Service, Sadists, Slut-Shaming, Subs, and Sasquatch (Okay, I’m Lying About That Last Part)

I’ve noticed a huge discrepancy when it comes to service and gender, at least among hetero couples.  (And once again, there is a divide between online and real life, which I’ll touch on later.)  Online, it’s common to see women looking for men to do their housework.  When they don’t find what they’re seeking, they rail against submissive men as being a bunch of wankers, not really submissive, etc.  Then when you look at the dominant men, they take the approach of, “I got this, I’ll take care of my stuff and you take care of yours.  Now suck my dick.”  And you don’t see many subs of any gender clamoring to do housework.  They exist, but they are far more rare.

One obvious part of the equation is that women in our society aren’t allowed to own their sexuality.  If you like sex, you’re a whore.  If you make the first move, you’re a skank.  Men on the other hand are encouraged to own their desire for sex, and being the aggressor is pretty much a requirement in dating.  All this gender-based baggage clearly carries over into how much a particular dominant person is pushing for sex to be part of it.

It’s important to break things down further.  There is a difference between sex, play, and service.  Sometimes the lines between them can get fuzzy, but most of the time they’re pretty clear-cut.  Some people enjoy casual play; others don’t.  Same goes for sex and service.  Out of those three categories, I know lots of people into casual play and sex, but not service.  Those types seem to be in far shorter supply.  We all have to get something out of what we do, whatever that “something” may be.  Those who get something out of doing someone’s housework aren’t exactly the most common people out there.   Dominant men seem to understand this; yet many dominant women will bash male subs who don’t fall into this category because they’re “selfish” and “thinking with their dicks.”

In that light, when a submissive woman offers casual play or casual sex, the dominant men don’t make fun of her and say she’s not a Real True sub™.  Yet this is the treatment submissive men get frequently.  Is it any wonder so many men have trouble coming to terms with their submission?  Not only do they have to overcome all the crap society shoves down their throats about being a “real man”, but then they get into this community and are told their desires are not valid, that sadists don’t exist, and that if they want anything kinky, they’ll have to pay for it either in housework or in cash.  And forget sex; real dominant women never have sex with submissive men.

All the behavior I mentioned so far in this post occurs almost exclusively online.  In the real world, service hardly ever enters into our community’s vocabulary.  You see it sometimes, but it’s a fringe interest.  Many people, like me, just aren’t wired as service-oriented.  (I’m prone to feeling taken advantage of and developing resentment if we’re not both pulling our weight.)  In our community, casual play and casual sex are all over the place.  Service, not so much.  Especially casual service.  Yet all the things that submissive men online are told don’t exist (casual play, casual sex) abound.

How do we correct this misrepresentation so common online?  Lots of people (including me when I was new) are discouraged from getting involved in the BDSM community because of the way it’s portrayed online.  Getting in arguments with random internet strangers is rarely productive.  From my experience, correcting misconceptions is more similar to erosion than demolition.  Live your life, lead by example, and slowly wear away at fallacies.  It’s not a quick or easy path, but it’s one of the most effective processes we have.

Armchair Subs

One commonly given piece of advice to those who are new to BDSM is to read.  Go online, browse writings, blogs, fetlife groups, etc.  Educate yourself.  There’s one problem with this: There are built-in assumptions that the reader will be able to discern between the solid advice they’re reading and the total crap.

I hit that trap head-on when I was new.  As I read so many things online I told myself, “I thought I was a sub, but I guess not.  After all, I’m not willing to give total control of my finances, I don’t submit to just anyone who capitalizes their pronouns, and I have limits.”  I questioned whether BDSM was for me since apparently I wasn’t doing it right.  I almost didn’t get involved in the local BDSM community because I was worried I didn’t fit the mold.  Luckily I ran into a few people who told me it wasn’t like that in real life, and that provided me the encouragement I needed.

I run into this in lots of new people as well.  Quite a few new people have very, um,  misguided ideas of what the BDSM community is about and how it operates.  Many of them have the same reservations I had about getting involved because of that.  So I try to blast those fallacies out and replace them with some general ideas of how this works in the real world.

