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S&M: A PLAYER'S HANDBOOK - 3
By Tanonymous

HOW TO PLAY QUICK REFERENCE - STARTING A SCENE


1. Using the lists given in this document, agree on the elements of an S&M scene that mutually excite you.

2. Choose a safe word that ends play or signifies that it is time for the dominant partner to ease up on what he or she is doing. If you are playing out a fantasy, you may want to decide on an additional word that temporarily allows you to exit the fantasy. A typical S&M safe word is "mercy," while any out-of-context word or cue such as "sunrise" can be used as a signal to step out of a fantasy.

3. Decide who will be dominant. Some couples prefer to switch roles, whereas some will be more comfortable in set roles. Neither is inherently "right" or "wrong", although I do recommend experimenting at least initially with both dominance and submission. There is no shame in playing the submissive role in a fantasy game, and it can be an awful lot of fun besides. Switching roles is also a good way to show your partner what you would like to do or what you want to have done to you when you switch back.

4. Put together some basic idea of what you will do in the scene. This can be anything from agreeing on a few elements ("Let's explore bondage and cross dressing") to a very complex and detailed script.

5. Prepare the room for play. Tidy it up and make it as much of an appropriate setting for your scene as you can. Gather all of the props and toys you will need to do your scene. Nothing is more annoying that not finding the toy you need at an intense moment.

6. Enact the ritual that begins play. A ritual is anything that you decide it will be, from putting on a slave collar to verbalizing the titles of your dominant and submissive roles. ("You are a slave" - "Yes, Master/Mistress.")

7. Have the most fun, sexual arousal, emotional fulfillment and thorough enjoyment that you possibly can.

Once you have gone through all of these steps and are actually playing with your partner, what do you do? There are a number of fun and enjoyable S&M activities that you can play with, such as bondage, spanking, whipping, cross dressing and anal play. Some safety tips and enjoyble techniques on these activities follow.

BONDAGE
Bondage is probably one of the most common forms of S&M activities. It is estimated by sociologist Charles Moser that at least 10% of the population has used erotic restraint at some time or another.

The classic form of love bondage is with a silk scarf. Unfortunately, as sexy and romantic as that sounds, it is a poor choice of material. A silk scarf will tighten very easily, cutting off circulation. A much better and safer material for bondage is thick, soft nylon rope. Sold in hardware stores for .15 to .40 cents a foot depending on thickness, it is not only visually appealing, but reasonably comfortable as well. The thicker the diameter of the rope, the more comfortable the restraint will be. Any rope 5/8" or thicker is generally comfortable for bondage.

Readily available at many novelty stores are inexpensive metal handcuffs. Don't use them unless your bondage bottom is also a masochist. They cut off circulation, leave deep red marks on your wrists, and they tend to slip their notches until they are too tight. If you have a fetish for metal, invest in a good pair of police cuffs that lock into position and won't slip. Expect to pay from fifty to eighty dollars for a really good pair of police cuffs. Some specialty stores also carry metal shackles for the ankles. These are also fairly expensive ($80 or more), but worth the price if they are of good quality.

Even soft rope will tend to cut off circulation if not tied expertly. If you are not a natural Eagle Scout and do not have ready access to anyone who will teach you how to tie good bondage knots, cheat. Securely fasten soft, wide leather cuffs around the wrists and ankles of your victim. You will then find it easy to fasten these cuffs to the bedposts or to anything else that is handy, without having to worry about your partner's hands and feet turning blue.

If you are not lucky enough to own a Victorian four-poster bed, you can still make do. You can purchase four screw eyes at any local hardware store for just a few dollars. These are the things that look like screws but have large, closed hooks on one end. Make sure that the diameter of the eye is large enough to get your thick ropes through, and install them discreetly on the wooden frame of your bed. You now have a bondage device that will allow you to tie your partner spreadeagled to the bed.

In bondage, as in every other S&M activity, exercise caution. Always make sure that your partner's circulation is not being cut off by touching his or her hands and feet every few minutes. If they have grown noticeably colder, circulation is being impaired and you should loosen the bonds. Never put any kind of pressure on someone's throat with bondage or with a collar. Never leave someone unattended in bondage for more than a few minutes. If your partner's hands are tied behind his or her back, do not allow a sudden change of position that puts pressure on the arms, as it is easy to dislocate a shoulder in this position. In case of an emergency such as fire or earthquake, keep a pair of shears on hand so that you can IMMEDIATELY release someone from bondage. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

PROPS AND TOYS

Although some couples are content to play exclusively in the realm of fantasy, the appropriate toys can enhance alm ost any scene. In almost any large city, there are a number of specialty shops that sell an amazing variety of sex toys. However, you will find that many of the toys that you can use in an S&M scene can be found at home or in a general store for a lot less money.

