Being in the BDSM community for any length of time you are likely to come across the common sermons of SSC, Safe Calls, and First Meeting Safety. When you are a novice in BDSM I'd encourage you to listen to these sermons and listen hard; they could protect you as you venture out into the world to feed your desires. Then again, they could turn out to be useless to you. But at least you listened.
I believe that as you mature in your place in BDSM the often preached safety items can become obsolete or you may develop your own opinions that don't match what you were taught as a novice. There's nothing wrong with that, but knowing where you started and the importance of knowing these basic safety rules is that foundation.
Safe, Sane and Consensual is a mantra to those in the lifestyle and many BDSM groups use this as their main source of education for novices. Playing safely, while remaining sane and making sure you are consenting to what is happening is the basics of SSC. It's a great premise to get your foot in the door and for years I lived in this very code of conduct for my activities. As I've matured in my role I find myself using other forms of similar code, but SSC still is the one that I refer most people too; especially novices when talking about safety.
Sometimes I wonder if this is a lost cause, with how many I've heard say they don't use safe calls or won't use them. They have existed since blind dates started, they just had a different name. And vanilla dates have them too! But I don't know how many people think that if they are out with someone they don't know that having a safe call is a waste of time to set up. Novices out there, please use safe calls. Even the more seasoned people use them if they intend on meeting someone that others don't know about.
Simply put it is someone who knows that you are going out with someone and where you expect to go. After your date, you can call your safe call and let them know things went well. If they don't get a call they know to try to contact you and alert authorities if you don't answer. It's for your protection and you won't look paranoid if you have one, trust me.
People who have been in the scene for awhile know that you can never be too careful. We heard bad stories all the time and know that just a small sense of security can make or break a date with someone. I tend to think that experienced players use safe calls more than novices and some use them because like me they've had a bad experience. Why repeat it?
We hear it all the time but it bears repeating; listen to your gut. Instincts are generally right. So if you are talking to someone and you have this bad feeling about what they are saying - it is likely to be right. Listen to your inner self. Listen to what others have said are red flags about people. Develop personal standards.
The majority of people you meet won't raise those red flags, but that shouldn't stop you from having them. If it doesn't feel right, leave. And if it feels great - have a great time.
We know all these things, we beat them to death in discussions, forums, and conversations. It's imperative that we as a community keep these things at the forefront of our novice education so that as we move deeper into our roles we still are able to connect with the novices that are entering the scene and taking our advice to heart.
Thoughts to Ponder
- How important are the novice safety rules to you at your current place in life?
- How often do you share your knowledge with novices? If you are a novice, where do you go for advice?
- Why is it important for you to know the safety guidelines discussed in the article?