When two people are in a power exchange dynamic, sometimes staying connected requires some creativity. These days most people are very busy. So what are some ways to maintain that feeling of connection and power exchange when vanilla life and schedules get in the way? Many of the ideas I lay out in this article can be used in different situations.

Let’s start with an example where both partners live with one another. Perhaps they are married, perhaps not. Maybe they have children. One or both of them work. If they share a home there are, for one, plenty of tasks that can be considered service. Household chores, meal preparation, keeping the kid’s schedules together, etc. Yet how can we step it up to another level of power exchange? Let’s assume for this example the s-type is home more and perhaps works part time while the D-type works a standard “9-5” job. Rather than the s-type simply folding and putting away the laundry, they fold the D-types clothes a certain way that the D-type prefers. Or perhaps they prepare something for when the D-type gets home – their favorite drink waiting next to their chair, a bath drawn, or a special “outfit” under their clothes in case the D-type feels frisky before dinner! (Maybe all three – who needs to eat? lol) If there are children at home then, of course, that needs to be considered.

Let’s then look at partners that don’t live together – with or without others. (Remember that whole poly thing?) Maybe both have demanding jobs with little time to do tasks. Here are some ideas. The night before, the D-type tells the s-type what style and/or color underwear to have on the next day. This may sound silly or trivial, however, every time that s-type uses the restroom – guess who they are going to think of? That’s right – their D-type. And the D-type knows that as well. Perhaps an addition to that is that the s-type sends a quick picture from their private stall – pic of the undergarment, a flash of skin or a sweet smile. Even if this only happens once or twice a day – that’s once or twice that both people feel connected to the other and the power exchange is reinforced.

Another idea – the D-type knows that the following day their s-type will be running errands. Their task is to wear a plug and “squeeze” at every red light. Or maybe at certain times throughout the day they must snap a pic of whatever they’re doing – with the purpose of going thru the pics the next time they are with their D-type and sharing what their day or week was like.

Remember – just because one or both of you are busy day to day, that doesn’t mean you can’t find small ways to stay connected and maintain your power exchange. You may need to get creative – and that part can be half the fun! Just don’t think you are less of an s-type simply because you aren’t available for your D-type 24/7. You are still there in your heart and as long as you make the effort, your D-type knows that.

There are a million more ideas – I have laid out some to get you started. I’d love to hear other ideas that you have used in your relationships!

I’ve written before about protocol – but this article is to go into the subject a little further. I want to talk about different levels of protocol. Low (or everyday) protocol, medium protocol, and high protocol. Keep in mind that one person’s “medium” can be another person’s “high” or someone else’s “low”. Also, some D/s relationships may choose to maintain medium or high protocols and not allow low protocol with perhaps just a few exceptions. I will describe these categories with various examples to give you a general idea of what I’m talking about.

Low/everyday Protocol

This refers to the most casual form of protocols. These may include protocols that aren’t as obvious to the vanilla world. Or being in “low protocol” may simply mean you aren’t adhering to most of your protocols with a few exceptions, like coffee service for example.

Medium Protocol

For many people in D/s relationships this may be their everyday protocol or for some it may be the protocols that they adhere to whenever they are at a kink event.

High Protocol

Typically this level of protocol is followed when attending a high protocol kink event. It also may be used for specific periods of time (eg, high protocol weekend) or specific situations (eg, hosting a high protocol dinner).

So what would this perhaps look like in reality? I’m going to use one type of protocol as an example and explain how it would be done in low vs medium vs high.

Let’s start with a fun one – bathroom protocol! Lol If this is a protocol that’s followed then the low/everyday version may be that the s-type must let the D-type know that they are using the restroom. The medium version is the one many people are more familiar with. This would be where the s-type must ask permission to use the restroom.

Wondering what the heck high protocol would look like? Some people think it may be that the s-type isn’t allowed to go to the restroom. Not quite. Typically it may look like the s-type isn’t using the restroom, when in reality they are simply having to wait for permission to use the restroom – they may not ask. This, of course, means that the D-type needs to pay close attention!