People give total garbage advice online.  One gem I saw recently was in regard to cuckolding.  Someone who was new was trying to understand how anyone can get off on cheating.  I explained the whole consent thing and that it’s only cheating if the sub doesn’t consent to that.  Some Official Internet Expert chimed in with (paraphrasing here) “Dominant women can do as they want.  They know what’s best for us.  It’s not cheating because she can do whatever she wants with no regard to the sub or the relationship.”  This guy, as is the case with most Official Internet Experts, was single and not involved in any kind of in-person BDSM community.

These are the kinds of people pro-doms often cater to.  They generally have this big totalitarian fantasy that they want to live for a short time until they get their rocks off.  Nothing wrong with that.  However, there is something wrong with pushing that on other people and telling them they’re wrong for not doing things the same way.  BDSM is an incredibly individual experience.  Telling someone they’re not doing it right because they have limits is a dangerous approach.  The people receiving that advice may feel pressured to push themselves well past a level of activity they’re ok with.  While many people are able to take the advice they read with a grain of salt, some are more prone to sacrifice to some degree their desires over to the will of another.  This is why education is important.  This is why I find myself countering the online wanker armies at every turn.  And I encourage you to do the same.

Invasively Invading Invaders

For quite some time now, there has been a pervasive worry among many in the BDSM community that we’ll have a huge influx of clueless new people flocking to our events because of the “50 Shades” books/movie.  Last year, I sat on a panel discussion at Fetfest where one of the attendees asked about this; even then, people had already been talking about it ad nauseam.

And it still hasn’t happened.  I have yet to meet a single person who has come to our community because of this particular book.  We haven’t had anybody come to a munch and kneel at anyone’s feet.  We haven’t seen anybody come to a party believing they were going to be swept away to some rich dom’s mansion.  There simply hasn’t been the foretold tide of stupidity and naivete.

But even if it happens, how should we respond?  With scorn and disdain?  Would creating a rift and letting them continue bumbling around really be the right thing to do?  What about education?  Our community is full of educational resources.  Not everyone wants to take the time to teach or mentor a new person, but there are workshops, roundtable discussions, and other events where people can learn, watch, and ask questions.  We were all clueless, bumbling new people at one point; no one has all the techniques or social skills nailed solely by instinct.  Regardless of how any new people arrive in the community, the fact remains that they’re here and often thirsting for knowledge.  New people are here because they found a new thing and pounced on it.  You can’t blame them for not knowing every facet about what we do straight away.

What about the people currently populating the BDSM community?  Doesn’t the older crowd view us the same way?  As the bull-in-a-china-shop, crazy new people who don’t take things real seriously?  I feel it’d be rather hypocritical to knock new people for the very same, while failing to adhere to the ways of the previous generation.  If this wave of new people arrives carrying their big bags full of fallacies from this book, we won’t let those fictional ideas take over.  I don’t see them as being harmful to the community, which is far bigger than they are.

Honing Your Submissive Skills

Submission is hard.  There are all these rules and codes of conduct to follow.  One wrong move and you are forever banned from the Canonical Registered Association of Certified Kinky Humble Enslaved Acquiescent Docile Submissives, or C.R.A.C.K.H.E.A.D.S.  How can you keep it all straight without losing your certification as a real true submissive?  Fortunately, the internet has all the answers.  Thanks to this wondrous resource, you can be kept on the straight-and-narrow by a bunch of morons who have no idea how this works in real life a selection of Esteemed Experts in the field of female dominance.

