet someone, you need to dedicate yourself to it, showing them you want this to happen as much as they do. It’s an effort. It takes time. It also means acting before overthinking. Don’t hesitate, don’t push it away, let experiences invade your life.

7. Thinking you need to change yourself to find someone who wants you

Dealing with rejection is not easy. No one deals well with that, not even the toughest among us. And yes, it’s personal. You showed your true self and they did not want it. But you know what? They might feel you’re too old, too fat, too young, too inexperienced, have hanging boobs, a too short cock, a too big ass. Finding why they didn’t want you is not so hard. What you should find are reasons why someone would want you. And everyone has plenty of them. There is no such thing as a person without any qualities. Even with the toughest among us.

8. Relying on a type, your specific idea of an ideal partner

This may come as a surprise. But most people who come together as a couple were not their ideal partners. They may think that after a while of being togehter, but they most certainly didn’t know this in the beginning. If you want specific qualities in a partner, try making them as broad as possible. Be flexible with yourself. It’s too easy to use your narrow filter to dismiss every chance that someone could become the partner you want to be with, not just the partner you want.

9. Committing too early, or not at all

One of the hardest things to figure out is to know when you’re falling in love or when you’re loving someone. The former is a chemical reaction in your body and it takes about two to four weeks to fade out. The latter means you really care about someone. And you may think one is the other, or that it is all “magical” and it shouldn’t be so rationalized. Maybe so. But it’s easy to commit while you’re in love, and even easier to pass the chance of commitment. Sooner or later you are sobering up and then you ask yourself if you really care for them. This goes back to mutual experiences. Nothing forges a relationship more than what you have together.

10. Putting their looks first

This may be the toughest of them all. We all feel attracted to certain features in people. Be it their aura, the way they talk, their intelligence or their looks. And looks are really important, more than we may admit. It’s an evolutionary treat we inherited from our ancestors 65,000 years ago: selecting a mate by physical features, such as strength, health and beauty. To say attraction plays no important role in the mating game would be dismissive of being human. However, it’s too easy to put physical attraction first and filter people early, because they are not fit enough, don’t have a flat belly, or their upper teeth are too big. The question you should ask yourself is whether these things will be the reasons that make your relationship work, many years from here. What bothers you now may be something you don’t even notice in a few years, or it is part of why you feel familiar and home with your partner.

  • (Note: Point #1 caused some confusion. I am not proposing long distance relationships. But if you feel your connection with your partner is strong enough and you want to be together, but the distance is too great, find a way to come together. Being together, living together in the same space is worth the effort.)

Written by and shared with permission from Danaus

Nov 072013
 

When I was asked to do this class I realized that I had not yet written it out. This is going to be a hybrid of several talks I have done over the years at my submissives munch downriver. So very often new submissives enter the community with all of the wide-eyed wonder of Alice in wonderland and explore our community in much the same way. In truth dominants are no different they have many new expectations and a brave new world to explore.The expectations if both are based in the fantasies created by erotic fiction and porn. It almost never measures up to the reality. In fact the reality of the BDSM community that we are not all the pretty people, that it is not all sex, s&m and good times can be disappointing to some. The fact that BDSM relationships are in fact relationships that require clear communication of BOTH your wants needs, and desires can be startling.

In fact they require deeper connections and deeper communication than the vanilla world. New submissives often expect to be swept away, overwhelmed, and consumed by their Master. To have no limits, for their new master to simply know them better than they know themselves, and to not have their wants or needs to matter because the Master simply fulfills them in some magical way. New dominants expect to simply be able to take and demand…to just be themselves and fill their needs, wants, and desires without compromise. They can become power hungry and some ways and forget at times that Master must master himself first and foremost. This is not Wonderland.

Both can develop a type of frenzy that causes them to think with the little head and not the big one. The desire to play, to own or be owned can be overwhelming and a driving force. It causes people to forget themselves, their manners, and safety. To agree to things that they would never agree to in the vanilla word because this is a different world. It causes both sides of the slash to check common sense with the coat check girl.

This discussion is going to focus on two main points, which are safety and protocol, but you will find that in many ways it will veer into personal responsibility and general common sense etiquette. Some of the points I want to be certain to cover are munches, play parties, negotiation, play, safewords, and kinky dating.

A recent conversation with a not so long ago new to the community dominant reminded me of the kid in a candy store mentality that can occur and some of the immediate misconceptions. The biggest concern of the new submissive is that everyone will think she is up for grabs and will be overwhelmed. Many new dominants do think that every submissive is up for grabs and will bend to their will. Both will quickly find themselves wrong. One will be happy about it. Over and over when I suggest to new people that they go to a munch they ask what that is and what is expected of them.

A munch is a very low protocol event. It is one where people gather in a vanilla place, in vanilla attire, with mostly vanilla conversations. Yes people discuss kinky things, the upcoming events and what they did last weekend but most discussion revolves around the more mundane.

Some things to consider…

You are responsible for your introduction to the community.

This means YOU and only you can make yourself feel truly welcome at any event. You cannot depend on others to welcome you with open arms unless you greet them with them.

If you go into any event (lifestyle or vanilla) barely saying a word, sitting off by yourself, not smiling what is your result going to be? It will be to feel outcast and not welcomed.

A few months ago MasterGrizly were attending the Last Friday Munch. Has anyone attended this one? It is held in Utica in a large Bigby Coffee house in a semi private room that is reserved each last Friday for us. It often has new people in attendance. This particular munch has several new people in attendance. The first set of new people arrived separately but at the same time. They were two women who did not know each other. Each in their own time introduced themselves to the event host who in turn introduced them to others. They both went and got their coffee, and joined the crowd. Both smiled even if shyly and chatted in a friendly way with others. They sat with other people and gave off a warm vibe.

The third showed up about twenty minutes later. Our host introduced himself, introduced the gentleman to a couple people (myself included) and then excused himself.

I was commiserating with a friend about her roommate issues but I watched the room. He left and got coffee. The room was filled with about twenty people. Some sitting at small tables, some walking about and chatting. The new guy sat down at an empty table separate from all the others.

Rookie Mistake 1: When you separate yourself from the crowd half to 2/3 of the room will not approach you. You have announced that you are uncomfortable and people feel overwhelming you, depending on how you are projecting to the room (especially as a man) they may also find you mildly creepy or disconcerting.  As I reminded my friend she chose this roommate I watched no less than four people approach the new man. Each talk with him briefly, he didn’t appear to make eye contact and had little to say. My Master sat with him briefly and after a minute or two the little table fell silent.

Rookie Mistake 2: When people approach to talk with you answer with more than yes or no because people will not spend their social time trying to drag it out of you.

After a while I was tasked to find out who was going to dinner and where they preferred. I spoke with the gentleman briefly inviting him along. He said no. I asked what he thought of the munch and he said something like crowded. I had a task to finish and report back about.

He left soon after and that was the first time he got up from his table all night.
The other two newbies both came along to dinner.

A few days later the man posted on a group about how cliquesh the group was. How no one talked to him in more than passing. How he sat by himself most of the night. The other newbies posted about what a lovely time they had on the same thread.

By my count he spoke to no less than seven people. He was approached by at least five(counting myself) who attempted to have a conversation with him. There were about twenty in the room that night. I would say its a pretty decent number of people approaching him.

I can honestly say I have seen nearly the identical occurrence many times over and even at play parties.

It seems to put an unfair responsibility on newbies to actually socialize, to have to approach people but the fact is as you can see from my example the only reason he didn’t interact more was he didn’t seize an opportunity.

I think munches are very newbie friendly. Especially in this area. But the truth is you have to be receptive to what people are saying or doing. Just like any given situation people will only reach out so much..”

I will tell you time and again we hear how wonderful munches are. How people felt welcome and included. How they made new friends and connections.

So to review…

  • go in smiling
  • join the group itself (physically sit with them)
  • join the conversation
  • give full answers and ask real questions. What I mean is don’t just say yes or no.
  • let people know that you are new: if there are hosts or greeters, they may be able to introduce you to some friendly faces
  • don’t worry about staying for the duration of the event

 

Some specific protocol about attending a munch it is a low protocol event and no one is expected (or encouraged) to kneel or bow. You will not be able to identify most people’s “labels” just by looking at them. For this reason, I will emphasize the low protocol portion.

Just because the erotic books suggest that all submissives run around BDSM events saying Sir or Maam as a matter of protocol does not make it true. Many dominants prefer not to be addressed as such by someone who is not in service to them. Many submissives feel it is giving undo respect. Still others like myself view it as a sign of general respect and do say Sir and Maam. This is something that you must be comfortable with and anyone who demands that you call them Sir is what I like to call wrong. It is for you to decide. I personally call everyone Sir or Maam until asked to do otherwise. It is how I was raised and it is what expected of me by my Master.

Dominants, back to the erotica of the visual kind, especially at a munch submissives are not going to be kneeling naked waiting for the newest domly one to beck or call and treating a stranger as if she were your submissive will only earn you scorn from them.

No matter what labels you choose walking into your first munch should be a wonderful experience. It can be a little overwhelming to the socially awkward or shy. I encourage you to contact the munch organizers and say hello beforehand. All the event hosts that I know are happy to answer such messages. They will encourage you to introduce yourself to them when you arrive so they can introduce you to others. Another suggestion is introducing yourself on their board if they have one on fetlife. Or you can’t post in Michigan BDSM and say you are attending.

Most munches are held in restaurants, bars, and coffeehouses and are in generally safe neighborhoods. However that does not mean you should not consider your own safety first. No one and I mean no one is responsible for your safety except yourself. So use common sense. While the event organizer will likely be happy to help and many will walk people to their cars or send someone else as an example. Please do not depend on that. If it is in an area you are unfamiliar with do a practice drive before or be certain you are familiar with the directions. Nothing makes an already new experience more stressful than getting lost.

Wear something you are comfortable with and do not attempt to fit a role. If you are comfortable in your clothing, you can focus on the experience. It also makes it easier to pay attention to your environment. Be comfortable, be you, but don’t look like a shlub.

Don’t accept candy from strangers, except maybe Fetvest. It is just like your mom told you when people offer things it may be too good to be true. Yes 95% of people are excellent people that will be essentially harmless (until there is consent) but you don’t know that. So buy your beverage and keep an eye on it.
Use the brains you were given and evaluate every situation as it occurs with them and not your clit or dick. I have a friend who went to her first munch, met someone, played with them and ended up with a permanent scar when he crossed a line. She told me the whole time she knew she was making a mistake but so badly wanted to play. This is a classic example of the frenzy I discussed earlier.

When leaving the munch use the same basic common sense you use whenever walking to your car at night. Pay attention to your environment.

