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What to Expect at the BDSM Dungeon When You’re New

The first time I went to a BDSM dungeon, my biggest fear was making myself look silly. Here I was, eyes wide, mouth agape, staring at things I'd only ever read about.

Is that a St. Andrew's Cross in the corner? It's bigger than I thought it would be.

That looks like a swing set with no swings. Ohhhh, it's a rope suspension bar. 

And does that woman have her boobs out on display? People really do get naked here!

Those are just the initial impressions I remember from that first time. But much more went on.

When John Brownstone asked for a cup of water, I had to navigate a red cup versus blue cup situation (one was for Dominants, the other for submissives). And then chant, "Please don't spill" in my head over and over again until I delivered it safely to him.

When he was ready to collar me (play collar, y'all), I knelt on a cold, cement floor in front of strangers. They weren't watching (nothing new to see here, people) but I felt like all eyes were on me.

I couldn't approach anyone and had to let them approach John Brownstone first. There was no eye contact with strangers, especially if there was a chance they were Dominant. And I'm a nosy girl who stares at people when they think they aren't watching. What if I offended someone? What if I wasn't a good girl?! Ahhh!

So yes, when someone tells me they're "nervous" or "afraid" of the club, I get it. It's hard to be new somewhere. Add kink, nudity, and your perceived "skill" or "level" in this thing we do and the whole thing can make you break out into a sweat.

While every BDSM club or dungeon is a bit different, with they're own individual and community quirks and styles, I think there are enough commonalities between them that I can (maybe) put you at ease by giving you an idea of what to expect if you're new.

Sign In

No matter where you go, there will be a sign-in procedure from very formal with forms to fill out and ID to show to a wave of the hand by someone who recognizes you. Everyone does it a little differently. I haven't heard of a club or dungeon yet that doesn't ask for payment at the door, though. They aren't running a charity and electricity costs money, so ask what the entry fee is before you go so you're not surprised.

Cash or card? Don't feel bad about asking, but if you forget, have cash just to be safe.

A Tour and the Rules

When you're brand new or if it's been a really long time since you were last there (like years, y'all), you should get a tour and a run down of the rules. Most places post their rules somewhere so you can check them out or refer to them later. If the dungeon doesn't offer a tour, ask for one. This should be a chance to meet the Dungeon Monitor (or DM) for the evening, too. They're the ones who step in if people don't play safe or someone harasses another kinkster. Look to them for help if you need it.

You may attend a dungeon that did all this in an "orientation" before the event. Either way, make sure you get this information early on. Part of safe play is understanding what equipment you have available to you and what the rules are for the club.

Social Area

Kinksters love to socialize. It's not a kink thing, y'all, it's a people thing. The social area might be a separate area of the dungeon or adjacent to where people are getting kinky. You never know until you get there. This is a great place to start (and end) the night. No pressure here, just conversation and the chance to get to know people.

Oh, and don't be surprised if you see food being brought in. Getting your kink on burns a lot of energy. Plus, it's not really a social gathering without food, even if you aren't playing.

The Play Area

Unless it's cordoned off or marked as private, most play areas are open for public viewing. Just because you watch doesn't mean you have to play. And just because you go to the dungeon doesn't mean you have to watch. You can hang out in the social area all night if that's where you want to be. But it is there, and it can be a great way to learn or to get yourself turned on (if you're a little voyeuristic).

Make sure to keep your voice down and never interrupt a scene if you decide to watch.

Get Naked or Don't

Play or don't play, but if you do, don't think you have to get naked. I've got an exhibitionist side, and I feel really comfortable in our dungeon, so I tend to strip down to not a damn thing. But you don't have to. Some women keep their bra on. Some men only take off their shirt (women, too). It's all about personal preference.

No one should make you feel bad about how you dress (or don't) when you play. If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable, talk to the dungeon monitor.

I can't give you a specific list of exactly what to expect when you get to your local BDSM dungeon. We're all too different for that. But if you've wondered what it's like or are considering going in the future, hopefully this gives you a basic idea of what to expect.

We really do grow in BDSM and in our kinky relationships when we get out into the local community and get to know people. Going to the dungeon doesn't mean you're required to play or take off all your clothes. Go as a learning experience or a social outing and decide later if you want it to be more.

About the author

Kayla Lords

I am an erotic author, sex blogger, podcaster, freelance writer, and an opinionated marketer. I'm also a masochistic babygirl submissive with an amazing and sadistic Daddy Dom. Welcome to my kinky corner of the internet!

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