BY LADY ZOMBIE:
By now we’ve all heard Rihanna “S&M” hit:
Cause I may be bad- But I’m perfectly good at it… Sex in the air- I don’t care- I love the smell of it… Sticks and stones… May break my bones… But chains and whips excite me…
Well has it piqued your curiosity? Enough to attend a local S&M party?
As a member of the S&M (SadoMasochism) scene in the New York City tri-state area for several years, I have attended hundreds of fetish/BDSM themed parties and events, hosted many and performed at several as well. These gatherings often have their own set of rules based on the venue management, the party producers and the type of crowd in attendance. But, no matter where the party is thrown and who the attendees may be, standard S&M party etiquette is always supposed to be taken into account and respected. So though it may be the first party you attend, even lifetime players follow basic S&M Party Etiquette.
1. Moderate the amount of alcohol you consume: One of the foremost rules of BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Submission, and Masochism) is to always be safe, sane and consensual. Alcohol can obviously make some individuals careless, and it is important to keep your safety and the safety of others at heart. For example, if you are a submissive and you are into a degree of pain, you might partake in a flogging at an S&M event. If you have had too much to drink, you might not be able to realize it is time to give your Dominant the safety word. Just the opposite applies as well… if you are a Dominant who has had too much to drink, you can severely injure your submissive when engaging in fetish play. If you’ve had too much to drink, have a friend escort you home. Illegal or prescription drugs should never be used when engaging in S&M play or attending a scene party.
2. Be polite at all times: Don’t interrupt people or couples who are engaging in S&M play. Unless it is an interactive stage show, many individuals might take offense to an interruption of any kind, whether it is questions, comments, or vulgar statements regarding the type of play taking place. Simply wait until their “scene” is over before approaching. A public scene is an invitation to watch, not to join in or volunteer. Also, it is wise to ask the Dominant for permission to speak with the submissive in order to establish possible “ownership” or lack thereof. Respect the space the event is held in, and definitely respect all the guests.
3. Stay in your lane: A collared submissive should not be approached to play under any circumstances. More often than not, this means that they are in attendance with their Owner. If a collared submissive approaches you, it is wise to ask if they are owned. They may just be wearing a collar in advance preparation for a scene they desire to occur with a Dominant they meet on premises, or even as a fashion statement. In any event, it is always wise to be sure.
4. Ask before you touch: Never use someone’s property without asking permission first! Although an S&M event is a public gathering for like-minded individuals, that doesn’t mean we all like to share. This applies to fetish toys & equipment (floggers, ropes, cuffs, paddles, blindfolds, etc.) as well as people (submissives, slaves, etc.). A powerful Dominant may be giving an OTK (over the knee) spanking to a lovely submissive at the fetish event you are attending. That does not give anyone the right to also spank this person once their scene is over. You must always ask permission. It also doesn’t hurt to get to know someone before engaging in S&M play. Trust is something that is established over time. Be courteous as well. No means no, and if someone tells you no, there’s no reason to be rude about it.
5. Dress the part: When attending a Fetish Event or S&M Play Party, it helps if you dress in play-appropriate attire. Jeans and sneakers are usually unacceptable. If you don’t have fetish clothing (leather, rubber, latex, lace, PVC, vinyl, stilettos, thigh-highs, lingerie, corsets, theme attire: nurse/nun/school teacher), you can, at the very least, dress nicely and sexy in all black. But, I have to admit, the more fetish and S&M themed clothing being worn at an event, the better the energy in the room!
6. Know what you’re getting into: Most S&M clubs and private parties are generally composed of at least two spaces – one for socializing and another for play. Make a note of which is which when you enter the space and try to respect these boundaries. You might experience or witness, at an S&M event, many things you have never expected, and either you will deal with these things well and learn, or you won’t. Some examples are: a Dominant verbally humiliating his or her submissive, same sex play partners, or a submissive crying during a rough punishment scene. These things are normal at an S&M play party. If you become too disturbed by this, simply stop watching. There are things you’re into that others may not be, and vice versa. It is good to come into a play party with an open mind, too.
7. Be Discreet: Discretion is incredibly important in the BDSM community. If you become involved in this lifestyle, it is up to you to protect those involved. Many individuals that attend S&M events lead very “vanilla” lives. If you notice one of these people in the street outside of an S&M event, it is wise not to approach them until you know it is alright with the other person to discuss the scene with his/her friends and associates. Be discrete. Usually you will realize it if they make an effort not to be noticed, and it is your job to respect their privacy and confidentiality.
This may seem like a lot to swallow, and it’s also on the serious side of my usual writing style. I simply feel that anyone who decides to go play in public and join the S&M community needs to be aware of common etiquette. An S&M play party can be incredibly fun and exhilarating, and there is no need to be afraid about attending. Some things you can only learn through experience.
Now that you have gone through the basics with me, it might be time for you to slip on the leather, dust off your ball gag, and hit the clubs with me! See you in the dungeon area, my sexxxy kinksters!
Note: First published in 2009 in Lady Zombie’s column “Diary of a Mistress” for Club Double D. Some changes have been made to the original version.
Lady Zombie is a Mistress of All Trades based in the concrete jungle of New York City. A visual and performance artist/entertainer, she has established herself internationally as a published fetish/alternative model and writer, the lead singer/lyricist of the band Deviant Trust and a solo artist, an independent film actress, a practicing dominatrix and also the hostess/producer of several Rock & Roll, Gothic and S&M events in the New York City tri-state area.