Online Safety

1)    Do not put personal information in your screen name. NEVER put your full name, address or the town you live in. People are clever they can figure out where you live if you give too much info. Be truthful in your screen name, but be vague. Below are examples of a good answers for iffy questions:

          Member Name: Jane or use just an Initial
          Location: Central Maine, Eastern Mass, Seacoast of New Hampshire etc.
          Birthdate: 34 of them (or be cute: "Once a year" is popular)
          Occupation: Are you a cashier, secretary or salesperson? Customer Service covers it all. A Lawyer, Doctor or Teacher? Professional will do it.

2)    Never give out personal information to somebody you have just started communicating with. Online, we tend to "trust" more readily because we cant see the other person, they cant see us, and the written word carries much power. Even if it feels like you have known the other person "forever", do not tell too much about yourself until you have spoken frequently and even then, offer info in small doses.

3)    Before venturing into the BDSM chat rooms, do some research. Read read read! There are many excellent books regarding BDSM available, if not in your bookstore, then by special order. The more you know about BDSM and the scene, the better prepared you will be answering queries, gathering information, and talking with established scene folks. Also, the more you know, the less likely you will find yourself in an embarrassing or dangerous situation. Some excellent books for beginners are:

          "Learning the Ropes" by Race Bannon
          "Screw the Roses, Send Me The Thorns" by Phillip Miller and Molly Devon
          "S/M 101" by Jay Wiseman
          "The Loving Dominant" by John Warren

          Also research BDSM chat rooms. Some specialize in different aspects of BDSM, others are general topic. Drop in and check them out. Do a little observing see if it is the room you would be comfortable with. You are not obliged to talk in a chat room sometimes you can learn more from watching, rather than discussing.

4)    Do not "announce yourself" when you enter a BDSM chat room.
Enter the room with a friendly "Hello." Do not announce to everyone that you are a "single, 23 year old female submissive, new to the scene, looking for a Master". While scene rooms are occupied primarily by experienced Dom/ms and subs, they are also frequented by members of society looking for cybersex or a quick lay, who will say anything to get it. Enter the room observe join in on general conversation learn who can be trusted in the room and when you are ready, quietly and discreetly ask them for references regarding scene members seeking partners. If you see someone you may be interested in, it is always best to ask their permission, in the room, to send them an IM or email introducing yourself.

5)    You are not obligated to answer every IM or private message you receive. If you receive an IM that is insulting, rude, demanding, abusive or vulgar, simply use your cancel button. New submissives, especially, make the mistake of answering every IM from Online Doms if they are not YOUR Dom, you are not obliged, as a submissive, to answer them or obey them. If they insist on pushing, and do not take the hint after you have ignored them, report them to TOS.

6)    Find an online Mentor. If you are a sub, look for another sub to help you find your way around. If you are a Dom, you should try to find another Dom. A person with the same interests that you have will not be trying to recruit you as a possible partner or to make you feel obligated to them.

7)    Once you meet someone who interests you, ask questions!
Youve met a wonderful person you are definitely interested in getting to know better. You have talked and talked, and the possibility exists for starting a cyber / Real Time relationship. This could be the partner of your dreams now what?? Question, question, question!!! Get to know the person as well as computer will allow. Ask about previous (or current) partners ask about their experience (or inexperience) ask how long they have been in the scene or online where their BDSM interests lay Then, ask that person for three personal references AND discreetly ask around to other people for references on that person (talking to their previous subs / Doms is an excellent way to learn more about them). Try to get at least 3 good references before talking on the phone with somebody, and try to get at least 5 references before meeting with that person Real Time. If you get any negative references or warnings, take them seriously. Do not worry that your potential partner will get upset about your asking around. A good potential partner will be pleased that you are taking your safety seriously. If you cannot find anyone who can give you a reference, proceed slowly and carefully with the relationship. Get to know each other very well online, and earn each others trust before proceeding.

8)     Trust your gut and your "inner feelings."
If something just doesnt seem or feel right about the person you are talking to, do not take further steps toward meeting. We are going to say this a lot in these safety areas trust your gut feelings. Also, be aware of "Red Flags" warning signs that this person is not what s/he claims to be.

Some Online warning signs ("Red Flags") to ask yourself about: Does your potential partner:

  •           Get upset that you are looking for references or refuses to give you personal references?
  •           Change screen names constantly?
  •           Refuse to give you other current or past screen names?
  •           Refuse to join you in chat rooms?
  •           "Hide out" when online?
  •           Tell you not to mention to anyone that you have been talking and keep things "secret?"
  •           Refuse to discuss safety concerns, safewords, and public meetings or declares them "unnecessary?"
  •           Seem less informed about BDSM issues than they claim to know?
  •           Only converse with you from their work computer (Hmmmm spouse at home perhaps?)?
  •           Have differing ideas and wants in a BDSM relationship than you do (example: you are looking for an exclusive relationship he wants to "own" a half dozen female submissives)?
  •           Insist on having your full name and telephone number, but refuses to give you theirs?

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

Page Updated 08/27/05



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