1. YOU are in charge of your own safety and happiness.
Although this is a power-exchange type of world, you do not give up your rights as a human being (unless that’s something you have negotiated) and ultimately the choice to remain in an unsafe or miserable situation is your own.
Use safe words, use safe calls, call upon friends who you can trust. Consent does matter, but you can always withdraw consent.
2. Dominants are not mind readers- in fact they rather suck at it, so be sure that you are stating your needs and your desires clearly.
Do not expect to get what you want or need if you’re not willing to open your mouth and ask for it. Always be willing to open up the line of communication BEFORE play and ASK or DISCUSS it.
3. Know what you like.
Nothing is more frustrating than a dominant asking “what are you interested in” and getting a blank stare and an “ummm” in response.
Know what you like and what you don’t like. If you don’t know, figure it out. Attend an event where they do “tasters” of various kinks, contact a dominant you trust to show you things, or just plain ask. You need to know what you like or you are not going to be very happy and content with yourself or your dominant.
4. Not every “top” or “dominant” or big letter person is trustworthy.
Just because they carry a big whip and wear a fancy hat doesn’t mean that you can trust them. Get references, listen to others, and trust your instincts. If something feels wrong or like a “red flag” trust yourself. You were given an instinct to protect yourself USE IT.
5. Don’t top from below.
If you decide you are submissive, be the submissive- don’t try to weasel your way into being the de-facto top or to always get your way. It really does get to be all about the top. If you can’t handle that, maybe you are on the wrong end of the dynamic.
6. Bottoming to someone is not the same as submitting to them forever.
Just because someone plays with you or allows you to serve them doesn’t mean that you belong to them. It might lead to something more, it might not. Don’t be a stalker about it!
7. If you agree to rules, procedures, responsibilities, etc, do not constantly renegotiate.
Agree to only what you are willing to do and then do that. If you can’t handle the agreement to begin with, don’t agree to it!
8. Be honest about who you are.
Are you poly? Monogamous? Bi-sexual? HIV-positive? Got Herpes? Grow a spine and be honest about it. Don’t enter into a relationship trying to be something you are not. You’ll only end up miserable and hurting people. This goes back to knowing yourself and what you want or would like to try.
9. Don’t’ be afraid to say no!
Don’t be afraid to safe word. Don’t be afraid to withdraw consent.
Just don’t expect things to be all happy and wonderful and perfect after you do so. Saying no, safewording and withdrawing consent should be the beginning of a conversation, not the end of one. And if you aren’t willing to discuss it with the person directly, you sure as heck shouldn’t broadcast it publicly.
10. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Someone is always going to be more “slavey”, be able to take more pain, be more service oriented, be more accomplished, know more, or whatever. Deal with it. You are you and whoever you submit to should like you for YOU not for who they think you should be. If you can’t stand to be who you are and accept it and keep trying to play up to someone’s standards that aren’t yours then you will be miserable.
11. Ask questions. Seriously ask people.
If you don’t know about something- ASK. If you want to know about a certain toy or type of play ASK (but not during a scene this is why you negotiate and communicate and talk and discuss it ahead of time). If you want someone to explain protocol to you, ASK. Attend classes, go to workshops, find a mentor, but please, ask questions. “No one ever told me” is a terrible excuse when there are a wealth of people willing to explain things if you’d just ask.
12. Sometimes submission sucks.
It sucks to put everyone else first and see to their needs before your own, but that’s part of the deal. Find a way to make yourself a priority every now and again to feed your own soul, but know that at the end of the day, the dominant is going to come first. It isn’t all rainbows and flowers with floggers and ball gags. There are days you will question your sanity in agreeing to live this way.
13. You don’t have to like something in order to do it.
Sometimes it’s ok to do something you don’t like in order to please someone else, Just be honest about it. If you are taking the cane because you know it makes the dominant happy, be honest about that. It’s ok!
14. Perfection is not required.* You WILL fuck this up numerous times.
You will get yelled at, dressed down, ignored, put aside, punished and possibly even dismissed. You WILL forget something major, something minor or some rule. You will screw this up. Instead of worrying about every little potential mistake, do the best you can with what you have at all times. No one can fault you if you are trying your best. Especially not yourself.
15. Don’t trust a pretty smile, a big whip, or a big dick.
Just because someone looks the part of a “perfect dominant” doesn’t mean they know what they are doing. Clothes and toys don’t make a dominant effective. Having a whip in the bag doesn’t mean they know how to use it properly. Don’t trust appearances only, there’s always more than just what’s on the surface. There is much more to the book then it’s cover. Always know that!
16. Don’t play with someone you’ve never seen play unless someone you trust has seen them play.
You have no idea what you are getting into and you might be signing on for something that is not comfortable and could be potentially very dangerous to you! There are abusers, serial killers and manipulating people in this world so PLAY SAFE!