Congratulations on making the big time! Whether you’re single or going with a partner or even as part of a group, BDSM play parties are bound to be an experience to remember. Now that you’re on the guest list, here’s some rules to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself.
Before You Attend
- Be sure the person(s) in charge of the party knows that this is your first time. They’re happy to welcome newcomers and introduce you around.
- Consider protecting your identity. Some groups recognize the need for “scene names,” nicknames just like you’d use on the Internet.
- Do not blab about the event to people not in the scene. Do not invite other people without getting the host’s OK first.
- Be sure you smell good. Never underestimate the power of dungeon play to bring out the sweat in people.
- Make arrangements for care for your children or pets; this should go without saying, but you don’t bring minors or pets to a dungeon play party.
- Bring your attendance fee in cash. Most groups will state a cash fee to be paid to the host, if in a private home, or the business if it’s a public play dungeon.
- Bring your I.D., if it’s required to sign in to a public dungeon.
- Do NOT show up nude, in leather and chains, or other outrageous outfit. Wear normal street clothes and change once you’re inside the party; all parties should have a changing area. This is particularly sensitive if you’re attending a party at someone’s home – you wouldn’t want your neighbors making a fuss about the circus of leather freaks invading their neighborhood, right? Public dungeons face constant pressure from moral guardians, so the least you can do is act normal when you’re going there.
- Do NOT show up intoxicated. Very rarely will a play party involve alcohol, but most forbid it. It goes against “safe, sane, and consensual.”
- Give some thought as to parking arrangements and respect them.
- Bring your toy bag, change of clothes, and sanitary supplies such as spray disinfectant, hand sanitizer, sanitary wipes, and so on. Even if you don’t plan on playing messy, you never know when you’ll encounter someone else who was inconsiderate and left a puddle on the spanking bench.
- If there’s some sexual contact in store, bring along your usual protection in that regard.
- Bring snacks or refreshments, if applicable. Some public businesses prefer you don’t, because they want your business, so bring money there.
- Bring a light, as in a flashlight. Dungeons tend to be dark and crowded to max capacity, and you don’t want to trip over people’s gear or fall into an orgy of oiled-up bodies unawares.
- Bring anything else you want to share. You might be someone’s hero tonight!
At the Party
- Find out first where the designated areas are for eating, drinking, smoking, being nude, playing, or engaging in sexual activity. Some play parties forbid outright sex. Respect the noise level.
- Look for your dungeon monitor, if they have an official one. They’re kind of like a lifeguard for play parties. They have some authority, too. If they say you’re not playing safe, you stop what you’re doing.
- MOST IMPORTANT: Do not disturb other people’s scenes, sessions, or play space! This is the most common newbie mistake. If you encounter a Dom flogging away a squealing lass on the cross, don’t jump in and talk to them, don’t come within range of getting hit with the whip’s backswing, and don’t touch either person. If they want you in the scene, they’ll invite you. If you want to be next on the cross, wait until the scene’s over and then ask politely.
- If a scene freaks you out, leave the room. Some people have more involved scenes. It’s not uncommon for a couple “showbiz” Doms to give demonstrations of edgy play like piercing needles, hot wax torture, fireplay, juggling knives, or whatever. Sometimes they’re even there to teach a seminar on it. Just be advised that any play going on at a play party is consensual and anybody confident enough to do it there knows what they’re doing. Don’t just charge in screaming “What are you doing to that poor man’s scrotum?”
- A word on bondage: Speaking of showbiz, a common kind of exhibit is suspension bondage. This requires heavy rope, sturdy beams, and no clumsy people staggering into the bondee hanging from the ceiling by her toes or whatever. So steer clear of swinging people.
- Do not take pictures or video, unless the subjects give you their permission.
- Respect that some power exchange couples have rules for the bottom to follow. For instance, some Masters forbid their slaves to speak to strangers. Don’t assume that someone is rude or ignoring you; they might be under orders not to interact.
- Also, expect a few people to act unusual. Some people like to roleplay as a cat, so they might be running around on all fours chasing a laser pointer. Some people need a cooldown and petting session wrapped in furs on the couch after a solid whipping. A Dom might make His submissive wear a butterfly vibrator under her panties and set it off by remote control while she’s talking to you. A male slave might be locked in a chastity belt and ordered to ask everyone at the party for the key (one random person has it) so he can go to the bathroom. Expect lots and lots of weird stuff.
- And, do interact as much as possible, given the rules above. If you’re there to play, ask around. If you have limits, state them. If it’s your first time, say so. If you’re not there to play, socialize. You’re all there sharing this intimate experience, something most people rarely get to sample. Get in the mood. Some people even volunteer to go on “wallflower patrol,” going around and talking to the shy people clinging to the corners to make sure they’re not scared and lost.
- Find your host(s) and let them know you’re ready to split.
- Clean EVERYTHING you played on! Clean up your own mess, pack up all your toys, and leave behind nothing but footprints.
- Want to be a hero? Help clean up! Especially at a private home where the party was half potluck, you can easily fill a couple trashbags with all the leftover paper plates and plastic forks. Help fish that leash somebody lost out of the swimming pool. Find out who left their thong on the stairs. Dump the ashtrays. It’s a great way to make friends while you’re at it.
After the Event
- Be sure to thank your host(s) profusely for your lovely time.
- Remember that what happens and the dungeon play party STAYS at the dungeon play party! It’s just like Fight Club; if you recognize Sam from Accounting at work tomorrow, no need to brace him about how red his butt got under that flogger last night. Just give your secret nod to each other and go about your business.
- Savor the memories!