Internet Safety

Discussion in 'Safety aspects of BDSM' started by Foreverbunny91, May 2, 2012.

  1. Click here for more.
    Soo... Just out of pure curiousity... Exactly how safe/unsafe is it to meet a Dom online? Are there different sites that are considered safer than others?

    I have learned that Craigslist is a bad idea. And it's a bad idea to play with inexperienced Doms you don't know well. And you should meet in a coffee shop first. And you should also have someone call to check in with you, and hotels are preferrable. And the best way is to just meet people at munches and other BDSM functions...

    But I've known a few people who have met people on Fetlife or OKCupid and played with them and nothing bad happened. (But then again, I also know people who have tried methamphetamines and nothing bad happened.)

    Thoughts? Opinions? Experiences??
  2. sebastian

    sebastian Active Member

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    Well, meeting a dom ONLINE is fairly safe. It's taking things into the real world where it gets trickier.

    So here's the thing. Out of 100 doms, probably only 1 (or really, even less than 1) is actively malicious or otherwise likely to intentionally hurt you. But an additional 5 are probably dangerously incompetent or emotionally unstable and therefore represent an unintentional threat of some sort. So maybe roughly 5% of the doms you could encounter are doms you really don't want to play with. There are lots of other doms who are inexperienced but unlikely to seriously harm you. The problem is not that the odds are against you, but that A) sorting the good from the bad can be tricky and B) if something does go wrong, it could go horrifyingly wrong.

    I've met literally dozens of guys online whom I have gone on to meet in person and play with. Of them, only 1 became a problem. He probably has Borderline Personality Disorder; after I got home, and after he sent me a very complimentary email, he sent me a really nasty email saying I was a monster and hinting that he might contact my place of employment to expose me. But he hasn't done so yet, and it's been 6 months. So he was just a bad scare, and someone I'd prefer to forget.

    But I did have one other frightening experience. When I was first exploring BDSM, a friend introduced me to a bondage dom, who seemed very nice. He offered to teach me about bondage, and then tied me up. After he tied me up, I started to get very nervous and realized that I really only had my friend's word that this guy was ok. So I asked to be untied, and there was a moment when I really wasn't sure he would do it. But he did. Nothing bad happened. His willingness to untie me demonstrated to me that he was ok, and I've played with him a number of times since then and learned a ton about BDSM from him. But that one brief moment left a strong impression on me. I've read enough horror stories to know that there are some evil doms out there (and, in all fairness, some evil subs too, as my Borderline sub experience shows), so I always counsel caution.

    A few years ago, Dan Savage (the sex advice columnist) ran a letter about some guy who was murdered after hooking up through a gay hook-up site. Savage pointed out that while this is always a possibility, it cannot represent more than a miniscule number of cases, because thousands of gay men hook-up every night just in the big cities, and yet a story like this crops up only every few years. I think the same thing is roughly true with BDSM, with the added complication that BDSM provides far more scope for a criminal than regular old gay sex, because the sub can wind up entirely vulnerable to a dom's malevolency.

    So, to sum it up, the odds of meeting a problem dom are, realistically, small. But the consequences of meeting such a dom are substantial. Therefore, a wise sub takes reasonable precautions and does his/her homework, but doesn't let the risks stop them from playing when precautions suggest things are ok.

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    Hmmm... So what precautions should be taken? Just the ones I mentioned? Or is there more?

    Thank you Sebby:)
  4. Smallest

    Smallest Moderator

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    I started writing this long reply when you first posted, but halfway through had to stop. It's saved and I'll come back with my view when I get a moment if someone else hasn't yet
  5. sebastian

    sebastian Active Member

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    Well, you listed the major ones in your original post. I'd add that you should trust your gut. Don't play with someone if something seems off somehow. But don't let simple nerves stand in your way.
  6. RopeRanger

    RopeRanger Member

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    Hi Bunny,

    I’ve found all of my recent play partners online. Interestingly enough I’ve had very good success with Craigslist, though it does seem to have about the same odds as fishing.

    I personally don’t think online is any more or less safe than simply picking up someone in a bar. That said: I do believe that folks tend to suspend their disbelief and let down their guard too quickly when connecting online. As a Dom I typically recommend a “crawl, walk, run” approach by using IM/email, meeting in person and then playing. I use the email/chat sessions to discuss what the sub is expecting, set hard/soft limits and get to know each other generally. I personally look for consistency during this time. As a sub you should also be using this time to evaluate the Dom. If they say they are experienced they should talk the talk and walk the walk. They should be working to earn your trust but not going overboard.

