S&M: A PLAYER'S HANDBOOK
(Note: This was written by someone I know to be very active and well respected in the scene, for many years. Her advice is as sound today as when this was written a number of years ago. If there are areas you wish to discuss, please join one of our mail lists or our channel and we will happily discuss it there.)
Hard copy of this book and many others is available through QSM. Order books by phone at (415) 550-7776, or visit their amusing and informative web site at www.qualitysm.com. Comments about this book should be directed to email@example.com, attention Author of A Player's Handbook. Enjoy this information, and I hope it helps educate anyone who needs it about the ins and outs of safe play in this lifestyle.
If you are already an experienced player in the BDSM lifestyle, some of the cautions in this book may be too strong for you, since you already know how to play safely at a level that you and your partner are comfortable with. Please feel free to seek other input and to rely on your own experience (and your partner's consent) to decide how stringent your safety precautions need to be.
Play happy, play safe, and above all have fun!
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Bondage and Discipline, or B&D, is yet another acronym used for sexual activities involving erotic restraint and slave/Master or slave/Mistress fantasy games.
An S&M term describing the submissive or masochistic partner in a scene. The word "bottoming" is sometimes used as a verb.
Dominance and Submission, or D&S, is a more appropriate term to describe playing with power and trust in an erotic way. D&S play can include, but is not limited to, S&M play. D&S play between consenting partners can also be entirely nonphysical and confined to the realm of fantasy.
Gender play is a term used to describe the erotic exchange of gender, usually between partners. A man and a woman may exchange genders in their play, with the man dressing and behaving as a woman and the woman as a man. Alternatively, they may both decide to play as women, or as men. Gender play is different from transsexuality, because it is much less serious and more in the nature of a fantasy game.
The common term for sexual or erotic activity involving the giving and recieving of pain and pleasure. The letters of the expression refer to sadism and masochism. Although, strictly speaking, the term refers only to physical play, it is sometimes generally used to encompass dominance and submission play (D&S) as well. Some people spell this term SM to indicate that sadomasochism is one word and one lifestyle, not two.
An S&M term used to describe the dominant or sadistic partner in a scene. The word "topping" is sometimes used as a verb.
Transvestite/transsexual. A TV is a man or woman who likes to wear the clothes of the opposite gender, and/or play with exchanging gender with their partners. A TS is a man or a woman who feels strongly that they are in the wrong body and that they are actually of the opposite sex. A TS may be pre-op, meaning that the individual still has the physical characteristics of the sex that they were born with, or post-op, which means that they have already had an operation to transform them partially or wholly into a member of the opposite sex. An MTF, or male to female, TS is more common than a FTM, or female to male.
A term generally used to describe the eroticization of games having to do with urination and/or defecation, and occasionally enema play.
If you like to play with your partner's body in an S&M or fantasy way, there are things you should know about safe sex practices. Dildo play, bondage, spanking and discipline and other forms of erotic power exchange can and should be a fun and creative way to enhance your sexual relationships. If you choose to practice them, please do so safely.
1. Always designate some word or signal that ends the play, so that the submissive partner's limits are not being violated. The classic safe word for SM play is "Mercy." If one of the players says this word, the play is too heavy and should temporarily be stopped for negotiation. Negotiate a scene and discuss limits before playing.
2. If you penetrate the anus or vagina with any object, make sure that object is one that is meant for that purpose. Dildos are ideal for gentle insertion, but most household items are not. Do not insert anything in a cunt or ass that is rough or has sharp edges. If you accidentally perforate the lower intestine, you may get peritonitis, a potentially nasty disease. If you abrade the inside of the vagina, an uncomfortable and itchy infection may follow. Make sure that you do not insert anything too far up inside. If you cannot easily grip it and draw it out, there is the very real possibility that you will not easily be able to get it back out.
3. Practice safe sex. If you use a dildo on more than one person, or on more than one orifice on the same person, use condoms and wash carefully with soap and water to avoid transmitting disease and bacteria. Use only water-soluble lubricants with condoms. If you practice oral sex, use a condom or dental dam.
4. Never leave anyone unattended in bondage. Bondage that cuts off the circulation, such as cock and ball bondage or nipple clamps, should not be left on for more than fifteen minutes at a time. Never use bondage that puts any pressure on the front of the neck.
5. Safe areas of the body to whip or spank are the upper back and the buttocks. Areas to whip with caution are the lower back, thighs, upper arms, genitals, chest and calves. Areas to whip ONLY with an extremely light cat are the stomach, forearms, the bottoms of the feet and the palms. Areas NEVER to whip are the kidneys, the tailbone, the spine, the neck, any joint such as the knees or elbows, or any area such as the shins where bones are close to the surface of the skin.
6. If you practice watersports, do so safely and preferably with a monogamous partner. It is currently thought that urine does not transmit the AIDS virus, but that feces can if there are traces of blood in them and if they are ingested or if they contact broken skin. Blood, semen and vaginal fluids can definitely transmit the virus, and should not be ingested or put into contact with your skin. Even a microscopic lesion in your skin can be enough to transmit the virus, if it has contact with an infected fluid.
WHAT IS S&M?
The term "S&M" technically refers to sadomasochism. However, it is more broadly used to describe a whole range of fantasy games and erotic play that can include the use of restraints and other toys such as whips and paddles on a love partner. Although many people assume that S&M always has to mean harsh physical abuse, in reality, many of the people who choose to play with erotic power prefer do so gently. Fantasy bondage can be done with a silken thread, or can be left entirely in the imagination of the partners. A fantasy whipping can be delivered by the clapping of your hands, or with a whip made of the softest rabbit fur. If these games sound exciting, then this manual is for you.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with going much farther with S&M games, as long as you have a consenting partner. If you and your partner enjoy severe spanking, tight bondage and heavy whipping, then this manual is also for you - especially the sections on technique and S&M safety. The primary difference between a fantasy whipping and a real one is one of quantity, not of quality. The emotions experienced and enjoyed by both partners are much the same in either case.
The words "slave" and "S&M" tend to conjure up images of force, coercion and oppression in the mind of the average person. The classic examples of slavery in this country involve the brutal mistreatment of Negros and Native Americans by callous and impersonal tormentors. Is it any wonder that the D&S (dominant and submissive) lifestyle is less than socially acceptable in today's world?
In reality, S&M play can and should be fun, sexually arousing and satisfying for both partners. Erotic power play can range from light- hearted and fun fantasy scenes to physically and emotionally intense sessions. Regardless of the intensity of the play, S&M can be a powerful transformational tool as well as an exciting enhancement of any relationship.
The props and roles of the S&M scene are those of slavery. The outsider sees the chains, the whips, the riding crops, the devices carefully calculated to cause pain. These tools are physically no different than those which have been used over the centuries to maintain fear and oppression among the enslaved.
On a strictly physical basis, there may be no difference between an intense S&M scene and an actual rape or incident of abuse. The blows of the whip are real. The verbal abuse and humiliation may sound severe and degrading. But the underlying psychological dynamic of what is happening in an incident of physical or mental abuse is drastically different from that of a typical S&M scene. There are several elements which are present in a scene that are not present in an incident of actual abuse.
First, there is consent. The submissive has freely agreed to submit him or herself to the dominant, without any kind of physical or emotional coercion. Second, there is trust. The submissive knows that he or she can set the limits for the session, and that these negotiated limits will not be violated. Third, D&S is personal. The dominant is always intensely aware of what the submissive is feeling. Rather than hurting casually, he or she inflicts measured amounts of pain and erotic stimulation to watch the response. Typically, since most S&M play occurs between love partners, the dominant partner cares about what the submissive is feeling.
