If you’re brand-new to the entire world of BDSM, you probably have a lot of questions. While we don’t claim to have all the answers, we do have some general advice that you might find useful.
First and foremost — slow down! Most people who are just getting into the scene are usually in a tremendous rush to do everything all at once, and they sometimes end up getting in over their head. Remember, there’s no hurry… you’ve gone your whole life without ever exploring this part of yourself, so a few more weeks won’t do any harm. The journey is every bit as important as the destination.
Talk to other people who have been at it for a while. Don’t go on a quest for a play-partner right away — just talk to others in the scene, one-on-one or in groups. Come to a munch and chat with people about their experiences. Ask them what it’s like to actually do some of the things you’ve been thinking about. Also ask them how they got started. You’ll probably learn a lot from hearing about their initial experiences in the scene.
Don’t jump into a Master/slave relationship right away! After all, you wouldn’t marry the first person you went out on a date with, so why would you make a commitment to just one play-partner without exploring your options?
Watch and learn. Before you do anything yourself, you should spend some time watching other people play. Go to a play party or fetish night, and see how things work. Don’t be shy about watching — people who play in public want others to watch them, it adds to their pleasure. After a scene (but not right after!), go to the people you saw playing and talk to them about it. Explain that you’re new, and just learning, and want to understand the physical and emotional sensations that are involved. Also keep in mind that there are various different types of BDSM events, including fetish nights, play parties and private parties.
Stay flexible. You’ve been fantasizing about erotic domination and submission for years, and you probably have some very elaborate and detailed scenarios in mind. However, you can’t expect anyone to know all the details of those fantasies. Even if they did, it wouldn’t be exactly the same as you imagined it. It’s like watching the film version of your favorite book. Let go of your expectations and simply live in the moment.
Make your own choices! Nobody can tell you what’s “right” for you. Move at your own pace, and decide what you like and what you don’t.
Online vs Real Life
If you’ve been playing on-line for a while, you may think you know how things work. You don’t. Real Life is very different from playing online. If you’re a submissive, you may have imagined what it’s like being flogged. The reality of the experience is very different. Most submissives describe it as physically more intense than they were expecting, and the endorphin rush can be quite powerful. Also be aware that you will probably have bruises that will last for several days or more. Keep this in mind if you have a significant other who might be disturbed by the marks. If you’re a Dom, you may think that it’s easy to just pick up a flogger and go to town. There’s a lot more to it than that. An inexperienced sub is fine. An inexperienced Dom can be dangerous. Online, you can flog someone with great abandon. You can string them up by their nipples, and torture them in countless brilliant and devious ways. In Real Life, however, much of that simply doesn’t work.
Finding a Partner
Once you’ve gotten to know a number of people and have done a bit of homework, you’re ready to try actually meeting someone to play with. Not everyone is looking for a serious, long-term relationship. If you are, that’s fine — but you should consider playing with someone on a casual basis first, just to explore the sensations and learn to get into the right head-space. That way there won’t be the pressure of also trying to build a lasting relationship with the person you’re playing with. Ask people for recommendations of who you should play with. You’re looking for someone who’s experienced, but willing to play with someone who’s brand-new. If you can, try to play with a few different people to get a sense of how each one is unique.
There was a discussion on our mailing list about “streetproofing” novice submissives. Two of our members, kat and Ted, contributed some excellent suggestions. Here they are:
- Meet beforehand in a neutral, public place for discussion of limits, safewords, likes/dislikes, etc. This sort of negotiation is important. If someone asks you what you like, tell them! Saying “whatever pleases you, Sir” is very sweet, but completely useless. You may want to refer to our play partner checklist.
- Always tell at least one person where you are meeting, and arrange to call them with a code phrase to indicate everything is okay. If you’re not sure who to use for this “safe call”, just get in touch with us at the Contact Us link at the top of this page and we can help you find someone. Also check out the safe call form on our website.
- Do not under any circumstances agree to go somewhere private and play at the first meeting.
- Be sure to establish a “safe word” which you can use to stop the scene if it’s getting out of hand.
- If possible, play for the first time in a group situation such as a fetish night or play party. In any case, make sure that someone who knows you well is in attendance and watching the scene for any signs of distress or ignoring of your safeword.
- Discuss the scene afterwards with the Dom/me. Be tactful, but also be honest as to what you enjoyed and did not enjoy. Even if you do not play with them again, the feedback can be useful for them with future play partners.
- If the time comes when you do want to meet in private to play, again let a friend know where you are and who you’re with, and arrange for another “safe call” to them. If you don’t check in on time, your friend should call to check up on you. If they don’t hear your code phrase, they should call the authorities. Make sure your new play partner knows that all this is in place, otherwise it has little effect.
- Above all else, if you have ANY doubts about your safety with someone, do not continue. Trust your instincts! They’ve served as safety “curb feelers” ever since we crawled down from the trees, and they’re very rarely wrong.
Also be sure to check out our Safe First Meetings page Another great resource is Jay Wiseman’s Ten Tips for Submissive Women. There’s some excellent advice in there. There was also a particularly insightful message by writergirl on fetlife, which you can find here.
For More Information…
Still have questions? Of course you do! There’s a lot to learn. Many of us are in the BDSM Ontario group on Fetlife, so feel free to post your questions there. If not, come on out to a munch and get to know us. And above all — have fun!