BDSM Learning Center
BDSM Basics
BDSM Beginners Kit  

Introduction to BDSM


The following information has been compiled from resources available on the internet. The information included covers finding a Dominant partner, Rules for a Relationship and Information Resources available to the beginner.

None of the information included is intended to be the last word on D/s relationships.

Each and everyone of us must find our own way within this life/love style. Always remember as you read this and other information, listen to discussions and chat with various people; THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY. The only right or wrong way is what works between two consenting partners.

However there is ONE area in which the is only ONE right way. That is the area of consent and safety.

Within the context of D/s-SM ALL relationships are consensual. NO ONE can demand an act of submission or play without the TOTAL consent of their partner. Just as NO ONE can demand an act of Domination without the consent of the Dominant.

The one all supreme rule for everyone in our community is SAFETY. The Dominant is COMPLETELY RESPONSIBLE for the SAFETY of the submissive. A dominant who refuses to accept that responsibility or ignores safety issues IS NOT A DOMINANT and should be avoided just as one would avoid a diseased person.

The watch words of our community are:



Dominants are very often asked by novice submissives what they need to do to find a Dominant. The first response to them is always: Be Patient. You will find that in the scene the ratio of submissives to Dominants is greater than 3:1. But not all of those submissives are "good" submissives - ones that a Dominant would be interested in spending his or her time with. Your job is to make yourself stand out from the crowd.

This is the first point where patience comes into play. Although you certainly have to approve of your Dom, you need them to approve of you, and want to play with you. This won't happen if you pester the Dom, or make comments like, "I've been on the Net for a week! Come on!" A Dominant is a Dominant person and you should treat them with respect and courtesy. Just because they are a Dominant, they are under no obligation to use their talents in the Dominant arts on you.

Some submissives look for years to find a Dominant with whom they can have satisfying play. It's much the same as trying to find a compatible boyfriend or girlfriend, but with the added criterion that the person must be scene-compatible with you as well. Take your time and be a little choosy. You will be much more likely to have good scenes with someone that you are truly compatible and feel comfortable with, then you would be with the first Dom to come along.

Impatient and pushy submissives don't get very far with Dominants. We may like brats, but we don't like jerks. If you push too hard we will simply step to the side and watch you fall on your face. The good Dominants also talk to each other. Word will get around if a submissive has a bad reputation; word will also get around if a submissive has a good reputation. Dominants will also occasionally ask each other for recommendations on a particular submissive. If you have been a jerk with one Dominant, it will make it harder for you to be accepted by other Dominants.

Being patient doesn't mean being a piece of furniture, though. If you have an interest in a Dominant, try to get to know them. If you see them on line, say hello to them and try to engage them in conversation. Don't just sit there saying nothing and waiting for them to talk to you, most likely they won't. Try to find out what title they prefer (Mistress, Lady, Master, Sir, etc.) and use it. Read their posts and profiles well and try to get a feel for the aspects of the scene that appeal to them. These are good things to try to engage them in conversation on. Don't immediately send them a chat/talk request. If after getting to know a Dominant, you would like to speak privately with them, a polite message of, "Would you like to chat privately?", is more likely to get you an acceptance. If they say "no", don't whine about it. We do not pay our access to the Net just to be available whenever someone wants to hot chat. Telling a Dominant how horny you are will usually only get you laughed at. On BBS's, if you see a Dominant that you are interested in log-on, you may page/message a polite hello, but don't keep paging them, especially if they are in e- mail. Finally, don't ask a Mistress what she is wearing. We are so sick of hearing it, that it has become a joke!

Often a Dominant is asked on line, via message, to accept someone they just met as a submissive. If that person has a true interest in being a submissive, then they can take the time to write the Dominant a request for submission. Some Dominants have a form or questionnaire that they give to potential submissives, but a sincere letter will usually suffice. It should describe your interests and desires in at least some detail ("I like submission" doesn't cut it), describe your experience in the scene, and tell why you are interested in the Dominant that you are writing to. Spelling and grammar do count. There are two common mistakes here. First, writing to a Dominant who is not interested in what you are. Check their posts if in doubt. Second, sending a request for submission to every Dominant in the Western world. As I said before, we talk to one another. Be patient and wait to find one Dominant whom you think would be a good play partner and then write them a sincere letter. Be patient on a response too. Some Dominants don't bother to answer unsolicited petitions, but even those that do get a lot of mail.