Play Parties are another thing that often get people wound up with visions of orgies dancing in their heads. Play parties are events where people can go to socialize and participate in BDSM play. The vast majority do not allow sex or penetration. This is due to state legalities and not being party poopers. There are also rules about nudity, those held in public locations cannot have nipples showing on ladies and underwear is required for everyone.

It is entirely natural to feel a little overwhelmed the first time you attend a play party. There will be a great deal to cause some type of sensory overload with loud music, semi naked bodies, and interesting things to watch and hear.

It is perfectly acceptable to be nervous and even a little put-off by some of the things you might see. As long as you state it politely and without judgment, no one will think poorly of you for saying “I’d rather stay here by the bar than go watch a scene” or” watching this is making me a little uncomfortable, I’m going to go back to the bar.” While operating Detroitspace at a Christmas party a woman and her heavy bottom requested permission to do a staple gun scene. MasterGrizly knowing them approved the scene. She used a heavy industrial staple gun to attach Christmas lights to his body. This was not a bloody scene but rather an incidental amount of blood as the staples were removed. Still it was overwhelming for some new people and they move to the social area and away from it.

All events have rules in some way shape or form. You go to a tennis match and there will be rules for both the players and the audience. Just like a tennis match most play parties have referees and these are commonly known as dungeon monitors or DMs.


Some of the more common rules for play spaces are…

  • Do not make assumptions. Negotiate all scenes. Do not assume that the presence of someone at this party means they are available.
  • Never touch anyone, their equipment, or belongings without permission.
  • Privacy and discretion are to be respected. All information about party activities, attendees, etc. is to be considered confidential. Do not bring cameras or other recording devices. What you see here. What you do here. What you hear here. Stays here after you leave here.
  • Treat everyone with equal respect — Doms, Subs, Switches, and Staff alike.
  • Play sober. While some events allow alcohol playing after drinking to excess is unsafe for everyone. DMs will stop you.
  • Smoking will be allowed in established smoking areas only.
  • Please be prepared with something to cover your more daring clothing — or lack thereof — when you go outside the party space.
  • No genital or anal penetration, oral sex or exchange of bodily fluids.
  • Solicitation for sexual services is not allowed. No pay for play.
  • Please agree on safe words for scenes. “Red” will be a default safe word. A safe word is a word used to stop all play.
  • Respect scenes. Limit conversation and screaming in the play area. Don’t crowd the playing areas. Do not involve yourself in a scene without an invitation THIS INCLUDES ROPE AND AFTERCARE. The moment someone approaches the piece of equipment to the moment they leave the equipment it is the scene. Do not engage them. Do not interrupt. Many rope scenes are not done on a piece of equipment but in a chair or a table on the outskirts of the social area or play area. This is still a scene and you should not interrupt.
  • Respect the play space. Clean up after scenes. Your mother does not work here.
  • Limit play to the play space. Do not engage in play outside the play space.
  • Dungeon Monitors have the final word on everything including the right to stop an unsafe or abusive scene. Check with the DM before engaging in any play you may find extreme or unusual (waxing, cupping, flash paper, etc.), piercing, or bloodspots.

One of the things I was asked to emphasize in this class is safety and for that reason, I am going to hammer home the importance of not interrupting scenes. Not only is it damaging to headspace but it can be potentially harmful to the bottom in the scene.

Let’s ignore the headspace aspect for a moment and consider the skills involved. I have no idea your skills but let’s assume for a moment you are carefully cutting up carrots, lost in the process and thinking about work the next day and someone comes up and starts talking to you. Have you ever jumped and cut the next slice to thick? Or been startled and maybe nicked yourself? This is equally true in BDSM. If someone is focusing on hitting the correct place, sliding a very sharp knife down the body, using fire, or throwing a single tail any one of those things done wrong can cause harm. Interrupting people while they do those things has the potential to cause harm.

Yes there is a headspace created some will describe it as Dom space or subspace. It can be euphoric and wonderful and it can be other things. Have you never had sex with someone and it was so good you felt lost in your own world and your phone rings and jars you back to earth? Same thing here except it is also playing with the duality of pleasure and pain.

I would ask why someone felt their question, comment was so important they needed to interrupt and why anyone would feel it acceptable to insert themselves into someone’s interactions. Except I know at times it is an insatiable curiosity and lack of awareness of what the interruption may cause.

To further expand on the safety concern is being hit by flying equipment or hitting others. If you are sitting or walking close enough to a scene where a whip is involved (or really any implement) that you get hit its on you. It truly is. In the dungeons we have managed and attended there is something like a 10 ft square area that should not be invaded. If you invade it and get hit that is on you. If you as a top cannot create such a space then you should not be playing with implements that go outside of whatever safe space you can create.

In the majority of play events there is not an emphasis on a single protocol. If there is, often-they are specialized events announce that they are high protocol, gorean, or something else. The rules will be posted at the event and likely to some degree in their announcements.

At all other events follow vanilla manners and in general this will make you safe and respected. Manners go a long way.

Say please and thank you as appropriate.

Do not touch what is not yours in any way. This means people and things.

Do not assume familiarity. This is a tricky one for new people. I am a hugger as an example and if I have met you at least once before (and sometimes it doesn’t take that) I will hug you. But that doesn’t mean you should assume its ok to hug me. We know people who are our friends for years who still ask permission to hug me. My best friend will come by and goose me but it does not make it open season on my tush. Another example is the use of names and nicknames with people. Do not go up to a submissive and call them “slut” or any other “nickname”. I do not care if they are wearing a dress with the word slut written all over it and it is stamped on their forehead. Introduce yourself first and get an introduction in return.

Submissives, in a desire to be pleasing to dominants you may decide to go the road of calling them Sir or Maam. I will not discourage that. I will however blatantly discourage calling them simply Master or Mistress. It is considered presumptive. However calling my Sir, MasterGrizly is not being overly familiar. It is also not calling him Master. It is not submitting to him. It is choosing to address him as he introduces himself. I personally view it no differently than someone calling me liltala.

Some protocols that are often utilized but not universal are…
When meeting a couple do not where one is clearly the submissive and the other the dominant. Introduce yourself to the dominant first and allow him to introduce you to the submissive.

A collar generally is a symbol of a relationship. It often means the submissive or slave is not available. Exceptions exist when n doubt ask.

At a play party pick up play or casual play may work for you. Meeting someone and deciding to do a scene in a public place where others can intervene if you feel the need can be fun. That said do not allow you to be gagged and be certain to negotiate clearly what is and is not acceptable. Just because the rules say penetration is out does not mean this stranger will accept that fact. Make it clear. Dominants public play can be a very good thing for you as well. It helps you build a reputation as a safe player. It allows you to play with new people without concern of next day regrets. I do not at any other time advocate pick up or casual play except at public play events. If there is someone you are interested in playing with ask. Talk to the DMs and see if they are familiar with them.

Remember the friend I mentioned who did pick up play at a munch and now has a scar? I count her as a lucky person because it could have been worse. Still we only hear about the cars that blow up and not the ones who drive every day without issue. Yes, some people do casual play and never get hurt. I personally am not comfortable with that risk benefit analysis

I will point blank make this statement DO NOT TALK TO SOMEONE ONLINE WHO IS A COMPLETE STRANGER TO YOU AND MEET THEM TO PLAY THE SAME NIGHT. To put this in real terms would you go into a bar meet someone, say hi and then suggest they tie you up and beat you with various implements? No? Then what gives the impression it is safe to go on collarme or fetlife and do the same? It’s not safe.

What do I encourage? A little bit of kink dating.

  • Talk for a while online or on the phone first. See a picture if possible. Get to know them a bit.
  • Meet in public, like a coffee shop, restaurant or a Munch.
  • Arrive separately and early if possible so that you are first inside. This advice is often given to submissives to prevent a predator from seeing the type of car they drive and discourage someone from following them.
  • Let someone know where you’re going, and arrange to check in with them or have them call you. I don’t advocate safe calls in general as they create a false sense of security. When the police in Detroit don’t arrive for 90 minutes for a gun shot wound what makes you think “she missed my call and is on a date” will have a better reception? Yet there is no harm in letting someone know where you are going. A fun exercise is to see how the other person reacts to you having a “safe call” and if a dominant suggests it means you don’t trust them then tell the truth “You are right. I don’t trust you yet.”
  • Often people tell new submissives to ask for the dominants drivers’ license info and call a friend with it. I will be blunt. Fuck that noise. I am not going to show you my driver’s license with my home address on it to stalk me or steal my id. I would never ask a dominant to do that. I would discourage any dominant from doing that
  • Don’t drink alcohol. It dulls your reflexes and is a mind altering substance. If you cannot meet them and meet with them sober you need to reevaluate.
  • Don’t assume you are with someone safe and also don’t assume they are an axe murderer. Both ends of the spectrum carry their own danger. One you are too relaxed and the other too hyper vigilant. Treat them as you would treat anyone else with the correct amount of caution to keep yourself safe.
  • Don’t plan to invite this person back to your home, hotel room, or any place where you will be out of the public eye. Seriously play time and sex will still be there when you get to know them better.
  • Don’t ignore first impressions. The gut feeling or something told me feeling has saved many people’s lives.

 

After you have met and gotten to know each other in person and there is chemistry the next you will want to do is play…ok maybe sex. The first thing I will say is this is where negotiations, limits and safe words come in.

A friend of mine came and presented at the submissives munch with a discussion on negotiation and this part is heavily borrowed from her. She suggests people write up a page for negotiation much in the same fashion as you write a list for the market or to go to the doctor.

Likes
This is where you list what you’re into. List kinks and themes that you like in your play. It’s a good place to talk about things you have experienced in the past and enjoy.
Likes which need specific negotiations I have a few kinks that need to be discussed in more detail before I just give people a free pass to do them. As an example suspension of any type, needle and fire play are very much on my specific negotiations list. Some may call these soft limits.

Things I would like to try. This section is terrific for new people but also experienced ones. If you meet someone that does something you have never done before then list it here. The BDSM checklist can be very useful here. Fill out and learn a great deal about these terms by googling them. It will help you to not agree to things you do not understand. It will also be a neat benchmark to growth. Fill one out as you just begin and do it again in a year and see how much has changed.

Hard Limits
EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE HARD LIMITS! This should include everything from very general moral limits (I don’t do animals) to types of play you dislike (blood play, scat, etc.) to personal triggers. Everyone has a past and we all have things that bother us or set us off. Even if you think your limit is weird or “should” be harmless, list it. Someone I know likes to say “everything is off the table unless it is on the table.” This means if we didn’t discuss it then don’t frickin do it. Dominants you have limits as well. There are things you are willing and unwilling to do. Since you are directing the action in the scene you may not feel it needed to verbalize all of them during negotiations but you should still be fully aware of them. You may not need to say you so not like humiliation play but you need to be aware of that. To recognize when someone says that’s their main kink that it becomes a no go for you.

