How Do I Safely Enter The BDSM Scene When I Move To A New Town?

Dear Thalia,

I recently moved to the Bay area from a small town on the east coast to teach dance.

I'm 32 and have dated older butch women exclusively since college, when I came out and I'm a total femme. I'm starting to experiment with the BDSM scene, leather etc.

What advice would you have for me to stay safe as I explore the BDSM scene in my new town?

Sincerely,

All Tied Up


Dear Tied:

Thank you for your question and let me commend you for your courage to explore your fantasies and your maturity to be concerned with safety.

All consensual sex comes with a certain amount of risk. You are placing yourself in a physically and emotionally vulnerable position.  And that is true in BDSM play whether you are a top or a bottom. The more intimately you know your partner outside of the bedroom, the less risk you will be taking in the bedroom.

Sex and finance have some similarities in this context. In finance we are taught that the greater the risk, the greater the reward, or at least the potential for reward. Likewise, the greater the anonymity between you and your partner and the more intense your BDSM scenes, the greater the potential thrill or rush.

But just like the investor assesses her risk profile, so must you search your soul for your own balance between risk and reward. And then within the boundaries of your risk tolerance, do your homework.

Most people who engage in BDSM, particularly outside of a committed relationship, follow some rules.

  1. Never oversell your level of expertise.
  2. Never engage in a BDSM scene when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  3. Never enter a BDSM scene without first negotiating the boundaries and agreeing to a safe word.
  4. Never take unnecessary risk.
  5. Always seek references from trusted friends and advisors before entering a BDSM scene with a partner you don't know well.
  6. Always make sure your trusted friends and advisors know where you will be during a BDSM scene and when you expect to be finished.  Make certain you can be reached at all times.
  7. Always make sure you are engaging in a healthy BDSM experience and are not in an abusive situation.

In many larger cities, you will generally find BDSM organizations.  Since you are new to the Bay area, if you haven't already reached out to these organizations, I urge you to do so.  In addition to being a resource for references, they also conduct workshops and educational events.