As awful as it is and as much as I wish it weren’t true, the BDSM community does include a handful of very, very shady individuals. We’ve all had it happen, have seen it happen, or know someone it’s happened to: that lecherous creep who makes unwanted advances or just says something so uncomfortable we don’t want to go anywhere near them or whatever they were trying to talk about ever again. While this happens in everyday life, it seems to happen with greater frequency within a BDSM setting. Maybe it’s because of media’s poor portrayals of what a Dominant should be, but Dominants should be able to speak to another individual within the BDSM community – online or off – without making the other person uncomfortable. Since the majority of gross behaviors happen online, I’m going to focus on addressing those and providing ways in which you, as a Dominant, can relate to the person you are trying to talk to without being one of “those” people.
The most egregious example of what I never want you to do can be found in almost anyone’s FetLife inbox. Even mine, though it clearly states I’m a Dominant, occasionally gets a message from someone looking to make me their next submissive and “asking” if I’m interested. Obviously, this doesn’t work for them, but I hate it the most because I know they are sending the same gross message to every girl they see on the site in hopes of proving how “dominant” they are. So, Dominants, first things first, read the profile of the person you are trying to start a conversation with and make sure you don’t copy and paste the same message you’ve sent ten other people. Instead, treat them like an actual person (like they are) and start a conversation based on a mutual interest. I promise, you will do much better with that lead in than you will with trying to prove how dominant you are by sending some aggressive message about how you want to make them yours.
Of course, the biggest key to all of this is that in order to send a respectful message, you have to actually respect the person you are trying to talk to. Personally, I’ve found that the people who perpetuate these behaviors of unwanted aggression are mostly abusers and misogynists who pretend their beliefs make them a Dom(me). Don’t be like these people, don’t encourage these people, and don’t think you have a chance of playing safely with them, because it’s impossible if they don’t respect you. Instead, as you would respect a safeword during a scene, respect someone’s decision not to talk to you online and if they do want to talk, respect their decision to keep the conversation friendly and not sex-centric, even on websites like FetLife.