Safe Words
What your safeword is and what it means to you. In public play settings most of the time the safe word is red and people utilize the traffic light system. Red means stop, yellow means slow, and green is gogogo.However in relationships people may choose a different word or have a different meaning. I will use “red” as a hard stop with anyone but MasterGrizly but we are currently at the point together that my “red” means he checks on me, problem solves and moves on. More on those in a minute…

Health Issues
This is really really important. Your partner should be aware of all health conditions and how they might affect play and what to do if there is a problem. List everything, even if you don’t think it will be a problem. Better to be safe than sorry. This goes for both sides of the slash…I want to know if the person tying me up and playing with me may have an asthma attack from over exertion and leave me vulnerable.

Mental/Emotional Issues
Your partner needs to know if you have particular phobias, triggers or general areas of anxiety. If you have panic attacks, they need to know. You don’t need to go into details necessarily, but let people know some basics.

Aftercare
I know this can be a hot button issue for some folks but it should always be discussed. Everyone has different needs for aftercare. of time. Tops don’t be afraid to ask for aftercare, too. You put energy into a scene too and have a right to some TLC. For many this means cuddles, reassuring words, a blanket, a drink and some food. For others it may be a pat on the ass and a cigarette. Aftercare is what you need or do not need immediately following a scene.

Safe words
Ok at the outset I am not saying safewords are the be all and end all of safety. Given my druthers I would not use one in my current or future relationships. MasterGrizly happens to find them a good communication tool. I do too in the end but that is only when they are used as one.

  • Use your safeword as the communication tool it is intended to be and not a measurement of your submission, slavelyness, or anything else. It is intended to communicate that there is an issue.
  • If you agree to a safeword and refuse to utilize it and are harmed as a direct result of that do not blame the dominant. In all things we are responsible for our actions. Yes, MasterGrizly pays close attention to my reactions both physical and mental. However if I am feeling dizzy and nauseous and do not safeword my throwing up on the cross is not his fault. Its mine. I chose to ignore my body and paid the price.
  • If you agreed to a safeword and choose to not use it because it may spoil the fun. You are doing more damage than saying “red”.
  • If you agreed to utilize a safeword and do not use it for any of the above reasons that communicates to me the dominant cannot be trusted as a play partner. You have at the outset agreed to do something and then do not do it. You have chosen to not communicate with them and changed the experience.
  • If you agree to use a safeword and do not you risk harming a dominant or top’s reputation in the public community. No one will remember that you were a dumbass who refused to safeword. They will say “Bob played with a girl until she puked all over the cross. He isn’t a safe player.” That’s harmful to him.
  • If you agree to use a safeword and refuse to use it and are harmed in some way the dominant could not predict you will cause them to question their skills, create guilt, and in general piss them off. That is probably not the desired outcome you are seeking.
  • If you cannot verbalize a safeword for any reason during play then don’t agree to one. Utilize a safe signal or have a spotter. You can also utilize the drop signal that is to hold something like keys, a ball, a hanky and drop it when there is an issue. Do not agree to something you know that you cannot do. EXAMPLE – Sir
  • If you are someone who is generally unwilling to use your safeword because you insist on measuring your submission by it or feel guilt over it then communicate that prior to play. And then choose to utilize another communication method such as plain words, a spotter, a signal

Ok so we have covered negotiating what will happen, limits, safe words and talked a bit about safe calls.

I normally advocated public play for your first experience. As a standard it is safer for both the dominant and the submissive. It is safer for the submissive in the its highly unlikely that she will be raped, taken past her limits etc. The dominant finds it useful because it is one protection against next day regrets of the submissive. I know it is a fear of dominants that the submissive will change their mind and say they were assaulted or that their limits were violated or hell they were violated. It is unfortunate that just like false rape reports in the vanilla world these types of false reports exist here.

That said not everyone has a play party near them once a month much less the multiple times per month we have in Michigan.

If you are going to play in private for the first time I highly recommend the following.

  • Have that safe call. Once again do not use it as a crutch but someone knowing where you are and when you will return is good. This is good for both sides of the slash. Seriously dominants can be hurt as well.
  • Do not allow yourself to be bound or gagged. It is a lot easier to violate limits when the victim is fully immobilized.
  • Be prepared for any issues. This means have a small first aid kit in your car and comfortable clothes such as jeans, tennis shoes and a hoodie.
  • Don’t depend on this person for aftercare fully. Have a friend available to you for emotional or physical comfort as needed.

Not everyone needs to attend public functions or chooses to play publically. This class discusses some of the ways to navigate the public community including munches, play parties, and overall safety in play. I hope it aided in giving you a little insight into wonderland.

 


Written by and shared with permission from liltala

Sep 272013
 

Version 1.4, written 8/14/03
Copyright 2003 by Jay Wiseman, JD

Author of “SM 101: A Realistic Introduction” and “Jay Wiseman’s Erotic Bondage Handbook” — and other books published by Greenery Press. Please contact the author at jaywiseman@yahoo.com or via his publisher for reprinting and reposting requests.


Hello and welcome to the munch! Perhaps this is your first munch. Perhaps this is your first BDSM event of any kind. Congratulations for contacting what many of us call the BDSM community (or, more simply, “the scene”). You are on the threshold of meeting many new people, having many new experiences, and both learning and growing a great deal. By the way, “BDSM” is a general, overall term for what we do. The term is pronounced just like its letters – B D S M – and represents a compression of the phrases “bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism.”

1. What is a BDSM munch?

In broad outline, a BDSM munch is an informal gathering of people with an interest in BDSM so that they can eat and socialize. Please note that munches tend to be social events, not educational events. If you’d like to learn more about BDSM, please see the end of this document. Most munches are held in restaurants, often in a special room or area of the restaurant. Munches tend to be informal affairs with relatively little structure or protocol. (If there is something special about a particular munch’s structure or protocol, and you haven’t already been informed of what it is, don’t worry too much. You’ll likely be told what you need to know about that before the gathering gets well underway.) Most munches are publicized primarily online, and the Internet figures prominently in their history and development.

2. How did munches get started?

Munches were started in the early 1990s by people who had an interest in BDSM and who were also online. (The Internet had not yet gone really mainstream.) These people began meeting at local restaurants. On the west coast, the original gatherings were held in Palo Alto, California, and called “burger munches.” After a while, particularly as the Internet grew in popularity, the idea caught on and similar gatherings began to be organized in other cities. Today, these “munches” as they are now called, are held in dozens of cities across the country and also in some foreign countries. Their number continues to grow. (Munches continue in Palo Alto to this day.)

3. What kinds of people attend BDSM munches?

People who attend munches can vary widely, however as a group they tend to be highly intelligent, highly imaginative, and highly individualistic. Essentially all attendees have a personal interest in BDSM. Most munches have a designated host or hosts who are informally – but firmly, if need be – in overall charge of the event. Some munches are especially intended for certain types of people such as people of a certain age range or people with an interest in a particular aspect of BDSM play, and these are usually specifically advertised as such. While munches are definitely open to people of all sexual orientations, most have something of a mixed-gender, heterosexual/bisexual tone to them. People who cross-dress and transgendered people also sometimes attend. (If you have an interest in one-gender events, the munch hosts will likely be able to make a referral.) Munches are almost always “for adults only” and persons under 18 should not be brought unless the ground rules of the munch specifically state that they are welcome.

4. What should I wear?

Most munches do not have a specific dress code so, in general, “reasonably presentable” clothing appropriate to the season will be fine. “A bit of black” will usually go over well. Dressing up in “high fetish” clothing is not necessary and may be inappropriate for the event unless you have been told otherwise beforehand. On the other hand, showing up in highly informal clothing may not make the best first impression either. Don’t be too surprised if you see people wearing items of black leather clothing or footwear, and please try to not look too shocked if you see someone happily eating and chatting away while wearing a collar of leather or steel locked around their neck.

5. Confidentiality.

There is a strong rule in this community, sometimes spoken and sometimes not but always there, that the privacy of event attendees is protected. Please remember that people are here to interact regarding a highly personal aspect of themselves, so once you leave keep your mouth shut about the identities of who you saw there, what they said and did, and so forth. For example, if you saw a co-worker at a munch, keep quiet about that when you return to work. (Although you may find that you and the co-worker will want to arrange a private lunch or after-work coffee date, or at least trade the occasional knowing smile.) Violating the confidentiality rule can get you shunned and banned. Be advised that some people use “scene names” instead of their legal name, so please don’t feel too surprised to learn that someone calls themselves “Master Tom,” “Slave Pat,” or “Cruella.” By the way, titles are often omitted in direct personal conversation, so you are not expected to address him as ” Master Tom” unless he is _your_ master. (And until you’ve _both_ agreed that he’s your master, he isn’t.)

6. Special Terminology.

BDSM people often use scene-related jargon to let others know what activities they enjoy. For example, if a woman were to refer to herself as a “bi poly switch” this would indicate that she was, to a greater or lesser degree 1) bisexual, 2) poly amorous (basically, someone who has intimate relationships, which can include sex, with more than one person) and 3) enjoyed at least some aspects of both the dominant and the submissive roles. People who prefer the “dominant” role may refer to themselves as dominants, masters, daddies, or tops. People who prefer the “submissive” role may refer to themselves as submissives, slaves, or bottoms. (I put “dominant” and “submissive” in quotes because the scope of these terms is subject to lots of debate within our community.) By the way, don’t be surprised if you’re asked if you’re a top or a bottom, or something similar. If you’re not sure yet, it’s fine to reply that you’re still exploring that question. Consider asking what those terms mean to them.

7. Behavior Tips.

Because protecting the privacy of attendees is so important, it can be discourteous to ask someone direct, specific questions about what they do for a living, what company they work for, details about where they live, if they’re in a committed relationship, and so forth. It’s fine if they volunteer such information (some people are very “out” and forthright, a few almost too much so [grin]), but don’t probe. If someone asks you a direct question that you don’t feel comfortable answering, a simple reply of “I’d rather not say just now” is entirely appropriate. (They shouldn’t ask again, at least at that event.) It’s generally fine to have some beer or wine with your food if you wish, but make sure you don’t drink alcohol to the point where your behavior becomes a problem. By the way, given that non-BDSM people, including children, are probably also at the restaurant and may be able to see into the room where the munch is being held, explicit BDSM behavior is generally frowned upon.

8. Dealing with the restaurant staff.

Be exceptionally courteous and friendly to the staff. Violating this rule can make a seriously bad impression on the munch hosts. When it comes time to pay, be sure to pay your full share plus a generous tip. You can score a few extra points as a team player if you bring along some one-dollar and five-dollar bills to help the other attendees make change.

