Etiquette 

 

General Etiquette

Everyone Involved In The Scene Deserves Respect
Whether they are a seasoned club veteran or only able to scene online, people take BDSM seriously. Even the newbie trying to find information deserves respect for the first courageous steps into the BDSM world. For more information regarding respect, please read our Respect and Tolerance Essay.

Respect Different Kinks. 
Maybe you dont like pony play; maybe infantilism isnt your thing; maybe scat and watersports are totally out of the question as far as you are concerned. Just because you dont like it, dont assume everyone feels the same way. If others are enjoying their activities and conducting them in a Safe, Sane and Consensual manner, show respect for their desires.

Dont Get Too Personal.  
Scene folk love talking about their kinks, their specialties, and their toys.but, start asking their real names, where they live, what they do for a living, and your conversation may suddenly turn cold. While some folks are "out" and comfortable sharing personal information with you, many others are not. They have spouses who do not know of their involvement.they have jobs they fear losing.they have children they fear losing. Respect peoples right to anonymity. In time, as you come to know people, they may become more personal, but if they dont, respect their decisions not to share.

Be Careful Not To "Out" Someone Who Doesnt Want To Be "Out." 
A scene friend confided his name to you.you meet up with him at a party."Hubert!!" you yell out across the room. Ooops! Hubert didnt want EVERYONE to know his name. Keep information told to you in private just thatprivate.

Dont Touch Something That Doesnt Belong To You.  
This applies to other peoples toys, their equipment and their partners. If someone has a toy you are interested in seeing up close or learning more about, ask them to show it to you. Many Doms are proud of their collections, and pleased to show them off.

Have General Knowledge Of The Scene Before Physically Venturing Into It. 
Do some reading and learn the basics of BDSM before entering and playing at clubs. If you do not know how to use a piece of equipment, ask questions before you attempt to use it. Do not worry about asking "stupid questions"it is better to have knowledge BEFORE playing then to have injuries occur because you didnt know better.

Ask People How They Would Like To Be Addressed.  
Many folks in the scene prefer to use their screen name, while others prefer their first names. Many Doms prefer that only their submissives call them "Master" or "Mistress", while others always prefer the title If you are unsure how to address someone, just ask them.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER Use Drugs Or Alcohol Before Or During A Scene. 
BDSM requires a clear head, good reflexes and the ability to comprehend when your partner is experiencing difficulty. Alcohol and Drugs SEVERELY impair judgement during BDSM. Anyone who need stimulants to enjoy their scene not only doesnt care about their safety, they dont care about YOUR safety. Be smart.dont use yourself, and refuse to play with anyone else who may be using.

 

Etiquette For Doms

"I May Be A Submissive, But Im Not Your Submissive." 
Submissives are not fair game at parties, clubs, and online. If someone is not YOUR submissive, do not expect them to start catering to and obeying you just because you are a Dom. Respect earns respect.

Respect A Submissives Collar. 
Submissives who are collared take their role VERY seriously and are usually highly devoted to their Master/Mistress. Many are not allowed to speak to other Doms. If you wish to speak to a collared sub that you do not know well, seek out their Master/Mistress, and ask his/her permission to speak to their submissive. Always allow the Master or Mistress to be included in the conversation. Remember.they are responsible for their submissive, and have the right to know exactly what your interest in speaking to them is.

 

Etiquette For submissives

"I May Be A Dom, But." 
As with submissives, Dominants do not appreciate being approached by and shown excessive displays of submission by subs other than their own. Treat them with friendly respect as well.

"Mistress, I Beg Of YouPlease Allow This Lowly Piece Of Worms Saliva To Serve You." 
Oh man.what FemDomme hasnt heard something like THIS? FemDommes almost dread going online or to parties as they are usually approached by eager male submissives seeking a Domme. Please remember.most FemDommes are not comfortable with this kind of postulating and pushiness, and many (I, for one) find it an automatic turnoff. When you meet a FemDomme, introduce yourself and make pleasant conversation, and mention your interest in serving if the Domme should be seeking a partner. Intelligence, manners and verbal restraint will get a Dommes attentionand if she is interested, she will let you know.

