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Politely Prodded: Bondage and BDSM Dungeon Etiquette - Guide to Fetish, a blog by Lux Fetish

Proper Etiquette in a BDSM Dungeon: The Do's & Dont's

So you’ve been invited to a munch and you know that you’re being vetted for a private play party, but the dungeon master just checked you for gawking at a scene without consent and there’s no alcohol to soothe your nerves.


** RECORD SCRATCH **

What is even happening? Not only are you just barely familiar with those words, but you’ve been there for 10 minutes and you’re already overwhelmed. What are the rules? What do you do? What should you not do? Preparation is key, and we’re here to help. 


Consent With Others Vs You

This is very important, don’t assume when you see others being licked, spanked, or bitten that it’s okay for you to do the same. If your partner doesn’t give you permission, DON’T DO IT. Always ask for consent before doing anything. 


If You’re Not Ready, It’s Okay to Step Aside

Chances are if it’s your first time, you may get freaked out by what’s happening if you are not ready for it. If so, don’t feel embarrassed or pressured to continue. No one will judge you for doing so. Only partake in a scene when you feel ready to do so, this will prevent you from ruining your night and possibly someone else’s. 


What Happens in a Dungeon Stays in the Dungeon

People have professional lives outside the dungeon, so don’t share anything outside the circle of trust you’ve been invited to ruin someone’s career or livelihood. Everyone in a BDSM dungeon is there to experience pleasures just like you and it’s separate from everyday life. What happens in a dungeon should stay in the dungeon. 

 

Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness

If you want to have respect in the dungeon, always clean off the equipment. A good example is when someone works out in the gym and sweats all over the bench. And the worst part, they don’t even wipe it down and you have to clean it up. Don’t be that person. Please wipe down the machines with your own towel or ask if a towel is supplied that you may use. 


Terminology in a BDSM Dungeon: Words that Matter

First, let’s go through some of the terminology you can expect to become associated with. 


MUNCH - a typically non-sexualized gathering held in a public place, like a restaurant, where people have casual conversations. The people at this munch are into or interested in BDSM so you can expect some light vetting. Munches aren’t likely to have a scene but it does happen on occasion.


VETTING - it literally means to make a critical or careful examination, but in the world of kink, vetting means figuring out who this person is, what they are into, and if you can vibe with them. Above all, it’s a process that ensures safety and involves 2 or more people comparing notes, intuition, and observations.


PLAY PARTY - this is where it goes down. An event for BDSM and sexualized play, this is where the vetting process can lead. Here you may see kink, BDSM, and other forms of sex played out. These can be held in exclusive clubs or in a private home.


DUNGEON MASTER/MISTRESS - this person helps keep an eye on things and helps the hostess. They are easily identified and can be called upon if someone’s safety is in jeopardy. They are skilled in BDSM techniques and first aid. They may also be referred to as monitors or DM and the role is not gender-specific.

SCENE - this is where BDSM activities take place, as well as what the activity itself is called. It can be a stage or a cleared space within the event, and these activities are typically both pre-planned and pre-approved.


CONSENT - permission. BDSM requires consent for safety and uses the traffic light system where green means go, yellow means slow or calm down, and red means full stop. Informed consent means you know what you are getting yourself into.


Don't Pretend Like You Don't Know the Safe Word

Safe words are in place for a reason, for you or your subs to indicate their limits. If you’re in a scene and you hear the safe word, RESPECT IT and stop immediately. This can leave you or your sub emotionally damaged and you may not be invited back to the dungeon for ignoring the safe words. BDSM is built on trust, so attend to your sub's needs to provide a pleasurable experience. 


What to Know if it’s Your First Time in a BDSM Dungeon

To learn about where munches will be, take a look at FetLife. Alternatively, if you happen to know someone in the kink scene, ask them to keep you abreast of any happenings.

Since these things happen in regular spaces, dress regularly. Munches don’t typically require kink wear, and if you get invited to one that does, and you aren’t comfortable, you can skip that one. On the other hand, play parties are where kink wear is displayed. The usual rule is to show up vanilla and change inside. 

For munches, expect to have some food and drink available – remember, they are typically at restaurants. Act how you would normally act at a party where you don’t know anyone. If you’re shy, don’t be afraid to say your name and that you’re new. Typical discussions include how familiar you are with munches, if you’re from the area, if you like the food, etc. There’s usually a person whose job it is to make sure everyone has been properly introduced to someone. Remember – safety is the name of the game and you don’t want someone lurking with no idea of who they are or where they came from. They could be completely harmless and shy, or something a little darker. Only talking to them will let you know. This is why vetting is so important and munches are where they happen.

At play parties, don’t expect any alcohol or drugs. To keep everyone safe, anything that may impair judgment is frowned upon in most cases. For a play party, the host(ess) will let you know the rules during the invite, and they should have them accessible at the event as well. As previously mentioned, the DM will be around for any help you may need. Simply come in, change clothes in the designated area, and feel free to walk around and observe. If you see something you like, ask consent before sitting and watching. However, don’t interrupt someone just to ask the question. 

DO:

  • Feel free to have conversations. Mind your volume.
  • Have a towel handy to clean spaces before and after you sit.
  • Consider your footwear. You could be standing a lot.
  • Read and heed the (literal) signs.
  • Get the DM if you need help or think someone else does.
  • Pay attention to the gear others are wearing
  • Move on after a no.

DON’T:

  • Touch anything or anyone without permission.
  • Assume a sub will sub for you. They may be taken, or simply not interested. 
  • Follow anyone around. It’s creepy.
  • Use equipment you don't understand
  • Be an equipment hog. Be mindful.
  • Interrupt.
  • Stink.
  • Expect sex.

Remember, you are being watched and vetted. If you are new to the scene, someone is paying attention to see if they would feel comfortable inviting you deeper into the scene or a personal interaction. Part of this process also includes how you act afterward. Never tell anyone about the parties. Just don’t discuss the event or the people you met. If you happen to see someone from an event while out and about, smile and keep it moving. If they want to talk, great! Just don’t talk about the event or anything that happened. 

Remember that even though getting into the BDSM scene can be intimidating, it’s meant for you to have fun, express yourself, and meet like-minded people. The rules are there to provide structure and keep everyone physically and psychologically safe. Additionally, not everyone wears their kink on their harness. Some people have very conservative presenting interactions in their everyday life so it’s important to understand that you will be meeting all kinds of people from various backgrounds. Keeping an open mind is one of the best approaches as you slide into the scene. 

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