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 302015
 
Kia Ora and welcome to both FetLife and BDSM

This is the fourth installment 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. Other parts covered Gorean BDSM and meeting people for BDSM play.

This article will primarily deal with BDSM Trainers, Mentors and Protectors. It will also consider differences between those roles, the ways that people within them can enhance your BDSM journey, and the process of locating and selecting such people. People in these trusted roles can be invaluable, and really contribute to a person’s individual journey if they act with honour – unfortunately though, as with all positions of high trust, sometimes a desire for such titles attracts less than scrupulous individuals. I recommend working with people in these roles as valuable tools – but just suggest caution in selecting them.

You can read the past articles in this series here:

Although it was written out of sequence this will be Part 3 in the series.

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 BDSM Trainers, Mentors and Protectors. It will cover the following topics in a basic way:

  • An important note
  • Mentors
  • Protectors
  • Trainers
  • Exclusivity

I would also like to acknowledge a submissive (Xandria) who has taken the time to read a draft of this piece very closely and make helpful suggestions.

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 and safely as possible by providing them with as much information as we can.

You are also welcome to send me a friend request if you want to.

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).

An important note

The place, and role of mentors, trainers and protectors, has shifted considerably with the rise of the internet and online networking for kink communities. Traditional definitions of those roles are now possibly somewhat outdated in many communities, yet they do still apply in some places and with more traditionally oriented practitioners.

In this chapter I intend to focus almost exclusively on more modern interpretations. This is not because I think the modern interpretations are better or more effective. It is written in this style because these guides are intended for people who are new to BDSM and Fetlife, consequently, it is the newer definitions and types of usage that they are most likely to initially encounter.

Furthermore, it should be recognised that every community – both in terms of the scene and online communities – will have its own regional quirks in the definition of these roles. You can expect there to be an overarching similarity, but there will always be those finer points of difference. Consequently it is always best to seek the guidance of someone who is knowledgeable within the community that you are entering to ‘flesh out’ the explanations that are provided here.

Mentors

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a mentor as ‘a person who acts as guide and adviser to another person, esp. one who is younger and less experienced. Later, more generally: a person who offers support and guidance to another; an experienced and trusted counsellor or friend; a patron, a sponsor.’

Mentoring is essentially a powerful strategy to draw upon for self empowerment. It can help you progress in a chosen field and aid you in striving towards your potential. A BDSM mentor is someone who can help guide you towards that process of self improvement. There are two main ways of interpreting the mentor role:

  • A capable teacher who can impart knowledge and skills while facilitating your journey of learning
  • A person with wisdom and experience in an area that you want to grow in, who will guide you towards that wisdom through support

In general terms a mentor is someone who: discusses, guides, prompts, and who helps you see the forest for the trees. A mentor is not someone who will play, or have sex, with you (although they may assist you in your own play to show you specific techniques). They are not someone who will scald you or push your limits. They do not own or control you. Steven Spielberg once said that ‘the delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.’ In keeping with that a BDSM mentor is someone who will help you move towards being the submissive, dominant or fetishist that is already bottled up inside you just waiting to come out.

Mentors should, in most cases, be people who have the same role as you. So a Master would seek another Master as a mentor, a bottom would be mentored by a bottom and a Primal would be mentored by a Primal.

A mentor is at times used in combination with a trainer – where the trainer provides a programme of development and the mentor provides a perspective on that training from a similar BDSM role, helping the mentee and trainee unlock the knowledge of the training more effectively.

How Mr Jay came to mentoring

I first came to the concept of mentoring through my (very vanilla) employment – back in the late 1990s. At that time I got involved in a programme where I was mentoring young men (16-18) who were experiencing a lot of difficulty in ‘getting their lives on track’. Fortunately I was given the opportunity to complete a training programme in the philosophy and approaches of mentoring as part of that programme – much of which I still use today when thinking about mentoring. I know that mentoring works.

BDSM mentoring and newcomers

In general terms a newcomer to BDSM may not make the best mentor. There are possibly a couple of exceptions to this rule, where they could fulfil a very specific and unique role. Examples that I imagine might be viable are:

  • A newcomer who is a trained medical doctor mentoring a dominant in the use of specific tools that relate to Medical Play.
  • A newcomer who is a professor of mediaeval history mentoring someone who is setting up a mediaeval styled torture dungeon regarding the aesthetics of the dungeon and possible ideas for custom built items that reflect the period and theme.
  • A newcomer who is a trained counsellor mentoring someone on how they might better help their submissive move through issues that come up after play.

As you can see these are very specific examples – and they do not really relate directly to what we might usually think of in the mentoring role. In general terms, if you are new you are probably looking for an experienced mentor and not looking to become a mentor. That being said even the most experienced practitioners can gain from mentoring at times. (They probably just do it a little more informally.)

Mentoring and Time Commitments

Both being a mentor and being a mentee take time. There is a real commitment made to the process and the outcomes of personal development that are set within the mentoring programme. You should not take on either role if you do not have that time to commit. People will not benefit from mentoring if there is not a real commitment to the process – including making enough time and energy available not only for the sessions themselves but also for developing the things discussed outside of meetings.

Finding a good mentor

Quite often you will need to approach a good mentor if they would be willing to mentor you. The people who bring up the subject asking if you want a mentor probably have some other motive.

From what I have seen female submissives who advertise that they are looking for a mentor are usually, almost instantly, inundated with volunteers – most of whom have very little knowledge about mentoring and a huge desire to simply have their mentee perform felacio.

You are best off quietly seeking someone who is knowledgeable and who you can trust – who is in the same role as yourself yet who is deeply experienced.

The 2Jays BDSM Mentoring Cycle

The following process outlines the mentoring cycle that I have suggested, and used, in the past working with folks on BDSM development outcomes.

Step 1: Assessing Needs
To begin the process the mentee must assess their own situation, and work out which way it is that they wish to develop themselves. This is important as the mentoring process is all about helping the mentee achieve their own goals and grow into the individually unique BDSM practitioner that they have the potential to be.

Step 2: Identifying a Suitable Mentor
In this step you will need to locate and identify someone who:

  • You feel comfortable working with and can trust.
  • Has experience and knowledge in the areas that you want to develop.
  • Is willing to Mentor you.

This can be a tricky process but the best approach is simply one of open and honest communication. You need to be clear about what it is that you are looking for. Understand that potential mentors are probably busy people with their own interests and goals to pursue – and usually they are people who are unpaid and helping others purely out of goodwill to see the community develop.

Step 3: Creating a Mentoring Contract
Writing down these details, and clarifying both the process that will be used, and the goals of the mentoring, can help make the process mutually rewarding and satisfying. You should make sure that you clearly identify the learning or personal development outcomes that are desired from the mentoring, and also success criteria to indicate how both the mentor and the mentee will know that those outcomes have been achieved.

I strongly recommend that you set a time, approximately one month from your first meeting, to review your contract, give your mentoring relationship a check up, and make any changes that are needed based on how things are progressing.

Step 4: Assessing Progress and Reviewing the Mentoring Relationship
In this, the final step of the Cycle, both the mentor and the mentee work together to identify progress towards – or achievement of – the desired learning and growth outcomes that were set out in the mentoring contract. They should also review the status and terms of the mentoring relationship – and perhaps either tweak or terminate the contract depending on whether or not further help is needed and available.

Following the final step the mentee can either:

  • Decide they have achieved all that they wanted to out of mentoring; OR,
  • Begin a process of needs assessment in preparation for their next phase of self development through mentoring.

Sample BDSM Mentoring Contract

The following is a sample BDSM Mentoring Contract that I have drawn up. Feel free to download and use it if you want. Just remember – like everything else – if you pass it on do the right thing and attribute it to 2Jays on Fetlife.com. I would also prefer that it remained unedited.

Reputable Groups for BDSM mentoring on Fetlife

Protectors

To start off lets look back at how I defined ‘Under Protection’ as a relationship status in our chapter on Setting up a Profile:

  • 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

While it is very common for people to use the role of protector presently, this is relationship type that should never be taken on lightly. Both being protected, and being a protector, have several layers of meaning and responsibility attached to them within the BDSM context. To begin with lets think about the common definition of protector – as it is set out by the Oxford English Dictionary

‘A person who protects someone or something from danger, injury, etc.; a defender; a guardian, a patron.’

Perhaps notably to this discussion (and what I plan to argue), looking at the history of the word and its usage, just over a hundred years ago it also referred to a man who possessed a mistress (with mistress being used in the sense of a kept woman).

By the very nature of protecting someone, there is obviously a small element of power exchange involved this kind of relationship – through not only the protective and caring actions of the protector but also through the protectee recognising that they need the protector’s assistance.

A Current Interpretation of the meaning of Protection Status

In essence the current interpretation of BDSM protection can generally be characterised as:

  • An experienced member of the community looking after an inexperienced one. That usually includes providing protection from the prowling ‘wolves’ who are seeking to play with ‘fresh meat’ – and might also be protection from other dangers (perhaps even themselves depending on the situation). People who wish to play with, or form a relationship with, the protected person will need to seek the approval of the Protector.

It can also refer to:

  • Someone who, after being asked to by a submissive’s Owner, takes the place of their Owner at prescribed events or functions that the Owner cannot attend. At those events or functions they only assume a level of control or interaction that the Owner had stipulated.

Various etiquettes and protocols do also apply – yet those will vary based on if you are dealing with an online community or a real life one – and which country or region that real life community is set in. It is important to understand the additional protocols associated with your setting – so make sure that you ask for clarifications.

In a nutshell, protection says says: ‘Ub3r-M4st3r Scott will be mad if you muck twue-sl4v3 Betty around.’

Different people will add, or subtract, different elements to that general outline of protection. In some cases there are elaborate protocols while in other cases it is as simple as the above statement may seem. This is an area where open and frank discussion is paramount – just to make sure that your understandings are crystal clear.

Protection is something of consequence, and you should think about the associations, connections and positioning, that such a form of power exchange builds. This is not a whimsical concept – rather it is an important and trusted role that places people in positions where communication and integrity in their interpersonal interactions are of the utmost importance.

Furthermore, in some places, that status also indicates that the person in the protector role has the right of first refusal towards the protected person in terms of play or a future relationship. It is best to clarify as this can either be considered an expectation or a taboo depending on where you are.

The Implications of being a Protector

When stepping into the role of being a protector you need to think deeply about the implications of the decision and discuss the role with the person that you are protecting so that there is a clear and shared understanding of what it will entail.

  • What are the parameters of the protection?
  • Are you protecting them from being hassled on websites like Fetlife? – or, from either perceived or real threats in the real world?

There are some very real differences here in terms of the practicalities of the protector’s role. Examples of assistance required might range from sending an email to someone who is being painful online – or driving to the person’s house at 3am in the morning to help ensure their safety after some kind of incident. Notably however, in both cases, a ‘Plan B’ is always required – as the protector will need to have an idea of what they intend to do if such obvious initial interventions fail. Are you willing to ‘step up’ for that person to such a degree?

Can you give me an example of protection at work?

One good example of using protection is a case that I came across, a number of years ago, while I was living and working in Australia. It operated as follows:

  • A submissive lass, very new to BDSM, was finding it very difficult to say no to people who were asking her to play with them. She was quite attractive and being flooded with play requests by people. After some positive and lengthy discussions she was put under the protection of a Domme within the scene who would ‘vet’ any play that she did. In reality the Domme provided her with a system where by she had time to wait after the request and discuss it with the Domme before an answer was given. This also removed the potential for anyone to feel rejected by the submissive – as the Domme ‘made’ the decision. Eventually, once the submissive lass had found someone she was comfortable with, and who was stepping up to want more than just a quick play and sex session, the Domme relinquished the protective status and passed her on to the care and guidance of that new person.

