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BDSM Protocols 101 The basics on getting to know the protocols in BDSM

#1 User is offline   Les Is More(m) Icon

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 09:16 PM

September 5, 2006








BDSM
Protocols 101















INDEX

INTRODUCTION ............................................................. PAGE 3
DOM PROTOCOL .............................................................PAGE 4
SUB PROTOCOL...............................................................PAGE 9
SWITCH PROTOCOL.......................................................PAGE 12
GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER..................PAGE 13
CD PROTOCOL. ..............................................................PAGE 13
MUNCH PROTOCOL........................................................PAGE 14
PARTY PROTOCOL ........................................................PAGE 16


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INTRODUCTION
by LES IS MORE(m) Copyright?2005
What I am trying to convey in this document is a guide, not a hard and fast set of rules.
Generally as long as you have good manners are courteous, polite and respectful it is proper protocol.
First understand that the BDSM community is very status oriented.
For this document DOMS, Tops, Masters, Mistresses, Ladies, Lords, Male or Female are to be considered one and the same 'Dom'.
For this document subs, servants, slaves, bottoms, male, or female are to be considered one and the same 'sub'.
There are several levels of proper protocol for Doms subs Switches.
All should use common sense and use good manners at all times.
I have found that many protocols for subs are more an aspect of their individual training by a Dom and are different in every relationship, so trying to define training protocols is a case of MYOB. (Mind Your Own Business )
Dress codes for all in public should be acceptable clothing that does not indicate you are kinky quite often referred to as street legal.
Private dress is an individual taste and or Dom chosen.
When meeting someone outside the scene that you know is in the scene, it is rude to acknowledge you know them in anyway.
It is best to pretend you are meeting them for the first time. You do not know who they may be with. Outing someone can ruin their life and can get you cast out from our community
Wait until you meet them in the scene like a class, party or other scene function. Then approach them about it privately.
Never touch others.
General rule is when you are known and accepted they will hug you. This means you can hug them only. Not anyone else. Never ASS U ME you can just hug someone.
Many times you will see others hug smooch and even feel each other up. They have known each other a while and have played with each other. This is not general permission to grope everyone coming into reach of your hot little hands.
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Dom protocols
First is public protocol
You as a Dom are responsible to your community, your friends and your family. Drawing unwanted attention to our lifestyle is an insult to all who try so hard to just get along with their PTA and vanilla jobs and friends. Please use Common Sense and dress and act in an acceptable manner and require of yours to do so.
Private protocol is up to you.
Everything you say and do is a reflection on you and yours.
From time to time you will run into a DOM that you may not agree with or you find fault with the way they are doing things. LET IT GO. How someone else lives the lifestyle, or does their training, or the way they treat others is generally a MYOB situation. (Exception is always if the other DOM is doing something that is hurting someone or others.) Becoming angry fighting and or adding fuel to an argument is usually seen by others as just two losers going at it.
Subs seeking to belong to someone seldom are attracted to jerks and crude people, and subs belonging to jerks and crude people seldom stay.
It is common courtesy to greet all unknowns or newbies with respect.
Sir or Ma'am is considered a proper greeting. If for some reason you are unsure of proper addressing it is polite to ask ?how do you wish to be addressed?.
Using Mr. or Ms. in front of a name is ALWAYS polite and respectful.
To fail to show courtesy for others is to show YOU do not have proper manners. Courtesy is always a form of respect.
Only after they PROVE they do not deserve your respect can you withhold it but make VERY sure they deserve it.
If you start disrespecting those around you for the slightest ?faux pas'' those around you will start giving you a lot of distance and that could get very lonely.
As a Dom it is your responsibility to lead by the example of being polite in all situations.
(save the rude crude stuff for the sub that needs and/or asks for it)
When addressing subs in conversation there are different scenarios, some of which are indicated here:
One. The sub is on a leash or standing behind their Dom
In this case it is rude to even acknowledge the presence of the sub and is up to their Dom to initiate any conversation with the sub, or not as the Dom pleases.
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Two. The sub is beside or slightly between you and the Dom
If necessary walk, as if the sub was just a chair, around the sub.
Always address the Dom first and allow the Dom to introduce you to the sub, or not as the Dom pleases.
Three. The sub (with the Dom) is known to you and you have had several previous conversations with this sub before.
Even then it is rude to talk to the sub before proper greetings are given to the Dom. Then it is always best to ask of the Dom ?and how is your sub 'sub name' doing? (this protocol may vary depending on level of protocol and various groups.)
Four. The sub is alone and appearing not to be with someone.
?Hello are you free to talk to Me? is acceptable.
DO NOT be offended if the sub indicates or says no. Many subs are owned and may be under orders not to talk to strangers.
Five. If for any reason you are unsure of the type of person you are talking to.
It is considered polite to ask ?I am Dom, are you Dom or sub??. Often the person will release the information with a smile, if you give yours first.
Six. As a Dom unsure of the type of person asking you this question the polite answer is
?I am Dom, and you are??
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
[The big mistake is to say ?call me MASTER/MISTRESS _______? The person actually only hears ?you can call me master of being a dim dom? Any that have Master or Mistress in your name sorry but that is the way it really is. Many do not know you from Adam or Eve and they do not call anyone Master /Mistress until they know them very well and respect them as such and is an HONORIFIC not a given. (In some places this may vary as well. Get to know your local group and their protocols so you will feel comfortable interacting within the group?s dynamics).
Talking to anyone and demanding to be immediately called Master puts you on the same level as a child in the super market screaming ?I want I want I want ...? As a Master or Mistress you are only that to those that belong to you and have given that honorific to you. To demand that of anyone before you have earned it is to dishonor all around; and some actually may have proven they deserve a higher status then you, which would make you appear rather silly ]'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

