Horror Stories And Bad Events

by Maître Pierre

Here in the province of Quebec, I am the moderator of a french BDSM discussion group. Lately, people in this community were shaken by an unfortunate event, a "horror story". It is about a relationship which turned very ugly and very public. The gossip and the public accusations started to fly all over and people started taking sides.

I witnessed a similar event take place in the bdsm community of a nearby city last year. The result of this was the near destruction of this community by a war between factions. Even today, this community is still suffering from that event.

But here is the bad news. This type of situation has occured in different communities all over the world, and sadly, it will happen again.

Players in BDSM are accused by vanilla people of being "women beaters" (men beater), rapists, and maniacs of all kind. But what is terrible is that sometimes people WITHIN BDSM will also accuse their play partners of such things. Such situations range from a bad scene, a bad relationship to abuse, to intentionaly hurting someone, raping!

These situations usually have a very wide range of causes; lack of experience, lack of knowledge about "the no hit zones and pressure points", no respect for the safewords (when there is one), lack of negotiation or insufficient negotiation, lack of warning about limits or lack of respect of limits, misunderstanding about limits and the list could go on for a long time.

These bad and very public events are very important when they happen. Often there are people hurt and/or someone is now stuck with a bad reputation. If the police are involved, someone may have legal problems or even end up in jail. If such a thing occurs with bedroom players that are not public, usually we will not hear about it, but when it happens to someone public, things usually get worse.

The reaction is very simple and human, people take sides. People that are public usually have very strong personalities and very strong opinions, so it means that "public players" always show their colors about anything. If one of their friends is hurt by another player, these people will gang up with each other, to defend their friend (it could be on behalf of the submissive or the Dominant). Because people are strong minded, often, there will be competition among them for submissives, Dominants, toys, showing off (I am better than you because...) often, people will have friends and....enemies. These "enemies" will use the bad events to try to sink the person they don't like...this is just human nature. By trying to sink the others, a war starts....a war that usually ends when the community explodes! When this happens everybody loses.

As the moderator of this list, I tried to disarm the discussion on the list that I moderate. Because at some point, the discussion became very emotional and personal, I was emotionally drawn in the discussion, and reacted accordingly. I wrote a very nasty post, trying to calm people. Of course, it didn't have the desired effect. A post written in anger will always get you in trouble!

But the latest event is a good example: I didn't know the players involved. I knew the names, but had never met them. And yet, the event got everyone involved in the situation.

Here is the type of discussion it created on certain chat rooms:

- "It's the Dom's fault, he is an idiot"
- "NO! it's the submissive fault, she is a bitch, the Dom is my friend, he is a good guy and he knows what he is doing!"
- "What do you mean she is a bitch, she's been hurt very badly, your friend don't know shit! "
- "How can you put my friend down, you don't know him!"
- "This Dom is your friend! wow! you choose your friend well!"
- "Who are you to criticized my choice of friend!....."

Well, you get the picture......You see, nobody wins......

This type of discussion always happens after such events. The BDSM community is a very close knit family. We have the same problems that every family has.....if you don't believe me, check in your family.....

Players usually becomes public for three big reasons:

  • To be in contact with liked minded bdsm people (people like themselves)
  • To be seen. you can include in this, to show off.
  • The better choice of play partners.

If a Dom makes a very public mistake, everybody will know and then, submissives will stay away from them because of the bad reputation. The price to pay is great! We are not even talking about somebody being hurt, perhaps needing medical or psychological help or someone having to defend himself (herself) legally. If the media or simply the gossip machine in the vanilla world hears about these events, the damage to our already very poor reputation is worsened. If it happens in a public club, the club gets a bad reputation. If it happens at a public home party, the hosts are blamed. Even the people present at these party/events often get blamed!

We know how these unfortunate events happen and what are the disastrous results.

But how to prevent them?

