Things My Mother Never Told Me About BDSM

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I think at some point in our lives we all find ourselves in a situation where we don’t know what the fuck is going on. For me, this “situation” started when I left my wife and just…kept…going. People say in times of hardship we find out what we’re truly made of, but I don’t think anybody would have guessed that inside of me was a masochistic submissive biding her time until relationship Armageddon. It takes a lot of courage to try new things, but if you’re curious about the kink community and you want to get started, here are a couple of things I learned in my first month that my mother definitely didn’t tell me about bdsm.

  1. Social status is not defined by how you identify in terms of dominance or submission. You can be 100% submissive and still command loads of respect. What’s most important is how you treat other people…that and following the rules of any given dungeon. Just like in the real world, you get back what you give. If you’re an asshole, you’re going to be treated like one.
  2. When somebody introduces themselves to you, use whatever name and title they tell you without questioning it. You aren’t expected to revere somebody just because their name is “Goddess Greenbean,” but it would be rude to drop their title. It might even be seen as a sign of disrespect to do so. Gender should also not be assumed. I’ve met at least three female D-types who go by “master” or “sir”.
  3. Protect the identities of people you meet in the scene. Unlike with other social groups and communities, the kink world is embedded in secrecy and coded language because the dominant culture doesn’t accept kinky people. Even though it’s technically discrimination, if somebody’s identity is revealed at their place of work, they could lose their job. This is why many people go by fake names. They’re being cautious, and you probably should be too.
  4. D/s dynamics don’t happen overnight. There are a ton of instances in pop culture where submissives are shown wearing collars and Dominants are depicted as predators who claim their property in one fell swoop, but actually, a D/s dynamic should form as gradually and organically as any vanilla relationship would. Collars aren’t given/accepted lightly, and if you’re new and somebody tries to collar you, you should be alarmed. You don’t need to be in a D/s dynamic to explore the scene, regardless of how you identify. Take your time and choose your partners wisely, not out of desperation.
  5. Always, always negotiate before you play. There’s no such thing as too much information when it comes to being safe, and you’ll find quickly that everybody has their own unique set of soft and hard no’s, D-types included. Make sure you clearly communicate what’s going to happen or at the very least what might happen before you play with someone. I’ve yet to meet the person that seriously has “no limits,” and if you’re new and you think that describes you, take some time researching kinks before you blindly agree to everything on the table. Also know that you don’t need to invent a unique safe word just for you. The commonly accepted safe words are “yellow” for slow down and “red” for stop immediately. You might confuse the person topping you if you shout out “dandelion” at the top of your lungs in the middle of a scene.

Still uneasy after reading these pointers? That’s how it was for me the night I decided to turn my kinky dreams into a reality. Some of the things I thought I’d encounter in a bdsm dungeon the first time I stepped foot in one: a dominatrix woman in leather with a Russian accent. Dimly lit wall sconces that threw more shadows than actual light. Screams of pain. Somebody stumbling out with half their clothes on. Vampires. A shit ton of rope. Medieval torture devices. Dildos.

What actually happened…

The receptionist buzzed me in. I sat down on a plushy couch and reflected on the fact that my therapist’s office looked less inviting than this room did. A working submissive emerged politely from a back room to whisper something across the desk, and then the receptionist stood up and encouraged me to walk into the back room where a support group was meeting. Everything looked and smelled clean…almost clinically so. And the collection of people I saw as I took a seat on one of the last empty red poufs looked completely, 100%, no questions asked, normal.

You read that right. Normal. I usually detest the word and everything it stands for, but in this specific case it was a relief to see real people who were smiling, murmuring to each other, and looking around with non-judgmental curiosity. This wasn’t frightening at all. Not one person stood out as threatening, predatory, or even remotely vampiric. It was somewhere around this moment that I got hit with a major reality check: everything I thought I knew about bdsm was a lie. What I’d seen on TV was a lie. What I read in books was a lie. And now as I sat here surrounded by other people who shared this big, scary secret with me, I realized in the best possible way that I was not alone. Things stopped feeling scary. Who I was stopped being secret. And I started living my truth unabashedly.

My advice for newcomers is as follows:

  • Go into the kink community with an open mind and a willingness to ask questions.
  • Your goal should not be to find a play partner off the bat; instead, search for friends and role models that have more experience than you so that you have a safe place to ask questions and to get a little extra support.
  • Especially if you’re submissive, don’t fall into the trap of believing that you don’t have a right to voice your own needs and boundaries.
  • Carry yourself with confidence and dignity. Other people will pick up on that energy and automatically treat you with respect.

My biggest fear was that somebody might take advantage of me if I wasn’t on the defense. What I found instead was a core group of kinksters who wanted nothing more than to help me grow, but I had to let my own guard down long enough to see the helping hands all around me. Remember this: no matter how insecure you might feel, at the end of the day we are all just people. Awesome people with leather floggers and spanking benches, but people nonetheless.

There are a million and one ways to explore the scene, but hopefully these pointers help you navigate the space as you start your kinky journey into the unknown. If you have any questions or you’d like to reach out, feel free to contact me on my fetlife account at little_miss_eden. Thanks for reading!

By: Eden

If you look up the definition of “green,” you will find the name Eden alongside a picture of a girl tripping over her own feet. Eden has been writing for years and is also an actor and a karaoke enthusiast. She has been active in the bdsm community for nearly three months and can often be found assisting at kink events in the LA area. She is hoping that her writings will reach other new people in the scene to let them know they are not alone.

Comments

  1. Welcome Eden! Your article is so awesome!

    Thanks for sharing. I can totally relate to being new and going to the dungeon for the first time. What are some of your favorite events to go to?

    • Thank you for reading! My favorite events are run by my Dominant, lostnfound1. She hosts a Kinky Karaoke party at Sanctuary LAX and another party for newbies called Club Awakening, both of which I highly recommend to anybody looking to get into the scene.

  2. YAY! Love this! Proud of you Eden! <3

  3. sometimesicry says:

    I really relate to your article. Did you have mentor to help show you the ropes? Or did you figure out everything on your own?

    • Hey sometimesicry! I actually never officially had a mentor, but I did meet some pretty amazing people within my first month of exploring the scene that became my guardian angels. I also read a lot of material on bdsm and reached out to a professional dominatrix over email so that I could get a better sense of what I was about to get myself into. My story is a very unusual one because of how quickly I met my Dominant, but my own independence and my determination to get involved were both instrumental in my relatively abrupt entrance into the scene.

  4. babyflogger says:

    Love this article! You help me to have courage to brave my first dungeon!

    • I hope your first dungeon visit was a fun one! I’m honored that my article had such a positive influence on you.

  5. kiltedking says:

    Are there any other pieces of advice you are willing to share that are not listed in your article and/or that you have learned recently?

    • Honestly, there are so many things I could speak to in terms of offering advice, but the one kernel of caution I would give any newbie is that they shouldn’t rush into a power exchange dynamic. I know I covered this in my article, but I really couldn’t stress it enough. Get to know somebody very well before you contemplate starting up a serious relationship with them. I’d also recommend going to classes so that you can meet and mingle with your peers without the pressure of looking for a play partner. I’ve made most of my friends outside of the dungeon (although I’ve also met some pretty amazing people in the dungeon too). Getting to know somebody as more than just a kinkster allows you to form a lasting connection with them, and it can ultimately give you a support network of like-minded folks who want to be there for you.

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