Don't become discouraged. While you are being patient waiting for the right Dominant to come along learn about the scene and socialize in it if possible. Read the newsgroups and FAQ's for information. If you have questions, post them. If nothing else, it will get you mail. Read scene related books and magazines, not just to look at the pictures. Go to scene events, such as the various Fantasy Nights or NLA meetings. By going to these events you have the opportunity to meet more people in the scene, or to meet someone in your area that you have talked to on-line. People that you meet can provide good referrals and introductions to Dominants.

And remember, the best things are always worth waiting for.

Basic Rules for D/S


  1. Be patient! Until you enter into a relationship with a submissive, you have no more right to order him/her around than does anyone else. Give your bottom time to get to know you and what you are like. Finesse and subtlety are major elements of dominance. Similarly, strength and gentleness go hand in hand. The sensitivity and awareness (or lack thereof) that you show in the real world is likely to be repeated in the playroom.

  2. Be humble. You may be God's/Goddess' gift to the world, but no one needs to hear it or wants to hear it. You will have ample opportunities to show how good you are - and plenty of opportunities to make a fool of yourself. No matter what you claim, the "real you" will show through in a scene. Don't set yourself up for a failure by developing expectations that you know you can never reach.

  3. Be open. Although the top is classically considered to be the teacher in D/s-SM, you can always learn from your bottom, no matter how inexperienced. Be willing to learn from other dominants who may have a totally different perspective from yours. Try to approach by-now-familiar trips with an attitude of wonderment and discovery. Be aware that everyone has her or his own personal style.

  4. Communicate! You are responsible for finding out basic, essential information about the people you play with, such as experience, limits, likes and dislikes, and health information. Playing D/s-SM without this knowledge is like Russian roulette. Talk about your head-space and your view of D/s-SM with your bottom, so that any uncertainties can be dealt with before you start playing. Clearly spell out roles, rules, limits, and contracts. Do not take for granted that your bottom instinctively knows the ground rules.

  5. Be honest. If you lack experience in an area that your bottom would like to experiment with, be honest about it. Your partner has a right to know that. Be honest with yourself and take your submissive only to those levels at which you are completely in control of the situation. Safety should always be the first concern, taking priority over how hot a particular scene is.

  6. Be sensitive. There's a very fine line between a sensitive, caring dominant and a self-righteous, insensitive overbearing clod. Your scene should be a creative synthesis of your needs and fantasies and your bottom's needs and fantasies. Although, on the surface, your submissive is serving you, what actually is happening is that dominant and submissive are serving each other. Earn the complete trust of your submissive and never violate or even threaten to violate that trust. His or her submission is a gift to you. Use it appropriately.

  7. Be realistic. End the scene with the bottom wanting more, not wishing there had been less. Remember that power, control, and sensitivity are the keys, not just the intensity of the stimulation. Be clear about what is fantasy, and has little to do with what works in practice. Your favorite porno picture books may be stimulating in themselves, but don't try to imitate them to the last detail.

  8. Be really dominant! Submissives are looking for someone who will take over their body and mind, not just for brute strength. Real people are wanted, not just cardboard images from cigarette ads or macho stereotypes. Your dominance enhances your whole existence. It does not cover up or substitute for other areas of your life - it is you. Make your submissive fall in love with you, and expect him or her to give him/herself up to you totally. Follow up on rules, expect obedience, and punish appropriately when it is called for. Don't shirk your responsibility to your bottom or to your sister/fellow tops. Be dependable and expect dependability. You have agreed to take the dominant role - now take it!

