(TW: Descriptions of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.)
Sometimes, a creator presents a piece where their truth, their layered vulnerability, their authenticity, and their sheer empowerment knocks on your soul.
I live for moments like that.
They feed oxygen into my existence and keep me feeling alive.
This writing by -Pocket- on FetLife was one of those moments for me. I suspect it will resonate with many of you on a visceral level as well.
How dare you call me a man hater.
I was busy loving men when I was 17.
He lied and cheated.
Rather than be accountable to his own shitty behavior, he taught me that my jealous insecurities were a character flaw that made me unlovable.
He taught me that having trust for men is a responsibility I hold, and an entitlement he held, regardless of his actions.
He taught me that good girls are not teases, because that is actually abusing men.
He taught me that the evaluation of my body should be through his eyes.
I learned that I was unlovable but that he would teach me how to be loveable. I learned to hate my body. I never had an orgasm from PIV but I faked them for his ego, and learned to think that sex without orgasm was just normal.
And still, I never stopped trying to love men.
I was busy loving men when I was 21.
I was serving my country in a foreign land.
My brothers in arms raped me.
I could not bring myself to hold them to account. Because I was a good girl, and a dedicated Marine, and I knew that destroying a man’s career was a crime against humanity.
I felt too much empathy for their situation to harm them.
They taught me that suffering was my fault because I was broken. They were right about one thing: I was now actually completely broken.
I was raped again.
I wanted to sever my soul from my body I fucking hated my flesh so much.
And still, I never stopped trying to love men.
I was busy loving men when I was 25.
He was an angry drunk just like me.
We loved and hated each other with complete abandon, second only to our love for booze. Completely insane now, I was surrounded by other lunatics.
He taught me that suffering together was better than suffering alone as he beat me to a pulp and abandoned me unconscious in a pool of my own blood.
He taught me that when I finally gathered the courage to fight back that I was also an abuser.
He taught me that we are all fucking lost and that we are all fucking unlovable, and the world is a cold and meaningless place. Love was a cruel illusion in this hellish landscape where I lived.
And still, I never stopped trying to love men.
I was busy loving men when I was 30.
Finally, now sober, starting to clear the wreckage.
Therapy. Fearless moral inventories. Amends. I learned to take responsibility for myself. I learned to get good at that because I realized my life depended on it. I was doing the damn work. I learned that I was signing up for a lot of bullshit from men because I would not raise my bar.
I became committed to fixing my picker and to being a person who I could love enough to make room for higher quality men to love me.
He came as a knight in shining armor. He was stable and normal and just a regular good guy. A little boring but a stable, family man. Then he consumed our life with massive debt because he needed his toys.
He taught me that if I tried to right the ship I was in, that I was a joy kill and a nag. He taught me I was a control freak when I made a case to curb the spending. He taught me to distrust the part of me that was trying to protect myself and build a sense of security in my world, because that was more comfortable for him than to admit he was bringing it down around us.
And still, I never stopped trying to love men.
I was busy loving men when I was 35.
I became a feminist.
I devoted myself to learning the social constructs that make men and women so that I could learn the secret code that was eluding me in my lifelong pursuit of loving men.
I became fascinated with intentional power exchange.
Finally we can be honest about what the fuck this love shit is. I submitted.
I felt freedom. I did my part.
He taught me the luxurious experience of loving through actual consensual pain and service. He taught me how to have purpose in that, and I did so love it.
He also taught me that no amount of giving on my part will obligate him to giving back when I had needs that interfered with his wants.
I learned that his compulsions for self destruction were actually needs, and my desire not to enable them was unrealistic and harmful to him. I learned to hold my tongue as self destruction ate him alive in front of my eyes, and powerlessness devoured my dreams. I learned that it was controlling behavior to try to help a man because I loved him and could see his demons so fucking clearly, having already conquered the same ones myself.
I learned to hate myself for seeing things clearly and mirroring them back relentlessly until abandonment was assured.
And still, I never stopped trying to love men.
I was busy loving men when I was 40.
Beautiful submissive men who taught me to feel embodied power for the first time in my life.
He taught me how to embrace the feeling of being in control with abandon in so many passionate moments.
He also taught me how his cock was still the only thing that really mattered.
He taught me how my value was still derived as an object of his desire. He taught me to love feeling my power, right up until I tried to call him to account for actual harms he was doing to me or himself.
Then he taught me that basic accountability for his words and deeds was too much to ask, my expectations were too high, that his inability to own his shit was still my fault.
I learned to beat myself up for wanting too much.
And still, I never stopped trying to love men.
I was busy loving men when I was 45.
I tried vanilla again.
Love is love I told myself.
I loved with abandon and believed forever fairy tales, again.
I tolerated subtle abuse because I had learned to have so much empathy for all the ways men are broken by toxic masculinity. I forgave with abandon. He isn’t perfect, I said. I am not perfect, for fuck’s sake I have PTSD so bad I can’t even leave the house some days, so I have to have empathy for his imperfections.
After all, I can see how his rage stems from his own experiences with trauma. He will love me for not abandoning him in his pain and showing him the way out: accountability, honesty, facing fear. Be patient, I told myself. He will grow.
He taught me that his abject terror of inadequacy, taught to him by his abusive father, was my responsibility to navigate carefully. He taught me that I should own all of my shit and most of his because he was simply unable to carry the burden of his trauma and face his shortcomings.
I was strong and wise enough to see it wasn’t really me this time. I had all the language and tools I needed, so he couldn’t possibly hurt me beyond my superhuman abilities to heal myself from abuse.
