Wizdomme Pages


D/s Help & Info

The "Newbie Pack"


Frequently Asked Questions
by Wizdomme

The information presented here is a combination of opinions, suggestions and discussion among members of the BDSM online and RT communities. While these are all indeed very frequently asked questions, the answers are not to be taken as textbook truth for all, rather as suggested guidelines to use with your other research on the subjects of D/s and BDSM.
 


How do I get started exploring BDSM?
Very carefully, by finding out as much information as you can (such as you're doing now.) Take advantage of the many books available, web resources, and talk to people in the community - ask questions! Understand what you hope to get out of it - and be honest with yourself and others about your interests.

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Where can I meet other people interested in BDSM?

The same way you meet people with any other special interest: go where they go. Many people make use of the extensive online BDSM community to meet friends, mentors, partners, and to gather information. In the real world, look for clubs and organizations that hold classes, meetings, and parties in the BDSM community.

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I don't want to meet people, I just want to explore my fantasies.

That's fine - online can be a very safe alternative to real life exploration of potentially dangerous games. Just be honest with those you come in contact with, and don't lead people to expect what you're not willing to fulfill. Many people do live double lives: intense sadist or masochist in the safety of the online world, and "ordinary" vanilla (non-BDSM) human being offline. Then again, we all live regular lives and do regular things when we're not in BDSM mode... A word of caution: don't expect to be warmly welcomed into established D/s groups online if you're only there for a quick cyberthrill - many of these people take this very seriously, and are very tired of constant come-ons online.

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Why do the Dom/me and sub rooms and channels online seem like closed cliques?

Many of these people have known each other for a long time, including online and offline relationships and histories with each other. Because of the number of tacky, rude and vulgar approaches new people often use, it's no wonder that most regulars in these areas have developed a healthy caution when new faces arrive. But if you're honest, open, polite, and respectful about your reasons for being there, you should be greeted with courtesy and have your questions answered. If not, try another room. Remember, the attitude of all chatrooms varies depending on who's in them at any given time, and opinions you might receive in these rooms are only those of the people giving them. There's no guarantee that what's right for one person will be right for anyone else.

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How can I tell if I'm Dom/me or sub?

Ask yourself which appeals to you, and ask yourself why. Understand what your own hopes and goals are before actively pursuing a D/s relationship, and be honest with others about it. Some people have had Dom/me or sub fantasies beginning at very early ages, others discover these tendencies later in life. For some, D/s is a seemingly natural part of relationships with certain people and not others. Many people are switches, who enjoy both dominance and submission at different times.

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How can I convince my (wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend) to try this with me?

Talk with them. Tell them honestly what interests you about D/s or BDSM and how you both think it would affect your relationship if you were to try it. If s/he is hesitant, encourage them to join you in your research. If they are dead-set against it, accept that... but perhaps try to discuss why, as that may affect other areas of your relationship. Don't ever make your partner feel forced into BDSM activities if they're not comfortable with it, or it ceases to be consensual and can border on emotional or physical abuse. If your partner absolutely refuses, you need to make some serious decisions.

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Is it cheating if I'm involved in online-only D/s?

If you're involved in a real-life relationship and are engaging in any cyber relationship that you are keeping secret from your partner, it's probably cheating. Whether or not this bothers you personally, consider that there are other people involved and all could end up being hurt. Many people have open relationships where online and/or offline affairs are accepted, and many are openly involved in pursuing D/s activities online that their real-life partner isn't a part of. Remember this works both ways: it's a possibility that your online or real-life partner is involved with other people, also. Be careful and protect yourself and your feelings, as well as those you care about.

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How do I meet BDSM people in real-life?

VERY CAREFULLY! If you decide to attend a group gathering, make sure it's a reputable organization or individual putting it on. Do your homework! If you plan on meeting an individual, please read the many safety guidelines in this D/s Help & Info Pack. In short:
  • Make sure you know the person well and trust them before setting up a face-to-face meeting
  • Arrange to meet in a public place, and have your own transportation
  • Make sure a trusted friend knows where you are, who you are meeting, and when you expect to return (or arrange a time to check-in with them by phone)
  • Never expect or plan to engage in BDSM activity at a first meeting! It should be a social visit only, to get to know each other
These may sound overly cautious, but they are the guidelines suggested for any face-to-face meeting, and should be doubly stressed for BDSM people. There is a very real chance (and sadly, some very real horror stories) of people being taken advantage of and hurt very badly by unscrupulous people. Use your common sense and listen to your instincts - not your libido.

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My online partner wants to meet RT, but I'm not sure if I'm ready yet.

Don't ever feel pressured to do anything you're not comfortable about. Listen to your instincts - if you feel a warning signal, listen to it! Anyone worth respecting will respect your concerns and be patient, if they truly care about your feelings. There are some unscrupulous people in this lifestyle (as in all groups of people) who can take advantage of the dynamics of D/s and "make" someone do something they're not ready for. Successful D/s is built on trust, patience, and understanding - not coercion.

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How can I find the right Dom/me or sub for me?