 

Online Etiquette

Establish An Online Profile (If On AOL).  
People like to know who they are talking to. You dont have to put your entire life story in a profile, but do include basics such a screen-name (or first name if you are comfortable), your age, your hobbies, interests, etc. For safety reasons, keep your profile vague but truthful. Never include your full name, address, your familys names or your specific job. For more information about online safety, check our Safety Page. More people will talk to you online if you have a profile than if you dont.

Dont Announce Yourself To The Entire Chat Room.  
Do not enter a chat room, announcing that you are a "21 year old hot blonde looking for a Master." Chances are you will not find a Masteryou will attract someone looking for a "quickie" or worse, a predator. It is always best when first entering a chat room to offer a friendly hello to everyone and quietly observe. People in chat rooms are very selective about whom they speak to. Normally, unless they know you well, they will tend to ignore you. Once you have established your presence in the room a few times, you will find people more apt to include you in conversations.

For People Already In A Chat Room, Acknowledge Newcomers To The Room. 
There is no lonelier feeling than entering a chat room and not even being offered a greeting. Even if you dont know someone well, be polite and offer them a friendly hello. There is nothing more discouraging to a newbie who is trying to explore his or her deepest personal feelings than to be shunned by an entire chat room.

Be Nice To Newbies.  
Moment of truth; who remembers their starting moments online with BDSM? Remember all the questions that you thought were really stupid? Remember trying to get answers and being ignored? Remember thinking you were truly pathetic? Did you like the feeling? No. Nobody does. When a newbie enters a room and has questions, or doesnt follow the proper etiquette, dont declare them a "snert" and send them packing with a few choice insults. Give them information to WebPages that can assist them, or take the time to gently point them in the right direction. Remember, you were new once too. Somebody helped you out. Pass it along.

"I May Be A Submissive, But Im Not Your Submissive." 
Submissives are not fair game. When a Dom/me enters a chat room, do not expect all submissives to start catering to and obeying you just because you are a Dom. If someone is not your submissive, dont treat them as if you own them. Respect earns respect.

"I May Be A Dom, But." 
As with submissives, Dominants in chat rooms do not appreciate being shown excessive displays of submission by subs other than their own. Treat them with friendly respect as well.

Not Everybody Online Is Looking For Cybersex!!! 
When you enter a chat room, do not assume that everyone present is looking to "get some." For many people, the online chat world is the only venue they have for BDSM discussion. They are not looking to get laid. If you are looking for cybersex, we suggest starting a room titled "looking for cybersex."

Do Not IM Or Send Personal Messages To Anyone Unless You Have Asked Permission.  
Often, people in chat rooms, are very involved in the ongoing conversation, and dont like to receive IMs out of the blue from people in the room. Etiquette requires that you ask permission to speak with them in private first. To many people, this is the single most important and polite thing you can do in a chat room.

You Dont Have To Talk To Anyone You Dont Want To.  
When you are online, you are not required to speak to anyone and everyone. If someone just doesnt seem right to you, make any polite excuse and move on. The great thing about being online is you anonymity. If anyone presses you for personal information, immediately cease talking to them.

Avoid Scrolling, Keyboard Pictures And Excessive Wavfiles. 
You may think that your online artistic talent is wonderful, but people trying to chat in a room may not. Avoid doing computer tricks that will interfere with written text or other peoples conversations.

Do Not Insult, Argue, Threaten, Or Belittle Anyone In A Chat Room.  
People in the room are there to discuss and have a good time. They do not want to put up with childish behavior and arguments among participants. If you have a problem or a personal difference, take it to a private room or handle it in an IM. Remember, some people have no other forum to express their desires and to meet like-minded people. Respect that and dont drive people away with childish behavior.

If Someone Harasses You Online, Take Action. Dont Be A Silent Victim.  
If you are in a chat room and someone is bothering you, and you have asked them to stop or leave, and they refuse, take action. Please remember that nobody has the right to harass, threaten or belittle you online. You have the power to stop them. On AOL, the best way to stop online harassers is to report them to TOS and have their AOL account canceled. Follow the steps below:

        1) Print out a copy of the conversation for your records.