    Chat/email should last around 2 weeks. I’ve learned that anything over 3 weeks is not really heading toward a face-to-face and anything faster than a week and that person will be inexperienced or will not get past the face-to-face meeting. When you set up this first meeting you’ve been communicating for a couple weeks. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of familiarity or security. You still don’t know them. I may meet the sub once or twice in a public place, usually for lunch or dinner. The second ‘date’ usually is in a less private place. All of this should take a natural feeling pace. If at any time you feel pressured to speed things up, or meet someplace that you’re not comfortable then you need to recognize that as a red flag. Pay attention to your gut. If something seems off about the meeting then regroup. Again, look for consistency. If they told you they’re a doctor/lawyer and they show up in work boots and a truck then you know they’ve been leading you on.

    There’s some debate about how to meet. Some people suggest that the female/sub should designate the time and place and others suggest that the male/Dom do so. I tend to lean to the male paying for the met as that leaves a paper via the credit card used to rent the room. However, I believe that the female/sub must know ahead of time where the meeting is taking place (down to the room number) as they need this information to setup the safe call.

    At this point do not get into a car with them. Make your own way to this meeting. Don’t ask them to pick you up from work, home or even the neighborhood coffee shop. At this point they don’t need to even know which side of town you live. Did they send you a current picture? Why not? You may even consider using your cell to snap a picture of the two of you together or even have a friend eat at the same place to cover your back.

    I highly recommend safe calls. If the sub doesn’t know about them then that tells me about their experience level. (I should have gauged this already) If they flat out don’t want one then I have to read between the lines to determine if I have garnered that level of trust or if I should take that as another red flag. Even the vanilla dating sites recommend them. Experienced Doms understand the need for them and will not be concerned or turned off by it.

    Evaluate the scene they suggest. Are they starting off easy by suggesting that you be Daddy’s girl who was bad or are they jumping right into knife play, suspension or something else equally as advanced? Of course if you are answer an ad for advanced play then you should expect that in which case you may be justified in asking for references.

    When meeting make sure your phone is charged. Don’t leave your purse or wallet unattended. Leave your drink/food unattended. Take care of business before you meet and visit the ladies room when you leave. If you must step out then ask for a new drink. Switching to water works well. Don’t drink alcohol. It’s not going to calm your nerves and it will cause you to miss warning signs.
  7. Aibo

    Aibo Member

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    Dam you Foreverbunny91: You covered it all there, so there's nothing left for me to add. :)

    @sebastian: Er Forever do talk about coffee shops and munches so its not about cyber here. :D

    But there's some small details I could add.
    It is the dominant who should go to the town or village of the submissive, so that person is on his or her home turf, and could have a potential backup.
    This is regardless of gender, a submissive male friend of mine, well we're members of same BDSM society and know each other fairly well. He did run into a completely deranged female dominant. So safety apply to anyone.

    And yes, the 2 I have been involved in on a deeper level in this, came from 1: A chatroom. 2: From Collarme. And I had not seen any photo of either girl before I met them.

    The problem of long distance contacts is that just going for a coffee shop meeting only after traveling for how many hours in a car or on a flight - does not make sense for either.
    So in both those cases of mine, we went into actual play in less than a day, but we held back on sex for a rather long time.
    Which tells quite a bit on our inclination, that the BDSM part were quite more important than massaging glands.

    ......and make bloody sure you're on the same level of things before you do.
    In the case of those 2 above, we were and all went fine.
    Yet even though a submissive makes all the correct noises in chat, mail or phone. Does not mean they actually mean it, something I encountered more recently when I started to look for someone again. I had this female that sounded all serious and used the words that someone on my level would make. But it turned out she were just a player - whereas I am a lifestyler. She was rather chocked when learning this is not just a game to do in a BDSM club once every second month or so. *Sigh*

    Anyhow, there have been some complete morons who have ruined things for everyone else.
    So to be reasonably safe, and in case of doubt, I would recommend that whoever you meet could provide some sort of reference to talk with before the first meeting. (A member of his or her BDSM club or society, former slave/mistress/Master or whatever.) :)
  8. sebastian

    sebastian Active Member

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    Aibo: While it's certainly a re-assuring gesture for a dom to travel to the sub, I think that's fairly uncommon, for a couple reasons.

    1) Doms usually are the ones who keep a dungeon, and it's hard to travel with a dungeon.
    2) The sub traveling to meet the dom reinforces the principle that the sub is there to serve the dom, while doing it the other way around inverts that principle.
    3) As a dom, I'm very serious about exploring something with a sub, but in my experience lots of subs are not serious or at least not serious enough to overcome their reservations about subbing. I want to see the sub make a serious gesture of interest, such as undertaking the complications of travel.
    4) Keeping the sub a little nervous is a good thing. It reinforces the power exchange.