You can easily assemble a collection of S&M goodies without going to any specialty stores. Toy stores frequently carry games that come with some useful goods, such as replacement ping pong paddles, handball paddles, and other such items. Most general stores carry rulers and hairbrushes, which make excellent spanking toys. Wooden spoons can also be fun to spank with, and chances are there may already be a few in your kitchen. If you are looking for a heavier paddle, try a wooden or plastic cutting board, the kind with a convenient handle on the end. If you want a good fantasy whip, try a peacock feather or a feather duster. For heavier equipment, try a tack or riding gear shop. They usually carry a good selection of leather quirts and riding crops. S&M toys do not have to be made of shiny black leather to be enjoyable.

Unless you can make your own, you will have to obtain leather cuffs and collars at a specialty store. I recommend going to a store that specializes in leather gear and S&M equipment rather than to a more typical adult bookstore. The S&M goods that they sell in most adult bookstores are usually either shoddy or overpriced or both. A good set of leather cuffs should run you between twenty and thirty dollars, or slightly more if you want them padded. A simple leather collar should cost from ten dollars to twenty dollars. Extremely complicated bondage gear is usually custom made, available only from a few specialty stores, and can run into the hundreds of dollars.

Of course, if you have the time, you can make your own set of leather toys for only a few dollars, after the initial investment in a set of good leatherworking tools. Tandy's is a chain of craft stores that specializes in leather crafting. Although they mostly cater to YMCA members and scout troops wanting to earn their merit badges, I am sure that their employees would be quite shocked if they knew how many S&M'ers owe their equipment to Tandy's.

Even if you are not a dedicated crafter, you might want to try this simple project. Go to a hardware store and have a short, thick dowel cut about 18' long and 3/4" to 1 1/4" diameter. Purchase a handful of carpet tacks as well. Depending on your tastes, obtain either a rabbit skin or some soft leather from a local craft shop. Cut the leather or fur into strips about 12" long and 1/4" to 1/2" wide. Rabbit fur will shed hair profusely when cut, so take appropriate precautions. Tack about ten to twenty of these strips onto one end of the dowel, on the outside of the dowel rather than on the end, in an even circle. When you have enough strands to make a respectable short whip, finish it by gluing a strip of leather around the end of the dowel, over the carpet tacks. Use a good leather glue, which is obtainable in most craft stores. The result will be a light, sensuous whip that you can use in any S&M or fantasy scene.

THE JOY OF SPANKING
While spanking can be a lot of fun, it is important to be able to do it enjoyably and safely. Toys used to spank with can range from leather or light balsa wood to heavy, dense wood or plastic. It is safe to use an open hand or a paddle of almost any weight on the ass. The human buttocks can take an amazing amount of punishment safely, because of the thick layer of fatty padding that occurs over the gluteus maximus. The only unsafe toys to use on the buttocks (or anywhere else, for that matter) would be anything made entirely of metal.

Metal spiked or studded paddles may be used with caution by an experienced spanker, on the buttocks only. If you break the skin, be sure to maintain sterility with the use of an antiseptic (I recommend Betadine or Hibiclens) and latex gloves, especially if you do not normally "share germs" with your partner.

The general rule is, the denser and heavier a toy is, the more potentially dangerous it is. Most of the heavier paddles are only safe for use on the ass, because of its protective layers of fat. No heavy paddles should ever be used to strike any other part of the body, because of the potential for actual injury rather than erotic pain. If you want to play with other parts of your partner's body, there are other toys that are far better suited for that purpose.

Canes, crops and cats can always be used safely on the buttocks, provided your aim is good. You can generally gauge the areas that are safe to hit by following the crease between the ass cheeks. Don't hit above it, because you will run into the kidney area, which is extremely sensitive and can put someone in the hospital if it is struck too heavily. Hit below it with caution, because you may be striking the sacrum (the human "tailbone") at an angle that can break it if you are using a heavy paddle. At the least, you will be striking in an area that does not have the protective layers of fat.

