My First Class in the Scene

So one reason I started my weekly BDSM 101 class series is that when I entered the scene I couldn’t find something similar. My intro was thru a friend of a friend who pointed me in the direction of Fetlife. I was going through a divorce, was in my early 30’s and had two young children. I didn’t know anyone in the community – nobody to show me around or introduce me to people. I remember learning to navigate through Fetlife and trying to find any classes or socials (aka munches) that I could find and could get out to. As luck (?) would have it I stumbled upon a class that was offered at a time I could go. It was a class on singletails. (Now do you understand why I use the term “luck” loosely? lol) Keep in mind I just wanted to get out and start exploring – I didn’t really care what the topic was. I hadn’t come across any 101 or beginners classes that were being taught that week. So I decided to go.

It was a smaller class – maybe 6-8 people plus the instructor. Unfortunately I can’t remember the instructor’s name. A handful of people seemed to be familiar with the topic, whips in hand, and comfortable in their chairs as we waited for class to begin. I sat next to a young man who seemed to be as equally terrified as I was. For most of the class I sat there, wide-eyed, as I watched the instructor demonstrate how to use the whip to simply catch the bottom’s hair. All the while trying to avoid eye contact with him so that I wasn’t called upon to volunteer. I’m sure he went over other exercises but much of it is a blur now. Until he got to the end of the class and started demonstrating “wrapping”. The only thing I could compare it to was the thought of Indiana Jones throwing his whip to wrap up an enemy and take them down. He asked for a volunteer to demo this “wrapping” technique. Crap – he was looking in our direction, so I did what any kind and thoughtful person would do and nudged the other newbie and encouraged him to volunteer! Lol I told him he had to tell me if it hurt. He agreed to go up. The instructor told him to hold his arms out and wrapped each of his arms. He came back to his seat and assured me there was absolutely no pain. Ok – be brave Jenn – I volunteered to give it a go.

I walked to the center of the room. I was asked to put my arms out to the side just like my new friend before me. He threw the whip and I think I closed my eyes and winced until I realized the whip circled my arms without an ounce of pain. What?! So he asked if he could do it again, but this time around my waist. Sure – I mean no biggie now right? This doesn’t hurt at all! So, with my arms still outstretched to the side, he crouched a little and threw the whip from more of a side angle. It wrapped a couple times around my waist. Then he did something I did not expect. He used the whip that was around me to pull me towards him. Holy moly. I’m sure I blushed. It was so hot! Trust me, it was not the instructor that made it hot (sorry whoever it was!) – it was the entire action of being wrapped up and controlled by this implement that had seemed so scary!

After the instructional part of class was over they set up stations with plastic sheets on the floor and lit candles. Those who were more advanced practiced putting the candles out with their whips. That was amazing and super impressive to sit back and watch.

There were a couple lessons I took away from that first class experience. One, going to classes, no matter the topic, will expose you to new knowledge as well as new people. This is why I encourage the newbies I meet to take any classes they can (mine or others). I remain friends with a couple people that were in that singletail class. Not “terrified dude” – not sure whatever happened to him. Two, implements (any implement) can be used from light to heavy and in so many different ways. I teach in my classes that it’s not the implement you should be concerned with. It’s the person using it – their skill level and intention. To this day the singletail is not at the top of my favorites list – I much prefer thuddy toys. However, I also know that in the right hands it doesn’t have to be scary.

So thank you, nameless instructor man, for the lessons I walked away with that day. I may not remember your name, but I remember the experience.

So as I have been teaching the 101 series I have gone over what should be covered (in general) when negotiating play almost every week. I decided to come up with an easy to remember acronym. They are not necessarily in order of importance, but I had to make it into a “word”! lol

Also always include ANY sexual touch in the negotiation.

NEW ACRONYM: M.A.A.T.H.S.s.

The original writing was based on how I originally taught negotiation, however, over the past several years I moved from a “no” perspective to a “yes” perspective. Meaning – instead of a new person trying to come up with all their hard and soft limits – instead coming up with what they ARE willing to do/try for that scene. Anything beyond that is considered off limits until the next negotiation. I find this is a safer and less overwhelming approach.

M – Medical
A – what is “A-ok”
A – Aftercare
T – Triggers
H – Hard Limits
S – Safe words & Sexual touch

Medical – not just obvious things like surgeries, joint issues, injuries, etc, but also things like asthma, blood sugar issues, allergies…..

“A-ok” – Rather than coming up with all things you don’t want to do – focus on what you DO want to do. Type of scene, type of play/implements, etc. Make it clear that if it isn’t discussed as a “go” then it’s a “no”.

Aftercare – this varies from person to person and possibly scene to scene with the same person.

Triggers – psychological or emotional responses that can effect the scene (usually negatively). Can be body positions, verbal triggers, implements, parts of the body, etc.

