April is Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month.
I’ve shared some of my own history, and tonight I would like to share a little something else.
I happen to think that in this lifestyle there is a greater chance of abuse than out there in typical land. That is not to say that there are more predators, only that they are more highly skilled, and their prey is weaker.
The term BDSM is used to describe a myriad of lifestyle choices. Those who come I have found are one of two things: #1 smarter than average or #2 damaged in an emotional way. It is not everyone, not by a long shot, but there are enough for me to feel comfortable stating it without fearing the backlash from saying it. I found my way here through a little bit of both.
I will speak from the submissive side of Nicole about this topic.
If you have ever watched a child act out in class, you understand that sometimes it is not that the child has a discipline issue, it is that the child is above the level of material being taught. That is how I described the sex life of BDSM to the mentee. There is an intellectual craving that can not be filled with just missionary sex and doggy style. It is like being capable of performing calculus and sitting in a class teaching long division.
If you have followed me thus far, you also understand that there has been trauma in my past. I am a little bit of both.
Through it all though…I have been fortunate. I would not say that I am smarter than everyone and that is what has kept me safe, that would be a falsehood. What I will say though is that my trauma has heighten my sense of survival and my bullshit detector clicks on every level these days.
If you find yourself curious about this life, once you take the leap and step out into the life things go from black and white to gray. As one who wishes to experience life on the ‘bottom’ you put yourself at greater risk than the one who puts themselves at the ‘top’.
If you seek a relationship with hierarchy, you put your authority in the hands of someone else. If you seek and S&M relationship you are putting your body at risk. If you seek both you are doubly exposed.
In a hierarchy relationship, you may do things like trust your Dominant to run the household finances with out your input. That in and of itself is a set of issues that deserve their own blog – stay tuned.
This one is about the physical dangers of this thing that I do.
There is first the assumed risk that you take when playing in an S&M context. Canes, floggers, whips, rope, violet wand, all have the capacity to injure a person. It could be something like a light bruise, or it could be something else like a brand from the wand or a cut from the knife. It could be a handmark left after a spanking or a slap, or it could be something so serious that requires hospitalization such as a burn after fire play.
What I do, is not ‘safe’ in a traditional sense.
What can make it even more unsafe is choosing the wrong partner.
If you are a bottom, and if you are a NEW bottom, there is the idea that those you meet in this lifestyle have acquired their skills over time and know what they are doing. That is an assumption that can lead to injuries up to and including death. Yes I said death.
There is no Domninant/Top/Master University. There is no set standard or registry. When you meet someone who says – I am dominant, you have to do your homework.
For a submissive, that can be a challenge.
Some would say it is our ‘nature’ to defer. Perhaps it is for some, but that deferment needs to come after the homework has been done. You place yourself in danger by playing with someone you do not know.
In 2011, internet sites are all over the place advertising how to meet up with kinky people. From OnlineBootyCall where you can just get a hook up (or you USED to be able to….people seem to want to date ont hat site now – yeah I don’t get it either) Tagged or Match.com, to CollarMe & Fetlife where your potentials have whips & chains.
If one spent just a little time observing the language on a site like Fetlife, it would be simple to learn the phrases that will appeal to the submissive newbie. That may or may not make them a predator, but it does make them dangerous. Not every online Dominant wants to maim you, sometimes it could happen by accident.
The concept of breath play sounds hot and it makes their loins jump, but they have not been around long enough to put precautions in place, or to do something simple like instruct the submissive to have at least one hand raised while being choked. A raised hand you ask? It’s like in the wrestling ring. If the hand falls the person is out. Time to break the hold. Someone brand new may not think to do something like that.
Sometimes you DO meet someone with bad intentions.
New sumissives, fall prey to their desires, the influence of someone more knowledgeable, and the concept that unfortunately exists that a ‘good slave’ or a ‘good submissive’ does not have limits and does not say no.
Predators will use a phrase that I wish would disappear from existence in my kinky land: you have to get rid of your VANILLA thinking.
NO YOU DO NOT!
That VANILLA thinking (vanilla being that life you lived before you embraced your desire for kink and BDSM) is what you need the most at the beginning.
While our established relationships may not resemble a conventional relationship, that establishment takes TIME.
If you are asked to do something you are not comfortable with in a ‘VANILLA‘ situation you listen to your instincts and don’t do it. That does not change here – at least not in the beginning. A Dominant with honor, a Dominant with character will not chastise you for being contrary, instead they will applaud your common sense.
Time is really your only friend in getting to know someone new in this lifestyle, and being safe while doing that.
As in my last SAAM post I shared the story of how women put themselves into bad situations and end up victims. I am not blaming the victim at all – rather I am encouraging the reader to not paint themselves into a corner.
Brutality happens. Rape happens. Death even has happened.
It is not the normal in this thing I do but it does happen.
So here are some safety tips to hopefully make your lives a little safer if you are curious and just want to try:
#1 Set up an email account that will just be for your kinky inquiries. Don’t make it anything overtly sexual in nature – but also don’t make it too similar to your main email address. It is 2011. In a 5 minute internet search you can be traced to your home by your email address. That also includes your IM services. Set up a new account just for your kinky meets, this gives you a layer of protection against someone with less than honorable intentions
#2 When you start to have your online conversations, do not allow yourself to be pressured into moving things along faster than you are comfortable. If you are on a site like Fetlife, you will run into those who say things like: I don’t like this message service, do you have Skype? Do you cam? This is a red flag. If you say no and they insist, looking elsewhere could be your next best move. In the “VANILLA” world would you cam after one message exchange? Well some might, but most of us would not. Your online inbox at your kinky site is a layer of protection against someone with less than honorable intentions. Remember you are not just a face in a cam shot, everything in the range of the camera is visible as well. A predator can see Mr Snugglebunny on your pillow behind you and use that to make you feel connected to them.
#3 Make your first meeting very public and very neutral. Many will suggest a munch for a first meeting, I do not. A munch is a gathering with kinky people just like you and it inspires a false sense of security. We often make the mistake that because 2 people like single tail whips that makes them friendly. All it means is you both like single tail whips. You could easily have nothing else in common besides the single tail. Coffee or sodas at the mall for a half hour is a good way to go. It is very public, there are cameras everywhere, if you get a bad vibe it is easy to slip away.
#4 If you have gotten this far and still want to continue, and you think you are ready to try that flogger the dominant is raving about? Find a public way to have that first interaction. It could be a dungeon or a semi private play party but there should be other people around. If the dominant says they are not into public displays, ask them: How will I be kept safe if I meet you at your place or a hotel? One of two things will happen. You will hear – I’m safe, don’t you trust me by now? Or you will hear suggestions from the Dominant on how to be safe with them. One response shows care and concern for you the other shows a targeted self-interest in getting theirs. Which is more attractive?
#5 Use established methods of securing your own safety when you progress to the point of a private meet. utilize the National Safe Call Network. Email your contact person (or phone call) your EXACT LOCATION, the dominant’s legal name, the make and model of their car, Driver’s license information. Establish a fixed time frame for the meet. If it is from noon to 3, don’t stay until 3:30, leave at 3.
You are responsible for your own safety first! Please do not allow your libido, or your cravings to over rule your common sense. Common sense may be “VANILLA” but it will also keep you around long enough to try other flavors.
EDITED TO ADD
It sounds like doom and gloom and I am scaring the folk – I am not really. If I were I would not be able to point you to websites like this: