Sadomasochistic Safety on the Internet

It only takes one moment of throwing caution to the wind to end your life. In a world where names used often aren't given at birth, where 'playing with fire' is more literal than figurative and intense sexual encounters occur between people who never met, avoid taking chances without setting up safeguards first. Don't let yourself be seduced into a real-life encounter (also called real-time or RT) that may leave you seriously injured, traumatized or even dead. The computer is a powerful tool but it can also be a vehicle for danger if you play on it unaware.

Here are a few things you can do to help protect yourself when finding someone online you want to play with in RT:

- Meet on neutral ground the first time. Select a coffee shop, a well-lit bookstore, or meet at an organized leather event if one's available in your area.

- Ask for community references. If someone says they've been 'into the scene' for X number of years or more, then they are certain to have people they've played with who can be contacted. If they don't, they may not be someone you want to meet alone at first. If you think because you are a submissive it is disrespectful to ask for them, it's not. A healthy and sane dominant will likely want you to be as safety conscious as they are. A valuable slave is a wise slave and one who acts responsibly.

- Never give out your social security number, your bank account information, your email password or any other personal or financial information. A good dominant can use other, more appropriate means to provide an experience of being controlled. Likewise, a good submissive does not require them as safety precautions.

- Establish a safe call system, where you have a friend staying by a phone during your play sessions. Tell them who you are going to meet, when, and for how long. Let them know your code word for being in trouble. Then, after you arrive where you will be playing, call your friend and give them the address and phone number. Tell them what time to expect your next call, using your code word in the conversation if you are being held against your will or feel unsafe and want out. That way help can come to your aid if needed. If everything goes well, call your friend after you return home to complete the safety system.

- If you are playing online and want to carry your exchange over into a phone call, be sure you have an unlisted number or use the phone company's code to block your number from a caller I.D. Anyone can take the name as it appears and get your address from information operator. Consider having your number listed and your address unpublished.

It's important to note that it is not just novices or submissives that get into trouble. Dominants, Masters and Mistresses can be lured too. Predators are accomplished at accessing their prey. They get better at what they do as they go along. Someone you've been watching online for months may be completely safe, or they may be keeping up a persona that allows them to get those who are vulnerable or who take unnecessary risks. You are not bad or wrong if you do take risks; we all do. It's just better to be selective about them so you can go on to have a rich and full scene life. The computer is wonderful way to enjoy it. Have fun but be safe.

Lady Victoria (Knight)
Chair, NLA-I's Domestic Violence Project
email: [email protected]
http://www.nla-i.com
http://www.livinginleather.org