The gaslighting, the negging, all to save himself from basic accountability – they slid off me like water on a duck’s back because I was so fucking immune with self knowledge.
He lied to himself, he lied to me, he blamed me when I called him out on his delusions. He made me the bad guy because calling him out on his actual shit was equivalent to berating him, equivalent to abusing him. He would scream as he threw tantrums, destroyed property, and as he put the safety of me and my pets at risk.
Trying to teach him things I have learned in my healing journey from trauma was still somehow me disrespecting him.
He could not grow, because learning was literally too painful to his ego for him to bear. He taught me to have shame for knowing things he didn’t. He taught me that if I cannot love him from the little box he made for me so that his fragile ego could feel safe, then I am not lovable.
When he finally left for good one day, on the premise that I was somehow inexcusably abusive for very quietly complaining about something he promised to do but didn’t, he taught me that no amount of empathy for the inability of a cowardly mother fucker to own is his fucking shit is healthy or productive for him or for me.
He taught me to regret being so fucking empathetic.
And still, I have not stopped trying to love men.
I am 50 now.
Back on Fetlife, I am engaged in the search for men to love. I do this in the face of countless men on this site foisting responsibility for their shortcomings onto women day in and day out in forums, in status updates, in inboxes.
I do this in the face of being lectured on “not all men.”
I do this in the face of disgusting displays of violent threats when he is told he is not a good fit, usually because he has demonstrated he has no internal sense of accountability for the way he reduces women through his dick centric/toxic masculinity infected worldview in various ways.
When I tell him he is not empowering women with his attitude, words, or actions, he teaches me that he is a terrified coward who is unwilling to do the work to be a better human, and he will defend his right to be unfuckable and angry at women about it until the day he is dead.
Daily he teaches me that he is dangerous because his slavery to his fragile ego keeps him on edge and ready to lash out at any perceived threat.
And still, I have not stopped trying to find men worth loving, and even now have found a few showing up in my world.
Even now, I am still loving men.
And you dare to call me a man hater?
I am a fucking Love Warrior.
I’m very honored that -Pocket- agreed to, and trusted me, with her writing and granted me caretakership of her beautiful piece here on my blog. I find it difficult to articulate the depths of which her trust means to me. Please follow her on FetLife at -Pocket- for more incredible, vulnerable and profound pieces from this extraordinary human.
Simone Justice is someone I respect and admire. She’s an OG Dominatrix who is a straight-shooter, incredibly knowledgeable, experienced, and thoughtful. She cares about kinksters and the community as a whole.
This article was first published on Simone’s website in 1995. The advice she gives here is evergreen and will have you well prepared in booking a Dominatrix.
Whether you are a nervous novice contemplating your first experience or a weekly visitor at the local house of domination, read this article to learn how to find the dominatrix of your dreams (and how not to become her nightmare).
During my years as a professional dominatrix, numerous conversations with my peers revealed common preferences in regards to conduct and protocol for booking appointments.
Below, I outline crucial advice for the client seeking a session:
LIST YOUR INTERESTS
Make a list of the your likes/dislikes to share with the dominatrix, preferably emailed before your first session, so that she will understand what you want from your appointment.
Don’t be concerned that she will only be doing what you want her to do; an experienced dominatrix knows how to take your requests into consideration and still be in control of the session. She can also use the information you provide to suggest other things you may find interesting.
If you aren’t sure what to include on your list, pay attention to your fantasies: if you fantasize about a certain kink or fetish frequently, you will probably enjoy it in session.
Categorize your list into things that you
(A) have tried and know that you like,
(B) are willing to try
(C) do not want to do.
Don’t leave anything out just because you are embarrassed or anxious or you wish that you didn’t want to try it. This is your chance to fulfill your fantasies. Don’t think that the dominatrix will lose respect for you or be shocked by your interests; trust me, she’s heard it all before.
determine your level of play
Go back over your list of interests. Realistically evaluate whether you want Light, Medium, or Heavy play in each area of interest. Remember that the types of play may be combined in session, which may increase the sensation. If you haven’t yet tried something, rate it as Light.
Most importantly, do not say “you can do anything with me, Mistress”, because if she’s convinced, a dominatrix might use the opportunity to satisfy her most severe sadistic urges thinking that you are one of the rare few who can handle it. Don’t try to please or impress by overstating your limits…you won’t!
Most dominatrices will have the basics, such as a paddle, a flogger, a crop, etc., but some BDSM play requires specific equipment. Figure out and list your equipment needs, such as: suspension rig, cross-dressing wardrobe, hood, etc. Don’t assume that every dominatrix can provide the correct equipment; only the most experienced dominatrices have studios stocked with everything you might need. Furthermore, if you have a specific fetish for something unusual, such as “cabled knee socks”, go out and buy the necessary equipment or wardrobe to present to the dominatrix in session.
decide what you actually need in a dominatrix
Think about the most important qualities you would like to find in a dominatrix. Consider such elements as intelligence, personality, physical appearance, and style of play. Some dominatrices have a friendly, compassionate, flexible play style, while others have a distant, haughty, imperial play style.
In order to learn about a client’s preferences, I often asked them whom they have seen in the past, what worked with her, and what did not work. Try going over your history to determine the fundamental characteristics of a successful encounter.
Decide what sort of relationship you want. Do you like the short- term anonymity that a house, which employs several dominatrices, can provide, or do you prefer a long-term personal interaction with an independent Dominatrix?