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In general conversation a sub, from time to time, may forget to use the honorific Sir / Ma'am or Mr. / Ms. and may even make another minor mistake.
If the sub is not yours you are permitted at worst to frown to indicate you?re a strict Dom.
You are NOT permitted to chide or otherwise take to task a sub for the omission.
Exception is you have permission of the subs owner.
If the sub someday becomes yours you can always ?You remember that time that you rudely....??
If the sub is yours deal with it as you feel it should be dealt with.
Quite often a Dom will require of their sub certain protocols in speaking to another Dom or sub:
The scenarios in this can be very complicated, so I would suggest that you as a Dom keep it open honest and simple.
Initiating sub to sub conversation
I have general suggestions for you as a Dom to consider with your sub if approached by another sub, how you have your sub approach or allow your sub to approach another is actually up to you.
One. Freely sub to sub.
? I am allowed to speak freely, are you?? If asked this of your sub and your sub is free to speak polite answer would be ?Yes I am?
Two. Structured as your sub is a Dom to another sub
? I am allowed to speak freely, are you?? If asked this, the polite answer would be ?My Dom requires I speak to you as a Dom and to be Dom to other subs.?
Three. Structured as your sub is sub to other subs. (this could really get out of hand if the other sub is required by their Dom to be sub to the other sub and they could get into trying to out sub the other).
? I am allowed to speak freely, are you?? If asked this, the polite answer would be ?My Dom requires I speak to you as a sub and to be sub to other subs.?
Requiring service of a sub is a big thing for Dom's but there are sharp and very firm rules governing this.
Number one rule and it is a big ONE.
To demand service of one that has not offered it, is ABUSIVE of the person you are trying to order and of your status. You will lose status to all that know you actually had the unmitigated gall to try and order someone that is not of your service to serve you.

