Eight Points to Ponder
It's Worth Remembering... (for new- and old-timers)
- Don't assume... Making assumptions is dangerous enough in the vanilla world. It's more so in the scene. BDSM is something most of us have fantasized about for a long time before we are introduced to its reality. It's easy to build up an elaborate fantasy that doesn’t really prepare us for the mundane "normal" reality of ordinary people forming real human relationships. If you are just getting involved it's good to take a low key approach. Start by finding out what's expected of you and what you can expect. Attend socials, meet people, observe, and ask questions. Get to know people on a human level without concerning yourself too much with roles. Don't assume you have to be dressed in a $500 designer latex cat suit to fit in. Players come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and orientations. BDSM doesn't have to be about conspicuous consumption and outrageous fashion statements. It can be, if that's your kink, but it doesn't have to be. Don't assume someone you've never met is there for your pleasure. That "buffet attitude" insults everyone. It dismisses the "Entrée's" prerogative, loyalty, and ability to choose. It also says something about the offender's self-confidence. They are relying on an assumed role rather than their own merits and abilities to find a partner. Submission is a gift. The bottom chooses the Top. There is a school of thought that states that everything the Top does should secretly be for the benefit of the bottom. As a long-time member of the scene is fond of saying "Topping is the ultimate act of submission." Don't assume that BDSM is always sexual. BDSM is not synonymous with swinging, swapping, or polyamory, although it's possible for it to co-exist with these lifestyles. A BDSM-relationship can consist entirely of kinky role playing and sex or have no sexual involvement at all. Just remember: You don't have to have sex if you're playing with someone. The greater BDSM scene consists of a lot of contrasting traditions (Old Guard, Gorean, etc.) The rules for any one tradition generally don't apply to the rest. There is no one true path. The closest that most of us agree on is that play should be safe, sane, and consensual.
- Be honest with others... If you are a novice looking for a someone to play with let them know you are new to the scene. Everyone has to start somewhere. Being a novice does not make you a bad player but lying about your level of experience is dangerous for everyone. Your partners have the right and need to know how experienced you are. Honesty also includes informing your potential partner(s) of any medical and/or emotional conditions you might currently have. These things can be very important triggers (or land mines) once a scene begins.
- Be honest with yourself about what you want... If you are entering the scene to experience physical pain then you are a masochist or at least masochistic. If you wish to serve someone then you are submissive. It's possible to be both or only one but you must recognize what you want out of the experience and present yourself accordingly. The same can be said for dominance and sadism. Tell your potential partners what you want, whether it's sensation or servitude or both. Remember....you can't give up your control to someone if you aren't in possession of it in the first place! Bottoms, please don’t "top from below" by agreeing to submit to someone just so that you can force them to punish you (unless you know for a fact you both enjoy that sort of discipline.) Those types of bottoms are dismissed as "SAMs" (Smart-Assed Masochist). Someone once said "Never put a Top in a position where they have to prove something." The tastes in the scene are wide and varied. It's full of sadists, masochists, dominants, submissives, and every combination of the four. There is someone for you whatever your proclivities.
- Don't touch without permission... This seems like a bigger irritant in our scene than in society as a whole. A lot of Tops get notably irritated when someone touches them, their toys, or their bottoms without permission. I once saw a novice Dominant make an enemy for life by reaching over to touch a woman's hand and ask, "Are you a sub or a Domme?" He found out the hard way.
- Don't come on too strong... There’s a natural tendency to confuse the role of the dominant with "being dominant." You don't have to be overbearing to be a dominant (neither do you have to be a "welcome mat" to be a submissive). It's possible to be polite and dominant. A low key approach is better when meeting someone new. Sagacity is a social group. It's not a dating service. Although we hope people find like-minded partners at our socials we don't want to encourage a "meat market" atmosphere. If you're unconcerned in getting to know people you won't have much success finding someone to with whom to play. Can someone feel safe with a Top who isn't interested in who they play with or their needs? Don't be pushy, don't coerce. Don’t force your attentions on someone who doesn't want them. This sends a seriously bad message: No one wants to play with someone who is too pushy. Bottoms can't trust a coercive Top. If the Top won't accept a bottom's "No" in the public setting is it likely the Top will accept the limits of an isolated, bound, defenseless bottom in bondage?
- Be discreet... This is a very private part of people’s lives. If word gets out it could cost someone their livelihood, their standing in the community, and possibly their employment. Don't talk about someone else’s activities in BDSM to anyone outside our community that doesn't have a right and need to know. Sagacity takes privacy very seriously. We have revoked membership over the matter.
- Respect alternatives... Remember...homophobia, racism, and BDSM don't mix.
- Discourage negative behavior... This is everyone's responsibility. Bottoms, please stand up for yourselves or at least report inappropriate behavior. Tops, report inappropriate behavior to the group (or event) facilitators. Remember that as a member of Sagacity, your actions and the actions of others are always a reflection of the organization and the lifestyle.