The importance of asking questions


Submitted by Nigel, aka SubDirectory (3), 18 November 2011



Leather and BDSM don’t have to go together, but for many people – including of course a substantial proportion BLUF members – they’re natural bedfellows. But for those who are new to one or the other, it can sometimes be a bewildering arena in which to take your first steps.

While those who have found a site like BLUF and perhaps submitted an application to join have probably gained a fair bit of experience already, that’s not always the case. And on some other sites, it’s very easy for complete novices to hook up with other people.

There’s nothing in itself wrong with that; everyone has to start their leather or BDSM journey somewhere. The problem is that, in many cases, there are no road signs.

Where do I begin?
Having your first BDSM or leather experience is probably much easier now than it ever was in the past. There’s no need to travel to a particular bar, or to read through the small ads in the weekly gay paper, to find someone.

Thanks to the internet, the whole fetish scene is much more visible than it used to be. And while that’s a good thing on the whole, it also brings up a fresh set of problems.

There’s a whole group of people for whom their first encounter with the fetish scene is via some of the big gay contact sites. It’s very easy on these to come across photos of people doing things you might not have thought about before, whether that’s bondage, breath control, full-on Master/slave scenarios, and plenty more things to fire the imagination.

What you won’t find on most of these sites – and I imagine it’s at least a desire to avoid liability – is much in the way of information about safer play. At best, you’ll find the usual tips about online dating, such as “always tell someone where you’re going” or “meet in a public place.” Useful tips, sure, but they don’t really cover situations where you’re going to let a stranger tie you up and put a bag over your head for kicks.

There are plenty of sites out there with useful information about BDSM – for example HardCell in the UK; and there are excellent groups like SM Gays in London, with their Discovery Nights. Around the world, you’ll find similar endeavours – I’d love readers to share useful links in the comments below.

Manners maketh man
It can be very hard to ask questions about sex; and there are clearly tops that don’t encourage it. There are people who’ll instantly assume that if you say you’re passive, you must address them as Sir. There are those who’ll initiate a conversation with the words “Oi Cunt!” and instantly expect you to show them the respect they so obviously haven’t shown you.

I think that’s just rude; I’ve been told in the past that I can’t be a very good sub because my response to that abusive introduction wasn’t a suitably grovelling message to the stranger who sent it. I think my Boss would beg to differ about my abilities, and I know he’d certainly never start a conversation with someone like that. Remember that you don’t have to put up with rudeness from anyone.

You’ll find plenty whose profiles will boast that what you want, and what you like isn’t important, and doesn’t matter. And you might think, that as a sub, slave, or whatever you want to call yourself, that’s right, and that’s what BDSM is all about. Submit to what the nasty man says, and you’ll get what you want or deserve.

Sometimes you will. Sometimes you won’t. And occasionally, a few unfortunate people will have something really bad happen to them.

Questions, questions
It doesn’t have to be like that. Especially if you’re new to the BDSM scene, one of the most important things you can do is to ask questions.

I don’t mean the “Please describe what you’ll do to me” sort that just about everyone who has been a top will receive online. But if someone says they fancy doing something to you, don’t be afraid to ask if they’ve done it before. Or if there’s a risk involved. Or if they know first aid. Or anything else that pops into your head.

Don’t be bullied into hooking up with people who don’t really appear interested in hearing about you; if someone won’t answer questions, or tells you not to speak before, for example, you’ve had a chance to explain that you have asthma, or some other thing that might affect play, then stop. Ask the questions on your mind.

And when someone asks you questions, be honest, rather than trying to impress. If you’re a novice top, don’t pretend you’ve done something dozens of times before. As a sub, don’t exaggerate your experience – and above all, be honest during a session – if you have a problem, say so, instead of worrying about sounding weak or inexperienced, and making things worse.

It’s easy to believe in your fantasies; to think that a bottom doesn’t have rights, and that you just have to trust the other person, whether top or bottom. But like respect, trust is earned, not assumed. Your body is the most precious thing you have, and in my view, you shouldn’t give it to someone who’s not going to take good care of it.

Amazing things can happen when you start to explore the world of BDSM. But it’s important to remember, especially when you start your journey, that everyone takes a different route. And like any journey, the best way to find your destination is to ask questions, not to just stumble on blindly.

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