"HARNESS" column for Beefyboyz.com - September 2004

Topics to cover with a new SM partner

"I've been approached by someone who wants me to top him in an SM scene, but he wants to meet me to discuss things first. I think if I'm going to be the Top I should lead the conversation but I've no idea what questions I should ask. Can you help?"

If you're going to have an SM scene with someone new it's always a good idea to discuss things first so that you can get an idea of their limits, previous experience and what kind of scene they're looking for. You can make this information exchange as formal or informal as you like. Some Tops have a questionnaire that you can download from their website and complete before they'll agree to meet you. Other Tops like to whisper a few questions in your ear while you writhe under their fingertips as they twist your nipples. Also some Tops are very good at reading body language and can construct a scene intuitively without much input at all, while others are pretty useless at working out what the sub requires and need the maximum amount of help.

Here are some of the areas you might want to cover in a conversation before a scene:

    This is always a good place to start, because it put everything else the person says into context. If someone claims to have "no limits" when they haven't really experienced anything yet, I would treat them very differently from someone who says they have "no limits" because they are an experienced player and have done most things.

    Try to be specific about the kind of scenes they have explored. Anyone can say they are a "bondage expert" - but what does that mean? Have they tried bondage with rope, metal, canvas, bandages, rubber, strait jackets, sleepsacks, suspension, mummification, cages? How about the phrase "long term scenes"? Find out exactly how long that is: hours, days or weeks? One person's definition of a hard-core player might be someone else's definition of a novice.

    This helps you work out what kind of scene the other person is looking for. Do they prefer arse play or role play? A head trip or a good flogging? Doing things that the other person likes can also help you push them into new areas that they haven't tried before, or get the scene back on track if something's not working.

    Does the other person suffer from diabetes, epilepsy, strokes, fainting or poor circulation? Do they have high cholesterol, poor circulation or a bad back? Have they ever had a hernia? Do they have any phobias or allergies? You can use this information as "things to avoid", for instance never press on someone's carotid arteries if they have high cholesterol in case you cause a stroke, or "things that can be used to your advantage", for example threatening to make someone confront a phobia during an interrogation or take-down scene.

    This covers all the activities that someone hasn't done yet, or tried before and they didn't like, but which they might consider doing with someone they trusted. For me, this is the most fun area to play in - when you begin to expand limits and explore new areas. You need to make sure that you're playing with a Top that you trust, who has the skills to know what they're doing, and that there's a good connection between you so that he knows how far and how fast he can go.

    This might include barebacking, illegal drugs, permanent marks (tattoos, branding and scarring), Nazi scenes or race play, blood, scat, vomit, guns, public humiliation or making a recording of the scene (photos, video etc.) I am always wary of someone who says they have no limits. Usually it means that they are high on drugs or aren't aware of how sadistic some Tops can be!

I would be very cautious about playing with a Top for the first time who wanted to ramp things up or push boundaries without covering these topics with the sub in advance. You can only play at a warm-up or "get to know you" level without any discussion.

Have fun, and look after yourselves and the people you play with.

John Pendal
International Mr Leather 2003

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