The history of Protection in BDSM

Historically protection used to be a feature of the Leather Culture where a new member would gain the protection of a Leather family (and accordingly the head of that family). Within that frame of reference the protection was very broad – and involved a range of strict protocols. It covered not only protection within the BDSM setting but also within a broader life based setting.

Sometimes people will stanchly argue in favor for a Leather interpretation – however in general terms it has gained wider use than that now.

Trainers

A trainer, as opposed to a protector or a mentor, can at times be someone who is exceedingly ‘hands on’. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a trainer as: ‘a person who provides sustained instruction and practice in an art, profession, occupation, or procedure’. Traditionally, within BDSM, a trainer was someone who took on responsibility for the growth and learning of a new submissive to the lifestyle. They would provide the submissive with instruction, both theoretical and experiential, in a range of activities to prepare the submissive for their future role with a Dominant/Domme or Master/Mistress.

The trainer may not be a popular person with the submissive at all times, however they would always be respected, and it would be recognised that they were providing an invaluable service.

Dominants were traditionally trained as well through a somewhat formalised process. The process of dominant, or top, training continues today and even in relatively small cities on a global scale (such as Auckland, New Zealand) there are Dommes who provide a range of training services to trainee dominants for a fee.

In many cases training can be arranged through a written contract – much like a mentoring contract. Using that style of formal agreement helps define boundaries and set up the experience to be a beneficial one for both the trainer and the trainee. I am aware of cases where the trainee has organised for training with a trainer directly, and of other cases where an Owner has organised with a trainer for their submissive to be trained on some particular aspects of BDSM. Reputable trainers will not take advantage of the situation and take liberties beyond the parameters of the agreed area of training – although there are unfortunately some trainers out there that are not reputable.

What makes training effective?

Effective training can be characterised in the following ways:

  • Good communication between the trainer and the person being trained.
  • Clear expectations about learning goals or outcomes.
  • Active participation in training activities.
  • Appropriate and regular feedback about progress towards the learning goals or outcomes.
  • On task training time. You are not there to find a new BFF – you are there to be trained.
  • Training that responds to the trainee’s preferred ways of learning. This might include: doing, reading, watching appropriate videos, talking, journaling or a range of other options. The point is that if one strategy does not work for you it should not be kept as the focus of your training. I would however stress that a significant percentage of the training should be ‘doing’.

Issues with Imprinting (or Bonding) when training submissives

One rather important, but sometimes overlooked, issue associated with the training of submissives in particular is the balance that must be struck between providing effective training and ensuring that a submissive does not bond too strongly with the trainer. That process of a bond being developed, and a style being strongly linked into a submissives actions is sometimes also called imprinting. The development of those emotional links can at times also be an issue for the trainer.

The place of sex

Historically sex had no place within the training of submissives. Presently however it is much more common for there to be sexual interaction between submissives and trainers. This should be clarified during the process of negotiating the training.

I do understand that in some cases – such as training for cumming on command – there may be a place for this, however in general terms it is not something that I would advise.

Tread with caution

This is an area where, as a newcomer, you may encounter some ‘interesting’ people. There is a particular element within the BDSM sphere that seeks out new submissives (and most often female ones) professing to be trainers who are there to help. Unfortunately they are often really just horny fools who are desperate for an endless supply of thank you blow jobs in return for a service that in reality is quite shallow and limited.

If they are real BDSM trainers you will most likely be seeking them out, not the other way around.

To recount an interesting tale – some years ago I owned a kajira who occasionally spoke of a previous Master’s acquaintance – who we shall call Ub3r-M4st3r ‘Fred’. So on with the story… which is admittedly highly anecdotal and seventh hand, but it serves a purpose.

Ub3r-M4st3r ‘Fred’ was a very interesting a powerful Trainer. He somehow always seemed to be able to find a way to leave new submissives messages on their networking accounts that they would find when they woke up. After a greeting, and establishing they were new, he would offer to help them. To give freely of his time, experience and wisdom, in order to advance their personal journey into submission. Of course a poor little innocent subbie would love the attention and help of an experienced and wise Dominant – he is so officially Dominant everyone even has to call him ‘Sir’ apparently!

So the training sessions from Ub3r-M4st3r ‘Fred’ would begin with important acts like learning to not be ashamed of oneself. In order to achieve that goal all new female submissives had to email Ub3r-M4st3r ‘Fred’ fully nude photos of themselves masturbating. He would help them learn patience by making them wait until after 11pm to talk to him each day – precisely between 11pm and 12am – and only on Sunday-Thursday nights. Ub3r-M4st3r ‘Fred’ had a life! During those talks he would set them all manners of humiliating tasks that they had to photograph and send him proof of. They had to learn to be available to masters at all times – so just to be kind and help Ub3r-M4st3r ‘Fred’ would meet them during their lunch hours in the city and drive them somewhere to quickly and lightly spank them then have them perform felacio on him to prove their submission and availability.

So to unpack this story and explain a few things. The kajira would giggle recounting the exploits of Ub3r-M4st3r ‘Fred’ because:

  • He was only talking to them between 11pm and 12am as his wife fell asleep at 1030pm.
  • His desire to help them was probably linked to the fact that his wife didn’t find him very attractive anymore – and he was quite interested in getting blow jobs elsewhere. (The kajira had heard him discuss this.)
  • He met them at lunch times, briefly, as that was when he could get away from his job as Grocery Isle manager at a store that belonged to a large supermarket chain.
  • His use of humiliating tasks and making them do things while talking to him for extended periods… was to give him time to mute the mic and masterbate during the conversations.
  • Ub3r-M4st3r ‘Fred’ had never lived with a submissive, nor had he ever been part of any BDSM scene based group.

So as you can see Ub3r-M4st3r ‘Fred’ was neither the most qualified nor the most ethical of trainers. He did not provide real training – as he had promised, and he probably only had a limited understanding of what would be required himself. There may be a Ub3r-M4st3r ‘Fred’ near you – so tread carefully. Just to clarify, Ub3r-M4st3r ‘Fred’ was from a large city in a country that I lived in – in the northern hemisphere.

I am actually aware of quite a range of other unscrupulous ‘trainers’ – even here in New Zealand. A few years ago I met a girl who lived in Dunedin (New Zealand). We had coffee a few times, mainly to talk about her start into the kinky world – as she had experienced some bumps along the way. She had encountered a ‘trainer’ who had made her take photos – much like Ub3r-M4st3r ‘Fred’ did with his charges. The difference being that this lad then turned around and tried to tell her that she was to front up for the in person ‘put out time’ training sessions or he would email/post the photos around. I helped her go to the Police and have the issue dealt with properly. Needless to say the Police were quite interested in what she had to say and that the matter was swiftly resolved with their involvement and help. I am aware that her ‘trainer’ left Otago shortly after the matter being concluded.

With those warnings delivered I would like to add that there are a lot of highly talented, honourable and good-willed trainers available. Generally the positive trainers are the ones with more experience and a greater level of connection to the BDSM scene. The chief advice I am giving here is do your homework. Make sure that the person you are talking to is legitimate and actually knows what they are doing. You are better off paying for a few lessons and being trained in how to effectively wield a cane than being shown by a 1337-Ub3r-D0m who has a very different agenda.

Exclusivity

One comment that came back from a female submissive after reading this was that when she first arrived to Fetlife she was quickly bombarded with offers by mentors, trainers and protectors who not only offered their services but demanded that she dealt with them exclusively – suggesting that it was the only effective way. I would like to stress that this is utter rubbish. The very concept of a trainer is that they will be training you for your relationship with SOMEONE ELSE. A mentor is a trusted confidant and guide who helps you improve your relationship with SOMEONE ELSE. In fact it is a totally common occurrence for a person to take a mentor and a trainer simultaneously – in fact that is often recommended as it can help facilitate deeper learning and swifter processing of the emotions and feelings that the training creates.

A protector – while in some cases is someone who has signalled that they get first dibs on you after you learn more – is not someone who should lock you in a closet and ban you from talking to every other person in the world.

Do not let people like that ‘pull the wool over your eyes’. This sounds more like people trying to isolate a new submissive so that they can have their way with them, and explain that it is normal for submissives to do X, Y and Z.

In sum…

Trainers, Mentors and Protectors are all valuable people and roles. They are however people who hold positions of power – in varying degrees. As we know from any setting or context, power can sometimes be used for the betterment of people and societies, and it can sometimes be used in improper ways. Consequently these are areas where quite a lot of consideration is needed – as you need to know that you want someone in that role, and that you definitely want it to be the person who you are embarking into that situation with. If you plan to take on one of these roles you need to deeply consider the responsibility, and how you plan to help the person that you will be working with.

Mar 302015
 

There are important differences between munches. What you experience will depend a lot on the character, traditions, and policies of the particular group that is meeting. (In some areas, multiple munches happen for just this reason.)

  • Some munches are strictly vanilla, meaning that even mild fetish clothing is discouraged, or even forbidden. This is generally because the venue is shared with members of the general public and/or because members of the munch are concerned about being “outed” to the local community. This is especially likely in small towns.
  • Many munches do not allow play to happen on site. This may also mean that you shouldn’t bring that new flogger you just bought to show off to your friends and you should keep your big knife at home. This is generally because of the choice of venue, but also to make newer people feel more comfortable. If your munch has such a policy, please respect it.
  • Most munches take place at restaurants and discourage drinking as a part of the event. This is again because of concern over behavior that sometimes happen when too much alcohol gets consumed.
  • That said, there are other munches that operate wholly differently. There are munches that take place in bars, where there is play afterwards or even in a separate area, or where everyone arrives in fetish gear, etc… Many of these stretch or even run contrary to the basic definition of “munch” and some blur the lines with play events, classes, workshops, etc…
  • You have a right to choose to attend or not attend based on your comfort levels. You do not have to partake in any activity you don’t want to, and if something bothers you, you have a right to leave.
  • Some munches have a general business meeting at the start, or indeed throughout the event. There may be a seating arrangement for this, and it may pay to get their early so you can choose who you are next to throughout the event. Expect to hear a lot of talk about upcoming events, local issues in the scene, and announcements about weddings, sick members, leather titles and awards, and fundraisers.
  • Some munches are very formal in how people are introduced, and have a “stand up and tell us about yourself” segment (I hate this stuff, and usually am off to the bathroom if I am stuck at one of these.)
  • Other munches are very informal, or have no such meeting, so people are on their own to make introductions or find others to talk to. This can be good or bad. (In which case, I am usually trapped by a loud fellow who goes on and on about the chainmail armor he is making for the other social group he is in…)
  • Some munches are offered on weeknights, others on weekends (more often in the afternoon). Usually it is a regular monthly thing, but some are weekly. I have never been able to find a good Thursday morning group, but who knows?
  • Aggressively cruising for partners is usually considered very rude behavior, and at many munches is a good way to get kicked out. But again, there are a few where such is welcome or encouraged.
  • Many munches have a discussion group on FetLife, where they post rules, times, contact info, etc… and where you can get a good sense of their character before you attend.

From the discussion, What Happens at a munch, comment by BadMouseM

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

Dec 182013
 
 (From original post) Editor’s Note: “How’s That Work” offers readers a window into a wide array of relationship and sexual practices that they may be curious about or unfamiliar with. Topics discussed may not be applicable to everyone’s erotic desires, relationship style, or body. No one should feel pressured to engage in sexual or relationship practices that make them uncomfortable.

Watersports or “piss play” is one of those play modalities that elicit cries of “why would anyone do that?” The answer is, of course a bit complicated. If you’ve read past “How’s That Work” posts, you know by now that different people can have different reasons for choosing to engage in some form of play.
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Before we can get to why or how though, let’s establish what exactly we mean by watersports play.

