This is a guest post by Miss Jessica.
Everyone’s safety is extremely important of course, but in the BDSM community it is the people who give themselves up the most that have a greater chance of being hurt; submissives, slaves, and all others who fit into categories that fall under the umbrella term ‘bottom’. The degree to which bottoms can give themselves up to their owners always astounds a switch like me who has only ever submitted in play, and when you give yourself up to someone like that and give them the honor of controlling you, you must make sure they’re a safe person to give your submission to.
The red flags of danger that show a certain person is not a real Dom(me) and does not care about you are extremely similar to the red flags that come up in abusive relationships. This is for a very good reason since many abusers who only know about BDSM through porn use our community as an excuse to say that their horrendous abuse is okay. It never is of course, and anyone who does not respect a slave or submissive is ultimately someone who only knows about BDSM through porn, does not know your real worth, and most certainly isn’t worthy of it.
Red flags include:
Saying that safewords aren’t necessary. There is a very small part of the BDSM community that does not use safewords since they know their partner so well, but that should only happen after ten years or more and only if both are comfortable with it. Someone who does not realize that safewords are necessary and important should never, ever be trusted with any part of you.
Ignoring your safeword. Not only is this a blatant safety hazard it shows a complete disregard for you, your feelings, and your safety. It shows that your happiness, safety, comfort, and pleasure mean absolutely jack-shit to them, and you need to get the hell away from that person.
If you meet them online them wanting you to meet them in person immediately is a very bad idea. Those monsters our parents all warned us were lurking online are abusers, and some of them have wandered into our community masquerading as Dom(me)s. Never, ever meet with someone you just met online. Really get to know them first. And if you do go meet them, let someone know and tell them you’ll call at a certain time, and if you don’t call they are to notify the police. Do that, bring mace, be able to fight well, something. You need to be able to protect yourself just in case something awful happens.
Punishing when they’re angry-bad idea. Very bad idea. As Dom(me)s it is constantly impressed upon us to never punish when angry. Just like in verbal arguments when harsh things that aren’t meant may be said if you punish while you’re angry you can say or do things you never meant to or give far too harsh a punishment for whatever misdoing happened. If the Dom(me) doesn’t calm down before punishing you it shows they’re not in control of their emotions and more than likely have anger management problems that need to be worked on.
“I’m your owner, I decide what happens”-while this can be a good phrase sometimes it greatly depends on the context. If you don’t want to do something and have a good reason for not wanting it-scared, disgusted, etc.-then your Dom(me) should at the very least work it out with you and preferably, sensibly, change the order. Someone who throws around their title to force you to do things you don’t want to is a dangerous person who should not be trusted with a single bit of you, much less all of you.
Ignoring limits or saying they don’t matter. This is just the same as when a safeword is ignored. It’s a blatant flaunting of how they don’t give two shits if you’re miserable, terrified, having a panic attack, disgusted, or any of the other reasons your limit is a limit. It shows that they don’t care about any of that, and they most certainly don’t care about you.
Calling you cruel things outside of play. Dirty talk can take many forms and that most certainly includes insults and degradation. But if your Dom(me) is constantly telling you’re worthless, a screw-up, useless, that you’re never good enough, always fucking up and so forth outside of play and/or their actions show that that’s exactly what they think of you, that’s no Dom(me). That’s an abuser.
Not giving aftercare. Aftercare is extremely important, and no matter what form it takes there must always be aftercare whenever needed and after play. Aftercare is for both mental and physical health, and if they refuse to do that it’s just another sign that you are nothing to them and they only care about getting their rocks off. Get away from them by whatever means necessary.
These are the biggest red flags to keep in mind; going to any site that deals with abuse will help you find others as well. Most abusers who only know about BDSM from porn are male, and while I have yet to meet a female one I’m sure there are female abusers masquerading as Dommes as well, so don’t get blinded by gender stereotypes. If you go to a blog called toodomforyou that puts up real life examples of abusers masquerading as Dom(me)s and is a wonderful example of what to look for.
All of you please stay safe, and don’t let this deter you from looking for an owner, the vast majority of Dom(me)s truly are Dom(me)s, the abusers who pretend to be part of our community are a small percentage. Keep looking, but look safely and make sure to keep those key red flags in mind.
And if you’re with someone and you think these red flags hit a little too close to home; sometimes it’s hard to tell if something is abuse or not, especially since you don’t ever want to realize the person you care about is an abuser. And ten times out of ten, if you’re on the fence trying to figure out if something is abuse or not, then it’s abuse. And certainly people can change with counseling and the like, but it’s rare that they permanently change for real. So in the words of one of my favorite Doms-It’s possible, they’ll change, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. Would you?
A writer, a Domme, a culture nerd, and a student going to college for psychology Jessica Suphan is an eighteen-year-old girl with five years of experience (make a typo in Google one day and a whole new world opens up to you!) who fell in love with the BDSM community as soon as she found it. Having had two online Mistresses for fun Jessica is now the proud owner of her boyfriend and slave for eleven months now. Even though she's young and only just now legal Jessica has had five years of experience in the BDSM community, and at her blog on tumblr.com gives advice and help to those who need it. She greatly enjoys helping people and welcomes conversation either through her Tumblr or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.