  9. Be healthy! Like any strenuous activity, SM requires that its participants be in top physical and emotional health. Many factors, including the amount you sleep, your eating habits, and your alcohol and drug intake affect your performance and endurance during a scene. Don't attempt to do SM when your physical or emotional energy is low. As a dominant you have a special responsibility to be in control of yourself and on top of the scene. An attitude of "drugs and alcohol don't affect me that much... I can do it anyway" violates your submissive's trust in you and can be dangerous. If you don't want to accept the responsibilities, you shouldn't be playing the game!

  10. Have fun! After all, sex is all about having a good time. You have earned, and you are entitled to the unique, intense pleasures which come from responsible, creative SM play.


  1. Be patient! A potential top will let you know if she or he is interested in you or not. Keep in mind that your purpose as a submissive is to serve and to satisfy someone who will take into consideration the realization of your fantasies. Don't expect your top to be able to turn on like a light switch. The timing must be right for both of you.

  2. Be humble. You may be God's or Goddess' gift to the world and the most sought after prize in town, but no one needs to hear it or wants to hear it. You will have ample opportunity to show how good you are. No matter what you claim, the "real you" will show through in a scene. Don't set yourself up for failure by developing expectations that you know you and your top can never reach.

  3. Be open. You can learn something about SM and about yourself from everyone into the scene, no matter how experienced or inexperienced they are, or how dominant or submissive they are. D/s- SM is a very personal art, and an "I already know it all" attitude will make you miss valuable SM lessons and experiences, and ignore potentially valuable D/s-SM friends.

  4. Communicate! Verbalization is necessary, but at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way. Your top needs to know basic information about you, such as experiences, fantasies, health concerns, and turn-offs. But - unless it's an emergency - wait until your top asks. Don't expect your dominant to be a mind-reader who instinctively knows your needs, wants, and limits. Your cooperation will enhance the scene for both of you.

  5. Be honest. Don't be afraid to share your needs and fantasies. Your dominant expects it. Honesty about your wants, health concerns, and turn-offs is essential to a good scene. Lying or being less than candid can only lead to problems, as the top will base the scene on inaccurate information. Besides causing problems, it can be dangerous.

  6. Be vulnerable. Your scene is a two-way street. It is not just the physical realization of your prior fantasies. If you want to limit your experience to certain physical and psychological stimulation, then contract with your top ahead of time. But don't always expect your top to be a puppet in a fantasy play you've written in your head. It's far better to let your top surprise you, to extend your limits, to take you to places you're never been before. When you trust your top completely, let her or him know it, and let him or her guide you into new fantasies.

  7. Be realistic. Your dominant is human, and even the most experienced tops have moments of awkwardness and indecision. Don't call attention to what you perceive as a lapse. Know the difference between reality and the fantasy world you see in books and magazines. Few tops are rich enough to afford a large dungeon with a lavish layout of equipment. Your top's equipment is expensive - respect it and don't abuse it.

  8. Be really submissive! This is the whole point. Let your dominant take you over completely. Don't coach or second guess or be critical of your top. Exchange information on your special needs before the scene starts, but once it starts be quiet! If you insist on running a scene to your own specifications, then you should try being a top. You have agreed to limitations of your own power. Stay within those limitations. Respect and obey your top and expect punishment if you don't. Accept it gracefully and cheerfully. Your top has many things to be concerned with, including your safety and what turns you on. Be loyal and dependable and enjoy your role.

  9. Be healthy! D/s-SM, like any strenuous activity, requires that its participants - both active and passive - be in top physical and emotional health. The amount you sleep, your eating habits, your alcohol and drug intake, and everyday stress affect your response and endurance during a scene. Your dominant needs to know when your physical or emotional energy is low. No matter how tempting a scene sounds, an "I want it all now" attitude when you aren't able to give your all will leave both of you feeling let down. You serve your dominant and yourself best by staying healthy.

  10. Have fun! After all, sex is all about having a good time. You have earned and you are entitled to the unique, intense pleasure which comes from responsible, creative D/s-SM play.

