Keeping Kink, Poly, and Swinging Safe
As I have mentioned several times before, I am a member on FetLife. For those not in “The Know”, FetLife is a social networking site that caters specifically to Kinksters, Fetishists, and the BDSM Lifestyle. It is NOT a dating site, although people have met and do meet new partners through the site. The intent behind FetLife is to encourage communication among members, share information about local events, and to help everybody within the BDSM Lifestyle grow. In this vein, any member can register to start a new Group, similar to the Groups on Facebook. The theme of the group can be anything; for example, one very large Group is Kinky and Geeky. Another is “Swingers” is not a bad word! There are groups for those who enjoy strap-on play; groups for those who are or like women who squirt. Groups for people under 35, or stay up late, are Polyamorous, or live in particular areas are also prevalent.
Through joining these groups and participating in the very active discussion threads — these groups operate more like the early 2000’s message boards, wherein multiple topics are used for beginning discussion threads — members can expand their social network, learn things about nearly every subject imaginable, and generally become better partners both in and out of the Kink and Fetish scenes. And, as with every other social network of note out there, members can write Journal Entries (think Facebook’s Notes) to share something outside one of the Groups. Journal Entries and pictures have a “Love This?” button similar to Facebook’s “Like” feature. Where Fetlife differs, however, is that pictures, videos, and journal entries that receive a great amount of love within a short period of time end up in the Kinky and Popular feed.
The Kinky and Popular feed is a page dedicated to the items of the day (or even time of day on a busy day) that has been clicked on the most for the “Love This” button. As expected of a site geared toward adult members, the majority of the pictures, videos, and articles are of an adult nature, and in theme with the site often have an element of Kink, Fetish, or BDSM to them. Some exquisite Shibari rope bondage work has been featured, including one woman suspended with multiple ropes stretched out to resemble angels wings. Some of the artists and models are truly majestic in their presentations. However, mixed in with all the imagery are the journal articles, and lately there has been a theme. A theme of utmost importance within not only the Fetish/BDSM Lifestyle but also among the Swinger and Poly Lifestyle. This theme is consent.
At a recent BDSM/Fetish Club Event in Philadelphia, two members were negotiating a Scene. (A Scene is when two or more people engage in any kind of BDSM activity with a specific power exchange, such a Top/Bottom or Master/slave, is engaged.) The woman, the sub, had some Hard Limits that she expressed very clearly. Hard Limits are things a person simply will not, under any circumstances, participate in during that Scene. Some people have Hard Limits that change depending on the partner. Other people have Hard Limits that are universal. I know somebody who cannot, with anybody, handle a hand on his neck, in or out of a Scene. He loses all thought processes and fights back as if his life depends on it. The woman in this Scene, however, stated very clearly that one of her Hard Limits was oral sex. Under no circumstances would she engage in oral sex. None. Off Limits, do not even go there. You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? You’re hoping I won’t, but you know. And sadly, I must.
By the time the scene was over, this woman’s Hard Limit had been violated. She had been forced to perform oral sex, and was so unaware of everything that was happening — through no fault of her own, mind you, as a good Scene will send the person on the receiving end into subspace, that space where everything becomes fuzzy and floating and the body disassociates from the pain — that when she was finally able to piece together everything that had happened, she realized that she had been violated. She had been assaulted. She had been raped. And when she brought up this fact, she was told by several people that because she did not use her SafeWord then there was no harm, no foul, she just had to suck it up and deal.
This is wrong. Absolutely wrong. It does not matter how you play, be it Swing Club or Fetish Club or a Pagan Gathering or a Nudist Resort, you do NOT. EVER. Violate the trust of the people you are with and deliberately cross over established boundaries. The general saying “No Means No” is never more clear than in a “play” setting of new people. This is why communication is absolutely of the utmost importance in any play setting, but especially in The Lifestyles.
Imagine, Swinger Friends, that you’re at a On-Premise Club, and in the middle of playing another woman joins you. Everything seems fine and dandy and everybody is hot and in the moment, and before you know it you’re fucking her. You finish, you say your goodbyes, maybe go grab a drink, and several minutes later she’s accusing her of rape because you didn’t explicitly ASK if you could fuck her. A rookie mistake, you might say, but think of how often you’ve heard of something like this happening?
BDSM Friends, imagine you’re at a Dungeon Party, and you spot a guy attached a St. Andrew’s cross who’s being flogged. He’s taking it well, and once his Scene is over you approach him and ask him if he’d like a Scene with you. He accepts, you start out well, there’s a good energy flow, and his body is shaking with the various impacts, so you take it a step further and wrap a hand around his cock as you smack his ass. He’s struggling, but that’s part of the fun, right? But once you’re done and let him go, he won’t go anywhere near you and breaks down in a corner for awhile.
In both cases, exceeding the established rules is wrong, but what’s even more incorrect and vastly inappropriate is to begin playing without establishing any rules at all. We’ve all done it at some point — I know I have — and we can often perform a Spot Check during Playtime to ask if something is acceptable or not. We can sit with new potential play partners and establish in great detail what is good, what is borderline, and what is absolutely off limits. This time is good both for establishing a good rapport but also for building up the tension for things to come. It can also save the semi-embarrassing moment later when asked to do something with which you’re uncomfortable. If everybody knows the limits beforehand, and respects those boundaries throughout, everybody will have a better time.
Keep communication flowing. Pay attention to the reactions of your partner/s. Establish firm rules before every play session. Make sure your other partner/s are on board with everything you think might happen, and if you’re unsure during play, ask again. Knowledge, as they say, is power, and when it comes to a Swing session or a Fetish Scene with somebody, the more power involved the better.
So cover your ass by knowing the rules, and respect the other person’s ass by following them. Everybody wins that way.
Stay SINful, friends.