        2) Click on the "KEYWORD" button.

        3) Go to "REPORT A VIOLATION" and follow the instructions. DO NOT CANCEL OUT THE OFFENDING IM OR ROOM CONVERSATION . . . THAT IS YOUR EVIDENCE THAT A PERSON IS HARASSING YOU..TOS requires a copy of the offending conversation in order to process a complaint.

For other chat forums, check with the individual internet provider or IRC moderater.

If You Dont Like The Room, Dont Stay.  
Often, you will find yourself in a room that has views that differ from yours. If you dont like whats going on in the room, leave. There are plenty of other rooms out there to choose from.

 

Public Play

Be Discreet When Out In Public!  
Public play is growing more and more popular, and can be a wonderful experience for the partners involved. Some scene folk cant resist the urge to play wherever they are, and the thrill of playing where you might get caught is exhilarating. Many people like to play in public with pre-inserted vibrators and butt plugs, as well as fondle various body parts, however, keep in mind that you are in public, and consider the thoughts of people not involved in your scene. Examples:

In a Restaurant:  
Want to play a bit at the table? Consider the time and place. 6pm at the Ground Round is NOT a good time for sceneing and possibly drawing attention to yourselves. Would you want YOUR children wondering why that lady keeps squirming around and making funny noises, or why that man is touching her there??? Be considerate to others.attend the restaurant after the "family dining hours" and ask for a table in the back.

The Movie Theatre: 
Again, consider the people around you. Choose a late evening showing where children and teens wont be present, and sit toward the back of the theatre. Ever been at a movie and the guy in front of you just wont sit still?? You get our point.

Playing At A Hotel:  
Consider your noise levels. The smacking of a good spanking may be music to your ears, but what about the ears of the tired businessman in the room next door? When you check in, ask for a room away from others that are occupied. Use any excuse: you are hard of hearing and listen to the TV at high volume.you have sensitive hearing and need to be assured nothing will disturb youor say you are on your honeymoon, and well, you may be a bit noisy.whatever works!!

In The Woods: 
Communing with nature is a wonderful experience, especially when you are communing naked with a birch switch, but, keep in mind that the woods may not be as private as you thought, especially here in Maine! Hikers, hunters, and campers enjoy Maines vast woodlands as welland imagine their surprise if they come across you and your strung-up submissive! Hmmmm.I wonder how a Girl Scout Leader would explain THAT to her troop! When playing outdoors, try to play on private property where you will not run into others. If you do not have access to privately owned woods and can only play in a recreational and public areas, keep a fair distance from hiking trails and areas frequented by hunters.

Friends Homes: 
Unless otherwise agreed to, it is truly tacky to sneak off in a friends home to do a quick scene in the bathroom or a bedroom. This is especially true when they are vanilla friends. Dont put your hosts / guests in an awkward situation; save the scene for a later time and place.

On Public Streets: 
Dress appropriately when walking on public streets, and avoid obviously blatant play. I once witnessed a FemDomme in full leather uniform walking a bare-chested, collared male sub through Bostons Quincy Market on a leash. Many wide-eyed children had questions to ask Mom and Dad about that!! Again.you may consent to this and enjoy it, but consider the other people who witness it and how it will affect them.

As people in the scene, we are all working towards public acceptance of us and what we do. We make that day further away every time we thrust our activities into the faces of children or those who are offended by overt public sex play. Remember public play can be done discretely and still be enjoyable, just use common sense!!

 

Club Etiquette

Arrive at the Club In Street Clothes. 
While many clubs are in the heart of cities, some are not (Example: Restraints in Boston is on a city street, but backs up against a residential area, complete with church and Catholic School). If you have to walk on the street to get to a club, wear appropriate street clothing and change into fetish gear at the club. If you are able to wear your fetish clothing under loose clothing, sweats, or a long coat, even better. Rememberit may not shock you to see a friend walking down the street in a peek-a-boo leather catsuit , but it may shock the neighbors who live near the club. Be courteous to them, and give them no reasons make complaints regarding the club and its patrons.

