“Are there any good play parties in the New York area that you recommend? Or BDSM groups? I am an inexperienced submissive new to the scene and would like to meet a dom boyfriend. Friends would be cool, too.”
–Female Random Internet Stranger
I’m not a good person to ask. I have never been active in the BDSM community and I never got into play parties. I’ve been to about 20 total, which isn’t a lot, considering it’s spread out over ten years.
My practical advice is pretty simple: if you drink, don’t get drunk. Wear the most comfortable shoes your outfit will allow, because you might be standing a lot. “No thanks, I’m just here to watch,” is a perfectly adequate refusal. People might ask you some questions that you perceive as being very odd; be prepared for that.
Look, I’ll just say it: if you’re a femsub and you play in public with strangers, you have a very good chance of being molested. I wish it weren’t so, but them’s the breaks, kid. It’s happened to me twice, and I was a sober experienced player both times. There’s a ton of blogs talking about problems in consent in the BDSM community–The Pervocracy has good stuff, so does Kitty Stryker. Here are some links.
(I’d also like to say that you may have a better experience if you go to a party without wearing your power identification on your sleeve, or pretending to be a domme or even a switch. Dommes get approached sometimes by subs who really want attention, and it can be annoying, but overall male subs are much easier to deal with, and I’ve never had one grab at my tits or underwear.)
I hate to be Debbie Downer. I really do. But I’m telling you exactly what I would tell my best friend. There are guys who are there to admire the people in their outfits and maybe talk about their kinks with real live human beings for once. There are men who want to meet people for friendship and dating. And there are men who are there to get theirs–they are there to have sex and get their kinky rocks off. If you go as a single femsub, you are most likely to meet men in the latter category, just like in any meatmarket bar, because they are there to hunt. And now that I’m really thinking about it, I do not recommend that you go to a play party as a single femsub unless you are already very comfortable establishing boundaries, dealing with pushy men, and saying NO.
If you think that a friendly submissive girl is chatting you up just so that she can introduce you to her Dom, you are correct. It is not uncommon for these women to procure for their doms. And I’m not judging this; I’m just telling you that you should be aware of it and able to recognize it when you see it. If you meet a Dom at Suspension who has a name like Lord Master Darth Vader Owner of Sluts and he’s huge on Fetlife and there with his harem, well, it looks just like what it is. Here’s another tip: Fetlife celebrities are not looking for girlfriend subs. I’ve seen girls get hurt that way. Don’t let it be you.
A good, earnest dom will be happy to give you his legal name (be sure the guy’s not married, if that’s important to you). If he’s experienced and wants to play with you outside the party at a later date, he should have references from women who are not presently his girlfriends. If he’s not experienced, don’t let him to anything dangerous to you. Don’t get tied up alone.
Writing this really bummed me out. My experience with play parties has not been good. The only times I’ve had fun is when I went with female friends, and had absolutely no intention of meeting anyone. Go to people watch and enjoy the fashion show. Dance, if that’s your thing. Try to find a boyfriend online.
If you’re wearing a skirt, wear two pairs of underwear. Word to the wise.