The backs of the thighs are another frequent target of a spanker's attentions. These must be spanked with caution, because even a light paddle or an open hand can cause painful muscle bruising that may leave someone limping for days. A heavy paddle or an incorrectly wielded cane or crop can actually tear or severly damage the muscle tissue, possibly causing long-term problems. The backs of the knees should never be struck with anything, because of the potential for damaging or detaching the tendons. The calves can be safely whipped with a cat or a light cane or crop, but again, you need to be careful to avoid damage to the underlying muscle. The ankles and shins cannot be struck at all, and the bottoms of the feet can be whipped with extreme care. While human feet are pretty tough and will generally take no lasting damage from a light whipping, you may render someone unable to walk without pain for a few days.

Does all of this sound scary? It should. While SM injuries are fortunately fairly rare, they do happen. A would-be dominant should definitely learn how to spank safely before doing any serious experimentation.

Once you learn how to spank safely, you are well on your way to learning how to spank enjoyably. It is actually possible to give your partner an orgasm by simply spanking him or her slowly and rhythmically, if you know what you're doing. Of course, you may not necessarily want your naughty partner to enjoy the spanking you are giving, but it's always nice to know how to reward as well as punish.

In order to deliver the most enjoyable and erotic spanking possible, you need to be able to give a good warm-up. Begin fairly lightly, especially if your partner is new to the idea of being spanked. Try to establish a steady rhythm. The ideal rhythm should be a lot like your preferred sexual one, and should allow your partner to be stimulated by the constant, rhythmical pressure of his or her genitals against your leg as you spank.

The tender area at the juncture of the thighs and ass is a good place to deliver the spanking. In addition to being quite sensitive, it is also an erogenous zone. Don't forget to i ntersperse your smacks with a lot of rubbing and caressing.

If your partner seems tense or inhibited, you might want to raise the level of sexual excitement by touching and stimulating his or her genitals as you spank. If a person is in a state of sexual arousal, he or she can usually take a lot more in the way of erotic pain.

My personal preference for delivering an erotic spanking is the bare hand, slightly cupped for maximum effect. While I enjoy an over the knee spanking, another favorite position of mine is to have my partner on all fours on a bed or sofa. This way, I can stand roughly parallel to his waist and really put my shoulder into the spanking. A broad, medium weight paddle of a light-grained pine or other moderately dense wood is also nice, especially when lined or covered with leather to reduce the sting a bit.

I keep a delightful paddle of burnished oak that is about an inch thick and a foot wide which I would never allow into the hands of an inexperienced spanker. I like to use it on very heavy masochists and also for a regular spanking when my arm gets tired. I just kind of lift it up and drop it over a slave's ass, and let the weight of the paddle do all the work.

Basically, anything made of leather, wood or plastic that has a broad surface is safe to spank with. Be careful when you are using toys with a small or thin striking surface, because they can concentrate a great deal of force on a small area. Stick to toys with large surface areas in proportion to their weight. Never use anything made of metal, and stay away from the parts of the body that are unsafe to spank, such as the kidneys, spine, sacrum, joint areas, and shins.

A good general rule to follow for body parts is that if it has a lot of padding, it is probably safe to spank. If you would be hitting on or near bones, tendons, or internal organs without a good layer of fat an muscle interposing, it is probably unsafe to spank.

WHIPPING
If you want to whip your partner, be sure that you can do it safely as well as enjoyably. The classic image of an S&M whip is a blacksnake or bullwhip, ten feet of braided black leather normally used to chastise draft horses and cattle. Unfortunately, this type of whip is difficult to use safely, since your partner does not have the tough hide of a horse or cow. When a bullwhip is cracked correctly, it makes a loud snapping or popping noise. What makes this noise is the very tip of the whip actually breaking the sound barrier. Needless to say, a piece of thick leather moving at this speed can do some serious damage to tender human flesh. Unless your bottom is a serious masochist and doesn't mind lasting welts and marks, your bullwhip should probably stay hanging on the wall as a fantasy prop.

It is possible to learn to use a bullwhip safely, but practice repeatedly on the back of a chair before bringing one near your partner. If your aim is bad and you strike your partner in the face, he or she could sustain a serious eye injury. If you have had little experience with heavy whipping, you might want to attend some classes or demonstrations on the subject before actually attempting it.

You should be careful when using any whip or toy on your partner. Never strike anyone on or near the face with a whip. It is too easy to cause an eye injury or other serious damage to the face. If you want to play with your partner's face, careful open-hand slapping is the only really safe way. To slap safely, cup one side of your partner's face in one hand firmly and slap with the other hand. This helps prevent a whiplash injury to your partner's neck.

