I've been involved with local and regional BDSM groups since I first learned about BDSM in 2003. You get to meet a lot of people during events and some of them have quirks and perversions that you've never heard of. You'll meet white collar, blue collar and poverty stricken people in the same room enjoying conversation with each other. But a select few people haven't learned about spatial boundaries or that the number one rule in groups across the country and perhaps the world is that you don't touch anyone or anything without permission.
In one of my local communities, we have someone that makes the ladies uncomfortable because he greets them not with a handshake and a smile but with shoulder caresses, hair touching, and overt flirting. He's been warned about his behavior and still, he replies, "this is just how I am." Now, before you all say he should have stronger warnings let me stop you right there because the message of this article is not how the group leadership should handle him, but how you can stop him in his tracks mid-greeting or how to tell him to back off if you encounter him where you are.
First, let's cover why rule #1 exists. People come from all walks of life, with different personal protocols in place, senses of privacy and possessiveness of their partners. These people are all welcome at a BDSM meeting. As a form of respect to all these individuals we have to make sure that we don't violate their space; their personal bubbles, so that they can remain comfortable in their foreign surroundings. That's why most group leaders offer hands not hugs and ask before touching anyone or anything beyond that handshake.
Also, it exists to protect the vulnerable novices and timid new people from feeling uncomfortable or pressured to do something they don't want to do. It lets them keep their distance without any further expectations of interaction. To novices, handshakes are safe. Anything else is not.
Now, on to what you can do if you encounter a person who is touchy-feely inappropriate.
You Do Not Have To Serve Everyone
Submissives are inherently vulnerable in many cases because of their willingness to comply with any Dominant's wishes. If a Dominant approaches you and caresses your hair, for example, you do not have to allow that to happen. Tell them firmly that they do not have permission to touch you. You are your own person until you submit to someone you trust. Please don't let the trolls engage in any activity that makes you uncomfortable.
Report any inappropriate behavior, no matter how small, to the group leadership. If it was a group leader, pick another authority figure to tell. Keeping it a secret only makes the problem worse and allows the person to continue being a jerk. Many groups have specific regulations about how to handle situations like this and will be able to respond quickly and protect you from further advances by this undesirable person.
Make Friends With Long-Standing Members
It is unfortunate but BDSM groups can and do attract slimy people as well as good ones. You will have to learn how to tell the difference pretty quickly. If it's your first visit to the event find someone that has been attending for a long time and strike up a conversation with them. Ask to sit with them if you can. Senior members have learned how to repel the unsavory types and can tell you who to avoid if you ask nicely.
Learn How to Say No
I bet we've all had "stranger danger" presentations in primary school. I know at my school it was a school assembly and we all learned how to shout, "No!" at the top of our lungs to people offering us candy or wanting us to get in their cars. The same lesson can be used here - although not quite so loudly. Practice saying no to people and don't shrug off interactions that make you feel uncomfortable. Tell them that you do not wish to be touched, thrust your hand out for a shake long before they can enter your personal space and stand up for yourself.
Stand in front of the mirror and practice the following statements. Keep saying them until they become readily available in your head. That way you don't even have to think about what's going on if the situation calls for it. You can just say, "No!"
"Please don't touch me."
"Stop touching my hair/ caressing my back / touching my cheek / etc."
"Will you please leave me alone."
"I am not available to you."
"I belong to ______, do not touch me."
Ultimately I hope that you understand that just because you are submissive does not mean you don't have a mind of your own and must allow people who call themselves Dominant to make you feel uncomfortable. You have not consented. Remember that. I hope you never have to deal with a troll in your life, but if you do, please take some of my words to heart and don't let him in.
Readers, I come to you now for more ideas: How else do you repel unwanted attention?