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The polite way is to request service IE:
?Would you do me the honor of...??
?May I request that you...??
Many subs are eager to service and approached in this manner will happily comply. But this does not mean the sub is in service to you, and now belongs to you.
The Dom MUST remember that if a sub is not in your service, they have the right to refuse POLITELY.
The Dom MUST remember that subs quite often belong to someone and to try to use someone's sub with out permission may to the other Dom be the equivalent of using their tooth brush.
Safe Words are something that every DOM that hears it must OBEY
Upon hearing the words ?RED LIGHT or just RED? the Dom's around must immediately ask the sub the reason for saying the safe words. Then they must ask of the Dom that caused the sub to say the safe words ?why??
(Party or Organization safe words must receive the same response)
Remember that if this happens during a scene quite often a sub may be in no condition to actually explain why the safe words were issued. But all play must STOP until fully resolved. There is no exception.
Guidance and or Protection of a sub
Looking out for a frightened or an unsure sub is a responsibility but it can also be a 'sticky wicket ' as the British like to say.
If a sub known to you approaches you and asks, ?With respect Sir or Ma'am may I ask for your 'Guidance or Protection'??
If you can, say ?Granted? (or something along those lines).
There are some subs, that you may know, that should not be 'granted protection'. it is required of you to state simply ?I am sorry but at this time I am no able to do so?
If you know you can not for some reason grant this protection you have to leave etc. you should then go to a fellow Dom and ask this Dom to watch over the sub or send the sub looking for the Dom you trust.
Understand sometimes subs just need someone to be watching them and need the feeling of being watched or protected in an environment that for some reason has become hostile and threatening to the sub. (This does not mean the sub is in service to you and you must remember protection is a transitory and is not a long term obligation)
If the sub is not known to you. You may state ?If you stay near I will watch out for you?
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It is recommended for your own safety to quickly find a friend to help ?watch or protect? the sub and a party host or DM is a good choice for help, at a private party notify the host.
Remember not every one is who or what they say they are and there are those that like to cause trouble, so just protect yourself if you do not know of or know the sub.
Misuse of a sub trusting you is a major SIN in our world. If you are guiding or watching out for a sub you are temporarily the sub's DM, not a play partner and it would be a violation of the trust to attempt to take advantage of the trust.
It is wise for Dom's to remember that service by a sub is given to you and ceases to be a gift if taken or demanded.
Therefore when seeking to have a sub give of themselves to you it quickly becomes a compatibility issue. If you have noticed that couples filled with love for each other always show respect for each other in the ways the other appreciates. Quite often these ways are formal to semi formal in politeness.
Developing this relationship is a continuous and on going negotiation.
It is proper protocol for a DOM to ask how why when where and what.
If you find out the correct directions you can do it right correctly over and over.
If you do not ask for directions you will end up doing it over and over wrong and everyone including your own submissives will consider you a dim dom.











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Sub protocols
First is public protocol
You, as an unowned sub, are responsible to your community, your friends and your family. Drawing unwanted attention to our lifestyle is an insult to all who try so hard to just get along with their PTA and vanilla jobs and friends. Please use Common Sense and dress and act in an acceptable manner and ask of yours to do so.
The first rule of a sub that belongs to someone or is in service to someone is:
Everything you say and do is a reflection on your DOM and on your service to your DOM.
For owned subs it is your DOM that will determine your actions and behavior, consider the following as suggested protocol for owned subs.
The following is recommended for unowned subs.
Being polite shows respect, and no Dom wants or is interested in a sub that is not polite to all.
Some consider being formal with your speech as stuff and nonsense. Being formal will help to smooth over nerves and mistakes so I highly recommend it.
You will find being formal in your actions and speech will go a long ways toward being accepted by others.
It is common courtesy to greet all unknowns or newbies with respect.
Sir or Ma'am is considered a proper greeting. (unless you have been instructed differently)
Using Mr. or Ms. In front of a name is (almost) always polite and respectful.
Failure to show courtesy for others shows YOU do not have proper manners. Courtesy is always respectful.
Only after someone (sub or Dom) PROVES they do not deserve respect (courtesy) can you withhold it but make VERY sure they deserve it. If you start disrespecting those around you for the slightest ?faux pax '' those around you will start giving you a lot of distance and that could get very lonely.
If for any reason you are unsure of the type of person you are talking to, it is considered polite to ask
? I am sub, are you Dom or sub??.Often the person will release the information with a smile, if you give yours first.
As a sub unsure of the type of person asking you this question the polite answer is:
?I am sub, and you are??