Follow the Club Rules.  
Most clubs have their rules posted near the club entrance and outside the Dungeon. If you do not see the rules posted, ask for a copy of them. Follow the rules. Period. Rules are established to keep players safe, to avoid the transmission of STDs, and, often, as conditions to allow the club to operate. If you have questions about doing a scene, and are not sure if it is allowed or not, seek out the owner or the Dungeon Master and ask them. Failure to follow club rules could result in you being asked to leave, or worse, being asked never to come back.

The Dungeon Masters Word is lawPeriod.  
The Dungeon Master (DM) has a tough job, and they deserve a lot of respect for the duties they take on. They are in the dungeon for one reason - your protection. If they ask you to stop a scene, or change something you are doing, they are asking you because they see a potential safety issue. Do not argue with the Dungeon Master if you disagree with their comments or suggestions. Comply, then, if you still have an issue, talk to the Dungeon Master later. If you feel the Dungeon Master was wrong, ask to speak privately with them and the Manager later in the evening.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER Try To Attend A Club While High Or Drunk. 
You wouldnt think we would have to address this, but, unfortunately, it has happened. Show up once at a BDSM club while drunk or high, and you will be asked NOT to show up again - ever. Avoid any drinking before attending a BDSM club.the smell of alcohol on your breath, no matter how sober you may seem, may be enough to cause you to be refused admittance.

If You Are New To BDSM, Watch And Learn. 
We highly recommend that newbies spend the first couple of times they attend a club just watching. By watching, you can learn technique, observe how a scene progresses, and see how people in the club interact. There is a wealth of information to be found in observation. Also, it gives the newbie a chance to socialize and meet other players. Once you are seen regularly, talked to and remembered in the club, you have a better chance of playing in the club.

If You See Something Happening That Doesnt Look Safe, Inform The Dungeon Master. 
Never walk over to a scene in progress and tell the Dom what they are doing wrong; find the Dungeon Master and relay your concerns to him/her. If there is a safety issue, the DM will then discuss the issue with the players. This is the Dungeon Masters dutydo not interfere by assuming the duty yourself.

If You Dont Like What You See, And It Has Been Deemed Safe, Sane And Consensual, Leave The Dungeon. 
As stated before, everyone has different kinks, and we have to respect that. If you are personally offended by a scene you do not agree with, leave the Dungeon until the scene is over. Perhaps in time you may find your opinions changing, but if you feel strongly put off, dont subject yourself to it.

If You Are Attempting Something New, Ask The Dungeon Master For Assistance. 
Has your sub been begging you for a hot wax scene, but youve never done it before? Tell the DM what you would like to do, them ask them if they can suggest someone experienced who may assist and guide you. This helps two ways: you can learn "hands on" from another player, and the DM and keep watch and be sure all is well with your scene.

Never Interrupt A Scene In Progress.  
If you have questions about a technique a Dom is using, wait until a scene is over to ask about it. Never walk over and ask during the scene.it ruins the subs AND the Doms headspace. Wait until the scene is over and the partners have had a chance to enjoy some quiet after-care time together.

Do Not "Crowd" A Scene. 
Everyone likes to see what is going on, but be polite and do it from a distance. Crowding can result in the Dom and sub losing headspace. Crowding a scene can also result in someone getting hurt, especially when the Dom is using a single tail whip or a flogger. Always try to stay at least 15 or more feet away from a scene in progress (more if the Dom is using a long single tail!!!). If you are in the Dom or subs eyesight, avoid moving around too much - excessive movement from bystanders distract from headspace as well.

Be Quiet In The Dungeon. 
Headspace is a precious effect of submission, and one of the first steps toward that wonderful out of body feeling, but, excessive noise can ruin the trip for many submissives. Excessive noise can also disturb a Dom trying to concentrate on their task. Be polite and keep noise to an absolute minimum in the Dungeon. If you must speak to someone, whisper directly in their ear. If you intend to have a long conversation, leave the dungeon. If you need to get someones attention, walk to them or silently wave to get their attentiondo not call out across the room.

If You Have A Noisy Submissive, Use A Gag.  
RememberOther people are trying to maintain headspace as well. If your submissive is prone to yelling out like a banshee at orgasm, use a gag to minimize the noise.

