Orientation & Etiquette
If you’re still struggling with consent just imagine instead of initiating sex you’re making them a cup of tea
These are standards expected for UB Play Parties.
Etiquette customs differ slightly in different circles.
At UB, the basics are:
- You must be over 18 years of age
- "Not touching anyone or their toys without permission" and
- "Not interfering with scenes in progress", are pretty much universal.
General rules of etiquette are:
Do not touch people,
- Even in what you think of as a friendly way (like touching someone's arm in conversation) without asking permission.
- In some circles, hugging a strangers hello or goodbye seems to be the norm! Watch and see if someone goes to hug you or if you are invited to do so. But in most BDSM circles, hugging someone in even a casual way without their prior approval is considered overstepping your bounds.
- And just because a person is standing naked next to you getting a drink and smiling does not make it okay to stroke that person's ass. (In fact, it is not okay to touch the person's arm!) The working assumption is that a touch of any kind is not okay without asking permission first. On the other hand, asking to hug or shake hands or look at the piercing someone is flaunting is certainly acceptable and not considered offensive.
- You should not get offended if you attempt to get to know someone and they decline your attempt.
Leave space for the top to move, swing a flogger, etc. during a scene.
- If the room is too crowded, stand against the far wall or leave the room.
- If the top asks you to move, then move!
- In most play circles, if you get close enough to disturb the scene, the top would be within their rights to swing the whip at you.
Do not, ever touch or get too close to the bottom
- During a scene
- After a scene.
- Bottoms are dependent on their tops: the bottom's physical and emotional well-being are the top's responsibility during and after scenes.
- After a scene, give the players a quiet space on the sofa if they want to cuddle together. The closeness and aftercare following scenes and the bottom's emotional fragility usually last longer than it looks to outsiders.
- Give people time to come down.
- If you need to ask a quiet question, like "Would you like this blanket that's here behind me?," address the top, not the bottom, and be as unobtrusive, succinct, and quiet as possible.
Do not join in scenes, even if it looks like they are free-for-alls.
- A scene that might look to you like lots of folks are joining into pleasure or otherwise play with the bottom might, in fact, be pre-arranged between the top and other acceptable players to look casual.
- Or it might be that the top is subtly signalling audience members he knows to be acceptable. Join in only if the top clearly beckons you in.
- If in doubt, check with the top.
Do not come on to people in a clueless manner.
- Hounding, harassing, or puppy-dogging after the object of your sexual interest will guarantee that you will not be invited to any more parties;
- you might even be thrown out of the one you are at.
- Some people like to be complimented on their scenes. If you like a particular top or bottom, telling them what you liked about their scene is usually well-received. But wait till they are walking about and socialising again! Asking interesting how-to questions is also a good way to make friends.
Do not touch people's toys,
- Find the owner and ask first.
- Even if someone lets you hold a flogger, it is also courteous to ask again before swinging it through the air at an imaginary target or your forearm.
- Do not run a knife or Wartenburg pinwheel along your skin to test its sharpness---the owner might have gone to pains to sterilize the blade in expectation of an upcoming scene, and sharp edges break skin without always leaving marks or drawing blood.
DM's - Dungeon Monitors
- DM's help ensure safety at UB events
- DM's Decisions are final
- If you engage in Edge Play (could cause loss of life), please advise a DM beforehand
Do not intervene in scenes.
- If you are bothered by something you see because it seems extreme, risky, or even impossible to be consensual to you, find a host or DM to check on the scene, explain it to you, or reassure you.
- If a corrective action like a safety improvement needs to be taken, the host or DM will take care of conveying that to the top in an appropriate manner.
- When you are more experienced you will be able to recognise if something is possibly nonconsensual or unduly dangerous.
- At your first few play parties, plan to absorb and watch and learn.
- If something is too extreme for you to enjoy watching, then simply leave the room quietly.
Going to a Party:
- You must register before the party (minimum of 48 hours).
- You must pay online before the party (minimum of 48 hours).
- When you pay online use the SAME scene name you registered under.
- Ticking going on Fetlife is not Registering.
- If you can not attend a party please let the organisers know.
- Check on the dress code for the event, if it is a fetish event and you do not have fetish clothes – wear black.
- If the event is in public, dress appropriately: you do not want to expose the people your meeting.
At the party, relax, be yourself, be open and friendly;
- Ask questions about BDSM technique if you need to make conversation;
- Listen to what others have to say.
- Bring your sense of humour.
Be quiet while scenes are going on, or go to the social space to chat!
- The admiring or joking comment you think you are quietly whispering to the person sitting next to you is often heard by the bottom or top, whose senses are sometimes hyper-tuned and on edge.
- Would you want someone to whisper something about you right before you reach the point of orgasm?
- Be polite, and don't talk or whisper.
- Yours could be the remark that ruins a wonderful scene for someone.
- Novices attempting to start conversations with the top or the bottom during scenes is one of the most common and astonishing etiquette errors at play parties with newbies in attendance. It should be obvious, but perhaps it is not, so I will say it outright: Do not address comments or questions to the top or the bottom while they are playing!
- Similarly, do not try to start a conversation with the partners while they are cuddling together after a scene. What looks to you like a lull in the action while the top steps away to get a new toy or while the partners are whispering intimately together after a scene is not the moment to walk over and ask where they are from and how long they have been doing this!
- The partners are very focused on each other and on the intimacy of whatever they are doing together, and they want to maintain that focus even during short breaks.
- If you feel an uncontrollable urge to ask how the top ever learned to wield a knife so steadily, or to ask if the bottom isn't scared of having a tit cut off, then go get a soft drink and ask someone in the social space.
Do not hog play furniture for hours on end with your own scene.
- If play furniture and play space are scarce, ask the DM for an estimate of a reasonable amount of time to use it.
- There are whiteboards by each major piece of equipment, use these to book your place.
- Be aware of the party end time before starting scenes.
- No photography or mobile phones to be used in the play area, without first asking a DM.
- If pictures are to be taken ask the DM on duty first to ensure the privacy of other people at the party.
- No messaging or phone use in the play area.
- Phones must be switched to silent mode.
- No phones left unattended in the play area that could be recording sound or video
Clean up play furniture or play areas when you are done using them.
- Pick up your toys so someone else can use the play area without stumbling on your belongings.
- Wipe down the play furniture so it is not sweaty for the next person, and if any bodily fluids were spilt accidentally, clean them up thoroughly.
- There is a safety area at each party with cleaning equipment.
- If you are engaging in edge play it is your responsibility to clean up and make the play area safe after use.
Confidentiality, what happens at a party and who with, stays at the party.
- Play furniture is not seating.
- Do not move play furniture unless you ask the party organiser/ DM first.
- DM’s decisions are final.
- If you are engaging in edge play (could cause loss of life), check first that it is agreed with the DM on duty.
- If you use needles or edge play, bring your own safety and clean-up equipment.
- No illegal drugs.
- No intoxication.
- Spotters will be required for certain types of play (fire play, rope suspension), check with the DM on duty.
- If you have a serious medical condition it is your responsibility to have available, to at least one person at the event, the following:
- a safety plan
- an emergency contacts list