Another example would be protocol about where the s-type locates themselves around the D-type. In low protocol the s-type may be required to stand or sit to the left of their D-type. In medium protocol perhaps they must stand or sit to their left in a specific position. In high protocol perhaps there is an added protocol that the s-type always sits on the floor at the D-types’ feet whether the D-type is standing or sitting.

These are just a couple of simple examples – something to give you an idea of how protocols can be used in different ways. As I mentioned before – these are general examples, one person may treat the medium bathroom protocol as their high protocol, etc.

You can also use different collars to represent the level of protocol you’re in. For example – when in low protocol perhaps the s-type wears an everyday, or casual, collar. In medium protocol situations there may be a more traditional or fetish collar used. In high protocol the s-type may wear a fetish collar or perhaps a posture collar is used. These various collars still represent the same relationship dynamic.

Added note – in some circumstances protocols of any kind are more difficult. Vanilla settings, family functions, etc. Some people may decide to temporarily remove protocols or come up with “vanilla protocols” that represent the protocols they have in place but that are very discreet or aren’t noticeable. For example, they have a protocol in place where the s-type must ask permission to start eating. This may be viewed unfavorably by a more mainstream crowd. So, instead, they decide that the s-types way of “asking permission” is to comment about how good the meal looks/smells, etc. Then the D-types way of “giving permission” is by agreeing that the food look/smells delicious. Nobody is the wiser but the D/s couple has stuck to their protocol, under the radar.

I hope this gives a bit more insight as to how protocols can be used in different ways.

Insecurities and the Kinky Eraser

(Disclaimer: this article references stereotypical body insecurities. I am not speaking to my personal idea of beauty.)

For many of you this article may not be very relevant – that’s ok. It does, however, apply to enough people that I felt it deserved some attention. I have had many conversations with people that are coming into the scene from the vanilla world. You know how when you’re dating and you start seeing someone new who is completely different from your old partner, yet you bring along all your baggage that you either have to work thru or realize it just doesn’t apply in the new relationship? Well the phenomenon I am discussing here is kinda like that.

For this article I am honing in on body issues and sense of attractiveness. There are two areas I see this issue play out – individually and when looking for a partner. I will start with the individual. This typically effects s-types. Why? Because they are usually the ones expected to shed some clothing at parties or at least during scenes. However, many new s-types feel completely intimidated by this when they begin their journey. They can’t imagine taking off clothes in front of a room of strangers. Much of this has to do with body image as well as it just being a new situation for them. I think what happens though, eventually, is that they see many others stripping down and they realize that almost nobody has a “perfect” body. And guess what? They also observe that those people aren’t ridiculed for it! This is something you just don’t see as much in the vanilla world. In the vanilla world, people get made fun of for every little flaw. No wonder people are intimidated by the thought of getting naked (or close to it) in the midst of a crowd. In the kink community not only are they not teased, but there is usually a lot of support and compliments given where the focus is the outfit, the shoes, the glittery eyeshadow, or the scene itself. Eventually I see most of these same people who started off feeling intimidated and insecure about showing more skin – taking it off (or at least more of it) a few months (give or take) later.

This issue also comes up when looking for a partner. This can go for everyone – newbies no matter what side of the slash. They come in thinking nobody will want them because they’re “too fat” or not attractive enough. Now I understand these insecurities (along with many more I just haven’t listed) are everywhere and certainly prevalent in the vanilla dating circles. Heck – there are dating apps solely based on matching due to how you look!