I present here for your perusal a portion of Article IV, Section 7, Clause D, Amendment 9 of The One True Way™ (Volume 13: Female Dominance and Male Submission)-

  • You are not allowed to have any needs or desires of your own.  You should be elated that she is lowering herself to spend any time with you at all.  Be grateful for the little bit of attention you’re given.  It’s not your place to have emotional needs.  Your joy comes solely from her pleasure.  Besides, you’re a man, so you should be stoic every moment of your life.  No facial expressions, either.
  • She doesn’t want to know anything about you, so don’t bore her with those insignificant details.  This is all about her.
  • Submissive women are allowed to have a sex drive and to want sex and/or orgasm with their scenes.  This is normal and healthy.  But you, as a male sub, are not allowed to have these same desires.   Doing so will brand you as a do-me sub.  You’re so selfish.  You must think this revolves around you.  This isn’t all about sex, dammit!  How dare you desire sex with someone you have chemistry with!  You crazy kids with your newfangled sexification!!  I’m calling the police!!!
  • All discussions about the relationship will be had in full d/s protocol.  You must agree to everything she says without exception and abide by whatever terms she comes up with.  Because you’re submissive.  It’s what you do.  If the terms she sets leave you unfulfilled or less than happy, then you must not really be submissive.
  • BDSM is all about housework.  You must always draw great satisfaction from doing someone else’s housework.  Never question her motives.  She’s ordering you to do her grunt work because she’s dominant, not because she wants to avoid doing the work herself.  No one would ever think of taking advantage of you.  Besides, service-oriented submission is the only real type of submission out there.  If you’re not service-oriented, you’re just playing games and wasting everyone’s time.  If you’re not doing more than your share of housework while she sits on her ass, you’re committing a grave sin: the dreaded Topping from the Bottom!  Unclean!  UNCLEEEEEAN!!!
  • Throw lots of money at her.  In addition to housework, BDSM is about money.  These two things are at the heart of it.  There is no better way to show your submission than to bankrupt yourself by buying presents from someone’s wishlist of trivial extravagances.  You may never be able to retire or move out of your parent’s basement, but on the bright side, she has that new designer handbag that she can take with her when she goes out on the town and doesn’t think of you for a single second.
  • It’s perfectly normal for her to have multiple relationships while disallowing you any contact with other women.  You shouldn’t think any less of her because she wants the benefits of poly without the responsibilities of it.  Likewise, don’t be bitter that she can’t handle the same emotions she wants you to live with.  Wanting one-sided poly doesn’t make her a hypocrite at all; rather, it multiplies her domly powers of domliness.

If you follow all this advice, soon you will be on your way to being the top online wanker in the universe!  The most real true subliest sub who ever subbed!  You can sit at home and tell everyone how they should be doing it if they want to be real like you.  You’ll have legions of followers… online.  None of it will actually translate into the real world, but the real world is overrated anyway.

Another Piece of the Puzzle in Place

In my last relationship, I was with someone who wanted to cuckold me.  I always immediately shot the idea down.  Wouldn’t even consider it.  It was very much in hard limit territory.  But toward the end of that relationship, my fantasies started to shift a little, as they tend to do over time.  Cuckolding was still a hard limit, but a scene involving being made to eat another man’s cum started to creep into my head now and then.  I’d been made to eat my own cum on plenty of occasions, but there was a tiny spark of curiosity developing; I had a feeling it would be more intense and more d/s-ish if it were another man’s cum.

Those conflicting feelings ate at me.  I couldn’t figure out why I could be open to doing that one thing, yet still be a brick wall when it came to cuckolding in general.  It took me a long time, but I sorted it out.

Cuckolding had always been framed up to me as a relationship dynamic.  That was seemingly the only way to do it.  The dom could go out and fuck whoever she wanted, with or without the sub present.  There could be feelings involved with the other men they fucked (sort of a one-sided poly) or they could just be fuck buddies.  I met women at events and talked with others online who wanted to get into cuckolding because it gave them the benefits of poly and/or swinging without the responsibilities; they didn’t want to share their partners with anyone else, yet they wanted to share themselves with others.  It’s a rather lousy thing to tell someone through your actions, “You’re going to learn to handle the heavy emotional baggage involved with this dynamic, but I’m not willing to make the same effort for you.”  This really rubbed me the wrong way as it’s a horribly selfish way to approach a supposedly loving relationship.