On the most basic level, watersports refers to a form of erotic or BDSM play that involves urine. This kind of play can be done solo or with with a partner(s), and most often entails peeing on someone/being peed on, and can also include taking urine into one’s mouth, with or without swallowing.

While there are forms of medical play and diaper/ABDL play that can incorporate urine, those are a bit beyond the scope of this post. Watersports is rarely a purely stand-alone activity, but rather tends to be a part of play.

There are three primary reasons people engage in watersports as part of their play: intimacy, humiliation, and D/s.

For some, there is deep intimacy to be found in sharing a bodily fluid and function with a partner. Sharing in such a taboo act, especially with another person, can also be a source of that sense of connection. In this way, people engaging in watersports play are not unlike people who have a fondness for ejaculating on a partner’s face, or who enjoy sweat as part of their play.

As a society we’ve got all sorts of hang-ups around urination, going right back to our childhood potty training. Being “forced” to urinate in front of someone else or on oneself can be a powerful form of humiliation play, and being urinated on can be contextualized as a deeply humiliating situation.

Then there’s D/s. Dominance/submission is perhaps how watersports is most commonly portrayed in the gay men’s world. It’s a related, but distinctly separate form of play from using watersports for humiliation. As a tool for D/s, the act of urinating on someone else is be used as a way to establish or reinforce the dominant/submissive dynamic in a rather primal fashion, i.e. the alpha(s) establishing a hierarchical position, or even an animal marking its territory or property.
So if one wanted to explore watersports play, here are some things that would be good to know:

  • A great way to start exploring watersports is through solo play. This give one a practical idea of what they might want to explore with a partner, as well as some first hand experience with the mechanics of the activity itself. It’s a good idea to try different positions, as well as with incorporating sexual elements or not, to help build a sense of what forms of watersports play are intriguing.
  • The shower or tub is your friend. There are plenty of useful resources available for folk who want to engage in watersports outside of the bathroom, but that’s definitely 301 level play. The shower/tub makes clean up of everyone involved incredibly straightforward and takes care of environmental clean-up all on its own.
  • It may be useful to make sure that everyone is on the same page about what they hope to get out of a watersports scene before hoping in the tub. If Partner A is looking for a tender moment of intimacy, and Partner B grabs them by the hair and calls them a dirty little piss slut, an important step has been missed.
  • It’s a really good idea to have the pee-er drink a large quantity of water before watersports play, especially when starting out. Some people prefer a stronger scent and/or taste, but that’s something to work up to. It’s also worth noting that, perhaps even more than with semen, what someone eats and drinks can effect the composition of their urine.
  • Sometimes things that seem hot in theory, fantasy, or porn, don’t turn out to be as intriguing in person. At the same time, the reverse is also true, and something that one wouldn’t have imagined liking can turn out to be seriously hot.
  • As with all taboo play, it’s not uncommon to get off from watersports play and then feel somewhat weird about it afterwards. It can take time to become accustomed to playing on these sorts of edges, and plenty of people find themselves saying “never doing that again” after getting off, only to find that when their genitals get hard/wet they are up for giving it another go.

Finally, it’s worth sparing few words about watersports and safety.

Urine is generally considered a low risk factor for transmitting bacterial and viral infections. This is not to say that there is no risk. There is the possibility that a number of common STIs could be transmitted through urine contacting the eye or throat, although as you’d imagine, solid data is difficult to come by. However, STIs aren’t the only risk factor to consider. Drinking large quantities of urine can put some strain on the kidneys from what I understand. If this particular sort of play is preferred, it’s very important that all partners involved, both receptive and giving, drink lots of water before hand, as well as after the fact in the case of the receptive partner.

Perhaps the biggest safety issue to be aware of is that drugs and alcohol are excreted in urine. There are stories of alcoholics relapsing after consuming significant quantities of alcohol through urine at parties where they were bottoming to watersports play (specifically piss drinking), and drinking one’s own urine is an old junkie trick for getting more bang for the buck from a heavy dose of street drugs. Be conscious of the fact that what one person puts in their body, someone else may be directly exposed to. Food allergies could even be a factor if the reaction is severe enough.

So that’s today’s glimpse into an area of sexual expression and relationships. Maybe it was a trip down memory lane, or perhaps you now know far more than you’ll ever needs about how other people play.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like to see covered for “How’s That Work” comment below or send Winter an email at winter@bilerico.com.


Originally posted here
Written by and posted with permission of Wintersong Tashlin (Blog: Barking Shaman)

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 232013
 

Written by, and posted with explicit permission of shadow (i999shadow).

TERMINOLOGY

Because of STella and the renown of the public meeting as a “Munch”, the term has become associated with a food related public available event.

There is no One True Way to run a Munch, and people are free to run their Munches as they see fit. There is, however, a great need for clarity and consistency when the BDSM community interfaces with the vanilla community, and with our outreach efforts to the kinky people out there seeking to become members of “the scene”.

For that reason alone, the use of the term “Munch” should be exclusively for gatherings that are open -but not necessarily limited to- new people that want to find community and do not necessarily know anyone in the scene. By keeping the term “Munch” to that context, anyone anywhere in the world can pull up a search engine on a computer, type in “Munch” and find a meeting place of like minded pervs to help them along their own path.

Co-opting the term for other uses (private parties by invite only, meetings at locked facilities, including play at the event, etc.) makes the ability to outreach difficult and creates confusion for people seeking Munches in their own neighborhood, as well as for scene members who want to connect up with like minded pervs while out of town.

WHY WOULD NEWBIES WANNA COME TO A MUNCH?

Munches are frequently the first contact with “warm bodies, real people” for kinky people finding their sexuality. Some folks come after living out their fantasies only through fictional novels (you will get to know who they are fairly easily), while most will arrive having spent some time finding out what they are on line (known as VR- Virtual Reality). They are seeking the “next step”, making contact with others like them. Like you. Some newbies are also long time computer players and are seeking to verify the players they have met on line.

Munches are wonderful places for people to check the references of folks in the community and see that those who “claim” experience really have it. Many established BDSM communities also like their munch to be their “vetting” system. This is the first place anyone new to the community MUST come before they can attend any other BDSM related event.

The Munch system gives the community a place to “look over potential new members, get a chance to know them personally rather than as just as on line personalities, and decide if they like them enough to invite them to something more intimate/personal. Many dungeons will NOT allow anyone to come in off the street without having been cleared through the local “scene” Munch, even though they advertise the Dungeon in national magazines. It is another tool to protect the privacy and anonymity of the players inside.

LOCATION & FREQUENCY

Munches should, whenever possible, be held in public accessible places. Restaurants are great, for they provide safe, well lighted, comfortable venues for new people to safely explore meeting those in the scene. Coffee shop style sites are idea, for they remove any financial barriers that might make attendance difficult. Most everyone can afford a cup of coffee or a scoop of ice cream to enjoy while getting to know others.

Coffee shops are also perfect places for the deniability factor. MANY of the people in scene and out want some level of confidentiality. Maybe they have a high profile job to protect, maybe they have small children, or have other public issues. The reasons are varied- and they don’t matter. We respect each individuals right to control their level of exposure just as we respect their right to control their bodies or their property.

For whatever reason, using a public space that seems “innocent” gives those coming to a Munch the deniability clause. Everyone can claim- successfully- that they were not at a BDSM event- they were in a public coffee shop. The best possible restaurants are those with closed meeting rooms out of the way of the main dining hall. Especially for the larger Munches (several of which i know currently run over 30 people at a time), having that space helps lower the public profile of the group. 2 or 3 like minded folks sitting quietly at a corner table at a Denny’s works fine, but once you have a regular group of 12 or more, it helps to have some separate space. Large crowds draw attention from the vanilla folk, and that cuts down on deniability and might bring the wrong attention.

Large crowds also make more noise and tend to be a bit more “rowdy” and loose. That impinges on the other patrons of the establishment- and is non-consentual inclusion of the public. Having a private, separate banquet or dining room for your event also means that scene folks can feel more comfortable being “themselves”, they can socialize with others in their lifestyle roles rather than maintaining vanilla facades, and they can frequently do some discreet ‘sharing’ or show and tell about new toys or scars & piercings. It is hard to control that kind of interaction once it is admissable, so do try to keep it to a minimum.

Noise levels are not nearly as critical to privacy issues, and language can be slightly less restricted. Do remember, however, that this is STILL a public venue, and the staff should NOT be exposed to WIITWD without their consent. Many Munches that have discussed the groups focus with the restaurant in advance, kept their members discreet, paid their bills with nice tips, and left the rooms clean have been not only welcomed back, but been given unusual leeway by those locals. Restaurants that are treated with respect can become so comfortable with BDSM folks that all drinks are gratis, staff are assigned exclusively to serve and clean up, or even allow fetish wear and give discounts to the BDSM regulars.

Having a regular meeting place is also vital for public postings and word of mouth. Many Munch notices may end up posted on servers and bulletin boards far away from the control of the host. If your Munch is held every Wednesday at XYZ Diner, people will expect that indefinitely. Your postings about a Munch will travel all over the net, and many will be permanently added to announcement lists you have no control over. Regular attendees will depend on you being there- come rain or shine- and quit checking for location or time changes.

A Munch needs a permanent place and a regular time just as much as your local Police department needs a dependable phone number. Munches can frequently become the life line and the backbone of a BDSM community. Frequency of Munches varies from place to place. Some are as often as every week, others only once a month, depending on the area and the attendance numbers. You might want to start out with a once a month Munch and then add dates as the attendance grows and folks show a preference for when it’s most convenient for them to come.

NAMING AND MARKING THE BEASTIE

You will need a name for your group- hopefully something less colorful than “The local adult sex gang’. You need this for 2 reasons- One, to have something to call it when you write e-mail announcements, and Two, so that new folks entering the restaurant can ASK for the group without fear of standing around looking for the kinky people.

Pick something that can be spoken without blushing. Something that can be announced over the loudspeaker if need be. Something innocuous. “The Computer Club” has worked for years in every city i have ever been in. “The Monday Club” is another nice one ( of course, use the day of the week you actually meet to avoid confusion). The Munch bunch is nice, and doesn’t out anything, but *might* be so normal sounding that outsiders could be confused.

Some groups also mark their tables at small restaurants so that you can see them from the door. A simple piece of plain rope by the “reserved” sign works beautifully. A glove, or even a leather rose. i once attended a vanilla event on a crowded public beach- the ladies hosting the event marked our picnic spot with black and blue balloons. It was a wonderful “in” joke.

Remind people that are new that YOUR name may not be your real one either- and that they can create whatever pseudonym they choose to use in the scene. Names are more often than not entirely fictional.

WHO CAN I EXPECT TO ATTEND?

It varies all the time. Ages can range from from 18 On up- we have a wonderful lifestyle and people of all ages love to gather in together. All genders, sexual orientations, and BDSM preferences will eventually show up, and should be given equal respect and the same warm greeting. Try to make contact with new faces as soon as you notice them. A warm handshake and a personal introduction around to one or two of the regulars is always nice.

“Your kink is not as good as my kink” should NEVER be the first rule of a good hostess, although the occasional odd person looking for illegal connections (child molesters, etc.) should be asked to leave immediately.

SO WHAT WILL WE DO?

Some Munches are just chat- folks talk about whatever they feel comfortable with in small groups, or all at one table. Larger Munches usually take on the “eat and meet” system, letting people arrive, get food or drinks, eat, and then have an informal “meeting” at a preset time later in the evening. The meeting can be as simple as each person introducing themselves with their on line name/e-mail address or what they “think” they identify as (Dom, bottom, switch, submissive, crazy), or as detailed as how long they have been in scene and what other scene related work they do (do they own a Dungeon? Are they a toy maker? A ProDom/me?).