Here’s the thing – this is my theory as to why people have to adjust their baggage – or just toss it in the garbage when they enter the scene. In general, kinksters are looking beyond physical attributes – and/or looking at physical features completely differently. Have a big butt? Perfect for spanking. Broad shoulders like a linebacker? Fantastic for flogging. Large nipples? Hand over the clothespins. A bit fluffy and not stereotypically attractive but can throw a flogger? Line up the s-types! Do you get what I’m trying to say? Also, beyond play I think when people are looking for a connection, especially a D/s relationship, they are more drawn in by the strength of the dynamic than the other person’s physique. If you initially find someone who is “hot” but the dynamic pull just isn’t there – the attraction can fizzle. Vice versa, the dynamic pull can be so strong that the physical attraction simply follows. Can there be both? Of course! The point is that people walk into this scene with baggage and insecurities and it’s great to watch them slowly drop those societal expectations – even if it takes a little time. Kink is certainly more than skin deep.

Meta-communication or metacommunication, is a secondary communication (including indirect cues) about how a piece of information is meant to be interpreted. It is based on idea that the same message accompanied by different meta-communication can mean something entirely different, including its opposite, as in irony. The term was brought to prominence by Gregory Bateson to refer to “communication about communication”, which he expanded to: “all exchanged cues and propositions about (a) codification and (b) relationship between the communicators”. Metacommunication may or may not be congruent, supportive or contradictory of that verbal communication. (definition by Wikipedia, 2017)

Most people understand that a healthy relationship is chock full of good communication. If there is a problem or issue – to be able to sit down and discuss the issue, each partner expressing their viewpoint and opinion, and finding a resolution. This is a wonderful skill to have and it certainly helps a relationship flourish and move forward.

However, an additional skill that often gets overlooked is the ability to have communication about how you each communicate. Sometimes the way we communicate can get in the way of finding solutions to problems. I often find myself in my therapy practice walking couples thru their communication styles (often how they differ) in order for them to be able to focus on the actual problem.

Here’s a very common example of what I’m talking about. A couple has a fight or a problem that comes to the surface. (Going heteronormative here – bear with me) The male partner (I will call him “Steve”) says he needs some air and walks out and drives away. The female partner (I will call her “Linda”) gets even more angry and frustrated – running after Steve and yelling things like, “Oh sure just ignore me and leave like you always do!” She continues to sit at home stewing in anger. Meanwhile Steve is frustrated by Linda following him and screaming. He just knows he needs some time and is frustrated with her that she wants to push the issue right then and there.

Sound familiar? This is a scenario that happens a lot. So now what’s happened is that there is another layer of anger and fighting just about how each partner handled the argument. Perhaps when Steve comes back home there is a whole new fight about him leaving on top of the original issue.

This is a common manifestation when two people process differently. It’s an easy thing to fix once you have a conversation (with empathy) about it. What Steve and Linda will find is that Steve is the type of person who needs time after an argument (or maybe during if it’s really heated) to be alone in order to process and think about the presenting problem. He may also need that time to calm down if he tends to get heated and less logical when emotionally flooded. Linda, on the other hand, is the kind of person who processes in the moment and prefers to deal with issues head on until they are resolved. Taking a “break” feels extremely frustrating and when Steve would just walk away (before she understood why) it felt to her like he didn’t care.

Once both partners learn that they are different in how they process conflict – the hope is that they will no longer take it so personally and will be more empathetic to their partner’s needs, even though their needs are different. So if you and your partner seem to handle things in different ways or there is misinterpretation regarding how things are handled – talk about it. Have some communication about how you communicate. While it may sound like a lot of work or overwhelming – it is something that in the long run will be extremely beneficial to your relationship.

Subspace. We’ve all heard of it and some of us have experienced it. If you are unfamiliar with what it is I highly suggest you read my article about it at kinkweekly or you can ask your friend google. However, I get asked in class when I speak to subspace if there is an equivalent for D-types. Yes, there is such a thing as Topspace or Dom(me)space. However, this is something you hear much less about. Not only do you hear less about it, but it also seems to occur less often than subspace. Why is that? I have a theory.

This theory is my own personal opinion based on what I know of subspace and having experienced Top-space as well. Have I gone out and researched it? Nope. Have I interviewed 100 D-types about it looking for common threads? Nope. So take this for what it’s worth and, if you’re really interested, do more research. If you do, and find more interesting tidbits – please leave them in the comment section below!

