I wrote this many years ago, but I thought I would revise it a bit and post it here. I hope you find it useful.
THE MOST IMPORTANT CONCEPT
I have for the longest time been of the belief that if we as a group or even as an individual do not make judgments as to what is most important in the lifestyle to us, then we are shorting ourselves, our lovers, and our friends. By discussing our concepts with each other, we define them and we refine them. This is a good way to sort the wheat from the chaff, as it were. So I write this brief article in the hope that we can discuss this, and all benefit from it.
We have all met a new person in a chat room or in real life. They approach us, or we them, and then we have had to decide (consciously or unconsciously) what will be the first thing we told them. In the past, I know I have not given much consideration to this issue. I am writing this to sort out my own thoughts and, if you do the same, then hopefully we all will be more prepared the next time we meet someone new.
Here is my take on this question of what is the most important concept for a new person to know. When I think of this, I want to covey an understanding to the novice that there are many different types of activities in BDSM. The acronym BDSM itself is an amalgam of many things. Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism, even Domination and Submission are all a part of what we do. Some will appeal to you, some will not appeal to you, and some things might even scare you. Keep your mind open, there are things that you are not ready for now, but that may appeal to you later. There are things that your partner may want to try that you might find out that you like. However never, ever let someone talk you into doing something that you aren’t ready for; things that you really don’t want to do and are not prepared for. While we usually think about this applying mainly for submissives, I have found that this advice applies to Dom/me, top and bottom.
Over my years in the lifestyle, I have seen a Domme give a slave 3rd degree burns because she did something she wasn’t ready to do. Perhaps if she had taken a few moments to consider her skills, she would have realized she was not ready yet. Dominants risk their subs lives, health, and sanity, which is the most important thing that we are entrusted with when they are unprepared, ill advised, and improperly trained. Secondly they endanger their reputation, which while some might argue we should not even consider, is still an important thing for many of us. After all in the Lifestyle what do we have if not our reputations? We need our reputations to meet new subs, to prove that we know what we are doing to those around us, and to help guide others into the community.
That said, our dear submissives risk so much more than we do as Dominants. They risk their lives, their health, maybe even their sanity. I have seen subs that have been convinced to do things beyond what they were ready for; beyond what any sub should be asked to do. Some have been more fortunate than others. Some have been physically scarred. Some of them have been hospitalized, a few have even been driven from the lifestyle, one or two of them are no longer with us. Now most good dominants would never jeopardize their submissives like this, but we all make mistakes. Additionally there are predators out there that are all about causing harm. So submissives must be doubly concerned about that. By being prepared to not give into persuasion to do things that we are not ready for, we can resist temptation better as well.
Now, as I have said before in other places, expose yourself to new things just be careful. Take one of the online questionnaires for yourself. Figure out how you feel about the different activities detailed within. This act is probably the most practical thing a submissive or a dominant can do to prepare themselves for this lifestyle. Other things involve participating in online discussions, and when you are ready for it, going to real time gatherings, which are the best places to learn new things, and even practice them. Find a mentor or a teacher who can help you develop your skills.
To conclude this, I am saying be true to yourself. Do what you can handle and do not allow yourself to be pressured to do anything you do not really want to do, under any circumstances. I know that it is hard, but keeping this in mind will help you to understand the most important concept and that is to know yourself and what you are capable of doing based on research, learning, and practice.