9. The etiquette of touching and personal space.

The BDSM community is a bit “touchy” about when, where, and why it’s OK for one person to touch another. While ordinary social handshakes are usually fine (some “old school” men observe the etiquette rule that a gentleman never offers his hand to a lady but rather waits for her to offer hers, if she chooses to) more intimate touching such as hugging and so forth is reserved for people who already know each other well. (Because a lot of the people attending already know each other well, you may see a lot of hugging.) A good general rule is to not touch another person’s body, clothing, or BDSM equipment without first obtaining their specific permission – and don’t be too aggressive about asking for that permission. It’s especially wise for men to be cautious regarding touching women that they don’t already know very well. Whatever you do, don’t touch another person in a “dominant” manner unless you’re very certain that you have permission. (If the person is wearing a collar, there’s a good chance that they are in an ongoing dominant/submissive relationship and that the person they are collared to is also at the event, so it’s wise to get explicit and specific permission from that person beforehand as well.)

Also, if another person touches you in a dominant manner without your permission, it is entirely appropriate to let them clearly know that you didn’t appreciate that, and also to notify the munch hosts about this. This is true even if this is your first event and the other person seems to be well-known and prominent. If they are making you feel uncomfortable with their behavior, there is a very good chance that they are also making other attendees uncomfortable as well and the hosts need to know about that.

Make sure that you keep a respectful distance from the other attendees. Men need to be especially mindful on this point. Sitting too close to a woman whom you don’t know well, “friendly” hugs or other touching, and looming over a woman in a “dominant” manner can quickly get you a bad reputation that is hard to shake. (Women in the community tend to be somewhat close-knit. Offend one of them with boorish behavior and many other women will quickly learn about it.)

10. Munches are not highly screened.

Munches are often publicly advertised and are generally open to all attendees who can observe a few basic rules of social conduct. What this means is that very little can be certain about a person’s level of knowledge, experience, or trustworthiness from the mere fact that they are at a munch. While most attendees are fine in this regard, every now and then someone attends that you most definitely do not want to find yourself alone with – particularly if you’re tied up! An excellent way to deal with this is simply to give things time. There is certainly no need to go back to somebody’s house and engage in BDSM play with them on the same day that you meet them. Doing so can be especially risky. Remember this saying because it’s very important: Time is your best friend. Take your time, give it time, and let time do its work on your behalf. With enough time – and often a surprisingly short amount of it – the right thing to do usually becomes clear. Never let anybody rush you.

11. Exchanging personal information.

Because preserving the privacy of attendees is so important, if you’d like to have further contact with someone after a munch a good general rule is to offer your telephone number or email address to them instead of asking them to give you that information about themselves. (Ladies, this means that if you meet a man that you’d like to see again and he gives you such information about himself, you’ll have to make the next move and contact him.) Some people have special email addresses created to handle scene-related emails. (YourRealName@YourWorkplace.com might not be the best email address to give to someone until you get to know them really well.) Some people create special business-type cards that contain contact information that they’re willing to have fairly widely available, such as their scene name and their special email address. You can either have these printed in quantity or use your word processor to print them out in small batches. (Your local office supply store will have “business card” paper.)

12. Reputations, references, warnings, and politics.

If you meet someone and you’re thinking about engaging in BDSM play with them, perhaps particularly if you’re thinking about taking the submissive or bottom role when you play, you might want to ask around a bit to see how this person is generally regarded. Because genuinely dangerous predators are usually spotted and driven from the mainstream community fairly quickly, if someone is well-known and generally well thought of, the probability that they are genuinely dangerous is fairly low (but not non-existent). The BDSM community is somewhat known for attracting people with strong personalities and strong opinions. (Some of the people with the strongest personalities and opinions usually take the submissive role during BDSM play.) Therefore, a certain amount of social/political feuding is something of the norm. This is usually very low-key at a munch, but there may be good reasons why two people are sitting on opposite sides of the room from each other. How this pertains to you is that if someone comes up to you and gives you an unsolicited warning bout another person, you might want to keep in mind that your “helpful friend” may have an agenda regarding that other person that they are not being candid about. Once again, time is your best friend.

13. Getting together after the munch.

Munches are social affairs, and it is not at all uncommon for people who meet at a munch to wish to get together later on. This can be for further socializing, for a private meal, or even for the purpose of a BDSM play date. This can be, and usually is, just fine. However, remember that munch attendees are not highly screened so take your time in getting to know this person (that “time” thing again) before meeting them for a BDSM play date, particularly in private. Note: a standard safety precaution, especially recommended when doing BDSM play with someone new in private, is to tell a trusted person where you’ll be, who you’ll be with, and when you’ll be back in touch, and then before you play to politely let your potential partner know that you’ve done so. This is known as a “silent alarm” or “safe call” and you should be taught the details of how to set one up very early in your BDSM education. Reputable players should have little problem with this and may even take the initiative in telling you that you should set one up. (Don’t be surprised, or offended, if they do so as well. Such a device is a standard safety precaution.)

14. Special symbols.

Sometimes people wear their keys on their left hip to show that hey prefer the top or dominant role or wear their keys on their right hip to show that they prefer the bottom or submissive role. If you see someone wearing a collar of metal, leather, or some other material, there is a pretty good chance that they are the submissive or slave in an ongoing BDSM relationship. Sometimes people wear colored handkerchiefs in their left or right hip pockets to indicate an interest in a particular activity. For example, a gray handkerchief often indicates an interest in bondage. In general, wearing the handkerchief in the left hip pocket indicates an interest in being the dominant or active partner during the activity and in the right hip pocket often indicates an interest in being the submissive or passive partner. Note: sometimes a handkerchief is just a handkerchief. If you’re not sure, it’s fine to ask someone if their handkerchief has some sort of special significance.

15. Cruising and Aggressive Cruising.

Munches are social events, and one of the main reasons people attend munches is to meet new people. Their goal regarding meeting new people can range from socializing together, attending events together, playing together, some of the above, all of the above, and even more. Indeed, it is not particularly unusual for people to meet at a munch and eventually end up in a long-term, committed relationship. “Cruising” is a term describing the behavior of people who are making special efforts to meet new people. “Aggressive cruising” is a term for people who come on so strongly, especially to new attendees, that the other person becomes uncomfortable. You don’t want to get a reputation for doing this. There is no sharp distinction between cruising and aggressive cruising, but there is an old joke about how anybody (particularly somebody that you don’t like) who gets the phone number or email address of a person that you’re attracted to before you get that information is guilty of aggressive cruising.

16. “Swarming” and “Chopped Liver.”

“Swarming” is a condition in which a newcomer gets a lot of “welcoming” attention. It happens with some frequency to women who attend by themselves. In such a situation, the woman may be approached by numerous men, and even some women or couples, for conversation and may leave the event with a large handful of phone numbers and email addresses in their possession. If you’re a woman and are concerned about this, you might want to attend your first munch with a companion.

“Chopped liver,” on the other hand, is a condition in which someone attends a munch and receives very little attention. Sadly, this often happens to single men who are not yet well known. Fortunately, if such men continue to attend munches and other events, they should make friends before too long. There is always room in the BDSM community for another ethical, friendly single man.

17. Introductions and announcements.

Many munches have a special time period, usually shortly after the starting time, where people are asked in turn to say something about themselves to the group. This is usually a short statement about their name and their general interests. For example, I might stand up and say, “My name is Jay, I’m a switch, and I really enjoy rope bondage.” Someone else might say, “My name is Patricia, I’m a dominant, and I’m really into giving spankings.” A third person might say, “My name is Kelly. I’m a submissive and a pain slut, and I’m a slave to Master John.” You get the idea. When your turn comes, if you’re not sure what to say, simply state either your first name or the name that you’d like to be called by, and that you’re a novice. If you’re attending your first munch, it’s fine to mention that as well. There may also be a period where people announce various BDSM-related events, workshops, and so forth.

18. Arrive on Time.

Munches tend to operate on something of a timetable. For example, food is often mostly ordered by a certain time, announcements are given at a particular time, and so forth. Therefore, arriving “fashionably late” may not work out well at all. Arriving no later than about 15 minutes after the official starting time usually works better.

19. Don’t make up your mind too quickly about a particular munch.

If you attended a munch, had a good time, and plan to return, that’s great. If you attended and didn’t have such a good time, and are not sure about returning, please don’t feel too discouraged. Consider coming back at least another time or two before writing off a particular munch forever. Given their highly variable nature, you can have a very good experience at a munch that you previously didn’t have all that good an experience at. However, if you’ve attended three times and not enjoyed yourself or connected with the people to any significant degree, it may be time to seek another munch or other activity.

20. Where to learn more about BDSM.

Munches are not educational events, however there is almost an embarrassment of riches available to people wanting to learn more about BDSM. Literature regarding some of these resources may be on hand at the munch. Available resources include websites, books and videos (ahem), classes, workshops, parties, socials, and private lessons. Excellent resources exist in every major city, and also in quite a few smaller-sized cities. Some cities have events especially intended for BDSM newcomers, so you might want to be especially alert for information about those events. To get you started, I will refer you to two excellent “gateway resources” – one on the east coast and one on the west coast. (These are called “gateway resources” because they will quickly lead you to numerous other equally excellent resources, all over the country, including resources near you.) On the east coast, check out the website of TES in New York City. On the west coast, check out the website of the Society of Janus in San Francisco. By the time you’ve spent half an hour on each website exploring its content and links, you should have a good overall idea of what educational resources are available to you.

My best wishes to you in your explorations. Please remember that time is your best friend. See you at the munch!


Note # 1: This document is always a work in progress. Feedback is welcome and may be sent to jaywiseman@yahoo.com

Note # 2: This document may be freely posted on websites that do not require payment to access. Please contact me regarding reprinting or reposting in other venues.

Note # 3: I’m the author of several books pertaining to health, relationships, and sexuality, especially BDSM. My best known book is “SM 101: A Realistic Introduction.” I’ve also produced a how-to video regarding basic rope bondage. My books and videos are fairly widely available. including here on this website.

Sep 222013
 

Are you new to BDSM and/or the kink community?

I’d like to offer some suggestions on how to have a good first experience in BDSM and ask my friends to give suggestions too. It seems that more and more newbies are having horrible first experiences that may scare them off for a time or even for good.

None of us can help you have a good experience if you don’t help yourself first. And please remember, even if you’ve had a bad start, there are great people out there too.

1. Slow down. Stop listening to your hormones and use your brain. You have just started in something that you have YEARS to explore. Nothing needs to be rushed into. Nothing is such a great need that it has to happen RIGHT NOW. There are going to be urges to throw caution to the wind and just dive in and most new folks have it. There’s a name for it. Sub frenzy. Look it up. And yes, tops/doms can go into the same sort of frenzy.