Ok, so let’s use subspace as a starting point. In general, subspace refers to an s-type’s reaction to various chemicals being released in their system. The closest vanilla activity I can compare it to is a runner’s high. In both scenarios the individual is pushing past, or through, a painful sensation – allowing the aforementioned chemicals (adrenaline, endorphins, etc.) to kick in. These chemicals give a natural high feeling and increase pain tolerance. If you have experienced either you know that you also have to allow yourself to relax into, or give into, this chemical change in your body in order to feel the full effects. As I mentioned in my previous article about subspace, everyone experiences it differently.

So with that subspace refresher, here is why I think Topspace is more difficult for people to achieve. When you’re Topping you are focused on numerous things – where you want the scene to go, how your bottom is doing, which implement you’re using, your aim, your surroundings, etc. When you are that focused and “in your head”, it is much more difficult to let go, or “give in”, to the chemicals being released. You may still have endorphins and adrenaline pumping through your system, however, there is a huge psychological component to achieving Topspace. For a runner if all you keep focusing on are the components of running – how tight your shoes are, worry about a lace coming undone, the pain in your right knee, concern about which direction you’re headed or if you’ll become lost on your trail, etc – you won’t ever allow yourself to get out of your head and give in to that runner’s high. The act of running has to become second nature so that you aren’t thinking about it anymore. That’s when you can start to “fly”, so to speak.

This is why I typically hear of D-types who have a lot of experience speaking of getting “spacey”. They have enough experience to where what they are doing is second nature. Flogging, spanking, or whatever they love just comes naturally and they don’t have to think very much about what they’re doing. They can let go and allow those chemicals to take over and feel all floaty after a scene just like s-types.

I think it takes a long time, and/or a lot of experience to get to the point that a D-type can get there, for their play to really become second nature – which is why we hear of it less often than subspace. It’s like getting in your car and arriving home, not remembering the drive. Because driving and your route home have become something you no longer have to consciously think about. Once a Top can say that about their play, they are much more likely to experience Topspace.

Honest Communication – say what you mean and mean what you say

You’ve seen the memes that list it and perhaps heard the stand-up comedians joke about it.

You can search for “things women say and what they really mean” and find a ton of pages and links.

Here’s a list from http://www.lifebuzz.com/9-phrases/ that cover most of my “favorites”:

#1. Fine. This is the word used to end an argument when she is right and you better shut up. Don’t even say another word!

#2. Nothing. If you ask her what’s wrong and she says nothing, then something is definitely wrong. Stay on your toes. Many arguments can start over “nothing” and then end with “fine.” Refer to #1.

Note: If she says “no really, there’s nothing wrong” then she really means there’s nothing wrong.

#3. Loud sigh. This is a non-verbal hint that you are being an idiot and she’s wondering why you are wasting time standing there and arguing about “nothing.” Refer to #2.

#4. Go ahead. This is like a double dare and it’s definitely not permission. She wants you to make the right decision, so rethink what you are about to do!

#5. Don’t worry about it, I got it. This means she’s asked you to do something several times and you didn’t so now she’s doing it herself. Uh-oh! This may result in you asking her later “what’s wrong” to which she will most likely respond “nothing.” Refer to #2.

#6. That’s okay. This is a very dangerous warning signal. She’s will be thinking long and hard about how you will pay for what you did.

#7. Five minutes. If she is getting ready this could mean 15-40 minutes, results may vary. But if you are watching the game, 5 minutes is exactly 300 seconds.

#8. Whatever. This means go to hell. You’re in big trouble! You may even feel a chill in the air.

#9. Thanks. She is thanking you. Don’t even question it, just say you’re welcome. But if she says “thanks A LOT” then that’s meant as sarcasm and you should definitely not say “you’re welcome” then she will reply with “whatever.” Refer to #8.

Now – there’s a reason people joke about this – from a distance it comes across as something funny that we see in sitcoms. We laugh because, unfortunately, many of us can relate. Whether it’s because we have used this language ourselves or heard it from our partner or former partners.

