As this is the party season, chances are you will be invited to at least one BSDM “play party.” In these types of gatherings, some couples perform BDSM scenes for everyone to see. Others just socialize. Play parties, besides being fun and instructive, are great for submissives who would find the “I have a private dungeon and don’t play in public” Fifty Shades type of Dominant creepy – or even dangerous.
If you are new to this tradition, let these articles be your guide into the world of public play. If you are experienced, a little review is always good for the soul. It might even inspire you to revisit some aspects of public play you may be overlooking or forgetting. Since there are many aspects of public play, we will treat them in three separate installments, ingeniously titled “Part I,” Part II and Part III.”
Most play parties are usually either invitation-only affairs in private homes or semi-public affairs that are usually held at a local dungeon or BDSM club. In both instances, a major feature of these parties is the public play that goes on there. Most times, a large array of equipment (such as St. Andrews crosses, suspension devices, spanking benches, stocks, cages, etc.) are provided for “scening” — as public BDSM play is called. If this is your first play party, fear not. You will not be forced to play. Typically, only about half of the guests actually play; the rest watch the action. This is perfect synergy – the performers perform and the voyeurs voyeur, and everyone is happy!
At every play party, one rule that is always in force is the “rule of consent.” Just because a person is submissive – or even naked! – doesn’t mean that he/she must defer to any Dominant. Permission for anything, from simple touching to playing, must be asked for and granted by the submissive. (Or by the submissive’s Dominant, if that is their arrangement.) A good strategy for any submissive who has a Dom/Domme is to refer all requests for play to the Dominant he/she arrived with. Remember, if you are a single submissive, you always have the right to say “no.” Always. No exceptions. Ever.
Each dungeon, club or private party, has its own “house rules.” No smoking is fairly common, as is no alcohol. (It is not a good idea to drink and play.) Typically, the basic “house rules” are clearly posted. For example, when you enter Los Angeles’ famed Lair De Sade, the following notice is clearly posted.
“OUR BASIC RULE IS THAT “MUTUAL CONSENT & RESPECT ARE MANDATORY. DISBURSEMENT OF NEGATIVE ENERGY
DISRESPECTS A PARTY ~ KEEP IT OFF THE PREMISES, PLEASE!”
Keeping this rule in mind, if you are watching a scene, never make a loud comment, interrupt a scene or enter the “scene space.” Surely, don’t just join them without permission. (This seems so obvious, we mention it simply for the humor in the image of someone “just joining in!”) Keep in mind that a submissive can be bounced out of subspace, or a Dom/me out of Top space, by comments, laughter, distractions, etc. So, be respectful. You don’t have to treat someone’s play area with the solemnity of a televised golf match. But, an attitude of respect and courtesy should be maintained.
If you wish to compliment the players on a particularly good scene, wait until it is over. Do not applaud in the middle of it. Keep in mind that these scenes are really private scenes, even if they are being acted out in public view.
Even if you are an advanced player, some activities, such as fire play, knife play and blood play require permission of the host. Oft times wax play, because it is so messy, is also prohibited. There is also a house safe word, which is usually “red.” If you are not sure about any rules, ask the host or a Dungeon Monitor. Dungeon Monitors, or DMs, are there to watch out for any dangerous play and to see that the house rules are observed. Even in this new world of post “Fifty Shades,” where almost everything goes, house rules, which are based on common sense, are always to be observed.
Play parties can be foreboding if you go into it with the wrong attitude. You are there to have fun and make some friends in the BDSM scene; you should only play in public after you feel comfortable and even excited about doing it. No one expects you to play the first time you attend a play party; that is your option. In fact, we usually suggest you do not play in public at your first play party. After all, the best way to learn how to use the equipment is to go to a dungeon party and watch others play. It is a great opportunity to observe your fellow kinksters in action, exchange ideas and learn as much as you can, and have a good time in the process.
In our next installment, we will get specific with respect to actual play and offer suggestions how to make public play both safe and exciting. Stay tuned!
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.