Hard limits – limits that are a no go. Not happening. Nope.

Safewords – sometimes it’s not enough to just agree that the typical “stoplight” system be used. (Note: if you are using other safewords please also inform a DM) I have found that people’s understanding or expectation of “yellow” can vary. It’s important to make sure you are on the same page.

Sexual touch – always include this even if it’s just to say that sexual touch is not allowed. If it is – be very specific. Where, with what, how, etc.

All of the above should be discussed with concern for both parties. The top may have medical issues or triggers that the bottom should be aware of, both should be on the same page as far as safewords and limits, and the top may have their own requests for aftercare!

I also like this new acronym because I often compare learning negotiation to learning math. Once you have the fundamentals down you can move on to “sexier” ways to communicate a negotiation. As a new person, however, it is important to remember the basics!
_________________________________________________________________________

You may need to add to this depending on the type of play or intensity of the scene – but this should cover all your basics.

I hope this helps!

Stepping on Landmines

Trigger warning: This article is about triggers. If this triggers you, please be advised and continue with caution.

“Trigger” is a word that is used to cover many types and severities of things that may come up during a scene on a psychological or emotional level. The tough part is that much of the time we don’t know what triggers we have until they are activated. Obviously if you know you have a trigger (or triggers) you should be communicating that with your partner.

Can Tops/D-types be triggered as well? Absolutely. It is important for both people – or all people – involved in a scene to disclose triggers that they know they have.

So let’s talk about those ones we didn’t realize were there. Those “landmines” we step on or that get stepped on that we weren’t prepared for. How they are dealt with depends on the severity of the trigger. There is a spectrum all the way from something that conjures up feelings of anger or annoyance – and not in a sexy primal way – to true PTSD, panic attack inducing triggers. Those that have the latter often get frustrated that there aren’t more words to describe triggers – since the difference in severity can be huge.

Some triggers are very minor and the person triggered can continue the scene with little to no disruption. I still would advise you discuss it with your partner after the scene – either within the same evening or a day or two after. No matter what, even if it was small, don’t leave it hanging. Your partner wants to know. An example may be perhaps they call you by a version of your name that only your parents use and it made you think of your parents in the middle of the scene and displaced your mind set. Maybe they do something that reminds you of an ex (toxic) partner. The thing they do is harmless, yet it takes you back and triggers memories of a bad situation you were in.

There are triggers that are more severe. Your partner uses an implement that your father used to beat you with as a child as punishment. You smell a perfume that your best friend also wore – a friend that you lost to a tragic car accident. There are endless examples I could use. These may require you to pause or stop the scene. Perhaps after a break you can continue the scene or begin a new scene. Use the time to let your partner know what was triggered and why. As the person who triggered them – listen to them, get them water, hold them if they need that, let them sit alone for a few minutes or take a breath outside if they need that instead. Assure them that you are not the person they associated the trigger with and that you will not repeat whatever prompted the trigger.

Then there are those triggers that cause a panic attack or severe anxiety. Perhaps your partner is a veteran and someone cracks a whip near your scene which they hear as gunfire. (Yes a person can also be triggered by things happening around them – not only their partner directly.) Maybe you put your hand to their throat which takes them back to being raped and their assailant threatened to choke them to death. Severe trauma triggers can be extremely scary – for all involved, including people surrounding your scene. The person triggered may go into an emotional outburst – crying, screaming, and/or fighting. They may start to hyperventilate or do things that can cause bodily harm to themselves or those close by. DON’T leave them alone – but do call out for someone nearby to get a DM. Many DMs will have some medical training or can at least help you to make sure people don’t get hurt – including your partner. Once they are settled enough and know where they are (sometimes they will be mentally back in that battlefield or fighting for their life and forget where they are and that they are safe) make sure they have water and maybe some food. Assess as best you can what they need. Make eye contact and assure them of who you are and that they are safe. They may need to walk outside for fresh air – go with them. If they need alone time – still make sure you can keep an eye on them. Your first priority is making sure they are safe and can get back to center emotionally and psychologically. They may or may not be ready to talk about it. You may also need to help them though the secondary embarrassment of what they’ve just displayed in a public setting. Obviously if you are doing private play this doesn’t apply. Eventually talk about it – it may be a couple days. Check in with them every day – more than once. If they have a therapist they may need to make an appointment. If they don’t have one they may want to find one. Some triggers are severe enough that they need a professional. This doesn’t mean you stop being there as a friend/play partner/lover/life partner, etc. Be a safe place for them.

I hope you never need this information, or at least not often. What we do involves risk – even the “safest” play can trigger some deep wounds. If you were the one that triggered the other person don’t blame yourself. You didn’t know you were stepping on a landmine. Take care of yourself as well. Have a trusted friend or mentor that you can debrief with too.

Triggers happen. Do your best to take care of each other and remember that the trigger is not representative of the scene or the relationship.