Safety Rules For First Meetings

This is part of a comprehensive training program for Submissives and Dominants. The program is designed not only to introduce the sensual aspects of D/s but also explores those other important areas as establishing trust, safety rules that apply to the initial Real Time (RT) meeting of a Dom and a Submissive.

The relationship between a dominant and a true submissive is both complex and rewarding for both partners. To be successful a D&S relationship must be based on mutual trust and respect. The dominant must be completely trustworthy and respect the needs and desires of their submissives.

The submissive partner must respect and trust the dominant to accept without reservation the training, guidance, encourgement,and appropriate correction of undesirable behavior. The title "Master" must be earned and the title "slave" be respected.

Never forget........ As part of the D/s relationship, the submissive submits to the direction of the "Master" and in doing so, creates a potential for abuse and unsafe behavior on the part of the Dominant partner. Unfortunately, there are among us people, those who claim to be experienced dominants who are in reality sadistic abusers who betray the trust and inflict pain and punishment far beyond the limits of the submissive.

That is why the initial meetings between Dominants and new submissives must have stringently enforced safety rules. Listed below are the initial safety rules for new submissives. I offer them to all because I believe them to be vry important. Please feel free to pass this document on to anyone who is planning to experience a real time relationship for the first time.

Rule Number One:
Meet your potential dominant partner in a public place. The first meeting is strictly social and a getting acquainted opportunity. This should be made very clear at the outset, and any effort by the dominant partner to "seduce" the submissive should be seen as an act of bad faith and indication of a lack of trust worthiness.

Rule Number Two:
A trusted person should know about the schedule of the meeting and should be called at an appointed time at the end of the meeting to comfirm that all has gone well.

Rule Number Three:
If the dominant partner passes the initial screening, a second meeting can be arranged. This meeting is designed to initially establish a sensual relationship. But the limits imposed on this meeting are absolute. The limits are as follows:

  1. The submissive will in no way be physically immobilized, Real bondage of any kind will not be allowed during the first meeting.
  2. Gags or any devices which prevent the submissive from calling for help are also not allowed during this meeting.
  3. Safe words will be strictly enforced.
  4. Nothing more dangerous that a hand, flat paddle or crop will be used for disciplinary purposes.
  5. Slapping, striking or hitting of any kind above the shoulders is strictly forbidden.
  6. The submissive partner has the right to stop the encounter at any time and leave immediatly.

Rule Number Four:
A safety system will be established. It requiring a periodic phone call (usually once every hour on the hour) to a safety monitor (friend) who knows the location of the meeting and is prepared to notify the police and the hotel should the call be more than 10 minutes overdue.

Rule Number Five:
There will be established series of code words that are imbedded in the safety calls that verifies to the friend that all is well or warns of trouble.

Rule Number Six:
The submissive must call the Safety monitor when she or he has left the presence of the dominant and is well away from the meeting place. A code word will also be used to comfirm that all is well.

In any D/s relationship, the dominant partner must assume the responsibility for the safety of the submissive partner. If the dominant partner is not willing to accept the rules as stated above, then it is clear that the dominant partner is not willing to accept that responsibilty, and protect the well being of the submissive.

Never forget, submission to a partner is the greatest gift one person can give to another. But that gift must be earned and it can only be given in an environment of trust, respect and caring. Without that environment, the gift will not be valued and a very dangerous situation is created.

D/s is a wonderful and exciting life style, and with a little care and planning it can be safe as well. Have fun my friends, and be safe!!

If you have questions or wish further guidance, I am always at the service of those who need both experience and common sense.


The following section is a compilation of writing posted to IMH by LadyScream. While some of this material has already been covered, some is new. As with any SAFETY issue, the individual cannot be exposed to too much information. You are encouraged to read this material and use the information in your best judgment.

Class #1 - On-line D/s

Even in our little AOL world, there is danger. For all new Doms and subs alike, here are a few standard rules to make your transition into on-line D/s a safer, happier one.

