Survival for Dommes
by Owlle

After my last post I received several email requests from dommes wondering when I was going to offer *them* some pointers. So okay gals, here goes.
When dommes find themselves encountering a less than warm welcome in #Femdom, it's often because they've either not grasped or ignored certain channel courtesies. Ignoring some of these may not get you kicked or banned, but can certainly sour the atmosphere against you.
1. Femdom is not a "netsex" channel in the sense that everyone is there to *play*, either in open or message, but a moving community of people interested in D/S. Folks do find partners, and even soulmates (he channel is working on its third or fourth marriage now....) but the core is an environment where folks interrested in D/S can be among friends, and talk about a variety of things, including D/S of course.
2. #Femdom etiquette stresses *consensuality.* Not every submissive will be willing to submit to *you* , either in private or in open. Though a few dommes permit their subs to engage in casual play, many dommes do not even permit their subs to be excessiveley deferential to other dommes. Many subs are sufficiently enamored of, and loyal to their domme that they may react quite sharply to another dommes presumption on their own accord. Nor is every submissive without a domme necessarily "available"--they may be searching for the partner of their dreams, a soulmate, and be intensely disinclined to accept indiscriminant or casual play.
3. To avoid embarassing you *and* the sub, take the time in private to ask "do you have a domme, and does she mind you playing ?" and "would you be interested in playing?" before you imperiously order one to kneel, or take any other sort of liberty. It's also best to do a little loose negotiation to find out what *sort* of play is acceptable before launching an open scene, so you don't find yourself abruptly minus a squicked partner.
4. Failure to do this can lead to being told in no uncertain terms to back off, either by the sub, the sub's domme, or one of the other regulars on channel who observes you trespassing, or otherwise acting nonconsensually.
5. This is #Femdom, not #Femsupremacy. For the most part, you'll find little patience with sexist attitudes and dribble of any flavor, INCLUDING the one that men are inferior to women and therefore *should* be subservient. Male or female, on #Femdom a submissive is not viewed as "inferior" but as someone who has an inclination or need to submit, and who chooses to do so. A domme who comes into the channel and sneers "all males kneel" or "how dare you speak to me, you worthless worm" when greeted cordially by a male sub is out of line, and apt to be warned and kicked.
6. How a domme and her sub interact with each other is their business, of course, but outside that relationship a submissive on channel, male or female, has the right to be treated with respect. Refusing to treat other members of the channel, domme or sub, with respect will get you kicked, or even banned from the channel.
7. There IS no "one true way" in D/S, so don't expect to be received warmly if you behave as if *your* vision of it IS. Yes, some folks embrace the concept of "training" a "worthless sub" and expect a "well-trained" sub to act in a specific manner in the presence of other dommes (kneeling, eyes averted), others do not and will have no patience with caustic observations that they, or their submissives, are "poorly trained." Some subs will be deferential, but all you can EXPECT from submissives who are not yourse is the same politeness and respect you are expected to show them.
8. Similarly, you don't *have* to be arrogant, condescending, abrasive or otherwise behave unpleasantly to be seen as a domme. You just have to have the desire and ability to *be dominant.* Some dommes are stern and autocratic, some are not. Some maintain an air of aloof unapproachability, others are downright *cuddly*.
9. Consentuality applies to the other dommes as well. Untilaterally ordering your sub to crawl around the channel and lick the feet of all the other dommes may *seem* like a good idea, but if you haven't obtained their permission beforehand you are attempting to involve them in your scene nonconsensually. Consensuality can have some fine shadings, too....some dommes don't like to be called "Mistress" by subs who are not *theirs* (or even at all)....others may be unwilling to use forms of address (whether nicknames or epithets) they find personally repugnant. In any case, the exception isn't meant to challenge your authority over your submissive, but an apparent presumption of authority over *her*.
10. Where HNG males posing as women and trolling for netsex under false pretenses are distinctly *unwelcome* in #Femdom, submissive men using female nicks or dommes who are transvestites or transgenders are *not.* Be aware the person behind a female nick might be someone you consider "male," but so long as "he" is not deceiving play partners or otherwise involving folks nonconsensually it's okay for him to be there. Similarly, there are male doms who *enjoy* the company of female dominants. So long as they are not domming in channel, or sending unwanted messages, they are welcome also.
11. This is a time to remind folks that IRC can be an anonymous medium. I believe most of the folks I've met are ethical, but if it really *matters* to you if someone else is male or female, married or single, or rich or slim or young or redhaired, get time to *know* them before letting yourself reach a point where the truth comes as a painful or humiliating revelation.
12. Folks in BDSM take safety seriously, and acting in a manner that appears dangerous whether from ignorance or disregard of your partner's well being is likely to be challenged.
13. Your Kink may be Okay, but not *everyone* is eager to see it. #Femdom is not simply a *scene* room packed with voyeurs. There is open play of course, of varying degrees of intensity, and most folks will take pains not to interfere in a scene out of courtesy, but in general scenes between folks known to the channel are more warmly received than those between total strangers, or from people who visit ONLY to conduct scenes. This is particularly relevent when the style of play is extreme.
14. Be aware that scat, CBT, anal/dildo play, watersports or whatever are not everyone's cup of tea. You probably won't get kicked for engaging in a public scene that squicks folks--and will undoubtedly find a few visitors to be wildly appreciative-- but don't be surprised if the room's overall temperature goes *down* instead of up. Wildly extreme scenes can empty the room rapidly.
15. If you aren't sure a scene will be well-received by the majority, it's perfectly acceptable to conduct it in another channel, and invite folks who want to watch to drop in. "Hey, eveyone is welcome to watch the hot fill-in-the-blank scene going in channel so_and_so ."
16. Remember, that the population/mood/interest of the channel is dynamic, rather than static, and its range of membership varies from those who live in fulltime d/s relationships, to those who only play on IRC, to those who are only not looking to play at all, either in RL or IRC, but to explore an aspect of their personality.
17. Sometimes there will be folks interested in talking or engaging in roleplay with you, sometimes there won't. You might drop in and find a scene going on that everyone is absorbed in, or that a good number of the folks are distracted by private messaging. Don't let it discourage you...just try again another time.
18. In my experience it helps not to carry a *chip* on your shoulder. It's possible to stand up for yourself without blowing folks out of the water for minor transgressions, and though everyone has days when they don't feel particularly tolerant, in general I think you'll find the channel more enjoyable without a combative attitude.
19. In particular, many new subs know nothing more about D/S and dommes than what they have read in "one-handed" magazines, but will respond readily to a bit of guidance. I mean, come ON now, they are *submissives.* (grin). Seriously, more than a few of the respected and well-liked subs on channel admit they started out acting like clueless HNGs. In general you serve the channel community better (and increase the population of clueful and friendly subs) by giving a bit of help and advice.
20. This item added by LadyStorm at Owlle's request: Remember that not all of the women on #Femdom are dominant, there are submissive women as well. Don't assume that all submissives with female nicks are automatically feminized men.
Last, but not least, a parting flurry of one-size-fits all (domme and sub) advice. Because #Femdom gets more than its share of tourists, you may find it takes days or even weeks before you find yourself being greeted as enthusiastically as you see others being received. Be patient, be polite, and participate, and you'll find folks coming round. Conversely, we're a fairly forgiving lot, so if you do find you've started off on the wrong foot, you can *still* recover.

Copyright Dana Palmer, 1996.
5753 accesses, last modified Tuesday, 04-Feb-97 17:17:35 PST