Other areas that are unsafe to strike with most whips are the kidneys, any joint area, or any area of the body such as the spine, shins or forearms where bones are close to the surface. A very soft cat o'nine tails is safe to use on these areas gently, however. A fantasy whip such as a long peacock feather, a length of silk cloth or strips of rabbit fur can be safely used almost anywhere except the face.

If you use a cat o'nine tails, which is a whip made of long strands attached to a handle, make sure that your aim is good. Before you begin to strike, measure out the length of the strands on your partner's back or ass so that the very end of the strands stop in the middle of the surface area. Don't allow the strands to fall beyond the surface area that you are striking. Even a relatively light blow can cause painful red welts if the strands are allowed to wrap around rather than fall on a flat surface area.

If you use a riding crop, make sure that you are capable of striking with the leather tip alone rather than with the entire length of the crop. Use the palm of your hand as a practice target, and you will quickly learn the trick of "snapping" the leather tip smartly. Strike only on a well-defined surface, and do not allow the tip to wrap around. A cane is a much harsher instrument, and should be used with caution. Unlike a crop, about a foot of its length is used to strike with. Like a crop, it should be used on a flat surface and not allowed to wrap around.

CROSS DRESSING
There are a fairly large number of men who find erotic satisfaction in dressing up in women's clothing. That really isn't too surprising, considering that in our straightlaced society, men traditionally aren't allowed to be pretty and sexy. The role of a blatantly sexual and desireable person is a liberating one to play, and it is no wonder that many men enjoy it. A man who learns to get in in touch with his feminine side can be a far better lover and partner for it.

A woman who chooses to play the role of a sexually aggressive male now and then can learn what it's like to express that side of her nature. Gender play can be very enlightening for a couple, as well as sexually exciting.

Cross dressing is a lot like okra. Most people either love it or hate it. If you think that cross dressing is a nasty furtive perversion engaged in exclusively by nasty furtive people, think again and try it sometime. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much fun you'll have.

Actually dressing up isn't always easy. It can be difficult finding sexy women's clothes and lingerie in the appropriate sizes.

The best place to go to collect a large wardrobe in your size for relatively little money is, believe it or not, a Goodwill or other thrift store. They sell a good deal of lingerie and women's clothes in the larger sizes, and none of the clerks will look twice at a man whom they assume is buying clothes for his wife or girlfriend. Official Goodwill stores always wash and disinfect the clothes thoroughly before offering them for sale. Merchandise you can purchase from other thrift stores is usually well cleaned, but you might want to wash them again anyway.

Most lingerie items range from one dollar to five dollars, dresses from fifty cents to twenty dollars, and blouses and skirts for a few dollars each. I have quite a nice selection of pretty lingerie and dresses for men in large sizes that I have bought from local Goodwill stores.

Thrift stores also sell very nice ladies' handbags, wigs, co stume jewelry, and occasionally shoes big enough to fit the bigger girl. I have had less luck with purchasing shoes at these stores, since it generally takes a ladies' size ten or larger to accomodate a man.

Of course, you can always go into a department store to shop for clothes, but it is a little awkward trying them on. You might take your measurements and a measuring tape along, but that can be quite time- consuming. If you do try this, there are several measurements you will need to get. You will need to measure how big around your waist is, the length of your hip to your ankle, the length of your shoulder to your waist, how big around your chest is, how long your arms are, and the length across your shoulders. These are the `problem areas', where your body is not likely to match the lines of the manufactured garments. Even if an outfit looks like it might fit you as it hangs on the rack, it may not. You will need to either try it on or take some careful measurements.

The classic TV excuse is that of gift shopping. It is actually true that more men than women buy lingerie, especially around the holiday months. Of course, if you are trying the stuff on, it is a little more difficult to explain.

Catalog shopping is another possibility. There are some catalogs that cater exclusively to cross dressers, offering women's clothing, wigs and shoes sized to fit the big girl. Many of the more conventional catalogs, such as Frederick's or Sears, do make lingerie in larger sizes, and describe the measurements of the garments in their listings. In general, the items sold through a catalog are designed with an eye towards fitting different body shapes and styles within their size category, which may give you a better chance at finding something flattering that fits you.