I have a plea…… STOP!

This language, by the way, can be used by anyone. Women do not own the market on this. If you use this language please examine what you’re doing and how it aids in your relationship and communication with your partner. (I’m guessing in an unhealthy or destructive ways.) If you’re not happy about something then say that. If you’re not ok with your partner doing x, y, or z be honest about it – don’t tell them “it’s ok” then berate and “punish” them later. It’s not fair and it’s not honest. It creates a trust issue as well. I have, personally, had to unravel partner’s belief systems that were influenced by their past relationships. I would tell them I was ok with x, y, and z and they literally didn’t believe me! I had to slowly prove to them that what I said was what I meant. This should not be a foreign concept.

Please stop playing games. Communicate with compassion and curiosity – it will get you much further.

We Are Human First

This article is about consent and negotiation and mistakes and hindsight. It’s about personal responsibility and compassion.

There are reasons I don’t do pick up play and why I like to be at least friends with someone before I do a scene with them. When you play as a bottom you are trusting someone with your physical, mental, and emotional well-being for a certain amount of time. When you play as a Top you are trusting another person to be honest with you up front and not vilify you if you make a mistake. Notice the running theme? TRUST. Now, if you are just starting to play and have just met that person or have only known them a short time, then a whole lot of trust isn’t necessarily there yet. This is why it’s not recommended that you do heavy scenes or attempt to push boundaries and limits with someone in the beginning. You should be developing more trust first.

So what should you trust about a new play partner? Well, as a bottom you should hopefully be able to trust that your Top has good intentions and is looking to play with you in a safe way while adhering to the limits that you have stated during negotiation. That they are not looking to take advantage of you or do things that weren’t discussed just because “well you didn’t say I couldn’t”. (This is also why I teach newbies to negotiate from an “I want to start with just doing x, y, and z” position rather than trying to think of all the things they don’t want to do.) As a Top you should be able to trust that the bottom has disclosed whatever medical issues, triggers, etc that they are aware of, along with things that may be unique to them as a player. For example, bottoms – if when you go into subspace you are barely aware of your surroundings or what year it is, this is something the Top should be made aware of!

However, guess what? Even after all that things can go wrong. The bottom may have forgotten to disclose something. The Top may have briefly had a brain fart regarding one of the bottom’s limits. The bottom may have been triggered by something they didn’t realize they would be triggered by. The Top may have done something that wasn’t spelled out in negotiations (not talking about major stuff). But remember, scenes are supposed to be fun. Especially with a new partner who is likely not to go too “deep” or too far in play the first time. Not everything will be spelled out in the negotiation – it’s not possible. Or, if possible, it would probably be a very boring, predictable scene.

So what do you do about that? Well, for starters, choose to play with people you can have a conversation with. I’m talking about a conversation beyond the negotiation. If these things happen (which they will) don’t jump to anger and blaming the other person. Start with personal responsibility. Look in the mirror and ask yourself what part of that do you hold accountability for? Acknowledge this to your partner. Hopefully they will acknowledge their part of whatever happened as well. TALK about the little things that happened and assume it was not born from manipulation or ill intent. Are some people douche-nozzles? Absolutely. However, most people aren’t looking to hurt you or create a bad reputation for themselves. Most people are doing the best they can or the best they know how to do. So talk about the scene. Make adjustments in your future negotiations if need be.

Just remember when you strip away the titles and the power exchange – we are all just human first.

My First Play Party

I get asked by friends all the time, “Jenn, don’t you get tired of teaching the same basic stuff over and over?”

To that I say no. The reason I don’t get tired of what I do is for many reasons. I am giving info and providing opportunities that I wished I’d had when I was new, seeing people discover new things makes my heart super happy, and staying in touch with new folks week after week keeps me in touch with when I was new. I think it’s important to remember what that was like – otherwise it’s easy to become jaded, frustrated and even judgmental. What becomes second nature or common knowledge to us is often foreign to a new person. There is a learning curve here.

So having said all that I wanted to go back to my first ever public play party.