Keep Your Play Area Clean.  
After sceneing, clean up the area you have used. Pick up all toys, condom wrappers, and used items that may have bodily fluids in/on them. Wipe down all equipment, house toys and tables used, and sanitize them for the next users. Many clubs have solutions available to use for sanitation. If you are going to play with hot wax, bring a plastic sheet, bedsheet, or tarp with you to protect the floors and make clean-up easier. Always do you part by cleaning up!

 

Private Party Etiquette

Do Not Discuss The Party Invitation With Others. 
When you receive an invite to a private party, it is best to not discuss it with others in the scene. Imagine how awful you would feel to tell someone about your invitation, only to discover they did not get invited. Party hosts cannot always invite everyone they would like to usually because their house or play space may be too small. If you are curious as to who else is attending, ask the hostthey will be glad to tell you.

Do Not Personally Invite Others To A Private Play Party Unless You Have The Hosts Permission. 
If you would like to bring a new partner or friend to the party, contact the host and ask their permission first. Chances are you will be allowed to do so, but if your host prefers that you not bring a particular person or a stranger, please comply with their wishes. Also, if the host has forgotten to invite your regular partner, let them know.they will appreciate you informing them of the oversight.

Assume Responsibility For Your Guests. 
If you bring someone to the party whom the hosts have not previously met, please keep in mind that you are responsible for their actions. Keep an eye on them at all times, personally escort them about the hosts home if need be, and make sure they obey all rules. Rememberif your guest does something wrong, it will reflect badly upon you.

Ask The Hosts Permission If You Want To Bring A Camera Or Videocam.  
Some BDSMers enjoy taking photos and video of their scenes. If you would like to take pictures of your scene while at a private party, check with the host first. This way, your host can let other party goers know that film is rolling, and, if they dont want to be in pictures, to avoid a certain room or area of their dungeon. Most people attending parties do not want their pictures taken, so before you snap away, get that persons permission. As always, if your host prefers that you leave the cameras at home, comply with their wishes.

Arrive On Time, Or Make Plans With The Host For Arriving Later. 
Try to arrive at a party no later than 30 minutes after the start time. Usually, the first hour or so at a private party is social time and set up time. After the first hour, folks begin filtering off to different areas to scene. The host has a number of duties to attend to once the party gets into full swing.and rushing to get the door for a latecomer should not be one of them. Please plan to arrive on time or slightly before the party. If you know you are going to be late for a specific reason, let your host know approximately when you will be arrivingthis way the host can arrange to have somebody let you in and show you where to put your coat and change clothes.

Travel With Your Toys In Discreet Bags and Packaging. 
Gym bags are good for this purpose.but riot whips, canes, portable stocks and other bulky equipment are a problem. One solution: Wrap large items in sheets when carrying them into the hosts house. Another good solution: fishing rod cases for canes and other long items. Rememberthe neighbors will be curiouslets keep them guessing!

Arrive In Appropriate Street Clothing.  
Your hosts might have neighbors.they might love to gossip. Need we say more?

Bring Something For The Community Table (Buffet). 
Usually a buffet is organized for the evening, and you may be asked to contribute. Ask the host what would be appropriate to bring: appetizer? Entree? Dessert? Non-alcoholic beverages? Plates, cups, napkins or plasticware? If your host says you need not bring anything, a small gift for the host, or something the entire ensemble can use (such as condoms or a special piece of BDSM equipment) is appropriate.

Offer Your Assistance. 
Is there anything the host needs done? Can you help in any way? Chances are, things will be well under control.but a host really DOES appreciate the offer.

ALL RULES PREVIOUSLY OUTLINED FOR CLUBS ARE OBSERVED AT PRIVATE PARTIES AS WELL. 
Dont make the mistake of thinking that a private home party is a "free for all"; the fact is, some home parties have stricter rules. Rules should have been sent out by your host after your accepted your invitation. Rules should also be posted at the party. If you do not know the rules, ask for them: Follow them. If you have any concerns about a scene you would like to do, check with your hosts.