Folks will want to know if they need to be “experienced” or have some kind of “role”. Let all your guests know that everyone is invited, at whatever level of experience or type of play. If you get contacted by a nervous newbie, offer to sit them next to you and hold their hand till they get warmed up to the room.

Try to keep the “introductions” short (less than 1/2 hour total) and low key (quiet enough so that no one else in the restaurant outside of your group can hear you). Some people come to Munches to “meet the meat” and use the place as their own trolling grounds. Other people find that they can ONLY meet new play partners comfortably at Munches, as the dungeon or other BDSM events seem too “pushy”. Remember, this IS a social gathering, and a wonderful place for folks to get to know each other.

This is the gateway for many new to the scene to see that the players are not all dressed in tear away leathers and the women don’t have 8” stiletto heels on all the time. You can set the tone- and the rules- as you see fit. i personally suggest that while casual dating and first meetings at Munches are wonderful, do not let the occasional trolling Dom/me turn the event into his or her private fishing hole and cruise every newbie as they come in the door. It is uncomfortable enough for new people to go to an adult event, and their first few times should be as pressure free as possible. So You’ve got the Place and the Day….

GETTING THE WORD OUT- PART ONE: WHERE TO GO

Be it called BDSM, WIITWD (What it is that we do), or “the scene”, the kink community has more venues today for information than ever before. You no longer have to sneak into your local adult book store and post a 3×5 card on a bulletin board hoping that like minded people will see and remember your event.

The best starting point is always the nearest large BDSM organization’s web page. New York has TES, San Francisco has JANUS, Washington D.C. has Black Rose. Check the web sites of the largest BDSM organizations you can find on line- and e-mail your particulars to them. Check with the links below at the bottom of this page.

Include in your search the gay/leather/alternative lifestyle community organizations, If you can, visit your local Leather shop/ adult toy outlet and pick up the free publications and newspapers to contact as well. Most adult entertainment publications will include Munch announcements for free on their web sites/ in their monthly newsletters.

Start your OWN web page. Free web page hosting is everywhere now- AOL, Yahoo. and most larger servers offer free space for your page- and free help setting it up. Listing it for search engines to find as “BDSM, Munch, Your City Adult Events, D/s, Leather Events” and other possible combinations assures you of the widest audience possible to get the word out.

Your mail lists are another great place to put the word out. Write up a nice announcement, and post it- regularly- on whatever e-mail lists you are on. Even the nation wide lists will have people from your neck of the woods on them (usually lurking in the dark) that can benefit.

Some magnificent people in scene actually collect and redistribute all the Munch announcements they run across, so maybe your post to the Canadian Master/slave mail list will end up being distributed to the New Orleans fetish wear list, where it will be seen by your next door neighbor…. who loves to dress up as Lancelot during his submission scenes… and *he* wanted to meet someone local. You never know where things will end up on the net- or how you might contact others seeking community.

If you attend a local Dungeon, or have access to a Dungeon in a nearby city, contact the Dungeon Master about posting a notice in their lobby for like minded local folk to find you. Ask local costume stores, saddle & tack shops and even hardware stores to let you post a small notice about a “Munch”- vanilla customers will ignore the information, but the local kinky people will immediately know what you mean- and will hopefully attend.

GETTING THE WORD OUT:PART TWO WHAT TO PUT IN MY ANNOUNCEMENT

Use the word MUNCH in the title and the first line. Give the name of the group that people may ask for at the door if necessary. Give the regular day/date/ and time. Give a good address, Name the establishment, and give the phone number. Put in a nice set of written directions from the closest major freeway(s). Link to a web site for a map if you have access. Put in YOUR name (scene or real, your choice) so that people will know who is in charge, and add some kind of contact info for yourself (e-mail is safest, easy to use, and confidential). Then add any pertinent rules or information about the location as you choose.

GETTING THE WORD OUT: PART THREE RULES OF THE ROAD

Every Munch sets their own tone and their own style. Gorean events are NEVER hard to miss, and Het only Munches can be mistaken for PTA coffee meets. Make sure that YOUR Munch is a credit to the community and not a detriment to your reputation as a class act.

Part of the success of long standing Munches is their reputation as a clean, polite groups that welcome strangers, keep their voices low, and act like adults. The way they have done that is with published rules that are fairly “common sense”, but enforced quickly, even handedly, and as politely as possible.

The rules should be included alone with all your announcements, right after your date/ time/ place and just before the directions to your Munch (that way no one can claim they “never read that far” yet they found the place!). One rule is inviolate for most Munches- no one under 18 is allowed. Better to be safe than sorry, for the legality of even discussing WIITWD with minors is dangerous. Check the I.D. of anyone who seems even close to underage, and if they are, politely ask them to leave. If necessary, have the restaurant escort them out. No amount of outreach is worth facing charges of “contributing to the delinquency of a minor”.

After searching hundreds of Munch announcements, a brief listing of what is (and is not) acceptable behaviors to guide the newbies and remind the old hands are listed below. They have been taken with minor changes from Munch announcements for all sorts of locations. Not all of them will pertain to your venue- a private back room in a restaurant that serves liquor will allow more loose talk than a small diner with 6 benches on the Interstate. Use common sense, and adjust the rules as your group grows and changes.

Most of the items are needed every time, in every Munch announcement, to let new folks know what to expect. The following should give you all the examples you might need to host the Munch of your communitys dreams. Good luck.


THIS IS NOT A PLAY PARTY.
It’s a get-together for folks who share a common interest in BDSM . . .(our common bond..) If you’re shy or unsure of yourself, this is the perfect place to be… everyone is friendly and non- judgmental. Give us a try.

You’re welcome to stop by and join us. Munches are a great way to meet other people involved in the BDSM scene, ask questions, and share experiences. This is a casual, friendly and non-threatening social environment.

We’re lucky to have a private room at the back of the restaurant. Dress in what feels good to you, but keep it vanilla (covered up as necessary) until you’re behind our door.

The restaurant has a full menu at reasonable prices. Please try to get to the munch in time to order your food so they will have it to you before 7:30 to make things go smoother. Calendars are passed out then and it is really disruptive if the food is still being delivered.

Yes it is MUNCHTIME!!! XXXXX Munch…..TAH DAH! The munch will be held XXXday, theXXth from 7-10 pm, atXXXX, XXX N X Street (behind the cockfight ring).

We love meeting the new people! If for some reason we don’t talk to you, come talk to us, we don’t bite….ok it is negotiable. Or just sit on the side for a while and get comfortable.

We will have calendars of local events for the next 2 months that you may be interested in attending. Please do NOT leave any of them in the restaurant. Those who come to the munch get to know about upcoming events before anyone else in the community. Munch attendees will get to sign up right away for those events that fill up fast.

Dress as you wish, within reason. Please bring cash (+15% for tax/tip). No playing. The restaurant folks are scene friendly.

Please dress conservatively and act appropriately in this public meeting place. Confidentiality rules apply.

This is *NOT* a play party, and we are not meeting at the Exotic/Erotic Ball, so please do not wear fetish clothes, demonstrate your toys, punish your partner or demonstrate other behavior that will call inappropriate attention to our group. We want this to as safe an environment as possible for new people interested in WIITWD.

If you’re new to the Scene, or just slightly curious about BDSM, a munch in a public place is a safe, non-threatening way to check out some like-minded people. You can watch us from a distance and not even introduce yourself, if you like.

There is no play at this munch. Occasionally, someone brings a toy or something small to show off discreetly, but that’s as far as it goes. Respect the other patrons.

Please keep the fetish-wear to a minimum, and use a cover-up when entering and exiting our meeting place (this includes collars, cuffs, leashes, etc).

Nudity: NONE, so please do not even think about it. Do not push limits.

No Scenes, or S/M Play allow, but light D/s is always fun and in fashion. Please respect the Non-D/s patrons of this establishment with your actions and words.

No recording devises, cameras, or videos of any type allowed.

Everyone in attendance is responsible for placing their own orders and handling their own tabs.

Toys, heavy play, and sexy clothing are not a good idea. This diner is popular with the cops.


ANY LAST THOUGHTS BEFORE LIFT OFF

Well, that’s the basics of How to Host a Munch. Being in charge of an alternative lifestyle community gathering point can be exhilarating, but it is also a responsibility to be taken seriously. Make your Munch regular. Never forget to attend. Be patient. Never forget that some post you put out 12 months ago for your weekly gathering could, easily, be hanging on a wall in someones bedroom while they gather their courage to get in their car and attend it. That was my experience. Thank heavens, the Munch i waited for was- and still is- hosted by a true pillar of the community, the wonderful Miss Vicki. It is the direct descendant of STella’s first Burgermunch, which was still held on the same street, every Thursday night at 8 pm, come rain or come shine when i wrote this. And the best parts of gracious hostessing, i learned from her. My personal hugs are hers forever.


copyright 10-22-02 by shadow, all rights reserved. i999shadow@aol.com This document may be reposted and reprinted only in it’s entirety including copyright and author contact **WITH PERMISSION from the AUTHOR**. Failure to abide by the laws of common decency will result in inhuman revenge. Ask around. i can do that. It will be painful.
Sep 222013
 

Originally written by shadow, posted July 03, 2003.
(With thanks to Argent (Hal), Miss Vicki (keeper of the flame), nadja (the first list Master and font of history), Schwab (great memories) and the Wonderful STella, who started it all.


(Author’s note: In just the 4 years since i first researched and wrote this history, the amount of revisionisim and historical inaccuracy made it imperative to footnote and provide original postings on ASB as verification. As long as ASB archives are available, this information is accessable to all, abeit in a lengthy process, direct interviews, and e-mails).


Munches are traditionally considered a way to get like minded people together in a public venue for light socializing, usually on week nights , and require nothing more than showing up.

Week nights have become the chosen times for such events so that they do not interfere with Dungeon “Play parties”, usually held on Friday and Saturday nights.

Munches have also evolved into the main venue for welcoming newbies into the scene in a non-threatening environment that is easily accessible and requires no knowledge of any protocols, scene history or any “letters of introduction”.

Munches are the one place unsure new people can wander in and find “family”.

The ideology of having a “munch” has spread like wildfire across the planet as WIITWD becomes more available to larger numbers of people (thanks to computers and the Internet), and the event has mutated far beyond it’s conception principals.

With that in mind, it became apparent that some kind of “primer” or “general ground rules” should be set out for new munch hosts and hostesses to use as a tool in their toy bag of social skills.

Nothing in life is set in stone, this primer included. Take from it what you will, change what you need to suit you, your venue, & your community.


HISTORY

In these times people are accustomed to having instant access to adult information via the web. With the flick of a search engine, you can find munches all over the place, mailing lists and web sites filled with BDSM activities, events, even National conferences. Kink activities abound in every city across America, even as Civil Liberties laws are ignored or mutated by conservatives, and no matter what, like minded adults will congregate for entertainment and social interaction, and keep trying to create venues where we can do this easily, without fear of retribution, job loss, or social distress.
Adult organizations that have information about WIITWD are easy to contact, and the question of anonymity is given deep consideration. This was not always the case.

Sometime in the early 80’s, when the “Internet” between Universities and Military establishments became more accessible due to a proliferation of computer terminals, the first message boards were set up about sex.

Sex questions- sex answers. People wanting to know that they were not alone started using the anonymity of the keyboard to tell the other voices in the dark about what they did- or wanted to do- and exchanged information. Alt.Sexuality.org ( also known as alt.sex.bondage and referred to as ASB) was the largest and most used. Even today, it’s archives of postings are some of the most comprehensive and widely used informational records on the net. Eventually, spamming caused them to move to soc.subculture.bondage-bsdm.