  1. You do not have to answer ever IM (Instant Message) that you get. Should you get one that is vulgar, rude or harassing, simply use the cancel button, or send it to TOS (Terms of Service). Even if you are a new sub and the IM is from an "on-line Dominant", no one has to take abuse.

  2. Do some reading ! The fact that you're here in IMH is a good start ! But there are many good books about D/s on the market. Doing your homework can really pay off. When you make your first few forays into the chat rooms, don't announce in the open room who you are and what you're looking for. That is a magnet for anyone out there looking for quick and easy cyber-sex. If you're seriously looking for friends, contacts and possible partners, be discreet. Read profiles. IM respectfully to people who interest you. Make polite conversation in the room. Show respect, and you'll earn it in kind.

  3. There are 3 main "Le Chateau" rooms on the AOL Member Room List. These are Le Chateau, Le Chateau Dungeon and Beginner's Dungeon. Each of these rooms has a different personality. Try them all, and see which one fits you best. ( ed. note: Chateau Serenity has been created subsequent to this writing)

  4. NEVER give your real name, phone number, credit card information or any other personal information to ANYONE you've just begun to talk to on-line. Get to know someone over time before revealing anything of importance !! First names are sufficient in the beginning.

  5. When approached by a potential partner, ask questions !! Get to know the person as well as on-line will allow, and then very discreetly, ask around for references about that person. Please heed any warnings you may receive about an individual, but be sure you ask for more than one opinion. If you cannot find anyone on-line who will vouch for this potential partner either way, please proceed very slowly. Remember that on-line is no different than real life. Make them earn your trust.

  6. Always be aware that this forum of communication harbors unsavory characters, just as any other. And also be aware that people may not always be who they appear, or claim to be. If you proceed at a cautious rate, you'll save yourself some possible heartache down the road.

  7. PHONE CALLS: If someone wishes to speak with you, and you aren't entirely trusting of them yet, offer to call them instead of giving your number out. You can disable any possible Called-ID function they have by punching in the disable code (check your phone book information pages, or call your phone company). Keep your first conversation brief and friendly. If you still harbor doubts at the end of this, continue to call them. Never go against your instincts - they are your most valuable resource. If they demand' your number and you've respectfully and repeatedly told them no, perhaps it's time to close that particular door.

  8. Even if you live close to someone you meet on-line, it's not a good idea to move into meeting them too quickly. Take your time in getting to know them, speak several times on the phone, and if you do agree to meet, set it up at a public place, and take a friend along. A serious potential partner won't mind.

Class #2 - First Time Meetings

There are many ways to meet potential D/s partners. AOL and classified ads are only two of these ways. First time meetings always require a little extra security and safety. Here are some simple rules for those awkward first encounters.

  1. Always set the meeting up well in advance, so that you have time to arrange a sufficient safety net. (This goes for Doms and subs alike.) If you are traveling, make reservations at a motel, but do NOT let the person you're meeting know where you'll be staying.

  2. Arrange to meet for the first time during the daylight hours in a public place, such as a mall or a restaurant. Always park your car a distance away, so that if the meeting goes badly, you cannot be followed away. Another good idea is to take a cab to this first meeting.

  3. Do not plan to play during your initial meeting. You should have plenty to discuss, without sex or D/s play entering into the equation.

  4. Think about taking along a friend. A serious potential partner won't feel intimidated.

  5. SAFE CALLS: There are many ideas out there about how safe calls should be done, but I'll only offer you my humble opinion, and what has worked for me in the past. Let 2 friends, preferably local to where you'll be meeting, know your complete schedule. Give them the full name of the person you'll be meeting, their phone number and a brief physical description. You can even go so far as to give them the make, model and plate number of the car your date will be driving. Make sure that your friends have an accurate description of you, as well, and the phone number of the local police. Arrange to call these 2 friends immediately after you've met your date. Give them a key word' beforehand, that you can say if you need to get away from your date - for example, you could say that everything is (great) if you need help, or that everything is (wonderful) if you're okay. Your safe calls should arrange to come get you, or give you some sort of out if you use your keyword. If you'll be spending more than a few hours with your date, it's a good idea to call your safe calls every few hours, at least at first.