What D&S is all about is playing with power and trust. One partner is powerless, the other all-powerful. There is a bond of trust between the partners. The excitement of a D&S scene has been compared to being tossed up high in the air and knowing that you will be caught by strong arms. The scary, exhilarating sensation of brief flight can be enjoyed because you trust someone to catch you. There is fear and there is the feeling of danger, but these emotions are transformed into a pleasant and enjoyable rush of adrenaline because you know that you won't really get hurt. The thrill of "safe danger" is something that appeals to all of us, judging from the crowds of people who wait to ride the roller coasters and enter the Haunted House at Disneyland.
Many outsiders to the scene believe that you have to be sick to want to be dominated or to want to dominate someone. Even people who have a deep craving for S&M play sometimes feel guilty and ashamed of their "sick" desires. They see S&M in the same way that outsiders do, without an understanding of what really goes on beneath the outward trappings an S&M scene. All they know is that they are sexually excited by being abused and humiliated, or by abusing and humiliating a partner, and they don't feel very good about themselves as a result.
What they do not understand is that they are not excited by being abused per se, but by playing with power and trust with a caring partner. Actual rape and abuse, no matter who it is inflicted on, is definitely sick. Safe and consensual D&S is a fun and erotic way to explore alternative sexuality. The games of dominance and submission should not be considered sick or perverted, especially by the people who practice it or who would like to practice it.
There are a number of S&M social and support groups in most large metropolitan areas that give lectures, classes and demonstrations on safe and consensual S&M play. Many of these are listed in the final chapter on SM Resources. I highly recommend getting in contact with your local S&M community, not only for the social contact, but for the emotional support that an accepting community can provide. It's nice to know that you are not an isolated pervert, but that many other perfectly nice, psychologically healthy and otherwise respectable folks share your interest in the scene.
ASKING YOUR PARTNER TO PLAY
Discussing the subject of S&M games with your partner is not always easy, especially if one or both of you are new to S&M. If your partner is a total novice whom you are trying to introduce to these games, you might want to refer to them as fantasy play rather than as S&M, and you should start out with things that are light, romantic and playful rather than heavy or intense. If you do not already have the book FantaScenes: Games Lovers Can Play, I would highly recommend it as a way to gently introduce your partner to erotic power play.
Suggest to your partner that he or she might enjoy a light spanking or sensual bondage. Offer to switch roles, and explain the concept of limits and a safe word to reassure your partner that he or she is not actually going to get hurt.
If you are playing with a more experienced partner, or if you have already introduced your regular partner to the joys of erotic power play, you can start right out by negotiating a scene. Clearly discuss your likes, limits and fantasies in a non-demanding way.
It is important that both partners have some input as to what the elements the scene will contain. The only exception to this is if a couple has been playing together for some time, and the submissive partner prefers to allow the dominant partner to choose the scene. In this case, the dominant already knows the likes, limits and fantasies of the submissive, and can play within them.
On the following pages are some of the possible elements of a D&S scene. Read through them carefully with your partner, and decide on the ones that are exciting to both of you.
EXPLORING YOUR FANTASIES - FOR THE SUBMISSIVE PARTNER
Unless you are totally opposed to switching roles, both partners should read through the following list. Each partner should select three items that you might find erotic at least some of the time.
1. I want to be CONTROLLED by a dominant. I imagine myself the total mercy of my owner. S/he takes all control away from me completely, and tells me what to do. I submit myself to do with as my owner pleases.
2. I am put in BONDAGE. Scarves, ropes, or leather cuffs restrain me tightly.
3. I am forced me to DRESS. I am made to be pretty and sensuous. I must wear makeup, sexy lingerie, and a dress or short skirt.
4. I am HUMILIATED and abused by the dominant. S/he is all, and i am nothing. i am less than a dog - i am a humble slave. i worship my Master/Mistress.
5. I am sternly DISCIPLINED for being naughty. Six with the birch, ten with the rod, and a severe spanking is in order for me. "Drawers down!" I am ordered, and I obediently bend over.
6. The dominant desires a TOILET SLAVE to serve her. "Take my golden shower, Slave!" s/he demands.
7. PAIN is my Master's/Mistress' aim. I will suffer during the session. I will be hurt for his or her pleasure.
8. I am a SLAVE in need of TRAINING. My Master/Mistress will train me to behave as s/he desires.
9. I am the PET of my owner. I will be treated like an ANIMAL. I may be made to behave like an animal.
10. My Master/Mistress commands me to worship his/her FEET. I lick and suck each toe as ordered.
11. My Master/Mistress enacts certain RITUALS with me. They are very specific, and meaningful.
12. I like certain FETISH objects, such as leather, rubber, or latex.
13. Certain parts of my body, such as my nipples, are objects of abuse and TORTURE for my Master/Mistress.
14. My Master/Mistress is very intimidating and controls what I feel. I will feel fear, love, worship and other intense EMOTIONS during the session.
EXPLORING YOUR FANTASIES - FOR THE DOMINANT PARTNER
Unless you are totally opposed to switching roles, both partners should read through the following list. Each partner should select three items that they would find erotic at least some of the time.
1. I want to DOMINATE my partner and control his/her every action. S/he must willingly submit to me.
2. I want to FORCE my partner to submit to me. S/he may struggle at first, but I know s/he will eventually give in to me.
3. I would like to spank or whip my partner, in order to inflict erotic PAIN.
4. I have to PUNISH my naughty partner. S/he has been very bad, and deserves my punishment.
5. I like to see my partner DRESS up (or undress) and pose in a sexy way for me. I may want him or her to masturbate for me.
6. I want to OWN a collared slave, who must do what I say.
7. I want to SWITCH roles with my partner. S/he starts out trying to dominate me, but I gain the upper hand, and subdue him/her.
8. I would like to put my partner in BONDAGE. I can tie him or her up, and then do anything that I want.
9. I would find it exciting to put my partner in a sexually HUMILIATING situation, or to call him/her sexually degrading names.
10. I want my partner to serve me as a TOILET slave.
11. I would like to treat my partner like an ANIMAL and train him or her as such.
12. I would like to train my partner to enact certain RITUALS that I find meaningful.
13. I have a particular FETISH that I want my partner to cater to.
14. I would like to play with my partner's EMOTIONS, and make him or her have feelings such as fear, worship and desire during a scene.
FETISH AND FANTASY
Choose one or more items or roles from each of the following lists that you would like to experiment with in your scene.
1. School teacher
12. Tickling games
Keep in mind that all of these fantasies can be played out in a mutually satisfying manner, while remaining safe, gentle and consensual. A castration fantasy, for example, can be played out as a fantasy without really damaging someone. "Branding" can be done with a Magic Marker for those low on pain tolerance and not into permanent marks. Serious scenes such as actual branding and piercing should only be done in reality by experienced practicioners.
NEGOTIATING A SCENE
Once you and your partner have read over the lists of fantasies, roles, scenes and fetishes, and you have decided which elements you would like to incorporate into your scene, you can begin play. You can begin play with anything from a general idea of your partner's likes and limits to a complete and elaborate script. Most people like to at least work out a rough "script" for the scene, including the roles and elements that will be introduced. Here are some examples of possible scripts.
S&M FANTASY #1: Sensory deprivation, bondage, sensation play
He is dominant. He will tie her up and blindfold her, then alternately tickle and sexually tease her. Some of the props include a blindfold, soft nylon ropes, a feather, a rabbit fur, an ice cube, and possibly a whip or paddle.
