I teach a lot of different topics and my play includes even more types of skills that I have studied and practiced for the past 16 years of Leather life.
I was taught by my elders that you did not practice anything on a human until you became proficient on an inanimate object. I practiced for weeks upon weeks before I was ALLOWED to use my flogger on a person. I took whip class after whip class, then hung newspaper up as my target for months before I was ever ALLOWED to use my whip on a person. The same was true for needles, scalpels, straight razors and other edge classes – I had to take 101, 201 and 301 classes, then practice, before I was ALLOWED to do any of these things to a living breathing human.
When attending any of my advanced skill classes it is essential that you have basic 101 skill already in place. Attendees have the opportunity to learn what I am teaching. I take time to answer questions and give further instruction, however if you don’t have the skill already in place then you should NOT BE ALLOWED to practice on a human. There are no certificates to go forth and perform. Some things we learn more quickly than others and of course some people learn more quickly than others, however, one class does not prepare you to perform a skill that is beyond your capability. Because you are brave enough, or more likely foolish enough, to try what you saw doesn’t mean you should.
I was recently approached by a man with just 1 ½ years in the BDSM scene who calls himself a master. He was happy to be taking my Artistic Cutting class so he would be able to do a requested cutting on someone, though this was a skill he had never performed. I stressed to him, and everyone attending, ‘you do not know how to cut’. You now know how to make a stencil, transfer it, placements to begin cutting, how to care for it after and what to do when things go wrong. I instructed them to please take a 101 level cutting class using tomatoes or chicken breasts to learn on.
There must be a way to be safe when bottoming, particularly for edge play. To know that the person we are bottoming to can really do what they claim without causing harm.
Thankfully most people know about vetting. I suggest something even easier, how about watching the top in action before allowing them to put their hands on you? Or asking to see and speak with someone else they topped? Before getting a tattoo we ask the artist to show us samples of their work, doesn’t it make sense to do the same before bottoming to a new or unknown player? How about meeting with them a few times before you allow them to do anything to you?
Recently a top, with about two years in the BDSM lifestyle, carved a name, not initial, into a 20 year old male bottom…with his consent of course. In this case the top knew that this would last “for years”, giving no thought to whom this bottom may later decide he is or to whom he belongs. A few months later he has determined he is in fact a top, scarred with another tops name.
I have a friend that has been in the BDSM lifestyle for several years, she can take one hell of a beating yet she has never experience subspace. I asked her a series of questions and determined no one had ever ramped her up, she had never been blindfolded, she had never given up control. She didn’t know how to ask for something different to meet her needs.
There is a time when a responsible top has to put aside what the bottom “agrees to” for the greater good of the bottom and their future in the BDSM lifestyle. There comes a time when ego must be set aside to do what is morally right and within our skill sets. There comes a time when we have to admit we can make mistakes and that we each individually do not know everything.
It is time we got back to basics:
- Learn from our elders, there are plenty available on the top and bottom.
- Find a mentor who is skilled and willing to train you on a particular skill.
- Take as many classes on a subject as you can.
- Practice on something inanimate until you earn the privilege to try it on a person.
- Ask for references and check them out, really and honestly, with an open mind.
- Do not allow desperation to lead you to play with anyone who does not pass a vetting process.
- Make sure you have someone who has YOUR best interests in mind watching when you play.
- Be responsible. Keep it safe. Ask tough questions. Really listen. Trust your instincts.
- Slow down and put in the time you need to be a safe player.
I can do these things… I have put in the time, the hours, days, weeks, months, years and I continue to do so.
Have you done the same?