Most users from that time forward had access via their Universities, and the University with the best access, the largest pool of users, and the congregational point for kinky people, was Stanford. The personal computer, microprocessor, and a host of other innovations were being born in the Palo Alto area, and it drew lots of young, hip, adventurous people from all across America.

Now, any given munch has the policies and objectives its organizers set for it. This may, and often does, include being a low-key, comfortable place for newbies to meet some BDSM people, and the munch announcements often say so. But it did not start with that objective, and it does not always have to be that way.

The very first munch, according to several who were there, was a gathering of 13 folks at the “Flames” coffee shop at El Camino Real and Lawrence Expressway in Santa Clara, California. There was no play at this first meeting, it was merely a matter of sharing a meal and meeting each other face to face, discussing what could be done to further filling the void these people felt in the sexuality and their lives.

The original idea for a mailing list started there as well. Originally it was called BABES – Bay Area Bondage Enthusiasts Society, and later BAST, Bay Area Sexually Twisted. The first operator, nadja, set up the list and worked with the continuously growing Kink community. This was the first place that many had ever had to actually talk in real time about their sexuality, desires, fantasies, and the darker aspects of BDSM. It also encouraged some conversations that were sexually explicit about illegal activities. Nadja eventually had to expel a member of the online community for the kinds of topics that could jeopardize the entire group. That incident created a permanent rift in the on line community that was growing.

Members grew, and people wanted to meet face to face. Many people were referred by friends to the list, and the list membership was the core of the southern Bay Area Kink community. These lists were discontinued when the Communications Decency Act came into effect, and the BurgerMunch list was split into 2 separate types of on line communications. An announcements only list is now run by Vicki, and the discussion list was handed to Marcie and Laura Lee who renamed it as Frenzi.

After that first meeting in Santa Clara, a new venue was found and announced. The Munch concept would be the “BurgerMunch”. STella announced it to the regular posters on alt.sex.bondage.org. and posted to the new discussion list that she would be at the outdoor patio seating area of Kirk’s Steakburger joint on California Street, Palo Alto, California, at the same day and time every week, and she hoped others would join her. This has been dated, according to legend, as April, 1992, althought some question the exact month. Vicki is fairly certain that the date of the first BurgerMunch was 23 April 92. Reserch has shown it was prior to Jun 1 1992, as others were beginning their own versions by then based on what they had heard was happening in Palo Alto. *(Footnote 1,6).

At first attendance was spotty, sometimes it was just STella, but as more people became aware of the BDSM community on line, more people came to see faces attached to the names they had become familiar with reading on alt/sexuality.org. The community of WIITWD was being born.

Postings show a lively regular event by June 1993. *(Footnote 5).

By Sept. 14, 1993, munches (sometimes erroneously using sTella’s term Burgermunch) were running in Portland and Vancouver, and was one was announced (Seattle SouvlakiMunch) for Seattle *(Footnote 3).

People joined the lists on line and learned about the BurgerMunches which were announced weekly; many of the members on the lists were not Newsnet users and had not been involved with the alt.sex.* hierarchy news groups.

Over time, more people came, the “munch” was talked about, and the event grew. After a while, the whole outdoor patio area , directly adjacent to the sidewalk in front, and fairly open to the public in places, had been taken over by BDSM people one evening a week on Thursdays. With half a decorative cinderblock wall, and a lattice work overhang, it was not a secure place to meet or talk about WIITWD.

Stella once defined a burgermunch as:
“a BurgerMunch is when somewhere between three and fifty perverts, some of whom bring vegetarian food from a nearby restaurant, meet at my favorite burger joint (Kirk’s Steakburgers, 361 California Avenue, Palo Alto, 6 pm) to talk about everything including bdsm, to plan future scenes and parties, and, now and then, to share a little pain right out there in front of ghod and everybody. Do check us out if you’re ever in the area. Any non-holiday Thursday of the summer (this winter, for the rainy season, we may move elsewhere, if I can find a good place). ” *(Footnote 7)

The BurgerMunch was a success. It became pretty “out.” People would show each other marks and bruises, or tattoos, cuttings, brandings, and they would show each other toys. After a while, there were floggings going on in dark corners of the patio. The police were called, complaints including used condoms in the shrubs.  *(Footnote 2).

For a while, someone brought a portable massage table and would give massages.

By July, asb. posts openly noted that scaring the vanilla people (“mundanes”) was part of the fun of the burgermunch. *(Footnote 8).

Those activities, the noise levels up and down the street , and a determined feeling of some of the regulars to deliberately bother the vanilla crowd eventually doomed the burger munch. Kirk’s was no longer happy with the loud crowd (many of whom quit ordering food there from their limited and admittedly less than stellar burger and hot dog menu, and either brought their own (sushi was popular with the vegetarians) or didn’t eat at all), and lost all of their regular clientele on Munch night due to the overt sexual activities of the BurgerMunch group. Some felt even the staff was intimidated by the groups activities.

When the entire alternative lifestyle group was eventually kicked out of Kirks in October 8, 1993, *(Footnote 1, 9), many of them went with STella and started meeting at the park down the street, *(Footnote 11) while the rest decided to meet indoors, evolving into the idea of a “regular meeting place for everyone- old and new- to meet”. Vicki became the eventual sole owner of this event.

The attentions of the police cars now loitering around the area, especially the park where sTella had moved to, along with some growing philosophical differences, as well as the colder nights, all fueled this change in locale and focus. Burgermunches were still being held outdoors there well into December 1993 * (Footnote 12).

The second group that had split off from the idea of public play began munches at Antonio’s NutHouse about 1/2 block away from Kirk’s. Reminders of regular meets were out by Jan 1994 *(Footnote 13).

STella asked the second group not call their meeting a BurgerMunch because that was her name for an event where public play was encouraged. STella did not trademark the word. It was used as late as May 28th, 1994  *(Footnote 4, 14, 15).

Her group eventually was forced out of the park by a combination of cold weather, changes in city policy about park closing times, and STella’s personal wishes. That group of players has moved into a more private venue, and disappeared from the public history of BDSM, although they were still playing and interacting with the Nut House munch bunch from time to time as late as July 17, 1994 *(Footnote 16).

The group that split off from STella’s (Antonio’s Nut House bunch, eventually known as the Thursday munch or Vicki’s munch) evolved with 2 philosophical requirements, and grew in size over the winter as many joined them in the heated environs of the Nut House.

1. This gathering was not a play party. The open to the public venues were *not* appropriate for BDSM activities.
2. They wanted a non-threatening place for new folk to discover BDSM. The second group felt that the location should be as open (visible) as practical so new folk could observe without “outing” themselves. *(Footnote 17).

Since play was being discouraged at the second group, and STella had asked that the name “Burgermunch ” be hers exclusively and denoted a play based gathering, the second group, meeting at Antonio’s Nut House began to use just ”munch” to denote what they were.

STella was not focusing the BurgerMunch on “newbies”. She wanted to socialize with BDSM people, and to create a situation where they could get to know people in a non-intimate environment. She succeeded far beyond her wildest dreams and will forever be linked with the term “BurgerMunch” as well as founder of the world wide phenomena known as munches within BDSM. *(Footnote 18).


FOOTNOTE 1
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/d698377a3e719e21/1cea9a492385d3ff?q=burgermunch+stella&rnum=26#1cea9a492385d3ff

We Went to Kirk’s and All We Got Was this Lousy Hamburger
From: STella Date: Fri, Oct 8 1993 1:28 amWell, tonight, BurgerMunch attendees were told by the cops that we were no longer welcome at Kirk’s, that any of us who congregated there would be arrested. The senior manager was there, complaining about vegetarians with their (imported from nearby) sushi, talking with carnivores and their burgers.Do NOT eat at Kirk’s, do not MEET at Kirk’s, and watch the newsgroup, since someone will likely announce a followon event, at another location. Especially, stay away on Thursdays, if you look like you might be one of Those People.When I started the Munches, a year and a half ago, I thought it would be worth doing, but never expected that it would work out as well, or last as long, as it has done.There will be other opportunities for us to get together, other places. Someone ELSE will announce them, because last week, when the sympathetic night manager told us the owner wanted her to kick us out, I suggested that we move elsewhere, and come back in a few months. I was told by many that “we don’t want to, this is a great place”, and by others that “you’re just copping attitude”.Not my cops, but I’ll own some attitude….Please, as a matter of fairness, and a favor to me, since the only contact either the owner or the police have for the group is MY name and addresses (yes, my home one too), do NOT give shit to the STAFF at Kirk’s. They have been unfailingly polite, respectful and helpful to me personally and to the other attendees at the Munch. Do, however, refrain from going to Kirk’s on Thursdays expecting to find BurgerMunchers there. You will not find us, and you MAY be arrested for trespassing. I will be in the small park at the end of California Ave, opposite the CalTran station, next Thursday, unless the new Munch coordinator (if in fact someone wants to do that) announces a different site.

If someone chooses to organize a weekly get-together, I suggest that putting its location on the poster kiosk in front of Kirk’s would be a good idea. I know that a lot of people offline know about the Munch, please try to spread the word. And remember what the I Ching says: What has happened once will happen again. BurgerMunch was my baby, and now it’s leaving home. I’m VERY pleased at the way it grew, and gave other folks the assurance that they could meet people and find friends, and I’ll be delighted as other areas start up their munches, and as the Bay Area finds its next opportunity.

STella%thelema.u…@decwrl.dec.com STe…@netcom.com
1016 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Where I am is Here, Where I live is Now. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.


FOOTNOTE 2

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/3c55456f30a18bdf/49900fdd590e8a42?lnk=st&q=&rnum=80#49900fdd590e8a42

Rumors of My Arrest…
All 3 messages in topic – view as tree
From: STella – view profile
Date: Fri, Aug 20 1993 5:27 pm
Email: STe…@thelema.uucp
Groups: alt.sex.bondage
Not yet rated
Rating: show optionsFYI: I have not been arrested, kidnapped by space aliens, nor raped by a giant swan.BurgerMunch has not been cancelled or moved, and will not be so unless I have posted annnouncements of that to alt.sex.bondage, to the local list in the Bcc line, and to various irc-folk as I see them on channel, which will happen, if at all, the day before a Munch at latest. The simple, and relatively uninteresting, truth is that, at about 10:30 last night, an hour and a half after Kirk’s closed, a cop did ask us to break it up, and we did. No problem, they have my name and number, and I’ll be touching base with Kirk’s, since the cops did say they’d had complaints (about rubbers in the shrubbery, for ghodsake) from Kirk’s, and I figure Monday I should speak with them, find out what THEY actually think is a problem, and settle things with them. Or we can take our several hundred dollars a week elsewhere, to one of the backup sites I have in mind. For the moment, however, I am not in jail, Kirk’s is still the site of BurgerMunches, and I presently expect this to continue to be the case. Too bad, though, that I haven’t been kidnapped by space aliens — would be a lot more entertaining than the current dreary set of eviction/separation/cartrouble hassles.Here, swanny, here swanny-swan….
STella%thelema.u…@dec.com STe…@netcom.com
1016 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA 94087


FOOTNOTE 3
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bestiality/browse_thread/thread/bab3e6c5f7b8c367/ec41876d8d5e3ad8?q=&rnum=38#ec41876d8d5e3ad8

Seattlemunch!
From: Elf Sternberg – view profile
Date: Tues, Sep 14 1993 7:28 pm
Email: e…@halcyon.com (Elf Sternberg)
Groups: alt.sex.bestiality>There is one in Portland and one in Vancouver, geesh i wish the seattle scene would get with it.Okay, then, let’s organize one. If I get enough email by Friday to justify creating one, I tentatively announce the First Ever Seattle SouvlakiMunch !!! (“Munch” is ™ someone, I’m sure) Where: Costas Greek Restaurant 4559 University Avenue (corner of 46th and University) Seattle, University District Reservation space in the rear of the restaurant. When: Wednesday, September 22 (First day of Autumn) 7:00 PM — Whenever. What: A Munch, of course!