S&M FANTASY #2: Body worship, whipping, sexual teasing
She is dominant. He is harshly ordered to his knees, from where he must kiss and lick any part of her body that she tells him to. She will then whip him until he begs for mercy. When he finally begs for mercy, she will sexually tease him until he has an orgasm.
S&M FANTASY #3: Role-playing (principal and schoolgirl), spanking
He is dominant. He is the headmaster of a private school, and she is a naughty schoolgirl. He administers a stern lecture and an over-the-knee spanking. Props might include a ruler (great for giving a light spanking) and a cute schoolgirl costume. S&M
FANTASY #4: Gender play, whipping, sexual humiliation
She is dominant. He is cross-dressed as a young woman. She catches him borrowing her lingerie and becomes angry, denouncing him as a slut and referring to him in the female gender. She whips him soundly and calls him sexually degrading names.
S&M FANTASY #5: Role-playing (burglar and victim), rape fantasy
He is dominant. He puts on a ski mask and "breaks in" to her bedroom. He then rapes his "unwilling" partner and generally does whatever he wants, stopping only when she uses the safe word or safe signal.
S&M FANTASY #6: Role-playing (medical fantasy), submission
She is dominant. She is a doctor who must give him a complete physical exam. She pokes and prods him in various private places, and he can do nothing but submit to her. She handles his cock and balls with authority, giving him pleasure at her whim. Possible props for this scene include latex gloves and lubricant for anal play.
These are just a few examples of the S&M scenes that you can create from the ideas given here. Let your imagination be your guide.
Once you have decided to play, negotiated a scene and worked out a basic script with your partner, how do you begin? It is not always easy to make the transition from being Mr. and Ms. John and Mary Smith to playing the roles of an Amazon priestess and her temple slave. Even if you are doing a straight S&M scene as opposed to a fantasy, getting mentally and emotionally into your dominant and submissive roles can take some work. Unless you live a total S&M lifestyle, you have probably spent the day thinking of your partner as your spouse, lover or friend. Switching over to thinking of him or her as your slave, your Master or your Mistress takes some doing. Careful preparation is the key.
If you are playing out a specific fantasy, it helps to set one room such as the bedroom aside for your play. Make sure that all of the props that you will need are already in the room. Remove or temporarily hide any obvious items in the room that will detract from your fantasy. You don't have to do a complete redecoration, but if you are playing the roles of a medieval princess in a dungeon and her rescuer, you should probably at least drape a cloth over that television and VCR that is sitting on the dresser. Likewise, the Exercycle and digital scale should get put out in the hall for the time being.
If you are not playing in a fantasy world, you don't have to be quite as drastic in what you remove, but keep in mind that some things are not sexy under any circumstances. Put the dirty clothes on the floor in the hamper, make the bed with crisp, new sheets, and take the cat's litter box out to the garage for the evening. Messes are a turn-off.
You would be surprised how sexy a change of bedroom scenery can be. You don't have to put mirrors on the ceiling, but a new, erotic painting or poster for the wall or outrageous pink satin sheets on the bed might put some extra spice in your lovemaking.
Costuming is also important. A simple outfit consisting of black pants and a black sweater can be the basic backdrop for a dozen different roles, with the addition of a few simple props. If your fantasy role is that of the headmaster of a private school, try putting on an appropriately sober-looking business suit. If you are expressing the "naughty", blatantly sexual side of your nature, wear a garter belt, fishnet stockings and a bra. Keep in mind that both of these costumes can be appropriate for either sex! There is no reason that she cannot wear the business suit while he puts on the filmy lingerie. Playing with gender as well as fantasy roles can be a stimulating addition to your sexual repertoire.
To actually step into a fantasy, both of you will go into the room that you have designated for play. Discuss the final details of the scene and check the scenery for any obvious flaws (the Exercycle in the castle dungeon, et cetera). Then, one partner leaves the room for a few minutes. It is agreed that when he or she steps back in, it will be in role, and the fantasy will have begun.
STARTING AN S&M SCENE
An S&M scene can be begun in much the same way. A room is prepared for play, and the partner who is to play the submissive role is left in it for a few minutes, possibly naked or in bondage or both. When the dominant partner steps in, the mindset of the scene has already been established. The submissive partner has already had a few minutes in an appropriate setting to adjust to his or her role. The dominant partner has had time to collect his or her thoughts and decide what to do.
For more spontaneous S&M play in an ongoing relationship, it is important to develop rituals that demarcate the boundary between normal, day to day behavior and slave/Master or slave/Mistress behavior. Just as it would be inappropriate to treat your dominant or submissive partner as an equal during intense S&M or fantasy play, it is inappropriate to behave like a Maste, Mistress, or slave when you are not playing. The only exceptions to this rule are couples who are totally committed to living an S&M lifestyle twenty-four hours a day. Unless both partners are very experienced, trying to live in your dominant and submissive roles all of the time is probably a bad idea. Chances are that one or both of you will rapidly discover that the fantasy of being a total slave or a total owner is much more fun than the reality. The fantasy can end whenever either person feels like relaxing in the company of an equal partner rather than playing a game. The reality involves an awful lot of responsibility on both sides, and you don't get a break from it.
Most couples prefer to draw a sharp line between their fantasy roles and games and their interaction in real life. This is where ritual comes in handy. One possibility is to "key" the D&S behavior to an object such as a slave collar. If the submissive partner is wearing the collar, both partners are in their D&S roles until the collar comes off.
The ritual that draws the line and puts them into role is putting on the collar. The ritual may also be entirely verbal. It may be as simple as having one partner say to the other, "You are a slave." Or it may be much more complex, involving symbolic bondage or discipline as well as a verbal response. An good example of this kind of ritual is given in the previous book in this series, A Tangled Web: The Art of Slavery, available by mail from the author for $15.95.
If one partner is feeling particularly dominant or submissive for the evening, he or she might start to initiate the ritual. Unless the couple is in a fully committed D&S relationship, the other partner does retain the option of refusal. For instance, the ritual collar might normally be kept in the closet or in the couple's toy box. If either partner desires to initiate the ritual that begins dominant and submissive interaction, they might take the collar and put it on the kitchen table or in another visible spot. If the other partner also desires to play, he takes the collar and either puts it on himself or locks it around his partner's neck, depending on who will be dominant for the evening.
HOW TO PLAY QUICK REFERENCE - STARTING A SCENE
1. Using the lists given in this document, agree on the elements of an S&M scene that mutually excite you.
2. Choose a safe word that ends play or signifies that it is time for the dominant partner to ease up on what he or she is doing. If you are playing out a fantasy, you may want to decide on an additional word that temporarily allows you to exit the fantasy. A typical S&M safe word is "mercy," while any out-of-context word or cue such as "sunrise" can be used as a signal to step out of a fantasy.
3. Decide who will be dominant. Some couples prefer to switch roles, whereas some will be more comfortable in set roles. Neither is inherently "right" or "wrong", although I do recommend experimenting at least initially with both dominance and submission. There is no shame in playing the submissive role in a fantasy game, and it can be an awful lot of fun besides. Switching roles is also a good way to show your partner what you would like to do or what you want to have done to you when you switch back.
4. Put together some basic idea of what you will do in the scene. This can be anything from agreeing on a few elements ("Let's explore bondage and cross dressing") to a very complex and detailed script.
5. Prepare the room for play. Tidy it up and make it as much of an appropriate setting for your scene as you can. Gather all of the props and toys you will need to do your scene. Nothing is more annoying that not finding the toy you need at an intense moment.