In trying to figure it out, I saw all the typical portrayals in femdom and cuckolding groups online, and for some reason, I believed them.  I watched the pitiful, emasculated subs being told they were nothing.  I read the disdain from the other men (fuck buddies, bulls, whatever you want to call them.)  I witnessed the way the women in the groups talked about how their sub’s needs didn’t matter at all since they were disposable and useless.  I started to believe this crap, not realizing it was yet another stereotypical porn fantasy.  I didn’t realize there are so many other ways to do cuckolding.

The cuckolding purists (every group has its overzealous purists) may disagree.  The standard definition of cuckolding is that the couple is married.  And the sub doesn’t get to fuck anyone else or play with anyone else.  Sometimes he doesn’t even fuck his own wife.

In reality, it doesn’t have to be that way.  It’s possible to do cuckolding as an individual scene rather than as a relationship dynamic.  Marriage isn’t necessary to make this happen either.  This is where I stumbled when I first started having those fantasies; I didn’t separate the stereotypes from the reality of it.  For some reason I hadn’t considered that doing a scene like this was even an option.  I thought it had to be the porn cliché or nothing.  It seems that those who get into this in a non-stereotypical way are far less vocal, so I never saw it.

After all that time arguing with myself, tossing ideas around in my head, and wondering why I couldn’t figure this out, I finally have it nailed down.  It simply comes down to cuckolding as a relationship dynamic vs. cuckolding as an individual scene.  While the former is still firmly in hard limit territory for me, the latter can be a mind-blowing, incredibly hot, oh-fuck-please-make-it-stop type of ordeal.  A scene like this can be a shared experience rather than an exercise in selfishness.  Such a basic solution to a problem that followed me around for some time.

Plenty of Popular Porn Posturing

Complaints are frequently aired about submissive men who confuse femdom porn with reality.  Understandably so.  It’s unrealistic to expect your partner to wear leather or latex every single day, keep you in a cage whenever she’s not beating or fucking you, and never have an off day.

But there’s another aspect to this that I see frequently with women who are new to dominance or topping.  They can also confuse porn with reality.

I saw glimmers of this with two different women last night at a party, and it’s something that has popped up many times for as long as I’ve been involved in the local community.  There seems to be an initial expectation on their part that they have to be Princess IcyBitch.  Maybe they feel it’s what’s expected or what they think the sub gets off on.  Or it could be that they’ve simply read too much of the wankery in message boards and watched some femdom porn.  Or maybe they feel that it shows confidence.

To the latter point I say that it actually shows more confidence to be oneself, to laugh and smile and enjoy the scene without putting on a mask.  (Role-play scenes can be fun, but if that aspect of the scene isn’t negotiated, it can be a little unsettling to the other person.)  When I see a top scowling, using a sharp tone, and trying to be mean, I see it as a lack of confidence.  To me, the confident ones are the ones who seem at home in the scene, the ones who are comfortable doing what they do without acting.  If I want to play with you, I want to play with you.  The you I know from munches and other events.  I want to play with you because I enjoy who you are and how we interact.  If you’re glaring at me and using a dismissive tone, it makes me think you don’t want to be there playing with me.  But a top who smiles and laughs and shows that she’s actually enjoying what we’re doing is a huge pleasure to play with.  (As an aside, laughter is also incredibly hot, especially when said laughter is caused by the bottom’s pain or humiliation.)  There’s no need to be anyone other than you.  Unless you’re a total crackhead, in which case you may want to work on that first.

I get that some bottoms enjoy that mean, cold I-don’t-care vibe.  They have every right to get into that.  But it shouldn’t be the default setting for everyone.  There are other options.  Finding one’s own style of dominance or topping takes time, and so a lot of newer tops fall into meanicybitch mode when they first start out.  It’s important to keep in mind that these women in femdom porn are usually actresses.  They’re acting.  Playing a role.  It’s what they do.  And many don’t engage in BDSM in their personal lives, in which case they have no idea how things typically go or what’s possible.  They do what sells.  The people who consume BDSM porn most frequently (especially pay sites) often don’t have much overlap with those who do BDSM.  So when people try to carry this fictional online erotica over into the real world, it doesn’t always translate well.

