In February, a long-time follower of mine, Papa Prospero, Master of papas17girl, asked his followers if someone would Tweet a question for him. I was more than eager to assist him.
His question with follow-up question:
What’s the first rule of common decency in #BDSM, Twitter or otherwise. (But especially Twitter.) What are other rules of common decency?
The reasoning was to see what people would say, to see how closely aligned our core values are in the BDSM community… what we got was both a surprise and not one.
From the view of s-types:
“My personal answer is respect as from that, everything else flows. Honesty, kindness, open communication, trust, etc.”
“Ditto exactly from both D/s”
“Don’t touch people without asking…the same goes for their inbox. I respect being asked if someone can message me. Ffs… enough dick pics…as this point, we’ve all seen quite a few and yours isn’t special”
“Be honest, as totally honest as you can be, even if that means being honest about which questions you’re aren’t going to answer, and which things you aren’t going to do”
“Respect & honesty.”
“I would think it would have something to do with respect and consent.”
“Honesty. Imperative I think. Other things go hand in hand with honesty as well.… consent and I still have to say respect. Respect for others as people and respect for each other’s kinks. Not to mention adhering to each other’s limits. Hard and soft.
“It’s not just honesty, but willing & gracious openness IMO”
“I think consent is the biggest one, which is achieved by openly communicating our needs, desires, and limits.”
What D-types said:
“Rule # 1 is Respect ….everywhere”
“Enthusiastic consent is the sexiest thing that can happen between 1 or more humans. Anything else is tired.”
“Don’t touch what’s not yours.”
“Be honest and make no assumptions.”
“Respect, kindness, communication and not judging.”
While this was by no means a scientific or otherwise academic polling of the community, the general consensus seems clear enough. There were about 12 more responses that I did not include in here. Only one was a sarcastic/smart ass answer. The remaining 11 or so included “respect”, “communication” and “consent”, the top three responses. W/we need to focus on what Aretha Franklin told U/us to do: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Personally, I agree the most with one submissive to responded with: “I find it unsettling almost everyone is replying respect is a rule. Respect is not a rule, it is an intrinsic attitude, inherent in every relationship, whatever label it has. It’s unsettling so many people feel the need to mention it as a rule. Says a lot, sad really.”
She’s spot on. RESPECT shouldn’t be a rule. If a BDSM dynamic is agreed upon, then respect should be intrinsic, implicit, in that arrangement.
I found the responses with “consent” interesting. With so many replies including the word, I began to wonder how many dynamics DON’T have some form of contract—something I discuss HERE—that would make the issue of consent an issue large enough to constitute it being included as a Rule.
With respect to communication being one of the top three Rules, I can see this needing to be the number one Rule. I am guilty of this (woefully so—no shame, no ego here—I have fucked up communication a couple of times. I own My mistakes.) as is every other D-type and s-type. The problem with communication is that we get busy with “vanilla” life and we get sucked into tht world sometimes. As a result, we lose sight of O/our dynamics.
The losing sight of a relationship and the needs of the other person is the downfall of nearly every single relationship, whether BDSM, vanilla or something else. To overcome this tendency, I have told my best friend and a current sub of mine to use the phrase “baseball bat” should they see me drifting and not communicating. This has made all the difference in our relationships.
Were the BDSM community to ever create a basic Rulebook for O/ourselves, I would argue that communication, then, in my eyes, be listed as the Number One Rule.
Let me know your thoughts on Twitter. Reply to me at @MasterRuby1866.