    Although I have on one or two occasions offered to travel to meet a sub, I've never actually done it.
  9. subspace

    subspace Member

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    Ill add just a few thoughts from personal experience. I have been incredibly lucky to have met the most wonderful people through the internet, we are talking life-long friendships here. However, until you get to that point it is very important to not lay all your cards onto the table just in case things go south. Don't give out info that would allow the other person to come after you if you decide to end the relationship and they may feel otherwise. Of all my friends online only one has had a really bad experience but it went REALLY wrong. A sub that he was playing with wanted more than he did. She not only outed him to the world (family and work) but also outed his other sub's. She posted links to Facebook pages on fetish sites and broke all privacy. So please just be careful and play it safe until you get a chance to build some trust. Use safe alt emails and just keep some of the more important info to yourself.
    Good luck! And as mentioned before, I really do believe the horror stories are rare, most people just want to have a fun time and explore their sexuality without ulteriorl motives. Just be smart and fun!
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  10. Aibo

    Aibo Member

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    1: For the first date the two involved are quite unlikely to jump straight into a a full fledged session.
    I have not heard of that happening from anyone I am acquainted with, not saying that it might happen.
    But now we talk about safety, first a safe meeting without any or at least without any advanced play is strongly recommended.

    2: Well they might want to know if they would like to submit to you first, which do require a face to face meeting first. So that one go back to no 1 again.

    3: I never found a way round that one before actually see if I could connect to someone. So it go back to .... no 1 again. =)

    4: Oh yes that one I agree on, after meeting once or trice I doubt two people knows each other much anyhow.

    @subspace: Oh yes that I agree on, just a few years back I went travelling to meet someone which had a kind of funny start.

    She were selective, but in one ass backward way. She did not share any any photo beforehand, so I arrived for a blind date indeed.
    I got immediately invited to her home where we spent 5 days together, so I knew where she lived and most private details, but it took until parting before she revealed her first name. :p
    Sound horrible? Nope it was the start of a wonderful thing, that sadly only lasted 2 years. We split autumn 2011.
  11. sebastian

    sebastian Active Member

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    Aibo: When you talk about traveling, I generally interpret that to mean traveling a good distance, like one city to another, not from my apartment to yours in the same city. So If I travel to another city for a sub, or vice versa, I'm not going to do it just for a first meeting. I'm only going to arrange travel if I think there is a very strong likelihood that I will play with the sub.
  12. Knots

    Knots Member

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    It definitely isn't unheard of among experienced players.
  13. Aibo

    Aibo Member

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    @sebastian: And when I talked about traveling it was intended to read as to at least another part of the country, another country, or the opposite side of the Earth.

    The latter being the case when I went for the first meeting with the one who I ended up with for the all to short time of 2010-2011.

    And I had no expectations whatsoever for that first meeting except to get to learn to know each other, and find out if we even could communicate. We could and things went on from that. So we did some lighter play quite soon. But and as a ½ nod to knots, yes we both turned out to be experienced indeed, but in two completely different styles of BDSM - but it made things all the more interesting later on.

    But back to the main answer to sebastian.
    To ask a submissive to come to a completely different country and culture, and end up where she (or he) have no chance of a backup or even know how to say 'help' or 'police' if things go haywire or the dominant turn out to be a maniac - is nothing I would recommend to anyone.
  14. sebastian

    sebastian Active Member

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    Aibo: Yes, traveling to meet a dom is risky. But it's about as risky for the dom to travel as the sub. Neither has any real guarantee that the other is telling the truth. Subs certainly put themselves at risk if they allow the dom to tie them up or otherwise immobilize them, but apart from that risk, the dom is running the same risks as the sub. And there are certainly psycho subs out there. I've met one, although he only went crazy on me after I'd visited him and returned home.
  15. Knots

    Knots Member

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    That's risky for anyone, not just submissives. If I got speaking to someone from the rough parts of my city, whether they were submissive or not it'd be dangerous for me to go round of their house to see them. Likewise it'd be dangerous for me to go to Australia to meet a "sub", who may actually be a psychopath who's got a set of three other people ready to kick three times of hell into me. It's also genrally dangerous to meet a new sub, as you don't know whether the fuck you trust them or they're a different kind of psychopath who's arranged for the police to be called midway through your session so they can go "HE CAME HERE AND RAPED ME!" for attention/money/other benefits.

    Three examples, about 20 billion more to go. Point is that both are human, and essentially just as likely to be crazed psychopaths/etc.

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