6. Enact the ritual that begins play. A ritual is anything that you decide it will be, from putting on a slave collar to verbalizing the titles of your dominant and submissive roles. ("You are a slave" - "Yes, Master/Mistress.")
7. Have the most fun, sexual arousal, emotional fulfillment and thorough enjoyment that you possibly can.
Once you have gone through all of these steps and are actually playing with your partner, what do you do? There are a number of fun and enjoyable S&M activities that you can play with, such as bondage, spanking, whipping, cross dressing and anal play. Some safety tips and enjoyble techniques on these activities follow.
Bondage is probably one of the most common forms of S&M activities. It is estimated by sociologist Charles Moser that at least 10% of the population has used erotic restraint at some time or another.
The classic form of love bondage is with a silk scarf. Unfortunately, as sexy and romantic as that sounds, it is a poor choice of material. A silk scarf will tighten very easily, cutting off circulation. A much better and safer material for bondage is thick, soft nylon rope. Sold in hardware stores for .15 to .40 cents a foot depending on thickness, it is not only visually appealing, but reasonably comfortable as well. The thicker the diameter of the rope, the more comfortable the restraint will be. Any rope 5/8" or thicker is generally comfortable for bondage.
Readily available at many novelty stores are inexpensive metal handcuffs. Don't use them unless your bondage bottom is also a masochist. They cut off circulation, leave deep red marks on your wrists, and they tend to slip their notches until they are too tight. If you have a fetish for metal, invest in a good pair of police cuffs that lock into position and won't slip. Expect to pay from fifty to eighty dollars for a really good pair of police cuffs. Some specialty stores also carry metal shackles for the ankles. These are also fairly expensive ($80 or more), but worth the price if they are of good quality.
Even soft rope will tend to cut off circulation if not tied expertly. If you are not a natural Eagle Scout and do not have ready access to anyone who will teach you how to tie good bondage knots, cheat. Securely fasten soft, wide leather cuffs around the wrists and ankles of your victim. You will then find it easy to fasten these cuffs to the bedposts or to anything else that is handy, without having to worry about your partner's hands and feet turning blue.
If you are not lucky enough to own a Victorian four-poster bed, you can still make do. You can purchase four screw eyes at any local hardware store for just a few dollars. These are the things that look like screws but have large, closed hooks on one end. Make sure that the diameter of the eye is large enough to get your thick ropes through, and install them discreetly on the wooden frame of your bed. You now have a bondage device that will allow you to tie your partner spreadeagled to the bed.
In bondage, as in every other S&M activity, exercise caution. Always make sure that your partner's circulation is not being cut off by touching his or her hands and feet every few minutes. If they have grown noticeably colder, circulation is being impaired and you should loosen the bonds. Never put any kind of pressure on someone's throat with bondage or with a collar. Never leave someone unattended in bondage for more than a few minutes. If your partner's hands are tied behind his or her back, do not allow a sudden change of position that puts pressure on the arms, as it is easy to dislocate a shoulder in this position. In case of an emergency such as fire or earthquake, keep a pair of shears on hand so that you can IMMEDIATELY release someone from bondage. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
PROPS AND TOYS
Although some couples are content to play exclusively in the realm of fantasy, the appropriate toys can enhance almost any scene. In almost any large city, there are a number of specialty shops that sell an amazing variety of sex toys. However, you will find that many of the toys that you can use in an S&M scene can be found at home or in a general store for a lot less money.
You can easily assemble a collection of S&M goodies without going to any specialty stores. Toy stores frequently carry games that come with some useful goods, such as replacement ping pong paddles, handball paddles, and other such items. Most general stores carry rulers and hairbrushes, which make excellent spanking toys. Wooden spoons can also be fun to spank with, and chances are there may already be a few in your kitchen. If you are looking for a heavier paddle, try a wooden or plastic cutting board, the kind with a convenient handle on the end. If you want a good fantasy whip, try a peacock feather or a feather duster. For heavier equipment, try a tack or riding gear shop. They usually carry a good selection of leather quirts and riding crops. S&M toys do not have to be made of shiny black leather to be enjoyable.
Unless you can make your own, you will have to obtain leather cuffs and collars at a specialty store. I recommend going to a store that specializes in leather gear and S&M equipment rather than to a more typical adult bookstore. The S&M goods that they sell in most adult bookstores are usually either shoddy or overpriced or both. A good set of leather cuffs should run you between twenty and thirty dollars, or slightly more if you want them padded. A simple leather collar should cost from ten dollars to twenty dollars. Extremely complicated bondage gear is usually custom made, available only from a few specialty stores, and can run into the hundreds of dollars.
Of course, if you have the time, you can make your own set of leather toys for only a few dollars, after the initial investment in a set of good leatherworking tools. Tandy's is a chain of craft stores that specializes in leather crafting. Although they mostly cater to YMCA members and scout troops wanting to earn their merit badges, I am sure that their employees would be quite shocked if they knew how many S&M'ers owe their equipment to Tandy's.
Even if you are not a dedicated crafter, you might want to try this simple project. Go to a hardware store and have a short, thick dowel cut about 18' long and 3/4" to 1 1/4" diameter. Purchase a handful of carpet tacks as well. Depending on your tastes, obtain either a rabbit skin or some soft leather from a local craft shop. Cut the leather or fur into strips about 12" long and 1/4" to 1/2" wide. Rabbit fur will shed hair profusely when cut, so take appropriate precautions. Tack about ten to twenty of these strips onto one end of the dowel, on the outside of the dowel rather than on the end, in an even circle. When you have enough strands to make a respectable short whip, finish it by gluing a strip of leather around the end of the dowel, over the carpet tacks. Use a good leather glue, which is obtainable in most craft stores. The result will be a light, sensuous whip that you can use in any S&M or fantasy scene.
THE JOY OF SPANKING
While spanking can be a lot of fun, it is important to be able to do it enjoyably and safely. Toys used to spank with can range from leather or light balsa wood to heavy, dense wood or plastic. It is safe to use an open hand or a paddle of almost any weight on the ass. The human buttocks can take an amazing amount of punishment safely, because of the thick layer of fatty padding that occurs over the gluteus maximus. The only unsafe toys to use on the buttocks (or anywhere else, for that matter) would be anything made entirely of metal.
Metal spiked or studded paddles may be used with caution by an experienced spanker, on the buttocks only. If you break the skin, be sure to maintain sterility with the use of an antiseptic (I recommend Betadine or Hibiclens) and latex gloves, especially if you do not normally "share germs" with your partner.
The general rule is, the denser and heavier a toy is, the more potentially dangerous it is. Most of the heavier paddles are only safe for use on the ass, because of its protective layers of fat. No heavy paddles should ever be used to strike any other part of the body, because of the potential for actual injury rather than erotic pain. If you want to play with other parts of your partner's body, there are other toys that are far better suited for that purpose.
Canes, crops and cats can always be used safely on the buttocks, provided your aim is good. You can generally gauge the areas that are safe to hit by following the crease between the ass cheeks. Don't hit above it, because you will run into the kidney area, which is extremely sensitive and can put someone in the hospital if it is struck too heavily. Hit below it with caution, because you may be striking the sacrum (the human "tailbone") at an angle that can break it if you are using a heavy paddle. At the least, you will be striking in an area that does not have the protective layers of fat.