Is It Really That Difficult?

It’s one of the most common complaints heard in femdom groups online: men bemoaning the number of submissive men and the seeming shortage of dominant women.  Listening to them, you’d think there’s an entire army of sub men camped out around each dominant woman’s house, each of them eagerly awaiting his chance.

Most likely some of these guys enjoy thinking this, as it allows them to feel a little humiliation, albeit self-imposed.  Feeling like you’re one of many, just a number, and disposable is sure to make someone feel worthless.  And if you get off on feeling worthless, that’s a plus.

But for those who genuinely complain about the hordes of available subs and lack of dominant women, I offer a little slap of reality to the face.  This past weekend I was at a bdsm event.  It was a mixed crowd, with dominant, submissive, and switch men and women all mixed in with each other.  A local femdom group had a luncheon at this event for anyone who was interested.  Roughly 30 people showed up.  According to Ye Olde Official Internet Statistics, approximately 29 of those people should’ve been sub men.  The actual tally was approximately 25 dominant women and 5 submissive men.  A 5-to-1 ratio…  in the other direction!  A real, face-to-face meeting, with actual fleshy, living, breathing women.  There were no entrance hurdles; it was open to anyone interested in female dominance.  Just show up, have free food, and meet people.  Pretty easy.  This isn’t how the internet told me it would work.

I was supposed to have to cross the desert, scale a mountain wearing nothing but a loincloth, slay a dragon using only a butterknife, find the jade monkey, and finally take a number behind thousands of others so that I might hope to get just a glance from a dominant woman.  Instead, I had to walk through a doorway.  The door was even propped open, so I didn’t have to break a sweat opening it.  The only effort involved was using my legs to walk the distance of a large room.  Oh, and I also had to not be creepy.  Really tricky stuff, right?

It’s pretty simple, guys.  If you sequester yourself behind a computer, your chances go way down.  And you’ll have to compete with lots of others who share your strategy.  But if you get out in the world where the BDSMers congregate, you’re much more likely to find someone you click with.  As an added bonus, you won’t run into nearly as many of the self-centered take-your-money-and-call-it-dominance types as you do online.  Get out there.  Meet people.

But you’re not getting my jade monkey.

Attracting a Partner, or How to not be Skeezy

I recently taught a class in the local community on attracting a partner.  While the rsvp list was rather well filled, only about a dozen people showed up.  Four were somewhat new to the community, so that’s a plus.  It went fairly well.  What shocked me most though was that when I posted the content online after the class, it made it to the top of Kinky & Popular!  That gives me a happy.

Some of this advice is very obviously directly related to finding a partner, while other bits are things that will less directly have an impact on the search.  Whether you’re looking for a long-term relationship, casual play, or something else entirely, it’s all relevant in some way.

If you’re new

  • Pat yourself on the back.  Getting into the community can be an intimidating first step.  Just getting out from behind the computer and out to events is an important part of the process.
  • If you’re a lioness hunting a zebra, you don’t hope to randomly stumble across a zebra.  You go to the watering hole where the zebras congregate.  This community (and this website) are those watering holes.

Know yourself

  • To prepare for a job interview, you shower, put on a suit or other appropriate business-y clothes, make sure they’re clean and not wrinkled, bring your resumé, research the company, prepare for questions you think you’ll be asked, turn your phone off, etc.  This is a lot of preparation because a job is roughly 40 hours a week.  That’s a big commitment.  If you’re looking for a long-term relationship where you’ll end up living together, how many hours a week will that relationship entail?  A lot more than 40.  Yet how many people don’t prepare as much for that relationship as they do for the job interview?
  • Knowing what you’re into is hard when you’re new.  Introspection and exploration can help, but they take time.  This isn’t an overnight process.  Even after years or decades of being active in BDSM, you’ll still be learning new things.
  • A good starting point in finding your interests is this: What do you think about when you masturbate?  Those are the things you may want to consider exploring.
  • Do you want to give up (or take) control?  In what context?  Bedroom only?  Or throughout the relationship?  Would you prefer to avoid this entirely and stick to sensation only?  There are no wrong answers to these questions.  The answers are also not permanent.  They may change over time.
  • BDSM is a buffet.  You can sample as many different things as you like as often as you like.  If you don’t like something, spit it out.  You don’t have to like everything at the buffet, and you don’t have to try everything either.

