You’ve decided to go to that event. You’ve scouted out the event, packed your outfits and implements, made your travel plans, and the big day is here! What are some guidelines to follow when you get there? Here are some recommendations that are fairly universal across the various events.
Safe, Sane, Consensual.
Always play by following the three hallmark qualities of sound BDSM play: Make sure it is safe; make sure it is sane; and make sure it is consensual.
It is important to keep the event safe for all. If you become aware that an attendee has engaged in non-consensual play, has endangered themself or others, or has created an uncomfortable environment, notify event organizers.
Listen to the hosts.
Although most events have similar rules, each host or host group will have specific rules for their event, venue, or establishment. It is important to pay attention and respect the corresponding rules. Some hosts will start the event by going over the rules, whereas others may just email the rules or have them posted on their website or event page on Whappz. It is common to see rules like no alcohol, no frontal nudity, or no sex. If the event takes place at a private home, there may be rooms or parts of the residence that are off-limits. Some events may require a cover charge or registration fee or ask you to bring snacks, so check online to make sure before you go.
Respect when your offer is declined, and vice versa.
Simply stated, we may not all be each other’s cup of tea, and that’s ok. We all have preferences. Someone may decline your offer to play for multiple reasons. Perhaps they’re not “feeling it;” perhaps they’re tired or “spanked out” from prior play; perhaps their headspace is elsewhere at the moment; perhaps they’re in the middle of an engaging conversation or have another session planned to begin shortly; or, yes, perhaps you’re just not their type. Respect that, and if you must decline someone’s offer to play yourself, do so with grace. Friendships in the community may still be made between those who do not have common play interests, so don’t see this as a reason to permanently disassociate from someone!
Be respectful of the venue.
Whether a private home offered by a member of our community or a large event venue operated by a lodging or conference provider, be mindful that we are only borrowing the space for a short time - and also that others may wish to use the same space rather quickly. Keep your play area neat and clean, and wipe down equipment between uses, whether your own or that shared with others in common spaces. Keep the rearranging of furniture or items to a minimum (in a home, they are your host’s decor and in an event venue, they may be there to support other aspects of the event). And, remember that sounds carry even through walls. This may or may not be a problem, depending on the location, but remember that a noise complaint is the last thing a host may wish to encounter!
Don’t interrupt another person’s play.
Depending on the venue of the event, there may be times when you can observe a scene taking place. You may see a “Dad” scolding his “son,” or a judicial scene where someone is receiving 100 strokes of the cane. Although this may be happening in public, the participants are in their own headspace and scene. It is not okay to walk up and interrupt (whether to make a comment regarding an implement, offer to help, ask to participate, etc.). Even making comments to someone next to you regarding what’s happening can be distracting and may not be welcomed by those participating in the scene. Under no circumstances should you actually touch those engaged in a scene without prior consent. Keep your distance and observe. Do not engage until the scene is over and they either part or start talking to others. Remember that aftercare is part of the scene and is a special moment between the participants so make sure it is really “over” before approaching.
No photos without permission (taking and posting).
This cannot be stressed enough. One of the reasons that we attend events is to be with others who share our spanking interests. Many of us feel at home away from home. However, some of us need to maintain discretion and would not like pictures of our red bottoms or a picture of us having someone over our lap out there on social media.
After a scene is over, it is acceptable to ask the other person if you may take a picture of their red bottom. It’s standard and advisable practice to use the phone of the spankee when taking a picture. Then if they feel comfortable, they can share the picture with others. It is common practice to make sure the picture captures the neck down and not the head or face. You can show the person the picture you took right away to see if any edits or re-poses are necessary.
If you are in a group or public area of the event, pictures are almost never permissible or welcome, so it’s best to just keep that phone or camera stowed away while you are there.
If you are allowed to take a picture, it is understandable that you want to post it afterwards to show off your bottom or to show others that amazing spankable partner you had over your lap. Before posting, make sure you have permission of any other person in the picture. Be sure to look in the background, as well. Were there others at the event that were captured by mistake in the picture? Are there any identifiable items in the background such as license plates, IDs, suitcase labels, etc.? While this might sound silly, once a picture is out there, it’s hard to pull it back.
Verify play partners with whom you had good experiences.
The Whappz verification feature is a great opportunity to vouch for, and be vouched for by, another person. If you had a great session, the quick push of a button to offer a verification can be a meaningful tribute to your play partner and can also help others know that they are a real and legitimate person. Of course, note that some people may not be on Whappz, and some may not be aware of the verifications feature, so feel free to share an explanation of it!
Be kind. Respect the diversity of interests.
We occupy a small but broad world. In fact, many of us cross paths at multiple events during the years. The simple rule, “be kind,” can guide us all. We may not all be close friends, and we may also find ourselves disagreeing on issues, but treating one another with respect and kindness goes a long way. With this, it’s important to recognize that even within the fairly specific area of spanking, there are many, many different approaches and interests. Respect that your interests may or may not overlap with those of others, and rather than seeing this as discouraging or a reason to dismiss others, celebrate it as the diversity of our community.
Pace yourself and respect that others want to, as well.
At the beginning of an event, you may be so excited to meet with that first person - either the Dom that has singled you out, or the sub that you want to put over your lap. As excited as you are, it is important to remember that a spanking event is different from a single hookup. When you have a spanking hookup, you have agreed on the intensity and the limits of the sub. At an event, those limits might be adjusted downward.
One of the biggest mistakes made at an event, particularly for subs, is going all-out on the first one or two sessions, and then feeling too sore or “spanked out” to enjoy the rest of the event. As a sub, feel free to stop early if the Dom takes you farther than you wish to go. As a Dom, recognize that subs will likely want to play with multiple other Doms during their time at the event. Limits should still be negotiated, but recognize the differences that are necessary for events with multiple playing partners. There will be many more sessions for you to get or give additional swats. Many will wait until the end of the event for that more intense “finale.”
Refrain from the alcohol.
Alcohol and spanking (or BDSM, in general) do not mix well. As a Dom, if you are intoxicated, your precision may be off and you may risk injuring or bruising your spankee by hitting too high, too low, or too hard. You may also get too rough, which can be scary for a sub and provide the wrong impression of your intentions. As a sub, if you are intoxicated, you may not feel pain in the same way which may lead you to take too much and, as result, allow damage to happen without being aware. Finally, as intoxication increases, so do questions about good judgment, the mix of possible unplanned sensual or sexual activity, and mutual consent.
Note that some events are “dry’ and/or do not serve alcoholic beverages for the reasons stated above. It is common for some events to have public or private afterparties where alcohol may be permitted.
Excerpted from Strict Sirs and Bad Lads: The World of Male Spanking (by KCGuy and Paddleswats, book forthcoming 2023)