The backs of the thighs are another frequent target of a spanker's attentions. These must be spanked with caution, because even a light paddle or an open hand can cause painful muscle bruising that may leave someone limping for days. A heavy paddle or an incorrectly wielded cane or crop can actually tear or severly damage the muscle tissue, possibly causing long-term problems. The backs of the knees should never be struck with anything, because of the potential for damaging or detaching the tendons. The calves can be safely whipped with a cat or a light cane or crop, but again, you need to be careful to avoid damage to the underlying muscle. The ankles and shins cannot be struck at all, and the bottoms of the feet can be whipped with extreme care. While human feet are pretty tough and will generally take no lasting damage from a light whipping, you may render someone unable to walk without pain for a few days.
Does all of this sound scary? It should. While SM injuries are fortunately fairly rare, they do happen. A would-be dominant should definitely learn how to spank safely before doing any serious experimentation.
Once you learn how to spank safely, you are well on your way to learning how to spank enjoyably. It is actually possible to give your partner an orgasm by simply spanking him or her slowly and rhythmically, if you know what you're doing. Of course, you may not necessarily want your naughty partner to enjoy the spanking you are giving, but it's always nice to know how to reward as well as punish.
In order to deliver the most enjoyable and erotic spanking possible, you need to be able to give a good warm-up. Begin fairly lightly, especially if your partner is new to the idea of being spanked. Try to establish a steady rhythm. The ideal rhythm should be a lot like your preferred sexual one, and should allow your partner to be stimulated by the constant, rhythmical pressure of his or her genitals against your leg as you spank.
The tender area at the juncture of the thighs and ass is a good place to deliver the spanking. In addition to being quite sensitive, it is also an erogenous zone. Don't forget to intersperse your smacks with a lot of rubbing and caressing.
If your partner seems tense or inhibited, you might want to raise the level of sexual excitement by touching and stimulating his or her genitals as you spank. If a person is in a state of sexual arousal, he or she can usually take a lot more in the way of erotic pain.
My personal preference for delivering an erotic spanking is the bare hand, slightly cupped for maximum effect. While I enjoy an over the knee spanking, another favorite position of mine is to have my partner on all fours on a bed or sofa. This way, I can stand roughly parallel to his waist and really put my shoulder into the spanking. A broad, medium weight paddle of a light-grained pine or other moderately dense wood is also nice, especially when lined or covered with leather to reduce the sting a bit.
I keep a delightful paddle of burnished oak that is about an inch thick and a foot wide which I would never allow into the hands of an inexperienced spanker. I like to use it on very heavy masochists and also for a regular spanking when my arm gets tired. I just kind of lift it up and drop it over a slave's ass, and let the weight of the paddle do all the work.
Basically, anything made of leather, wood or plastic that has a broad surface is safe to spank with. Be careful when you are using toys with a small or thin striking surface, because they can concentrate a great deal of force on a small area. Stick to toys with large surface areas in proportion to their weight. Never use anything made of metal, and stay away from the parts of the body that are unsafe to spank, such as the kidneys, spine, sacrum, joint areas, and shins.
A good general rule to follow for body parts is that if it has a lot of padding, it is probably safe to spank. If you would be hitting on or near bones, tendons, or internal organs without a good layer of fat an muscle interposing, it is probably unsafe to spank.
If you want to whip your partner, be sure that you can do it safely as well as enjoyably. The classic image of an S&M whip is a blacksnake or bullwhip, ten feet of braided black leather normally used to chastise draft horses and cattle. Unfortunately, this type of whip is difficult to use safely, since your partner does not have the tough hide of a horse or cow. When a bullwhip is cracked correctly, it makes a loud snapping or popping noise. What makes this noise is the very tip of the whip actually breaking the sound barrier. Needless to say, a piece of thick leather moving at this speed can do some serious damage to tender human flesh. Unless your bottom is a serious masochist and doesn't mind lasting welts and marks, your bullwhip should probably stay hanging on the wall as a fantasy prop.
It is possible to learn to use a bullwhip safely, but practice repeatedly on the back of a chair before bringing one near your partner. If your aim is bad and you strike your partner in the face, he or she could sustain a serious eye injury. If you have had little experience with heavy whipping, you might want to attend some classes or demonstrations on the subject before actually attempting it.
You should be careful when using any whip or toy on your partner. Never strike anyone on or near the face with a whip. It is too easy to cause an eye injury or other serious damage to the face. If you want to play with your partner's face, careful open-hand slapping is the only really safe way. To slap safely, cup one side of your partner's face in one hand firmly and slap with the other hand. This helps prevent a whiplash injury to your partner's neck.
Other areas that are unsafe to strike with most whips are the kidneys, any joint area, or any area of the body such as the spine, shins or forearms where bones are close to the surface. A very soft cat o'nine tails is safe to use on these areas gently, however. A fantasy whip such as a long peacock feather, a length of silk cloth or strips of rabbit fur can be safely used almost anywhere except the face.
If you use a cat o'nine tails, which is a whip made of long strands attached to a handle, make sure that your aim is good. Before you begin to strike, measure out the length of the strands on your partner's back or ass so that the very end of the strands stop in the middle of the surface area. Don't allow the strands to fall beyond the surface area that you are striking. Even a relatively light blow can cause painful red welts if the strands are allowed to wrap around rather than fall on a flat surface area.
If you use a riding crop, make sure that you are capable of striking with the leather tip alone rather than with the entire length of the crop. Use the palm of your hand as a practice target, and you will quickly learn the trick of "snapping" the leather tip smartly. Strike only on a well-defined surface, and do not allow the tip to wrap around. A cane is a much harsher instrument, and should be used with caution. Unlike a crop, about a foot of its length is used to strike with. Like a crop, it should be used on a flat surface and not allowed to wrap around.
There are a fairly large number of men who find erotic satisfaction in dressing up in women's clothing. That really isn't too surprising, considering that in our straightlaced society, men traditionally aren't allowed to be pretty and sexy. The role of a blatantly sexual and desireable person is a liberating one to play, and it is no wonder that many men enjoy it. A man who learns to get in in touch with his feminine side can be a far better lover and partner for it.
A woman who chooses to play the role of a sexually aggressive male now and then can learn what it's like to express that side of her nature. Gender play can be very enlightening for a couple, as well as sexually exciting.
Cross dressing is a lot like okra. Most people either love it or hate it. If you think that cross dressing is a nasty furtive perversion engaged in exclusively by nasty furtive people, think again and try it sometime. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much fun you'll have.
Actually dressing up isn't always easy. It can be difficult finding sexy women's clothes and lingerie in the appropriate sizes.
The best place to go to collect a large wardrobe in your size for relatively little money is, believe it or not, a Goodwill or other thrift store. They sell a good deal of lingerie and women's clothes in the larger sizes, and none of the clerks will look twice at a man whom they assume is buying clothes for his wife or girlfriend. Official Goodwill stores always wash and disinfect the clothes thoroughly before offering them for sale. Merchandise you can purchase from other thrift stores is usually well cleaned, but you might want to wash them again anyway.
Most lingerie items range from one dollar to five dollars, dresses from fifty cents to twenty dollars, and blouses and skirts for a few dollars each. I have quite a nice selection of pretty lingerie and dresses for men in large sizes that I have bought from local Goodwill stores.
Thrift stores also sell very nice ladies' handbags, wigs, costume jewelry, and occasionally shoes big enough to fit the bigger girl. I have had less luck with purchasing shoes at these stores, since it generally takes a ladies' size ten or larger to accomodate a man.
