Online BDSM relationships come in many different flavors. As I've explored before, they can be a good novice outlet for learning more about yourself in a safe, relatively anonymous environment. I started out in an online relationship only because the fear of being kinky (and an unwilling husband) kept me locked behind my computer. I understand the reason some of you do it.

In the early stages of my exploration, I realized that I was somewhat masochistic, I got off on pain, and so I knew I would want to be able to experience it in a relationship as well. Since the only face time I would ever have with someone would be through webcams I knew I'd have to do the beating myself. It's not easy.

Here's what I learned about online SM during my early experiences.

  1. Be comfortable with your body; especially if you plan to do this over webcam where someone else will be watching you or directing your actions. Know your flexibility limits and convey them to your partner so that they don't ask you to stand on your head and swat the balls of your feet with a spoon. It just won't work.
  2. Learn about where you enjoy pain on your body. Some people are strictly spanking fans, but others prefer breast pain, or perhaps all over sensation. You might like the intense pain in one area, but a long drawn out pain in another. Experimenting with things is the only way you can learn what you like and don't like.
  3. Have all of your "toys" in one place near your computer. You can have a drawer dedicated to it, or a locked box if there are curious eyes about. Nothing turns your partner or yourself off faster than having to pause to go get something that should be there.
  4. Test out your toys before you use them in front of your partner. It may look fun, but it could pack a painful bite when you least expect it. Know where on your body you can tolerate it.
  5. Be honest to your partner if something hurts too much. Nipple clamps are a personal struggle for me. I just can't stand them. KnyghtMare loves them. He also knows that when I say that I'm at my limit with them, I truly am. He doesn't push that limit often.
  6. It's safer to do self-pain play on areas you can see. You can gauge the color of your skin, watch for bruising, abrasions and welts better and also learn how your body physically reacts to what you are doing. If you must strike an area you can't see, use your camera or a mirror (or both) to watch the area for signs that your skin and flesh beneath may need a break. It may be hot to spank your ass, but if you can't see it you won't know when a certain area has had enough, or you'll know too late that you struck a bad spot.
  7. Never use toys that you can't fully control. A flogger is nice, but have you ever tried to self-flagellate? The falls are hard to aim over your shoulder and you could do damage to your spine if done incorrectly. Leave hard to aim toys to when you have a partner to control them.
  8. Obedience is sometimes harder when you know what's coming. Being the wielder of the toy as well as the receiver can bring a lot of emotions to the surface. If you can't bring yourself to do it, then you shouldn't. This won't always work in your relationship as some Dominants want to push you past your emotions, but make sure it's clear to them that you are having problems making a full swing or with processing the pain or what have you.

Dominants - be mindful of the communication they are giving. Ask constantly for feedback. You are not right there to know if something is going wrong and it is harder to gauge if the reaction you are getting is what you intended.  (from KM)

That's a start for anyone wanting to do self-pain play or submit online in a BDSM context.

What advice would you add to this list?