In general (online and in-person)

  • Don’t lie about your experience level.  You’ll get found out sooner or later.
  • Don’t think that you’ve got a ton of experience just because you’ve read a lot about BDSM, talked in chat rooms, or “served” someone online.  Real-time experience is far different.
  • Don’t address people by titles unless you’ve negotiated that.  You didn’t earn the right to call them by that title.  Likewise, you didn’t earn the right for this person who you’ve never met to call you by a title.
  • The people you meet are people, not fetish delivery systems.  That person you’re talking to may be a mother, an EMT, a diabetic, a volunteer, and many other things.  People are multifaceted.  Focusing on just this one aspect of their identity is bad form.
  • Don’t lead with the fetish.  Yes, this is a special-interest group, but that doesn’t mean you can talk about someone’s sex life with them straight away.  If you join a mountain bike group, it’s perfectly acceptable to start off with your common interest and ask about where they ride, what kind of bike they have, and other similar questions.  However, BDSM is far more intimate and personal.
  • If you’re not sure how to refer to someone, just ask.  This goes for gender as well as d/s orientation- slave, sub, bottom, etc.
  • Take no for an answer.  “No” doesn’t mean, “If you try harder you can talk me into it.”  Don’t keep pestering them.  Don’t flip out and start insulting someone who shoots you down.  People talk to each other, and word will spread.
  • Improve yourself.  There are myriad ways to do this, both physically and mentally.  Learn about your BDSM interests through classes, talking with other kinksters, and reading.  Start chipping away at your flaws.  If you’re not sure where to start, ask some close friends what they would improve about you, or what they think may be holding you back from finding a partner.  When you finally do meet that person who is a terrific match for you, you want them to say, “Wow!”
  • Have your shit together.  You’re an adult.

Online part 1: your profile

  • No cock shots as main profile pictures.  If you see someone in a coffee shop or bar, walk over to them, smile, and plop your dick down on the table, do you think that would be an effective tactic?  If it doesn’t work in person, why would you think it would work online?
  • No question mark as a profile picture.  This reeks of laziness.  If you don’t want to show your face, that’s perfectly fine.  But try put up something, whether it’s a shot of you with your face obscured or a partial-face pic.  There are a lot of ways to do this and make it look good.
  • No overabundance of naked pictures or nearly identical pictures.  “Overabundance” is the key word here.  “Now here’s a shot of my tits from a slightly different angle!  And here’s one of them from the opposite angle!  And one from three degrees to the left!”  Try putting up some shots of you with clothes on, candids, or activity shots.  If you like horseback riding, how about a shot of you on a horse?
  • Screen names like footlover84 or cuckoldmenow make people think you’re all about that one thing and that you have no other interests at all.
  • Say non-kinky things in your “about me” section.  What’s important to you?  What do you do in your spare time?  What kind of music do you like?
  • Be honest about what you want in your profile, whether it’s a relationship, casual sex, casual play, friends-with-benefits, or anything else.
  • Keep your fetish list short.  If someone is interested in playing with you, they’ll get frustrated trying to pick through thousands of things listed trying to weed out duplicates and joke fetishes.
  • “Dominate” is a verb.  There is no such thing as “a dominate”.  The word you’re looking for here is “dominant”.

