All questions will be anonymized and answered publicly on this page unless the questioner specifically requests otherwise. No real names or other identifying information will appear in the column or be made public at any time.


May 8, 2000

I have never seen the term 'complete surrender' defined in any BDSM or D/s book or online site. I am wondering if complete surrender is something that is to emanate from the submissive or is it more likely for the Dom to request/require it of his submissive....and how soon into the relationship is usual? I suppose I will show my real ignorance and ask if it is usually the same act or different for each pairing? Thanks for the information.


subaltern answers:

You're very welcome!

This is not a term that I have ever seen before in a D/s context. As a matter of fact, I'm unsure of exactly what it means. So I guess, to answer the second part of your question, I would think that "complete surrender", like "edgeplay", very much depends on what the term means to you, and would almost by necessity have different parameters for each person. Certainly I know of no due date for complete surrender, after which you have to forfeit your submissive card :).

To me the important part of your question seems to be "is this (surrender) something that has to come from my heart, or is it something that ought to be there when it's demanded". My answer to that would be that it's something you have to be ready to give. If you're feeling pushed by someone who is demanding "more surrender" before you're ready to give them more, you should try to communicate that unreadiness to them. The domly ones aren't necessarily mind readers, and this person may not know that you're not ready. S/he should understand that you might need time, and be sensitive about not making you feel pushed or rushed once you've let them know that's how you feel.



I'm wondering where you got the term.  I've only seen it in Harlequin Romance novels *g*.  But then again, I haven't met / played with everyone or every group in the world.  My guess is that some might use it to describe a 24/7 'no-safeword' relationship.  I share subaltern's concerns to a degree.  If this is being put forth to you as the 'degree of submission' that you need to give, or being told that being a 'True Submissive' means 'complete surrender', then RUN, don't walk away from that person. I mean, it's a nice fantasy, and great as far as that goes.  If your preference is some sort of alternate-world role play, then I can see a place for that kind of concept.  Or, as I mentioned above, in a committed full-time D/s  relationship one could make a case for 'complete surrender'. Our relationship is something along that line. Subaltern is free to disagree with my choices, and I expect that she will have the gumption to voice her opinions and to provide me with viewpoints that might not occur to me, but in the end, I make decisions and she (usually QUITE gracefully) acquiesces and life goes on.  In that sense, you could use the term.  But this didn't come easily or quickly, nor should you (or anyone you play with) expect it to come freely or easily. Tons and tons of communication leading to a really good understanding of what you and your partner expect, need, and desire will be required.




May 4, 2000

question=Hi, I'm new to this and doing a lot of reading and I came across something that mentioned a "confessional ritual".  Well I understand what it sounds like, but what is it?  Where can I find out what the ritual is?

subaltern answers: best to answer this? It's at once simpler and more complicated than just telling you "take one slave, add incense, &c.". What I mean to say is, there's no such thing as a canon of rituals you have to know about Before You Can Do It Right. That doesn't mean that there is no group in existence that has a ritual of that name, specifically tailored to their beliefs and style of d/s practice. I'm sure there probably is at least one. I'm sure there are individuals who have their own, as well. But do you need to know their specific rules unless you are them? I guess what I'm saying is, there is no one ritual by this name with specific rules, that must be done a specific way, by everyone. This isn't something you have to know or be doomed to be laughed at or thought of as a poser, so no need to worry :). My advice would be, since you seem to be at least a little intrigued by the idea, and you have some idea what it could potentially consist of, to create one for yourself and partner (or partners) that's meaningful to you.


HWMBO adds:

As with a LOT of the fun things we find to play with in our world, there is no One True Way to enact a scene like this.  What I have seen, though, is that this is quite often used in conjunction with a scene that is endowed with other 'religious' overtones, such as a priest/penitent or altar boy(girl), or a nun/Catholic schoolboy scenario.  Some folks I know have used this as a type of catharsis or trial-by-fire method of confronting and banishing a traumatic memory from their childhood, others have played with it because the sheer perversity appeals to them. Whatever the driving factor, whatever the underlying emotions and symbolisms, they can work to create a very intense and touching experience for both the 'confessor' and the 'penitent'.

