Do You Know What BDSM Protection Entails?

I originally posted this on a now defunct forum.  However, I think it is time for a reminder…

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There appears to be a new trend within the online BDSM Community surrounding the notion of ‘protection’.

What is protection?  Providing protection?  Being protected?  What does it mean?

A lot of people do not give much thought to this concept.  It seems that all the cool kids are doing it, doesn’t it?

I see a great deal of people in the scene (particularly submissives) who are ‘under the protection of’ another member within the online community. That member is usually, but not always, a Dominant, although I have seen instances in which Dominants are being protected by other Dominants, and submissives are being protected by other subs.

I have very strong beliefs about what protecting actually means

If you are considering protecting someone, or being protected by someone, then a few ground rules need to be laid before you begin, and quite a few questions need to be asked and answered. Just to be clear,  I am not talking about those who are already in a BDSM relationship with each other. Some Dominants with collared submissives will make it clear that they are also ‘protecting’ their submissives, although that really should be a ‘given’ IMO.  No, in this instance  I am talking about those looking at protection with respect to someone in the community with which there is no current BDSM relationship, or the potential for one at some point in time.

I will use my own experience to illustrate the processes involved, what protection means to me, and how I have dealt with issues surrounding ‘protection’. The same principles apply no matter where you are in physical relation to each other.

‘Protection’ is an incredibly serious commitment, and should never be undertaken lightly.  Protection means exactly what it says.  If you are protecting someone, then you are responsible for their safety in a BDSM environment.

I am protecting someone on another forum.  The first thing that was established was why this person felt the need for protection to begin with.  This is a question that should always be asked, and established quite clearly, in the decision making process that leads to an agreement to ‘protect’ or ‘be protected’, or not.

Once that was established, the level of protection required was discussed.  Was I simply protecting this person in an online environment, or did it expand to a RT one, too?  There is a significant difference between sending a PM to a member who is harassing or making unwanted advances towards the person being protected, and being there in a physical capacity in a RT BDSM environment.  However, after saying that, if you think such protection is a simple alternative, and does not require the same level of commitment that a more comprehensive form of protection entails, think again!

If you have opted to agree to protect a person in an online capacity only, what are you going to do if the person who has sent an unwanted PM  to the person you are protecting 1) does not stop, simply because you have told them to? 2) Turns on you for stepping in? (this has actually happened to me) or 3) Somehow manages to find the person you are protecting’s personal information and shows up on their doorstep, at a play party, in a secluded parking lot near their place of work, or any other such scenario?  I will say it again. You, the protector, are responsible.  If you are going to say, “Yeah, but I was just protecting him/her from sleazy PM’s, so it’s not my fault”, then really, as far as I am concerned, you have no business ‘protecting’ anyone! Reassess your motives for wishing to protect someone to begin with.

Once the above has been discussed, the process deepens.  As far as I am concerned, the most ideal scenario would involve being protected by someone within the same city as yourself.  What good are you going to be if you live five hours away from the person you are protecting and they get into RT trouble?

The person that I am protecting does not live in the same city.  They live in a different country altogether!  Does that mean that I am unable to protect them?  Hell no!  It does not mean that at all.  Sure, I am not able to get into their immediate physical presence in an emergency, but the following procedures were implemented.  IMO these procedures should also be implemented if you are protecting someone in the same neighbourhood as yourself.

I provided three different phone numbers that I could be reached on.  I make sure that all numbers are working; that all phones are on 24/7.  I provided two different email addresses apart from the forum on which I could be reached, and requested an exact address and numbers and email addresses in return.  Then I needed access to that person’s friends list.  I needed to make contact with persons that I knew could provide the physical protection that I could not give, due to the physical distance between myself than the person that I am protecting.  I also utilised my own network of friends who live in the same city, and made sure that they could be relied upon to provide physical assistance if it was required.  You may think that you do not need to go to such lengths if you live nearby to the person that you have agreed to protect.  IMO it is wrong to assume such a thing.  What happens if you are unable to provide physical assistance?  What happens if you are in hospital when the need for protection arises?  What happens if you are ill, or injured, and are unable to provide the physicality needed in an emergency?  Call the police?  Sure, but if you are not contactable, then how are you going to manage to do that?  You need a ‘back up plan’; someone (preferably more than one ‘someone’) that you, the protector, and the one being protected can call on if you are unable to provide the assistance required.

I have a list of people in a RT environment that I can call on, and, more importantly, rely on, to help out if I cannot do so.  These people have access to all of the information required to act in my stead; contact details, times, places, physical descriptions, phone numbers,  medical conditions (if relevant) and a sound knowledge of what any meeting my ‘protectee’ has arranged is meant to entail.

All of these things needed to be assessed before I would commit to protecting anyone.