An experienced dominatrix knows how to take your requests into consideration and still be in control of the session.
independent or house dominatrix?
Think about which is right for you, an independent dominatrix who works for herself or one on staff at a house of domination.
There are pros and cons for each. Women who work independently may have a private studio (or rent from another dominatrix), generally are experienced, may even be lifestyle, and offer a more personal and long-term connection. However independents are more expensive, sometimes very selective about their submissives, may not see novices, and are less likely to see you at the last minute.
Houses of domination are less expensive, more convenient, and offer easy opportunity for double and group sessions. However, dominatrices at a house are sometimes less experienced, may not be genuinely into BDSM, and often will not stay around for long.
Please note: These distinctions are less reliable than when this article was first written as now it is so easy for anyone to post on the internet and call themselves a dominatrix…that independent status no longer means as much – see below for hints on how to discern the difference between a beginner and expert dominatrix.
look at websites & social media
Keeping what you have determined to be important for your session in mind, look at websites for dominatrices in your area. Generally, dominatrices with their own websites are more serious than ones who only advertise on websites such as Eros or just have a Twitter or Instagram account.
A good place to start are well-established websites where the serious professional dominatrices get listed, such as dickievirgin.com and Pandemos.net
Look for mentions of your specific interests, but don’t assume that a dominatrix is not into your fantasy just because it isn’t listed.
Previously, I warned against the dominatrix who does not show her face in photos…but with the advent of the internet plus the ease and permanence of sharing photos today…this caveat no longer applies.
Do not allow yourself to be swayed away from your specific needs just because a dominatrix looks good in photos or she is wearing your favorite fetish wear; you will be disappointed if you are mismatched in other crucial areas.
Please note: Much about finding a dominatrix has changed since this article was first published. There are now so many dominatrices in every part of the world that it has become difficult to find the great ones…see below for some pointers.
TIPS ON DISCERNING THE EXPERTISE OF A DOMINATRIX
It has become necessary for clients to conduct research in order to find a safe, experienced dominatrix. Elaborate fetish wear in leather and latex, quality toys and BDSM furniture are expensive (though getting much cheaper these days), which means a dominatrix needs some success to acquire them. Look for photos and videos that prove she has made an investment in domination. Does she have all the components of a fetish wardrobe? Entire outfits including accessories like gloves, hats, and expensive items such as thigh-high leather boots show a she is willing and able to invest in her sessions. One pic of a woman in cheap lingerie on a bed with a PVC paddle in her hand is not a good sign!
Has she trained with someone experienced? Studying under an experienced dominatrix is the best way to become skilled in the art of domination. When starting out, I took classes and worked for the legendary Sabrina Belladonna (may she Rest In Power), and I learned by working alongside some of the best. Later, I started giving back by mentoring dominants.
Learning from an established Pro Domme used to be standard practice but now has unfortunately become rare. Those who have sought out this kind of training show their commitment to the craft…now more than ever.
Read for clues of expertise in her writing. Does she rely on stereotypical attitude and a predictable stance of arrogance in an attempt to sound dominating? Or does she demonstrate a true understanding of BDSM play and the realities of orchestrating a scene?
Does she travel to fetish events and conferences? Or better yet, does she perform or speak at them?
What level of play does she list? If she only specializes in light interests (such as foot fetish) or if she concentrates on interests that do not require much skill, do not expect her to have the experience or equipment necessary for a sophisticated intense encounter.
Does she have a good reputation? Look for reviews on dominatrix listing websites, if you don’t find any reviews on her, post a request for input from other clients in a forum.
It has become CRITICAL that you consider these elements when choosing a dominatrix, as there are many great looking women out there whom you will find disappointing in session. Furthermore, some have no ethics such as those who expose their celebrity clients.
Don’t think that less is more. Do not try to save money by going to someone based on cost alone.
BEWARE: if she doesn’t know what she’s doing, she could seriously hurt you. Not just in person. You can be mentally and emotionally harmed in any interaction.
Especially Take Care of Yourself, Financially
If funds are a concern, I advise visiting a well-known house of domination as opposed to an inexpensive independent. Independent dominatrices with fully equipped spaces and extensive wardrobes have high overhead, and will demand a higher tribute, but they generally have more technical and safety expertise.
BEWARE – The super hot, young “Domme” who wants to ruin and blackmail you…I hear horrible accounts of what some people will do to make money. And most of them know nothing about how to Dominate, their skills extend to merely yelling stock insults and trying to grab as much cash as they can before you realize they have no idea how to truly play. (i. e. I don’t need threats, raising my voice, cussing, or being rude to make someone super submissive in minutes)
HOW TO WRITE AN INTRODUCTION
Write a polite, submissive, concise email outlining your specific interests including your kink thresholds (i.e. light spanking, heavy flogging).
You must include whatever information she has requested or you might not receive an answer.
What to do if she requires references and you are a total novice:
Go to a reputable house of domination in her area, for your first sessions. She can contact someone she knows there.
And keep looking some very famous dominatrices take walk-ins.
Be sure to pay an online tribute or send a gift card along with your resume, if requested (extra points, if not requested).
Dominatrices often screen applicants by ignoring the ones that fail to demonstrate their sincerity. This is necessary because there are so many applicants and many are insincere or nowadays they are even trying to scam Pro Dommes (ha ha I know their little tricks).
Unless requested, you do not have to send a photo of yourself.
NEVER SEND A DICK PIC. Dominatrices hate that.