FOOTNOTE 4

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bestiality/browse_thread/thread/bab3e6c5f7b8c367/ec41876d8d5e3ad8?q=&rnum=38#ec41876d8d5e3ad8

From: STella – view profile
Date: Wed, Sep 15 1993 6:05 am
Email: STe…@thelema.uucp (STella)
Groups: alt.sex.bondage, alt.sex.bestiality
In article <275uip$…@nwfocus.wa.com> e…@halcyon.com (Elf Sternberg) writes:
………
> I tentatively announce the
> First Ever Seattle SouvlakiMunch !!!
> (“Munch” is ™ someone, I’m sure)
I have never bothered trademarking it, except in the usenet Nice-guy(tm) sense. It’s one of mine, but I won’t flame you for using it to describe any get-together that is completely open to newbies, lurkers, and other such. A lunch or dinner that one has to RSVP to, to get on the list, and be informed of where and when, is not a “munch”, as I’ve been using it and encouraging its use, but Oh well, if you don’t follow MY rulez, I’ll take away your petunia! So there!
……………..
STella%thelema.u…@decwrl.dec.com STe…@netcom.com
1016 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Where I am is Here, Where I live is Now. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.==========


FOOTNOTE 5

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/297a0150f30de91/3b6a2324513346c3?q=&rnum=83#3b6a2324513346c3
From: STella – view profile
Date: Tues, Jun 8 1993 7:30 pm
Email: STe…@thelema.uucp (STella)
Groups: alt.sex.bondage
In article wi.7…@n7kbt.rain.com writes:
>for committed couples ( or places where we can meet such ) in the San Jose
>to San Francisco area. We are not looking for partners to swap with, rather,
>we are looking for people with common interests so we don’t seem so damned
>alone. We don’t have any hangups about non-hetrosexual life styles. We are
>just looking to meet people committed to each other, while embracing the
>leather persuassion.

Not all people who come to BurgerMunches are committed couples, but I can think of more than a few such. And even if you’re mostly looking for other couples, you might occasionally find something of value in words from the non-partnered BurgerMunchers. So give it a try, if you want, and see how you like it. BurgerMunches occur each Thursday evening, starting about 6pm, at Kirk’s Steakburgers, 361 California Avenue, in Palo Alto. We meet in the outside seating area, and I’m the one wearing denim and a whip. Hope to see you soon! (And if you’d like to chat with me before meeting, either email me a phone number, or write from your own account (I don’t give my phone number to anonymous strangers, for reasons I’m pretty sure you understand) for mine.)

STella%thelema.u…@decwrl.dec.com Don’t blame me, I voted Libertarian!
1016 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA 94087


FOOTNOTE 6

First mention of “munch” in ASB:
Sep 20 1993, 9:08 pm

First mention of Rhode Island munch:
Oct 13 1993, 12:19 pm
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/search?q=munch&start=850&scoring=d&

First mention of Bugermunch in asb:
Apr 2 1993, 2:47

Ontario burgermunch:
Apr 8 1993, 1:43 pm
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/search?q=burgermunch&start=240&scoring=d&


FOOTNOTE 7

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/8cfee4257b999279/bffb30a949dc252c?q=burgermunch&rnum=214#bffb30a949dc252c<


FOOTNOTE 8

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/f5ace8384387b6ad/9b13645d06b13981?q=burgermunch&rnum=205#9b13645d06b13981<hr />


FOOTNOTE 9

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/ec064e92012216ac/f8b5be09e951c7f3?q=burgermunch&rnum=172#f8b5be09e951c7f3

Partial:
From: M. Madeleine – view profile
Date: Sat, Oct 9 1993 6:56 am
Email: an29…@anon.penet.fi (M. Madeleine)
Groups: alt.sex.bondage

M. Madeleine here. Quite shaken.

I just had my world yanked out from under me.

I knew something was wrong a week ago. The train had a new schedule. The train that ran express to burgermunch didn’t quite anymore.

At Burgermunch, there was talk of discontent from the owners. One of the managers came out and said the owners had asked her to chase us off, but she said she would try to go to bat for us. Nervous.

This week I did a strange thing. I bought a spare ticket to Palo Alto. After all, I go there every week. When I got to Kirk’s I borrowed the key to the bathroom. The regular manager gave me a strange, spooky look when I smiled and nodded at her. I missed it and every other sign. For two hours we socialized, ate and played. Yeah, people were wacking each other. In plain view. Another sign. This time the cops didn’t catch us mid-flog. But they did catch us. My heart sunk when I saw them. I knew it was over.


FOOTNOTE 10

The thread continues by M.Madeline and “Fluffy” as they bemoan the loss of the location. The first notes about the difference between policing ourselves and being too out are here, as they relate to the Bay Area scene.


FOOTNOTE 11

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/11430ab59ea229c6/9abf404d6b207cf0?q=burgermunch&rnum=171#9abf404d6b207cf0

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_frm/thread/11430ab59ea229c6/d434df7167e579cf?tvc=1&q=burgermunch+Madeleine#d434df7167e579cf

(M.Madelaine verifys he is NOT the owner of event).

The next BurgerMunch will be Thursday 6-ish at J. Bowden Park, the small park on North California Avenue and High St. in Palo Alto. This is just across the tracks and through the pedestrian underpass from the train station. Gather under the wooden structure thing about in the middle of the park. Lots of food available by walking through the underpass to California Avenue proper: sushi, Indian, burg^H^H^H^H, dim sum, vegetarian, books, copies, etc. Bathrooms: two blocks away at Printers Ink; be discreet. Several people noted a police car there last time. We asked, he knew nothing of us and could care less; he had just chosen a quiet spot to do paperwork. At this writing they seem to have No Problem with us using the park. How to get there, after we talk about rules.

Rule A. Have a good time.
Reason: Personal fiat
Penalty for violation: You have a lousy time.
Rule enforced by: You.

Rule B. Don’t fuck it up for everyone else.
Reason: it’s bad manners.
Penalty for violation: We lose this site forever.
Rule enforced by: probably, the Palo Alto P.D.

Info:
Some of our friends are allergic to heavy perfumes and aromatic stuff and will go to the hospital. We’re sharing the park with locals and children. Two streets have houses facing the park. Some Burgermunchers are uncomfortable around public play. The park closes at 10:30pm. ”


FOOTNOTE 12

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/604dbfd724817c92/32f39e628c8aa0f6?q=burgermunch&rnum=149#32f39e628c8aa0f6

From: Stan Schwarz – view profile
Date: Thurs, Dec 16 1993 7:17 am
Email: sschw…@wixer.bga.com (Stan Schwarz)
Groups: alt.sex.bondage

Gentle Reader reminds us about the next Austin ‘munch. I’d just like to add a quick note to the lurkers out there to come down and join us. All the cool kids are doing it… 😉 Also, I want to say a thank-you to STella and all the others who were at the Bay Area Burgermunch last Thursday. I had a fun time hanging out with y’all ^H^H^H^H^H you all. If any of you are ever here in Texas, be sure to mail us and come visit.
Stan
sschw…@wixer.bga.com


FOOTNOTE 13

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/5b3013169ce89f21/59713bf0b33c0f26?q=burgermunch&rnum=116#59713bf0b33c0f26

Sat, Jan 29 1994 2:01 pm
Email: an46…@anon.penet.fi
Groups: alt.sex.bondage

Once again, there will be a South of the Bay Lunch in Sunnyvale, California on Monday. We meet in the food court on the second floor of the Sunnyvale Town Centre about noon to 12:15. We mark our table with a helium balloon, a red one if possible. We are there until about 1:15 to 1:30. There is also a 12:30 lunch on Tuesdays at the Dutch Goose. And BurgerMunch is in Palo Alto in the front restaurant at Antonio’s Nut House.

AND:
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/b849c3dc36be48d3/ef3bbf9752280050?q=burgermunch&rnum=108#ef3bbf9752280050

From: M. Madeleine – view profile
Date: Wed, Feb 16 1994 9:16 am
Email: an29…@anon.penet.fi (M. Madeleine)
Groups: alt.sex.bondage ……..

Do you know about BurgerMunch? It’s an informal gathering of a.s.b-folk in Palo Alto, California. We meet Thursdays at 7:00pm at Antonio’s Nut House, on California Avenue in Palo Alto. Now, being as this message looks just a bit like a personal, and that starts withn “P” and that rhymes with “C” and that spells “clueless”, I thought I’d pass on something that I read, back a year and a half ago when I started reading a.s.b. It went something like this…Munch is not a play party. It’s not a dating service. It’s not a singles bar. It is a place where friends who have a.s.b. in common, gather to munch burgers and talk about lots of things.

All in all, it’s a pretty good group. They’re my friends.
M. Madeline
****
Earliest ref on A.S.B. that I can find that establishes burgermunch at San Antonios. http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/cfb2041e15827fc0/99af2bfbeeb31a35?q=burgermunch+Madeleine&rnum=13#99af2bfbeeb31a35

M. Madeleine here, taking note of a Munch coming together in an old Stomping Ground…

Johnny Bomber writes,
>Well, here we go, jumping on the Burgurmunch express.
>I’m trying to get one organized for the SE Michigan area.

Glad to hear it! Kind of ironic, though… STella once told me that Munch would’ve started there, had she not moved to the Bay Area… If you’re interested in attending one, or helping organize or whatever, send me some email and let me know…and please don’t send it from an anon.penet.fi address…

> Oh definitely… we wouldn’t want any of those ANONYMOUS posters showing up at Burgermunch… or GOSH, Heaven Forbid an Anony-un-person should actually ORGANIZE one!

And anony-mice shouldn’t announce them either, ohno! By the way, Palo Alto Burgermunch is every Thursday at 7:00pm at Antonio’s Nut House on California Avenue. The last three have been great, and the management is very happy to have us. (even lets us stay late!)


FOOTNOTE 14

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/7f49d6974aba3a06/e2d54ec8950f6e47?q=burgermunch&rnum=72#e2d54ec8950f6e4

From: STella – view profile
Date: Mon, Apr 25 1994 5:54 am
Email: STe…@thelema.QueerNet.ORG
Groups: alt.sex.bondage
……..
BurgerMunches, as I see it, ended. The folks now doing a Thursday get-together ban playing, and chose a place where smokers must go away from non-smokers. If I’d done anything to make BurgerMunch a legal trademark, what’s now happening at Antonio’s Nut House would NOT be a BurgerMunch. But still, one can find people who read asb at the restaurant on the corner of the block Kirk’s was in. One can occasionally find me out in the front, but more often, if I’m there, back in the smoker’s ghetto playing pinball.
……
STe…@thelema.queernet.org STe…@netcom.com STe…@xanadu.com
1030 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA, 94087
If I get in my own way, we will take a step aside, all our parts will touch me and we will go on, for everything within me is sacred.


FOOTNOTE 15

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/48eab68d6714e9c8/52fa270cb9afa8da?q=burgermunch&rnum=56#52fa270cb9afa8da

Still being referred to as Burger munch by May 28th, 1994.
Misinformation on FAQ at: http://groups.google.com/group/news.answers/browse_thread/thread/12d3642e174d63fb/320d29aeeec66751?q=burgermunch&rnum=33#320d29aeeec66751


FOOTNOTE 16

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/d1dbac42947ae578/e59e751520e072a1?q=burgermunch&rnum=45#e59e751520e072a1


FOOTNOTE 17

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/25f3c2e3355eba09/3b4f4b411903bb28?q=burgermunch&rnum=35#3b4f4b411903bb28

M.Madeline’s outline of proper munch location, best thoughts on how to hold one.


