With the summer play party season upon us – and the kinkweekly.com launch party a little more than a week away – I think it might be enlightening to offer some “dungeon tips” to our readers.
This article — for both Doms and subs alike – is another compendium of tips compiled from real life interviews with members of L.A.’s famed dungeon, the Lair DeSade. They might not all apply to everyone and some might seem obvious — but just one useful tip can make your dungeon experience much more enjoyable.
1. Don’t play on your first visit to a dungeon. If you are new at public play, it is best to simply observe before you attempt playing for the first time. See how others do it. Remember, being a voyeur is an accepted perversion around here; no one will put any pressure on your to play. Even if you are an experienced public player, it is wise to take a night off and just watch. As Yogi Berra (a twentieth century mystic) said, “You can observe a lot just by watching!”
2. Follow proper dungeon etiquette. Basic dungeon policy is usually posted. Regardless, one universal rule is not to enter anyone’s scene space. Another is to not talk loudly while watching a scene. (Treat the players like pro golfers – whisper!) Last, but not least, don’t touch anyone’s body, even a naked one, without permission. Look – but don’t touch!
3. Discuss your first visit with your partner. After your initial visit, if you decide to play publicly, discuss what you saw with your partner. Both of you – Dom/me and sub – should exchange ideas as to what you liked and what you didn’t like. Get a general feel for what you both feel comfortable doing in your first public scene.
4. Plan your first scene. When you see musicians jam, they usually have their sets planned out. It is not totally free-form. Same with scening in public. You should not just wing it. Have a good idea of what equipment you will be using, what your scene will consist of and the general arc of the play. It need not be a note-for-note plan, but you should not leave a lot to chance – especially for your first scene.
5. Bring your own toys. Don’t assume you can borrow cuffs, or other BDSM items, at the dungeon. Other than bondage furniture (like St. Andrew’s Crosses and spanking benches that the club provides), don’t expect to find ancillary items there. If your scene requires a ball gag, bring it. Handcuffs, bring them. A flogger, bring it. You would be surprised how many people try, in vain, to borrow toys for a scene. Once you get to know the members, this might be possible. But, on your first few visits, come prepared.
6. Ambient sound. Any public space has ambient sound which can be much more intrusive than you would ordinarily expect. It can render it nearly impossible for the Dom/me to hear the sub’s safe word. It can mask every other secondary cue that the Dom/me usually takes into consideration – like breathing and even crying. Thus, the Dom/me must be overly attentive to the submissive — especially if he/she is not familiar with the masking phenomenon that ambient noise can cause.
7. The “crowd effect.” When groups of people watch a scene, it creates a “crowd effect.” An audience amplifies energy, similar to any sports event. Thus, the Dom/me hits a bit harder, shows off a little more and can unwittingly alter his/her game plan. The “crowd effect” can also have a positive effect – the sub might find the scene especially exhilarating due to the endorphin rush this “crowd effect” causes. Be aware of the double-edged sword that the “crowd effect” can be and try to use it to your advantage.
8. Don’t copy. Do your own scene. You can learn by studying other people play, but don’t copy them. Doing your own thing is the best way to enjoy the dungeon.
9. Have both a safe word and safe signal. With all the ambient noise, distractions and crowd effects, you might be thrown off your game in some unexpected manner. Make sure you not only have a safe word, but also have a safe signal. In addition, the Dom/me should be overly observant as to the condition of the sub. You surely don’t want some Dungeon Monitor stopping your scene when you could just as easily have stopped it, or slowed it up, by yourself!
10. Have fun! You would be surprised how many people – even the so-called New Guard – bring their serious game-face to the dungeon. One should be serious, yes. But still, the object is to have fun.
If you observe these tips, your visit to a dungeon will be a great experience!
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.