2. If someone is pressuring you to do things you don’t feel comfortable with, or rushing you along, or is trying to isolate you from other people from the start, take a look at their motivations really hard. Also, read up on negotiation. Whatever your role, you get to choose the experiences you want to have. You don’t have to trade your body to get an experience.

3. Non-sexual play does exist. MANY of us are more than happy to give you a taste of various forms of play without trying to fuck you, take your picture or exploit you. If you are being told you have to do X in order to get Y, take a hard look at what their motivations are. Figure out if that is OK with you or not.

4. Ask for references. References are merely a starting point and are mostly opinions or perceptions from other people BUT a person’s overall reputation in the community usually has some truth in it. Look for more than one reference and don’t just talk to the people that they suggest you talk to. Some people ARE private players only, and that’s OK. They may not have references, or they may be new. That doesn’t make them dangerous, it just means you may be taking a bigger risk and you need to be aware of that. In all cases, take your time.

If someone is insulted or upset about your desire to get references, you should wonder why. ASK around about people even if you’re the TOP. You’d be surprised how many predatory submissives are out there. You should not blindly trust anyone, not even group leaders. Get references.

5. Nobody is selfless. If someone is offering to help you and claims altruism, they are not being completely honest with you. We all get something out of it even if it’s just the joy of seeing someone have a phenomenal time and be successful.

6. Limits lists are just the start of a conversation. You don’t have to have a fully thought out and detailed list of limits in order to play. Some people will try to take advantage of your inexperience and claim that it wasn’t on your limits list, so they aren’t in the wrong. Try negotiating what you want to do, instead of what you don’t want to do. Ask them what they want to do and if you agree to do that, make them aware that anything beyond what they have stated is a limit.

7. Beware of people who want to re-negotiate in scene. Many of us get a little loopy when in a scene. If someone is trying to get you to do more than what you agreed to in the first place, question their motivations. Why ask you once you are in an altered state?

8. You own yourself unless you agreed to be owned by someone else. As such, you are responsible for protecting yourself, being an advocate for your own needs and wants, and maintaining your own integrity. Even if you’re 18. Make good choices for yourself. If something feels “off” or you’re feeling really uncomfortable or pressured, back off and slow down.

9. Sharks are people who prey on newbies. Some sharks are relatively benign and beneficial. They like the energy newbies bring to play and enjoy giving them new experiences. Some sharks are well aware that ONLY newbies will give them the time of day and that it won’t last long. So they look to get whatever they can as quickly as they can. They know the stock phrases and cliches that work well on newbies and use them liberally.

10. You don’t have to play without limits or safewords to prove yourself. Some of us don’t use safewords, but have other mechanisms in place. Some people have been together so long and their limits are so in sync that they don’t have to openly discuss limits with each other. Safewords are not bad words. They are just a communication tool. Use them when you need to and don’t feel bad about it.

11. Tops/Dominants have limits too.

12. Mentors are not people who are training you to be their slave/sub. They are people who are helping you explore who you are and what you want to be. Different mentors will have different methods, and you don’t have to just have one. Mentors don’t own you, they are an adviser.

13. Be aware that the “community” is NOT safe, but that doesn’t mean it’s dangerous either. It’s like a kitchen. There are things/people here that can hurt you, but with a little thought and caution and education, it can be a comfortable, creative and fun place to explore.

14. Educate yourself. Learn about various activities and toys and how to use them. Even if you’re on the bottom, knowing how a toy should be used will help you be more aware of whether you’re playing with an experienced top or not.

15. You weren’t just hatched from an egg yesterday. Use your life experiences and common sense to guide you. If you have tended to make poor decisions about the people in your life, take greater precautions. If you’ve made great decisions about people, continue to trust your gut and listen to your instincts.

This entry has been revised a bit and will continue to be updated.


Written by and shared with permission of devlyn.

Sep 202013
 

Based on a conversation I had today, I wanted to jot some things down that were told to me when I started in the lifestyle and helped me (I think) be a little bit less of the idiot I could have been. These are things that helped me, however, may not be applicable for everyone. These are not in any particular order. I may come back and reorder them later. And forgive the typos.

Edited to add — Responding on a couple of comments/requests, feel free to repost or link back here. Thank you for finding it interesting and worthy of such.

1. You will fuck up

New Dominants WILL make mistakes. It’s a fact of life. To be fair, experienced Dominants will make mistakes. Intermediate Dominants will make mistakes. If you are a Dominant or think you want to be a Dominant, you will make a mistake.

Accept it and move on.

The only thing that makes a mistake worse is not learning from them. Use them as opportunities to grow and learn. Talk to people about them. Figure out what went wrong then incorporate that and try not to do it again.

If you act like everything you do is perfect and without flaw, then you are an idiot and whoever plays or submits to you will also be an idiot. Because none of us are perfect. But what we can do is try to learn from the mistake and improve our skills.

2. Beating someone does not make you a Dominant.

Any idiot can be taught how to use a flogger, cane, crop, do rope, punch, kick, etc. The list goes on. Simply because you have become adept at kicking someone’s ass is not the mark of a Dominant. At best, it makes you a Top. For the record, there is nothing wrong with being a Top. But not every Top is a Dominant. For many people, they are completely different terms.

There is much more to being a Dominant than simply engaging in play. Do not confuse with what happens in a scene as an overall relationship role.

3. Ask questions

Ask as many questions as you can of who you can. For every pompous jackass out there who thinks they are too good to help out a new person, there are several more who are more than willing to assist new Dominants. You can learn something from almost everyone, even if it is what not to do or what you don’t want to do. The more questions you ask of individuals the more informed you will become. And don’t limit yourself to just Dominants. There are submissives and slaves out there with a wealth of experience and knowledge who you can draw from as well. Their knowledge is just as valid as a Dominants, so talk to them.

4. Be realistic about who and what you are

If you give yourself a title such as Sir or Master or Mistress and you have only been in the scene a few months, prepare to be mocked and laughed at. Seriously. It’s not cool. Now, of course, you are free to refer to yourself in any way you see fit. Likewise, people are free to respond in a way that THEY see fit. If you are 26, 36 or 56 years old and have one been involved for 3 months, perhaps calling yourself MasterTony isn’t the best idea. And expecting people to refer to you as such probably isn’t going to fly.

Understand that there are people who go years before attaching a monicker to themselves or before the community gives them that title. Respect that. Don’t make a mockery of their time and energy simply because you thought it would be cool to add Master or Mistress to your name. Especially if you aren’t one yet (emphasis on yet — because who knows, it very well could happen).

5. Just because you saw someone do it, doesn’t mean you can

So you went to a private play party or went to a demo and saw someone do something really cool and interesting. The person doing it made it look so easy that you are sure, with your vast intelligence, that you can do it as well, right?

Wrong!

The reason they made it look easy is because probably they’ve been doing it for a while. They’ve had a bunch of practice and have studied it. They didn’t just decide that one day they would punch someone in the crotch without looking into all of the things that go into that punch.

So when you see something cool that you want to try, refer to item #3. Ask the person questions, provided their scene is over or maybe at the conclusion of the demo. If they are giving a demonstration, then they are there to answer questions, so ask them and make sure you figure out how to do that cool thing before you try it.

6. Real Dominants eat pussy. Real Dominants suck cock.

The notion that Dominants don’t or shouldn’t perform oral sex is one of the most ridiculous ideas that has been around. As if the mere act of putting your mouth on someone’s genitals denotes Dominance or submission. Dominants can take it up the ass too. It doesn’t matter. Sexual acts do not define a Dominant. The mind does.

7. Not all women are submissive. Not all men are Dominant.

If you believe that, I’d like to introduce you to a few people who will bear personal testimony to that. Do not default to the notion that scene orientation is defined by gender. It’s not and your time in this lifestyle, especially if you interact with the public scene, will be a lot easier if you accept and incorporate that fact into your psyche.

8. Honor someone’s relationship dynamic

Many people have many different dynamics and protocols in this lifestyle. When in doubt, revert to Item #3. But when made aware of them, do not dismiss them simply because you think they are silly. In reality, they may be. But if you are or want to interact with individuals who have a certain dynamic/protocol, there are only two options. Either honor it to associate with them or don’t deal with them at all. Since that is what they have decided for themselves, your opinion will have little or no impact, so complaining or whining about it will do nothing. One day you may develop dynamics or protocols that others may find strange. Think how you would want to be treated in that situation and then behave accordingly. It’s funny how there are those who will ask to touch someone’s toys but think they can treat someone’s partner however they want. A bit weird.

9. Not all slaves are submissives. Some Dominants do bottom.

There may come the time when you run into a really, REALLY sadistic person. Every now and then, you will find out that said person may actually be a slave. There are some slaves who put the most sadistic Dominants to shame. Trust me on this one. But don’t judge.

You also may see or read an account of a Dominant who likes getting flogged or caned. Don’t be surprised. And don’t judge.

You may discover that you may enjoy the feel of a flogger or a cane. If that is what you like, go for it. It will NOT diminish you, except in the eyes of the petty people.

For some people, things can be more fluid then one is lead to believe. A Dominant can get the crap beat out of them and still remain a Dominant. It’s not always the play that matters. It’s the mindset. There are times when some things are just physical. It’s the way the scene works at time.

10. Dominant =/= Sadist

Not every Dominant is a Sadist. Not every Dominant enjoys causing a great deal of pain. Not every Dominant wants people in a pile of subbie goo.

11. Don’t measure yourself by someone else

You have to develop your own style. You have to what makes you tick and why. Don’t do things just because someone else is doing them or it seems cool or because the hot little potential sub is really begging for it. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you. People are best at what truly inspires them not because of what is cool and hip. While, like high school, there is peer pressure in the BDSM scene/lifestyle, you have the choice as to whether or not you follow it, or follow your own path.

12. Keep an open mind

There are things as a new person that you do not like that in 2 or 3 or 10 years you will totally be into. Be sure to try out and learn about different things. You never know what turns you off today will totally rock your socks tomorrow. So keep an open eye and an open mind. It will work to your benefit in the long run.

13. Question yourself

A Dominant who doesn’t question themselves isn’t much of a Dominant. One of the tricks to being a good Dominant (if you are interested in such a thing) is looking and re-examining your actions as a Dominant. Figure out what you did and why you did it. The answers will not always come easy and they may not always be pleasant. But self-awareness and introspection are two crucial tools in a Dominants play box. Use them and use them often.