FOOTNOTE 18

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/6dd5dc7507cbce8f/df4a700d43ebbf09?q=burgermunch&rnum=31#df4a700d43ebbf09

Regular asb postings were still appearing as late as Sat, Nov 26 1994.
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/1fbc4356a943dafd/dbd91befc38776fa?q=burgermunch&rnum=28#dbd91befc38776fa

December 1994.
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/3e44cc2577c5fdd5/8023d6ce2e573387?q=burgermunch&rnum=26#8023d6ce2e573387

January 5, 1995 M.Madeline is no longer posting the event, Nadja is.
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/dae1b3a0ba3b55a6/47428a28bfc15969?q=burgermunch&rnum=16#47428a28bfc15969

March 27th, 1995 first asb post of the link between events.
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.bondage/browse_thread/thread/26f1a9760f3c22ee/d2dd11a3dee8663d?q=burgermunch&rnum=11#d2dd11a3dee8663d

August 25th, 1995- Stella still attending munch, first mention of both original Thursday munch AND Wednesday night “Stanford Students” original munch after it had moved and was morphing from students to BDSM’ers of all ages. First mention of Vicki as hostess.

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.spanking/browse_thread/thread/4f5bd266d477351a/ad3dc287ad2d41bd?q=burgermunch&rnum=5#ad3dc287ad2d41bd

Searcher posts of the 2 munches and some history Dec. 2, 1996– ASB lists no longer viable for general discussion (spamming), discussion list has moved off ASB. She formalizes “rules list”.

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sex.spanking/browse_thread/thread/4f5bd266d477351a/ad3dc287ad2d41bd?q=burgermunch&rnum=5#ad3dc287ad2d41bd

Feb 2, 1997. This is the last posting on the original board.


Published here, written by shadow (aka i999shadow), July 03, 2003; shared with permission
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_.
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 102013
 

I’ve been involved with a few boards in the past 6 years, and had the opportunity to watch the Phoenix Niagara board up close and see the difficulties it faced. I’m going to offer a few suggestions, which I think the new BKS board could benefit from. These are based on the pitfalls that I’ve seen other groups deal with.

  1. Keep your board small. The larger the board, the longer it will take to arrive at decisions, and the more likely that there will be splintering down the road when there are disagreements. I’ve seen a few boards (including Phoenix Niagara) decide to expand their board (in the case of PN from 3 to 6) either because the board wanted to share work between more members, or because they wanted to appear to give more representation. More representation is a good idea, but meetings quickly become bogged down, and the longer each meeting takes and the more disagreement you have to deal with, the less effective your board will become. Board members lose steam, and suddenly your entire board is floating dead in the water.
  2. Make use of advisors. Find experienced and level-headed people that can make suggestions to the board. When you don’t have a clear answer, ask those advisors what they would do. The choice is still the boards, but you’ll have a more informed decision. It’s also best that these people not be invested in the group so that they are as unbiased as possible.
  3. Appoint a spokesperson. This person is in charge of writing FL postings, which should be okayed by the rest of the board prior to posting. Knowing that it is one person talking through an account, and that the person has the backing of the board is important for your members and shows stability.
  4. Members don’t need to know EVERYTHING. Beyond a quarterly or annual update, members don’t need to be made aware of every decision, unless it requires them to do something differently. This is important, unless the board likes to be challenged on every decision it makes. Board members are supposed to be elected based on their ability to make decisions in the best interest of the group for a set term. Allow them to do that, and if you don’t like it, vote against them at the next election.
  5. Appoint an ombudsman. Again, this person should be removed from the group if at all possible. They are there to handle members complaints against the board, and to participate in any appeals to the boards decisions. They keep the board accountable. At least one board I can think of could have benefited greatly from this when one member made unilateral decisions (but since he was the spokesman for the group it was assumed it was a unified decision), and could have helped remove this person when it was alleged that he was also pocketing group finances.
  6. Share the work. If you need help, develop committees. Committee members must follow the boards decisions, or be removed from their post. Committee members do no get a board vote.
  7. Value your volunteers. Events can’t run without the support of your members, and without their active participation.
  8. Enforce the rules. This was Phoenix Niagara’s biggest pitfall a few years back. The Chief DM and board didn’t enforce them equally, and as a result people didn’t feel safe at the PN parties. It wasn’t long before the group went from 80 regular attendees to 25.

Written by and shared with permission of MasterMatt84. Thank you.

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

Jun 162013
 
ARTICLES:
Getting Started

MunchGuideBanner468x60
MUNCH BASICS:

A beginner’s guide to BDSM Munches, by Jay Wiseman
What’s a Munch? a Social? a Slosh? a POS?, by caryl
Differences between munches, from a discussion on Novices & Newbies, post by BadMouseM
It’s your first munch, eh? I bet you’re thinking…, by ThoughtsofYou
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
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.
This is why we tell you to go to munches & events, written by and shared with permission of kitkat_cupcake
Advice for Your First Munch, written by and shared with permission of SecretSmile101
So you’re new at a munch? How to get the most bang for your buck., written and shared with permission of and written by PauleyO


CHECKLISTS

BDSM Checklist (Google Docs)


WEBSITES:

A Submissive’s Initiative – Accurate, safe and free information about BDSM
Ambrosio’s BDSM Site – A super collection of resources, including many articles by various authors.
BDSM101– Collection of writings and articles about those looking to get involved in kink..
BDSM Terms
Cowhideman’s Writings Index – Well thought advice by Cowhideman, Owner of FetLife’s Novices & Newbies group.
Healthcare without Shame – “Handbook for the Sexually Diverse and Their Caregivers”
Keeping It Kinky – Researched and Referenced Guide to BDSM
List of Philias – Extensive list of “loves”
No Shades of Grey Free E-book
Submissive Guide – Mentoring, self-help and submissive exploration
Susan’s Place – Support resource for the transgender community which provides information of use to transsexuals, crossdressers, and their familes. Resources available include Chat, Links, Reference Library, Site Reviews, Forums, GRS surgeon reviews, Wiki, and much more.
WizDomme Info Pack D/s “newbie pack”
XeroMag/Franklin’s Page – A great collection of easily digestible and informative essays, such as BDSM for Nice Guys, Exploring 50 Shades, BDSM FAQ and much more.


ARTICLES:
Especially for Dominants/Tops
Especially for Submissives/bottoms/slaves
Looking for Partners-Playmates
Using FetLife
How to Do What It Is That We Do (WIITWD)
May 202013
 

Not a week passes when there is a post something along the lines of “I am new, I want to meet a XYZ so if you want to get with me send me a message” followed by several posts from people in the community suggesting you go along to a local munch or event to meet new people. This is followed by either “yes! Can I have more info” or “No, I just want to play in private, so message me for filth”.

But why do we suggest that you go to a munch? Why do you get so little direct messages offering your requested private play? This might help:

  1. Fear. Meeting a stranger offline can be VERY scary and dangerous. Of course that might be a turn on for some but for the vast majority of people it’s a unacceptable risk to ones safety.
  2. Fakes. You might be a sock puppet account, with stolen images of a sexy hotty set up to mooch around and send dozens of messages, interacting with people pretending to be someone else. That’s a nasty game, right? Yes, and it happens. You can get just as emotionally invested in a online friendship / relationship as one in real life and get just as devastated when it all falls apart if the person isn’t real.
  3. Pressure. Meeting someone one-on-one is a lot of pressure. Either or both of you may feel compelled to do things you don’t want to because of all the effort and time you invested in the days and weeks of back and forth messages. Playing out of obligation? No thanks.
  4. It’s not about you. Being asked to meet up at a social event instead of going straight into a play date may not be about you. Many people enjoy the social side of kink, having dozens of friends whose opinion is important and who get a certain amount of protection from those friends.
  5. Do you have balls? Ok, that’s a figure of speech, but to be able to “play” in a top bottom or fetish role you have to have a certain element of bravery, that bravery will develop trust with your play partners so basically if you can’t drum up the courage to get out and meet people then how will you have the cahones to play?

So what about if you say no thanks for munches without a reason? Don’t get me wrong your entitled to mix & mingle how you see fit (I myself socialise occasionally). However, whether you like it or not you refusal does speaks volumes. When you say no to going to a public meet it MAY say some things about you:

  • You are a kink tourist cruising for a quickie.
  • You are married and are scared your partner will find out
  • You DO have a sock puppet account, maybe a bad reputation on the other one.
  • You are new but believe you are good enough to jump straight to play, however hard that play may be (this is VERY scary).
  • That you are soooooo important that no one can ever see your face because apparently we can’t wait to blackmail you in some way.
  • You DO pose a risk to potential playmates

I haven’t written this to make anyone feel obliged to go to a munch or event when they truly don’t want to, I do hope it may shed some light as to why being advised to is the answer everyone gives you when you post about wanting to meet new people and why if you flat out refuse you may struggle to get to know many people in the area.

Either way – good luck in finding what you are looking for!

(Re-posted with permission of the author, kitkat_cupcake, original post)

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.

Oct 302008
 

NOTE: This is an article i returned to today i wanted to share; this corresponds with my current focus on connecting with myself, to better connect in other ways too.

Tools for Inner Work By Jack Rinella
for Issue number 11
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

At a recent seminar an attendee asked me how one deals with fear. It’s an important question and touches on an area of BDSM that we often neglect, which I call “inner work.”

Much of what we do has an effect on our psychological state, including emotions, self-esteem, and perception. Even though we may be into kink for fun, it is impossible not to note that the fun leads to these changes, if only because during the fun we feel better. If we didn’t feel better we wouldn’t be doing it would we?

Now I don’t think that the dungeon is the place where one should do inner work. Facing one’s issues is best left to times and places that are conducive to private reflection and calm reason. On the other hand, a player who never deals with his or her “issues” is most likely not to grow as a person and certainly won’t be able to grasp the true depths that can be found in doing what we do.

And yes, we all have issues, that is, areas of our lives that cause hurt, fear, and doubt; parts of ourselves that are wounded, hesitant, defensive, and/or aggressive. That, by the way, includes me.

So what are some of the ways to overcome our inner obstacles in order to reach our full human capacity? My answer to that attendee was to present this list. I hope it’s helpful to you:

Before I plunge into this list, I want to remind you that it is short and hardly has much detail to it. Each topic here could be a whole book in itself so you’d be well-advised to find out more about the topics that strike you as meaningful. For instance, you might want to get a book about journaling or meditating to give yourself a better idea as to how to use those tools.

Journal. It’s natural for me to suggest to keep a journal, since I’m a writer. For many people, writing is a means of self-expression wherein one can safely reflect and review one’s feelings. The good thing about keeping a journal is that doing so is safe, since it’s usually quite private. A journal also provides an opportunity to review one’s feelings over a longer period of time, thereby reducing the power of emotion in the moment while still crediting our feelings as one basis (and only one) for decision-making.

Share. Several of my “tools” are going to seem redundant, sharing being in that category. That is purposeful since each tool has its unique methodology. So I encourage people to have someone with whom they feel safe to share their inner selves, to unload. That person ought to be one who can handle the heat of your feelings without being threatened. In fact they may be a person who only listens, since we all need a willing ear. It may be best that they not be intimate with us, more a friend than a lover or partner.