The drama of having 'the truth' extracted either painfully, or in a humiliating manner, the carefully positioned 'inner conflict' of wanting to 'come clean', while trying to avoid the punishments, these can hit buttons that all of us have, to one degree or another. I would not be terribly surprised to learn of folks using this scenario as an ongoing part of 'personae' that they have adopted for their play.

Although I don't know any who do this, I can see where it would fit into the overall scheme for "Gorean" type players, or the like. If, by chance, you have heard this is a context where the people are Very Serious about The Lifestyle, and this is one of their cherished mechanisms, then you may want to tread lightly around them.  Those whom I call "One True Way-ers" get rather testy when they sense that someone else doesn't share their view.  Almost like religious fanatics, but without the degree of justification for it.  If it works for you, great!  If it works for someone else but not for you... Great for them!

Otherwise, let your imagination run wild, and hey!  Have Fun Out There!




June 22, 1999

Dear Sir and subaltern:

Potsylvania? God I've needed Natasha since I was a kid of 22. All fooling aside, in my last few years I've developed an anal problem so that I may no longer enjoy anal sex without bleeding from a hemorrhoid. Anything I can use to make me more "elastic"?

subaltern answers:

I hate to be a grinch, but (and you know this too), if you're bleeding from anal sex, you've got a more serious problem than we're qualified to tackle in this forum. We're not medical professionals.

As if that weren't bad enough........*grin*

I did do some reading and research. Basically, what I gathered from reading was that the anal sphincter can't really take being permanently "elasticized" beyond the certain minor degree it already has been from repeated penetration. If the sphincter actually became permanently "loose", you'd have a much bigger problem on your hands than hemorrhoids!

What I'd say is see a doctor. If you're uncomfortable talking to your regular doctor about these questions, there is a webpage called "Kink Aware Professionals" that you should probably have a look at- it might very well list someone in your area (there are also therapists, lawyers, etc. listed- it's an invaluable resource).

HeWho adds:

What she said. I'd go a step further, though. Hemorrhoids are treatable, so get it/them taken care of. This isn't a kink question, per se, it's a simple health issue. You can't be a responsible 'playmate' if you don't TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!! Your difficulty isn't the elasticity of your back door, and an India rubber opening won't fix the problem. Take some time 'off', see a Doctor and -follow his/her advice-, rest the area, and then work your way back into playing condition :). If you're grown up enough to decide to have sex, then you -ought- to be mature enough to realize that good things are worth waiting for. ciao!




April 12, 1999

Dear Sir and subaltern:

I've met an avowedly "excellent submissive" online, who sought a"most firm yet loving master." I responded vaguely--that I was "ready to state my requests..." and we've hit it off. My question...other than being very direct, a bit dramatically forceful, and continuing to find out what kind of play SHE wants, what advice can you give a generally very kind but erotically idea-laden guy who's ready for his first foray into Dom play?


subaltern answers:

Frankly, you sound to me like a very decent guy whose instincts are right on target.

Generally I would say that one of the best things to do, is to think a lot about how you can work -together-. Fantasies are rarely an exact match off the rack, but enterprising and creative people can, of course, cut to suit. Be prepared for that to happen.

Also, be prepared for deviation from the plan. This may seem like an obvious point, but the thing is, it's pretty hard to predict real-life reactions with a new partner. You WILL end up having to improvise quite a bit on the fly, so be ready for it- topping involves a lot of quick reaction and thinking on one's feet. Since you mentioned that you already have a lot of ideas, I feel safe in assuming that this particular challenge will be one you'll relish :). But I think it's worth mentioning nonetheless.

Additionally, there may be a fantasy or desire that you both want to explore, that in execution turns out to be disappointing or even frightening or upsetting for one or both of you. D/s can often tap areas of the psyche that are very tender. This might not happen, but it's a good idea to be prepared for it and to be ready to deal with it. Don't go after something that might make a mess if you're not fully prepared to clean it up should things not go the way you want them to.

Related to this in a peripheral sort of way is a suggestion to go -slow- and careful on the first few times out. As many ideas as you may have, and as tempting as the prospect is, you don't need to do them all at once. She may end up feeling pushed or overwhelmed if there's too much experience all at once, as indeed, so might you. If you are a good fit with this lady, you will have ample opportunity in the future to explore :).