Does all of this seem paranoid to you?  It should not.  Granted, you may never need to implement any of the procedures I have outlined so far.  However, if you have not planned for these contingencies, what are you going to do if something suddenly goes wrong and the person you are ‘protecting’ ends up requiring the protection that you offered to give in the first place?

Please think very long and hard about what ‘protection’ actually entails? Effective communication at all times is as much a key component to all of this as the commitment required to protect is.

If you are considering protecting someone then assess your limitations along with what you know that you can do to protect someone.  If they are unwilling to answer your questions or are unwilling to accept your terms, then question why they are asking for protection to begin with.  If you are looking at being ‘protected’ and the person you are approaching to do this ‘protecting’ is not prepared to answer these questions, then my advice to you would be to walk away.  Keep looking until you find someone who actually has the capacity to protect you.

The BDSM Community contains many decent people.  It also contains dangerous predators.  Italso contains persons at various levels of experience.  As many accidents occur out of ignorance, as deliberate negligence or downright criminal acts do.

Protection is an incredibly serious matter, not a way to earn Kudos or boost your own sense of self worth.

I urge you all to think on this!

Mistress Savannah.

 

20 Comments

Filed under Observations on Life and the Universe as I See it.

20 responses to “Do You Know What BDSM Protection Entails?

  1. Vampyredemon

    What a wonderful blog, extremely informative. It is nice to see that there are others out there in the lifestyle who still know what responsibility and protecting is about. *bows with a smile*

    I once protected a sub for 8 years as she walked her journey in the lifestyle discovering herself. It not only entailed online protection but also real life protection. I was there for her when I was in NY and when I moved out of state, like you, I also have a network that I have worked with. This is serious business that many simply brush off for their misconceived notion that the lifestyle is about the mighty orgasm and it’s about how many people one can have under a collar or claim to own.

    People do not pay attention to the dangers involved in the real lifestyle and even more dangers online that may go real life. Too many people want that immediate gratification but the truth is, when protection is needed, it should be taken seriously as you have emphasized.

    Bravo Belladonna!

    • Terra

      Thank you for that. I am receiving protection and that is exactly what it’s like. Being bombarded right off the bat by the jump me now ones really freaked me out and know I have room to breath.

  2. Tami Betti

    Thank You for such a thorough explanation :) tami

  3. Dan

    This is so insightful and spot on. I have been asked to provide protection to someone and this thread is exactly as I was thinking. I will make sure this person gets this thread and will discuss it with them.

  4. Dallas

    Thank you for such a thorough explanation. It’s given me a lot to think about.

    ~Dallas~

  5. ResponsibleDOM

    I think this is Juvenile. And gang like. I think taking away the adult responsibility of a person to protect themselves using their intelligence and due diligence is lulling them into a sense of false security. The protector is also acting as a standing challenge to any other male/group. This brings an antagonistic start to any issue like saying back of this woman/man is part of my crew. It will attract others like that, gang members and pimps and people willing to use violence when issues of dominance and territory come up.

    We have to keep the consenting adult in this and not let fantasy take over reality completely. Because online you have a house or a group of people that band together or look out for each other online or because you live in the same city does not mean you can protect someone in RL. This is why there are gangs, They can protect their members cause they are 24/7 and live together, fight together, and die together. A BDSM house is not a gang, nor do it’s ties go as deep as one. It’s also got a lame macho connotation and feels like the DOM is bragging or trying to be too alpha. I am a Dom and the only one i’d put under protection is someone who was actively serving me because then I would protect them to just about any extent as I would my blood or family or wife/gf. In the vanilla world, once you are in a relationship protection is a given. Detaching protection from intimacy by having some Super Hero Dom that just goes around protecting random girls he thinks is cute is asinine.

    It’s also wreaks of collecting. Some of these Houses once they have alot of experience and girls loose sight of reality and start collecting women like they are art pieces and think they are god like because they are sought after. No matter how many people they know or how many neat ties, scenes and shit it’s still gonna come down eventually to A person to person relationship that will end up trumping any group lifestyle. Even in BDSM I feel your mingling and exploring till you find the right match , or perfect kinkster that matches you or whatever. Even if your poly your not gonna fuck 20 people at once are you? Not if your mature anyway unless gang bang is your kink then of course it’s not too much of a stretch.

    • S.

      I think it depends on your perception of the entire concept of ‘protection’. Your perspective seems to veer towards a rather brutal ‘territorial’ approach when applying it to BDSM protection. I do not approach the topic from that viewpoint. I am not interested in ‘collecting’ those who wish to be protected, nor do I approach the responsibility from a place that suggests I own rights to the person being protected. The whole concept of ‘violence’, a ‘gang like’ mentality, or ‘pimping’ has no place in a healthy BDSM community, and I find the suggestion of such an association appalling. That is not how this functions at all, and those who approach the topic of protection with the belief that they suddenly have ‘ownership rights’ or a desire to ‘collect’ other beings, really should re-think their motives in a hurry! Please also note that not all those who seek protection are females, pretty, or submissive.