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Initiating a conversation with a Dom
?With respect 'Sir or Ma'am' may I speak with you?? would be very good manners.
When initiating a conversation with another sub you should remember a sub belonging to a DOM may have structured protocols as to how and who they may talk to.
You should always ask ?May I speak freely with you?? and is a polite way to start a conversation.
At all times Sir / Ma'am or Mr. / Ms., is considered a proper honorific for those you meet.
Forgetting to do so in general conversation happens and as an unowned sub the most you should suffer is a frown from a very strict Dom.
Forgetting to do so in general conversation while it happens as an owned sub this becomes a subject for your owner and you and not anyone else's business.
The sub has the right to say no and refuse any thing they are not comfortable with or feel is wrong.
If you are ?ordered? to do something by someone you do not belong to you have the right to say no politely
?With respect 'Sir or Ma'am' I do not know you and there for must refuse your request.?
?With respect 'Sir or Ma'am' I belong to _______ and am not allowed to serve others?
?With respect 'Sir or Ma'am' I have not entered into service to you and must therefore refuse your request.?
Upon the second demand for service from someone the sub has refused.
?With respect Sir or Ma'am I have stated that I can not serve you. Please do not ask me again.?
Upon the third demand for service from someone the sub has twice refused.
The sub should walk away without speaking further and seek a DM or a Dom the sub knows and ask of the DM or Dom ?With respect Sir or Ma'am may I ask for your protection or assistance
If before you can extract yourself from the immediate presence of the dom and for the fourth time the dom demands service of you say in a loud voice ?red light? (or whatever is appropriate recognized call for help wherever you happen to be). Any further demands by this dim dom grants you the right to yell ?RED LIGHT or RED?



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From time to time it is understood that sub may become intimidated or frightened in a group or an unfamiliar situation.
When this happens it is acceptable to seek out a Dom you know and respect and to ask ?With respect Sir or Ma'am may I ask for your 'guidance or protection.'?? When you ask for guidance or protection you MUST remember you are placing an obligation on the Dom that is transitory but it is an obligation. Playing with you is wrong. Using this ?protection? to gain an edge with you is wrong and doing so will cause the Dom to lose face in our community. Ask for Guidance or Protection carefully and only in need.



















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Switch Protocol
This is determined more with the Mode you are in
Dom mode see Dom protocols
sub mode see sub protocols
The only difference is the need to be truthful to your self and to others. IE:
If for any reason you are unsure of type of person you are talking to, it is considered polite to ask
?I am a switch. Are you Dom or sub?.
As a switch. unsure of the type of person asking you this question the polite answer is
?I am switch, and you are??













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Gay Lesbian Bi sexual Transgenders Protocol

Being GLBT ( Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender ) is a sexual orientation similar to being heterosexual and is not a kink.
Because GLBT's are really no different then anyone else it is probable the majority may lead a very vanilla lifestyle as seen by the majority of the Kink community. Of those that are kinky some are Dom (see Dom Protocol) some are sub (see sub protocol) some are switches(see switch protocol).


Cross Dressing Protocol
Treat the CD as they are dressed
Dressed as a man treat them as you would any other man
Dressed as a woman treat them as you would any other woman.
Because CD's are really no different then anyone else. It is probable the majority may lead a very vanilla lifestyle as seen by the majority of the Kink community. Of those that are kinky some are Dom (see Dom Protocol) some are sub (see sub protocol) some are switches(see switch protocol).







