I have been reading a lot of BDSM literature recently, and watching educational videos (no, not a porn euphemism), and have learnt a lot about how wonderful it all is and how special D/s relationships are. I have also had a lot of preconceptions dashed, thankfully. I now consider myself n00b 2.0 as opposed to the completely clueless n00b 1.0. For the n00b 1.0s of the world: if you ever find my little corner of the internet, here are some handy things for you to know.
- The first thing to internalise: forget everything you know about E.L. James and 50 Shades Of Grey, etc. Forget all the slang and protocol you sometimes see portrayed in mass media. Forget the angry feminists and their disavowal of a woman denigrating herself for a man. Leave your preconceived notions behind and be open to educating yourself from scratch.
- Yes, the pain and discipline and orgasm denial and toys are all cool and just risqué / forbidden enough for you to be excited about jumping into them, but you’ve got to take it slow. Know the basics about the lifestyle and what you want before you go to a munch and/or hook up with a Dominant for some playtime. Dominants: learn about different techniques for different forms of play and educate yourself on what is safe and what is dangerous before you even think about trying it out on another person. Google is your friend.
- Limits: everybody has them. There is no such thing as a no-limit slave. If you think you want to try everything, great, but pace yourself. Don’t let the first thing you try be breath- or blood-play. You’re too green to sense a bad Dominant, and your mind and body need to be broken in slowly and lovingly. Spend some time visualising different things being done to you and note your visceral reaction to learn your fetishes, soft limits and hard limits.
- If you are new, you probably are eager to please as many people as you meet IRL or online. Please don’t go for the first person that shows interest. Just like vanilla dating, try out a few casual conversations and get a feel for how experienced and confident the person is. Because you are new, it is almost always best to have your first times be guided by an older, more experienced Dominant. You’ll enjoy it more, swears.
- If at all possible, try to find a mentor that likes the things you like, or does the things you do. Talk things out with them, learn from their experience. You’ll be surprised how much of this lifestyle is about thinking about what you do and what you feel. It’s not all leather collars and butt plugs, it’s got a lot of paperwork, journalling, introspection and talking.
- If you do find yourself with an opportunity to play, don’t jump head first. Have the talk about boundaries, conditions, limits and safe words. Get and/or give informed consent; don’t fall for bullshit about spoiling the fun by knowing what’s going to happen. If they think about it hard enough, they can definitely come up with vague enough descriptors that you can gauge. For eg., Bondage as opposed to silk scarf or fur handcuffs. Flogging as opposed to a 4-oz leather flogger or hairbrush spanking.
- If you are uncomfortable, scared, in serious pain without any pleasure or hurt / freaking out in any way, use your safe word and call a stop to play. There is no shame in this. Think about your long-term choices here – do you want something bad to happen that scars you or turns you off something you thought could be fun, or do you want to stop the horrible thing and try with a more rational mind later?
- Don’t forget to keep playing with yourself to find out more about what pleases you and what you might like to try. If you explore and learn enough, you might even find a fulfilling, lasting relationship that gives you everything you need, whatever your tastes are. The world has seven billion people in it, surely a few of them are bound to be into what you are.
There is so much more to it but, like I said, this is the important basic stuff I’ve gleaned so far. If there’s something you want to add, feel free to comment. I’m new to this whole world too. There’s a wealth of information out there put out by amazing people that have shared their experiences and knowledge, and it is up to you to use it to keep yourself safe and satisfied. Enjoy.