Universal Protocol for Spanking Scene
There are two types of protocols all SCONY member hopefuls should be aware of: those practiced by the general spanking community and those that have been put in place for all SCONY events — otherwise known as SCONY protocol (which is required reading before attending any SCONY events).
This is a summary of guidelines that are generally accepted for most — if not all — groups that practice Spanking, S&M, and all forms safe play in dominance/submission. (First step: Learn the difference between dominance/submission and abuse!)
At some point all of us were new at exploring the world of dominance and submission. Below I've listed a few helpful rules of protocol that may make you feel more comfortable as you move about the scene. I suggest you read over this information before you venture into a party, club or scene event, regardless of the group. Also, I recommend you get the book Different Loving, by Brame, Brame and Jacobs. In addition to having a great chapter on spanking, the book also explains the roots of many different forms of expression in community.
1. Respect the rights of others. Never — I mean never — make fun of someone else's fantasy. Ideally, this is a world where respect and tolerance rule.
2. All scene play, including private and public spanking, is based on consent, mutual pleasure, and discretion. When in doubt, it is better to err on the side of caution.
3. Do not grab or touch anyone unless you have asked or consent has been given. What appears to be "available" is often a hands-off situation.
4. If you ask, "Can we do a scene?" and the answer is no, no means no, not maybe later.
5. Do not touch equipment that does not belong to you. When attending a gathering, it is best to mark your things and keep them out of sight when not in use.
6. Do not get involved in a scene unless you are invited to do so by those in the scene. Keep your distance and avoid unrelated noise.
7. If you are doing a scene, have safe words or some method of communication so the scene can be stopped if need be. Since a certain amount of resistance is part of a some spanking scenes, the words used should not be words that would normally come up in a scene. "No is not a safe word" is something you hear often in clubs. Similarly, words like "stop," "you're hurting me," etc. should be avoided. It's awkward but find a word (or sentence) that is clearly out of the scene, such as, "mercy," "yellow/red," "strawberries"... whatever. You will hear much debate on the topic of safe words from tops with exaggerated egos. Don't listen. Scene play must be mutually pleasurable, and both tops and bottoms should have a reasonable way of ending (or slowing down) the situation quickly if there is a need.
8. Not all scenes end in sex. Not all scenes are sexual. If you hear, "It's all about sex and eroticism," just know that not everybody agrees with that — especially not traditional spankers. You are entitled to your own opinion.
9. Refer all disputes to the club managers or people in charge. Avoid confrontations.
10. If your scene requires special space or equipment, see the people in charge for assistance.
11. Absolutely no cameras or photography unless you have been given permission.
12. Illegal drugs will get you thrown out of most clubs.
13. Check the rules at scene gatherings regarding the use of alcoholic beverages. If alcohol is being sold, there are rules governing nudity. When in doubt keep bathing suit areas covered. Pull underwear up rather than down.
14. Rules governing confidentiality, privacy, and discretion are the same in the scene as they are in a private support groups. Lack of discretion and common sense can get you eliminated from many nice parties.
15. If you think you recognize someone who obviously wants to remain anonymous, respect his/her need for privacy. To protect your own privacy, use a scene name. Very few people in the scene use their full correct name. Try not to ask about occupations, addresses or any other information that people would prefer to keep confidential.
16. Never underestimate the value of extreme measures concerning personal hygiene. If it is a long evening, take time to go freshen up.
17. Relax, watch, have fun and don't feel pressured to do anything you are not comfortable with. The people in the scene are generally very friendly and helpful. If you ask a question, more experienced players are usually good at giving a clear explanation. If you still don't understand, find a book or email me and I will try to help. (Some scene players may be rude and suffer from what is called "top's disease." If you run into one of them don't bother getting upset; most likely everybody agrees with your perception, too.)
18. There are three reasons why a scene, or a spanking, may go wrong: ignorance, arrogance and alcohol.
19. Partners: Just like any other party, it is wise see if the person with whom you are negotiating a spanking is in a relationship or attending the gathering with someone. Make eye contact and/or conversation with the partner (male or female) and see if they have any problems with the scene or spanking being set up. While most spankers don't have the master/slave mentality of "ownership," there are many people who are in the community as couples.