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Munch Protocol

As a group in public it is your responsibility to insure that unwanted attention is not brought to the munch or to any group you belong to
NEVER bring a child to a munch for Adults.
It upsets the others and can cause others to leave and repeated can cause the munch to be avoided and eventually closed.
There may be legal aspects that are not welcome for both you and others and demonstrates that you are not responsible
I have seen children claiming to be mature for their age trying to get into adult chats. As this could get the adults arrested it is an indication of irresponsibility to others thereby proving immaturity.
Munch's are a gate way for newbies to meet up and join various groups.
In light of this the sponsor / organizer of the munch should choose a site that allows the newbie a chance to see and consider if they want to join or not. Give the newbie the option of leaving without being seen
I have seen many a munch set in an area that is hidden from public view. This causes the newbie not to go to a munch and can turn them off forever.
Munch's are a way to break bread with friends old and new, keep it friendly.
Talk to the newbie as if you were a normal person and show friendship. You are not in a play situation and it is bad form to try to talk to the newbie as if they were not in a public venue.
Munch's are a place to just relax and talk about things that under normal conditions would be taboo.
Munch's are a place to learn about the BDSM community.
This is a time to teach the newbie about BDSM, to give advice and guidance as it is the first step for some coming into the community.
It is best to have someone safe to talk to the newbie and let them know the rights that they have.
To many subs are ruined by not knowing they have the right to say no. They end up in over their heads thinking they have to do what the first 'DOM' that sees them tells them even though it is a dim dom trying to snare them
Explain to the newbie what your organization is all about. Tell them about yourself as much as you feel comfortable with.
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Questioning someone can make them nervous so at first avoid it
All questions having to do with the real full name of the newbie, where the newbie lives, where the newbie works, must not be asked . If you are willing to give the newbie everything about you including your SS number feel free . But do not ask them.
Be the one that comes forth with who you are in the scene and a little about you and others that are at the munch.
When a newbie sees others talking about a taboo subject openly they will be able to talk about their interests in a more relaxed state.
If you like to spank perform bondage let the newbie know what you?re into first. Then ask politely what the newbies are interested in.
If the newbie is acting nervous change the subject or better ask someone else you know the same question
Don't scare the newbie. Remember each individual as an experienced muncher is an ambassador of the community the sub is seeking. Try to make sure the sub knows they are welcome.















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Party Protocol

First rule of party protocol is when going to or from the party by dress or actions do nothing that will draw attention or out the party and the Host or Hostess.
You will find there is almost always a dressing area for kink wear.
Party protocols are an issue that should be dealt with the Party host and your group?s rules.
The Main suggestion is ask for a guide or someone to escort you around and familiarize yourself with new groups.
Check for and sign releases as required.
It is Important to remember the saying ?Only fools rush in where wise men fear to tread.?
It is important if you are invited to a party to be a good guest with good manners : never assume anything.
Always RSVP as it is very bad manners to just show up, even if you were invited.
Ask if you should bring something
It is a nice idea to bring a host or hostess gift.
Ask if you can bring a partner
Ask if you can help to set up or clean up afterwards.(this is a very good way to get to know others)
If you play make sure you clean up extremely well and do not leave toys all over every where.
As you are meeting new people do not ask about job family or real names
At your first few parties do not expect to play watch politely listen and learn.
If you see someone you really like, DO NOT stalk them or make them nervous. You will meet them again and get to know them. (I had cards made up with my e-mail to give out at the end of the night.)
When you come upon a scene, You are encouraged to silently watch from a distance
Generally the Couple and or those in the scene want to be seen , they are the performers please be a good audience.
Talking is bad manners in any audience.
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Never intrude onto a scene as it is the height of rudeness to even talk to the Dom and twice as bad to try to talk to the sub. If the Dom sees you and knows you the Dom might invite you in and explain what is happening and what you can do.
If impact play is taking place, note who is the closest, and who is furthest then get even further away as the backlash on a whip can cut your face bad.
NEVER touch the toys
NEVER try to take part in the scenarios that are happening.
You do not know the scenario.
You do not know the sub and the limits .
You were not part of the negotiations in developing the scene.
You will only cause the scene to be ruined for all concerned.
After the scene is done there is usually aftercare.
During this time it is quiet time for the sub as the sub is brought back out of sub space.
This may include massages, body inspections, snuggling and other comforting and bonding between Dom and sub and is actually often part of the scene.
After the aftercare and the Dom is talking to others you may approach and courteously ask about the toys and or what the scene was about.
This is a good time to learn from the Dom and usually they love to brag and to teach how they use their toys.


