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.