      BDSM protection, from my perspective, also has nothing to do with ‘fucking’ and it certainly does not extend itself to sexual relations with anyone I may decide to protect. THAT is not the reason for choosing to protect a person at all. In fact, the examples you have given are exactly the sort of thing that would leave me extremely concerned about the person offering protection. They are examples of what BDSM protection is not about.

      I thank you for your viewpoint, but I do find it slanted towards a rather hetero and gender-centric perspective that has its roots in male dominance and many stereotypes about kink,sex, and gender inherent in contemporary Patriarchal Western society.

    • Jim

      Wow.
      Clearly you are entitled to your opinion, but my opinion is this:
      Posts like this are exactly the reason why I think there is a need for “protectors” in the community. The phrase that comes to mind is this: “I think Sir doth protest too much”.

    • Electra88

      As a young woman with submissive tendencies who is just entering the world of BDSM, I think the idea of being protected is highly appreciable, not in terms of a silly internet forum, but in real life. If you choose to meet up with someone that you’ve connected with online, and you plan to be alone with that person, there is quite a lot of risk involved. You can’t exactly phone a real life family member and say “Hi, I’m meeting up with
      Sue Random for hot sex, if I don’t call you in 5 hours call the cops.” If however you had someone from the BDSM community who you could inform of your whereabouts and who you planned to meet, it decreases the risk factor quite a lot. I don’t think it is juvenile at all, its just part of being streetwise and not getting yourself into sticky situations. Do you see my point ResponsibleDom?

    • Terra

      That is so wrong. I’m pretty sure I know what I have felt sense I’ve started my journey and it’s overloaded. Just like with any new and intense situation regardless of my age. When I first started online I spent just as much time deleting comments as I did finding information. And by the way the precursor for me was being approached by a sex offender. You tell me anyone could handle that shit. So a fellow sub suggested her doms friend, a mistress, and by the next day no more creepy requests. Like a dating service I talk to them one at a time, feel them out and have support. I may be a sub but I am a women and I like talking shit out. She listens no judgement no B.S. Like she says, “all having her as my protector on my status does is make it clear that I have a support system, so if all you want is to get laid go stand on the corner”. You can’t judge what you haven’t experienced for yourself.

  6. T

    This post encompasses exactly how a view and come to understand protection to mean and be in BDSM. Thank you for writing it, I have to post a link to this in my journal. Kudos.

  7. scarletpsyche

    Now I have a question, my beloved and I recently joined FetLife but we do not do most BDSM nor participate in the scene. However, he has sworn an oath of protection to me that I feel goes far deeper than that implied by most vanilla relationships. Would it be appropriate to let the community know that he is my protector on our profiles, or would that get misinterpreted too often?

    • S.

      If you add the other aspects to your relationship on your respective profiles, so that it is clear that you are also in a relationship with each other, then I cannot see that it would cause confusion at all.

  8. utnarreke

    Currently i am reentering the bdsm lifestyle but with other insights than when i left it 15 years ago. i have grown in the meantime regarding my preferences. Was it that when i left, not voluntarily, that i was no more than a fetishist, i have now grown into a true BDSM person.
    In my hometown i have learned to know a person that i thought that i knew who she was. In fact now i have come to know her as a fellow sub.
    This lady promised me to take me under her wings and protect me from the evil and bad things that are also part of the BDSMscene. At this moment i much need this attention and commitment as being a male sub i have found this not to be as easy as i thought it would be in the first place. our mental relationship and conversations extend way beyond than what is normally spoken of within a normal marriage. In my humble opinion she has a right to know these intimate things otherwise her protection could not be possible for me. On the other hand she also tells me a lot of intimate details about her self. Things that i can hang on to. we have become soulmates.
    Thank You; Mistress Savannah, for confirming of what i assumed to be the meaning of “protection”.

  9. London Hollow

    I have a question.

    Can you have more than one protector?

    • S.

      It depends on your own situation. It would not hurt to have more than one person looking out for you, now would it? It would be ‘added protection’.

  10. My Daddy often isn’t online or contactable because of his situation with his internet and his lack of a phone. I had to turn of the anonymous option and the submit option on tumblr because of inappropriate stuff being sent. One message wasn’t even sexual, it was just hurtful comments about my appearance. People on Fetlife have even sent me messages being suggestive. I actually wish that I was under the protection of someone. It’d be nice.

  11. Grant

    I only just found this item and I have to say it is out standing. Unfortunately I see a lot of online “protection” (yes I am talking about Fetlife) where the “protector” _thinks_ it means “I get first dibs on meeting and playing with this sub”.

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