Before you Begin
I'm a regular BDSM lifestyle player and have been for the last decade. I have been a professional Dominatrix for three years and have worked within the sex industry for nearly seven years.
That being said, I am not an expert on this subject. Anyone who claims to be is either the most educated and intelligent person in this space or entirely full of shit.
This is an industry as dynamic, complex, and unique as the individuals in it. Taking this lifestyle on means taking on centuries of oppression and stigma. Education, advocacy, and vocal representation are necessary now more than ever. So let's start with some general information and sources for you to look into.
What is BDSM?
It's an acronym you've likely heard tossed around at parties or proudly posted on dating apps. But what exactly does BDSM really refer to? Let's explore.
While there are multiple exact word associations, generally speaking, BDSM stands for body domination, and sadomasochism. According to one excellent definition by Morten Nielsen at the University of Copenhagen, BDSM refers to the... "Practices and relationships involving either a) the deliberate infliction of pain (bodily and/or mental) on one part (the submissive) by another (the dominant) or/and b) the deliberate suspension of, or handing over of, (at least parts of) normal powers and rights from one part (the submissive) to another (the dominant), both with the goal of sexual arousal or satisfaction in mind" (Nielsen 2010).
Basically, it's an exchange of power for the purpose of pleasure. It can be done on an occasional basis, lived as a lifestyle, and made into a profession (duh).
The kinky community is vast and complex. But regardless of what gets each of us off, we all individually strive to make every interaction an entirely safe, sane, and consensual one. It's not always easy -- there's plenty of participants who like to push boundaries and some individuals who try to use the lifestyle to carry out their twisted fantasies on unsuspecting partners. It's absolutely imperative that you not only adhere to these guidelines yourself, but that you keep a keen eye on them when you're vetting potential subs too.
Consent and the Ethics of BDSM
Safe, Sane, Consensual
Keep playtime positive and pleasurable. Ensuring every single encounter with the submissive is safe, sane, and consensual will guarantee they come back time and time again for more.
Let's discuss what that ultimately looks like in a real-time scenario. For example; if a client is looking for an extreme display of Ownership through markings and impact, be extra cautious of how far the scene is going, regardless of how much they want more.
Certain kinks can have serious repercussions if not handled by a safe practitioner. It's crucial that the Dom(me) is well researched and experienced before agreeing to anything that could be permanently harmful to the client.
On That Note
it's the Dom(me)'s responsibility to ensure the entirety of the scene is sane. While it seems fairly self-explanatory and ultimately harmless if consensual, drawing out specific boundaries can sometimes be difficult when fantasy and reality collide.
Additionally, many clients have personal conflicts regarding the lifestyle and often change their minds on a dime. Certain kinks can put the Dominant in a potentially incriminating situation for this reason and many others. Stories have circulated the internet of Dom(me)s taking things too far and ending up being arrested due to their negligence. Be cautious with certain kinks and clients. This is especially advised with new clients and in last-minute situations. No matter how enticing the offer of a session is, do not disregard personal protocols and intuition.
As a practitioner, clients will often approach with seemingly simple requests. They often mention that they're newer to the lifestyle or haven't ever seen a Dominant professionally.
When a submissive starts moving into the realm of something I did not consent to, I will immediately command that they stop. If they hesitate or continue to push the subject, I will grab them firm by the collar, look directly into their eyes with the burning rage of a thousand suns and warn them of the consequences that will occur if they continue. It's rare that I encounter anyone brave enough to push Me farther than that, but the one person who did try to was immediately removed from My property.