Every dungeon has its own particular rules, customs, and protocols. As much as some would fantasize, there is no One True Way to behave that will be appropriate in any situation.
However, as the saying goes “if you have principles, you don’t need rules”. By applying one particular principle you can usually make sure that your behavior will not only be appropriate but also be an example for others to emulate, creating a safe, sexy, and fun environment for the party.
1. Respect Your Hosts: One of the differences between a dungeon party and just another night at the dungeon is that someone found some reason for the party. It may be a theme, it may be an event like a birthday, it may be a collaring ceremony. Supporting and reinforcing their choice is how you thank them for inviting you to the party in the first place.
This means that you don’t complain when suddenly you have to stop play while they serve cake, you respectfully observe the collaring ceremony, you don’t wear your WWII interrogator uniform to a Sexy Circus theme. Instead, you go along with the intent of the party and let your kink help make it even more awesome.
2. Respect the Environment: Whether you’re in a small dungeon or a big one, it’s important to pay attention to where other people are playing and stay back. It’s fine to claim your own space, but remember that this is an event with other people – so perhaps this isn’t the time to take out the ten-foot bullwhip, unless there’s plenty of room. If there’s limited equipment, perhaps this isn’t the night to do a four-hour impact play scene on the cross.
Be aware of what types of play are allowed where – medical play, piss play, and cigar play are examples of kinks that are not able to be indulged in just any environment. If you are able to enjoy your kink, then there’s also that basic kindergarten-level rule: clean up after yourself. That includes wiping down the equipment, hopefully with cavicide wipes, to ensure that no body fluids are left there for the next people to unhappily discover.
3. Respect Other Kinks: The flip side of “don’t take up too much room” is “remember this is a public party.” If you need quiet for your scene, that’s not likely to happen at a party. If you need for no one to watch, again, it’s probably not going to happen at the party. Be aware that you may have a puppy-play scene going on to your left and an evil clown interrogation scene going on to your right while you’re in the midst of your traditional Japanese double-penetration rope and tea ceremony. Of course if you see something dangerous, it is fine to let a dungeon monitor or your hosts know, but if something just makes you uncomfortable, it is your responsibility to remove yourself from the situation.
If you are watching a scene, part of respecting the kink is to keep your comments inaudible – ideally, not talking at all in the play space. However, at parties, there is an expectation that people will mingle and interact. By keeping your own conversation to a low level, you can set the example for others. If someone’s conversation is actually disrupting your scene, simply ask them respectfully (see, there’s that word again!) to be a bit more quiet so that you can concentrate on your personal hotness.
4. Respect Yourself: One of the common mistakes new kinksters make at parties is giving in to the need to prove something. That may be trying to show what a big bad dom they are by trying out some fancy toys or techniques that they think will impress people. It can also be trying to show what a wonderful submissive they are by agreeing to play with people they aren’t actually attracted to, or agreeing to activities they aren’t actually interested in.
Stefanos and Shay have some great clips about how to introduce yourself in a kinky context that gets to the root of this problem: remember that you are first a human being, an individual with your own preferences and boundaries and you have the right to expect those to be respected by everyone, including yourself. That’s not to say you can’t do things to attract attention – but Stefanos and Shay, veterans of the SF Citadel, have some much more creative and effective suggestions for attracting the kind of attention you actually want.
5. Have Fun! Remember that the purpose of a party is enjoyment. The hosts want their guests to be happy, to have a good time. If you’re not enjoying yourself, there is nothing wrong with thanking your guests for the invitation and going somewhere that you can. It will improve both your mood and the mood of the party, and the one thing people often forget is: there will always be another party. If you’re more in the mood to watch a movie and cuddle, that doesn’t make you any less kinky. It simply means you’re recharging your kinky energy to bring it strong to some future dungeon party.
Check out the rest of Stefanos and Shay’s clips in their “Fun in the Dungeon” series as well as more recent clips about how to behave at munches and other kink events. Dungeon etiquette is not hard, but it never hurts to be reminded of the ways we can make sure everyone is having a good time getting their kink on.