Of course, you can always go into a department store to shop for clothes, but it is a little awkward trying them on. You might take your measurements and a measuring tape along, but that can be quite time- consuming. If you do try this, there are several measurements you will need to get. You will need to measure how big around your waist is, the length of your hip to your ankle, the length of your shoulder to your waist, how big around your chest is, how long your arms are, and the length across your shoulders. These are the `problem areas', where your body is not likely to match the lines of the manufactured garments. Even if an outfit looks like it might fit you as it hangs on the rack, it may not. You will need to either try it on or take some careful measurements.
The classic TV excuse is that of gift shopping. It is actually true that more men than women buy lingerie, especially around the holiday months. Of course, if you are trying the stuff on, it is a little more difficult to explain.
Catalog shopping is another possibility. There are some catalogs that cater exclusively to cross dressers, offering women's clothing, wigs and shoes sized to fit the big girl. Many of the more conventional catalogs, such as Frederick's or Sears, do make lingerie in larger sizes, and describe the measurements of the garments in their listings. In general, the items sold through a catalog are designed with an eye towards fitting different body shapes and styles within their size category, which may give you a better chance at finding something flattering that fits you.
Anal play can definitely be an enjoyable form of alternative sexual exploration. The novice spelunker should be aware that poking, prodding and insertion in this area should be practiced with due caution. Cleanliness should always be a concern. If you are doing finger or even fist insertion (yes, that's possible with time and lubrication), always use a latex glove and a water-soluble lubricant. Oil-based lubricants act like acid on rubber and latex, eating microscopic holes in condoms and gloves in about 40 seconds flat. If you are using a dildo one more than one person or in more than one orifice, use a condom. Change the condom before switching from anal to vaginal insertion. Wash the dildo with soap and water after each usage. Use a latex glove when you are inserting a finger into your partner's ass, even if you normally share germs with your partner. If you have even a tiny cut, scrape or hangnail on your finger, you are asking for a potentially nasty infection.
If all of this is too much for you to remember, buy two dildos per female partner and one dildo per male partner. Label them clearly, something to the effect of: "Mary - front" "Mary - back" and "George". This eliminates the necessity for water-based lubricants and condoms, though not for washing in soap and water. This goes for orifices as well as instruments, especially if oil-based lubricants such as Crisco have been used. Leaving a residue of grease inside a cunt or ass invites bacteria to breed there by the millions, so don't forget to wash up.
Probably the most important thing to remember about anal play is safety. Dildos, fingers and penises are generally safe to insert in an ass, as long as you make sure that you don't lose the object inside an ass. Old jokes notwithstanding, fingers and penises have a built-in handle in the shape of a human being which cannot get lost up an ass, making them the safest things for insertion. Wing nuts, live gerbils, dead chickens, metal spoons and most small objects are not safe things to put up your ass (or anyone else's). One would think that this should be self- evident, but a friend of mine who has spent ten years doing emergency room duty in a San Francisco hospital assures me that he has seen all of these things and more surgically removed from someone's rectum. Remember that even a small perforation inside the rectum can cause a serious case of peritonitis, and be careful about what you are inserting where.
FANTASY ROLE-PLAYING: HOW TO "CHEAT" SAFELY
It is sexy to erotically redecorate your bedroom and use new and exciting props in your play. It is also considered sexually stimulating to go to bed with many different partners.
It is fairly easy to revamp the playroom and buy a new set of leather cuffs. Unfortunately, direct sexual contact with multiple partners in this day and age is nothing short of suicidal. Although you can play safely in an S&M or fantasy way with as many people as you like, it is unwise to risk your health by going any farther sexually with more than one partner. Even if you use protection, keep in mind that condoms can break under strain. They can also have undetectable, microscopic holes in them from their manufacture or from improper storage. While water cannot visibly seep through these tiny holes, they are quite permeable to the AIDS virus as well as a host of other unpleasant STD's. Sexual monogamy is the safe and sane way to go in the 1990's.
No matter how much you love your partner, monogamy can become sexually boring. Even if you liven up your sex life with tools, toys and S&M play, doing it with the same person night after night can turn stale.
So what's a sexually adventurous person to do? I would recommend fantasy role playing. Fantasy role playing is an excellent way to "cheat" with may different sex partners while remaining physically monogamous. Role playing is subtly but powerfully different from a simple fantasy scene. Instead of playing a defined role, you create a distinct persona with his or her own quirks and personality traits.
A persona is different from a role, because you are playing a "real person" rather than a rapist, a slave, a virgin, or a business tycoon. A persona named Jane, for instance, may be a quiet and shy virgin. She works at a local library, and does not often date. She likes wearing cotton skirts and simple, schoolgirl-type outfits. Jane has a huge stuffed teddy bear that she still keeps in her room, and her favorite foods tend to be sweet things like ice cream and other desserts. With just a few sentences, we have created a distinct persona in which you can play with your partner. Keep in mind that Jane can be an alternate persona for either a man or a woman, and can be dominant or submissive.
A male persona might be named Vincent. Vincent is very macho and aggressive, and is a successful business tycoon. He enjoys the finer things in life, like cruising on his yacht. He is a playboy type, but very intense in his emotions about a woman while an affair lasts. He might be dominant, or he might secretly long to be dominated. As with Jane the demure librarian, Vincent can be the alter ego of a man or a woman.
By creating these diverse personas, you can have the thrill of going to bed with someone very different from your regular partner as often as you like. You can also take a mental "vacation" from yourself in a different persona. You may feel more free to express parts of your nature that you are more inhibited about when you are being your "real self".
THE SOCIAL SCENE: MEETING A DOMINANT WOMAN
Those who seek a regular D&S relationship can sometimes find it through regular sessions with a professional Mistress, but most men find that visits to a pro are not as emotionally satisfying as a relationship with a real, live dominant woman. Also, the cost of weekly or even monthly sessions can be prohibitive, with the average session running from $100 to $200 hourly.
Probably the best way to meet a dominant woman is through an SM social club or support group. After all, you will seldom meet your dream Mistress at the public library or even at the local singles bar. Even if you did, she is hardly likely to be dressed in her leathers. Should you approach a woman who DOES happen to be clad in leather by dropping to your knees and kissing her boots, she will likely stare at you in extreme consternation before departing quickly for her riding class. Mainstream society is picking up on a lot of S&M and leather imagery in its current fashions, and leather boots does not a dominatrix make.
How do you go about introducing yourself to a dominant woman? Even at the meeting of an SM social club, approaching a dominant female in a groveling and submissive manner can get you looked at funny. Although you are a submissive male approaching a dominant female, and you feel that you should show proper respect, she sees things differently. She wants to decide when, where and if you are going to play, and here you are initiating SM play without her active consent. Be respectful, but not groveling, in your approach.
Introduce yourself politely and respectfully. If you feel that it might be appropriate, ask her permission to call her "Mistress." Without being overtly sexual or explicit, offer yourself to her for the duration of the event for whatever she desires - fetching drinks, massaging her feet, lighting her cigarette, or anything else she might desire. You may also tell her than you are always open to serving a dominant woman, and offer her your phone number. Then, BACK OFF. There is nothing more annoying to a dominant woman than a man who tries to pressure her into playing when and where she doesn't feel like it. If you are lucky, she will use you for several small tasks during the evening. She may even call you later.
If she does call you, be ready to serve her. Rather than demanding that she cater to each one of your fantasies, as you might with a pro, submit yourself to anything safe, sane and reasonable that she might desire. You may respectfully mention that you are experienced in certain areas of SM, or that you have always fantasized about having a woman tie you up and whip your cock, but do this very carefully. If she doesn't share your particular proclivity, she may be turned off.