When I started in the scene I went to classes and munches and spent much of my time in the rope world and the spanko world. I got involved with a spanko group (which still exists) that, at that time, consisted of private parties in the group leader’s residence. Then one of the members of that group hosted a spanko party at a dungeon. I decided this would be a safe entry into the dungeon play party world because at least I would know a few people. This party happened to be held at a well-known dungeon in North Orange County here in SoCal.

I pulled into the parking lot in my family size SUV and I just sat there for a while. The address I punched into my Garmin took me to an industrial business type building so I had to double check my GPS like 25 times to make sure I wasn’t in the wrong place. Then I noticed people starting to arrive. I scoured their clothing and noticed that most of the women were wearing things like sundresses or flowy knee length skirts! I panicked. I looked down at my tight denim mini skirt and 6 inch stilettos and I immediately doubted my choice of outfit! Would I stand out like a sore thumb? Had I worn the wrong thing? Before I let myself give in to the panic and just drive home, I decided to text the one person who I knew was at the party and that I actually had a number for. (It happened to be the leader of the group at the time.) I told him I was parked outside and afraid I’d dressed inappropriately. I asked him to please come out to my car and tell me if I was right. (yes, he was nice enough to leave the party and come out to calm my fears) He laughed on his way to the car, shaking his head, and once he saw my outfit he assured me I would be completely ok. He walked me in and we went inside to where the party was happening.

The first thing I did was make a friend – a cute girl in pigtails and a cheerleading outfit – because at least she was another person not in a casual sundress! She and I sat and hung out and I realized that there was a reason for all those sundresses and flowy skirts. This was a spanko party and they were easy to flip up!! Lol Oh was I relieved! It wasn’t about a dress code or what outfit was appropriate, it was just easier access for what they were there to do!

After that realization I relaxed, met more people, including some from a class I’d been in a couple weeks before, and had a good time. There is more to the story but I covered the point of this article. Your first public play party can be scary and overwhelming. It’s ok to admit that and to reach out to a friendly face. It’s also good for veterans of the scene to remember this if you are the one they reach out to!

 

So many closets, so little time.  Well, ok, only two closets, however, I’ve had to come out of them again and again.

When you hear that someone “came out of the closet” you may think, “Good for them, it’s a big step and now they don’t have to worry about it anymore.”  What people may not realize is that once you come out – that’s just the FIRST time.  Essentially you have to come out every time you meet someone new or run into an old friend or family member who perhaps wasn’t around when you made the big announcement.  (That’s how everyone comes out by the way – big loudspeaker type pronouncement over the radio or in a stadium.)

Every time you tell someone new, you run the same risk you did the first time.  Will they react positively or with criticism?  Will your relationship with them change after this conversation?

When I came out the first time it was at the age of 17 and I came out to my friends as bisexual.  (FYI – this is still how I identify – I know – SHOCKER – it wasn’t just a phase…..)  I am proud to say I have wonderful friends who totally accepted me and had no issue.  I got involved with my LGBT group on my college campus and dated the only other bisexual girl in the group because the lesbians wanted nothing to do with us.  (That’s a topic for another day)  Fortunately she was just my type and we had a nice time together.  It was, however, a short romance and pretty soon after we broke up I started dating the man I would eventually marry.

Fast forward 15 years, marriage, two kids and one divorce later.  Time to get back out into the dating pool.  I cast out my net to any and all on the typical dating sites.  Met a few great people – not great matches however.  Then I met a woman – an amazing woman.  We dated for a couple years with some bumps in the road.  However, it was a serious relationship and I felt that it was time to come out to my parents.  Until this point I was “relatively out” – meaning I was out to everyone except my relatives!

So there I was, in my 30’s, coming out to my parents.  Thankfully they are both totally supportive.  My dad thought perhaps it was a post-divorce phase until I explained that she was not my first female partner.