It sounds as if you're doing a good job getting her input, which is great. D/s is nothing so much as a beautiful dance, IMO, and it takes both Ginger AND Fred to create it. Keep going with that, and make sure she knows at all times that she can talk to you about anything, whether it's her fantasies, or any limits or reservations she may have, and that you are a person who will respect those limits and confidences. The "domly forcefulness" can be thrilling and sexy, but make sure you don't overdo it to the point that she feels you're too distant to really talk to :).

If there's anything you're interested in that you're unsure about, read up on it (*begin plug* I spent a long time compiling that Safety Links list *plug over* :)). There are even some things that people don't immediately think of as potentially {{ inherently? }} unsafe, such as bondage, that you could benefit from studying if you haven't already. If you know a more experienced top person, perhaps ask them for advice or ask if you can observe them- you can learn a lot by watching. Plus, there are few things sexier in a top than knowledge and skill.


In case subly didn't stress it enough.... COMMUNICATE!! You're likely to find that your 'intended victim' thinks that's even sexier than knowledge & skill.

I read into your questions some concern about your level of experience. Relax about this being your first time, but be honest with her regarding that. Don't get caught up in trying to maintain such a domly dignity that you become tempted to mislead. A submissive who has some experience will be able to tell if you're uncomfortable with something, and is likely to pick up the vibe, which could very well make the scene go badly awry.

You might approach it in "dramatically forceful", but gentle, manner by saying something about "not wanting to push either of you (us) too far in a first session". Then stay clear of strenuous or risky antics until you're more comfortable with them, and each other.

Beyond that, just: have fun! Your conversations with her up to now, and up to the time you get together, should give you a reasonable sense of what type of atmosphere and style she responds to. Go with what feels 'right' there, and enjoy!




April 11, 1999

Dear Sir and subaltern:

I would love to meet a female involved in bondage who is not overweight. Are there any?


subaltern answers:

Yes. Did you see my picture?

There are women of all body types involved in S/M, D/s, and bondage. You want to know where to meet them, type +bdsm +personals into your web search guide of choice, and watch the list of sites unfurl. If you like, place your own ad, and specify that you are looking for "slender" or some similar phraseology. A woman who knows she does not fit that description will pass right on by your ad. It's not as though all BBWs are so desperate for dates these days, what with so many people around who either -prefer- them or simply are attracted to them in addition to appreciating other body types. People generally tend to like to go where they'll be appreciated, no?

Speaking of which......

It's very true that you will find more BBWs out and about in this scene than in some other, more traditional venues. That would be because so much of what we do depends on things like skills, attitudes, emotional fitness, and intelligence, and the casing they come in doesn't matter nearly as much as those things do. With regard to body type, the "scene" is a whole lot less judgemental, and therefore, women who've previously felt uncomfortable expressing their sensuality in what might be a hostile environment, are now blooming in this one. They know with a reasonable certainty that they'll be valued for who they are and not dismissed just because they don't look like Claudia Schiffer.

And therefore, you'll see what APPEARS to be more BBWs, but the truth is, they have always been out there, they were just tired of being made to feel less desirable than more conventionally attractive women. In the s/m scene they don't have to put up with that constantly. Additionally, non-traditional sexuality can often mean appreciating non-traditional beauty, and there are a whole lot of men and women in the scene who -prefer- BBWs and are not at all afraid to say so.

He Who Must Be Obeyed answers:

It wasn't too long ago that I found myself in a conversation with several BBW scene-sters, and this very topic came up. They listed many of the reasons subaltern just laid out for you, and two even went so far as to mention that they were originally attracted to the D/s scene BECAUSE they realised that 'in here', MINDS are much more prized (for the most part) than physical attributes or body style. And it's easy to see why minds are so prized. Really, would you want to be suspended, whipped, tortured, etc, by someone who's not bright enough to see when to stop, or to figure out what to do in an emergency? Or worse yet, have you ever tried to weave a dreamy other-place mental image with someone who has insufficient wattage to light their imagination?

