Safecalls: they’re not just for women

There’s an especially interesting discussion about safety for submissive men in that one fetlife group I like, I recommend checking it out.

We talk about safety for submissive women all the time, we talk about safe calls and meeting in a public place first and getting to know your d-type/play partner and not letting a new partner bind both your wrists and your ankles at the same time, but I think we as a society kind of assume that a woman couldn’t possibly be dangerous to a man.

That makes it really hard to talk about how to handle a woman putting a man in danger – what man is going to show up to a workshop about safety if doing that is a tacit admission that a lowly (yes I’m being extremely sarcastic) woman could ever actually be dangerous to him? If I were a submissive man, I’d sure be scared that even other submissive men would make fun of me for being worried a female dom might hurt me.

I mean, it’s apparently unmanly to use the most basic safety gear when you’re using power tools, which we all know perfectly goddamn well are dangerous and that it’s just fucking dumb not to wear safety goggles, so of course there aren’t a lot of submissive men out there willing to even ask, at least in public, “so how do I stay safe?”

And of course there’s the oh-so-helpful myth that there are 100 submissive men for every dominant woman so if you put any kind of limit on what you’re willing to do that dom you’ve been talking to will snap her fingers and the next submissive guy in line will take your place. To be clear that’s complete bullshit, but that’s also not the subject of this post.

So given that it’s really, really fucking hard for men to ask for safety tips, here’s my attempt to help:

First of all, let’s talk about physical safety. Safecalls are not just for women!

If it helps you worry less about it being totally unmanly to even consider the idea that a woman could harm you, think of it as protecting yourself from scams and robbery. Not to make everyone totally paranoid, but just because Ms Right said she was going to meet you alone doesn’t mean she isn’t going to bring some large male friends to rob you or worse. If somebody knows where you’re going and when you’re supposed to check in, at least they can file a missing persons report sooner rather than later. Just having a safecall and making it known that you do can protect you, you don’t even necessarily need to make the call – if somebody knows that you’re going to be missed and that they’ll have to explain themselves to the cops if you don’t check in, welp, strangely enough you’ll be a lot less likely to go missing.

And for the love of god don’t meet in private for the first time. Again, she could have her large male friends already there when you walk in. Meet in public first and get to know her before you agree to meet in private. I know a lot of people have issues with munches and other events, but if you can meet your potential dom at one of those, you will learn a lot about her. Practically all women know this, but it may be news to men: if he’s nice to you but mean to the waitress, he’s not actually nice. It’s really useful to know how your dom treats people she doesn’t want anything from, especially other submissive men if there are any around. If she tries to tell you you’re special, not like that other guy, I’m sorry to tell you but you are not special. She will treat you just like she treats him.

Now, kink is a bit of a special case, it may be that nothing makes that other guy happier than being treated like a not-very-bright servant. Still, if that’s the case it should be very simple for her to explain that she does in fact know him well and they’ve been friends for a while and that’s a fun game they play.

Playing in public, at least at first, can be a good way to see how your shiny new d-type / play partner reacts when you don’t like something she does. Yes, everyone is on their best behaviour in public, but if someone’s best behaviour involves showing any irritation or attempts to talk you out of it if you safeword or just need a break or a drink of water, then oh my fuck no no no do not play with them in private. Serisously, things are not going to go better with no one looking.

This may be the hardest piece of advice for men in general (I figure my regular readers have a handle on this one, seeing as you’re here already 🙂 ) : women are people and have agency. We might like stuff you don’t like. We might like stuff that actively turns you off. We might like stuff that would make you run the fuck away if you weren’t tied up. And we might have some fucked up ideas about what’s okay to do to people who came over and let you tie them up, sad to say.

You really, really need to talk about what’s going to happen before you play. You cannot assume that any given dominant woman likes what you like. Aside from safety, you’re going to have a shitty and unsatisfying scene if you don’t talk about what you both like ahead of time, so fucking talk so you can both have a better time.

The woman who started that thread brought up a really interesting point: what if the submissive guy’s kink is being scared by a woman who is outside the norm?

Here’s the part I think some submissive men will hate a lot: you don’t always get everything you want. To be fair, I think submissive people of any gender may hate that point, but men in particular spend their whole lives being told they can have whatever they want from women and it’s got to be extra jarring to suddenly hear that they can’t.

Being scared, being forced, being used are all really common fantasies and they can all be hard to live out without breaking the s-type’s suspension of disbelief. For me personally, I’d much rather break suspension of disbelief and have the whole scene fall flat than risk harming somebody. If it’s more important to you to live out your exact fantasy even if things go sideways and you’re not having fun anymore, welp, I’m not the person to ask about that. Doms get to safeword too, guys.

Now, it is possible to have a genuinely scary scene with people you don’t know well and still be relatively safe – you just have to have a dom who is really invested in making you happy and has some trusted friends who you don’t know and who is willing to spot that scene while you’re blindfolded and don’t know they’re supervising. Yes, that’s a lot of work and you shouldn’t expect it from someone you’ve only played with a few times.

Another potential compromise is talking out what you like, what you don’t like, how you want to feel in an abduction/takedown/consensual non-consent scene, how you react when you’re having a good time vs when you’re really really not anymore, and how to tell whether it’s a good time for a surprise scene or not, then asking you dom to take all of those things into account and surprise you sometime. You may have to spend a lot of time convincing your dom that they know you well enough to surprise you and have it go okay. Surprise: doms aren’t the only ones who need to build trust!

Also, you have to accept a certain amount of risk that things will go wrong and you’ll end up traumatized. That’s really what I want people to understand: you have every right to take any risk you want, just fucking admit you’re taking a risk and be clear about what the potential downsides are. Even if everyone is experienced and knows your safeword and is doing the absolute best they can to make sure the abduction or takedown or consensual non-consent scene is fun for you, things can still go wrong.

The single most important tip I can give anyone, dom or sub, woman or man, is that things can go wrong and you need to think about how that might happen and how you can avoid it. A big part of that is admitting that you’re physically vulnerable if you’re tied up or handcuffed or otherwise restrained, and another big part is admitting that you have feelings that can be hurt.

Readers, do you have any more safety tips to add?

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