So then there was the kink/BDSM closet that I had newly discovered as I was going thru my divorce.  For many people kink is something they do in the bedroom and they never feel the need to “come out” about it.  However, for me it wasn’t only my lifestyle, it was also my job.  Only a couple years into the scene I worked as a pro-sub and then a pro-Switch.  I eventually felt the pressure to open up to my mom because she kept asking so many questions about my new job in “customer service”.  Nice cover, right?  Fortunately it coincided with the 50 Shades trilogy and my mom happened to be reading the first one.  I used that to come out to her.  Her biggest concern was my safety and my happiness.  I assured her that I was both safe and happy.  She was supportive.  She has even attended one of my classes to try and gain more of an understanding – which I thought was super awesome of her!

Shortly thereafter I told my dad and he was accepting as well.  All of my friends know and I’m not shy talking about it with new friends I meet.  I am a bit more cautious with friends connected to my kids.  However, if you read my article titled The Outsider, you will see I didn’t have much to worry about.

I know that many people don’t feel they can come out about their orientation, their BDSM lifestyle, or perhaps both.  They may fear family shame, ridicule, or job loss.  As for me I feel extremely fortunate to be able to live my life openly.

I am at the point now in my life (perhaps some of it just comes with age) where I figure if you don’t accept me (and all that I am) then I don’t need you in my life.  If you want to know more, however, just ask and I will answer any question you have!

I come out of two closets again and again….and I’m proud of both!

“Consent is key.”  People in the scene say this all the time.  This is because it’s true.  Consent is what separates responsible BDSM and abuse.  I can, unfortunately, give several examples of consent violation that I’ve witnessed or experienced personally.  I’d be willing to bet that anyone in the scene longer than a week can say the same. (ok that may be a bit of an exaggeration – but not by much)  Someone walking over and picking up someone else’s toy without asking – better yet picking it up and then using it.  A D-type grabbing an s-type by their hair who doesn’t belong to them.  Someone being asked to help in a scene by holding the s-types leg, then they proceed to let their fingers wander to places they had no right to touch.  An s-type starting to worship a D-type’s boots when the D-type is in the middle of play and has not been asked to join.

Those were all examples that I witnessed or was connected to in some way.  That was by no means a complete list.  These things are simply not ok.  Period.  Ever.  It seems as if this type of behavior has increased a bit recently.  I have a couple theories as to why.  Now, my theories don’t explain all incidences obviously.  Heck, my theories may be totally off.  They come from my own observations and experiences.  Also, some people are just asshats – that has been, and will probably always account for, some percentage of the problem.

Theory number 1: It’s a new generation of kinksters.  Rules, protocol, old tradition, etc. have been watered down.  The next gen is doing it differently.  This is fine and, regardless of my opinion about it, is the way life goes.  Yet with that has also come a more “casual kink” mentality. We’ve also had many new people arrive into the community after being exposed to pop culture representations of how they think things are – which is not even close to reality.

Theory number 2: It used to be that the kink and swinger communities were fairly separate from one another – with very little overlap.  However, with the further acceptance of kink and the growing curiosities about it, it seems that overlap is growing quickly.  I am going to make a generalization here – so please don’t jump down my throat telling me this doesn’t apply to all swingers.  Disclaimer: I realize that this theory does NOT speak to ALL swingers – or perhaps even most.  However, based on, again, my observations and personal experiences it would seem that consent is dealt with very differently in these two communities.  From my perspective in the swinger scene, consent is assumed until it is removed – while in the kink scene, consent is not assumed until given.  This difference can, and does, easily contribute to at least a portion of the rise in consent violation. (Again, in my opinion.)

Then there are the aforementioned asshats.

In all cases I think education is the key.  Whether that means suggesting people go to classes or if one-by-one we find “teachable moments” to pass down the knowledge we possess if we are more seasoned kinksters.  I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially if they’re new, that they don’t know any better.  However, if they continue to cross boundaries and ignore consent expectations then that’s where behavior is no longer tolerated.

So, if you’re new – educate yourself.  Go to classes, ask questions.  If you’re not new, try to find ways to kindly pass down the knowledge you have.  Consent is key.