29 July 1997
So! What is all this BDSM about? Is is safe? Are you likely to get
anything out of it? Is there any way to try it out and minimise the risks
If you don't wish to get dressed up in your 'basic black' and venture
into one of the many BDSM clubs that may be found in your city then you
may find that 'testing the waters of BDSM' through some form of on-line
communication may suit you. Many clubs prefer couples to attend and turn
away singles. Or you may not have an easy way to get out and about. If
you have a computer and are connected to the Internet then there are
other options that you may try before taking the bigger plunge into the
real world of BDSM.
I will try to cover as much here as possible about BDSM on-line from the
point of view of a Dominant.
There are a number of on-line places where BDSM is regularly practised.
Each has its pro and cons and if you intend to visit these places
realise that the first rule when you are new is to watch, listen and
learn. Remember, you will be using words only to communicate. There is
no inflection, no body language, no 'eye power'. You do have to make
adjustments and learn the expressive methods that people use on-line.
- IRC (Internet Relay Chat),
- MUDS (Multi-User Dungeons and similar role-playing places),
- Talkers (room-based chat systems)
- Email (don't laugh - it does work)
Of course, if you are familiar with on-line communication in the first
place, then that will give you a head start.
As with any good BDSM session, you have to create the scene. It may be
just you and another in private, you and another in public with others
watching, or possibly you and two or more other people. As with any
scene anywhere, it should be negotiated. For the sake of simplicity, I
will just focus on a public scene between a male Dominant with a female
submissive - but the process can be extended easily for other
combinations. Whatever the mix and the audience, part of your initial
job as the Dominant will be to create a mind-set in the submissive (or
submissives) that are participating in the scene. Of course, there may
be other Dominants involved and you would have to co-ordinate with them
The submissive should be aware of the basics of what is intended before
the scene begins. It may be a punishment situation (which really should
be given for actual punishment - not just because the Dominant feels
like punishing someone), it could be a demonstration of bondage or
formal serving, a dungeon, a pony-girl scene or even a vampire fantasy.
But the basic premise of what is going to happen should be known to
both. Of course the Dominant will know more detail of where they will
take it so that there is the element of surprise for the submissive to
Having both know what the mind-set is will place both in a better
position to choose words appropriately. As I have said - you can and
should keep plenty of surprises so that the scene has some spontaneity
Words! It is all about words. Yes you can come up with fun little
combinations of characters [smilies] to express things but in the end it
will be your words that make the difference between a good and bad on-line
scene. There is no audio (well, not in any amount or speed that makes it
So "the resounding crack of a whip connecting mercilessly with the
submissives naked quivering flesh" has to be described. The "sound of
the rusty shackles as they clink loudly against the icy-cold stone of
the dark dungeons walls" must be descriptive enough to "send cold and
tingling shivers up peoples' backs".
Well.... I think you get the idea ;)
Having worked out your mind-set and having put some thoughts into your
words, you are almost ready to go into scene proper. But you must create
a mood. It is no good launching into a beating or punishment if
submissive or the audience aren't 'situated'.
Again - choose your words carefully. If the scene is to be in a dungeon
then create the grounds and the house. Lead the participants (and
audience) through the house, down into the dungeon. Give anyone that is
there watching your scene a complete picture of where they are, what
they are seeing and even what the submissive is experiencing. Take them
there with your words. It isn't easy - but then being a Dominant isn't
easy either - it is hard work.
Ok, so you have everyone hanging on your words and the words of the
responses that you illicit from your submissive. Now what are you going
Well it depends on your scene of course. You can just about do anything
on-line but the closer you keep to real-life the more believable you
will be. Don't go giving 100 lashings when you know it would kill
someone. If you don't know - then don't do it at all - or ask someone
else first what is reasonable and make sure the submissive you are
working with knows too.
Fantasy play on-line is fun - but it still has to be within sensible
guidelines. If you don't learn to practice safe, sane and consensual
BDSM on-line correctly then you will never be able to make the
transition to real-life. Even if this is not your intention, you will
still gain greater respect from the real-life Dominants on-line if you
practice correctly on-line. And you never know if you may suddenly
decide you do want to make the transition. If you don't do it right
on-line you will be a danger to others and yourself.
What about real-life play directed on-line? Yes - this works. Your
greatest challenge is 'proving' that your instructions have been
followed correctly. There is one sure-fire way to know about real life
play directed through on-line commands. Try things yourself. Experience
it so you know what it feels like. Then get the submissive to describe
it. Compare what they say with what you know. But make sure you know.
You will look silly if others on-line have experienced something and
expose your submissive for a fraud. Real-life directions can be
especially effective through email as the submissive has more time to
carry out the tasks, think about what has happened and provide a
Reality play directed via on-line can be very exciting for everyone -
but make sure you know what you and your submissive are really doing.
Now the big question ...
Can this on-line investigation of BDSM really lead to things in real-life?
Simple answer - yes! But there are things you have to watch out for.
Remember that when you move into real-life, that there is a physical
entity on the end of your whip or crop. No matter how much you try
on-line, you will never really know how what it is like to actually
wield a striking tool against a body until it happens. Regardless of the
experience of the submissive that you may find yourself with, take it
slowly. Remember the rules of safe, sane and consensual, make sure you
have your safe-words sorted out. Take what you have learnt from your
on-line domination about negotiation a scene, setting the mood, etc. and
being able to use all the other senses available to you. Still use words
- a blindfolded subject will respond wonderfully to the sound of your
But be cautious. You may scene wonderfully with a submissive on-line but
may find that their submission is less than perfect in real-life. They
may not be prepared to do all the things in real-life that they do
on-line. Once again - TALK. Then talk some more. And after that TALK!!
In BDSM, communication is paramount. This is why starting on-line can be
very effective. It forces you to communicate in the first place.
Is there anything against taking it into real-life? Well, you may ruin a
good friendship. If moving into real-life, don't simply assume it is
going to 'happen'. You may actually find that you cannot take any
on-line submissive into a real-life situation because the levels of
relationship involved on-line have been pushed past a point where you
cannot establish the same levels in real life. Then you will doubt the
validity of the on-line situation.
Are there risks? Well everything in life carries risks. Yes there have
been situations (even completely outside of BDSM) where people on the
Internet have not been truthful about themselves - even to the point of
it being dangerous or life-threatening. However, if your make your
initial meetings either in groups of other on-line people or in public
places, you can get a chance to gauge the reality of the other person. I
would suggest that this is especially important for submissives because
they are the ones more likely to be open to possible abuse in a BDSM
relationship. Whatever you do, don't hand out your personal information
on-line until you get to know the person or people in real-life first.
This may of course only take one or two public meetings before you feel
Having said that, the rewards can be significant. Taking it into real-life
can be just the spice that a virtual situation requires to go
further. After experiencing each other in real-life, you and your
submissive may find that your on-line scenes suddenly have greater
meaning and consistency. In addition, you only get the real sense of
BDSM from real-life experiences. You will never forget your first rush
of adrenaline when someone bends over a bed or table and allows you to
place even just a few strokes on them. And, similarly for submissives,
the feel of a real 'toy' against you will change the way you think about
On-line BDSM is possible, practical and can be perfect. It can be a
great place to learn and gain experience and to understand who you are
in a BDSM context. In addition, there are real-life BDSM people on-line
that can give you information and advice and who may even provide
contacts in your area that may allow you to look more closely at real
And for those people that may have some reason that stops them
participating in real-life BDSM (i.e. situation, distance, etc.) then it
is an excellent alternative.
Try it - you may like it.