Clearly indicate the dates you are going to be in her area, if traveling, and write well in advance as most dominatrices get so much correspondence they can’t keep up. Many ProDommes won’t even discuss a session unless you are already in the same location.
Be patient. She is probably not going to have time to get back to you immediately.
how to book a session
Of course you’ll be nervous when you contact her; that’s expected, everybody is nervous. Just follow my directions whether making an appointment:
Text, Call, or Chat, at a decent time.
Do not send Direct Messages, Emails, Chats, Texts, etc. wasting her time with “Hi” she will be annoyed. Do you text your medical doctor to say “Hi”???
Don’t hang up when she answers or call just to hear her voice on the outgoing voicemail she will have caller ID and probably won’t answer blocked numbers, so it will make her angry with you. She might block you or refuse to see you.
Introduce yourself before you start asking questions. Every day I had to interrupt inadvertently rude excited callers to find out to whom I was speaking because they launched right away into their scene…most annoying!
If you are making up a name choose something unusual instead of Bob, Steve, Mark, or John – there are already too many of those. Choose something unusual and easy for both of you to remember.
If a receptionist answers, let her do her job. She has been educated to answer your questions hired to book appointments.
When contacting a dominatrix, ask if she is seeing new clients, tell her what you seek, ask questions about her facility, experience level, her specialties or interests, hours, tribute, etc.
Don’t try to press her into admitting she does certain things such as toilet training, pegging or anal play. Those activities are illegal and she may not want to discuss them and may even falsely deny that she does them in session, so you aren’t going to know anyway. Indicate how important those interests are to you and see if she still encourages you to visit her. However, do pay attention if she makes a point of letting you know she never accommodates those interests. Yes, I know that many dominatrices these days have no qualms about admitting to illegal acts and even post photos and videos. Just know that not everybody is so cavalier about illegal activities.
Remember that she is assessing you, so don’t keep her on the phone with repetitive questions or idle chitchat, or send a long email. Let her know that you respect and value her time.
Go ahead and tell her your secret desires, even if you feel embarrassed. She has probably heard it all before.
Don’t make an appointment if it sounds like you won’t like her, she is too pushy or disrespectful, or you seem mismatched.
Don’t book a time if you can’t make it or if you aren’t really sure.
Pay the deposit. It is not a scam. Reputable dominatrices need to keep their good standing, so she is not trying to rip you off. She just needs to be sure that if you no-show, she doesn’t lose money on her dungeon rental or hotel room. ProDommes often take deposits when traveling as they have rented the play space.
Write down the directions and address including suite number. Note any assignments she gives you and her answers to your questions so that you can review the information later. Trust me, you won’t remember it because you are too excited.
If you can’t keep your appointment, cancel as soon as possible. She will appreciate it because no-shows cost money since she saved that time for you by turning down other bookings.
Finally, playtime! But don’t mess it up now.
Follow Directions…Consider It Part Of The Play:
Confirm as instructed.
Be on time. Early arrival is just as bad as late arrival.
Be discreet outside of her studio. She doesn’t want her neighbors to see clients waiting around, it is best to stay in your car until immediately prior to your session. Obviously, arriving in attire other than street wear would be an indiscretion. Do not talk about S&M outside her studio.
Especially, do not engage in play outside her studio. Do not kneel outside her door or call her “Mistress” in the hallway. Leave play for the privacy of her chambers where such behavior is proper. Discretion goes both ways.
Keep it Safe and Fun
Take responsibility for your own safety and enjoyment. Speak up immediately about any safety concerns or if you are not enjoying the session – an experienced dominatrix will appreciate and utilize the information.
Leave if the dominatrix is not who you saw in the photo/video.
Leave if she does not have promised elements necessary to your scene, such as specific equipment or wardrobe.
Leave if the space is dirty or looks poorly maintained; that may indicate unsafe practices.
LEAVE if she seems to be drunk or on drugs – intoxication is a very dangerous combination with BDSM. People die that way.
What to Expect in Session
A receptionist might answer the door or the dominatrix may answer in street clothes. You might have to wait in a room for her to finish up with another client. You might have to fill out a questionnaire about your likes/dislikes. You might be required to pay up front. You might be left to take off your clothes after a brief meeting with the dominatrix (but she probably won’t tell you to undress, so take a hint). She might give you a safeword (a word that will let her know you can’t take more of the same) before she starts to play. Act according to her direction – some dominatrices demand strict adherence to conduct befitting a slave, others don’t care if you act submissive or not.
What NOT to Expect in Session
Don’t have unrealistic expectations the session will not match your fantasies perfectly. And definitely do not bring a line-by-line script. Be open to her and let her do her thing you might find it better than your script.
She will not wear less than lingerie.
Sex – There Really Really is No Sex
Realize that when a dominatrix says “no sex” she truly means it in the broadest interpretation. There will be no sex of any kind. None.
Know that she won’t be taking off her clothes, massaging, or letting you kiss intimate body parts, or doing anything that ends in -job. Go to see one of the wonderful people who offer those services.
how to be invited back
Be clean. Be very clean.
Be respectful. Be obedient.
If you want to make an impression, bring her a little something such as a gag, blindfold, candle, gift card or flowers. Better yet, see if she has a wishlist or ask her if there is something specific that she would appreciate. Often, I used to request a sandwich, because I had so little time to eat between my sessions.
Go over your list of likes/dislikes with the receptionist or dominatrix so that it is fresh in her mind. You can bring a printout but do not expect her to accept it. Do not bring a script. Experienced dominatrices abhor scripts.