  6. Be honest with your date. If you feel, after this first meeting, that this person is not someone you want to be involved with, be honest and up-front about that. It's not necessarily a good idea to do this at your first meeting. Go home, sleep on it. And then arrange to speak to this person the next day. Remember, your instincts are your most valuable resource.

  7. Have a good time. Be yourself. But most importantly, be SAFE and be HONEST - with your date, and with yourself.

Class #3 - First Scene Safety

It's always a good idea to get to know someone very well before committing yourself to play time. It's also a good idea to think long and hard about what you expect, and then lay that out for the other person clearly beforehand.

It's also a good idea to list out your limits (yes, Doms have limits, too !!) And exchange them well in advance of your first scene.

  1. SAFE CALLS: See Item #5 from Lesson #2. If you plan to play at your new partner's home, make sure your safe call has the address, the phone number and a clear map and directions to the home. If you plan to play at your home, do NOT turn off your phone, and make sure you have the number of the ambulance, local police and a contact posted by each phone, in case of any emergency. Secure any valuables before your partner arrives. If you plan to play at a motel, or a third parties' home, make sure your safe call knows exactly where you'll be. If in a motel, make sure they have the room number, and the name the room is registered under. It's also a good idea to keep your keys and purse or wallet by the door, so you can grab them quickly if need be.

  2. It's a good idea to keep your first scene light. I do not recommend bondage, gags or extreme pain for your first scene with a new partner. There's plenty of other activities you can use to get to know each other's likes and dislikes. Besides, if it works out, you'll want to save something for later

  3. SAFEWORDS: You should chose and discuss safewords and/or actions well in advance of your first meeting. My recommendations are something very simple, such as yellow for slow down, and red for stop. Never play around with these words - they are your protection, and your safety net, and should only be used when you mean them.

  4. SAFE SEX: I don't think anyone needs to be reminded about this, but I'll throw it in anyway. Both parties should posses condoms, in case one forgets. It only takes a few seconds to slip on a condom. It's takes a long and painful time to die of AIDS.

  5. If, at any point, either party is feeling uncomfortable, S T O P !!!!! Dress. Talk. And then talk some more. It takes a lot of trust to have a meaningful D/s relationship. Take the time to build that foundation.

Class #4 - Emotional Safety

No, pain is not all physical. Sometimes, it's in your head and your heart as well, and sometimes, those scars are the hardest to heal. Here are some tips to lessen your chances of getting them in the first place.

  1. Be honest. With yourself. With prospective partners. Never be ashamed to admit you don't know something, or to ask questions. If you're looking for 24/7, don't tell someone you only want to play. If you're looking for love and romance, be up-front about it. If you are dishonest about what you want, it's not only you who could get hurt in the long run.

  2. Never reveal too much about your personal life to anyone on-line. There are too many people who'll use your heartaches and problems for hot IM gossip.

  3. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Your instincts, once again, are your greatest gift and resource. Use them, and listen to them.

  4. Heed warnings. If you're told by more than one person that a prospective partner could be trouble, LISTEN. Take into account that it's someone else's opinion of someone you're getting to know, but always listen, and openly ask your partner about what you hear. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide if you believe everything you hear, but always hear what someone is trying to tell you, and always, check it out.

  5. If a prospective partner asks you not to ask anyone else on-line about them, ask yourself why. Then ask them why. And if you can't come up with any satisfactory answers, either walk away, or proceed with EXTREME caution.

  6. If a prospective partner is hesitant with personal information after you've already given yours, then take it as a warning. FIND OUT WHY.

  7. Don't get dragged into on-line gossip. It may be fun for awhile, but eventually it will only come back to haunt you. There are people on-line who have nothing better to do. Don't become one of them.

  8. Think for yourself. Trust yourself. Be honest with yourself. And above all, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

Copyright 1995 TheScreamer
Reused by permission

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