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 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.


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 I would also prefer that it remained unedited.

Reputable Groups for BDSM mentoring on Fetlife


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.


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.


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

Dec 012013

Setting up event pages on FetLife involves knowing and understanding a few of the site’s quirks.  Below are a few points that may help you adequately and accurately create an event page:

Problem: User having difficulty using “Events Near Me”

“Near me” relates to matching the city you have listed on your profile to the city listed by the event. If you want to explore other places, you can do so either by clicking on the state/province/country from that same menu, or to go to the “Places Menu” (located at the top of the screen), and selecting the location you want to look for events. That said, there is no “miles from” radius search.

I’m not a FetLife support person, but I play one on TV … or was it that I slept at a Holiday Inn?

Actually, I’m just someone who spends (way too much) time on FetLife, trying to figure out some of the ways it works (and doesn’t). In the instance of events, I created my own event ( to try things out, re: searches and the like.

You’re right: It does make a ridiculously large jump from a local city when you go to a state-province-country. Unfortunately, that’s the current nature of the beast. And, yes, you do need to do multiple searches, considering most event organizers do not think of the FetLife search factor (ie locations as keywords and search terms) when creating an event.

If you look at the event I created, you can visibly see terms like Sudan and Belarus (listed as part of ‘location’ section), Tilsa, Singapore and Enid (listed in the ‘description’ section). Contrary to what seems natural, you cannot find this group when using Sudan and Belarus in the search box. However, you can search using the terms and places listed in the ‘description’ section (eg Enid and Singapore).

What you can’t see (but an event organizer can, in this case, me), is that the event was created to be held in the city of Whitehorse/province of Yukon, in Canada. So, you could find this fake event via both the events (near me) and places menu, using Whitehorse, Yukon and Canada.

The event organizer, when creating an event, must put in a location; this is done via pull down menus, and is tied to the same (somewhat awkward and limited) database as the Places menu (eg, there are no cities in Australian territories, and other things, as discussed >here). However, this forces the organizer to put in a location that may or may not be where the event is being held, and/or a more major city, useful for searching “near me.”

What can be done, as an event organizer?

  • Consider which ways an event is searchable. When creating the event, and answering, “Where is the event taking place” and “Address”, be aware that neither of these fields is searchable. What is? The event name, tagline, description and the pull-down location (entered at the bottom of the page);
  • Don’t use abbreviations (as FetLife generally doesn’t search or index keywords less than three characters, eg “GA”)
  • Don’t use county names – unless specific cities are included as well. It may seem logical to include them as a reader, but are essentially useless in terms of a FetLife search.
  • Try to incorporate cities and towns that may be useful, especially in the event’s description section. For example: “This annual event is held in Marietta, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb, with attendees coming from all over the metro area, including Roswell, Smyrna, Peachtree City…” Each city listed would serve as a keyword, and would especially help this event be found by those searching “near me”.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is the invisible-to-the-viewer location, made by the pull-down menu by the event’s creator, that creates what is searchable using the “places” menu.

TL;dr – Using “near me” is based on an invisible-to-viewer location, drawn from the event’s creator’s choice, and is tied to the flawed Places menu. It may or may not relate to where an event is actually being held.

No, FetLife does not currently have a way to search by radius from a location.
Yes, it could be helpful – but other changes would need to be made too.

The impetus, and continued discussion on this topic, can be found here.

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 —

Written by and shared with permission of Susan Wright

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 is added

Jun 162013
Getting Started


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


BDSM Checklist (Google Docs)


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.

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)