Safety in this lifestyle comes in two varieties. The first regards safety when meeting for the first time from the Internet. The second concerns safety between scening partners.
Let us take the first, first! And since the submissive is the one at the “mercy” of the Dominant, this article is directed more to the submissives.
Reality check: you are statistically more likely to be killed in a random convenience store robbery than in meeting a total stranger offline — even from Craig’s List! One is more likely to be raped in a real-time encounter than from an Internet date. Picking up a stranger at a singles bar is riskier than meeting someone online. But do not let these figures make you complacent; there is danger lurking if you aren’t careful. If you follow these guidelines for offline safety – even though some might seem obvious — you should never fear an offline meeting again.
Never meet anyone without talking to them on the phone first – and in both directions. You call them, they call you. With cell phones, there can be no excuse for not talking. You would be surprised how many people meet after just a few e-mails or a series of computer or app chats. This should never be attempted — no matter how many excuses are given, no matter how powerful the real or imagined chemistry is. Remember, tying up someone is part of the BDSM culture. So know who is tying you up (or who you are tying up) before you proceed to play.
Your first offline meeting should be in the middle of day in a well-trafficked restaurant like a Denny’s. Denny’s (and I am not being paid to say this) is perfect. They are all over the place, are usually crowded (for added safety) and are inexpensive (so there is no pressure.) But, no matter what, trust your instincts. If you get a bad feeling for any reason, say “thanks for the pancakes”! (I know a submissive who met mass murderer John Edward Robinson – a/k/a “Slavemaster” – in a Kansas City diner, thought he was creepy, and did not go his “dungeon.” True story.) So, follow your intuition!
Finally, a “safe call” should be pre-arranged with a friend. The basic “safe call” is a phone call that your friend is expecting at the time of your meeting. Your friend should know where you are meeting. You should have worked out some simple code words — something like, “I’ll be back on time” to indicate you are fine. Anything with “Houston” in it – as in “Houston, we have a problem” – should alert your friend that something is seriously wrong. The safe call is very important. Never cut corners with regard to it, no matter how many great offline meetings you might have had in the past. “Houston” will rarely, if ever, be needed; but if it is, you will be glad there is a friend out there to help you. If you are meeting for first-time BDSM play, ideally it should be in a reputable dungeon. There, the owners have your safety in mind and you can play knowing there are “Dungeon Monitors” watching the scene so it does not get out of hand.
Now, onto the second aspect of safety: that between scene partners. Although you likely already know these precautions, it’s worth repeating. Whether it is flogging, paddling, caning, bondage, rope play, hot wax or any number of activities, one should first negotiate the scene with the Top being made aware of what the bottom’s limits are. That established, a “safe word” and a “safe signal” should be agreed upon. If a prospective Dominant says, “I never use safe words,” be wary. Check him/her out carefully.
It should be noted there might be times — most often when in subspace — that the submissive is unable to utter the safe word or use the safe signal. It is at this point where the Dominant should err on the side of caution; do not continue flailing away because you hear no safe word or see no safe signal. Ultimately it is the Dom/me’s responsibility for the submissive’s safety. And to insure the sub’s mental safety, the Dominant should not skip aftercare.
Just because you have heard these admonitions a thousand times, reading them one more time can’t hurt. Remember, the BDSM mantra is Safe, Sane and Consensual. Notice the words “safe” comes first!
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.
Another option is a special app, like Life 360 that tracks your location all the time.
Currently, my DD has it on my phone for my protection. But there’s no reason why several subs can’t form a safety group to watch out for each other.
If safety goes badly wrong nothing else matters.
I want to repeat something I’m sure you have said before and I’d wager every single staff writer here has said at some point to the submissive:
The first meeting is to further explore just what relationship if any you want to have. You are NOT his sub at this point. It is your duty to stand up for what you want and that includes meeting in a place where you are safe.
I’ll add my little twist. Do not follow any advice blindly. Not Baadmaster’s, not mine, not anyone’s. Know why you are doing what you do to stay safe. Also remember to look at it from the other person’s side. The public dungeon where you feel safe could be a scary place for someone who has never been there. Especially do not forget that the parking lot at night that feels fine to you knowing exactly where the dungeon entrance is can be a very different place for someone who is searching for that entrance.
I personally find safecalls in the special code words sense more apt to be a source of problems than a solution. Unless the person on the receiving end of the call knows where you are a safecall is not going to do much to help you.
If you want to use one go ahead, but please tell the Dom well ahead of time. That is your biggest protection anyway. Not unlike the alarm system signs. Just knowing you will be missed and quickly will cause the real creeps to move on.
One size does not fit all when it comes to meeting. I live in Los Angeles. That means lots of people very close to me. A meeting is a very minor investment. Telephone contact per se gives the infatuated stalker all they need, a way to force contact. I’d rather meet early and publically early and if things do not click to walk away totally clean than to invest a lot of time online only to find hopes dashed within seconds of meeting. While Denny’s are everywhere I prefer malls. If one fears the psycho it is a situation where it is much harder to follow you home.
When it comes to meetings I strongly suggest you take a look at yourself first. If you are at all prone to impulse buying then at least consider scheduling your first meeting so that you do not have the option of it directly leading to play. Have a commitment after the meeting. Ditto if your good sense is sometimes slow.. A lot of people are very good at sensing something is wrong, but not right away. If it takes a while for your creep alarms go off make sure you will have that time. Some people are very charming but lose the charm once they have gone and you think about what they have said.
I would have a totally different view if I lived somewhere where the nearest Denny’s is an hours drive. If I met someone I’d want the option to play left open.
Great post Richelieu…yes there are many approaches to safety; my suggestions were only the tip of the iceberg. I am glad you added to the list of “safety precautions.”
The problem is that safety is a dull — and repetitive — topic to write about. Yet, it is very important. Especially in an Internet wrld were every mistake is magnified into a cause.
The best adive I can offer — and I am sure you will agree — is to paraphrase a famous quote — “Safety isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!”
hey baad always a good reminder on safety. its the boring yet necessary side of kink lol