The same way you find the right person for any relationship: be aware of what you're looking for in a partner, and don't be too quick to make such an important decision. Communicate: get to know people for who they are and not what they might claim to be. If you're hoping to get into a serious, long term relationship, the same criteria apply as in non-D/s relationships. In other words, wanting something isn't enough on its own to make it happen. Do your homework, talk over your wants, needs, limits, fears, and uncertainties with a potential partner. And remember that luck often plays a part for all of us in finding the right person.

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How should I approach someone who interests me?

Respectfully. Remember that being involved with BDSM doesn't mean someone is indiscriminate, available, looking, or promiscuous. Find out if the person you're interested in is looking for a partner before volunteering. Many people are involved in deeply committed monogamous relationships and many are constantly looking for new play partners. If someone interests you, be aware of what they're looking for before assuming they're looking for you.

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What's the difference between D/s and BDSM?

D/s (Dominance/submission) usually involves more than sceneplay: it's often more of an agreement between people that can extend to any and all areas of their lives. BDSM (Bondage-Discipline-Sado-Masochism) usually refers to specific physical activities within a relationship. There is a lot of crossover in the two areas, and most people are involved in a combination of both, by varying degrees.

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What's the difference between a sub and a slave?

This one has been debated to death. Like all terminology, definitions will vary from person to person. Most agree that slave represents a more complex and in-depth commitment than sub does, and usually involves consensual and largely symbolic ownership of one person by another. A sub can submit 100% but generally still controls their own life, while a slave may voluntarily relinquish certain individual rights on a permanent or contracted basis. In short: "A slave is a sub, but a sub isn't necessarily a slave." Agreeing to be a slave or slave-owner is an individual choice and should be considered very seriously.

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What does "collaring" mean?

Collaring is when a Dom/me (or Master/Mistress) and a sub (or slave) make a formal commitment to each other. Many people hold public or private collaring ceremonies to commemorate their agreement, and usually a literal collar is placed around the sub's neck as a symbol of the event. A collaring might be thought of as the D/s version of a wedding, and most people consider collared relationships as seriously (or more so) than marriage. Many collared couples are also married to each other. Again, individual situations can vary regarding the significance: collaring may or may not involve commitments of fidelity, for instance. A collar can range from being a symbol to something worn during specific times to something worn 24 hours a day. Wearing of a collar doesn't necessarily mean that a formal collaring has taken place; it's often an accessory for BDSM activity even between casual play partners.

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What does a D/s contract involve?

Whatever the people involved in the contract decide it should include! Contracts are an optional addition to a D/s relationship, and they can range from a formalized general agreement of the relationship to line-by-line specifics about duties, clothing, behavior, and punishment. Contracts are (probably) not legally binding, but the commitment represented by signing one should be taken very seriously. They can be very useful for detailing gray areas and "time off" needs, especially for 24/7 D/s relationships, and they can be great fun to write!

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What is a safeword and how does it work?

A safeword is a must for new partners or those who participate in extreme BDSM activities. It's a predetermined word or phrase that a sub says when they need the scene to stop or halt due to fear, pain, or injury. A Dom/me must honor a sub's use of their safeword and stop whatever they're doing and talk over the situation, or trust between the partners will fail, and serious injury can result. A sub should never use a safeword in jest for the same reasons. Words like "stop" aren't generally recommended as safewords, because a sub may say "Stop" teasingly, when they really don't mean it. Some partners use a double-step safeword, such as "Orange" meaning "Slow down, I'm not sure about where we're heading" and "Red" meaning "Stop now, I can't continue this!" A safe gesture works much the same way as a safeword, and is used if the sub is gagged, for instance, and unable to speak their safeword.

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What kind of toys and accessories should I get?

Whatever kind you like! There are countless sex toys and BDSM accessories available in specialty stores, adult bookstores, and on the web. Many people put their creativity to use and make their own BDSM toys. Your choices are only limited by your bank account, your tastes, and your imagination. You can have a fully supplied dungeon or you can use ordinary household items. Your imagination is the ultimate toy - use it frequently! Explore pet supply stores, hardware stores, and other low-cost alternatives to specialty stores if you're just beginning. The only real concern you should have is safety - don't ever use anything that could cause serious injury without knowing how to use it properly. There's a fine line between what is a toy in one person's hand and a weapon in another's.

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What are limits and how do they work?

Simply put, limits are those things a person is not willing to do. Known limits should be discussed in advance, and a safeword should be used when limits are reached that haven't been previously discussed. Everyone has limits, no matter what they say - and they're highly individual. One person's favorite activity may be totally out of the question for another. One of the first things new subs often learn is never to say they'll do "anything" - especially when someone takes them up on that offer. Limits can be faced, explored, and expanded between trusting, communicative individuals, but they should always be respected. And yes, Dom/mes have limits, too.

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What's the topic?

This is the One Most Frequently Asked Question in D/scussion rooms online :) Most of the questions listed here show up as room topics regularly and generate much discussion and argument. It all boils down to one thing in the end: what's Right for you and yours is what's Right, and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. Listen, learn, explore, contribute, be safe, and have fun - otherwise there's no point in any of this.

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These files are presented for general information only and are not meant to be a "how-to" guide.
As with anything, what works for someone else may or may not work for you.
Use common sense when exploring new relationships of any type.



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