Online Dominance, Submission, and Sadomasochism
If your chosen medium for exploring BDsM is the Internet the chances are at one time or another you will be drawn into the world of message boards, chat rooms, and online D/s… being as you are at this site, you already have begun experiencing the latter. Like any other culture, the online BDsM community has its own protocols and 'ethics' that it follows. These rules of conduct are in addition to, not in place of, basic social skills and graces.
Just as in day to day life, online has many personalities and not all are going to click (unless it is the ignore button in the chat room). When communicating solely with words misunderstanding are bound to happen. Tones are assumed, intent misconstrued, egos get wounded and cyber emotions run rampant. It is easy to say online is not real but for the people who use it to socialize on a regular basis it is truly real. Feelings form, bonds grow, lives are touched ... for the good and bad. Following basic rules of online conduct blended with proper social skills will not assure your success in the online realm of BDsM but it will help in preventing your failing in it.
The Good, The Bad, and The Internet
I have been frequenting online BDsM chat rooms for many years. During that time I have gone from being an advocate of online BDsM to the totally opposite end of the continuum due to disgust from the mockery made of D/s by people who still believe the Beauty Series to be real. For a while I stepped back out of the cyber dungeons wiping My hands of the fakes and wannabes ... then, I realized that if all the real BDsM practitioners sign off there will never be any hope of regaining the educational value online can have for the people who only have this medium in which to play.
So what caused My journey to disillusionment with online? The things that come out of people's mouths seem to get more ignorant as the years go by. Some of the activities discussed would be harmful, to say the least, if ever attempted realtime. There was even a decapitation scene done online ... everyone knows a submissive would be useless without a head, what would hold the collar in place? Online misinformation is freely given and freely accepted. Activities such as cutting and branding are talked about like it is something every Top with a knife or piece of wire can do! Reality check, there is no such thing as a Dominant who knows how to do every form of play or a submissive who has had everything you can think of done to them.
People online do not freely express their novice status as easily as people do in real life. Is it fear of shattering their delusion of importance? Anyone can kneel or spout demands online, those cyber acts do not prove anything or provide status. When all you have to do is write a script, you can do or be whatever you want but in the real world you have to prove yourself to gain recognition. It is all a facade ... a fantasy lived out in two-dimensional form that does nothing but echo the lack of knowledge of those who live in the cyber vortex. So, why waste the time of exploring BDsM in a make-believe realm? Because there are still a few real Mentors, Dominants, submissives, guides, and websites that provide a true-to-life learning experience for those lucky enough to find them.
How do you distinguish between who is truthful and who is talking trash? Unless you have basic knowledge about BDsM you will have a very difficult time telling the two apart. Future writings will be aimed at helping you to learn the difference.
The follow list of appropriate behaviors for online interaction is updated often. It is in no way complete but will be in time, feel free to email with additions or check back for more tips.
Emails and Instant Messages:
Instant Messages are an internet doorway into personal space. Do not send a person an Instant Message without asking permission via an email or chat room request, never as permission to Instant Message in an instant message. If the request is denied, don't get an attitude, state that your IM's are open should s/he have time to chat at a later time. Most people will be taken aback by such a graceful acceptance of their denial and allow the IM to occur, good manners are impressive
Do not ever send an Instant Message, email, or private chat invitation a collared or committed submissive. Address the person's Dominant with your request to speak with the individual in a respectful manner via email. If the Dominant denies your request, thank Him or Her gracefully and respect the decision. In the offline world of D/s submissives can address other submissives without the permission of the Dominant, if the submissive is not in role or involved in a scene. However, I have found that online Dominants tend to control the personal online interactions of their submissives in regards to conversations with persons of any role. **Side-note to online Dominants: should you receive a request from a dominant or submissive to contact your submissive, be tasteful in your response. A request can be denied without feelings being hurt. Take it as a compliment to yourself and the submissive, thank the person for following proper channels**
Sending pictures in emails should be done only if the person has requested one or has agreed to allow you to send one. Do not send obscene or naked pictures without asking the person if they would like to view it. Personally, if a nude photo is sent to me without consent it negates any opportunity for discussion with me the person may have had.
Few people read emails that are from persons they do not know. If you send an email to someone and it gets deleted, do not take it personally… if you send someone an email and get a rude response, take it personally and learn from it. Email is another doorway into personal space, treat it as such.
Do not send emails that are of a D/s nature to individuals you are not in that type of relationship with. No submissive likes to be told to get on their knees in person or in email by someone not in a position of control to them, nor does a Dom/me want someone to beg to serve them that they do not have a connection with.
When entering a chat room do not advertising your age, sex, location, role, last bowel movement, etc. A simple "hello, everyone" will go over much better, as well as save you from undesired heckling. Feel free to begin a conversation. Ask if there is any special topic chat in progress (or something else that portrays intelligence). There are some rooms and message boards that are cliquish, do not take it personally if you are ignored the first time or two that you enter. Be polite and genuine. Soon you will get responses from individuals who value such qualities.
Do not shorten screen names when addressing someone for the first time. Use the complete name and ask the person what they prefer to be called.
If you are in a BDsM chat room, do not address Dominants as Master, Mistress, Daddy, slave, boy, girl, or other titles of authority/control if you do not own or belong to that individual.
It is not necessary to address Dominants as Sir or Ma'am (Madam) but if you feel the desire to do so, ask the person how s/he prefers to be addressed. There are many female Dominants that go by the honorific of Sir and a few males that like Ma'am… never guess!
Message boards are a great forum to gain knowledge; they also have a negative side. Message boards are frequented both by persons who desire to learn for the experiences of others and by those who desire to cause distress or voice uneducated opinions.
When posting to a message board, keep the subject of your post to the topic of the board in which you are submitting it to. Do not go to a message board for a woman's only knitting club and post about the newest in CBT devices, nor do you go to an S/M message board and post about the latest addition to your music collection.
Ignore posts that are clearly for no meaningful purpose. Posting back to subjects that are meant to get negative attention will only give the person what they were seeking in the first place.
If you create a subject that does not get responded to it simply means the people are too uneducated to respond or are afraid to appear uneducated about the subject. Again, do not take it personally.
When you do get responses it is not necessary to answer them individually to the board, send a private thank-you email if the person truly touched at the heart of the subject for you or wait a couple days and respond in one email to the group. Should any negative opinions be voiced, thank the author(s) of those as well for taking time to share their feelings.
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