You might also ask what her favorite forms of SM play are, in case she has interests that you do not share. Chances are, she won't do anything too heavy to you on your `first date', and she will probably respect your stated limits. In case she doesn't, or if you feel uncomfortable telling your Mistress what she can and cannot do, you should establish a safe word.
It is important to play with a safe word, especially if you do not know your partner well. Although most members of SM organizations take advantage of their programs and lectures on SM safety and are fairly well informed on this issue, not all of them are 100% experienced, and it is wise to have a safe way to inform your partner that you are not comfortable with something she is doing.
Using the safe word indicates that one particular facet of the scene has become unbearable, whether physically or psychologically. The time to use the safe word is when the whipping becomes too intense and painful, or if she is about to give you a golden shower when you are decidedly not interested in one. The fact that there is a safe word does not mean that you should invoke it every time the spanking starts to sting a little. The more you give yourself to her, the more you make your Mistress happy, the more likely she is to call you again.
If the first scene between the two of you works, you will probably want to see this Mistress again. So who calls who? Some people would say that it is always the Mistress' place to call, since she is in charge of the relationship. I would disagree. You should call her one or two days after you have played to thank her sincerely and tell her how much you enjoyed serving her. Offer yourself once more for play, anytime she desires to use you. You may also offer to clean her house, mow her yard, or perform other menial tasks for her as a token of your appreciation.
In fact, you should be prepared for her to accept your offer of service literally. Rather than immediately deciding to engage in quasi-sexual SM play with you, she may set you to scrubbing her floors. She may or may not stand over you, whip in hand. If this is in line with your fantasies, well and good. If it is not, and all you want of a dominant woman is for her to do specific things to you while you are tied up naked in her dungeon, you are not a slave. You are a slightly kinky masochist, and you should probably stick to seeing a professional.
The male submissive needs to remember that he is not the Goddess' gift to dominant women. Quite the other way around. If he expects the privilege of being at a woman's feet, he should be prepared to earn it. Housework and other forms of slavish service should be eagerly offered as a tribute to your Mistress' superiority. After all, there are 19 other slaves waiting eagerly to take your place, and she knows it.
MEETING A SUBMISSIVE WOMAN
If you are a male dominant looking for a submissive woman, you are in for an even harder time. Most women are much more reluctant to trust a stranger to play with them if they are being submissive.
One possible way to approach a woman whom you would like to play with is by offering to switch roles in the initial play, with both of you taking turns assuming the dominant role. This might get her to trust you enough to play with you as a submissive.
As with approaching any woman, be tactful. Crude or tasteless cruising or behaving in a dominant manner before she has consented to play will not get you anywhere, even with the most submissive of women. After all, regardless of her sexual orientation, she still exercises the right to choose whom she submits to. Until she submits to you in a play situation, you have no right to treat her with anything but respect. After she agrees to play, you may unceremoniously upend her, spank her and call her a whore, if that is the game you decide to play, but certainly not until then.
Respect limits and play safe. Better yet, get a good reputation in the S&M community for respecting limits and playing safe. Experience and reputation tend to count for a lot more than age or looks in the S&M community. I have seen young, good-looking, leather-clad male dominants standing around looking wistful at an S&M party while two older gentleman got all the dominant action. The gentlemen in question were dressed fairly casually. One of them was extremely pudgy, to put it mildly, and the other was frail and slightly built. The difference between them and the younger, hot-looking male dominants was that they had been around in the community for years and had the reputation of being trustworthy, whereas the younger set were not very well known by anyone. I am not suggesting that you gain weight or dress casually for an S&M party; far from it. A good fetish wardrobe will definitely enhance your chances for play. But experience and a good reputation is more important by far.
Once you have gotten a submissive woman into a play situation, you have a delicate tightrope to walk. She obviously desires you to be dominant, but at the same time, you do not want to scare her off by being too pushy or insistent. If after the first time she submits to you, you tell her that you are going to brand her, pierce her nipples and weld a slave collar to her neck, she is going to flip. Wait until you have more of a relationship established before you push for further intimacy or commitment.
Pursuing a relationship with a submissive woman is not much different from pursuing a relationship with a straight woman. You can generally rely on the old-fashioned male role in such a relationship, with you doing the pursuing, calling, paying for dates, et cetera.
MEETING A MAN: FOR WOMEN
If you are a woman, whether dominant, submissive or switch, the answer is fairly simple. Join an S&M social club and attend the parties and meetings, and the men will typically flock to you.
Even if your body does not conform to this society's image of perfect beauty, experience and a good reputation definitely counts for a lot in the S&M community. A strong willingness to play and experiment with different scenes and different partners is considered a refreshing characteristic in a woman, and an eager "player" is always in demand at the parties.
If you are worried about the safety of playing with a number of men, you are wise. Take appropriate precautions against exchanging bodily fluids and make sure your partner knows what he is doing. If you are being submissive, you may want to set firm limits on the men you play with.
You may wish to arrange to play in a public place, such as at an S&M party. The serious S&M community is heavily self-policing, and if anyone is seen to be violating limits or playing unsafely, he or she will be stopped immediately. First-time offenders have it gently explained to them that the technique they are using is unsafe. Word spreads quickly in the S&M community about habitual offenders, and they are made unwelcome at play parties. Likewise, someone who is high or drunk is usually asked to either leave a party or to refrain from play until he or she is sober enough to play safely. Believe it or not, getting tied up at a serious S&M party is about the safest thing in the world.
What if you have explored the club scene and come to the conclusion that all the men currently attending are not your style for one reason or another? Keep in mind that although every SM group has its officers and core membersm new people are always coming and going. If you live in a large metropolitan area, chances are there is more than one SM social group in your area. If you do not, or if you have already checked out all of the open groups, you might try a discreet advertisement in an appropriate publication. Be prepared to deal with massive volumes of mail. Any woman who advertises an SM interest is bound to attract a great deal of response. Some of it will be rewarding and interesting to answer; some of it may be downright obscene or illiterate. But you certainly will have a good number of possibilities to explore.
MEETING A GAY PARTNER
Whether you are a lesbian woman or a gay man interested in SM, you should know that there is a supportive social community out there for you. Gay men in particular can usually find an evening date, if not necessarily a long-term love relationship, in one of the numerous gay leatherbars located in most large metropolitan areas. Notably,
Lesbian woman are beginning to be more public about their affiliations. Numerous quality publications have been put out by women for women, most notably the lesbian journal "On Our Backs". The personal advertisements in this publication tend to be serious and well-written, and they invite quality responses. There are some wonderful support organizations that offer social contacts for women into leather and S&M. Several are listed in the S&M Resources section of this manual. As in the heterosexual S&M community, good tops are much more rare and in demand than bottoms. A submissive, whether gay man or lesbian woman, needs to be exemplary in terms of skill, experience and good "bottom" manners in order to attract a top.
While physical appearance certainly counts, especially in certain segments of the gay male community, reputation and experience counts for at least as much. A top who wants submissives to play with is well advised to gain a reputation in his or her community for skill and safe play.
THE PROFESSIONAL SCENE: FEMALE DOMINANT
If you cannot find a willing partner to play with socially, there is always the professional scene. It has been estimated that in the active S&M scene, male submissives outnumber female dominants about 20 to 1. So what's a lonely slave to do? It isn't easy to find a Mistress to love, serve, worship and otherwise have a relationship with.