14. You can’t learn everything over the internet.

The Internet will NOT teach you how to be a good Dominant. It will barely teach you how to be a good Top. The Internet is filled with tons of really good information. It’s filled with a bunch of stupid shit too. You cannot teach yourself everything. This is a common misconception. Because, how can you teach yourself something you don’t know? Seek out others who are experienced and if you are so inclined, find a mentor. If you don’t want to find a mentor, establish your own “tribe” (i.e., group of friends). Use them as a sounding board and an advice corner. Get information from as many different people as you can, then make it your own. Do not rely on sites like FetLife for your information. There is a lot more to this stuff than will ever appear on Fet.

15. Be honest about your experience

If you’ve been involved in BDSM for 10 years, but 9 of those years have been online, be honest about that. Don’t lie about parties, clubs, dungeons, or events. Be honest about your experience, or lack thereof. You will gain more respect from others that way and it will also accelerate your ability to learn. It will also potentially draw the more experienced to you if you don’t pretend that you know everything already. One thing about the lifestyle is usually, a honest and experienced person, Dom or sub, can smell bullshit a mile away.

16. Try to figure out what type of Dominant you want to be and work towards that

As mentioned previously, there are many types of Dominants. What type you will be will be up to you. But when you find a style that fits, run with it. Endeavor to be the best you can be by learning as much as you can about that particular style, infusing your own style along with it. And don’t be afraid to switch gears when its not working for you. After all, this is your journey and your path. You are responsible for it.

17. Switches are not confused.

This is an old adage. Switches are no more confused than bisexuals are. If you can accept the notion of a bisexual person, you can accept the notion of a switch. You may not understand, you may not get it or you may not be comfortable with the notion of a switch. Who cares? If you’re not a switch, then it doesn’t mean anything. But switches are a part of our community and their role should be respected just as much as you want yours respected.

18. Never trust a big butt and a smile (or tits or cock)

Since the dawn of civilization, a pretty or handsome face has been the downfall of many people. Don’t be one of them. Sure it’s easy to find someone so physically attractive that that is all you see. But remember, people are more than their physical appearance. Just because you like big tits or a big cock does not mean that should be the primary motivating factor. If you want a relationship, then go for that — and hope that the person you are in a relationship actually does have the big tits or cock of your dreams.

19. Not everyone has to submit to you

You are not everyone’s Dominant. Not everyone has to call you Sir or Ma’am or bow down and kiss your ring (or boots). That type of deference comes with experience and proving yourself. Just because you see yourself as a Dominant, doesn’t mean everyone else will. Treat submissives in a manner that shows basic respect and consideration. Don’t allow yourself to get Domlier-than-thou and think you can run rough shod over someone else. Others have a choice and they have the right to exercise that choice. You cannot make a decision for someone else that you are not in a relationship with.

20. Never stop learning

No matter how much you learn, or how many people you talk to or how many classes or demos you attend, you will never stop being able to learn something. There are many nuances and subtleties to this lifestyle that take a lifetime to master and incorporate. Everything cannot be learned in a few months or years. Always be open to learning something new. Always be open to the fact that someone can teach you something new. The more you learn, the better you will be. Even if you have been involved for 30 years, there will still be something for you to learn and grow from.

 Copied from and shared with permission from this post, written by _Min_.
Aug 082013
 

I’ve been collecting writings on safety for all walks of the community and I figure it might be time for me to write my own, based on my past experiences in the lifestyle.

I walked into my first D/s relationship as a completely naive sub.

I thought it went “What Master wants, Master gets” the problem with that statement was that I didn’t add “WITHIN REASON” to the end of it. I didn’t realize how unhealthy our relationship was for me and stayed in it for 6 to 7 years (I want to say close to ten but I stopped counting after 6ish); staying because I hadn’t known any other kind of D/s relationship. It took five friends (three of them from Fet and two vanillas who had a pretty good grasp of the lifestyle) and one very persistant Domme to help break my “I know i’m doing this right” mindset.

After I left that relationship my life took an extremely positive incline. I compare from journal entries how much my self esteem, confiedence, and self worth has risen since then and every day im astonished by the results. Had it not been for those persistant people I would still be stuck in that relationship;

My hopes with this writing consist simply of this: To help new submissives, who thought like I did, avoid ending up in the same kind of relationship and to hopefully give them some insight into what is crossing the line, even from the Dom side.

Disclaimer: this writing does not target Dom/mes as a whole and should not be used to generically group them all as being awful, there are many many good Doms and Dommes out there, but hopefully this writing will help you spot ones that are abusive of the power exchange

So, here are the “But I shouldn’t…” Yes you should! ‘s

1. ARGUE WITH YOUR DOM/ME
I know there are subs reading this saying “lol wut?” and maybe a few Dom/mes who wish I was within whipping distance, but hear me out before you get gun-ho on me. If your Dom/me orders you to do something that you are incapable of physically, financially, or otherwise you have the right to express that. If they persist, ARGUE seriously, do it…. and if you’re afraid of “being punished” I’ll say this,bare the crop to spare yourself from the crap. A Dom/me who consistantly pushes you for there own gain is not a Dom/me, and you are not (or shouldn’t be) their doormat.

2. DONT ACCEPT A GUILT TRIP
If it feels like a guilt trip, GET OUT NOW. If you state you can’t comply with something and your Dom/me starts, crying, shaming, or throwing a tantrum don’t stay with them. If a Dom/me does this and finds one that works he/she will keep using it to get their way which will mentally exaust a submissive, and tear down their/your self confiendence.

3. DONT LET A DOM/ME DEFINE YOUR ROLE FOR YOU
The best I can do to explain this is give an example; I came into the lifestyle as a “pet” my Domme said “No you’re going to be a slave for me” and gave me only slave duties with out allowing me to enter pet space. No Dom/me, no matter how much you want to belong to them, should re-define your role for you. If you want to change your role that is a descion that is to be made soleyBY YOU not by any one else. If you want to experiment with a new role talk to your Dom/me about it, but if you know what role you want to stick with, stick with it and don’t let some one else decide that it should change, you are a human being and no matter how dominated you are, you have your own thoughts.

4. KNOW WHAT YOUR ROLE INTALES
The last year or two of my unhealthy relationship my Domme decided my bank account was part of her shopping budget and rather than sit and talk to me about adding anything finance wise to our relationship it was just “I need this (pair of $300 shoes), go buy it” and I would take it as an order with out realizing that “house slave” and “financial sub” were two completely different roles. No one can define the exact duties of any given role because every relationship is different, but if something seems completely out of bounds stop and think “Does this fit the role I signed up for?” if not speak up and explain why you think it doesn’t. Not even time spent in a relationship should trample your consent and all changes should be discussed before enforced.

5. DONT SHY FROM YOUR COMMUNITY
If your “almighty” Dom/me tells you to avoid the community… The Dom/me is probably the one you should be avoiding. If they want you to avoid the community they probably
A) Have never interacted with the community themselves
B) Are insecure about losing you to some one who is actually experienced
C) Are banned from the local events because of the way they’ve treated subs in the past and don’t want you to become aware of it
Your community is not your enemy, no matter how big and bad your Dom/me tries to make it look, the community is there to help you learn about healthy relationships, there is no reason to keep you from that if you want to explore it.

6. COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE
I can’t express that word enough, if you have a problem with the relationship talk to your dominant about it. If they can’t drop the dominant role for a few minutes to talk to you about what you feel needs improvement then you aren’t in a D/s relationship, you’re in an abusive one.

7. DONT SPOIL YOUR DOM/ME OUT OF HABIT
hides from pissed off Dommes– If they haven’t ordered you to buy them something (assuming it was agreed they were allowed to do that from the begining) and its not their birthday, don’t get in the habit of buying your Dominant random gifts. I love my Dom/mes just as much as the next person, and an occasional “just cuz” gift is ok but if it becomes a consistant habit (like a “just cuz” gift every month) an abusive Dom/me will take this as a signal that its ok to start waving expensive merchindise they want in your face with intent of you buying it and then get upset with you when you can’t deliver.

8. “NO” IS NOT “MAYBE”
Be firm in your serious refusals. Don’t shift to “ok fine… I guess” if you’ve said “no”; … “no” is fucking “NO”

9. ASK WHEN YOU NEED REASSURANCE
You are a human, not a fortress. Both you and your Dominant should know that, it is ok to ask for reassurance when you are insecure, if you hear “Stop your whining/crying its annoying” when you don’t do it that often or aren’t in a scene that calls for it you might have a problem.

10. DONT TAKE A HARD LIMIT AS PUNISHMENT
The Wartenberg wheel use to be a hard limit of mine and as a punishment it would be run all over my shoulders, arms, and neck if I didn’t behave. There is a difference between punishing a submissive and using their anxieties to scare the ever loving shit out of them, if its a hard limit IT DOES NOT QUALIFY TO BE A PUNISHMENT.

11. IF YOU ARE PAYING A BILL ASK FOR THE PAPERWORK
Medical, mechanical, whatever; if you’re paying for it you have a right to see the bill and keep track of your expense, if you don’t see paperwork but you see a new coach purse you’re probably not paying the bill you’re being told you’re paying

12. A HARD LIMIT IS A HARD LIMIT UNTIL YOU SAY IT ISN’T
Just as you shouldn’t let your Dom/me define your role, you shouldn’t allow them to define your limits either. Dramatic example: If a Dom/me came up to me with a taser and said “We are going to try this on you” after I already said “No” I’d tell them to put that pocket pikachu away before I make them eat it. As much as I’d like to bottom for electrical play, I can’t because of my brain tumor, that makes it a hard limit. It can not and will not be done to me, some hard limits can be shifted but ONLY BY YOUR CONSENT, not by another person’s consent.

13. DONT TAKE “GIFTS” AS EXCUSES
If a Dom/me ignores your needs and won’t talk about them with you, but then suddenly gives you a little of something you’ve been wanting Play wise ( like a pat on the head, a quick yank to the collar, a “good boy/girl”) but doesn’t do that normally, thats not a “gift” its called a “snare”, and its an abusive technique to reel a sub back in that starts to realize they aren’t being treated kindly.
Snared sub Example;
“I don’t like that Master makes fun of me in front of her friends or that she gets mad when I ask her to stop, but… Master pet me yesterday, shes never done that, it was a big thing for me.”

Hopefully I’ve written this well and it can be helpful in some way, if I think of more points ill be sure to update it.


Originally posted here, shared with permission of and written by Teething_Pup

Aug 082013
 

Munches are just great aren’t they? A free social event where you can meet other kinky people, maybe even find that elusive compatible partner. The door is open, and you are welcome.

But it didn’t work out so well, did it? You felt left out, no one wanted to talk to you, and it seemed like you weren’t so welcome after all. Just a clique of people who all seem to know each other, all talking and laughing away, enjoying themselves. What went wrong?

