Part 1: Information Please!
If you’re a new submissive this lifestyle may seem overwhelming at first. A submissive I know terms it ‘the new submissive smell’. Dom/mes sense ‘new blood’, and swarm like piranhas to interact with, play with or train the new submissive in the group. Dom/mes may contact you online or meet you at a munch. They are covered with impressive or threatening names: Sir Snod of Grass or Master Whackyourass. With no experience, how can you tell if they are someone you can trust? The answer is information!
Questions and Answers
First of all, ask lots and lots of questions. A Dom/me should not feel threatened by a sub’s questions, especially when establishing a new relationship. This is his or her chance to encourage open communication and feedback. Being told that questions aren’t welcome, or having your questions ignored or avoided should make you think twice about continuing to chat with or meet this Dom/me. A good Dom/me will encourage learning, and the first and most important thing you need to learn about is your Dom/me! S/he is going to teach you, guide you, and maybe torture you. Would you allow a stranger to do that?
What are questions that you can ask the Dom/me? The following questions were provided by my Master as ones He would like a sub to ask Him.
- What does SSC stand for? This is the cornerstone of BDSM, and S/he should be able to answer this (even if S/he professes to follow RACK instead, he should still be able to answer this, and give you a discussion of the differences in theories).
- What is his/her training style? How does s/he intend to adjust it to your personality?
- What is the job/ purpose of the sub?
- What is the job/ purpose of the Dom?
- If s/he was to use an implement on you, how would s/he gauge how hard s/he was hitting you?
- How does s/he tell if you’ve had enough or reached your limit (physically or mentally)?
- Does s/he use safe words?
- If you are going to be intimate, would s/he be willing to be tested for STI’s and provide you with the paperwork?
- What is aftercare?
- How does s/he intend to handle sub drop if it happens several days later?
- What are some munches and parties s/he has attended? Is s/he willing to give you the names and contact information of the organizers?
Now, as a newbie, you may not be able to evaluate these answers fully. However, you can judge whether your Dom/me is willing to answer the questions, and even better - if they enthusiastically discuss the questions and answers with you! Some of these questions can lead to a long wonderful discussion which can greatly influence your path.
Unless they are new also, a Dom/me should be willing and able to give references. Are there subs s/he has had in the past, either under contract or just in play? What happened with the previous subs? Can s/he give you their email addresses or introduce you to them? Write or talk to a couple of these subs and listen closely to what they say. My Master told me His history with other subs, both the good and the bad. I talked to both types and was able to make up my own mind. Maybe your new Dom/me has only had wonderful experiences, but for those who make this lifestyle part of their everyday lives, it is just as likely that there has been the occasional personality conflict. In the end, the bad reports might tell you more about his/her strengths and weaknesses than the glowing reports from friends.
And speaking of friends, will the Dom/me introduce you to friends in the lifestyle? Are there any? I’m not talking about the ‘friends’ on FetLife. That might be just a collection of names that seem to establish credibility, but has no basis in reality. I’m talking about people that they have interacted with. How s/he treats other Dom/mes and subs on a casual basis will reflect on how s/he will treat you once that “new sub smell” wears off.
Aside from his/her own friends, is the Dom/me willing to let you go to munches to form relationships in the community? Will s/he only let you go with him or her, or does s/he tell you can only go when s/he feels you are ready? Munches are an important part of the community. They are a safe place where you can ask questions, receive various (and sometimes conflicting) opinions, and meet people with whom you may interact for the rest of your time in the lifestyle. S/he may legitimately want to be present with you in order to teach you protocol and ease your way into the lifestyle. After all, most Dom/mes care deeply about teaching their subs. But if s/he continually says you are not ready and doesn’t do any training to get you there, consider this a bright red flag!
Isolation from the community can occur as above with munches, with forbidding you to join lists or forbidding you to talk to other subs. Many Dom/mes will deny permission to talk to other Dom/mes due to protocol issues, but most have no problems encouraging communication with subs. Many experienced subs love to mentor new subs, and love to be asked questions and talk about their experiences. That should be a relationship that the Dom/me encourage, although s/he may want to be copied on the emails. A caring Dom/me will not limit your questions, but just monitor them so any concerns that may arise can be addressed.
As a new sub, you should gather as much information as you can to make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to form a relationship with this Dom/me. My Dom’s rule is “Protect the toy”. You are performing your duty to this and future Dom/mes by making sure you are entering a safe and healthy relationship. In Part 2, we will examine warning signs in training and abuse vs BDSM.
part two coming Monday, stay tuned!