Top 5 List: Beginner toys/Types of play

From the title of this article you may have assumed that you would find a list of specific toys that are great for beginners. However, since I like to keep readers on their toes – that is not exactly what you are going to get. I will reference specific toys of course – but the list is written with a broader stroke of the brush. Enjoy…

  1. Hands

In my opinion your hands are the best implements you have. They are also quite convenient – no need to remember to pack them or find space for them. Although cleaning is still essential! Lol You can do so many things with them – spanking, punching, pinching, tickling, squeezing, pressure points, scratching, massage, hair pulling, face slapping….the list goes on and on! They can be used in a sensual way, for sexual touch, light to heavy, thuddy, or stingy.

2. Toys with shorter length

In general, if you are using toys that you don’t feel like you have control over or you’re having trouble with aim and precision, it could be the length. This is especially true when a toy has flexibility .When you are choosing toys look for things that aren’t as long. For floggers this could mean shorter falls, shorter handle, or both. Shorter crops or straps with more handle than body. If you already have toys that seem a bit too long then try “choking up” until it gets more comfortable. Even with standard handle floggers you can hold the top of the handle (closest to the falls) rather than the end or middle of the handle.

3. Sensation toys

Play isn’t all about impact or other implements or types of play that require more skill and practice. Use things to create different sensations. One thing that’s great is going back and forth between sadistic and pleasurable sensations. Use things like feathers, wartenberg wheels, fur, water, ice, etc. These are wonderful to use in scenes whether you are leaning on them to make up for skill level or if you are a very experienced player! A scene doesn’t need to be all about “hitting them with stuff”. For temperature play, besides using water (at different temps) and ice, you can also take toys or things made of metal and put them in the fridge so that for the scene they are nice and chilly. Just pressing them against skin that is freshly played with can create a lovely reaction!

4. Toys for impact

As you may have noticed, most of what I’ve referred to in #1 and #2 has been impact toys. Try to avoid toys that can break the skin. If you use vampire gloves for sensation – be careful about using them for impact. Knife play, single tails, and other such toys should be used with caution and only after you know what you’re doing with them.

5. Non-toy play

In addition to toys, there are many other things you can introduce in play that are not a danger at all physically, however, need to be well negotiated! Things like role play can enhance any scene no matter the implements or skill level. Consensual humiliation or beginner level fear play are also things that you can “play with” as a beginner. However, as I mentioned PLEASE negotiate these things very carefully!

Whatever you do, remember to play safely, with consent and have FUN!

Kink Weekly came across this article about discussing your involvement in BDSM with your healthcare professional. Here is a link to the article:

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/a8681393/talking-to-your-doctor-about-bdsm/

Essentially the article states that many kinksters are receiving inadequate care or not seeing their doctors when they should due to a fear of judgement when it comes to their lifestyle. Another reason the article states is that they fear that the doctor will assume their partner is abusive or that they are in a domestic violence situation.

The first step for those regularly involved in BDSM or kinky activities (sexual or not) is to try and find a doctor that is more open minded. Sometimes you can do this by getting personal referrals or looking thru doctor listings on Fetlife or the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.

Another thing to keep in mind is safety when you play. Doing your best to play in a way that will likely avoid unnecessary injury or unintended injury or marks. This can be done by playing lighter, using implements that are less likely to leave lasting marks or trying the plastic wrap method. The plastic wrap method is where you wrap the portion of the body you intend to use impact on. The bottom can still feel the impact, but marks will be less likely or lighter. (Side note – before trying this method I highly recommend some instruction by someone with experience doing plastic wrap bondage.) Another idea is being mindful of upcoming doctor appointments and either taking a break from play, or at least heavier play, as the appointment date approaches.

Regardless of these precautions you may still find yourself with some marks or possibly even injuries when you go to see your doctor. Therefore, either way it is a good idea to have a frank conversation about your BDSM involvement or kinky activities. I suggest that you either do this during your first visit with a new doctor or during a visit when you are mark and injury free. The doctor will be less likely to assume you are using it as an excuse for the marks you happen to have or that you are “covering” for an abusive partner. You can use this conversation to find out how open your doctor is as well. If their reaction is quite negative or judgmental then that may be a reason to get a referral to another physician. However, if they seem understanding and open minded then it’s one less thing to worry about moving forward.

One last thought. The vast assumption and reason why kinksters don’t open up to their healthcare providers is the fear of judgement or shaming. As you may remember if you read my article called “The Outsider”, chances are that the people you tell will be more open minded that you think. Often times people, doctors included, will surprise you. They may not only be open minded, they may also be curious! Hell, they may be kinky as well and can act as not only your doctor, but advocate too.

The bottom line is that you’re better off discussing these things with your doctor – even if it means having to find a new one – than risk not getting the care you need and deserve.

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!

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.

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!