Being around other kinky people, watching them play and just talking to each other is a great way to learn new ways – no matter how long you have been around.

If it’s your first time, and you are fairly new to ‘the scene’, here some survival tips.

It ain’t 50 Shades of Grey.

Wow so if you have watched the ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ trailer, you might get the idea that bondage parties are like some Venetian masque ball. Amazing gowns, gorgeous people, expensive jewellery and beauty wherever you look.

Sorry to burst that bubble, but unless you are in some amazing elite circles, expect the people you would see in the grocery shop – just dressed a bit differently. For real, kinksters come in all colors, sizes and flavours and – in general – you will find the BDSM community to be a lot more inclusive than bouncers at normal club doors.

Stick to the Dress Code.

Having said that, after you have gone through all the excitement of booking your tickets, you want to make sure you get in. That’s not usually based on your size or colour, but that you adhere to the dress code. Mostly, you will find it’s to keep creeps out and make sure the bondage party doesn’t turn into a bondage zoo for curious people.

Different parties have different dress codes, so make sure that you know yours. If you are unsure if your outfit will get a pass, take a selfie and send it to the host. People are usually more than happy to help newcomers out.

Know Rules and Etiquette.

BDSM etiquette differs greatly from country to country, state to state and even party to party. If you cannot find information online, do not hesitate to ask.

Some parties will expect submissives to serve all Doms. At some parties, a person just touching someone else without explicit permission will get in serious trouble. Maybe sex is allowed, maybe not. Often, certain types of play are excluded. The important thing is that you know what is expected of you and prepare accordingly. Remember, by going there, you agree to the rules – don’t expect folks will change them to please you.

In every case, make sure you know the dungeon monitors and the general safe words of the party.

Take the Tour.

Usually there will be a host at the party. Often, they will guide you around and explain the facilities – or ask someone else to do so. It not offered, don’t be too shy to ask. It’s a nice way to break the ice and get to know your first few people – often, hosts are more than happy to introduce you as well. Also, it’s always good to know which hole is a peephole and which is a glory hole. Safety matters and all that.

Get there Early.

Really simple tip but not intuitive: newcomers tend to think it might be better to come later, then the party is a bit crowded and you don’t stick out so much. Well, actually, it’s much nicer to be early. Because most likely, you will want to change at the location. And the locker rooms are typically on the small side… it’s just a bit awkward to brush along other people’s private bits the first time, whilst trying to lace up your corset properly. Coming early means you have a higher chance for some privacy. It’s also good fun to grab a drink, pick a nice spot and watch people coming in.

Agree on YOUR Rules of Engagement.

Whether you are going alone or not, make an agreement with yourself or your partner how far you are willing to take it on your first play party. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with choosing not to interact the first time around. If you choose to come with a partner and want to interact, talk at length about what level of interaction is okay. Is kissing OK? Are you OK to have sex with others, are you OK to play with others. Do not to take anything for granted but agree explicitly. Over the course of the party, check in with your partner frequently if they are still comfortable. Agree on a safe word to go home immediately, no questions asked.

Prepare for Disillusionment.

Like I said in the beginning: BDSM play parties, that’s a bunch of pretty normal folks coming together and doing pretty kinky stuff. That doesn’t always look pretty, that might now always be your cup of tea. Probably, in your fantasies, it all looked a bit hotter and a bit hornier than in real life. It’s a bit like going to the movie version of your favorite book. It just never gets there. Don’t let that discourage you – it’s a normal process to feel a bit down and a bit underwhelmed – the more you hyped it up, the more you have t to prepare for a little drop. If you liked it, go back and you will find that with normal expectations, it gets better every time 🙂

Sonja is a co-founder of boldpleasures. She's on a mission to free people to revel in their true sensuality by removing the stigma surrounding kink. Sonja writes about first steps, ditching the shame and how to combine kink and 'normal' family life. She's a mother of two and happily married.

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