ANAL PLAY
Anal play can definitely be an enjoyable form of alternative sexual exploration. The novice spelunker should be aware that poking, prodding and insertion in this area should be practiced with due caution. Cleanliness should always be a concern. If you are doing finger or even fist insertion (yes, that's possible with time and lubrication), always use a latex glove and a water-soluble lubricant. Oil-based lubricants act like acid on rubber and latex, eating microscopic holes in condoms and gloves in about 40 seconds flat. If you are using a dildo one more than one person or in more than one orifice, use a condom. Change the condom before switching from anal to vaginal insertion. Wash the dildo with soap and water after each usage. Use a latex glove when you are inserting a finger into your partner's ass, even if you normally share germs with your partner. If you have even a tiny cut, scrape or hangnail on your finger, you are asking for a potentially nasty infection.

If all of this is too much for you to remember, buy two dildos per female partner and one dildo per male partner. Label them clearly, something to the effect of: "Mary - front" "Mary - back" and "George". This eliminates the necessity for water-based lubricants and condoms, though not for washing in soap and water. This goes for orifices as well as instruments, especially if oil-based lubricants such as Crisco have been used. Leaving a residue of grease inside a cunt or ass invites bacteria to breed there by the millions, so don't forget to wash up.

Probably the most important thing to remember about anal play is safety. Dildos, fingers and penises are generally safe to insert in an ass, as long as you make sure that you don't lose the object inside an ass. Old jokes notwithstanding, fingers and penises have a built-in handle in the shape of a human being which cannot get lost up an ass, making them the safest things for insertion. Wing nuts, live gerbils, dead chickens, metal spoons and most small objects are not safe things to put up your ass (or anyone else's). One would think that this should be self- evident, but a friend of mine who has spent ten years doing emergency room duty in a San Francisco hospital assures me that he has seen all of these things and more surgically removed from someone's rectum. Remember that even a small perforation inside the rectum can cause a serious case of peritonitis, and be careful about what you are inserting where.

FANTASY ROLE-PLAYING: HOW TO "CHEAT" SAFELY
It is sexy to erotically redecorate your bedroom and use new and exciting props in your play. It is also considered sexually stimulating to go to bed with many different partners.

It is fairly easy to revamp the playroom and buy a new set of leather cuffs. Unfortunately, direct sexual contact with multiple partners in this day and age is nothing short of suicidal. Although you can play safely in an S&M or fantasy way with as many people as you like, it is unwise to risk your health by going any farther sexually with more than one partner. Even if you use protection, keep in mind that condoms can break under strain. They can also have undetectable, microscopic holes in them from their manufacture or from improper storage. While water cannot visibly seep through these tiny holes, they are quite permeable to the AIDS virus as well as a host of other unpleasant STD's. Sexual monogamy is the safe and sane way to go in the 1990's.

No matter how much you love your partner, monogamy can become sexually boring. Even if you liven up your sex life with tools, toys and S&M play, doing it with the same person night after night can turn stale.

So what's a sexually adventurous person to do? I would recommend fantasy role playing. Fantasy role playing is an excellent way to "cheat" with may different sex partners while remaining physically monogamous. Role playing is subtly but powerfully different from a simple fantasy scene. Instead of playing a defined role, you create a distinct persona with his or her own quirks and personality traits.

A persona is different from a role, because you are playing a "real person" rather than a rapist, a slave, a virgin, or a business tycoon. A persona named Jane, for instance, may be a quiet and shy virgin. She works at a local library, and does not often date. She likes wearing cotton skirts and simple, schoolgirl-type outfits. Jane has a huge stuffed teddy bear that she still keeps in her room, and her favorite foods tend to be sweet things like ice cream and other desserts. With just a few sentences, we have created a distinct persona in which you can play with your partner. Keep in mind that Jane can be an alternate persona for either a man or a woman, and can be dominant or submissive.

A male persona might be named Vincent. Vincent is very macho and aggressive, and is a successful business tycoon. He enjoys the finer things in life, like cruising on his yacht. He is a playboy type, but very intense in his emotions about a woman while an affair lasts. He might be dominant, or he might secretly long to be dominated. As with Jane the demure librarian, Vincent can be the alter ego of a man or a woman.

By creating these diverse personas, you can have the thrill of going to bed with someone very different from your regular partner as often as you like. You can also take a mental "vacation" from yourself in a different persona. You may feel more free to express parts of your nature that you are more inhibited about when you are being your "real self".

Next: The Social Scene - How to meet folks in the scene, and what to do once you meet them.
Meeting a Dominant Woman, Meeting a Submissive Woman, Meeting a Man: For Women, Meeting a Gay Partner, Meeting Professionals.