Speak up if she pushes you beyond your limits – a good dominatrix will appreciate the input without being threatened. Don’t try to impress by surpassing your limits; you will both regret it.
Understand that she may have another client waiting, don’t hang around so long that you put her into an uncomfortable situation.
Help her to clean up.
Keep your curiosity about her to yourself rather than asking personal questions.
Demonstrate your gratitude tell her how great the session was and that you want to see her again. It is not too early to book your next appointment.
If she works in a house of domination and you enjoyed the session, tip her. House dominas only get a percentage of the full tribute. It is not necessary to tip an independent dominatrix or Head Mistress (the owner of a house of domination). Only do so if you feel compelled by excellence.
Afterwards write down your impressions, then wait a few days to fully assess your reactions. Sometimes you will find activities that were unpleasant in session, are actually quite exciting afterwards. This is a common experience. Some BDSM is highly anticipated before, disliked during, and relished after the act.
Evaluate whether you want to see her again and figure out the positive and negative elements of your session so that you can pass that information on to the next dominatrix you see whether it is her, or someone else.
Adjust your resume, if you have learned more about your preferences and capabilities.
When you write or call again don’t be vague saying “Hi, its Joe” she probably speaks to a lot of men named Joe. Remind her of who you are by name, appearance, and what you did in session, without her having to ask.
If you adhere to my advice, you will know enough about proper protocol to realize your fantasies in an appointment with your dream dominatrix.
About This Article:
I first published it in 1995 on my original website. Back then, there wasn’t so much info on BDSM so the article became very popular, has been widely plagiarized, and is still often featured on other websites than my own. Even so, it is intricately associated with me as the author, which is why I call it “The Article”.
I wrote it to help clients find, book an appointment with, and hopefully be invited back by, a professional dominatrix. Much has changed since the initial version, mostly due to the proliferation of the internet and recently with the influx of new people freed by media coverage to be less isolated and more open about their fantasies. While the majority of the original text has been maintained, I regularly update it to improve its usefulness and relevance. – Simone Justice
*Be sure to stay updated on all of Simone’s socials, appearances, classes and MORE by visiting:Simone Justice LinkTree
Dungeon/Play party etiquette can vary from event to event, venue to venue. The dungeon you were at last weekend may have had a very rigid code of conduct. One you’re interested in attending next month may appear to operate on a free-for-all basis. Even your favorite event host may have changing party protocols based solely upon the venue they secure.
This can be confusing, and even frustrating, at times. I get it. As a many-decades kinkster, I’ve seen dungeon etiquette run the gambit.
So, how do I combat the confusion? For every event I plan to attend, even if I’ve been there before, I proactively seek the rules. And, I do it BEFORE purchasing my ticket. With little effort you can locate them. Dungeons usually have club rules clearly listed on their website. On FetLife, they’re almost always posted within the event page description. If you have trouble finding them, reach out to the host directly. Just don’t wait until the day of the event when everyone’s setting up and too busy to answer PM’s and emails.
Although party-specific rules can vary, there are commonly accepted universal rules in the kink community.
For the purposes of this blog post we’re calling them ‘dungeon etiquette.’ But, these are consideration/thoughtfulness/respect-based codes of conduct that are long-standing and established for dungeon/play parties.
Do NOT Touch
Seems simple and sounds like common sense, right? Three little words. Yet, it’s one of the biggest problems at many kink events. Dungeons have even taken to posting signage that reads “NO TOUCHING WITHOUT EXPLICIT CONSENT.” The BDSM/kink community is built on a foundation of trust through open communication and explicit consent which leads to the trust we require to access vulnerable places within us. Consent being the paramount component.
But, sometimes people feel like they are in grey areas. Or, for a myriad of reasons, they just aren’t sure how be behave situationally. I understand. The best advice I can give is to never, ever touch without explicit, expressed consent.
What often happens at play parties is we get caught up in all the excitement and dopamine & endorphins start pumping through us. Everyone has been there. But, it’s important to remind ourselves that just because we are in a sexually charged environment, that NEVER means it’s ok to touch someone without their EXPLICIT expressed consent. Regardless of what’s occurring around us.
Over the years, I’ve been asked questions from folks who felt situationally confused, had the best of intentions, but felt they were in a grey area and didn’t want to proceed poorly. Here’s small sample of a few of those questions them:
“What if I did a scene with them at a previous event last week?
NO. The consent you were granted does not go beyond the the scene your shared together last week. It isn’t a blanket consent.
“They said once they’d like to play/do a scene with me someday.”
NO. That’s just a previous expression of interest. It’s not a current green light to touch them.
“We’ve been messaging and planned to meet up here at this event.”
NO. This is NEVER a guarantee of intimacy or kink play. You’re simply meeting up at the event. People use public events (even play parties) as an opportunity to safely get to know others in the community. This is a common vetting practice. Just because you discussed your compatible kinks, or even flirted a bit prior, it’s not ever permission to touch them in-person without explicit consent.
It’s also important to note that just because someone accepted a gesture from you in the past, like a hug, it’s not standing permission to do same. I always ask if I can hug them even when I know it’s ok. This because my actions as a fellow kinkster can set an example for others and we’re all responsible for the betterment of our community.
Advice: A consent violation is not worth the risk. Not only does it mean getting booted from the event, a ‘consent violator’ often gets blacklisted in their local kink community. Once labeled as such, there’s not really any coming back from that.