You didn’t have any munch technique. In fact everyone there was perfectly willing to meet you, chat to you, even to make friends with you, but you just didn’t know how to approach it. So listen, and learn.

1. Appear confident
It doesn’t matter if you are confident or not, you just have to appear to be. Just pretend. Act as if you are. Most people aren’t actually as confident as they make out, they’re just better at making the effort to function socially. Don’t over do it, but just make yourself extra bright and positive for a while. Go on, you can do it.

2. Empathise
Feel a bit nervous, little bit daunted? Understand that most people feel the same about social situations until they settle down and relax. Even the most experienced munchers are wondering if they are going to enjoy it this time. Everyone is in the same boat, to some extent, you’re probably not alone in feeling a little tense to begin with.

3. Be polite
A little courtesy goes a long way if you’re meeting new people. When someone new hoves into view people are thinking – is this person going to be ok? Being courteous tells them that you probably are.

4. Don’t bore people
Someone is happy to meet you and exchange a few words. They may not want to hear your life story, or be treated to a lengthy diatribe about your pet topic. When you’ve got to know someone they may want to hear about it, not now. Conversation involves a mixture of talking and listening – try to do both.

5. Show an interest
The easiest way to get on with most people is to show a genuine interest in them. Try doing a bit of research, look at people’s profiles before you go and see what they are interested in. Ask them about it. Chances are they will be pleased you have shown an interest in them – let’s hope they will observe point 4!

6. Climb out of your shell
In order to socialise with people you have to forget your self-absorption. Think about how other people are feeling, and stop worrying about yourself. They have problems too, they have just decided to forget about them for a while and enjoy the occasion. Do the same.

7. Keep it zipped
Perhaps there are people there you find attractive. Keep it to yourself. If you get on well with someone a little light flirting may be fine, but people who don’t know you will almost always find overt sexual interest a real turn-off. Relax, take it easy. Remember you are here to get to know people, make friends, that’s all. If you make friends anything is possible, if you don’t it usually isn’t.

8. Respect protocols
Some of the people there are already partnered, and may be in a DS relationship. Want to chat to that attractive woman? See that collar round her neck? Maybe that guy over there is her Master, or that other lady is her Mistress. Show respect for people and they will be happy to meet you, make a blatant beeline for someone’s property and they may not be. Be aware of existing dynamics, and if you’re not sure, ask. Politely.

9. Watch and respond to signals
Eye contact means someone is ok talking to you. If they start glancing away from you it usually means they’ve had enough now, thanks, and want to talk to someone else. Let them escape, gracefully. They were happy to meet you, but they want to move on. You did fine, broke the ice, but that’s it for now.

10. Make it fun
Most people go to munches hoping to relax, have a laugh, maybe meet some old friends, maybe meet some interesting new people. They want a relaxed, fun atmosphere where people are feeling good. Contribute to that and people will be glad you came.


Originally posted and discussed here; written by and shared with permission of Malbon.

Jul 262013
 
You learned everything you need to know to explore kink when you were in Kindergarten: Ask for permission before you touch someone. Use your manners. Follow the rules. Don’t get in a car/go home with someone you don’t know. Learn to tie your shoes or you won’t be able to walk, much less run.
Most of all, if you’re not sure about something, then ask!
But I know I went a little crazy when I first started to explore my kinkiness. Suddenly anything was possible, and feelings I’d only dreamed of were happening for real. I relied on my friends and play partners to help guide me. But in the end, it came down to learning how to choose for myself what I wanted and didn’t want.
So here are a few tips for exploring your kink:
  1. Slow down!
    Take your time. I guarantee it will be better if you get to know people, and talk about what you like with a lot of different people. Take classes, read books, and see a lot of different scenes. Give yourself room to change your mind about what you want.
  2. You choose.
    There is no “right way” to do things – this is your exploration of yourself. That also means you don’t have the right to judge other people for their choices. Figure out what your own limits are, and you choose carefully when to push those limits. If you feel uncomfortable with someone pushing you, take a step back and then you’ll find out if that person respects you as an equal or is just trying to coerce you for their own benefit.
  3. You can always say no.
    It doesn’t matter what contract you signed or what promises you made, we all have the basic human right to change our minds. That goes for everything from what kind of relationship you want to your own sexual identity. It’s up to you to speak up about what you want and don’t want. A safeword is a great tool, but it can’t replace good communication before, during and after a scene – and throughout your relationship.
  4. Talking makes for great sex.
    If you can’t say what your fantasy is, then you aren’t ready to do it. When someone uses kinky jargon – submissive, master, switch, poly – ask what they mean because everyone has their own definitions. Talk about whatever you do together to process what happened and figure out where you want to go next. And don’t forget to talk about what you need to get after a scene is over.
  5. Don’t believe everything you hear.
    Someone may call themselves a dominant or master, but that doesn’t make them one. Someone may be the leader of a group, but that doesn’t make them a safe play partner. Someone may call themselves a mentor when they’re really just trying to get you to masturbate on cam so they can jack off.
  6. Seek References.
    You’re putting yourself in someone’s hands, whether you’re a top or a bottom, so you better know who you’re playing with. Talk to other people about prospective play partners, and don’t ever let someone isolate you. Watch their interactions with other people in real life and online to see if they’re consistent. And remember that even good people can do bad things.
  7. Be risk aware.
    You have to ask questions to find out what the risks are. Accidents happen, people try things they aren’t good at, and there are predators who will take whatever they can get from you. You are the only one who can protect yourself. Even when a scene goes well, you might have emotional or psychological reactions you didn’t expect – it’s sometimes called sub drop or top drop.
  8. Protect your privacy.
    Sad to say there is still a lot of persecution against kink. Someone can copy your photos and send them to your boss. Or your mom. Too often that someone is the person you trusted the most last week. Kink-on-kink persecution is the worst – when you “out” someone in revenge, you’re hurting everyone in our community because it keeps the stereotypes alive and kicking. Protect yourself by choosing which pics and personally identifying info you make public and what you keep private.
There’s a great discussion going on with lots of amazing comments by hundreds of FetLifers in this thread I started earlier this year — https://fetlife.com/groups/311/group_posts/3521480

Written by and shared with permission of Susan Wright

Jul 162013
 

Recently I attended a small play party. It was afterwards I decided that perhaps some folks might need a little guidance or suggestion on how to go about getting/seeking/asking for “play” appropriately in these social situations.

Let me begin by stating that I understand that attending any type of party or event can be extremely exciting! You may imagine before you get there all the fun you hope to have, the scenes that may occur, and so on. SIMMER DOWN TATER TOT! Unless you know how to behave & interact with people chances are you will end up as a spectator. Worst case scenario is you’ll rub people wrong and ruin your chances of playing in the future or being banned from parties/events.

DO’s

Do be yourself!
Trying to impress people by acting as though you know all there is to know in or about the lifestyle or otherwise is not going to endear you to anyone.

Do make small talk!
Jumping right into kinky convo from the get go, regardless of the environment, is often a huge turn off. People enjoy hearing about your day, favorite movies, music…keep it light. Saying, “Hello and what is your favorite sexual position?” or “Hi, would you spank me tonight?” These are BAD openers and go back to the first concept of just being yourself.

Do look your best!
Here is the bottom line, regardless of gender one needs to dressed well & have all HYGIENE needs met before you walk in the door. Attending a party looking like you just rolled out of bed is not going to make the prospect of playing you attractive to MOST people! It doesn’t matter what you wear, how much your clothes cost but you need to be clean! Sad that this needs to be said but I said it 🙂

Do be gracious toward your host/hostess!
Always thank the party host or promoters. Showing up and not doing so is just rude. When an event is on a large scale this may not be as imperative (even those that put together huge events appreciate a kudos/thanks) but when it is a smaller gathering, especially at someone’s HOME, it is very important.

Do accept NO as a final answer!
If someone declines playing with you trying to change their mind is pointless, pushy, and IGNORANT. Just move on. The world has not come to an end.

DON’Ts

Don’t EXPECT play!
What you should expect is to have fun even if no one ends up playing with you. One way to ensure that is to get a friend or two to attend too. If you follow all the do’s above that is no guarantee you’ll play but it will increase your chances. The worst thing that can happen is that you make a new friend…that may lead to playing in the future. No one is OBLIGATED to play/scene with anyone.

Don’t IMPOSE yourself on anyone!
It is one thing to let another attendee know that you have an interest in playing/scening with them but DO NOT hound them. Personally I have had folks interested in playing with me or vice versa but circumstances & timing have at a party make it not possible. There is always another opportunity 🙂

Don’t INVOLVE yourself in someone else’s scene!
Unless you are invited into a scene stay out of it. Heckling, joking, and the like isn’t cool at all…get a grip. An even bigger NO NO is having the audacity or sheer stupidity to physically get involved. Keep your hands to yourself unless invited. You could be tossed from a party or get a fist in your face.

Don’t TAKE PICS without asking!
That one is rather self-explanatory but let me take it a step further. If you take a pic there may be bystanders in the background. Unless you have their PERMISSION as well don’t post these kind of pics without blurring the faces. People can be sitting around and have no idea they are in the photo. Use common sense and have respect for the anonymity of your fellow kinksters.

Don’t GOSSIP or cause Drama!
Sure we all have stories to tell but trash talking other attendees and such is just wrong. You don’t want to be labeled as that person who never has anything nice to say about anyone. Chances are a person(s) shows up that you have an issue with. Leave it be! The party/event is NOT the place to iron things out, fuel existing fires, or try to bring people to your “side.” Behave as if they are not there. If you can’t keep your emotions in check consider leaving for your sake & everyone else.

In conclusion I hope this is/was helpful and anyone that has anything to add please do so. We learn and grow from helping one another.

Peace & Hugs,
MaMa Blue

From a post by the same name, written by and shared with permission of TrueMaMaBlue

Jul 092013
 

As smart as I probably thought I was when I started exploring the lifestyle, I have since discovered I had much to learn. Before I forget all my hard earned lessons, I am jotting them here to keep them fresh, to remind me how far I’ve come, and how learning never stops.

