The rampant popularity of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey has moved BDSM and fetishism from taboo to mainstream. However, the fetish community had a fairly negative reaction to this book for multiple reasons. Aside from painting the community in a negative light, the book conveys the grave misconception that any goober in possession of necktie can magically become a dungeon master overnight. The reality is that BDSM, a compound acronym for Bondage, Discipline, Dominance/
1) Stay sober
Exploring and expanding your sexual curiosities requires a careful and conscientious attitude. Drugs and alcohol will raise your pain threshold, cloud your judgment, and cause confusion regarding boundaries. If you are too inhibited to explore these fantasies without substances, you should take up stamp-collecting. This is not the hobby for you.
2) Have a frank discussion with your partner or partners BEFORE you begin your play session. Make sure everyone is clear on what all individuals are interesting in doing/not doing, avoiding at all costs, etc. Be very intent on respecting boundaries.
3) Agree on a safe word or, better yet, the traffic light system:
Red=stop everything you're doing immediately, and untie, un-gag, unshackle me, etc.
It is up to the person/people in control to check in with playmates periodically and make sure you've got the green light. For newbies, it's probably best to avoid gags, tape, masks, or anything that will restrict your partner's ability to speak. Keep a sharp knife handy if you're working with rope, and keys within reach if you're utilizing pad locks.
4) Keep your first sessions short
If this is your first time being whipped, for example, a few minutes can seem like a lifetime. Include variation, and keep the entire session to under half an hour.
5) Maintain good hygiene
Any toys used internally need to be sterilized before and after. Don't put them in more than one person or in more than one orifice, the latter being most important as it relates to back-door action. Keep your hands clean. Rubber gloves and condoms can help with double-duty without having to run to sink or reach for the rubbing alcohol every five minutes.
6) Avoid on-the-job training when it comes to potentially dangerous toys, such as whips. Do not practice on your partner. Use a pillow or other target. If you're not familiar with the art of whipping, start by purchasing a flogger, paddle, or something a bit less dangerous. It's also probably best to avoid choking/breath play, unless you really know what you're doing. Always keep in mind that there's a difference between hurting and harming. Please don't harm anyone.
7) Have a debriefing after the session
Make sure all playmates are able to express what they liked and what they didn't like. This will help custom-tailor future sessions and continue to avoid any mishaps.
8) Do your research
Employees in sex shops can instruct you on the use of toys, recommend videos, and direct you to fetish websites and communities. SM 101: A Realistic Introduction by Jay Wiseman is also a thorough and highly entertaining read.
9) Be smart when meeting people online
This should be a no-brainer, but always worth repeating. The fetish community does not consist of any more creeps than the "vanilla" community. You're just as likely to meet a weirdo on Match.com - somewhat likely. Use your best judgment, and please meet strangers in a public place for coffee and get to know them before getting naked in their dungeon. Tell a trusting friend where you'll be. Maybe even bring him or her along to watch...if you're into that sort of thing.
10) Be discreet
If you become acquainted with people in the fetish community, respect their right to privacy. They all have jobs and families just like you, and it is up to them to decide what information to divulge about their private lives. If you run into someone from your kinky world, don't thank them boisterously for the recommendation on the nipple clamps. Just nod and smile at your fellow keeper of secrets.
Valle con Dios!