The Beginning

Meeting that Sir/boy/Daddy/slave/Master/or Mister  Right!

Leather. Whips. Blindfolds. Power. Submission. Control. SM ideas and images are all around us. Often portrayed as titillating, edgy or scary, some SM can also appear unsafe or unhealthy. The good news: SM can be hot, healthy, safe, and sexy!

The even better news is that most SM activities are low risk for passing HIV and other STDs. Common sense and the same kind of risk reduction tactics you already use in other types of sex work pretty much the same way in SM. Some leathermen have even found that hot SM play is more rewarding than vanilla fucking.

Here are other tips on playing safe and playing hot:

Play at your appropriate level: Whether you’re Dominant/Top or submissive/bottom (or both!), be honest with yourself and your play partner about your experience.

  • Don’t say you’re a serious pain slut if you’ve only taken a couple of swats on the butt.
  • Don’t try blood sports if you’ve only read about it online.
  • Playing beyond your experience does not make you sexier as a potential partner.

Whenever you can, learn the ropes from an experienced player (bottoms can even teach Tops):

  • Attend local leather group discussions or demos. Join a local SM organization.
  • Go to a play party or munch (low-pressure social gatherings for people involved or interested in BDSM, generally at a restaurant). These are places where you’ll meet leather folk who will answer your questions. In the SF Bay Area, we are blessed with groups and events to satisfy almost every flavor and fetish.

Be hot, but smart: Leather folks congregate for social activities (beerbusts, munches, fund raisers)

  • Common sense should tell you that it’s OK to negotiate a little nipple play with someone who might be “substance challenged,” but riskier to do a scene that involves tight restraints or knives.
  • Know your limits around drugs and alcohol.

Be polite: When you first enter the leather scene, you will stumble across all sorts of protocols and unwritten rules.

  • It’s normal to find many of them unclear. Read our section on etiquette, but know that everyone makes a mistake or two and lives to see another scene.

Keep your eyes (not just your pants) open online: Just as in vanilla chat rooms, the Internet provides anonymity. Kink chatroom cruisers sometimes misrepresent themselves. The Master cruising for a slave might only be an online player. The occasional online predator gives good perverts a bad name.

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