20. Cell phones and cameras are generally not allowed. Always ask if you can use either. The polite thing to do is not bring either and — if you must use them — to do it in your own private space. Take your own pictures in your own private room and always take your phone calls outside. Many people do not attend parties for fear of having their privacy violated.
A Little Vocabulary
Dominant: The person in charge of the scene. The top. A leader of the scene and therefore responsible to ensure that wisdom and safety are used at all times. (Word spreads fast about unsafe, arrogant tops.) A good dominant encourages mature communication and listens carefully to what works for the submissive.
Submissive: The bottom or the one who agrees to accept the commands (or pay the consequences). Since a top should not have to read minds, it is the responsibility of the submissive to verbalize when they are in distress and/or need to stop a scene. A good submissive must learn how to communicate their desires and listen to the needs of their top. Submission has many styles: resistance, tears, pouting...laughing, joking...compliance, humble silence, pleasurable moans.
Switch: A player who is both dominant and submissive at various times.
The Scene: The Spanking, S&M, D&S community at large.
A scene: "The dance." The acting out, as if in a play, a segment of one's ongoing performance in their head. Some long-time players are in and out of scenes on a moment's notice as they go about their daily life. Other times the whole thing is put together with quite a bit of fanfare.
Safe Words: Words completely unrelated to the scene that parties agree upon ahead of time that are to be used to stop the scene or to slow it down. Words such as "stop" or "don't do that" would not be good choices since some people like to incorporate them in the activity. Unrelated words, such as "yellow" or "red" are more easily understood. Sometimes people have a system of nonverbal, but obvious signals, they use instead. For example, with people over my knee I can't always hear them so they are instructed to gently put their hand on my ankle if the activity is too much. If you are a new player, I would be very leery of people who don't use safe words. If, by chance, you are ever with someone who doesn't listen to or stop at the use of a safe word, I would drop this person from the list and let others know what happened.
The Beauty of Mature Play
The difference between pleasurable dominance and submission and abuse is consent. What I have found most exciting about the spanking community and the D&S scene in general is how much communication has to take place for things to work. In the right forum, people openly talk about their fantasies and with the help of kindred spirits of the same ilk, these fantasies can come true. Call it theater, call it a dance, call it anything that helps you make sense of the process of discovering those things that make you happy.
The level of respect, communication, interaction and tolerance in the scene is more than I ever experienced in any church group. When you are with really mature scene people, you are experiencing charity and acceptance at its very, very best.
Note I said, "if you are with really mature scene people." There are plenty of misguided, if not dangerous, types all about, but that would be the case in life anyway. I suggest you do your research, polish up your sensitivity skills and read up on safety and communication within the community. This is a very private part of your world and it is advisable to discriminate as to where you put your trust.
Above all, have fun. Enjoy exploring your imaginary world with people who respect your right to do so. If your therapist or spouse is still telling you you're weird, sick or disgusting be comforted that you're not. Even the most judgmental critics in this world have fantasies; they just don't have the desire to act them out or talk about it. That is their problem, not yours.
You're Not Alone
Somebody is buying all those romance novels. And Playboy and Penthouse were photographing fantasy long before the scene got popular — not to mention that John Wayne, Elvis and most of Hollywood included spanking scenes in some very popular films. And now spanking scenes are becoming mainstream in even television shows.
Furthermore, research is showing that there are literally tens of thousands of searches a day for terms related to consensual, adult spanking. It's been going on for generations; our culture is just starting to recongize it's okay to talk about it and explore our fantasies.
Literature, television, movies and music all have a way of arousing our senses by playing with dominance, submission, erotic power and control. It's perfectly logical to have fun with our already titillated imaginations.
So go for it. Have fun. And let me know how things turned out.
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**The rules outlined above are a collection from S&M clubs, discussion groups,TES (The Eulenspiegel Society), the Black Rose, Shadow Lane, and SCONY.