Hands Off Someone’s Toys
Toy collections are often personal. They’ve been used for intimate connections and can carry fond memories. Often, past or current partners may have gifted them. To some folks, they may just seem like objects-du-fun, but to many collection owners, they’re very personal. In the same way you wouldn’t just hop on a strangers motorcycle or use someone’s eyeshadow palette without asking, the same applies for kink toys.
BUT, if you’re like me, and you see something really sexy or interesting, you want to know more!
The good thing is kinksters DO love to chat about their collection. If you want to handle someone’s implements (toys, I’m talking about toys ya pervs), all you have to do is engage the owner. I like openers similar to “mind if I check out your paddle/flogger?” or “this is really cool, is it ok if I pick it up?” or “can I see what it feels like to hold/swing this?” Asking if it’s hand made or who made it is also a great opener. You’ll likely get a favorable response because you were respectful. Plus, a new kink friendship was is often made.
Btw, keep timing in mind. If they’re laying toys out, it’s probable that they’re headed into a scene. Is their play partner already positioned? Do they seem in a zone? Its best to suss that out before engaging them. Approach them once they’ve re-emerged from aftercare.
Did you know that the laying out of toys is often a ritualistic PART of the scene? It’s a psychological tool in our arsenal that we Dominants/Tops wield to build delicious, seductive anticipation. BONUS: An added benefit to asking first is that others will see/witness you as respectful. Respect garners you trust. Trust and respect are currency in the kink community!
Respect Everyone’s Bubble
Whether it’s their personal bubble or an scene bubble, steer clear.
A Personal Bubble is the space that surrounds someone’s body. That space belongs to them. Every society has a standard bubble and in the US it’s 18″. We’ve all had that uncomfortable feeling when someone is standing too close, that’s the intrusion of your personal bubble. At kink events, try to be very mindful of everyone’s personal bubble. Body language violations are powerful silent assigns that can garner someone a ‘creepy vibe’ reputation.
A Scene Bubble is the space surrounding where someone is engaged in play or a “scene.” Respecting a scene bubble is incredibly important for several of reasons.
First, you never interrupt a scene (this is discussed below in Never Interrupt An Active Scene). Walking or standing too close to an active scene is intrusive, distracting and disrespectful to those engaged in it. We all love to watch a good scene, who doesn’t? But, that must happen from a respectful distance. A good rule of thumb is to imagine a bubble around the scene, then, make the bubble a third larger. That’s your guideline.
The second reason to respect a scene bubble is safety. From personal experience folks have gotten whacked by my floggers’ backswing by walking too close. I’ve seen people walk into active paddles. Once, a Top’s wrist got sprained and the person walking into them got a black eye because there were beelining it to watch another scene-but not paying attention to the one right in front of them.
Reminder: A personal bubble is approximately 2′. For scenes, imagine a bubble around the play area, then, make it 1/3 bigger. That’s your boundary.
Use Your DM’s. What’s A DM?
Most every event you’ll attend where kink play is engaged has dungeon monitors (DM’s). They’re there to keep everyone safe via security, answering questions and assisting party go’ers. They generally know the answers to any questions you have and if they don’t, they know where to get ’em. DM’s also wrap folks up when they’ve gone over allotted equipment or room limits. They oversee active public scenes to ensure a sub/bottom is ok or that the Top/Dom/me is respecting limits & boundaries. They can assist with equipment issues as well.
Generally, they’re in place to attend to everyone best interest. Like kinky guardian angels.
Sex and Nudity. Ask Ahead.
As discussed above, kink events/play parties are highly varied. So is the Sex/Nudity rule. In many locations in the US, events cannot legally have alcohol AND nudity/sex. Some parties offer BYOB. Some don’t. Some allow BYOB & nudity but no penetration. CFNM are power exchange-centered where subs are required to be nude but they’re there to serve, not to engage in kinky sex. Rope events can be nude or clothed, partner sex or just rope share. There are many, MANY variables.
If this is important to you for an event you’re considering, check the promo materials, event page or website. It’s often outlined there. If not, contact the event holder directly. I’d especially contact them about the issue surrounding alcohol and sex because there are actual local laws and ordinances regarding this. Brick and mortar locations are usually up to date on the specifics of local laws & ordinances since they hold the all the legal liability. Locations have been shut down altogether for violating these local ordinances.
It’s best to check every event thoroughly.
Advice: Do you due diligence. Never go into a kink event assuming nudity, sex or alcohol are an option.
Never Interrupt An Active Scene
As touched upon in the ‘Bubble’ section, avoiding an active scene is required for good etiquette. In fact, it’s highly frowned upon.
When players choose to engage publicly and share their scene with us, it’s a gift, not an invitation to engage WITH them. If they scene publicly it’s usually because they feel safe and comfortable. Isn’t that what we all seek in the kink community – to have a safe and comfortable place to be ourselves? Avoid fracturing their scene, because ultimately, it can fracture their feeling of safety.
So, unless you’ve been clearly invited, and engaged in negotiations ahead of time, stand down. I’d go so far as to say that even if a Top invites you mid-scene, decline. Why? You have no way of knowing if the bottom/sub consented to THAT in negotiations. And, they certainly can’t consent mid-scene when they’re likely high on mind-altering things like endorphins and dopamine, right?
Scene interruption also includes being mindful of your voice level when in close proximity. Especially in smaller play spaces.
Remember: Whatever the reason they chose to play in front of everyone, it’s never, EVER an invitation to interrupt, comment, offer suggestions, flirt, joke around, step into, touch etc.
Clean Up After Yourself
This seems like a no-brainer. But, clean up falls through the cracks more often than people realize. If you’ve been part of a dungeon crew or play party event staff, you understand this all too well.
