The “Lifestyle” has changed…

The “Lifestyle” has changed…

I found this on Fetlife this morning and thought it was a really good read to share with you all.

I have credited SweetM at the bottom of her writings. Hope you enjoy as much as I did.

I had lunch with a friend about a month ago (time flies!) and during the course of conversation, it turned to what we see going on around us now. It is hard to believe that it is over 20 years now that I first learned of it. What follows is from my point of view as a submissive (and occasional Service Top).

Back then there was no FetLife, there were no EBooks and the internet was a very new thing for me. Also BDSM was not “mainstream”, it was something that was done privately, for the most part, and people did not announce it to the world.

I never had a word for the feelings I had, I just knew that I wanted something more with my life, that there was something missing if only I knew what it was.

I had been on AOL for a few years and enjoyed visiting the chat rooms like the “Marylanders Room” and others with similar themes. It wasn’t until I discovered and clicked on the tab that said “ADULT” that the world as I knew it changed. The first time I entered a “Dungeon” room I was shocked by all of the words that were flying down the screen. My eyes were as round as saucers and then the IM’s started coming in. It was then that I knew I found what I had been looking for.

During that time I met a nice couple (J&R) who befriended me and started to “teach me the ropes” as it were. It was through them that I went to my very first club in Baltimore…maybe some of you have heard of it, The Playhouse. Back then, you HAD to be vetted. Someone HAD to know you personally and vouch for you before you were allowed in. It was expected that the people who brought you in had explained Protocol to you so you knew what behavior was expected and what was frowned upon. You also were given the opportunity to be a card carrying member after having attended a few events and paying the annual fee.

The Power Exchange (TPE) was also the focus of everything BDSM. You would see people playing intently with each other, focused on what was going on between them. You would watch scenes from a polite distance and there was no loud talking while it was going on. For that you could go to the lower level where the social area was set up with couches and reading material and where you could buy various toys.

The changes I have seen are many and sadly not what I think for the best (again note the word I..some of you may agree while others disagree). I’m also sure there are other changes some of you may have seen as well but for me these are the big ones:

The Collar – This was something that was not just given to someone. It had thought put into it from both the Dom and the submissive. There was time put into it as well on both sides. It was earned and meant something.

After having met a few people and knowing they were not for me, I met a wonderful man I am lucky enough to still call my Sir. He knew how to bring out the best in myself and after 16 months of dating and of training, during a trip to Philadelphia, he pierced me and made me his. This was my collar. It didn’t have to be seen by anyone, it only mattered that both he and I knew I was wearing his rings and that I belonged to only him. I can hear some of you gasp “16 months!!!” but the fact is that this was and still is very serious for both of us. This is not a game, it is our life and remains that way now almost 20 years together.

While I do personally know some very serious TNG as well as older people who carry this forward (I guess I’m showing my age), it seems to me that nowadays people just walk into a Hot Topic and buy a nice accessory or are “given a collar” after a 1 or 2 dates without even understanding the importance or meaning of it. I have had friends who wore a “training collar” for a period of time before they received their actual ones. The importance and value has been diminished so much so that it truly saddens me.

TPE – As I said earlier, this was so very important in everything that was done from whether with your Dom or while bottoming for a Top. We are very lucky to live near a wonderful club Grove Lane Studios (GLS). We have had the opportunity to attend many events of “different flavors” and what I have seen over the last year is that TPE does not “appear” to be the focus or be that important anymore.

I know that when I am lucky enough to be allowed to Top someone, while Sir is always present in my mind, my TOTAL focus is on the person in front of me. I am watching their body, the way it moves, the change in breath, the sounds coming from the body. The world around me disappears and we are one. I know the bottom is doing the same thing..TPE is present and no better gift.

Unfortunately, many times I have seen a Top “playing” with someone and looking around the room and not focused on the person in front of them. I wonder to myself “are they looking to make sure someone is watching or for someone better to play with?” Worse yet, they have their friends around them laughing and egging on with “you need to hit him/her harder” etc. With that being said, I have seen bottoms are doing the same thing. Whether you are a Top or bottom, giving and sharing yourself with someone it would only seem right that they give the same back. SHAME!!!


Protocol – Raise your hands if you have heard the word and give yourself bonus points if you know what this means! I personally have experienced firsthand the lack of manners from people of various ages. To acknowledge that there are actually “rules” established to protect everyone seems to surprise some. For example how many of you have had felt breach of etiquette? I had a guy come up to me with my Sir sitting next to me and when I went to say hello he just reached out and grabbed my breast and laughed. I was speechless and slapped his hand away hard and then Sir had words with him and the guy never came around again. Who thinks this is acceptable?!

How many of you have been in a scene whether as a Top/bottom only to have the moment ruined due to rude people standing right next to you and just talking loud and laughing or yelling across the room. Let me share the following if you are one of these people…the world does not revolve around you. It really is not hard to step away and lower your voice, but that would mean you have manners.

When one thinks of the word protocol, you think rules. Depending on the type of relationship you are in, those rules vary. They are what make this lifestyle so different from everyday vanilla. There is a deep connection, the understanding that each half is there and each have specific roles. There is protocol when relating to your Dominant/Master. There is protocol when dealing with friends. There is protocol when doing your day to day work etc.

Perhaps it’s because so many people are entering this world with the idea that is it just kinky sex? If so then that is a very sad commentary indeed. Not that there is anything wrong with kinky sex BUT if you think that is all it is about you are not going to last long and will burn out quick learning nothing about yourself or the limits to which you can go.

Attitude – Veruca Salt I WANT IT NOW!!! I remember watching Willy Wonka and when Veruca starts singing her song and being a horrible girl and ends up going down the trash chute with all of the other bad eggs, I felt so happy. She got what she deserved.. I look around and instead of waiting to learn people want instant gratification. This goes back to the collar discussion I had earlier but wanted to include a little about it here too. Instead of taking their time to learn one skill set and becoming a master of it, they jump from here to there so they can say they do it all.

Believe me when I say that it takes years to become good at something. It is good to try different things but you don’t have to do it all at one time. Look at Japanese tea service for example. You don’t just pour hot water into a pot and then give people a teabag. There are rituals involved, spirituality and so much more that it can become a lifetime vocation.

Rope play, Fire play, Needles, Whips, Hot Wax, Flogging, etc. Take your time to learn. Practice. Become one with what it is that calls to you. Don’t just be a jack of all trades but master of none. Have pride in everything you do.

Whether a Dominant/Master/Top or submissive/slave/bottom remember that there is a history in BDSM. I am always learning and there are a lot of wonderful groups here on Fetlife to help you along your path.

In the end, it seems that things are coming around full circle. The more serious people are starting to go back to either private play or vetted play parties. They find people who have the same mindset of the importance of TPE and Protocol.

If this continues, then those new people coming in are going to miss out on some wonderful exchanges and opportunities to learn.

I could continue on and on but will end with this thought. For all of the people who have been in the lifestyle for awhile, don’t give up. For new people coming in, take your time. Learn, read, talk, discuss. Go to classes specifically for newbies. Join local groups. Understand this is not about one night stands but about deep loving relationships.

It is in the end, a Wonderful Life.

– SweetM

Posted By SweetM

Updated : 2nd December 2021 | Words : 1807 | Views : 2631

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