Public Privacy

I grab him by his short locks one handful at a time chiding him as I grind up against him. It’s just me, him, and a hard wooden, freshly polished St. Andrew’s cross. I know there’s a mixture of pleasure and pain as I force him against the rigid surface, my hands grabbing any part of his scalp available to my long nails.

I get closer, as if that were possible, and whisper in his ear “Now you will remember who’s in charge…,” followed by a small laugh.

Before I tighten my open palm against his bare throat I hear from over my shoulder, “That’s what I would say!”

I briefly hesitate before choking him, trying to shake a stranger’s acknowledgement of a private moment in my scene.

This weekend I will be presenting at a large scale kink event on the other side of the country with my submissive. It’s easy to remember you are being watched when you consciously choose to stand up in front a group of people and explain something in detail. That comes with the territory as a presenter.

But where’s the line?

Beyond being a kinky presenter and speaker the general vibe of most BDSM clubs and dungeons are watch or be watched. I can certainly see the simplistic appeal to voyeurs and exhibitionists. More so over the past decade I’ve watched club after club rearrange their entire layout all for a better “viewing experience” for those in attendance who come to watch. Dungeons are starting to feel more like confused night clubs with their makeshift lounge areas and couch lined walls, house DJs, selected spotlighting and placement of certain equipment literally on a raised stage or platform.

We know a night out at the club for us personally will include getting dressed up, assessing our energy levels to see what type of play will be taking place, clarity on if there’s any underlying issues that we will be working out in the club, and usually who is attending. We decide if it’s going to be more of a social night versus a “play night”. From the moment we step into a club we know there are eyes on us at all times because we have been told exactly that in the past.

We don’t mind being watched or even watching but we try not to make our presence a part of the scene. We try to give others the space and privacy we expect, but aren’t often given. When I whisper to my bound victim, I don’t need that cheered. Then I find myself in a moral dilemma: Why go to the club if you aren’t prepared to have others watch you?

Again I come back to the respectful level of privacy that can be given to those playing at a club or dungeon. Our scenes often include heavy impact and some form of edge play. We know we’re going to cause a little commotion but we try to keep it contained to our chosen space. Our

shared erotic hypnosis experience and repeated practice of re-focusing helps us, especially my submissive, get into the right headspace prior and during play regardless of who is watching with their mouth not eyes. Even when I’m playing with my other partner who isn’t into edge play we get a similar reaction…

  • Intense staring
  • Closer than necessary viewing
  • Loud comments about our scene from spectators
  • Interruptions during scenes (this annoyingly happens the most!)
  • Strange and/or invasive questions after our scene — usually before aftercare

You get the point.

When I first entered the scene it was stressed heavily to allow kinksters their space when playing and now feels like that’s gone by the wayside. Just like most forms of interpersonal interaction today, people want access to it all. I am trying more actively to keep my kink, relationships and dynamics sacred, meaning the intimate details are for us only.

If I’m at the club I must want to be asked what my partner’s safeword is by a spectator, or what he did to deserve [fill in the blank], and of course the ever unwanted critique of our skills. Right???


If you are someone who enjoys watching others play, the clubs are where you will have that opportunity, don’t abuse it. Please be mindful of those you are watching. Remember:

  • They are not goldfish, don’t turn watching into creepy hoovering
  • Don’t talk while watching a scene if you are nearby, this can affect the participants headspace
  • Be aware of your proximity to said scene — no toys should be able to accidentally touch you
  • Don’t clap after a scene finishes unless prompted. Players aren’t performing for you, rather around you.
  • Private details of the who, what, why of scenes are for those involved in the actual scene
  • You may swing a flogger differently but the kinksters playing don’t need to know that

I’ve spoken to several kinky colleagues who agree that BDSM has become a weird chasism of performance art in a way. Even if it has, there are still those of us who come to the club simply to use equipment we don’t have and/or in order to deepen a dynamic connection with our partner. I’m a public persona who still wants privacy and we’re all entitled to that.

About the Author

d20domme is unapologetically kinky after over 10 years in the community. She is known as pint-height, poly(androus), plus-size, POC, 24/7 Femdom who knows what she wants and will use her craft in mindfuckery and persuasive viper tongue to get it. Her main kink is normalizing kinky lifestyles across the board and thus she can often be found writing on her blog From Mundane To Mistress, chatting away on podcasts, teaching classes, demos, or presenting locally in the Washington, DC area, New York, and sometimes across the pond in Europe.


  1. Kateofspades says:

    essential to talk about

  2. ballsnchains says:

    Could not agree more!

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