Basic kink etiquette should be applied in all kinky spaces, in private or in public and as both a player and as an audience member. Whether you'll be playing with someone you've known for years or someone you've just made contact with, there are a few things to be mindful of and we've created a brief outline for you below.
CONSENT & NEGOTIATION
First up, as always, is consent and negotiation! There should be no shame at all in regard to establishing exactly what happens during a scene for all parties involved. What do you want? What do they want? Keeping communication lines open - and honest - creates trust and builds a sense of security surrounding play. Be prepared to accept that some people may not be into the same things as you and make sure that you never deliberately coerce someone into something they do not want to do.
A physical and mental wellbeing is key to satisfactory play. Are you and your play partner(s) in a sound frame of mind to give consent let alone play? Are there any injuries you should be aware of? Have you discussed safewords or a gauging system for how the play is going? This is all part of the negotiation process. Discuss what will happen and how it will happen, from warm up to play to aftercare - communication is key! Respect those who play with you as you wish them to respect you.
In keeping in mind, the consent and negotiation practices discussed above, there are a few general points that should be noted in terms of having good kink etiquette.
- Hygiene is a big part of play, due to it's intimate nature. For some people it's imperative that they wash themselves before or after play, or both. For others it's simply important to dab on a bit of cologne. While some might shy away from bringing up this topic for not want of embarrassment, you should also feel free to discuss hygiene preferences with your play partner.
- Ensure not only your safety but your play partner's safety also. Creating a hazard-free play space before any scene occurs simply decreases the risk that any harm that might occur and thus increases the chances of your scene running smoothly.
- Remember that consent can be withdrawn at any time - before, during or after play - and be prepared to accept that it may happen.
- What are the rules of the venue? Become acquainted with the venue's general code of conduct.
- Know who you can talk to if something awry occurs. Are there event staff available?
- Scoping the public space you intend of playing in for access to water, bathrooms and quiet corners is always beneficial.
- Often kinksters will bring hordes of toys and equipment to events to play with. You should, however, only take use of a piece of equipment if you have full permission to do so. Want to try something out? Simply ask.
- Don't pressure people to hurry to finish their scene just so you can get some time with the cross or spanking bench. If you see someone setting up or packing down play it might be worth mentioning that you would like to use the space after them - just bear in mind that respect is always appreciated.
- When choosing a spot for play in a public space, make sure you are not impeding on anyone else's space or play areas in the vicinity. Some impact tools and rope can fly around, and it may not be welcomed by those who are unaware that they might be hit.
- Want to engage in messy play or play that might include body fluids? Make sure to ask the event organizers if it is okay to do so and be prepared to provide your own measures for ensuring it doesn't impact the venue's (or any persons not involved in the play!) safety and hygiene.
- Tidy the space after yourself. This is basic etiquette for any public space you find yourself in, kinky or not.
- Consider how aftercare will occur and be prepared to do what is needed after play.
- Feeling 100% comfortable in the space and being fully aware of what is going on around you is paramount to having good public play.
As the viewer of a scene in a public space there are also some things to be aware of. Sometimes at kink events and even private play parties things can become a bit crowded and everyone wants to get a good view of whatever play is happening in the moment. We've listed some point below to help you be a better member of the audience:
- Keeping your distance and providing room for those playing is generally a good place to start.
- Do not try to engage (touch, speak, etc) with whomever is playing during the scene unless you are invited to do so. Otherwise, it is only in a vital circumstance (such as a safety hazard that everyone in the perimeter needs to be made aware of) that you should be doing so. If the play is more of a performance-style scene then some hollering might be encouraged, and you will know when it is appropriate to do so depending on the environment that you are in.
- Want to ask a question about the play? Wait until after the scene has wrapped up and ask when you have gauged that the people involved are available to answer your question.
- Have respect for other people's kinks. Don't like what you see? Don't watch. At the same time, if you see something that you genuinely believe may be of concern, feel free to talk to those involved after their scene has concluded. Trust that those engaged in play have some understanding of all the points we have talked about above.
- Understand that just because you have viewed someone do a certain something in a public place (usually designated for play!) it does not mean you should disrespect their privacy and announce it to the world.
- Be a conscious viewer by being aware of your own surroundings and having consideration for those who are playing in front of you.
Note that these things generally apply to all scenes in which you are not actively participating in.
As a general rule, aftercare would and should be discussed as part of the play pre-negotiation. Though, depending on how the scene pans out, more or less aftercare might be required, and it is up to those involved the scene to gauge and communicate how they are felling once play has ended. Aftercare ensures that the kinky equivalent of 'dining and dashing' does not occur and builds further trust and security between the play partners. It can also lessen the symptoms of subspace and help mitigate the risk of subdrop or tropdrop from occurring.