Probably the best guidance I have ever come across regarding D/s is that there is no one true way…no particularly right way to do it. And I believe one of the gravest mistakes people can make when new to D/s is assume that there is.
Of course there are good rules of thumb and things one should do to protect themselves. But, in the grand scheme of things, as long as you are considering your safety and the safety of others, and everyone involved has given consent, it’s your show.
There are things that many long-timers suggest, such as having a safeword and being clear on and outspoken about your limits and boundaries. And there are lots of options: kinds of scenes, contracts, types of plays, styles of D/s, etc.
There are so many ways to make D/s your own. And while I am certainly not an expert, I’d say if you are new to it, there are a few steps you should take in the beginning.
1. Go inward. Figure out why you want it. Maybe journal about. There are a few good journal prompt activities out there that, rather than putting ideas in your head, allow you to find the ideas that are already there. 30 Days of D/s is a good one. Really gain an understanding of your needs and desires surrounding D/s: what kind of Dom or sub do you want to be, and why?
2. Explore your limits and boundaries. Be as clear as possible on these before you start. Be ready to communicate them to others upfront. Have a safeword, if necessary. And know that limits and boundaries can shift or disappear over time. And that’s okay.
3. Communicate with your partner(s) openly and often. Reassess often. If a contract helps, draw one up. These don’t have to formal (though, they can be); they can just be a written agreement meant to provide structure and clarity. They can be amended as needed by either party.
4. Don’t forget “aftercare.”
5. Be safe and have fun. Choose your partners carefully, and use your head before you go somewhere with someone new. Set those limits and boundaries before anything happens.
That’s pretty much it. And while it may sound/look easy, figuring out your own personal D/s path can be anything but, especially when other people are involved. That’s why knowing yourself, giving consent, and communicating openly and often are at the top of my list.
If you’re just starting to feel an interest in D/s and you don’t know much about it, I’d spend some time researching. But do that after you go inward. Don’t let movies or books sway or influence you…at first. Once you’ve investigated your own deep interests and needs, movies and books and other people’s ideas can help you to fine tune your desires. What about that movie really grabs you? What did that book teach you? Do you want to try something you saw on a website? How did that story make you feel? Outside sources can present new ideas and can draw things out from inside of you, and then you can spend some time unpacking them and figuring out how they apply to your own desires. Too often, though, I think people come to D/s because of a movie or book, and they try to live that story, rather than write their own. And that’s a pretty sure way to fail at anything. Be yourself, first and foremost.
And always remember…there is no one true way to do this. Be the sub or Dom you were born to be.
Only you know how to do that.