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The Official Blog of Award-Winning Filmmaker Matthew Saliba
How to Survive a Fetish Party

A fetish party is not your average social event. If you’re going to attend (and survive) one, there’s an elaborate protocol you’re going to have to learn about before going. For example, fetish events, by and large, have dress codes you need to abide by and a sense of etiquette you have to follow in order to ensure you have a safe, fun and rewarding experience. Not to mention the fact that there are different kinds of fetish events, each of which caters to people in the fetish community who consider themselves at a particular stage in their self-discovery as a fetishist.

Fortunately, that’s where an article like this comes in handy. We’re going to explore different types of fetish parties, dispel certain myths about what goes on at these kinds of events, discuss dress codes (as well as the pros and cons of enforcing one) and, perhaps most importantly, etiquette.

In the world of BDSM, a dress code is a strictly enforced policy by which guests must dress in a manner that is erotic and/or fetishistic in order to gain entrance. The majority of fetish clubs and play parties require dress codes and enforce them for two reasons: One is to discourage people who aren’t in the fetish community from entering the event solely to ogle at the guests, and the other is to raise the event’s atmosphere by ensuring guests are dressed excitingly enough to attract attention.

Rubber, latex and leather clothing are safe bets. If you want to be more theatrical (and you can never be too over-the-top at these events), uniforms are definitely the way to go. Prison uniforms are pretty popular. Correctional officer uniforms are usually allowed, especially for men, and submissives can wear inmate uniforms. Military uniforms from any country are also allowed with the only major exception being Nazi Germany. School uniforms are also popular, with English and Japanese styles being especially popular.

Crossdressing is another surefire way to gain entrance to a fetish event and this dress code tends to be a little more flexible in that guests are typically allowed to wear more “casual wear” than they would be had they attended the event in their “natural gender.” Overtly feminine clothes like ballgowns are allowed for men, while rugged masculine clothes, like construction worker uniforms, are allowed for women.

You can also never go wrong by exposing the more erotic parts of your body. There are cases where women may partially or fully expose their breasts, though bare genitals are usually forbidden regardless of sex. Of course, keep in mind that the emphasis should always be on your clothing. There’s a fine line between exhibitionism and fetishism and showing up at a fetish event in the nude or in your underwear would certainly cross that, although most parties allow lingerie. This especially applies to the United States where zoning and liquor laws usually forbid toplessness or nudity in establishments where liquor is served.

Presumably if you’re attending a fetish party, you have some inclination of wanting to play and/or meet potential play partners. Well, just like trying to score with someone attractive you meet in a bar, there’s an elaborate ritual you must go through when meeting someone at a fetish party for the first time. First off, approach a potential playmate as a person and not as a sexual fantasy persona. Just because a person’s sexual identity may be as a Dom or a sub doesn’t negate the rest of the person. Also, you shouldn’t make assumptions about someone based on their dress. While collars are traditionally associated with subs, some Doms wear them as part of a scene outfit. Needless to say, going up to a woman in a collar (whether she’s a Dom or a sub) and saying, “On your knees” won’t make a great first impression.

Let’s address a major myth about fetish parties right now. When you approach someone, introduce yourself – not your role. When guests at a fetish event are socializing with each other, most of them are not “in scene” and, even if they are, you have no obligation to react to them as if you are in the opposite role. If you’re submissive, you are not required nor expected to be submissive to every dominant person in the room. And if you’re dominant, do not expect everyone to cower before you either. There’s a reason why it’s called “playing.” If you’re a Dom or a sub who cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy, you have no business attending a fetish party.

The concept of “no means no” also applies to fetish events. If your desire to be dominated is turned down, take no for an answer. Doing so graciously may turn that “no” into a “maybe” or even a “yes” the next time around. Even if you’re into erotic humiliation, if a dominant spurns you, go away! You certainly won’t win any friends by following them around all night. If anything, you may get thrown out by the DM (dungeon monitor). If, however, you are fortunate to find a play partner for the evening, there are some general guidelines you should follow.

One, be aware of the rules. As previously mentioned, the organizer or DM will often dictate what is and isn’t allowed. Nudity, penetration and needle and fire play usually cannot be done at public fetish parties for legal reasons. If sexual intercourse is allowed, it is preferable to conduct it in private rooms rather than in the main dungeon.

Two, be responsible. Don’t deliberately violate any laws that can affect others at a fetish party. For example, illegal drugs can lead to the owner of a fetish club having their establishment shut down or a homeowner being arrested. Don’t bring them! If alcohol is prohibited, play without it.

Three, respect the differences between the socializing and play areas. Conversations are meant to be held in the socializing room, not in the middle of an intense session of S&M. If you’re topping a sub, please be aware that laughter can sometimes be devastating to a nervous bottom. They may feel humiliated because you are laughing at them even if you’re just reacting to a joke someone told. Even worse, if they’re far gone into a scene and are in a state of euphoria, your obnoxious laughter may pull them right out of it and into dangerous territory.

Four, be respectful of your fellow fetishists. If you’re playing in a designated play area, don’t hog the place. Playing at a public or even private fetish party shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes, especially when there’s a long lineup of eager and horny fetishists waiting to get their kink on. BDSM is a physical activity that can often get very messy, what with bodily fluids and all. So when you’re done, please remember to leave the space as you initially found it and wipe off the equipment. Usually there will be alcohol or some other cleaning product and paper towels available for this purpose. Make sure to pick up your toys and get them out-of-the-way, too.

Of course, if you don’t manage to get any action whatsoever, fear not, as being a voyeur can be just as fun and rewarding. In fact, if this is your first visit to a fetish party, you may want to consider sitting it out when it comes to playing and just watch. It’s a great way to learn and, in many respects, part of the excitement for many people who do play in public. However, be aware of giving players the space they need to do their scene.

A Dom should not have to worry about bumping into someone as they prepare to whip their sub. And whatever you do, do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, get involved in a scene without prior consent from the participants involved. A person’s body and belongings deserve respect and should only be touched with consent. When a scene is over and the parties involved have had sufficient time to unwind together and regain composure, and you feel that you’re ready to approach a dominant, you may then make your move.

And there you have it! While I’ve merely scraped the surface here as far as how to survive a fetish party goes, what you’ve just read is an excellent beginner’s guide to getting out alive and having a great time doing so. When you think about it, outside of the dress code and kinky sex, a fetish party has many things in common with a vanilla one. In order to have fun, one must act accordingly with a sense of decency and respect. And if you don’t, you’re in for one hell of a spanking… and not the good kind!

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