It’s not that folks are running around being ignorant and thoughtless. Not at all. What happens is that everyone is zombie’d out after a scene and clean up falls through the cracks. Or, aftercare occurs and everyone is coming down from endorphins, adrenaline & dopamine and are sorta stupefied.
But, part of the social contract of being permitted to scene at someone’s event is post-scene clean up. At some events it goes further than a social contract and it’s part of the rules listed in the paperwork you signed upon entry. This is especially so at brick and mortar dungeons. If they’re kind enough to purchase & provide the clean up products, try to be mindful to use them.
Also, imagine if the people before you didn’t clean up. Would you want to be rubbing around in their stray sweat, saliva or other bodily fluids? I always recommend using the sanitizing supplies and wipes prior to and after your scene.
Note: Nobody wants to be disrespectful to others. Try to be mindful that clean up is part of your overall scene. It can be a shared task further bonding the two of you post-scene.Or, for the service subs, clean up extends your scene further.
Confidentially is up there with consent. It’s a kink/BDSM fundamental that’s rooted all the way back to when we kinksters were forced to play deeply underground.
What happens at parties, stays at parties. Just like Vegas.
Some confidentiality guidelines to consider:
Sometimes you run into someone from your vanilla life AT a kink event. It happens. Sometimes it’s awkward, sometimes it’s not. Regardless, it’s best to refrain from talking to them about outside-world, vanilla stuff. Why? Many people leave their ‘real-world’ identities at the door and are there to indulge in their kink persona. Just like you, they’re there to escape into and enjoy kinky aspects of themselves. Nothing kills a kinky buzz like real-world talk.
Regarding that same vanilla friend just mentioned. When you do see them again in your vanilla lives, remember that kink talk isn’t comfortable for most folks. They’re often scared of being accidentally ‘outted’ or someone overhearing your conversation. Suss that out, a lot. Maybe you’ll chat kink, maybe you wont. But, never lead with thinking it’s ok.
Since many people can’t be ‘out’ about being kinky we need to protect one another. If you see or meet someone at a ANY kink event and run into them publicly its best to proceed as if they’re a stranger. Even if they’re alone. Plus, you don’t know what their comfort level is about that part of their life. The next time you see each other at a kink event, you’ll have something to chat about AND you’ll both likely make a new kink friend.
We all make a social pact in the kink community to look out for one another’s best interest. Be a good community member.
My own personal, bonkers, experience with this:I was at a public, vanilla event with my horses. From across a large crowd I hear “Mistress Kye, Mistress Kye!” I was up on my horse and clearly a center of attention in the crowd. Plus, there were tons of kids around me and my horse. I made eye contact and smiled to silently acknowledge them and then continued with the crowd. I figured they’d take the hint. Surprisingly, they didn’t. They proceeded calling out “Mistress Kye!” from across the crowd as they made their way towards me. Because of this, I had to move my horse away from the kids while being as nonchalant as I could. I even looked back to give “shut up” eyeballs as I walked off-and they were STILL calling out. I went to our horsey break area for privacy. There I told them to STFU to hell and back. Normally, I would never be so hostile. Normally, I’d just ignore them and address it the next time I saw them. Most people would take the hint at the start. BUT, they made such an inappropriate spectacle that it forced me to exit a paid gig in order to shut them down. I was a little upset at their sheer thoughtlessness. Sure, I’m openly out as a kinkster, but that type of spectacle is never ok in a vanilla setting. At an adult convention, YES, call me out across the crowd, let’s do a selfie, lets chat! A vanilla event,NO screaming “Mistress Kye!” in front of kids.
For the most part, event hosts do NOT want anyone playing under the influence. That’s because legal responsibility falls upon them. There are a plethora of legal issues, criminal and civil, that event hosts/dungeon owners face if they allow intoxicated play to occur and something goes wrong. But most importantly, it’s simply not safe for you, who you’re playing with, or the host of the event.
Does this mean that ALL events don’t allow alcohol or other substances? No. It happens. As mentioned in the ‘Sex and Nudity’ section above, all events vary. But, I can attest that after decades in the kink scene, most of the worst instances/disasters I know of have occurred with folks under the influence. I’ve seen hospital visits, broken bones, damaged kidneys and more. Even under the best circumstances, what we do can get risky and things go wrong. Why amplify the odds of something bad happening?
Most dungeons and event hosts are NOT willing to incur the risks surrounding the legal ramifications of intoxicated players.And, if you have a reputation for playing high or drunk, they’ll blacklist you from their eventsto protect themselves and their community.
Honorariums. Scene Names. Pronouns.
It’s simple. How someone chooses to be addressed is how you address them. Period.
You know me as Mistress Kye. I’ve chosen that. Yet, I’ve experienced (by mostly cis men) being called “Goddess” in place of “Mistress.” I don’t care for this whatsoever and I’ll tell you why. I CHOSE “Mistress” and I’m well within reason to expect to be called by something I chose for myself, rather than what someone else prefers to call me. All kink protocols aside, it’s just rude as fuck to address others by what YOU prefer, than what they call themselves. It’s like someone introducing their friend “James” and someone immediate saying “Nice to meet you, Jimmy.”
It has nothing to do with our kink community protocols and everything to do with human-to-human respect.
Let’s say you know someone’s ‘real’ name or government name because you’re friendly outside the kink community. Although you have that familiarity, it’s best to address them by their chosen scene name when involved in any kink community events. Unless otherwise directed by that person. The person you see at events is often their alter persona. Let them indulge in that part of themselves.
