BDSM Basic Concepts
Group Specific Information

I’m a submissive, does that mean I HAVE to do whatever a Dom tells me to do? Back to Top
No, you are not required to do anything. Eros meetings are for us to exchange information and ideas, to learn about the lifestyle and ourselves, and to foster our social contacts. There is no rigid protocol to follow, other than normal common courtesy, like you’ve practiced all your life.
What is play? Back to Top
Play is basically any BDSM activity. You’ll also hear it referred to as a scene, or What It Is That We Do, which is often abbreviated as WIITWD online. Play is often physical, as in a corporal scene involving spanking or flogging, but it can also be mental play, where just the Top talking intensely to the bottom constitutes a scene.
What are safewords? Back to Top
Safewords are the safety valves for the bottoms. If the play begins to get too intense for the bottom, h/she uses a word (usually "yellow") to indicate that to the Top. If the play becomes intolerable, and the bottom wishes to opt out of the scene, there is another word (usually "red") that tells the Top that the scene is over, and to cease immediately. You can, of course, define your own safewords, but using "yellow" and "red" pretty well assures that you will be understood, both by the Top and by the bystanders. Again, using the traffic light analogy:
Greenmeans "Everything is OK. More, please!"
Yellowmeans "Lighten up, please…things are getting too intense."
Redmeans "Quit now, I’ve had all I can take!"
As a Top, you must never, never, never continue play after "red" is called. DM’s in public parties will enforce it, bystanders in private parties will enforce it, and continuing will (deservedly) destroy your reputation. Technically speaking, continuing after "red" constitutes assault, because your partner has withdrawn their consent.
Why should I play publicly instead of privately? Back to Top
Because public play is safer. You will have a room full of people watching your play, ready to enforce your safeword if necessary. You will have people with all levels of experience available to explain things to you. When you say "this seemed odd to me…is it OK?" someone will be able to answer your question. You will also have people there who can give you a pretty accurate assessment of your partner’s skill level, so you can feel confident doing the things the Top wants you to do.
I worry about my co-workers, family and friends finding out that I am in this lifestyle.
What precautions can I take (and expect) to protect my identity?
Back to Top
The best way to protect your privacy is to use a "Scene Name." This is just a made-up name that you will be known by in the BDSM community. Even if you use your real name, last names are not generally used—no one will think it odd if you introduce yourself by one name only.

For email, use one of the free internet email services (like hotmail or yahoo) to create an anonymous account. The BDSM community uses email extensively to organize outings, keep people informed, and just get to know each other.

If you should run into someone you have met in the BDSM community while you are in your vanilla world, they will not think it unusual if you ignore them completely, and act as if you do not know them. Conversely, you should be very restrained in approaching them, too. Watch their reaction carefully to see if it will be OK, and err on the side of caution. You can give ‘em an extra hug at the next Eros meeting to make up for it.
What are your club's party rules? Back to Top
We have very few rules at our parties. We expect everyone there to be an adult that knows how to behave.

Specifically, our rules are:
1)   No photography
2)   No drugs or alcohol
3)   No touching without permission
4)   No closed doors to rooms that people are playing in
Other than these general rules, we expect our guests to use common courtesy and stay within the guidelines of Safe, Sane, and Consensual.
If I see somebody doing something really cool, can I ask them about it? Back to Top
Yes, nearly everyone likes to talk about S&M and what they do, but be sure you wait until the scene is completely finished. During play, the Top and bottom are focused on what they are doing, and you interrupting them with questions will not be welcomed.
Is it OK to watch someone’s scene? Back to Top
Yes, as long as you don’t interfere with it. Stay back enough so that you don’t get in the way of flogs flying, and stay pretty quiet while watching. S&M involves mental aspects as well as the physical aspects, and talking or laughing in the vicinity of a scene can be really disruptive for the players. If you want to chat, go to the social area where no one will be disturbed.
Do I have to own leather clothes to fit in? Back to Top
Not at all. The dress at meetings is casual, although you can wear fetish wear if you like. At parties, you would dress up more, but leather is not required. Male Tops have it easiest—they can just wear black pants and a black shirt. The women wear their sexiest, most daring outfits—from lingerie to leather, short skirts to spandex—whatever makes you feel good. Tee-back panties are good, since they expose lots of skin while still maintaining some modesty, but naked will work for pretty much everyone. Male bottoms can also wear tee-back style jockstraps under their pants. If you play as a bottom, you’ll want to be able to get as naked as your comfort level allows—S&M works best with skin as the canvas and not clothes.
Do I have to declare myself as a Top or bottom? Back to Top
No, many new people in the scene are not yet sure of what they will be—they just recognize that BDSM has huge appeal. After you’ve been involved for a while, and have had a chance to see and experience S&M, you will discover your orientation.
Is there a strict protocol that I must know to fit in? Back to Top
Nope, especially not with Eros. We are known as a very low-protocol club. We have lots of new people that get by just fine with common courtesy. There are only a few things really peculiar to the scene that you need to know as a new person. The first one is to touch people and/or their toys only with permission. This is as simple as saying "may I hug you?" or "may I touch your new flogger?" instead of assuming it is OK. And don’t be too upset if you are told "no." Some people don’t like others touching their toys. Perhaps they play hard, and sometimes bleed, and want to keep their toys really clean. Or maybe its part of the instructions they were given by their Dom to not touch anyone until told otherwise. Whatever the reason, it is their choice. Nobody minds being asked, or thinks it unusual, and then you have the confidence in knowing that your touch is welcomed, and not an intrusion.