I've experienced wonderful times with women of all sizes, shapes, and colors, and truly pity anyone whose view of sexuality is so narrow that they can't be open to a greater variety, but to each their own.




March 14th, 1999

Dear Sir and subaltern:

GREAT page. You two are not only insightful, you are terrific writers. If you don't turn this material into a book, you'll be robbing both yourselves and the public.

My question will no doubt seem a little odd, and may bespeak my relative inexperience. A little more than a year ago, I began my first S/M relationship with an ultra-masochistic lady whose fondness for extreme pain-play is matched only by her gifts as a wordsmith. (She is married, incidentally, although her husband allows -- and even encourages -- outside exploration.) She has achieved some fame on the net for her fiction, much of which functions as an outlet for her necro-fantasies.

No, I would not have helped her live out these fantasies! But we did everything short of it. Breath-play, knife-play, blood-play... It was all dangerous, sexy and transcendent. I'll probably never find another like her.

Alas, as time went on, I realized that, in terms of emotional stability, this lady also happens to be one patty short of a Big Mac. Seriously suicidal. She would call me at least once a week, at work, at home, announcing her intention to drive off a cliff, walk into the ocean, etc. Often, she used these threats to manipulate me into doing things for her I didn't necessarily want to do. (Forgive the lack of details here.)

In short: I worked VERY hard to keep her alive, despite the fact that she increasingly found excuses to avoid sex with me.

But the sex, when it happened, remained extraordinary.

At the beginning of last December, she happily pledged herself to me, body and soul -- said that I "owned" her, that I was her God. She said she wanted to wear my brand as a measure of her undying bond to me. All of this was bound by an oath which folks of her religious persuasion consider eternally unbreakable.

And she admitted that I had saved her life many times.

Then she suddenly fell out of contact. Barely a month later, I discover that she is now "owned" and branded by another Master (not her husband).

In the meantime, she still considered it my role to salve her psychic wounds and stop her from offing herself -- even though she now acted totally brattish, condescending, and even downright insulting toward me.

I'm furious. I feel as though I saved her life (and I honestly have a right to say that) only to be betrayed.

Sorry for the long background. Here are the questions:

1. Would I have been better off NOT playing therapist to her? I know that she dare not lay her personal problems at the feet of her new "Owner." Would she have had respect for me if we had continued in our Top/bottom roles, without allowing her inner psychic torments to dominate the relationship?

2. I told her from the beginning that I would seek revenge on anyone who betrayed me. No, I'm not talking about doing anything illegal. But, for instance, I had talked an editor friend of mine into publishing one of her stories. There is still time for me to deep-six publication, a gesture which would wound her deeply. I know that doing so would be a very low blow, but returning good for bad (or even indifference for bad) just ain't my style.

Sorry to inflict such a long letter on you two. But I really need some advice here, especially as regards question 1. I don't want to make this mistake again!

-- "Thanos"


subaltern sez:

Thank you so very much for the kind words! They were much appreciated! And no apologies necessary.

Now, concerning the first question:

Well, in a word, yes. But we all know it's not quite so cut and dried as all that. Many otherwise sensible people have rescuer complexes, a deep need to be needed, and various and sundry other weaknesses we're often told we oughtn't to have ;). And even when that isn't necessarily the case, it's very, very easy to be drawn into this type of relationship -- this kind of emotional manipulator is VERY good at what they do, and it is really difficult for a person with nurturing instincts to turn them away, especially when you're convinced that it will make the difference between life and death. You do have my sympathy. I've been there.

I also have a lot of sympathy for your feelings of longing for the way that it used to be. What we sometimes can't see when we're in the middle of recovering from these things is that "the way it used to be" is actually "the way it never really was"- it was only that way in our minds. And the intensity, yeah, you'll miss it, but she's not the only one who can give it to you. She may have been the first, but she isn't the only one capable. I think it's important to add, too, that intensity CAN exist without built-in destructiveness. This notion that roller-coaster relationships are somehow inherently more romantic, more fun, more intense, than healthier ones, and that they're the ONLY truly passionate kind, is I think one of the more destructive fictions we get fed before we're quite old enough to see how flawed it is.