Experiment. Allow yourself the chance to try things out without committing yourself for the long haul or the deep experience. Experimenting means to experience something in a controlled situation so that you can have some feedback as to how to proceed. It is a slow exploration, a putting one’s toe in the water so to speak. It doesn’t have to be a big plunge, just enough of an experience to give you something upon which to reflect.

Research. Find access to experts, either in seminars, through books or videos, or one on one and find answers to the serious questions that are on your mind.

Meditate. Learn the skills necessary to relax your mind, either through one of the many meditation programs or perhaps in something like a martial art program. You can do this through tapes, books, and seminars. Really it’s a matter of taking time for yourself, however you feel you want to do it.

Do Something Else. Sometimes it just helps to walk away from the problem for a short time. I do it all the time, such as when I garden or do carpentry. These breaks allow me to see the big picture of life and to stop being caught in the minutia of daily living. Keep in mind that what’s bothering you now probably won’t make much difference a hundred years from now, no matter how big the crisis seems at the moment.

Give Yourself Permission. Most of us are our worst critics. Having accepted the “you shoulds” that the world imposes upon us, we fail to accept the fact that we are who we are, and probably not whoever everyone else wants us to be. We don’t have to comply to others’ images of whom we ought to be. We only need to be our authentic selves, not necessarily an easy chore but one that is quite rewarding.

Look in the Mirror. When the wicked step mother asked the mirror who was the fairest of them all, she was using the mirror for the wrong purpose. Mirrors are meant to reveal the person looking into the mirror, not someone else. So I have used a mirror to look at myself and then to remind myself that what I see is a loveable and capable individual. Do I need to feel loved? Then I tell my reflection that I love the person I am seeing. After all, if I can’t love me, who can?

Ask Others, Yourself, and the Universe. No one says you have to do this inner work all by yourself. Seek help from competent counselors, from your inner self, and from the Universe. I often ask for help just before I fall asleep, by saying something like this? “Self, I’m going to sleep and I promise to listen to whatever you want me to know so that I can overcome this challenge and do what is best for myself.”

Dream. That, of course, leads us to the world of dreams. I don’t use dreams to tell the future as I believe dreams are simply a reflection of who we are and everyone in a dream is part of the dreamer. Dreams, then, have information about us in them. They are also great places to have experiences that will change our self-image and repair our past.

Enter into a Dialogue. Asking and sharing can be combined into a dialogue, a process of mutual reflection in which both parties respond to the communication from the other. It’s important that the dialogue be honest, non-threatening, and without expectations of what it will or will not accomplish. It probably needs to be long-term and on-going to be much good.

Make Diagrams: Pros and Cons, Ego and Self, Past and Future. I find value in making lists in two columns with the pros on one side, the cons on the other. One can use any approach for this. For instance you might want to make a list of the “worst that can happen” or “my wants versus my needs.” Just as in journaling, putting things in writing can help make their meaning and importance clearer.

With whatever tools you decide to grow, it is important that you be kind and gentle to yourself. How old are you? It took you that long to get here so don’t think that you’ll change your life overnight, unless of course you were born yesterday.

Have a great week. You can leave me email at mrjackr@leathermail.com or visit my website at http://leatherviews.c.topica.com/maakip5abFnx5bsM3Unb/ where you can subscribe to this column and receive it weekly. Copyright 2008 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.

Aug 282008
 

[IMHO, one of the best, concise sets of information i have seen gathered in one place – by far!!]

This was provided courtesy of Dark Connections.com. Feel free to share this unaltered. We offer this as a starting point for your learning about the Lifestyle. Enjoy your journey!

Chapter 1 – Finding a Dominant
o Always trust your gut. If something feels wrong it probably is.
o Intuition and common sense are your most valuable instincts.
o Look for the same personality/ qualities you would look for in a vanilla partner.
o Be yourself. Never compromise who you are to gain the attention of a Dominant.
o Be clear and honest about what you are seeking in a relationship.
o Some Dominants will never love you.
o Some Dominants have no desire to fuck you.
o Don’t be afraid to say “no” to prospective Dom/mes.
o You do not have to take orders or obey every Dominant who approaches you.
o Just because you are sub doesn’t mean you should let Dom/mes walk all over you.
o You do not have to spend money on, or give money to, a Dominant.
o You do not have to send naked photos to a Dominant.
o Be careful how much personal info you reveal to strangers.
o Make a list of mandatory questions to ask prospective Dom/mes.
o Ask questions respectfully, then respectfully question answers.
o A Dominant who refuses to answer basic questions has something to hide.
o Talk to other subs and Dom/mes before you meet someone new. Get references.
o Expensive fetish clothes/toys or a booming voice does not make a Dominant.
o Some Dominants exaggerate their lifestyle experience in order to impress subs.
o A Dominant with many years of experience may still be a total asshole or abusive.

Chapter 2 – Being safe
o A good Dominant will make sure you feel safe at all times when meeting.
o Anything that is not consensual is abuse.
o A Dominant who refuses to honor your safeword is abusing you.
o Use common sense if ordered to have unprotected sex with strangers.
o Clean insertables yourself before and after they are used on you.
o Make sure your play partner knows all your medical conditions before scening.
o Drop any Dominant who orders you not to get medical or psychological help.
o Calling your safeword is not a sign of failure. It will help improve future scenes.
o Never tell a Dominant you have no limits.
o Never rush off to another state to meet a Dominant you just met. Be patient.
o Use safe calls (phone calls at established times) when meeting for the first time.
o Always meet in public on your first date.
o If you must play on a first date, do it at a public dungeon.
o Do not allow a Dominant to isolate you from family or loved ones.
o Pay attention to your physical/mental condition after scenes.
o Some subs need more aftercare than others.

Chapter 3 – Protocol
o The most important protocol to learn is your own Dominant’s.
o Basic etiquette and manners are all that is required at most lifestyle events.
o Make sure you know all the rules of a specific event and don’t break them.
o When collared, your behavior in public is a direct reflection upon your Dominant.
o Learn when to speak and when to be silent.
o Do not touch other people’s property (subs, toys) without permission.
o Never interrupt other people’s scenes (ie. touching, talking or laughing loudly)
o Always clean up after your scene.

Chapter 4 – Your Journey
o Don’t expect a Dominant to solve all your problems in life.
o Be responsible for your own health, financial independence and happiness.
o Never stop learning about yourself and ways to improve your submission.
o Never limit yourself to just one source of information.
o Don’t spend more money than you can afford on fetish gear, toys, or events.
o You do not have to be a pain slut to be a good sub.
o This is your journey. Live it the way that makes you happy and satisfied.
o If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong.
o It’s ok to be alone.
o You can decide for yourself whether to be monogamous or poly.
o Don’t rush blindly into relationships because you are so eager to serve.
o Take time to honestly learn what you need and want out of the lifestyle.
o Keeping a private journal can help you get to know yourself better.
o Discover who you are in your submission.. . sub or slave, masochist or no pain, etc.
o Just because you’re a sub doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get your needs met too.

Special thanks to Amirah, Bishop, CW, Christy, Cntrler, Darque de Sade, Goddess Palia, homiet, James, Jennee’, lil one, Mistress Max Rulz, Ms. Lynn, Pharaoh & Empress, pulse, Sassy, Solamente, sugga, and Ty.

Aug 282008
 

[One of the best, concise sets of information i have seen gathered in one place – by far!!]

The following was provided by members of Dark Connections.com. Feel free to share this guide unaltered.

Chapter 1 – Finding a Submissive
* Intuition and common sense are your most valuable instincts.
* Look for the same personality/qualities you would look for in a vanilla partner.
* Be clear and honest about what you are seeking in a relationship.
* Make sure your sub understands whether you are looking for a monogamous or poly situation.
* Before you attempt poly, make sure you can handle that first sub.
* Make a list of mandatory questions to ask prospective subs.
* A sub that refuses to answer basic questions, especially regarding his or her medical history, has something to hide.
* Pass over prospective subs who obviously aren’t compatible with your needs.
* Don’t rush blindly into relationships because you are so eager to have a sub.
* Collars should not be given out without serious consideration and intent.
* Being a Dominant doesn’t give you the right to order around every sub you come in contact with.
* Subs are not obligated to have sex or give tributes to you.
* Be wary of subs who want financial support, or who are frequently collared and released.
* Talk to other subs and Dom/mes before you meet someone new. Get references.
* Expensive fetish clothes/toys or a collection of collars does not make a submissive.
* Some subs exaggerate their lifestyle experience in order to impress Dom/mes.
* A sub with many years of experience may still be a total asshole or mentally unstable.
* A sub has a right to leave you.

Chapter 2 – Being safe
* Make sure you know your sub’s medical conditions and HIV status before playing.
* Anything that is not consensual is considered abuse and is prosecutable.
* Consensual play that results in serious injury or death will be investigated by police as reckless endangerment and may get you jail time.
* A Dominant who refuses to honor a safeword is being abusive.
* Your sub is your property and responsibility. Care for him or her properly.
* Know your sub’s limits and pain threshold thoroughly before attempting to scene.
* Discuss any traumatic events the sub has had which may be triggered during play.
* Do not drink excessively or use prescription/ recreational drugs that may impair your ability before or during a scene.
* There may be times when your sub zones out and is unable to call their safeword.
* Remember that it only takes a split second to do physical or mental damage during a scene. You must stay focused.
* Learn as much as you can about a new style of play before attempting to try it.
* Clean insertables before and after they are used on a sub.
* Learn CPR and keep a first aid kit with scissors in your toybag.
* Calling a safeword is not a sign of failure. It will help improve future scenes.
* Be wary of subs who say they have no limits.
* Never rush off to another state to meet a sub you just met online. Be patient.
* Use safe calls (phone calls at established times) when meeting for the first time.
* Always meet in public on your first date.
* If you must play on a first date, do it at a public dungeon.
* Pay attention to your sub’s physical/mental condition after scenes.
* Some Dominants may need aftercare too.

Chapter 3 – Protocol
* The most important protocol your sub should follow is your own.
* Basic etiquette and manners are all that is required at most lifestyle events.
* Make sure you know all the rules of a specific event and don’t break them.
* Don’t try to get sex and/or play under the guise of “mentoring.”
* Your sub’s behavior in public is a direct reflection upon you.
* Do not touch other people’s property (subs, toys) without permission.
* Never interrupt other people’s scenes (i.e. touching, talking or laughing loudly)
* Always clean up after your scene.

Chapter 4 – Your Journey
* Choose your scene name carefully. You should earn your title (Sir, Master, etc) through respect and experience.
* Don’t expect a submissive to be the solution to all your problems in life.
* Before one can control another they must be in control of themselves.
* Be responsible for your own health, financial independence and happiness.
* Never stop learning about yourself and ways to improve your Dominance.
* Apologizing or admitting when you are wrong does not make you any less of a Dominant. It is an admirable trait.
* A lifestyle aware friend can be just as helpful as a mentor.
* Skills and experience are not a substitute for social graces.
* If you value your reputation, keep your word and respect others.
* The community is not a platform to feed your ego.
* Don’t spend more money than you can afford on fetish gear, toys, or events.
* A sub does not have to be a pain slut to be a good submissive.
* A sub can teach you about the lifestyle without topping from the bottom.
* This is your journey. Live it the way that makes you happy and satisfied.
* If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong.
* Take time to honestly learn what you need and want out of the lifestyle.
* Your sub deserves to have his or her needs met too.

Special thanks to AD, Bishop, Charmed Blyss, Darque de Sade, Goddess Palia, Jennee’, lil one, Macho Mongo, Mr. Worf, Mistress Max Rulz, Ms. Lynn, Pharaoh Khafra & Empress Nahara, pulse, Solamente, sugga, Strange, Tee, Ty and Yummy.

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