BDSM Dungeon / Play Etiquette – Part 1

BDSM Dungeon / Play Etiquette

This is Part 1 of BDSM Dungeon / Play Etiquette article. I remember the first time I went to a dungeon play party and was quite disappointed that it didn’t turn out to be in the bowels of some building with bricked curved arches, cobwebs, aged metal rings with naked women hanging from the walls with “O” branded on their rump, a glowing brazier filled with implements of torture and men naked from the waist up wearing black hoods. Instead it was immense home in the country just outside Paris, beautifully and tastefully decorated with large soft lounges you just sunk into forever. Five rooms had been cleared and fitted out with play equipment, everything was spotless and the strongest drink you could have was an amazing fruit punch. As I walked up the drive, to the huge front door, in the company of a good friend and sponsor, he stopped and said, “Treat this as an extremely dangerous foreign country, you can’t speak the language, you are on your own, unsure of the customs and if you insult anyone you will be taken to the courtyard, publicly flogged, fucked and burnt at the stake”. Well that certainly put my mind to rest.

First time or one hundredth time at a organized private party, BDSM event, or professional dungeon there are a number of things to be aware of. The least of which is discretion, you may see a famous face or two, now probably wouldn’t be the time to ask for an autograph. I have in 20 years encountered two people who were close personal friends whom I had absolutely no knowledge of their interest in BDSM. On both occasions we simple looked at one another and burst into huge smiles. Nothing was said and this is the general rule, what you see or hear at a play party stays there. You may say, to someone, I saw some great play, and elaborate, but I would never make known who was actually there, unless of course that person shared a BDSM friendship and was already known to the person to whom I was speaking. Be discrete, not everyone is “out”, fighting in the trenches for world recognition and acceptance of BDSM. Don’t walk up to someone in the vanilla world and say “I thought that branding you did the other night was just great” especially if they are standing with their 70 year old mother and entire family at the time.

A tip for gushy submissives, most peoples headspace is in a totally different area to where they would be if you met them socially. The couple you had dinner with last night are now in play mode. The submissive whom you normally hug and have a great and often loud chat with is probably under instructions as to his or her behaviour or subject to protocols. You of course won’t be aware of just what those instructions are. So an approach to the Dominant first is the order of doing things. Ask permission before greeting the submissive, if refused don’t take it as a personal snub, you have no idea what the Dominant is preparing the submissive’s mind frame for, simply accept the refusal for what it is. Be aware of the demeanour of the submissive for all you know she or he may well have already played and be in that floating world called subspace and definitely not the time for a “did you know”, “have you seen” or “have you heard” conversation. That’s BDSM Dungeon / Play etiquette.

A couple of tips for Dominants, no one is interested in how dominant you are and just because someone is submissive doesn’t mean they are submissive to the whole human population. Or just waiting for you to come along and claim them. No one is obliged to serve you, call you “Sir”, “Master”, “Mistress” or “Ma’am”, defer to your opinion, bow their heads, avert their eyes, kneel worshipping at your feet or show you anything other than common everyday courtesy. Quite often you will be unable to tell just who is and who isn’t submissive. People don’t wear badges or name tags, it isn’t stamped on their forehead at the door, who or what they are. Some Dominants, especially Mistresses or female Tops wear dress collars so you could offend by your hasty approach or assumption. “On your knees, slut” is probably a good line to leave at the door. Because you can be made to look pretty silly when the submissive fires back “Perhaps you had better ask my Master / Mistress first”, if she is polite, it could be a worse if she isn’t. I know you are just dying to try out the latest toy purchase on someone. You slap, smack, pinch, bite, lick, suck, fondle someone without permission it is assault.

The same applies to submissives, just because you are submissive, single, ever so available and just “have” to play doesn’t mean every Dominant or Top in the place is dying to play with you or obliged to do so. Screaming to the rooftop “Will someone, for fuck sake, flog me?” or “I’m next” or “are there any REAL dominants here tonight?” seldom succeeds. There is no expectation or obligation to play place on those attending, Dominant, Top, bottom, submissive, switch or plain confused. If you want to know who is single and available ask the host. If you are single and available let the host know. That way the host just may be able to introduce you both and keep a watchful eye on proceedings. Thinking of them as people first and with time, perhaps, play partners second, may be a better way to go. Remember everything is consensual, you have the right to refuse an offer or demand for play. The word “No” stays with you it can be used at anytime and “No” means “No”. So are the rules, BDSM Dungeon / Play etiquette.

Assumption also applies to touch. If you haven’t been asked to touch, don’t touch. That applies to people, equipment or clothing. Would you walk into a mechanics workshop and immediately put on a pair of his overalls and pick up his tools. I don’t think so. Comment, or admire or ask politely what is that piece of equipment, or what is its use, and then wait until invited to handle. Perhaps, wonder aloud what that flogger, whip, cane, violet wand, paddle would feel like. Quite often the Top or Dominant will demonstrate once it is clear your consent has been gained. But don’t expect an hour or five demonstration and of course the full weight of the implement wouldn’t be applied because that would entail a warm up period. It would simply be a taste. In the case of knives, resist running them over your skin, they may have been sterilized, ready for play. If it is a particularly sharp blade you are quite likely to cut yourself. Also resist breaking the seals on sharps, needles and feeling the point. Couldn’t believe that someone would actually do that until I saw it one night.

Read the continuation: BDSM Dungeon / Play etiquette. Part 2

Watch our group BDSM videos from parties where BDSM Dungeon / Play etiquette is strictly observed.

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