As to whether or not she would have continued to respect you had you stayed strictly in role? I'm not sure. My suspicion is that had you been able to, had you wanted to, that that is what would have happened anyway, and that it's a bit of a moot question. It wasn't what you wanted. You wanted more intimacy than that implies. That's not at all a bad thing to want. You just happened to get a toxic variety and it'll take some time before the poison seeps out. Drink some red wine, listen to Roy Orbison, (or whatever you do that's the equivalent, that's just what works for ME) and cry a lot, and let it flow out. Just remember while you're doing it, that this is a person who was willing to violate a very serious religious oath as well as any promise she made to you personally, and weigh that in the balance whenever you start feeling sentimental.

I suspect she'll find another savior. It may not be her current Master, but there will be another. I just have this real feeling that she wants attention more than anything, and that there will always be someone in her life that will be willing to provide. There's no reason on earth it has to be you. You've done more than enough. This may sound a bit harsh but I think it needs to be said- if she does end up dying, it WILL NOT BE YOUR FAULT.

HWBMO adds:

No offense, THANOS, but you've been had, and had big (but you knew that already). Hindsight being (almost) 20-20, it's easy for all of us to say: "Yeah, playing therapist was dumb". Don't get too down on yourself, though. I've done similar, and so has most everyone else that didn't grow up in a fairytale land. The important thing here is to LEARN something! Don't get fooled again (with apologies to The Who). The psychotics of the world who would lay a guilt trip on would-be saviors piss me off. I know you cared for her, but (and I sense you know this already) you are truly much better off without her. Great sex? Not that hard to find. A 'submissive' who has such an intense need for attention from outside her marriage? An accident waiting to happen. A woman (or ANYone) unstable and dishonest enough to break solemn vows? Run, don't walk, to the nearest exit, burn the phone number, and develop amnesia!

subaltern sez concerning question two:

It's done. Let it go.

Wouldn't it actually be the best revenge if you just stopped paying attention completely? Not only letting the publication go forward, but not paying attention AT ALL because you're just oh-so-busy having other kinds of fun? This sort of gesture would only keep the toxic give-and-take you have very much alive, and also gives her an opportunity to continue to dump on you (and an actual reason, to boot!). I'm not saying set all your controls to "ignore". I'm thinking that if you just answer emails or phone calls in a friendly, breezy sort of way, the way you might answer an old friend from high school days who doesn't have much relevance to your life in the present, that should get the message across.

HWBMO adds:

What she said. Revenge is a black hole, not worth venturing into*. After all you've been through, do you really want to extend the torment? That's all you would accomplish. If her story is worthy of publication, it will get published either now, or later. I wouldn't want to risk giving her the satisfaction of doing it without your 'help'. Knowing that you greased the way for it will always taint the success in her mind.

*Caveat: If you REALLY want revenge, remember that it is a dish BEST SERVED COLD! Bide your time, and wait for the opportunity to nail her 'out of the blue', when it will have MUCH more impact! My guess is, though, that you will have cooled off by then, and will be able to savor having taken the morally correct path of just letting things die and moving on with your life.




January 27, 1999

Dear Sir and subaltern:

I am a fairly "newbie" submissive woman. I met a Dominant recently on IRC that I really click with, and we have been talking about meeting for the first time, to play. I want so very much to learn and to take all this into real life after only chatting about it and reading about it so long in virtual life, and this man seems very ideal for me. The trouble in paradise is that He has already told me that He does not want any pre-conditions or negotiations - that if I state limits or want to discuss beforehand, that that's "topping from the bottom", and that He knows me as well as He needs to already, and He will be able to "read" me without my help in the matter. I want very much to please Him, and He does know me fairly well, so perhaps He is right that I am being pushy- I'm new and I don't quite know what the right way to do this is. Still, I'm kinda nervous and I'd feel better if even just for the first time, we could set some conditions.

the new girl

subaltern answers:

This is a question that pops up frequently, and the answer's not simple. On the face of it, I'd say that this looks rather bad- your eagerness to please and craving for experience combined with his terming any input from you as "topping from the bottom" could be abuse waiting to happen. Some abusers do actually look for novice submissives to practice on, because people newly exploring their kink are extremely vulnerable, through not quite having settled into their new-found identity yet and being unsure of what they need and want, and through not quite having fathomed this brave new world yet- it can be very tricky to figure out which rules from "the old life" still apply when so many of them seem to have been changed or thrown out. It is very easy for such a person to just tell the novice "oh, you're not being a good sub", and throw the blame back at them. Telling the sub that "true submission" means they never have any say is often a red flag that you're dealing with such a person. You may not have the final decision *wink* but generally a good dominant will want communication because they will want the experience to be satisfying for -you- too, and will have not a little concern about the responsibility for your welfare they are taking on when they agree to accept your submission.