  • Sexy isn’t what “they” say it is. Sexy is confidence. Sexy is a smile. Sexy is being comfortable with your body. Or, at the least, not commenting on it and making someone else have to judge it. Being attractive is being attracted, or at least attentive, to another person;
  • Being open regarding your interests in the bedroom or in play does not equal being intimate with your essence. Exposing your body does not mean your soul needs to be exposed. Be careful and protective with who you are;
  • Never say “Never!” Hard limits should be respected, but be willing to look at why your limits are in place. Be sure you know what you’re saying “no” to and why. Be willing to try things more than one time, in more than one way, in more than one circumstance;
  • Those that organize groups aren’t necessarily leaders. Those that lead, don’t necessarily organize. Neither is necessarily who is wisest, most deserving, or even the best person for the job. Sometimes leaders are assholes, abusers or just happened to be the right person at the right time. A group that rests on one person’s shoulders will often fail when the leader loses his/her head;
  • Realize that the same word or action can have more than one meaning, depending on the person or situation. Is “pretty good” better or worse than good? Is “brat” an insult? What is the meaning of “sex”?;
  • While it may seem smart to play along when a discussion goes into unfamiliar territory, it is often even smarter to keep quiet and learn, and wiser to ask well-placed questions. Those that talk the most don’t necessarily (often don’t) know the most;
  • If you’re so focused on how you are serving, on making it “just right”, it can be all too easy to lose focus on who and why you are serving. Instead of being pleasing and selfless, it becomes showy and selfish;
  • Unless you were there, you didn’t get the whole story. Even if you were there, you don’t know the whole truth;
  • Even if you give up the authority in an authority transfer/power exchange relationship, you don’t get to abdicate responsibility. Ultimately, at the end of the day, you are still responsible to and for you;
  • People can change – a lot sometimes, especially in conjunction to power exchange relationship. Sometimes they change even more after the end of a relationship. However, more often, people evolve and grow – not change;
  • That said, don’t count on people to change. If you know a person to be a “scorpion”, don’t be surprised when s/he stings you.
  • Some Dominants/subs/Masters/slaves/(insert term here) are bad/dangerous/assholes/trouble. Many more are just a bad fit for an individual(s). They’re not always the same thing;
  • It’s usually not about you, even when it feels like it is. They’re not looking at, thinking or talking about you. And, if by some small chance they are, and if they are reacting in a negative way, remind yourself of Suess’s rule of “Those that matter don’t mind, and those that mind, don’t matter.”;
  • Making mistakes doesn’t make you dumb. Being unable or unwilling to learn from them does;
  • Learn your “deal breakers” (those things that you must / must not have for a relationship to be successful and enjoyable, especially if they cannot change). If they’re there, don’t continue to waste either partner’s time.
  • There is a difference between wants and needs. Learn and accept your own. Wanting something realllly bad doesn’t make it into a need. Having a want doesn’t mean you’re selfish;
  • Putting someone’s wants before yours doesn’t mean yours don’t matter. Putting yours first doesn’t mean you’re selfish;
  • Just like in driving, looking backwards and beside you is sometimes necessary. However, keep in mind, the majority of your focus should be forward and on your lane;
  • Be willing to safe word – in play, in life, in relationships. Sometimes, the pain is too much. Occasionally, what’s going on needs to stop, and sometimes, it needs to stop for good;
  • For all the fun and information that can be gained online, nothing can replace real time experiences. (Not saying there is no value in online information or experience). Reading someone’s facial expressions in play, having conversations and meeting people – is generally more challenging and ultimately, more rewarding than graphic descriptions, emoticons and Skype. Be prepared: A cane or flogger strike really will hurt;
  • Receiving pleasure can be a service, even for a submissive. Giving pleasure can be a dominant’s desire. Actions themselves are neither submissive nor dominant, but instead the intent and manner of giving them can be;
  • Life’s not fair. Really. The good guys don’t always wear win, and the bad guys don’t always lose or wear black. And, yeah, that’s not fair;
  • On the other hand, sometimes karma does handle payback to level things a bit. Don’t assume because you don’t see it, that it hasn’t or won’t happen;
  • How someone acts is on them; how I choose to respond (or not) is on me;
  • There is only “one true way”: It’s what works for you, and for your relationship(s). And, the “one true way” can, and likely will change with time.

More to come…

Jul 012013
 

Okay – So I’m writing this because- well frankly because over the years I’ve heard all the “community” party lines and dogma and it seems to leave a lot out.

As a slave (who used to identify as a submissive) I was new at one time (yes really!!) and when I came into the lifestyle I was all wide doe eyes, excitement and healthy dose of New York caution.

I was told things by people who had been around for a long time. Things that sounded okay I guess, but when I activated my spidey sense (AKA critical thinking) I quickly realized that in an effort to make the lifestyle seem a “safe place to explore” – people were saying things that could make me check my natural adult common sense at the door.

Here’s a “things you need to know” guide. A real one. I warn you – it may disillusion you or make this seem a bit more scary. If it does – good – I’ve done my job.

Safewords are not “safe words”

By this I mean that they will not keep you safe. That’s your job. They are not words of power, talismans or magical freeze points. They only work as a communication device if the person you’re playing with is trustworthy and respects boundaries. If not they have no power.

There is no “safe place to explore”

Meaning that – everything has risks. Everything. Every place has risks. If you came into this seeking a place where you can be like a kid in a candy store without potential dangers – this is DEFINITELY not it. It is your responsibility to keep your wits about you.

No group or event is completely safe

No group leader can 100% guarantee the safety of their group. Everyone does the best they can to keep a look out for predators and to prevent incidents from happening on their premises or at their parties. However, if you choose to play with someone you assume the risk. If you choose to go somewhere private to play with someone you met at the party- you likewise are choosing to be alone with a stranger.

Everyone has their OWN reason for being here and their own definition of terms

When someone says “Dom’s do this…” or “All good subs do this…” – that is just their perspective. There are MANY perspectives. Many definitions of terms. Everyone that says they’re a Dominant isn’t the Dominant for YOU. We aren’t all here because we like the same things. You may want to “play” and mean a light flogging. The sadist next to you might mean extreme bondage and fear play. Ask questions. Get clarity. DO NOT Assume.

There are no shake-N-bake, just add water – perfect M/s or D/s relationships

Knowing you are submissive and you desire a Dominant provides verbiage on desires that in the mainstream world would be challenging to articulate. It does not create an instant relationship. You still have to build that the old fashioned way. Talking. Not playing. Not sexing. Talking. Talking. Talking and did I mention Talking? If it helps – know that Master and I talked for 6 months before we had sex. 8 months before a collar of consideration and 2 years after that for a permanent collar. Somethings take time. 50 shades of gray is not reality.

PLEASE treat strangers as strangers

If you wouldn’t instantly go home with someone you met at a bar – do not go home with someone you met at a party. It’s unwise.

This is a culture or a confederation- not a community

We aren’t all under one leader. We have no ability to police ourselves outside of the City or State Police and Prosecution. If you look at this through the lens of culture your expectations shift a bit. No culture is without it’s jerks and ne’er-do-wells. No culture is without it’s criminals and people of questionable intent. Every culture has people you can trust and not. When you visit a new culture you learn about it, you hopefully are cautious. Don’t assume this is a kinky pre-school where the “adults” (or Leaders) will take care of you and make everything safe for you.

Beware of Dirty Old (or Young) Men (or Women)

I see this a lot. Some of the people who run about yelling “predator! predator!” are merely trying to run interference against potential competitors-AKA cock-blocking. If you’re new – you’re attractive. Especially if you’re female and young. Isn’t this true in the mainstream (AKA Vanilla) arena as well?? One of the easiest ways to win your “trust” is to be your knight in shining armor. Be aware of this tactic. People do it because – well frankly – it works. EVERYONE isn’t using this tactic. Some people are really trying to be helpful. Everyone isn’t. You get to figure out who is who. Just like in real life.

This IS real life

Because I have adult children who LOVE RPG I have begun to understand their downside. It is easy to treat this like a RPG – when you play – you don’t REALLY die when you get hit. You don’t REALLY experience the effects of the spell, gun etc; it’s all – play-play. THIS is not THAT. All of your self preservation skills, your wisdom, your maturity, your gut instinct is still needful here. DO NOT check it at the door. You can still have fun and keep your mind turned on.

You are empowered – REALLY!!

Being empowered means you have the authority, power and ability to do something. In this context that something is making your own decisions. This includes saying No, saying Yes, Making choices for yourself (both wise and foolish), and brushing yourself off when you end up with less than desirable outcomes including broken hearts. The ability to do this will serve you well in life.

If you are abused – the Lifestyle can’t help you

We aren’t therapists, police officers, judges, attorneys (unless we are). If you’re out dancing and you leave with someone and that person harms you – you don’t go back to the club to tell. You call the police. Do the same thing here. If someone is stalking you – call the police. If someone rapes you, batters you etc; call the police. If you choose NOT TO – I honor that choice and your autonomy in that regard, however that doesn’t make the Lifestyle responsible for righting this wrong. We have a means of that. It’s called the Law. I will support you if you seek that means and respect your right not to as well.

Vetting and References can help but its not foolproof

I know of people who I consider to be – unstable (and thats being kind) – who would have no problem giving you a good reference from someone else. EVERYONE has their fans and their haters. Recognize this.

Your yes needs to mean something

If you agree to something own that choice. If you don’t like what happens, feel icky later, don’t wish to experience that again, find that person just doesn’t do it for you – cool – no big deal. That doesn’t retroactively change your yes into a no. It means you say “no” next time.

Your No needs to mean something

If you don’t want to play – say no. If you you dont want to engage , excuse yourself. Don’t give mixed signals. Don’t give a no that means “convince me”.

Drop is a real thing

Drop makes you feel clingy, angry, irritable, hurt, wide-open, scared, confused, turned-on, longing, uncertainty and just a jumble of emotions all at once. Drop can happen the next day – or 3 days later. It depends on you. (usually 24-48 hours typically). What we do causes physiological shifts. Understand this doesn’t mean you were traumatized or violated (unless you didn’t consent to the activity) – it means you’re dropping.

“Ignorantia legis neminem excusat” or “Ignorance of the Law excuses no one”

Applied here it means just because you’re new, or a submissive, slave or bottom does not make you not responsible for your choices. You may make some no-so-good-in-retrospect-decisions. Thats okay! Learn and move on.

Hopefully this will help you navigate these waters a bit. Stay with a buddy. Use your floatation device. Help yourself before you try to help the person next to you. Buckle up and enjoy your flight.

In submission and surrender to Him,
~slave namaste

At the direction of Master Obsidian blanket permission to repost is granted provided the authors name is left intact and the website www.powerandsurrender.com is added

Mar 112013
 

A beginner’s guide to BDSM Munches, by Jay Wiseman

What’s a Munch? a Social? a Slosh? a POS?, by caryl

Why Everyone Says Come Out to a Munch to Newcomers, by LilyWhite1

Getting into your local scene, by roo_roo

Tyler’s Practical Guide to Munches & Public Parties, shared with permission of and written by DameTyler

Getting Involved in the Boston Scene: A Practical Guide (much applicable to all), by Eponine

Munch Technique, shared with permission of and written by Malbon

History of the Munch…In the Beginning, shared with permission of and written by i999shadow;

How to host a munch, shared with permission of and written by i999shadow.

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