If you thumb through the pages of any local sex or swingers magazine, you can find numerous ads for the services of "Blond, busty Mistress Ilsa," "Mature, experienced dominatrix," or even "Nurse Anice Von Enema." Due to the limitations of space in these suggestive ads, you know little more about these Mistresses than their assumed name and favorite fetish. Calling these diverse Dominatrixes can be somewhat more informative, but is more frequently frustrating.
You: "Hello, I would like to speak to Nurse Anice Von Enema."
Voice on phone: "Do you know Nurse Anice?"
You: "No, I'm calling from the ad."
Voice on phone: "Maybe I can help you. Were you looking for a nurse fantasy session today?"
You: "Uh, I'm not sure yet. I'd like to talk to the Mistress....is she here?"
Voice on phone: "I'm Nurse Anice. What would you like to know?"
You: "I'd like to know more about you. Are you really dominant? I mean, there are a lot of people out there who are in it for the money."
Voice on phone: (slightly irritated) "Of course I'm dominant. Now do you want to make an appointment to see me today?"
You: "No, I mean, are you dominant in your real life? What are you like as a person? Could I get to know you? Are you for real? I mean, Anice Von Enema can't be your real name. I'd like to know more about you before I strip naked in front of you and submit myself, if you don't mind."
Voice on phone: (long pause) "Look, it sounds to me like you just want to play games over the phone. Why don't you call up a phone sex service..... I don't do phone freaks." (Click).
What happened? You, the submissive, have an understandable desire to know a little more about a woman to whom you are going to bare your most intimate fantasies and desires, not to mention your slightly out-of-shape bod. She, the Mistress, understandably believes that you're one of the numerous crank callers she gets on a daily basis.
So what's to do? In terms of seeing a professional, most submissives choose not to ask too many questions and to simply make their appointments, hoping against hope to find the perfect Mistress. They do their session with a Mistress who begins as a stranger to them, hoping to find satisfaction by having their fantasies realized.
As with anything else you spend a good deal of money on, you should shop around before deciding to do a session with a Mistress. While certain questions, or too many questions, will almost certainly annoy any professional Mistress, there are a few which are wise to ask.
First of all, does she play safe? Is she AIDS-conscious? How many years of experience does she have? Does she use a safe word? Does she do sessions under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
Second, is she active in any of the SM social clubs or organizations? You cannot ask a Mistress if she is "really interested in S&M" and expect to get a straight answer. But if she is active in the S&M social scene, it is a good indicator of a genuine interest. If her interest in S&M is limited to paying customers, this is a good way to find that out.
These questions, phrased politely, are generally not offensive to a Mistress of any caliber. You can also save yourself a lot of effort by going directly to a more specialized magazine or even the newsletter of a large SM group to seek a Mistress. Most amateurs don't even know about some of the more specialized SM publications such as Dominant Mystique or Fetish World, let alone advertise in them.
It is important to spend some time comparison shopping for a safe, sane and experienced Mistress. Many novice Mistresses use unsafe tools and techniques, and may give you a little more pain than you bargained for, or even a lot more. Whipping and genital torture, two fairly popular scenes, should never be conducted by an inexperienced Mistress. There are areas on the back, including parts of the spine and just over the kidneys, which should never be struck with a heavy instrument. Obviously, cock-and-ball torture scenes require both caution and experience to enact safely. Even basic bondage can become dangerous if done by a novice, as prolonged and tight bondage can interfere with blood circulation. Tight cock and ball bondage, if left on too long, can actually cause some of the smaller blood vessels in the penis to rupture, causing an ugly hematoma. If you've never seen a hematoma bruise on a cock, it looks like someone stuck a small, squishy bag of purple ink under the skin. Although they are not actually dangerous, they do take weeks to disappear and are hard to explain to your wife or doctor.
Safe toys include leather cuffs and collars, riding crops, paddles, and clothesline or other soft restraints. Toys that are generally unsafe include cheap metal handcuffs, dildoes used without condoms, and any whip, paddle or cane made of anything denser than wood. Canes, heavy wooden paddles, and long whips are safe only in the hands of an expert. Basically, use your common sense - don't let a mistress use any toys on you that look like they could possibly cause more pain than you are comfortable with.
THE PROFESSIONAL SCENE: MALE DOMINANT
Anything unsafe to use on you is equally unsafe to use on a professional submissive. Most professional submissives are experienced enough to subtly control the direction of a session, as well as specify the equipment that they allow used on them. They will almost always specify a safe word which they will invoke if the session gets too rough, meaning that it's time to lighten up on the spanking or whipping. Respect this safe word. A submissive may pretend to be unwilling, pleading "Oh please, Master, don't punish me" in the context of your mutual fantasy, and expect to be ignored, but when she uses the prearranged safe word, it's for real. If you don't honor it, she will holler. Many professional Mistresses and S&M houses keep a bouncer around in case customers get too rough. Even if the house you visit does not, you really don't want to make yourself unwelcome to any S&M house, since they do exchange information about troublesome clients.
Finding a professional submissive can sometimes be difficult, and presents many of the same problems as finding a professional Mistress. You do not always know how co-operative a professional submissive will be in a session. Although you should probably not expect to find someone who will allow an extremely heavy session, there are always some professional submissives in the business who are either obviously insincere or will set limits that are unreasonably stringent or both. As with a professional Mistress, affiliation with a social S&M club or support group is a good indication that she is in the business because she wants to be.
THE PROFESSIONAL SCENE: GAY
There are a few professional gay dominants in almost every large city. To my knowledge, all of them cater to gay males. Male escort or massage professionals who do some dominance at a customer's request are somewhat more common that serious gay tops, however. Unlike professional dominant women, male professionals are usually willing to have sex with their clients. It is critical to insure your safety when you are visiting one of these professionals. While there are a number of serious, reputable gay tops in whose hands you will be safe, there is an equal or larger number of men advertising as dominants who do not deserve the title. They do not play safely, they may play under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and they may carry the AIDS virus. This can be equally true of heterosexual dominants, incidentally - AIDS doesn't discriminate between gay or straight, man or woman, if you play unsafely.
The best place to find a reputable male dominant is probably through gay oriented leather magazines. Drummer and Leather Journal, both put out by Desmodeous, are excellent references for a gay S&M practicioner. It would be wise to conduct at least a brief phone interview with your potential dominant before coming in. Ask him if he is a member of any of the gay leather organizations in his area. Ask if he permits drugs or alcohol on his premises. Ask him if he is HIV-negative and health- conscious. If you do not trust his responses to these questions, don't make an appointment.
THE PROFESSIONAL SCENE: A GENERAL WORD
When you are with a professional, it is your responsibility to ensure that the play is safe. If he or she wants to play with gags, dildos, needles or urethral insertion, insist on seeing these items adequately sterilized with a bleach solution before they are used on you. Do not come into contact with any of his or her body fluids such as blood, saliva, vaginal secretions or semen. Always ask that he or she give you a safe word that allows you to end or suspend the scene should it become too much for you, or if you are the dominant, allow the submissive a safe word.
If you see any signs of drugs or drug use on the premises, get out. A dominant on drugs is not safe to play with. Also, the police are far more likely to raid an S&M house that is involved with drugs, and being on the premises during a police raid can be at best embarassing and at worst damaging to your job and reputation if you are arrested.
When you are asked to undress, make sure that you keep an eye on your clothes and possessions. Some unscrupulous dominants will lead you into another room during the session while a confederate goes through your wallet. You may find yourself becoming an involuntary tipper, or you may discover unauthorized charges on your credit card. In the worst case, you may even be subjected to blackmail attempts. It is wise to lock your wallet in the trunk of your car and bring only enough cash for the session and a reasonable tip.