On the other hand, many novice dominants are often very unsure of themselves as well, and haven't quite figured out what their role means or what is expected of -them-. And let's face it, the online world is full of very bad role models. He may have the impression from some of what He's seen that if there is any input from you that He is not being forceful or "masterly" enough. His own instinct may actually be to talk things out with you first, but He may be under the impression that YOU will be disappointed and think He is not dominant enough or something, that it will shake your trust in Him if He reveals to you a lack of total omniscience :). I would ask, respectfully and gently of course, if this is the case, and reassure Him that you have no wish to dictate, nor does His lack of psychic ability give you pause, but simply that you wish to ensure a good experience for the both of you by providing as much information as possible. He may even be relieved that you mentioned it and if so it could open up the communication channels, which is vital both for this play session and for any future relationship. If you can manage this, and you end up learning together, that could be a beautiful thing to see.

He Who Must Be Obeyed's interjection: As much as many Dominants would be relieved by having this concept broached, it is going to be extremely difficult to do it in such a way that doesn't project mistrust. OTOH, if his/her ego is so fragile that such a simple expression of self-preservation blows their persona, you quite likely are better off without! I would prefer to advise that you probe gently, not offering theories as to what is motivating his display of confidence, but leaving him an obvious opening to 'come clean' on his own.

If He rejects such an overture, I'd be very wary about going ahead with this individual. It may not mean that He is an abuser, but it could very well mean that He's not emotionally ready to engage in dominance/submission. Because of the powerful emotions involved, D/s requires clear communication and solid trust, and MUTUAL (i.e., not entirely flowing uphill) respect, I would even venture to say somewhat more so than "regular" relationships. A person who is not willing to engage in any conversations with you concerning your wants, needs, fears, and desires, or is not willing to discuss their own, is a person who may not be ready for this type of intimacy.

I'd also think about what you want and are hoping to achieve. The fact that you're asking the question is a step in the right direction- if something doesn't feel right to you, you are perfectly within your rights to question it. You are also well within your rights to ask for references if you have not already done so. If in fact this person is not as new as you are and does have former partners or scene friends, you can learn a lot by talking to those people (you also learn something if He doesn't want you talking to anyone and claims they're all "out to get me" or "jealous"- this may be the case, or it may be that He is a pariah in His community for good reason, and you owe it to yourself to find out the truth of the matter). Don't go ahead with something that doesn't feel right to you, your gut is often dead-on in these matters, and it isn't "un-submissive" to worry about your own welfare.





January 27, 1999

Dear He and subaltern:

I have a little bit of experience with d/s and s/m, but I have never been to a "playparty". Can you tell me something of what these are like? I've been invited to one and I want to know something about the proper etiquette. Am I required to participate? Should I address everyone by formal names?

Thanks in advance,
A guy who wants to be invited back

subaltern answers:

Ordinary politeness will do in most cases. If you must leer, do so gracefully :). Seriously though, many parties will have party rules posted somewhere. If not, there is one simple rule that applies everywhere: don't talk to anyone while they are engaged in play unless you have been invited to do so, and try not to get too close to their space (especially if they're swinging a singletail, you may not like the results :)). I made this mistake once as a well-meaning newbie, going up to greet the hostess of a party while she was engaged in topping- she was understanding and polite but firm, and let's just say, I won't make it again. Also it should be said that play is not over until it is well over- participants need time to talk, cuddle, and generally "come back to earth", and if you would like to compliment any of them or ask questions, it is best to wait until you are sure they are ready to start circulating again before you do so.