Respect The Party Assistants.  
Many private and club parties have "party slaves" who assist the host with set up, food preparation, Dungeon Master duties, etc. These folks are not at the party to be everyones personal playthings. Do not touch them or harass them. If they want to play, they will let you know, but if they are only there to help the host, respect their space and their contributions to the party.

Respect "This Room Off Limits" Signs.  
There are reasons certain rooms are off limits. Perhaps it is a childs room or a private home office. Whatever the reason, respect these signs and your hosts wishes.

If You Wouldnt Do It At YOUR House, Dont Do It At Someone Elses. 
Remember what the lunch lady used to scream at everyone after a high school food fight? "Would you do this at home??? If you wouldnt do it at home, what makes you think it is okay to do it here?!?!? Keep this simple rule in mind when you get the urge to do something risky, messy or off limits at your hosts home.

Be Courteous To Other Guests and Nature- Dont Scene In The Bathroom. 
Have you ever waited outside a bathroom, crossing your legs, jiggling up and down because you HAD to "go", but the bathroom was occupied by people sceneing?? Keep the bathroom off limits to play. If your hosts have a second or third bathroom and have designated these for play, use only these designated areas.

Be Considerate Of Neighbors Keep The Noise Levels Down. 
Sometimes play parties, like any parties, can get noisy. One way to mask some of the sounds is to play music in the areas of your home or meeting place where sceneing will take place. If you have a particularly loud submissive, consider using a gag. Most residential areas and neighbors will put up with occasional party noises, and will make no complaints as long as the loudness stops by 9pm weeknights and 11pm on a weekend. If your host lives in a rural area, it is still polite to check with the host before conducting loud scenes or allowing your sub to scream his/her head off.

Keep the Social Room Social. 
The social room is a place to relax, chat and eat. It should be kept strictly social. Starting a scene, fondling, exposing yourself or undressing for a scene should be done elsewhere.

Be Sanitary and Polite.Wash Your Hands After a Scene, But BEFORE You Dig Into The Food. 
You just had your hands WHERE?? And you are PICKING THROUGH the finger sandwiches and chip bowl??? Need we discuss this further??

Offer To Assist With Clean Up. 
Even if you can only offer your host 5 minutes, it is helpful. 15 people giving 5 minutes of help can establish much. Your host has put a lot of work into setting up the evening. Give them a hand and help make their evening a little easier.

 

Meeting Other BDSM Folk In Public

"Hey Look!!! Theres So-and-So!" 
At one time or another, you are bound to run into someone you know from the scene in a vanilla setting, like the grocery store, the mall, etc. Often, meeting like this can be both an unexpected pleasure and a personal nightmare, especially if one of you is with someone who doesnt know of your scene involvement. At times like this, it is best to merely acknowledge each other with eye contact and a quick nod or smile. If you need to talk to that person, save it for later through an email or at a BDSM function.

If You Do Talk To Other BDSM Folk In Public, Use Appropriate NamesNot Screen Names. 
Usually, scene folk who tend to hang out together, or know all involved in the conversation are in the scene, will approach each other in public to say hello and chat. When you meet up, be discreet in using names, especially screen names. Example: I meet many scene people in public (usually at local restaurants), and when we chat, just as the waitress is sliding up to take the order, someone inevitably calls me "Mistress." While I can deal with it, others at the table tend to cringe, and the waitress suddenly looks a lot more interested in who I am than how I want my burger cooked! Remember.there are other others around us, and those among us who get uncomfortable. Againif you are not sure how to address someone, just ask them.

To Play - Or Not To Play - That Is The Question. 
Many BDSM friends enjoy getting together for non-scene activities: dinner, grabbing a cup of coffee, or just hanging out. Often, these occasions, unless otherwise planned, are strictly social. If you dont intend to leave sceneing and submissive rules at home, please inform your friends beforehand and find out if they will be comfortable. It can be very awkward and annoying to your friends if, while they are trying to hold a friendly conversation, a submissive is constantly asking Master for permission to speak, eat, or go to the bathroom.

 

Other Sites With Informative Etiquette Areas:

 

All material Copyright Mistress Ren and LesVoiles.  Please do not reproduce without permission.

  Page Updated 08/27/05

 

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