These are my thoughts and this is a living document subject to change all suggestions or comments should be emailed to les.is.more.m1@gmail.com
A printable version is available upon request and any requests to publish on your site or in your group please email les.is.more.m1@gmail.com
All rights are reserved by the author.
Copyright?2005 by LES IS MORE(m)
May not be published in whole or in part
without express written permission of the author
Published by Myself with consent of Me.
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BDS (Boston Dungeon Society) 93 to 2003
NEDS (England Dungeon Society) 2004 to present
http://www.ne-ds.org
BRC CORE 100 Charter Member DIAMOND (BDSM Resource Center)
http://www.thebrc.net
NELA ( New England Leather Alliance)
http://www.nelaonline.org
NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom)
http://www.ncsfreedom.org/
"Specialization is for insects"
A MAN is a lover, father, provider, first-aider, farmer, builder, hunter, scholar, and most of all a friend to those in need.
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#2 User is offline   Michael's jewel Icon

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 12:15 PM

Les,

Thank you so much for this, not just for sharing it but also for taking the time to put it together.
"For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.
It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul."

-Judy Garland

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#3 User is offline   Michael Icon

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 12:59 PM

Les,

Excellent job.

It really comes down to being respectful and polite to all, what I would call common sense. But common sense is not very common these days.

This should be read by EVERYONE before they go into a chatroom, rl party or munch etc... for the first time. Until you get to know the rules of etiquette for that particular group these guidelines will keep you from insulting anyone, over stepping your bounds and generally being an ass.

Thanks for sharing it

Michael
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with a thousand smiles she gives to Me free.
It's alright, she says it's alright,
take anything you want from me.
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#4 User is offline   Les Is More(m) Icon

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 02:27 PM

This is why I wrote it to get it to as many groups as possible
Usually the guidelines are so complex and detailed most get turned off from reading it
If any one knows of or wants to publish this for your group or to make it a hand out for newbies in your group please email me at les.is.more.m1@gmail.com
include formate pdf doc html and the name of your group.
BDS (Boston Dungeon Society) 93 to 2003
NEDS (England Dungeon Society) 2004 to present
http://www.ne-ds.org
BRC CORE 100 Charter Member DIAMOND (BDSM Resource Center)
http://www.thebrc.net
NELA ( New England Leather Alliance)
http://www.nelaonline.org
NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom)
http://www.ncsfreedom.org/
"Specialization is for insects"
A MAN is a lover, father, provider, first-aider, farmer, builder, hunter, scholar, and most of all a friend to those in need.
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Posted 11 October 2006 - 08:56 AM

Good morning, everybodies!

Rereading this once more, i realised that as Les says, often these lists of protocols are too confusing or complex to make a lot of sense without experience to "back it up" and understand what is being explained or shared. i think that another part of these protocol lists that are often missing is the next step...what actually happens when and if you *do* make an error or misstep?

i think that at first, especially when it is known that the person supposedly making an error in protocol is new, errors are let go, others usually let them slide.

The next most common response/reaction to errors in protocol is that the person that feels another has overstepped boundaries is that they pull the other person aside and, hmmm...communicate, there is that word again! It is usually merely a conversation that begins with, "I noticed A and A is not really acceptable. Let's talk about it."

The consequences and not knowing how such "errors" are usually dealt with or handled can and often are, the biggest fear of newer people. But most of the time, merely having a conversation is how it is all handled. And that is almost always enough to set things straight on either side. It is almost always a learning experience, and done with respect and humility, not to embarrass or chastise.

As for those who seem to just refuse to be accepting and tolerant and continuously make these "errors" in protocol, which are really nothing more than good manners defined, when the same missteps are made over and over again, that is when shunning or keeping away from a certain few usually starts to play into things. Some groups will actually ask those persons to leave a group, but that is not the case most of the time. Once the open flow of communication ends or fails repeatedly, seperation usually starts. This is usually where the splits begin seperations of those within groups. This is often the root cause of people gathering circles around them that "outsiders" see as cliques. It just seems to me to be such a huge catch 22. But on the other hand, in my experience, those who are somehow kept outside of a circle have placed themselves there, in their actions. It always leaves me with the question of how can we be tolerant...and still find certain behaviors unacceptable? It just leaves me wondering how we gather together in this sense of non-conformance to the larger portions of society and immediately begin to ask for conformance.

Thoughts?
"For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.
It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul."

-Judy Garland

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