And this shouldn't have to be said, but sadly, I've seen instances where this happened- NEVER under any circumstances try to join in unless invited. Although the play is taking place in public, it is something of an intimate activity and the concomitant respect is due. This also applies for something I'm also sad to even have to mention, but I've seen some instances, again, that lead me to believe it needs to be mentioned- DON'T touch people without permission. Permission means that they said something to that effect or if the person in question is the bottom or submissive, that the top/dominant said something to that effect, not that "they asked me with their eyes" or "looked like they wanted me to". Just because people have fewer clothes on doesn't mean that ordinary rules of politeness and respect for others have been suspended.

He Who Must Be Obeyed adds: Don't let yourself be misled, however, if someone else DOES begin to interact with players immediately after (or even during) a scene. There is more than a little chance that they are all old friends, or that such actions have been talked out earlier. Remember, when in doubt, err on the side or caution and propriety.

You may or may not be asked to play, but you are by no means required to do so. Many people come simply to watch and/or socialize. If someone tells you that you MUST play with them, you may cordially advise them that they are barking up the wrong tree. Many parties have a Dungeon Monitor, who is there to supervise play, answer questions, and generally help out- if someone is being a little TOO insistent, by no means should you be afraid to ask the DM to "chat" with them.

I suppose it is not totally impossible that there are parties where it is agreed that everyone is required to play. If you are really worried about this, ask beforehand.

As to titles, generally speaking, if you are worried about what title to address someone by, simply ask them what they would like to be called. Nobody will think you are being presumptuous by doing so. It's best never to assume, there are too many variables at stake- dominants who wear collars, submissives who "don't look submissive", switches who aren't there in any particular role capacity, or people who are not interested in dominant/submissive roles at all, all of whom could potentially be irritated or even offended by being called "Mistress" or "slaveboy" right off the bat.

He Who Must Be Obeyed adds: Or, if you're REALLY unlucky, you could end up doing this to some we know who are veritable chameleons of orientation. You may have seen them tied down with having a dozen clothespins removed from their nether regions with a whip an hour ago, but they have since fired up into a high-sass Dominant mode. The results, while entertaining for the masses, could be painfully embarrassing for you.

If the party requires everyone present to be "in role" (and you should know that in advance) then address people whom you know with the scene title or name you know them by, and anyone else.....again, asking does no harm.




January 27, 1999

Dear He and subaltern:

I really can't deal with "s/m nerds". It seems I run into at least one at every leather-related function I attend. You know the kind of person I'm talking about. I mean, someone was asking me about a trip to New York the other day, and I said I'd been to The Cloisters, and they said "Cool, I didn't know there was a new Medieval dungeon there? What kind of equipment do they have?". AAARGH. What is up with these people?

A person who likes to talk about other topics on occasion

subaltern answers:

They're great bores, aren't they? Just try and get away before they start talking about whether or not the Borg is a top.

This brings to mind a particular peeve of mine. I would like to know exactly what people are hoping to achieve with one-sentence personal ads like "Dominant Male, 6'1", 170 pounds, wants total obedience. Anal, oral required on command, you must be 18, curvaceous, and bisexual" or "Attractive submissive seeks Dominant, I'm very into oral service and golden showers and seeing you in latex at all times". Hey, you want a person or a blow-up doll? You know for sure? Because if you want a person, perhaps you should try a little harder to attract one. Mentioning non-fetish interests could help. Of course if you haven't got any........well, take up macramé or something. Please. At any rate, don't whine about how you're not getting any good responses to your ad if your ad doesn't indicate that you're a three-dimensional person. Those of us with a person fetish are inclined to seek out others who share it, especially when looking for a relationship. And we're generally not looking for goofs who appear to actually be seeking porn characters.


He Who Must Be Obeyed adds a postscript: AHHhhh petly, you're much too gentle. (but then, that's part of what I love about you). As I've told you before, you need to keep things in perspective. Just think of the hours and hours of laughter we'd lose if these idjits ever got hit by one of those clue-by-fours we keep hearing about and all those ads dried up. I, for one, would miss them. (by-the-way, I did try macramé, but apparently I'm just not meant to work with anything thinner than 1/4" nylon).




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