Lesson A102: Basic Behavior

Summary

In this lesson, we're going to be covering the absolute essentials of how to behave if you want to seriously become a kinkster. Most of this might seem like basic human decency, but thousands upon thousands of newcomers to the scene get this wrong every day. We'll be covering how most newcomers typically act, why that behavior is stupid, how to set yourself apart by not being that stupid, and some tips for how to protect your sanity from people that stupid.

Sturgeon's Law

Sturgeon's Law states (in a nutshell) "90% of everything is shit". The BDSM scene as a whole is crammed with people who are shit, think they're "the shit", and shit on anyone that disagrees with them. Most of those people are newcomers. You should not be discouraged by this, as there are a massive number of wonderful, helpful, friendly, caring people in the scene. In fact, the vast majority of people you encounter in-person in the scene are the latter, and will make your time in the scene probably one the most emotionally-fulfilling periods in your life. However, that doesn't change the fact that 90% of everything is shit.

Protecting Yourself

When considering playing with someone

If you're considering playing with someone somewhere other than a play party, for the most part you want to follow many of the same precautions you would take if you were going to have sex with them. That means having a "safe call" prepared, know where the door is and verify that you're able to and allowed to stop everything and leave at any time, make sure that any barriers or safety tools are readily available, and anything else you deem necessary.

If the play is taking place at a play party, many of those concerns are irrelevant. You'll still need to make sure any barriers and safety tools are readily available, and that you're able and allowed to stop the session at any time.

Old vs New

There have been a lot of advancements in how we in the scene think about various concepts. For example, the use of the word "consent" (agreeing to something) is being phased-out in favor of "assent" (actively desiring something). There are however some experts in the scene that cling to a few of "the old ways" with a passion, and will reject any attempt to teach them that those paradigms just aren't acceptable anymore (because they're ethically objectionable, medically perilous when there's a less-dangerous method available, or simply reckless).

Don't assume that just because someone is older or has been in the scene for a long time that they're "perfect" in their craft or that you should be comfortable with everything they might do with you in a session. You wouldn't trust a doctor that's a year out-of-touch with the latest medical journals, so don't trust a kinkster that hasn't been intellectually curious about new paradigms in how we think about play. Always check with yourself to make sure that you aren't being chiefly influenced by peer pressure.

Vet them with the leadership of your local kink community by telling them that you have some concerns about someone that claims to be very experienced. There is no excuse for an "expert" to stop being intellectually curious, so ask whether the person you're vetting has (to their knowledge) attended any seminars of any sort in recent memory as a listenerThe same rules apply here as for vetting people that aren't self-proclaimed experts, so ask whether they've ever had a history of suspicious behavior or unsafe play.

If the response raises red flags, don't play with that person. Make sure that the leader actually answers your questions. Check with yourself whether the leader you're speaking with may be biased. For example, if the person you're considering playing with is a leader of the same group in your local community as the person you're asking, they're probably biased. If you're still unsure or the information you get seems to be inconclusive or biased, ask another leader (possibly a leader of another local group). An expert that's worthy of playing with you will value the fact that you took the time to vet them, even if you decide to not play with them.