Online part 2: messaging

  • Don’t copy/paste messages.  It’s lazy and obvious.
  • Message someone before sending them a friend request.
  • Say why you’re messaging, not just “hey”.  Put some effort into it.  “You’re hot” doesn’t count either.
  • Use actual words, not textspeak.  U and R are letters, not words.
  • Use proper grammar.  You should’ve learned this in elementary school.  While your messages don’t have to be high-end literature, they shouldn’t be painful to read either.
  • Apply a sniper approach rather than a shotgun approach.  Be more selective in who you message, and aim your shots carefully; take time constructing the message unique to that person.  Don’t just blindly aim your messages at anyone you find attractive.
  • Read the profile before messaging.
  • Read the profile before messaging.
  • Read the profile before messaging.

In person

  • Hygiene is important.  Bathe.  Wear clean clothes.
  • Put more effort into it than just throwing on a pair of sweat pants and a dirty, stained t-shirt. This may be acceptable for going to class in college, but it will hurt your chances here.  If money is an issue, thrift stores often have terrific offerings for cheap.
  • Don’t touch people or their things without permission, even if you see other people doing it.
  • Be polite.  It goes a long way and makes you look classier.
  • You get what you put in.  If you sit in a corner with your head down, you’re going to have a bad time and not meet anyone.  Get out there and engage.  If you walk over to a group of people at a munch who are standing in a circle, they’ll usually open up for you and squeeze you right in.
  • Don’t assume power exchange.  Don’t call someone by a title unless you both agreed to it.  Just because that other person is submissive, that doesn’t mean they’re your submissive.  This goes for dominants too.
  • Talk to people who aren’t “useful” to you.  For example, if you go to an event and only talk to the submissive women, people will see right through that and start avoiding you because what you’re after is obvious.
  • When talking to someone you’re interested in, don’t just focus on kink.  Find out who they are as a person.
  • Some people hug, others don’t.  Still others may hug, but only after having met you a few times.  Offering a handshake is usually best for people you just met.
  • Just because you see others doing something with someone else, that doesn’t mean it’s ok for you to do it.  Chances are when you see that, they’ve negotiated that or have an established dynamic.  If you walk up to someone and touch them in a way that’s sexual or BDSM-ish without negotiating first, you’re going to get kicked out of that event and possibly earn a trip to the ER.
  • Learn to read body language.  There are countless websites, books, and online videos out there.  Acquiring this knowledge will help you to not come across as creepy since you can more easily react to others’ actions.
  • Keep the booze under control.  If you can’t handle it, don’t do it.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever drink at munches; it means that if you’re drunk and 99% of the people there are sober, you’re going to make an ass of yourself.

At play events and parties

  • Give people space.  Don’t crowd their scenes.  Give them more room than you think necessary.  Otherwise, you may end up getting flogged in the face.
  • Be quiet in play areas.  Keep it to a whisper.  If you feel the need to have a prolonged conversation, take it to a social area.
  • Don’t loudly express shock.  Some people play hard, and some people enjoy styles of play that aren’t to everyone’s tastes.  If you’re concerned, find a dungeon monitor or the host of the party.
  • When asking someone to play, accept it if they say no.  You will get shot down sometimes.  Don’t take it personally.  But if you keep getting shot down consistently, there’s obviously some room for improvement; use that opportunity to find out what went wrong and change it for the future.
  • Be conscious of others’ wounds or marks when hugging.  That person may have just done some needle play, cutting, or other intense play.  They may be very sore.
  • When asking someone to play, try framing it up as a statement rather than a question.  Instead of, “Do you want to kick me in the balls?”, a better approach might be, “If you’re interested in playing tonight, I’ll be here until about 1.”  That way, the default answer is no.  They don’t have to feel guilty or make excuses for saying no.  Even if they decide not to play with you, they’ll have a pleasant memory of how you didn’t make them feel awkward in asking.  If any of their friends ask them about you, they’ll have something nice to say about you.

Some of this advice is very scene-etiquette oriented.  It’s designed to not creep people out and help build a solid reputation, both of which will serve you well in trying to find a partner.