I know this should go without saying, but, just ask. Period. It’s easy. “What are your preferred pronouns?”
Advice: Just ask how someone wants to be addressed.
*Please accept my invitation to share your insights, experiences, suggestions, etc. regarding dungeon and play party etiquette, rules & protocols. I know there’s SO much more you can to add to this conversationandI’d love to hear from you in the replies so we can share a discussion together.
Also, feel free to share on your socials so we can bring more folks into our conversation.
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Being communication-present with active listening builds stronger intimate connections.
We feel most connected with others when we’re listening more than talking.
As a kink educator, a common concern I hear from the kink community is feeling unheard or not thoroughly listened to.
It seems that with content thrust upon us at every turn, as a society we’ve built in a numbing-of-the-noise in our daily lives. Content even comes crashing into the most mundane of places. Just yesterday, I was pumping gas and a screen above the pump came on with a segment from The Tonight Show followed by 3 commercials. Who benefits from 3 commercials while pumping gas? Not you or I, that’s for sure. Just the opposite, it’s conditioning us to a listening numbness that probably affects our ability to listen even when we want to. Like when we want to get our kink on.
One of our fundamentals in the kink community is open communication. But, what’s open communication worth without active listening? We have to place as much importance on listening as we do on sharing. Listening to one another carefully is how we form a stronger intimate connection.
Becoming a better listener might seem simple but it’s often not so easy. Many folks struggle to be communication-present. Active listening takes effort, and oftentimes, some self-training. That’s where mindfulness comes in.
Here are 3 simple, yet powerful tips rooted in mindfulness that will help develop your listening skills and a better kink experience.
1. Be curious.
Sincere curiosity means that we are interested in learning and letting others engage & influence us. Curiosity leads to learning but because comprehension requires humility, we must be willing to be humble and acknowledge not knowing.
Admitting to not knowing can hit differently for some kinksters involved in power exchange play or dynamics/relationships.
For some Dominants, it’s oftentimes a struggle due to fears of looking weak for not being all-knowing. Especially to their submissive. For subs, they can fear looking unworthy of serving if they don’t ‘know’ and anticipate their all their Dominant’s needs.
Regardless of which side of the slash we fall, sincere curiosity is a root element to practicing mindful listening. It creates a safe space for others to feel at ease and communicate.
Listening to one another carefully is how we build a stronger intimate connections. This connection helps us build trust.
A part of sincere curiosity that can make active listening easier is by setting a genuine intention to understand the other person. What happens is that the more they see your curiosity & intention, the more inclined they’ll be to engage. Their engagement ultimately helps assist you with your active listening.
It can take time to get better at mindfulness, so try not to be too hard on yourself. Active listening overall is a practiced process. Sort of like a kink journey. It takes time, investment, nurturing and practice.
Here are some of the ways you can use mindfulness to help you practice sincere curiosity.
-Ask yourself what matters most to them in what they are sharing?
-What are some of the feelings you see underlying what they’re sharing about their kink interests?
-What sounds like their wants, needs and desires in what they’re expressing?
-Stay curious until you get a sincere sense that they feel they’ve been heard and understood.
An important part of this is checking in with yourself.
-How did it feel to practice genuine interest?
-What did you learn that you might not have known otherwise?
-How can what you learned help you in future active listening?
-How can what you learned help you to understand your kink journey together?
2. Letting others influence you
For some in the kink community, it may feel uncomfortable to hear that they should be influenced. For others, outside influence can be problematic.
Some Dominants can be especially objectionable to influence. But I like to remind them that influence isn’t a scary word so long as we’re talking about positive influence. If the goal is to move forward, whether it’s leading a scene or a dynamic/relationship, a good leader knows positive influence is necessary from all parties involved. Their input and influence is part of the overall well-being of your collective journey together.
Subs can often struggle with people-pleasing so the wrong kind of influence can be problematic. Being submissive doesn’t mean following blindly. It seems they sometimes forget they have agency. Using mindful active listening can help them decide WHO should be allowed to influence them, rather than just letting the urge to people-please make the decisions.
The best type of influence occurs when we recognize that we should listen in the way we wish to be listened to. It is a potent tool in developing greater intimacy through kink.
We feel most connected with others when we’re listening more than talking
3. Be quite. Be Patient.
It’s pretty impossible to be speaking AND listening at the same time. So, if you’ve set your intention to listen, do just that. One of the most powerful tools we can have as a kinkster is being patient.
A common struggle is wanting to chime in. Whether there’s a lull in the conversation or wanting to reply to what’s been said, being quite and patient takes practice. Mindfulness can help with that.
Here are 2 mindful things to consider in those circumstances:
Lulls are often people gathering their thoughts. Give them time to ponder and find their feelings & words. When engaging in kinky communication we’re often accessing vulnerable places within ourselves. Give them a safe space to move at their own pace.
We simply cannot absorb & comprehend if we’re distracted preparing our response. In order to be a better listener, focus on what’s being said to you. You may feel compelled to chime in when there’s a lull, but use that time to absorb what’s just been expressed to you. You’ll have your chance to respond soon enough.
Patience is something many struggle with but it can be achieved with practice. Start small by simply being mindful that you want to be a better listener
By applying any, or all, of these potent listening skills you’ll put the other person at ease. That alone can provide the ‘permission’ necessary to speak their peace or express their kinky wants, needs and desires. A greater flow of communication and connection will come from that, and you’ll be on your way to developing greater intimacy through kink.