When talking with friends about some of the play parties they have been to, I always hear the stories of "that one guy who...." broke every etiquette rule in the book and made people unhappy or uncomfortable. There is no real general "rulebook" to play parties, though some dungeons do have a list of rules for attendees, but basic etiquette applies. Always. I found this wonderful article on play party etiquette and thought it was a wealth of information for those who may not be familiar with what is and is not considered acceptable behavior. It's easy to feel very comfortable very fast, especially with a group of friendly, welcoming kinksters. Being comfortable shouldn't mean forgetting your manners.
Etiquette For Public Play
Written by laynie
Posted with permission from my friends at bdsmcircle
Having been in this lifestyle for 6 years and having had the opportunity to play as well as DM at various public and private events. It always amazes me how many people do not know how to behave in public. I am not just talking about newbies. I mean experienced Dominants and submissives.
One would think that before one goes out to play, whether to a public club or a private play party, that one would take the time to educate themselves on proper public etiquette. Since this is often not the case I have decided to do some research and compile a list of rules for public behavior.
Do not touch people, even in what you think of as a friendly way (like touching someone's arm in conversation) without asking permission. In some circles, hugging even strangers hello and goodbye seems to be the norm. In most BDSM circles I know of, hugging someone in even a casual way without verbal consent is considered overstepping the boundaries Because someone is standing naked next to you does not make it ok to stroke the person's ass---in fact, it is not ok to stroke even the person's arm! Assume that any touch is not ok without asking first.
On the other hand, asking to hug or shake hands is certainly acceptable and not considered an offense in any way.
Do not interfere with scenes in progress. Do not crowd a scene by watching or playing too close. Leave space for the top to move, swing a flogger, etc. If the Top asks you to move then move. If the room is
too crowded then leave and come back when the crowd thins out.
Be quiet while scenes are going on, or go to the social space to chat! The comments you think are whispered quietly to the person next to you is often heard by the Top or bottom Be polite, and don't talk or whisper. Yours could be the remark that ruins a wonderful scene for someone.
Attempting to start conversations with the top or the bottom during scenes is one of the most common and astonishing etiquette errors at play parties. It should be obvious,but just in case it is not I will say it loud and clear: Do not address comments or questions to the top or the bottom while they are playing! As well do not try to start a conversation with the partners while they are cuddling together after a scene. If the Top steps away to get a new toy or the couple are talking intimately after the scene is not the time to walk over and chat.
Do not ever touch or get too close to the bottom during---or after---a scene. After a scene, give the players a quiet space on the sofa if they want to cuddle together. Give people time to come down. If you need to ask a quiet question, like "Would you like this blanket that's here behind me?," address the top, not the bottom, and be as unobtrusive and quiet as possible.
Do not join in scenes, even if it looks like they are free-for-alls. Join in only if the top clearly beckons you in. If in doubt, check with the top.
Do not come on to whoever you are sexually interested in in a clueless manner. Hounding, harassing, or puppy-dogging after the object of your sexual interest will guarantee that you will not be invited to any more parties and might even get you kicked out.
Most people like to be complimented on their scenes. Telling them what you liked about their scene is usually well-received. But wait till they are walking about and socializing again! Asking interesting how-to questions is also a good way to make friends.
Do not intervene in scenes. If you are bothered by something you see find a host or DM to check on the scene, explain it to you, or reassure you. If a corrective action needs to be taken, the host or DM will take care of conveying that to the top in an appropriate manner. If something is too extreme for you to enjoy watching, then simply leave the room quietly.
Do not touch people's toys, floggers, etc. that are lying around without finding the owner and asking. . Do not run a knife or wartenburg pinwheel along your skin to test its sharpness---the owner might have gone to pains to sterilize the blade in expectation of an upcoming scene, and sharp edges break skin without always leaving marks or drawing blood.
Clean up play furniture or play areas when you are done using them. Pick up your toys so someone else can use the play area Wipe down the play furniture so it is not sweaty for the next person, and if any bodily fluids were spilled accidentally, clean them up thoroughly---hosts often provide appropriate cleaning materials if you don't have them on hand.
Do not hog play furniture for hours on end with your own scene. If play furniture and play space are scarce, ask the host for an estimate of a reasonable amount of time to use it.
Be tolerant of things you didn't expect. Even if you are fascinated, try not to gawk noticeably at stuff you personally have never encountered before. Watching and learning are fine. If you are shocked by the amount of blood flow from a ritual cutting, or if you never expected to see a someone’s nipple pierced with a needle, or anything else that seems extreme to you, then the astonishment is probably yours. Get a grip.
Read a few books (or websites) on BDSM. You might even pick up some fine points of etiquette, like how to behave toward a slave in the presence of the master, such as never treat a slave as if they are a slave to you!
No one besides your own partner owes any deference to you beyond common, everyday courtesy. No one is required to fetch you a drink or defer to your opinion in conversation. And addressing a stranger you are chatting with as `Mistress' or `Sir' just because the person is or appears to be a Dom/me is considered bad form in many play circles. People in the scene usually introduce themselves and address each other by their ordinary names or nicknames.
I am sure that there are many more rules of etiquette out there. I think these are pretty basic and should give you a good start on public .
In addition to the article posted above, I would like to add: Please never, EVER break out a camera or camera cell phone at a play party. Most dungeons and play party hosts have a "no photography" rule as it is, but it is basic etiquette to not take photos unless it is expressed otherwise. There are too many people in the background who may not want their face "out there" in the world, and the hosts may not want their home in the background of pics. If you would like photos in the dungeon, check with the host about the possibility of stopping by early for a quick photo shoot, or staying late for the same.