- Teaching and mentoring: This is the best...and the worst choice. If someone can teach and/or mentor a new player, while respecting their own values and needs, this is great! But because I gave course about basic safety, I know how hard it is, to show people, without giving them your own values. I have seen people mentor others with the best intentions.....but failing in their mentoring because they were trying to make that person a copy of themself and not trying to understand the needs and values of the newbie!

- Education: Yes, it is like teaching, but people can learn from websites, munches and discussions with others. People in the lifestyle are strong minded people. How many times I have heard the "I do things my own way" and this was from submissives too, not just doms! How can you teach the values of negotiation and safewords when someone believes that these things are not for them, and nothing will ever happen to them!

- Some people suggest a black list. Just hearing that idea I shudder! On the black list, who would decide what names should appear and why? What if someone use the blacklist to out someone else....just because they don't like that person or for revenge! What about that young beginner Dom, who does a mistake from lack of experience and then ends up on "the black list" forever. I don't know about you, but I beleive that I am a good Dom...because I made my mistakes and learn from them. I just thank God that my mistakes were never that bad! Anyway, it is easy to get around a black list....just change your nick!

- Not playing with beginners: I am sorry to say this, but you are creating a situation were new Dom(me)s would lie about their experience (or lack of) just to be able to get their first BDSM partner. And if only the "experienced" Dom(me) can get partners, how do you get the new player to have some experience?

- Private groups and friends: To play among good friends is almost always safer, but if an event happens, results are always bad because everybody knows each other. As for private groups, it is not better, because when a bad event happen, the leader(s) of the group will often decide for the good of the group and not the good of the people involved.

See! It is not easy! Education, if someone wants to learn, is the best way. But, if I am in a public club, and I see someone taking too much chance for my taste, I usually pack up my stuff and leave. If I am being asked why I am leaving so early without playing, I usally say to the owner or the dungeon master the reason. People who have public events, know that, if people are not comfortable to play at their events, they will not come back. So, they will always make sure that people respect the dungeon rules and stop any type of play that can be seen as "not controlled" or dangerous. They know that there are many people like us that will not come back if they are not confortable. If I have a unsafe player beside me, I will not be comfortable. Players must learn to play safely if they want to be able to play publicly. Just think of the consequences, if somebody else, in a play party, is being hurt, and 9-1-1 has to be called. What type of questions may be asked when the ambulance...and the cops shows up!

Teach by example. Too many players believe that the best sub is the one who can take the most pain. This is rubbish! I have played hard and have seen hard plays, but, I usually love the plays that are different, imaginative and sensual with my subs....and the plays that respects these conditions as a witness. I have learned much as a Dom from other Dom's mistakes, not only what you should not do, but by how these Doms controlled the situation when a unplanned/bad event was happening to them! I often refer to this example: A very well known Dom, with a great reputation about bondage, was doing a suspension bondage with a sub. I was watching him and marvelling about his ability. Then, using my experience, I noticed that something wasn't right, the Dom was having problems with the control of some of his knots. This Dom seeing that things were not going the way it was supposed, even if we were many watching him, decided to stop the scene. The well being of the sub was more important than his "public image". For me, this Dom just showed me how good he was, when he decided to take care of his sub instead of his reputation. This gentleman is a Master of his specialties, not because he can make these great bondage, but because he took care of the sub first. He taught me by example.

You cannot show anything to someone who doesn't want to learn. But make sure people get in a situation where they want to learn. Maybe BDSM clubs should have a rule where any new member must go through a "introductory" course which would be inexpensive, just to make them understand that if they play dangerously, they will not be welcome there. Some swingers clubs have that rule, but for the swinging partys! New swingers cannot get into the club if they don't learn about the basic rules of behaving in a introductory class!

So there are some ways to prevent these horror stories. But, even with the best intentions and care, things will happen and I am sorry to say that when these things will happen, the local community will pay dearly for them....even if most members are not involved. These situations hurt local communities and in the same way hurt the larger BDSM / Fetish community.

Everybody loses each time when such horror stories happen. We cannot prevent them completely, but we can work together to make sure that our local community is trying to prevent them by example and education.